Generally the Grossvenediger is considered to be the fourth highest mountain in Austria. The glaciated peak is part of the Hohe Tauern National Park, a hiking and biking paradise in East Tyrol. With the many villages situated close to the base of the peak, the mountain is often the setting for many day hikes as well as multi-day treks.
About the Grossvenediger
The Grossvenediger (3666m) is the fourth highest mountain in Austria after Grossglockner (3798m), Wildspitze (3774m) and Weisskugel (3739m). The origin of the name is not quite clear. Some claim it is derived from the Venetian merchants, who were passing by via a trade route over the mountain passes. Others say it is named Grossvenediger (translation: Great Venetian) since the view from the summit reaches as far as Venice, some 200 kilometers away. However, in reality, Venice is not to be seen from the summit.
Several attempts were made in the early 19th century to climb to the summit of the Grossvenediger; however, it was only reach about 40 years after the first ascent of the nearby Grossglockner, the highest mountain in Austria. In 1828, 17 expedition members failed to reach the summit due to an avalanche. It was only on September 3d, 1841, that a team led by Josef Schwab successfully summited. Their expedition started in Neukirchen, in the Salzach Valley.
Villages around the Grossvenediger
The mountain is located in the Hohe Tauern National Park where several valleys separate the mountain massifs. The village, Neukirchen am Grossvenediger, is one of the best places to stay if you wish to hike in the region of this peak. It is a traditional and charming Austrian village that offers skiing fun in the winter as well. Being in the middle of the national park, you spend most of your time surrounded by mountains, valleys and in the proximity to several hiking trails.
Another small settlement is the village Prägraten in the Virgental Valley. The summit of the Grossvenediger is officially a part of the village and makes a great starting point for hikes varying from easy day hikes to challenging multi-day treks such as the Venediger High Alpine Trail. Also, villages such as Krimml, Hollersbach, Bruck, Rauris and Virgen are great options.
Live view from VirgenMellitz: Virgen − Sonnberg − Blick nach Westen
The Ochsnerhütte is located at an altitude of 1835m and about half an hour from the Leppner Alm and 1h30 min from the valley. For many years, you have been able to buy freshly-made cheese and milk products at the cabin. After having enjoyed these local specialities, don’t forget to hike to Wetterkreuz and Froschlacke, two viewing points that are well worth the effort.
On the southern side of the Grossvenediger, at an altitude of 2121m, you will find the Johannis Hütte. Hiking towards it takes about two hours from Hinterbichl. It accommodates about 50 people and has several facilities including a shower, laundry room and a dry room,ideal for active travelers who have been surprised by an afternoon shower. The terrace is not only a great place to have a drink, but it also offers amazing views of the Grossvenediger.
A 3h30 min hike from the village of Prägraten through the Timmeltal takes you to the Eissee Hütte. The hut, located at 2521m, offers 45 beds and is a popular starting base for climbs to 10 peaks that reach over 3000 meters, including Weissspitze.
Stabant Hut is often described as “Austria’s most beautiful hiking hut” and those who have made the effort to visit it will agree. The hut is located along the Hochalpiner Pilgerweg and is easily reachable from the valley in about 1h to 1h30 minutes. For this reason, it makes a great family trip.
Neue Prager Hütte
The Neue Prager Hütte is one of the highestin the region (2796m). Due to its location in the Innergschloss, one of the finest alpine valleys in Austria, it has an impressive setting with glaciers surrounding it. Thus, not only experienced mountaineers comes to see the panoramas. Despite its height, the hut is reachable on foot in about 1 hour. The hut is hosted by Wilfried, Sylvia and Claudia.
Hiking around the Grossvenediger
The Hohe Tauern National Park in which the Grossvenediger is located is a true hiker’s paradise. A total of 256 hiking trails, 52 long distance hiking stages and 2 thematic trail routes are waiting to be explored by the many active travelers that spend their holidays here during the summer season.
With a total distance of 50 kilometers, it takes about 3 to 5 days to hike the Venediger track. The linear route runs from Parcheggio Ströden or Prägraten to Matreier Tauernhaus. Along the way, you can spend your nights in one of the many mountain huts offering real mountain charm.
Venediger High Alpine Trail
Better known as the Venediger Höhenweg, this trail is a great way to get acquinted with an extremely beautiful part of the Austrian Alps. It leads around the Virgental in Ost Tirol, with famous peaks such as the Grossvenediger in the vicinity. Your nights will be spent in one of the many mountain cabins along the route. Hiking the full trail will take about nine days. The start of trail is at Matreier Tauernhaus and ends in Virgen. Those who have extra hiking days during their holiday can prelude the hike with the Venediger track.
This trail leads hikers through forests, alpine meadows and viewpoints offering spectacular sights of mountain peaks. All mountain huts along this route are reachable from the valley, making it a walk suitable for children as well, despite the extreme differences in altitude. If you wish to hike the complete trail, prepare yourself for a 53 kilometer hike during which you gain about 4000 meters of altitude.
This challenging day hike takes about 6 hours, but it is well worth the effort. You start off at Dorfer Säge in Prägraten and take a steep path towards Bergersee Hütte, a mountain hut with refreshment options. Shortly after gaining some altitude, scenic views start to break in and continue for the rest of your journey. Via the Lasnitzenhütte, the route leads you back to the parking area. The total elevation gain is 1098m.
Virgin via Obermauern naar Prägraten
For those looking for a short day hike, the trail from the National park- Infostelle Virgin (1194m) to Infostelle Prägraten (1309m) is a great option. To cover the distance of 8 kilometers, average hikers need about three hours. There is not too much of an elevation gain (a mere 350m), making the hike not too difficult.
Accommodations around the Grossvenediger
Today, many mountain huts surround the mountain as a base for summit ascents. Climbing this peak is only for experienced mountaineers as there are several crevasses on route.If you are looking for fine hotel, these are worth checking out:
Hotel HEIMAT – the Nature Resort offers 22 rooms with 2 beds and 3 rooms with “Grandlit Total 47” plus extra beds. All rooms have shower room, toilet, TV and balcony. The rooms are decorated in natural colors and have wooden larch floors, black-out linen curtains, comfortable armchairs, shelves and beds (height 55 cm) of international quality.
Familienhotel Replerhof, A wonderful destination for families in every season. After all, the Replerhof and the entire host team have been specializing for many years and gaining notoriety. Families with small, very small and large children will find here a varied 4 star hotel complex with adjoining farm.
Gasthof Islitzer is a cozy little hotel in the district of Hinterbichl. They value a pleasant atmosphere and traditions, after all, the house has been run by our family for centuries. The guests should feel comfortable, relax and recover. Of course, the incomparable location in the middle of the Hohe Tauern National Park also contributes to this.
Things to do in the Grossvenediger region
The Hohe Tauern National Park has lured active travelers looking for splendid mountain views for decades. With impressive peaks like Grossvenediger and Grossglockner all within its boundaries, it lives up to its reputation. The quaint traditional Austrian villages are great bases for exploring the expansive network of trails leading to mountain passes, mountain huts and peaks.
Besides hiking and biking, this region in Tyrol has plenty of other outdoor activities. Those who don’t suffer from vertigo (or wish to conquer it) can go on a paragliding flight or glide along waterfalls during a canyoning session. Adrenalin junkies probably will want to paddle the rapids on a rafting trip. Relaxing can be done during horseback riding, a golf session in a mountainous environment or a day in one of the many spas and thermal baths.
Those who have spent some time in alpine valleys and meadows will have spotted animals like horses, cows, sheep and goats. They spend the entire summer season in these meadows, but when winter comes, they want to return back to their stables. This “returning of the cattle” is a traditional annual event celebrated at the end of every summer. Those who are lucky enough to spend their vacation in Tyrol at this time of the year can witness this event and enjoy the music, entertainment and traditional delicacies that go along with it.
Ice Climbing in Tirol
Ice Park East Tyrol near the Grossvenediger has the the largest outdoor artificial ice climbing park in Austria. This will make any serious mountaineers heart beat faster.
This ice crag, opened in January 2016, has optimum conditions to all ice climbing fans.
The search for the perfect location lasted a full year, and it was found just a 20 minute walk from the far side of Matreier Tauernhaus. When they have prepared, the artificial ice falls, created by fine mist from conduits, it provides a frozen wall with some 70 routes in a very compact space.
Hiking with kids
For kids, hiking needs a reward, whether it is a mountain hut where refreshments are waiting, or a splendid waterfall such as the Umbalfälle waterfall. Located near the Isel river, the trail takes families past churning whirlpools and deep gorges. Along the way, there are about 14 places where you can see how the force of water has shaped the landscape. The 11km trail is easy and non-challenging, making it a great family trip. The elevation change is about 445m.
If you are looking for something shorter, the Innergschlöss is a good option. This valley is considered as one of the most beautiful in the Eastern Alps. Surrounded by the nature of the Hohe Tauern National Park with views over the impressive glaciers of the Grossvenediger, it offers plenty of photo opportunities. The ascent of 250 meters over the 8km distance makes it a trail well within the ability of young children.