SalzburgerLand – An Outdoor Wonderland For Summer Mountain Sports

STORY BY Patrick 9th May 2019

Austria’s SalzburgerLand is a true paradise for every hiker, cycling, mountain bikers and really anyone who loves to be outdoors, right in the heart of some of Europe’s most beautiful, and spectacular scenery.

It’s a land of famous attractions and amazing scenery including vibrant forest, high altitude pastures, crystal-clear lakes, wonderful waterfalls and of course the magnificent mountains.

Add in the fabulous food, friendly locals and very fresh air, all just a very short hop from the UK with no long transfers at the other end, and you have a winning combination.

Whether you want a relaxing break just soaking it all in or to run, hike, climb, pedal, fly, swim, float or even zorb it all at full speed is up to you.

Hiking

There are few experiences more wonderful than walking in the mountains and in SalzburgerLand you can choose between, pretty much, every type and duration of hiking route imaginable.

The jewel in the region’s crown is the incredible Salzburger Almenweg (Salzburger Alpine Trail), known colloquially as the trail of the Blue Gentian which is a remarkable 350 kilometres in length, passing 120 Alpine huts and generally divided into 31 stages.  That’s perfect for a month-long ramble of course but unless you’re lucky enough to have a month free, you can choose to do as much or as little of the route as you’d like.

The looping route passes through many famous areas within SalzburgerLand (including the Salzburger Sportwelt, Hochkönig region, the Grossarl and Gastein Valleys and Obertauern) and multi-day hikers can choose whether to head down after a day on the hills each night and visit one of the dozens of towns and villages below, or stay up in a mountain hut and just continue on the next day from there.

The different stages offer different levels of difficulty but most are family friendly and 90 per cent of the route is up at over 1,000 metres above sea level. The shortest stage is only five kilometres (three miles) long and can be completed in about 90 minutes whilst trained hikers need up to nine hours walking time for the most demanding stages at 21 kilometres (13 miles) in length.

You can of course choose to do as much or as little of the trail as you like, perhaps doing just one or two sections and returning at a later date, if you wish, to do more.

There’s a website dedicated to the route and here there are hints and tips for foodies or those seeking out the most spectacular vistas, among other niche interests.

Everyone can get a special trip log book from tourist offices along the route and collect stamps en route to confirm where they’ve walked and create a great souvenir. A special “bronze hiking pin” is awarded once they complete their first stage. The stamp collection book is available in all tourist association offices in the valleys.

Families will love the fact that there are also themed sections of trail especially created for children and one stage (No. 27 to Moosalm) ends at a petting zoo and children’s playground.

There’s a website dedicated to the route and here there are hints and tips for foodies or those seeking out the most spectacular vistas, among other niche interests.

Everyone can get a special trip log book from tourist offices along the route and collect stamps en route to confirm where they’ve walked and create a great souvenir. A special “bronze hiking pin” is awarded once they complete their first stage. The stamp collection book is available in all tourist association offices in the valleys.

Not only children but dogs as well are welcome on the Salzburger Almenweg. Many of the mountain hut owners allow dogs to stay too and on the Hochkönig (Stage No.2), there is even a playground complete with swimming pool and obstacle course just for dogs!

If 31 stages sounds like a lot, there are plenty of shorter options. ‘4 Mountains – 3 Lakes’ for example is a long-distance hike in the Salzkammergut region taking you over four impressive peaks in the Fuschlsee, Wolfgangsee and Mondsee Region.

This walk has only five stages taking you through some of the loveliest scenery in the picturesque Salzburg Salzkammergut Lake District.  Each stage takes approximately 4 – 5 hours, and tackling the whole hike takes five days. You even have the luxury of being able to walk without luggage, as that can be taken on to your next overnight stop for you whilst you’re walking.

Biking

With 7,000 kilometres (4375 miles) of well-signposted cycling and mountain biking trails and four bike parks, SalzburgerLand is one of the world’s best destinations for bikers – whether you want to bring your own bike with you or hire a road, mountain or electric E-Bike from one of the hundreds of bike shops in the region.

The choice is almost endless, from challenging road bike sections and scenic multi-day bike tours to the chance to take part in events like the Amadé cycling marathon, the Glocknerkönig or the Eddy Merckx Classic Cycling Marathon.

If you’d like a long-distance tour then the 270km long Tauern Cycle Path is the perfect circuit through SalzburgerLand for you. Passing the 380m high Krimml Waterfalls and the Mozart City of Salzburg, it is one of the most beautiful and popular cycle paths in Europe. More than 50 cycle friendly businesses are located along the way including “Bed & Bike” accommodation, lots of bike shops and if you’re on one, E-bike charging points (you can always rent one here too).

Another long route, the Mozart Cycle Path, begins in the city of Salzburg and follows the musical genius right out of SalzburgerLand to Tyrol and Bavaria, mostly on cycle paths and quiet low-car-traffic side roads, all signposted with the Mozart symbol. The cycle path continues along the old route of the Ischler Railway into the Mozart village of St. Gilgen and then on through the Salzburg Lake District.

For mountain bikers, there are around 5,000 kilometres of signposted mountain bike trails at all levels of difficulty in SalzburgerLand. In Saalfelden Leogang alone, which hosted the 2012 MTB Downhill World Championships (and will do so again in 2020), there are 720 kilometres of mountain bike trails – so from beginners to professionals, everyone will find their right terrain here.

If you need still more action there are several bike parks and the “Big 5 bike challenge” between Saalbach Hinterglemm and Leogang, including the popular Hacklberg Trail in Saalbach.


Find out more about Summer in Saalbach here


There are many opportunities too for E-Bikers too including the 164km long cross-border “Slow Bike” Tour, specially designed for them. This runs from the City of Salzburg in four stages through the municipalities around the “Salzburg Basin” passing numerous charging stations and thanks to the power-assistance of the E-bike, the 2,650 metres of altitude gain is a doddle!

Road Biking

The road bike region of SalzburgerLand Salzkammergut includes six magnificent road bike destinations and within these twenty tours are waiting to be discovered and they all lead through the wonderful natural landscapes between the northern Salzburg Lake District and the Postalm, the largest Alpine area in Austria. 11 road bike friendly hotels offer guests, individual travellers and groups great services and facilities, all meeting numerous quality criteria and provide an all-round service including maps and touring meals.

Other Outdoor Activities

Hiking, mountain biking and road cycling are just the tip of the long list of activities available in SalzburgerLand.

With so many hills and rivers to ride down, mountains to climb and lakes to sail on in this beautiful, untouched and diverse natural landscape you can imagine there’s a whole lot more.

On the water, for example, the currently popular activity of Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) is big on the lakes of SalzburgerLand (it’s particularly popular on the lake at Zell am See), as are the longer-established options of sailing, windsurfing or you could even give water-skiing a try. You can of course fish in the lakes too.

© Michael Groessinger / SalzburgerLand Tourismus

If you like your water white then rafting, kayaking or hydrospeed are all available to you.

If you’d like to try something other than hiking or biking the peaks you can, of course, trail run or climb up, or abseil down, perhaps trying a little canyoning on the way. One novel option is the chance to roll down the side of a mountain at 30km/hr in a huge soft air-filled ball zorbing.

If the mountains themselves aren’t high enough you can leave the ground in a plane or balloon for a sightseeing flight or try paragliding, skydiving, tandem jumping, gliding or hang-gliding at one of the schools in the region.


Adventure Events Summer 2019

June 7th – 9th: Out of Bounds Festival in Leogang

Out of Bounds Festival is the name of a world-class bike weekend, that unites the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Downhill with an awesome supporting program.

June 27th – 30th: The “Adidas Infinite Trails World Championships” is a top-class Trail Running event in which will see three Gastein mountain peaks become world championship venues featuring some of the fastest off-road grades in the world.

September 1st:  Ironman 70.03 in Zell am See-Kaprun

Ironman 70.3 Zell am See-Kaprun sounds tough, and it is, but it is also an event for the whole family. The race week starts with the Irongirl Run then on Saturday, the big stage belongs to the junior athletes before children from all over the world take part in the Ironkids competition in front of their proud Mums and Dads.

September 8th: The Eddy Merckx Classic Cycling Marathon

Eddy Merckx, the most successful cyclist of all time, has a special love for SalzburgerLand and more than 1,500 participants from all over Europe take part year after year in this popular event at the end of the season.


The City of Salzburg

It’s difficult not to spend time in SalzburgerLand without a visit to the beautiful city of Salzburg itself, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Perhaps at the start or end of your trip if you fly in and out of the region’s small, friendly airport to which there are direct flights from London.

Year after year, guests from all over the world are attracted to the city most famous for Mozart and The Sound of Music. There are over 4,000 cultural events here each year including the famous Salzburg Festival and the hours will fly by as you wander past enticing boutiques and cafes in the largely pedestrianised Old Town.


SalzburgerLand Card

The SalzburgerLand Card is a brilliant pass to get all-inclusive access to around 190 attractions, excursion destinations, natural spectacles, castles, show mines, museums, outdoor pools, cable cars and public transport services which can all be visited and free of charge by Card holders. The card also offers either a ‘24-hour day’ in the City of Salzburg or a drive on the unique Grossglockner High Alpine Road.

The “all-inclusive” card, which you can use for 6 or 12 days, is valid from 1st May to 26th October and costs 76 Euros (6 days) or 90 Euros (12 days) for an adult, 38 Euros (6 days) or 45 Euros (12 days) for children and adolescents between 4 and 16 years of age. For larger families, the third child and all other children receive the SalzburgerLand Card free of charge.

www.salzburgerland.com

 

Images © SalzburgerLand Tourismus

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