The Welterbespirale on the Dachstein Krippenstein at sunset (Photo: Ferienregion Dachstein Salzkammergut)

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On a pilgrimage through Upper Austria

Religiously motivated trips are at the roots of long-distance hiking

Long-distance and section hiking paths are the kings amongst the hiking tours. They are called Donausteig, Kalkalpen Path or Dachstein Loop Hiking Path. It is worth digging a bit deeper, though, to find out where long-distance hiking has its roots. There you will probably find the oldest motivation to take a long-distance hike: A pilgrimage.

Spiritual pilgrimage from Regensburg to St. Wolfgang

If spiritual motivation doesn’t really move mountains, it can at least help to get over them. The destinations and routes of religiously inspired hikes are still evident today. In Upper Austria, for instance, in St Wolfgang in the Salzkammergut, where hiking boots are tied on the “Route of Pilgrims”. This location in the Salzkammergut is also the desired destination on the Wolfgangsweg path. It leads along ancient pilgrimage routes in four stages from Regensburg to St. Wolfgang.


Three days hike into luck

These centuries-old pilgrimages are combined with newly established pilgrimage routes, like the Johannes Path in the Mühlviertel proves. On three one-day tours from Pierbach via Schönau, St Leonhard near Freistadt, Weiterstadt and Unterweissenbach, hikers are to be brought closer to humanity and happiness. In the Innviertel, the Marien Hiking Path, which also was newly created, leads from St. Marienkirchen am Hausruck via Maria Schmolln to Altötting in Bavaria.


Regional pilgrimage routes through Austria

At the same time, it’s paths that lead right across Upper Austria to the great supraregional and even international pilgrimage sites. In this connection, a pilgrimage to Mariazell is very important for the soul of Austria. The route from Upper Austria starts off on Linz’s Pöstlingberg and leads via St Florian, Steyr and the Ennstal to its destination.

The following photo gallery can be navigated with the arrow keys (left, right).

The way to St. Jacob and its different ways to the entrance

Pilgrims on the way to St. Jacob in Santiago de Compostela have an entirely different distance ahead of them. The Road to Santiago has preserved its reputation over the centuries. But we should actually talk about the roads to Santiago, since the access routes criss-cross Europe like a net and also lead through Upper Austria. From Enns via St Florian, Wels and Lambach, the main route leads towards Salzburg. From South Bohemia, the Mühlviertel Road to Santiago leads through the Bohemian Forest to Passau. The third local option is the connection route between Passau and Salzburg.


A hike is more than just a destination

Paths with spiritual topics are not reserved, though, for Catholics alone. The “Path of the Book”, for instance, leads from Passau via Wels into the Salzkammergut on the old routes on which the secret Protestants smuggled Luther Bibles into the country. What do all these paths have in common besides their religious connections? The focus on the mind, that slowly approaching a destination step by step is more than just hiking from Point A to Point B. A very old piece of wisdom that is just as true in the twenty-first century.