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We are a reasonably athletic couple who enjoy hiking and being outdoors. We will be in Austria for a wedding in August so we decided to make a week of it, stay in a couple of towns, but also do a couple of days' hiking (anywhere between 5 and 10 hours a day is what we're expecting).

We can get dropped off in the Austrian alps round about the Liezen region - I found the Via Alpina trail for this area (http://via-alpina.org/en/stage/25) but information about how it all works is fairly vague.

My questions are:

  1. How good is public transport in the region? If we book to stay in the same place for 2 or 3 nights, can we get to / from different sections of trail fairly easily? Or is it better to book different places for each night, and hike from one to the next?

  2. How good are transport links getting in and out of the area? At the end of the hike we will need to get to somewhere like Linz, is this possible? Are there any good websites that will help us figure out how to get from A to B by public transport?

  3. We will probably want to carry sandwiches / snacky food for lunch, and have a big evening meal. How easy will it be to acquire sandwiches and snacks in the smaller villages near / along the route?

  4. This one is a vague one - any recommendations on the best stages or areas to hike, in terms of scenery and variety of terrain? If possible we would like to avoid spending too much time hiking along the side of roads etc and would prefer to be as high as possible with views of the valleys.

Any input, suggestions or personal experience would be much appreciated!!

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    You can look at my answer to a similar question about hiking in Austria; I ended up going to the Gesause region, which is less than an hour's drive east of Liezen, and also available by public transport from there. – Eyal May 6 '15 at 19:08
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The linked topic of @Eyal is a good starting point to get an idea what to expect on those kind of hut treks. I would recommend to get information from online trip reports like on the site you linked to. They already marked the different sections of the Via Alpina where you could pick out 5 sections/days. First of all you should get something to work with like the local maps from the Alpenverein (see this PDF for an overview what maps are available). To get some idea you can research online thanks to the land surveying office. You can zoom up to a scale of 1:10000.

So even without sticking to some online trek reports and to Via Alpina or a similar trekking route, you are able to get a nice time outdoors. This is also nice if you are going to adjust trek sections for you. Maybe you aren't feeling that good one day? Or you arrive at the destination of a day-hike-section at noon and want to continue? Maybe you want to stay two nights at that location you like so much? So just get some nice maps and improvise.

Regarding your questions, yes, hiking along a street isn't the way we want it. Also the very remote places aren't what most people like being outdoors (of course there are exceptions). But it's typical in the Alps that you have a ton of day-hike routes with possibilities to stay for a lunch or even over night. So I wouldn't book a room in a village and try to do trips from that base camp. I would just walk from hut to hut and don't sleep in small towns/villages at all. The paths and huts are interconnected pretty well. So you don't need to care about a super market too much - just eat at the hut. You will also get a sandwich for the day there. You should also pack some energy bars at the start of the trip.

If you do a round-like-trip the way I would do it, you also don't have to worry about public transportation which isn't that favourable in backcountry. You just have to have some idea where to start and where to end so that you know there are bus stops there. Here the homepage of the Styria public transport and here the austrian federal railroad. You could also try to hitchhike like Eyal did on his trip. I never did this but why not, if it's not that remote like a forest road where only the forester is allowed to come by ;)

By the way you could also call the guys from DAV (german alpine club) or OEAV (austrian alpine club) directly. For example the DAV has people helping for exactly that kind of questions. I am sure they will also help you in English.

  • Thank you and @Eyal for the posts! This is what we are currently thinking: Get dropped off on Weds afternoon and stay in a small B&B in Lungotz. This is the starting point for Stage 34 (via-alpina.org/en/stage/34). We will do stage 34 and 33 in the same day on the Thursday (about 30km), which takes us to Gosau where we have a B&B for Thursday night. On Friday we do stage 32 (via-alpina.org/en/stage/32) down into Bad Goisern for a relaxing evening, get picked up Sat. Let me know if you spot any obvious flaws in the plan - otherwise I will post a review when we get back! – Matt May 14 '15 at 16:48

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