Scenic Upper Austria in the Northwest of the country, remains something of a well-kept secret. Aside from the popular Salzkammergut region (which has its own section on this site), this tranquil area is often overlooked by tourists.
About this Austria walking region
The landscape of Upper Austria ranges from the fertile riverbanks along the Danube to the pretty wooded hills of the Mühlviertel between the Danube and the Czech border to the alpine terrain of the Salzkammergut, the Kalkalpen National Park and the Pyhrn-Priel areas further south. The popular Salzkammergut region has so much to discover that we’ve given it its own section on this website – but for the best part, Upper Austria remains undiscovered by mass tourism, which is partly what makes it so appealing. We have hand-picked some of what we believe to be the finest areas for walkers and hikers.
The Mühlviertel is one of the region’s many highlights; an unspoilt area of natural beauty, featuring forests and meadows, fields and marshes. With its age-old traditions, this is a land where time stands still and where tourists rarely venture.
Located south of the historic town of Steyr is another gem, the National Park Kalkalpen, Austria’s second largest national park (the largest being Hohe Tauern). The scenery comprises masses of untouched forest, interspersed with peaceful alpine meadows, valleys and gorges. The park’s highest peak is Mt. Hoher Nock (1,963m/6,440ft).
In the region’s southern area, bordering on National Park Kalkalpen, lies the popular Pyhrn-Priel walking area, with its rich cultural heritage. The almost magical beauty of this area’s natural landscape makes it a wonderful destination for walkers and hikers.
Walking in Upper Austria
The walking areas we are featuring here are also popular with cross-country skiers during the winter months. Walkers can enjoy a number of excellent alpine trails in the Kalkalpen National Park and the adjoining Pyhrn-Priel walking area, which is surrounded by the mountains of the Totes Gebirge and Sengsengebirge ranges, where the higher peaks reach up to between 2,000m/6562ft and 2,500m/8202ft. In the Mühlviertel, the heavily forested mountains average more modest heights of 800-1200 metres (2625ft-3937ft), the highest of which is Mt. Plöckenstein (Plechý in Czech) at 1,378m/4521ft which straddles the Austrian-Czech Republic border. As one of Europe’s oldest ranges, time has shaped the landscape into rounded mountains with few rocky parts. The Mühlviertel and Bohemian Forest hills are typically high plateaux, covered in ancient moorland. Mühlviertel is renowned for its extreme weather – long summers countered by bitterly cold winters.