Snowshoeing in Austria

The great thing about snowshoeing is that it can put a fresh spin on routes you may be familiar with from summer walking. Well, one of the great things anyway. Because let’s be honest, many of us love the idea of exploring pristine winter landscapes, but would prefer not to do it on skis. And strapping on a pair of snowshoes means that you can walk across even loosely packed, deep snow without sinking in, meaning that almost nowhere is off-limits.

Austria is a thrilling place for a snowshoeing holiday, boasting over 1,000 marked routes across the country. Among the most popular destinations is East Tyrol, where you can base yourself in a charming mountain community overlooking the renowned Hohe Tauern National Park, home to Austria’s ‘Big Five’: ibex, chamois, snow grouse, golden eagle and bearded vulture, as well as the tallest peak in the country, the mighty Großglockner.
Snowshoeing holidays in Austria are typically small group tours on set dates, allowing for a sociable atmosphere as you trudge along, and they are fully guided too – what that means is that not only are you in no danger of getting lost, but with a local leading the way you can also find out a great deal about the history and culture of the area. Snowshoeing broadly corresponds with the ski season, available between December and April.

You’ll walk to remote mountain huts, through trees with their boughs weighed down with snow, perhaps even attempting a mountain peak for a picnic at the top of the world. Depending on weather conditions you might use a gondola to reach higher elevations, or get off marked trails for a little while. All the equipment you’ll need, including poles, is provided – you just need to dress for the cold.

“The setting itself is quite something; the landscape around it, and especially the snow-shoeing near the foot of Grossglockner in the heart of the Austrian Alps!...Don't be afraid to have a go at all the activities on offer; the team are experts in what they do - from yoga to winter pursuits and importantly, they are understanding and accommodating to all needs. Their warmth and enthusiasm are contagious!”
– Ana Tetley in a review of her Austria snowshoeing holiday

Mind, body & soul

When snowshoeing in Austria you’ll stay in a traditional mountain farmhouse and chalet, well positioned for nearby trails in Hohe Tauern National Park. At an altitude of 1,800m it has been rated as one of the world’s best destinations for ‘mind, body and soul’ retreats. The ethos here is all about being ‘relaxingly active’ – what that means is that while you’ll need a reasonable level of fitness for snowshoeing (no prior experience is necessary) and there is some challenge involved, you’re not going to be facing anything too demanding during your week away. Essentially this is hiking, but in places you wouldn’t be able to reach in just a pair of boots. If you can walk, then you can snowshoe.

Healthy, organic meals that you’ll share with the rest of your group use ingredients drawn from the local community. Every day before setting off you’ll be invited to join an inspirational morning yoga session, working out the kinks and aches from the day before. If you fancy a break from snowshoeing in the afternoons, you can try another traditional Austrian winter sport: rodeling. And in the evenings you can relax and soothe any aching muscles in a wood-burning hot tub on the terrace that offers glorious panoramas over the mountains.
Xania Wear, from our holiday specialist Wearactive explains rodeling:
“Rodeling is a fantastic winter activity to do as a break from snowshoeing. A rodel is a sledge, and the trail that leads up to our accommodation is actually a rodel track. We can therefore rodel down from the house to the village of Kals, a 4km ride. We give tips and assistance on how to manage the rodel and often one of us will make the journey with the guests, as we are all addicted to rodeling down the track!”

Our top trip

Austria snow shoeing holiday

Austria snow shoeing holiday

Guided snowshoe walking and winter activities in the Alps

From €1190 to €1490 7 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2023: 9 Dec, 16 Dec, 23 Dec
2024: 6 Jan, 13 Jan, 20 Jan, 27 Jan, 3 Feb, 10 Feb, 17 Feb, 24 Feb, 2 Mar, 9 Mar, 16 Mar, 23 Mar, 30 Mar, 6 Apr
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Snowshoeing or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Xania Wear on what to expect from the terrain:
“The great thing about snowshoeing is that it can be enjoyed by people of various fitness levels. It has a lot to do with the gradient of the route and less about the duration of the hike. For everyone to get the best out of the experience, we say that you should be confident in going on regular hikes for three hours. We can go on snowshoe hikes that meander through the forest, with minimal ascent as we’re already based at 1,800m. Alternatively we go on routes that start at around 1,600m and then we hike up to 2,400m. Snowshoe hiking pace is generally slower than usual hiking pace, especially when you are making fresh trails through deep snow.”
Xania Wear:
“No previous experience is needed. After fitting you with shoes and adjusting the hiking poles, we provide a quick tutorial in the most efficient way to hike with the snowshoes and how to use the equipment effectively. Technique varies whether traversing, hiking up steeper terrain or coming down longer descents. We try to allow everyone the chance to experience all the different snowshoe hiking techniques on the first day, so as the week progresses we can make the most of the conditions. Most people are surprised how steep a gradient you can hike in the snowshoes!”
Written by Rob Perkins
Photo credits: [Page banner: Jennifer C.] [Intro: Wearactive] [Mind, body & soul: Wearactive] [No experience required: Wearactive]