© Naturpark Mürzer Oberland | Nicole Seiser © Naturpark Mürzer Oberland | Nicole Seiser
Hochsteiermark is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts

Outdoor activities in Hochsteiermark

Hochsteiermark is an excellent choice for all those looking for unforgettable outdoor adventures, especially in the mountains. The region boasts a wealth of options, ranging from the rugged peaks of the Hochschwab massif to the wide, gentle pastures of Peter Rosegger’s Waldheimat region. In Hochsteiermark, everyone is sure to find their favourite spot.

Activities for nature lovers in Hochsteiermark

The nature of Hochsteiermark offers something for everyone, provided that you love the mountains. The region’s stunning landscapes range from gentle, high-alpine pastures to lush green forests and crystal-clear lakes such as Lake Sackwiesensee, Central Europe’s highest located swimming lake.

Hiking and cycling

If you like multi-day hikes, you will love the 300-kilometre-long BergZeitReise trail that runs through Hochsteiermark. Alternatively, there are plenty of options for single-day tours. There are also numerous themed hiking trails, ranging from romantic to educational. If you’re looking for a more contemplative experience, we recommend the Hochsteiermark section of Mariazellerweg pilgrimage trail that leads to the famous pilgrimage basilica in Mariazell.

Are you looking for a more action-packed way to explore the region’s stunning landscapes? Then how about hopping on a bicycle, an e-bike or a mountain bike? The family-friendly, picturesque Mürz Valley cycle path runs from Mürzsteg to Bruck an der Mur, mostly along the shores of the river Mürz. In Bruck, you can find the Mur cycle path, which starts in Salzburg’s Lungau region and ends many kilometres further south in the Croatian town of Legrad. One section of the trail passes right through Bruck an der Mur.

Mountain bikers will love the varied mountain world of Mürzer Oberland Nature Park. In addition, the Mariazellerland region and the area surrounding Bruck an der Mur and Kapfenberg boast plenty of challenges, highlights and panoramic views. If you’re looking for a bit more action, we recommend Windpark Petrul with its numerous trails, which you can either ride separately or as one big, combined circular trail. However, the area is also a great choice for leisure cyclists, boasting a network of 45 kilometres of amazing trails. Alternatively, we recommend the trails in Peter Rosegger’s Waldheimat region and in Aflenz at the foot of the Hochschwab mountain range.

By the way: You can find numerous bike-friendly and e-bike-friendly accommodation providers throughout the region.

Winter sports in Hochsteiermark

All parts of Hochsteiermark boast excellent opportunities for skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and ski touring. For the latter, we particularly recommend the Hochschwab region, starting at Aflenzer Bürgeralm, and the Mariazellerland region.

The cradle of winter sports at the Styrian Semmering

If you’re looking for the cradle of winter sports, you can find it at the Styrian Semmering. The town of Mürzzuschlag started to become a popular winter sports resort more than 100 years ago. In 1890, Graz-based athlete Max Kleinoscheg and Toni Schruf, an innkeeper from Mürzzuschlag, decided to bring skiing to Central Europe. Even back then, they had recognised the sport’s great potential for winter tourism.

Together with Walter Wenderich, they were the first ones to climb the 782-metre-high Stuhleck on skis on 8 February 1892. On this historic day, they decided to establish a skiing association in Mürzzuschlag, paving the way for the town’s development into a popular winter sports destination.

The event that led to the founding of the local mountain rescue services was somewhat less pleasurable – but all the more important. In 1896, three winter sports athletes were caught in an avalanche on the Styrian Rax. Once again, it was Toni Schruf and his colleagues who then decided to establish an official rescue service.

History lessons at WinterSportMuseum

If you would like to find out more about the history of winter sports at the Styrian Semmering, we recommend a visit to WinterSportMuseum in Mürzzuschlag.

Today, the Styrian Semmering is one of six ski resorts in Hochsteiermark. The region quickly turned into a popular retreat for Vienna residents – not least due to the Semmering railway, which has been running from Vienna to Hochsteiermark since 1857.

It’s all about nature at Mürzer Oberland Nature Park

Mürzer Oberland Nature Park is one of Hochsteiermark’s most special regions. Located in the northeastern part of the green heart of Austria, it is surrounded by the summits of Rax, Schneealpe and Veitsch. You can also find expansive forests, lush green mountain pastures and picturesque river valleys there.

Two things are important at Mürzer Oberland Nature Park: environmental protection and enjoyment of nature. Both go hand in hand at the Nature Park, for instance on the “klimawandeln“ adventure trail or at the Forest of Senses. At the park’s 21 power places, you can smell, feel and hear nature from up close.

The varied NaturErlebnisProgramm offers nature lovers of all ages the chance to explore Alpine plants and animals. Whether it’s during a guided herbal hike or during a forest quiz for kids, there’s plenty to see, do and learn at Mürzer Oberland Nature Park!

© Naturpark Mürzer Oberland | nicoleseiser.at
© Naturpark Mürzer Oberland | nicoleseiser.at
© Naturpark Mürzer Oberland | nicoleseiser.at

Sporting highlights & culinary delights

It’s a pleasure to get active outdoors – even more so if you do so on one of the region’s Genusstouren trails. These trails run from the cities with all their sights up into the mountains, or from one mountain hut to the next. Whether you explore them by bike, e-bike or on foot, you can always stop by one of the many (fine dining) restaurants, traditional inns and mountain huts that line the way to fuel up for the rest of your tour. What’s it going to be? A venison speciality, traditional “Feldkoch”, some alpine cheese or a salad garnished with wild herbs?

Many of the local dishes taste even better with some spicy horseradish. Of course, the chefs of Hochsteiermark mainly use fresh, regional products to prepare their tasty dishes.

Our tip: If you’re a fan of the BergZeitReise trail, you should have a look at the twelve Genusstouren trails.

City vibes and natural gems

The towns and cities of Hochsteiermark are all surrounded by breathtaking nature. Enjoy a shopping spree, a cup of coffee and impressive architecture in the Old Town of Bruck an der Mur, Mariazell, Kindberg, Kapfenberg or Mürzzuschlag, followed by a trip to the countryside. In most cases, it only takes about five minutes to get from the city to the surrounding region. The cultural highlights, museums and concert halls of Bruck, Neuberg and other towns are only a stone’s throw from the region’s most stunning natural gems. Go from urban to rural in a matter of minutes – or discover culture out in nature, for instance in the Waldheimat region! Explore the alpine pastures and forests of the region and follow in the footsteps of famous Austrian writer Peter Rosegger. World-class literature meets outdoor bliss – a perfect combination!