Hike the "From the Glacier to the Wine" route
Good walking alone is not enough here. The hiking trail "From the Glacier to the Wine" from the mountain king Dachstein to the gently rolling wine country also requires enjoying encounters, having an appetite for good things from the delicatessen of Austria and a desire for trips into other times and worlds.
Key data about the northern route: 548 km lead in 35 stages from the Dachstein to the thermal springs in Bad Radkersburg.
Key data about the southern route: 376 km on 25 stages from the Dachstein to the wine country in Leibnitz.
Imposing mountains, pristine nature reserves, historical cultural monuments, hot bubbling thermal springs and regional specialities. The long-distance hiking trail – from the glacier of the imposing Dachstein with its 2,995 metres above sea level to the sun-drenched wine country – turns out to be a true journey of discovery through the green heart of Austria. As a journey of adventure for the senses and your fitness level, which also provides you with the torment of choice.
After the first stage through the eternal ice to the Guttenberghaus above Ramsau am Dachstein, the way towards wine country splits and hikers can choose: the 548-km northern route, which leads through 35 stages to Bad Radkersburg in the thermal springs country, or the 376-km long southern route with 25 stages to Leibnitz in southern Styria. With a few variations – such as an alpine stage through the Gesäuse National Park or involving mountain railways, which greatly facilitate the climb – the trail network extends across 958 km.
The details: The northern route
How could you describe the northern route quite simply? First up, then right, then all the way down again and always towards the thermal springs until you reach the Slovenian. ;-)
But let's take it more leisurely. This is also recommended while actually hiking by the way, because the way can not only be traversed, but it can also be seen. During the first three stages, which lead from the Dachstein through Stoderzinken to Bad Mitterndorf (and which you can actually easily complete in three days), your eyes will involuntarily also wander. Here, bony dry karstic areas, lush alpine pastures, clear and dense larch forests and small alpine villages set the scene.
After another three days and as many stages, we cross the picturesque alpine pasture and lake landscape of the Tauplitz, through the southern part of the Totes Gebirge (don't be scared, a living mountain would be far more frightening [Totes Gebirge translates to 'dead mountains') and the Wörschachklamm gorge to Wörschach. Stages 7 to 9 then lead through the Wörschach bog (which is not only soft, but also a "Natura 2000 European Protected Area"), then through Admont (with the world's largest baroque library) - where you should do some browsing - into the world of the Gesäuse National Park.
There are many high points on the northern route. But also highlights: such as the historical city of Eisenerz, reached at the end of the twelfth stage, the Neuberg cathedral (stage 17) or the Semmering Railway (UNESCO World Heritage and Natural Heritage). From Mürzzuschlag (stage 20), the routes continues southwards and from Hartberg (stage 27) the northern tour then flattens considerably. However, only in topographical terms. The mountains are served up on plates in the southeastern part of Styria - the Austrian pantry. For your physical well-being, you are also taken care of in the thermal springs, in whose warm waters you can let your soul and your stressed feet dangle. You can also do this at the destination in Bad Radkersburg by the way. The northern tour has a truly happy end!
The details: the southern route
The northern route ultimately also heads south. The southern route only leads directly to the south and thus is obviously shorter than the northern route. If you want to be "fußln" with her, she has it nevertheless in itself. The graph showing the difference in altitude of the first 80 kilometres looks like the ECG of a heart attack patient. Via the Schladming Tauern to Krakau, the term "flat" is a foreign word. The route either goes steeply uphill or steeply downhill. It's not for hikers who like to kick a football while walking, nor for inline skaters, nor for people who like flat routes.
After eleven days and 133 kilometres, you will also experience a cultural high: there are almost a thousand years of Styrian history in the Benedictine monastery of St. Lambrecht in the Grebenzen Nature Park, a history that can be understood with a collection of art history and folklore.
You frequently come across 1,000+ metre mountains on the route. Before you reach the end of the 14th stage in Obdach, you have to conquer the 2,396-metre Zirbitzkogel in the Seetal Alps. And shortly thereafter the Obdach Saddle, the Ammeringkogel and the Salzstiegl. So the route remains high and airy.
After the Pack Saddle and the Koralm you will finally dive into wine country. Or rather into Schilcherland, whose "capital" is Deutschlandsberg. And if it is now claimed that the area becomes more hospitable from here, this also has to do with the increasing density of promising vineyards and wine taverns. After Deutschlandsberg, however, you need to take care: if you like the good south Styrian wine too much, you will not hike the remaining eleven days alone, but rather always accompanied by a hangover.
Three important pieces of information
First: Both the northern and southern routes are consistently signposted throughout. On the Styrian tour app (for Android and iOS), these tours also appear with all of the details.
Secondly: Both tours can also be done in parts. Thanks to public transport, it is also possible to return to the starting point from almost any destination (in addition to the railway and Postbus, there are also so-called hiking and valley buses as well as hiking taxis).
Third: there are all-inclusive holiday packages, such as
a Gesäuse National Park package, or one through Schilcherland and southern Styria, including luggage transfer.