When my wife and I moved to Munich almost 20 years ago, the distance to the Austrian Alps shrunk to an easy 2- to 2½-hours drive. Visiting the open countryside on the weekends and during vacations became a welcome outlet from our day-to-day business.
Some of our favorite hiking grounds are Austria’s Hohe Tauern. The area has been holding the status of a National Park since the 80s. Valleys such as Hollersbachtal or Wildgerlostal (as pictured here) offer a wide range of trails, from easy pasture walks to glacier crossings accompanied by a mountain guide.
During summer, local farmers drive up livestock to their farmhouses and pastures on higher grounds. Many open up their places to hikers that are passing by on the trails. Most offer drinks and basic food, some even provide accommodation, from basic dormitories up to well-appointed double rooms.
Staying overnight at a hut gives you the advantage of extended hiking options. You can begin your trek right after breakfast, when otherwise you would still be on your transfer to the starting point.