- Discover this unique, less demanding trans-Alpine route from Füssen to Merano
- Take in beautiful mountain views of the Ötztal, Lechtal and Tyrolean Alps
- Explore three countries in one tour - Germany, Austria and Italy
- Walk on well-built, straightforward paths - no high mountain passes or tricky terrain
- Stay in carefully selected 3 and 4 * hotels, and benefit from daily bag transfer
Walk across the Eastern Alps from German Bavaria to Italy’s South Tyrol via Austria on this moderate inn to inn walking tour. This unique route has been designed by us with the Alpine novice in mind, or for those who are simply looking for a comparatively easy-going Alpine experience.
Begin your adventure in the Bavarian town of Füssen, home to the fairy-tale Neuschwanstein castle. From here, follow sections of the Lech River Trail, the Ötztal Way and Panoramic trails, making use of public transport to miss out the trickier sections. Walk through alpine meadows, alongside turquoise-blue rivers, through verdant forests and on high trails with views of the surrounding peaks. Take a local bus over the scenic Timmelsjoch pass at 2,474m before joining the legendary E5 trail for the final stage of the tour. Arrive in Merano, a charming Italian town with a distinctive South-Tyrolean flair, the perfect place to relax and reflect on your Alpine Crossing!
Day 1 Arrive Füssen
Füssen is easily accessible by train from Munich airport (just over an hour journey time). Füssen is a quintessential Bavarian town nestled at the foot of the Alps. Take a wander through the scenic old town. We recommend adding an extra night here if you would like to visit the nearby Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles.
Day 2 Walk to Reutte, train to Ehrwald
Starting in Füssen’s old town, follow the Lech River Trail (one of Europe’s premier hiking trails) over Kalvarienberg to the Alpsee. A short ascent brings you to the German/Austrian border followed by a descent to the Reuttner basin. From here, it’s a flat walk alongside one of the last truly wild Alpine river landscapes in Europe. Catch a train to Ehrwald, a small town at the foot of the Zugspitze mountain range (approx. 30 mins).
Walk: 20 km, 830m Ascent, 770m Descent
Day 3 The Five Lakes Trail to Fernsteinsee
Today you will experience the Fernpass (1,212m) from its lesser-known side. An historic and important mountain pass, the landscape is dotted with a series of lakes. A leisurely trail through sparse mountain forest takes you from Ehrwald to Weissensee, Mittelsee and the idyllic Blindsee. From the pass, follow a panoramic trail to Samerangersee and finally to Fernsteinsee. Spend the night at a glorious hotel on the shores of the lake.
Walk: 17 km, 460m Ascent, 515m Descent
Day 4 Bus to Nassereith, Walk to Imst
Take a local bus to Nassereith (approx. 15 mins) from where you will pick up the Starkenberg Panoramic Trail. Ascend to the viewpoint over the Gurgl Valley. Continue to Schloss Starkenberg; a restaurant and brewery. Enjoy a locally brewed, refreshing beer in the garden before continuing on the final 3km to the Alpine town of Imst. Sitting at 826m above sea-level, this traditionally Austrian town is a delight.
Walk: 16 km, 800m Ascent, 830m Descent
Day 5 Walk to Sölden
Take a local bus to Huben in the Ötztal valley (1 hour). Follow pleasant alpine paths, forest tracks and quiet country roads on the recently established Ötztal Way. The route snakes its way through scenic and peaceful hamlets high above the valley. Enjoy fabulous views over the Ötztal mountains, before descending to the chic town of Sölden.
Walk: 20 km, 1400m Ascent, 1240m Descent
Day 6 Walk to Obergurgl
Start today’s walk directly from the hotel in Sölden. Hike through the narrow Kühtrainschlucht Gorge to Zweislstein, where you will join the E5 Trail. Ascend to the ’Sahnestüberl’, a rustic mountain hut and the ideal spot for a break. Indulge in some hom-made Kaiserschmarrn - chopped, fluffy, warm pancakes served with icing sugar and home-made jam or compote– absolutely delicious! Follow the rushing Gurgle Ache river through Alpine pastures to the small and exclusive ski resort of Obergurgl.
Walk: 15 km, 850m Ascent, 300m Descent
Day 7 Bus over the Timmelsjoch, walk to St. Leonhard
Your final day of the tour begins with a scenic bus journey over the spectacular Timmelsjoch pass into Italy (1 hour). From here follow the E5 trail steadily downhill into the Passeiertal valley. Walk through the pretty hamlets of Rabenstein and Moos. Continue through the dramatic Passer Gorge Trail to St. Leonhard. Catch a bus to the typically South Tyrolean town of Merano, where you can relax and celebrate your Alpine crossing with a delicious dinner and drink in the town centre.
Walk: 18 km, 350m Ascent, 1355m Descent
Day 8 Onward Travel
Check out of your hotel after breakfast and begin your onward travel. From Merano, you can travel to other Italian destinations and airports by train. If you have more time to explore, why not consider one of our walking adventures in Italy?
Spend 7 nights in 3 & 4* hotels. All of our accommodations are hand-picked and offer a warm welcome to walkers. You will find an example of the accommodation we normally use below. If these accommodations are not available we will use a hotel of a similar of better standard than those described.
Please be aware that twin & double rooms in Austria and Germany (Doppelzimmer in German) are typically 2 single mattresses side by side in one double bed frame with two separate duvet covers and pillows.
Single Rooms & Solo Walkers
This trip is available to solo walkers but a solo walker supplement is payable. You should have previous Alpine experience to undertake this trip solo. Single rooms and double rooms for single occupancy are available should someone in your party wish to have their own room, again a supplement is payable.
7 breakfasts are included in the cost of your trip. Breakfast is always buffet-style with various options available. Expect a continental breakfast with bread, jams, pastries, yoghurt and muesli available. Usually there are also local meats and cheeses, eggs and fruit on offer. Dinners and lunches are not included so you have the freedom to choose from what’s on offer each day. You may be able to order a packed lunch at your accommodation for the following day, or you can find bakeries and shops in each town to stock up on food for your hikes. There are plenty of options for dinner each night, either at your hotel or in nearby restaurants.
Food in this part of the Alps is hearty and traditional, with meat and cheese being some of the dominant ingredients! Tyrolean specialities include ‘Tiroler Gröstl’, a bacon, onion and potato fry-up topped with a fried egg, or ‘Kiachl’ a fried yeast dough pastry that can be served sweet or savoury. Kaiserschmarrn (translates as Emperor’s mess, named after Franz Joesph the first) is another ubiquitous Tyrolean dish.
If you have any dietary requirements please let us know at the time of booking.
This 4* hotel has lots of character with individually decorated rooms. Located in the centre of pedestrian-friendly Fuessen and offering a comprehensive breakfast buffet, this is a great hotel to begin your Alpine crossing adventure!
A family-run hotel located in the centre of Ehrwald. You can look forward to friendly Tyrolean hospitality, spacious rooms and a small ‘wellness’ area.
The 4* Castle-Hotel Fernsteinsee lies at the foot of the Fernpass. It benefits from a lakeside location, and guests have exclusive use of the hotel’s two privately owned, emerald lakes. Perfect for a relaxing swim.
Offering recently renovated rooms and a spacious spa area, this is a great hotel to relax in at the end of the day. It is family-run and has a great central location in Imst.
benefits from a south facing and peaceful location. Rooms are decorated in a modern Alpine style and are spacious and comfortable. There is also a Pinewood sauna available for use.
Enjoy beautiful mountain views and a quiet and peaceful location at this family-run, 3* hotel. Rooms are clean, comfortable and modern. There is also a lovely sauna area in which to relax.
Situated on the river promenade in the heart of Merano, just a stone’s throw away from the thermal baths. Enjoy the delicious and varied breakfast buffet with a wonderful view over the Passer river.
This walk is available to start on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from the middle of June (start of August for 2019 season) to the middle of September.
On the 1st of September 2019, the Otztal Cycle Marathon takes places which involves road closures, limited public transport and in-demand accommodation. For this reason we are unable to confirm any bookings starting between the 26th and 29th August (inclusive).
Merano is a very popular and in demand holiday destination, particularly from August to October. Hotels are often full or rooms are only available for higher than normal prices. While we will always try our best to accommodate you as per the itinerary, you could be accommodated just outside Merano, or there may be a supplement payable.
Grade & Terrain
This tour is rated moderate and is suitable for hikers with little to no Alpine experience. The trails are mainly on well-developed and marked paths, as well as on non-technical mountain trails. There are no steep Alpine passes to cross, so the tour is suitable for those who are not keen on heights or exposure, but still want to experience the Alps. However, you should have a good level of fitness to manage the daily distances and ascents/descents (13-19km distances and 500-1,000m ascent/descent a day)
Navigation, Route Notes & Maps
All of the walks are way-marked and we also provide you with turn-by-turn instructions for each walk, maps and access to our GPS smartphone navigation app, so you will have no problem finding your way.
Bag transfer is included in the cost of this tour. Your bags will be transferred between your accommodation as per your itinerary. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.
Travel During the Trip
Some walks can be started directly at your hotel, and some require short transfers by public transport. These journeys are not included in the cost of the trip and are payable locally. Tickets can be bought in the bus (price varies depending on journey; from 4-9 euros). Additional costs for public transport come to about 35 euros per person. You will receive all the information you will need regarding public transport connections in your information pack.
It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.
The distances and ascents/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example proper rain gear, sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has detailed advice and a kit list on what to take. This includes good waterproof gear, walking shoes/boots, and lots of other useful bits and bobs.
Getting to Füssen
Fly into Munich airport from where you can take a train to Füssen (just over an hour) We can also organise private transfers from the airport to the start point, just ask us for more information. Information on trains in Germany can be found in English here: www.bahn.de/en
Getting from Merano
From Merano you can travel by train to any other Italian destination, or to Venice or Milan airports (both about 5 hours). You can also travel to Munich airport by train which takes about 5 hours in total. The national railway of Italy is Trenitalia and information can be found in English on their website.
- 7 nights accommodation in 3&4* hotels
- 7 breakfasts
- Daily bag transfers
- Detailed information pack, route notes, maps and access to our navigation app
- 24/7 support from our German and UK office
- Travel insurance (required)
- Travel to Füssen and from Merano
- Public transport costs
- Dinners & Lunches
- Drinks and snacks
- Personal equipment
- Single room supplement(s) if applicable
- Solo walker supplement if applicable
- Additional nights before,during or after the holiday
How far in advance do I need to book?
We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised so that we can secure the best accommodation options for you.
How fit do I need to be?
This tour is rated moderate and is suitable for hikers with little to no Alpine experience. The trails are mainly on well-developed and marked paths, as well as on non-technical mountain trails. There are no steep Alpine passes to cross but there is one day where you cross a suspension bridge (we do offer an alternative walk aswell). you should have a good level of fitness to manage the daily distances and ascents/descents (13-19km distances and 500-1000m ascent/descent each day).
How do the baggage transfers work?
Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per the itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.
What equipment do I need?
Your detailed information pack will be sent to you after you book. This has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes and a day pack.
What happens if I can’t walk a stage?
You can use public transport or a local taxi to continue to your next overnight stop. Your accommodations will be able to help with arrangements, or we are able to assist you from our German and UK office.