You may already know that Austria is one of my favorite European countries. I like to go to Austria mainly in the winter for skitouring, iceclimbing or just for winter hiking. But I have the impression that the articles from the winter maybe look nice, but they don’t really help/inspire anyone to get out to the dangerous landscapes.
I think that the summer season in the Alps is more accessible to most of you, so I created an article about what can be done in the summer Alps and what cool spots you can visit in the Schladming-Dachstein region. You can get to Schladming in 4 hours by car from Prague and you can spend a nice active week here instead of being bored at the sea. I stayed here for four days with a great group of people but I wouldn’t definitely mind another two or three days.
So what can you do in Schladming-Dachtein region?
1. Via Ferratas
Before I got crazy about alpinism & more extreme sports, ferratas were the first thing I tried, and therefore I can honestly say it’s a great way to wake up the adrenaline while not risking life or spending tons of money. From time to time I get various questions from you about ferratas. Even though I’m not an expert or an official guide, I would like to answer a few of them now.
Theoretically speaking, you don’t need a guide for ferratas. All you need is a harness with a ferrata set (can be rented pretty much anywhere), a helmet and boots with a solid hard sole that don’t slip (I don’t recommend gym sneakers or Converse shoes, but on the other hand, heavy winter boots are not ideal either). I have shoes similar to these.
The ferrata set is tied directly to the harness and has two dynamic ropes ending with carabiners for attaching yourself to the steel ropes on the rock. Just bear in mind that when you switch from one section to another, unclip the carabiners one at a time, never both at the same time. This way you will always be secured with at least one carabiner.
And which ferratas did we try around Schladming?
There are 22 via ferratas in the Schladming Dachstein Region while 20 of them are in Ramsau. We did two.
1.1. Ferrata Kala
Its difficulty is marked from A to C, which means relatively easy. It’s also called children ferrata (even though I didn’t see any children on it). It’s great for beginners who are climbing for the first time. It leads to Mt. Sattelberg (1252 m.a.s.l.). Near the road there is a parking lot, from which you gotta walk for about 5 minutes to reach the rock. It takes less than an hour to reach the summit of Sattelberg. Once you get to the summit, you do’t climb down the same way – there’s a footpath leading through the forest on the other side of the rock.
There’s a hut called Satteberhütte, which is down the path. They have great fish after on the way down.
1.2. Ferrata Silberkarklamm
I would recommend the second ferrata to those who are not really afraid of heights, are a little more advanced and who can appreciate great views. The route leads over the Silberkarklamm gorge. The difficulty is C/D and there are some vertical sections. You have to pay an entrace fee and when you’re done, you come back down another way (there’s a wooden footpath directly in the gorge). At the top you can find Silberkarklammhütte, where you can eat or even stay the night.
2. Styrian Bodensee
You can get almost to the lake itself by car – there’s a parkig lot about ten minutes of walking from the lake. Swimming is allowed at certain places, but what we found a million times more interesting at this location was a cascading waterfall at the very end of the lake. It can be reached after about an hour of walking, and the shower underneath is much more of an experience than a traditional lake bath.
3. SpiegelSee (Mirror Lake)
One of the greatest experiences for us, enthusiastic photographers, was definitely the so-called Mirror Lake or Spiegelsee. It’s an incredibly picturesque lake that reflects the opposite mountain massif.
And how to get there?
In the summer you can get to Gasselhöhe Hütte (Reiteralm) by car or cable car. In addition to having excellent Wienerschnitzel in this moutain hut, they also sell great local Austrian white wine. We didn’t hesitate and bought 6 bottles. We packed two bottles into our backpacks and threw the rest in the car.
After awesome dinner and schnapps, we head up to Spiegelsee, where we planned to shoot the sunset. The lake is at an altitude of 1900 meters and the cottage is 1700 meters, so it takes about an hour to get to the lake. We made it in 35 minutes because we were looking forward to opening the wine, I guess. The lake itself is absolutely phenomenal, but thanks to the wine we took a lot of funny pictures of us all, haha:)
4. Dachstein Gletscher
You probably know Dachstein very well, so there is no need to introduce the iconic moutain. A cable car will take you up (which, by the way, has a “balcony” on the roof, so when you wait in line, be sure to wait in thje line for the balcony!). You have to make a reservation for the cable car, otherwise it may be full and you will end up going back to the hotel instead of the glacier. The cable car costs a lot, but what you find up at 2700 meters above sea level is worth every penny.
As you can see in the photos, besides the tourist attractions we were amazed by the birds circling around the glacier, so we spent more than an hour by shooting birds, haha. Some other confused people even joined us because they could tell how much fun we were having.
I was really looking forward to this bridge up on Dachstein. I thought it would be impossible to take a picture without people, but if you’re patient, the suspension bridge will get people-less for a few seconds eventually. But it’s nothing for anyone who is afraid of heights – there’s a-few-hundred-meters drop underneath you and the bridge is swinging a bit as there are people walking on it:)
4.2. Stairway to Nothingness
The view from the stairs is quite similar to the one from the suspension bridge as it’s on the same side of the massif. People patiently wait in line for everyone to take a nice photo 🙂
Btw. for the suspension bridge and stairs you need an additional ticket for 10 EUR.
4.3. Ice Palace
The ice palace is backlit by all possible colors. You can find various sculptures of European cities there. I’m not really into this, but it was interesting to see the huge amount of work behind it.
5. Stoderzinken & Stoderkircherl
This picturesque little wooden church called Friedenskircherl or Stoderkircherl, which is literally sitting in a rock, impressed me the most. It can be reached after about 45 minutes from where you park your car. But our goal was not just the church, but the top of Stoderziken, which rises 2047 meters above sea level. It takes another 30 minutes from the church to get to the summit. The total elevation gain is about 350 meters, so it’s a bit challenging.
6. Zipline Gröbming
In Gröbming you will find one of the longest and fastest ziplines in Europe. It’s divided into two sections, where the first section is about 1.5 km long and you will ride at a speed of about 60 km/h. The second section is about 1 km, but you fly up to 100 km/h. You need to make a reservation for the zipline.
7. Where to stay?
We stayed at the Hotel Annelies, located in Ramsau Am Dachstein. In addition to a great kitchen they have a fantastic pool & spa and incredibly nice staff, so I recommend it!
Alright, that’s all from me today! I really hope this article will be useful and you’d get inspired to set out for a similar vacation! If you have any questions, let me know!