I thought that no great adventure awaits me in the Alps and I was only expecting a nice and easy pre-Christmas trip, where I would enjoy all the beautiful views and a snowy landscape. Traunstein (1691m) is a great hiking location and is only a few meters higher than Sněžka (1603m) – the highest mountain of the Czech Republic. While I was on my way to Austria, sitting on the train from Prague, I’ve learned a few facts about hiking in Traunstein from my dearest assistant – Google. With the picturesque town of Gmunden and the beautiful Lake Traunsee, Traunstein area is a very popular destination for adventurers. And the elevation is around 1.260 meters! It may not tell you much, but believe me, a lot of fun was waiting for me during my hiking in Traunstein.
Traveling to Traunstein
I wasn’t really worried about getting into Austria back then. However, due to several passengers who refused to pay for the ticket, I had huge concerns about getting myself to the final destination – Gmunden – a small town in Upper Austria. The train stopped for more than 40 minutes, which was crazy. I even thought that I was going to miss the train, which I was supposed to switch to in Austria. Police officers have arrived to deal with the situation right on time. Until now I still cannot understand what they have been dealing with for so long. And more importantly – why the train with passengers had to wait because of such a trivial situation …
It meant that I wouldn’t arrive in Gmunden until around 10 pm. Luckily, the gentleman with whom I had arranged accommodation pleasantly surprised me – he offered me a pick up from the train station. And not only that! You know, when I’m traveling, I’m not used to be accommodated in luxury hotels. But this knocked my socks off. The apartment that my host showed me (and which cost only 60 euros per day!) was huge. It had all kinds of food and drinks you only could imagine. And they all were included in the price. There was a sauna right in the bedroom. Each room had a large TV. There was also a winter garden with a swimming pool and… with another sauna. And then he offered me to cook homemade soup. No kidding! Huge respect and complement to this fairy-tale man! I’ve never felt so good and welcomed anywhere. And you know what? His name was Alfred. Yes, like that loyal servant in Batman 🙂
After making coffee in the morning (I could choose from 3 types of coffee machines!), I set off to the starting point of the trail. It was a beautiful sunny day. Even the wind wasn’t blowing. But first I had to walk a few kilometers along the Traunsee lake. From time to time I saw ducks or swans. I enjoyed the contrasts. While the sun was shining like in summer, the trees along the lake were dotted with icicles. Check out the shot of Traunsee below (and many more photos from the Alps):
A breathtaking hike in the Austrian Alps
Overall there are three beautiful hiking trails are leading to the top of Traunstein mountain. Hans Hernler Steig (north-western route), Naturfreundesteig (southwestern route) and Mairalmsteig (southern route), which is slightly easier than the first two. I chose Hans Hernler Steig because this hiking trail was closest to the town of Gmunden. Besides, there is a bus stop (Gmunden Unterm Stein) and a large parking lot.
As I climbed higher, I became more and more excited. Wooden ladders along the rock walls, chains, and extremely steep climb. In a nutshell, the Traunstein hike is the right adventure for everyone who loves hiking. And when I came across a viewpoint, it was just … beautiful. Sunbeams reflected from the surface of Lake Traunsee and glittered like sparklers on a Christmas tree. Beyond the Traunsee lake, Alps spread far into the distance; with snow-capped peaks. As soon as I found myself at an altitude of about 1300 meters above sea level, a snow kingdom greeted me. A huge excitement has burst into my whole body. On this hiking trail, you couldn’t find a long distance, where one would not need to use the chain. So if you want to strengthen your biceps, you can visit the Traunstein, haha!
For me, it was the most entertaining hike I’ve ever experienced. Not because it is difficult, but it is quite different. I didn’t expect anything special from this trip… oh how wrong I was. Going hiking in Traunstein was the best thing I could do. I not only can recommend this Alpine trip but also visiting the pretty town of Gmunden, which stretches around the endless Lake Traunsee. I would say that the center of this town is very much like the historical center of Prague! And that’s a big compliment from me. The amazing thing here is that you not only can go hiking in the Alps but Traunstein offers many other activities, even for families with children. I also recommend you to visit the castle Ort , which is located on a tiny island near the center of Gmunden. The best time to go to Seeschloss Ort is morning or evening!
I already know that I will come back here one day! Just because of amazing Alfred and his fabulous accommodation 🙂
6 Incredible Tips for Hiking in Traunstein:
- Spike shoes are a must-have if you are planning a trip outside the summer
- Hike in Traunstein is for the whole day, so get up early in the morning
- Note that it is a relatively difficult hike – it takes about 4 hours to get up (depends on the season and your fitness level)
- Plan your trip between May 1 – October 27 to refresh yourself at Traunstein Haus after climbing the summit
- Bring plenty of food and water with you; Don’t underestimate it like me! 🙂
- Carry the emergency shelter with you and watch the avalanche danger