From the rushing Isar Mountain River to the Adriatic Sea, from the Tirolean chocolate-box village of Scharnitz to the Gulf of Venice: The Via Venezia Alpina Trail spans 470 kilometers and 21,800 vertical meters from Germany’s Bavaria to Italy through the Austrian Tirol. It takes about three weeks to complete a thru-hike. It reveals the beauty of the mountains, unfolds the glaciated expanses of the Alps, travels deep forests, and ends at the beautiful upper reaches of the Adriatic Sea in Venice, nicknamed 'La Serenissima'. On its eight segments through Tirol, the Via Venezia Alpina offers long-distance hiking and Alpine beauty at its best, culminating in the pinnacle of Birkkarspitze, Hinterautal Valley and the “7 TuXer summits”. Long-distance hiking on the Via Venezia Alpina should not be underestimated. It requires mountaineering skills, stamina and sure footing. All users should be familiar with basic backcountry techniques, precautions and orienteering skills. Detours are recommended in the event of inclement weather. Traveling long distance, from the Austria-Germany-Austria border through Karwendel Range and across Italy’s South Tyrol and Belluno to Venice is undeniably a remarkable physical achievement. And one creating memories that will stick with you long after you return home from your long distance mountain trekking adventure!
- Wheelchair-accessible Hiking Route
- Circular hike
difficult (black trails)
Elevation uphill 21,800m
Vertical metres downhill 22,800m
Best time of year
* These are approximate values and recommendations. Please take your personal fitness level, technical ability and the current weather conditions into account. Tirol Werbung cannot guarantee that the information provided is correct and accepts no liability.
Day 1: Scharnitz – Karwendelhaus Lodge
Elevation Gain: 890 meters | Hiking Time: 5 hours | Distance: 17.2 kilometers
From its very beginning, there is awesome beauty and natural splendour to enjoy: From Scharnitz at the entrance to Karwendel Range, this segment takes you up to Karwendelhaus Lodge (elev. 1,765 m) across scenic Karwendeltal Valley. From the trailhead at the railroad station in Scharnitz, follow signage to Karwendelhaus and walk past Birzlkapelle Chapel to Larchetalm Alpine Pasture Hut (elev. 1,171 m). The trail up to the col has steep switchbacks that weave through the heart of Karwendel Nature Park and bring you to the destination end of this day, Karwendelhaus Lodge.
Day 2: Karwendelhaus Lodge – Hallerangerhaus Lodge
Elevation Gain: 1,490 meters | Hiking Time: 8 hours | Distance: 14.6 Kilometers
From Karwendelhaus Lodge, this difficult and long segment is a challenge, but a very good one. Follow AV-Steig Trail No. 225 southward up to the high ridgeline, crossing Schlauchkar Cirque and Schlauchkar Saddle (elev. 2,639 m). Experienced peak baggers can seize the pinnacle of craggy Birkkarspitze Peak, from where there are uninterrupted panoramic views. A knee-jarring descent takes you into lovely Hinterautal Valley to Kastenalm Alpine Pasture Hut (elev. 1,220 m). The route continues along Trail No. 224 to Lafatscher Niederleger and Kohleralm Alpine Pasture Hut, before resuming its climb to Hallerangerhaus Lodge (elev. 1,768 m). You can as well spend the night on nearby Hallerangeralm Alpine Pasture Hut (elev. 1,774 m).
Day 3: Hallerangerhaus Lodge – Absam – Hall
Elevation Gain: 400 meters | Hiking Time: 5.5 hours | Distance: 14.5 kilometers
Climbing steeply, the trail furiously works its way up 2,081-meter Lafatscher Joch from Hallerangerhaus Lodge. From the col, walk down across fields of dwarf pines on a gravel trail until you reach beautiful Issanger, carpeted in a mosaic of brilliant wildflowers. The former Abbey of St. Magdalene provides a perfect rest stop for hikers. Once replete and replenished, continue the descent through Halltal Valley, with the Fluchtsteig path being a welcome escape from the paved mountain road. Salzbergstraße Road then winds all the way down to the historic small town of Hall in Tirol (elev. 574 m), which has a rich minting heritage and is a charming place full of cobbled streets and ancient sights.
Day 4: Hall – Glungezer Hut
Elevation Gain: 2,040 meters | Hiking Time: 5 hours | Distance: 18.7 kilometers
This segment takes you from Hall in Tirol across the southern foothills of the Alps to the Tux Alps. Your feet can still relax for a little while as you first can catch the hiker’s shuttle bus from Hall to Tulfes. Should you decide to walk this section, take the path across the old wooden bridge that crosses the Inn River at Gasthof Badl Inn and ascend the country road to the left until you reach the base of Glungezerbahn in Tulfes. You can ride the chair lift up to Tulfein (elev. 2,060 m); if you prefer to walk, follow the mountain road up Windegg and Tulfeinalm Alpine Pasture Hut (elev. 2,035 m). Continue climbing along “Kurt-Recheis-Weg” Trail No. 333 until you reach Tulfeinjöchl Col (elev. 2,278 m). This is where the base of the telpher line that transports supplies to Glungezer Hut is located and if you wish, you can have your luggage carried up. Unencumbered by your daypack, follow the Glungezer Panorama Trail to the destination end of that day, which is Glungezer Hut (elev. 2,610 m).
Day 5: Glungezer Hut – Lizumer Hut
Elevation Gain: 920 meters | Hiking Time: 9 hours | Distance: 15.2 kilometers
From Glungezer Hut, Trail No. AV 335 climbs along the beautiful, rugged “Seven TuXer Summits” ridge to Lizumer Hut. Steep, rough, and strenuous, this trek requires stamina and sure footing; some rugged sections are assisted by a fixed anchoring system of cables (which in times of snow or adverse weather conditions are best left to those with mountaineering experience; detours are available). This is excelsior terrain for peak baggers: Heading southward you will first reach the 2,677-meter summit of Glungezer, followed by the ridgetop peaks of Gamslahner (elev. 2,681 m), Kreuzspitze (elev. 2,746 m), Rosenjoch (elev. 2,796 m), Grünbergspitze (elev. 2,790 m), Grafmartspitze (elev. 2,720 m) and Naviser Jöchl (elev. 2,479 m). If you have the time and energy for bagging another peak, you can conquer the summit of 2,619-meter Naviser Sonnenspitze before reaching Mölsjoch Col (elev. 2,334 m). From the col, continue along the 2,440-meter summit of Nördliche Schoberspitze and 2,359-meter Klammjoch Col to Lizumer Hut (elev. 2,019 m).
Less demanding detours can be made along Gwannsteig Trail, across Halsmarter-Voldertal Valley or through Wattental Valley.
Day 6: Lizumer Hut – Tuxerjochhaus Lodge
Elevation Gain: 1,300 meters | Hiking Time: 7 hours | Distance: 12 kilometers
The ultimate rewards come to those who have enough strength to tackle this demanding yet scenic segment. From Lizumer Hut, the trail rounds below Sonnenspitze to Geiermulde and Pluderlingsattel Saddle (Geierjoch Col), which offers sweeping views of nearby mountains, glaciers and valleys. Peak baggers can nab the summit of 2,857-meter Hoher Geier Peak. From Pluderlingsattel Saddle, Trail No. 323 steeply winds down to Junssee Lake and pristine “Tote Böden”, an area of awesome natural beauty. The trail resumes its climb up Geschützspitzsattel Saddle and descends steep grassy slopes on its way down into Weitental Valley. The final push to Tuxerjoch Col is a steep grade that will take you up, up, up to Tuxerjochhaus Lodge. The rewards for the efforts of the day are great—the lodge will have you hopping with joy with its nonstop horizon-spanning views of jagged ridges and colossal summits named Olperer, Gefrorene Wand and Riffler.
Day 7: Tuxerjochhaus Lodge – Friesenbergscharte Notch – Friesenberghaus Lodge
Elevation Gain: 890 meters | Hiking Time: 6 hours | Distance: 7.7 kilometers
This demanding segment takes you to the heart of the Zillertal Alps High Mountain Nature Park and presents some technical challenges. From Tuxerjochhaus Lodge, walk to Spannagelhaus Lodge and across the glacier ski resort of Hintertux Glacier. After an adventurous bridge crossing of the glacier creek, the trail furiously works its way up with nothing but boulders and snowfields waiting to be conquered to reach the top of Friesenbergscharte Notch. This is the second-highest elevation on the entire Via Venezia Alpina Long Distance Hiking Trail at 2,904 meters above sea level. The final section is a scramble across a steep talus and scree slope, which is a bit of a route-finding endeavour (look for the waymarking posts). The passage to the Zillertal Alps High Mountain Nature Park is very narrow. At the same time, breathtaking views open around you. The descent to Friesenberghaus Lodge, which is situated beneath the lake of the same name, is assisted by a fixed anchoring system of cables. If you still have the energy, you can bag the summit of Petersköpfl Peak when you arrive at the lodge.
Day 8: Friesenberghaus Lodge – Schlegeis Reservoir – Pfitscherjoch Col
Elevation Gain: 740 meters | Hiking Time: 6.5 hours | Distance: 12.6 kilometers
From Friesenberghaus Lodge in the Zillertal Alps, the route follows the “Berlin High Trail” to spectacular Olperer Hut at an elevation of 2,389 meters. The hut affords stunning views of Schlegeis Reservoir and of sparkling and glistening glaciers. The trail continues westward beneath Gefrorene Wand and Riffler until you reach a rock that marks the border between Austria and Italy. From there, it’s a short walk to Pfitscher Joch-Haus Lodge (elev. 2,275 m). Standing on Italian ground in South Tyrol, this is where the Tirol section of the Via Venezia Alpina Long Distance Hiking Trail ends.
Day 9 - 22: Pfitscherjoch Col – Venice
For details on the Italian section of the Via Venezia Alpina, Segments 9 to 22, please refer here (German only).