Be Sure To Add This Stunning European Country To Your Hiking Bucket List

The Austrian Alps are home to some of Europe's most beautiful mountain ranges. While it's true that these mountains are best known for their snowy winters where avid skiers can hit the slopes, the summers are when they truly shine. The hiking trails you can find around Austria are nothing short of breathtaking.

Not only are they visually stunning, but there are trails for every single level of hiker — from families looking for an easy walk through some forests and meadows to skilled mountaineers seeking a challenge. For those who can't walk long distances or simply would love to catch some panoramic views, there are tons of cable cars throughout the Austrian Alps that will carry you straight to the summit platforms.

But with 60% of the country covered in mountain ranges and centuries of hiking tradition being engrained in the culture, hiking in Austria is really hard to beat. If you're passionate about conquering the best summits in the world, this is one bucket list item you can't miss. With so many mountains and trails to see, though, it can be hard to choose where to go. So, let's break down some of the best hikes for families and beginner and intermediate hikers and tell you where to go for the best mountaineering opportunities.

Easy day hikes with spectacular views in Austria

You might feel a bit intimated by the length of some hikes in Austria when you first begin your research. Some can be hundreds of miles long, after all! Luckily, many of these hikes are broken down into stages, and these individual sections can easily be explored in a day. One such hike is the Wachau World Heritage Trail, located in Lower Austria. While it's not a particularly strenuous multiple-day hike, the trail is nearly 112 miles, so probably not for beginners. However, Stage 1 is just under eight miles and is the perfect day hike for those who want to hike along the Danube with views of beautiful vineyards and old castles.

If you're looking to get some altitude, though, then you should experience Dachstein Glacier World. Dachstein is not the tallest mountain in Austria, but it is the tallest in Styria, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is one of the top destinations in the country. Throughout your visit to Dachstein Glacier, you'll go on the panoramic gondola to the mountain station at the summit, a skywalk above the clouds, and a walk on the highest suspension bridge in Austria. This bridge connects visitors to the Dachstein Ice Palace, which has been carved into the heart of the glacier itself. This is the perfect day trip to take with your young ones!

Conquer the rugged peaks of the Austrian Alps

In Austria, thru-hiking looks a bit different than in North America. In Austria, you do hut-to-hut hiking. These "huts" (called Hütten) are cozy cabins located in between stages of hikes that typically have food and lodging to offer weary travelers. This is a great way to experience true Austrian alpine hiking. Though the best time of year to hike in Austria is in the Fall to see the leaves change color, you can do hut-to-hut hiking any time between June to late September.

One of the best hut-to-hut hikes in Austria is the Adlerweg or Eagle's Trail. But be warned, this isn't for beginner hikers looking to take on their very first multi-day hike. Though you don't have to hike all of it, it can take up to four weeks to hike in its entirety and is geared towards those experienced with alpine hikes. It is very challenging, but the views of the limestone peaks, rivers, and forests along the way are extremely rewarding.

If you're an experienced hiker looking to try hut-to-hut hiking for the first time, give the Emperor's Crown Trail in the Tirol region a try. This is an easy-to-moderate hike that takes you through green pastures and up higher to give you views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Best of all, you'll have plentiful access to comfortable lodging at Hütten or hotels in the villages along your journey.