Discover something new with every step

Long-distance hiking in the south of Lower Austria. The two adventurers Franziska and Felix Consolati report on their experiences on the Vienna Alpine Arc.

"You just have to dare", says Franziska Consolati. And the young woman from Upper Bavaria knows what she is talking about. She has already spent tens of thousands of kilometres in her mountain boots on long-distance hiking trails all over the world.

Always by her side her is her husband and travel partner Felix, her camera and her notepad. The outdoor blogger and the filmmaker want to see the world, and their thirst for discovery has taken them to distant mountains, pristine forests and untouched nature. "And for that, you have to be willing to embrace the unknown every now and then", says Felix. And the unknown can also be very close at hand. Their last adventure took the two globetrotters to the Vienna Alpine Arc. This is a 300-km-long long-distance hiking trail that leads to the most prominent peaks in southern Lower Austria - from the gentle hills of the Bucklige Welt to the Alpine landscape of the Wechselgebirge mountain range and the forested Semmering to the highest peaks of Lower Austria's mountains, the Rax and Schneeberg. The Vienna Alpine Arc comprises a total of 19 stages, eight of which Franziska and Felix have explored. And both agree - "Anyone can dare to lace up their shoes on this long-distance trail".

Long-distance trails often lead to secluded corners

Far away from any civilisation and infrastructure. "You have the feeling of being completely on your own", says Franziska, "which is often liberating, but can sometimes also be oppressive". The former is especially true of the Vienna Alpine Arc: "You feel like a hiker", says photographer Felix, "because you're on well-signposted trails while immersed in completely untouched landscapes". On some stages, the friendly outdoor couple didn't meet another person for hours. "Although we were on the trail in the best mountain weather", Franziska enthuses. "And in high season", adds Felix. In this respect, the Vienna Alpine Arc combines the best of both worlds - a pristine mountain experience that nevertheless leads you safely to your destination.

The appeal of the Vienna Alpine Arc lies not only in its originality, however, "but also in the incredible diversity of nature that presents itself on the small Alpine Arc", says Felix. In addition, the multi-day summit tour between Katzelsdorf near Wiener Neustadt and Bad Fischau-Brunn has another plus point. “It is doable for everyone", as you can get on and off at any time. "You don't have to commit to walking the whole route", says Franziska, "you can just feel your way along". Consequently, the Vienna Alpine Arc is not only suitable for experienced long-distance hikers, but beginners, for whom long-distance hiking is still unknown, will especially get their money's worth on the small Alpine Arc.

8 days, lots of experiences

If you now ask Felix and Franziska what they experienced on their 8-day tour, it is best to start from the beginning. From Mönichkirchen (Stage 8), the two first hiked over gentle alpine meadows to the Feistritzsattel, "from where you have a great view of the entire tour", before disappearing into the dense forest and diving into the cultural world of Semmering. "The "20 Schilling Blick" viewpoint is definitely unique", says Felix, because you marvel not only at nature's imposing work of rock needles and pine forests, but also at the man-made work. "The way the railway there chugs over the viaduct arches at the foot of the Pollereswand - you feel as if you are transported back in time". On historic paths along the railway line, "you stroll along until the Rax massif rises in front of you", Franziska tells us.

And the high Alpine terrain between Rax and Schneeberg has done it for the two of them. "A crazy play of light", reports Felix, who still has the sunset at the Habsburghaus in his head. "A very unique feeling", says Franziska when she talks about the next day, "where we hiked towards the sun all alone in the early morning". Her experiences around the Rax summit and the 2,076-m-high Klosterwappen on Hochschneeberg were "definitely a highlight". Whereas the path as a whole was a continuous "summit experience": "The landscape and nature change almost daily", says Franziska. "Everything can be seen - from colourful flower meadows to Alpine mountain pine forests to sparse groves". The Vienna Alpine Arc is thus also a great spectacle for nature lovers.

And what about catering and places to sleep?

"Some huts are located directly at the end of the stage", says Franziska, "and if you book in advance, you can also get a packed lunch for the next day at some of the accommodation facilities. “We would definitely recommend this to all hikers”, says Felix. "After all, there are numerous viewpoints on the day tours that are great for stopping for a snack". And no matter whether you stop off in the evening at the Habsburghaus on the Rax, the Hotel Belvedere on Semmering or the Almreserlhaus above Puchberg on Schneeberg, "we were welcomed with open arms everywhere". From a culinary point of view, the two adventurers particularly remember the Naturfreundehaus Knofeleben at the foot of the Schneeberg. The vegetarian and vegan dishes of the Nepalese kitchen team "were really great and a super change from the classic mountain hut food".

So let's sum up

The Vienna Alpine Arc is a solitary, but well-secured long-distance hiking trail. Its natural scenery is full of surprises and is peppered with countless peaks as well as panoramic views. In addition, you are well looked after in the huts and can feel at home. And of course there would be umpteen other stories to tell about Felix and Franziska's experiences in the Vienna Alps, but perhaps it is better to end here and encourage you to create your own memories of long-distance hiking in the Vienna Alps.

An overview of the 8 stages of the two adventurers:

  • Stage 8: from Mönichkirchen to Feistritzsattel
  • Stage 9: from Feistritzsattel to Semmering
  • Stage 10: from Semmering to Prein an der Rax
  • Stage 11: from Prein an der Rax to Habsburghaus
  • Stage 12: from Habsburghaus to Reichenau
  • Stage 13: from Reichenau to Naturfreundehaus Knofeleben
  • Stage 14: from Naturfreundehaus Knofeleben to Edelweißhütte
  • Stage 15: fromFadensattel (Edelweißhütte) to Öhler Schutzhaus