Guidebook

Hiking the Arc of the Viennese Alps

Go for a day or for a week on this circular trek, which is well-equipped with mountain huts, graced with authentic culture, and of course, soaked in scenery.

Description

The “Arc of the Alps” is a long-distance round-tour of Vienna’s nearby mountains. The route covers quiet countryside, alpine plateaus, and towering peaks, and connects many inns and huts along the way. The entire journey is nearly 300 kilometers long and is divided into 19 stages. Each stage can stand alone as its own shorter hike, however, with starting and ending points accessible by transportation. Compiled in this guidebook are each of the stages, as well as an overview of the entire route, so you can choose how much to take on at once.

In addition to the 19 continuous stages are the Wiener Alpenbogen Regional Routes, which expand the trail system by making various side trips and round tours possible. If you wish for a trip of modest duration, look to the Regional Routes for planning shorter loops with one or more of the main stages.

On the move in the Viennese Alpenbogen

On the move in the Viennese Alpenbogen

1 day +
294.9 km
10,480 m
10,471 m
Like the great Alpenbogen, the diverse landscapes of the Viennese Alps string together. A "small Alpenbogen" with fabulous views fans out. The gentle hills of Bucklige Welt, the mountain meadows of Wechsel (also known as Schwaigen), Semmering - home to the Semmering Railway, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site -, the Schneeberg and Rax mountain ranges with peaks reaching over 2000m, and the gentle ascents of the Gutenstein Alps.
Extreme
Private
WAB - Etappe 1: Katzelsdorf - Bad Erlach

WAB - Etappe 1: Katzelsdorf - Bad Erlach

5 - 6 hrs
24.8 km
809 m
774 m
At the 1st stage of the trail along the Vienna Alpine Arc (WAB), the Rosalia, a balcony over the Bucklige Welt, opens up a comprehensive view of the entire Vienna Alpine Arc to Wechsel, Semmering, Rax and Schneeberg.
Difficult
Private
WAB - Etappe 2: Bad Erlach - Thernberg

WAB - Etappe 2: Bad Erlach - Thernberg

2 - 3 hrs
13.6 km
342 m
258 m
The 2nd stage of the trail at the Vienna Alpine Arc (WAB) leads in a comfortable up and down over fields, meadows, tree groves and settlements through the world of humps and hills.
Moderate
Private
WAB - Etappe 3: Thernberg - Wiesmath

WAB - Etappe 3: Thernberg - Wiesmath

4 - 5 hrs
20.2 km
854 m
561 m
The 3rd stage of the trail along the Vienna Alpine Arc (WAB) begins in the historic village centre of Thernberg and leads over numerous hills to Kaltenberger Höhe. Shortly before Maria Schnee the landscape opens up and offers a view of the southern Bucklige world.
Difficult
Private
WAB - Etappe 4: Wiesmath - Kirchschlag

WAB - Etappe 4: Wiesmath - Kirchschlag

4 - 5 hrs
19.9 km
579 m
859 m
The 4th stage of the trail at the Vienna Alpine Arc (WAB) starts in Wiesmath and leads over the ridges and through the deep ditches of the Bucklige Welt to Kirchschlag.
Difficult
Private
WAB - Etappe 5: Kirchschlag - Bad Schönau

WAB - Etappe 5: Kirchschlag - Bad Schönau

2 - 3 hrs
9.4 km
447 m
391 m
The 5th stage of the trail along the Vienna Alpine Arc (WAB) is an interplay of hills, ditches, coniferous and mixed forests. Thus the short stage becomes a special landscape experience.
Moderate
Private
WAB - Etappe 6: Bad Schönau - Gschaidt

WAB - Etappe 6: Bad Schönau - Gschaidt

2 - 3 hrs
11.2 km
593 m
328 m
The 6th stage of the trail along the Vienna Alpine Arc starts in Bad Schönau with the Kurpark as the opening attraction. After the ascent to the Hutwisch, one enjoys the far-reaching view from the Warte into the open country.
Moderate
Private
WAB - Etappe 7: Gschaidt - Mönichkirchen

WAB - Etappe 7: Gschaidt - Mönichkirchen

5 - 6 hrs
23.7 km
890 m
628 m
The 7th stage of the trail along the Vienna Alpine Arc (WAB) begins in tranquil Gschaidt near Hochneukirchen. The trail often runs through dense forests and along panoramic farm tracks to the high-altitude village of Mönichkirchen.
Difficult
Private
WAB - Etappe 8: Mönichkirchen - Feistritzsattel

WAB - Etappe 8: Mönichkirchen - Feistritzsattel

4 - 5 hrs
18.9 km
901 m
588 m
The 8th stage of the trail along the Vienna Alpine Arc (WAB) starts in Mönichkirchen. With its many historic buildings and the Anton Wildgans Theme Trail, the village is a reminder of bygone times. The picturesque and harmonious Schwaigen landscape is well worth a stop.
Severe
Private
WAB - Etappe 9: Feistritzsattel - Semmering

WAB - Etappe 9: Feistritzsattel - Semmering

3 - 4 hrs
15.4 km
430 m
733 m
The 9th stage of the trail along the Vienna Alpine Arc (WAB) is accompanied by forests, alpine pastures and huts. At the end of the hike you reach the Sonnwendstein. The mountain is the highlight and at the same time the focal point of the stage.
Difficult
Private
WAB - Etappe 10: Semmering - Prein

WAB - Etappe 10: Semmering - Prein

3 - 4 hrs
15.5 km
628 m
948 m
The 10th stage of the trail along the Vienna Alpine Arc (WAB) takes us along the railway hiking trail in the best company of Semmering architecture. At the viewpoint 20 Schilling view, one meets a small viewing pulpit with a great panorama.
Difficult
Private
WAB - Etappe 11: Prein - Habsburghaus

WAB - Etappe 11: Prein - Habsburghaus

3 - 4 hrs
11.9 km
1,241 m
119 m
At the 11th stage of the trail along the Vienna Alpine Arc (WAB), the landscape becomes more alpine. The trail initially leads past orchard meadows and farms before slowly ascending through mountain forests to the rocky plateau of the Rax.
Extreme
Private
WAB - Etappe 12: Habsburghaus - Reichenau/Payerbach

WAB - Etappe 12: Habsburghaus - Reichenau/Payerbach

3 - 4 hrs
15.4 km
298 m
1,600 m
The 12th stage of the trail along the Vienna Alpine Arc (WAB) is accompanied by alpine lawns, mountain pines and rugged, safe terrain. A wonderful plateu hike with moderate ascents and descents. The way into the valley can be shortened with the Rax cable car.
Extreme
Private
WAB - Etappe 13: Reichenau/Payerbach - Knofeleben

WAB - Etappe 13: Reichenau/Payerbach - Knofeleben

3 - 4 hrs
12.1 km
930 m
163 m
The 13th stage of the trail along the Vienna Alpine Arc (WAB) is a humid alpine adventure. The first kilometres in Höllental run along the Wiener Wasserleitungsweg, from Kaiserbrunn the ascent towards Schneeberg begins, accompanied by steep mountain forest and rock faces.
Extreme
Private
WAB - Etappe 14: Knofeleben - Edelweißhütte

WAB - Etappe 14: Knofeleben - Edelweißhütte

5 - 6 hrs
15.0 km
1,204 m
1,227 m
The 14th stage of the trail along the Vienna Alpine Arc (WAB) leads to the summit of Schneeberg. There you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the Vienna Alpine Arc. The monastery coat of arms at Hochschneeberg is the actual observation tower of the Viennese Alps.
Extreme
Private
WAB - Etappe 15: Edelweißhütte - Öhler Schutzhaus

WAB - Etappe 15: Edelweißhütte - Öhler Schutzhaus

1 - 2 hrs
7.5 km
261 m
467 m
At the 15th stage of the trail along the Vienna Alpine Arc (WAB), the landscape changes again. You leave the rock structure of the Schneeberg region and hike into the wooded ridge landscape of the Gutensteiner Alps.
Difficult
Private
WAB - Etappe 16: Öhler Schutzhaus - Pernitz

WAB - Etappe 16: Öhler Schutzhaus - Pernitz

3 - 4 hrs
14.6 km
398 m
995 m
The 16th stage of the trail along the Vienna Alpine Arc (WAB) is a wooded ridge hike on the roof of the Dürren Wand. The highlight is the "summit" of the Plattenstein, the Gauermannhütte. It opens a wonderful panoramic view to Pernitz.
Difficult
Private
WAB - Etappe 17: Pernitz - Waxeneckhaus

WAB - Etappe 17: Pernitz - Waxeneckhaus

4 - 5 hrs
17.2 km
816 m
485 m
The 17th stage of the trail along the Vienna Alpine Arc (WAB) leads through mixed forest over the saddle to Purbach. It is reminiscent of a landscape painting from the Biedermeier period. A special highlight of this stage are the Myra Falls.
Difficult
Private
WAB - Etappe 18: Waxeneckhaus - Markt Piesting

WAB - Etappe 18: Waxeneckhaus - Markt Piesting

4 - 5 hrs
18.0 km
587 m
1,006 m
The 18th stage of the trail along the Vienna Alpine Arc (WAB) leads through valleys in different facets. Coniferous forest at high altitudes, including atmospheric Biedermeier mixed forest and airy pine forest at the transition to the Vienna Woods.
Difficult
Private
WAB - Etappe 19: Markt Piesting - Bad Fischau

WAB - Etappe 19: Markt Piesting - Bad Fischau

1 - 2 hrs
8.6 km
317 m
368 m
The 19th and last stage of the trail along the Vienna Alpine Arc (WAB) is accompanied by forests, rock faces and caves. The highlight at the end is the town of Bad Fischau with its historic thermal bath which is open all year round.
Difficult
Private