Travel tips and advice for the Trans-Alpine Crossing

“The Trans-Alpine Crossing”, beginning at Tegernsee Lake and winding its way through Austria’s Tirol along Achensee Lake, across Zillertal Valley to Sterzing in South Tyrol, is a one-week long-distance hiking tour on easy to moderate mountain trails for people with moderate fitness. Although it is significantly easier than other trans-alpine routes, be aware that hiking on high mountain terrain might bare several alpine dangers (check “Equipment and Emergency”). Step safety and accurate fitness are essential!


Recommended maps:

The maps published by KOMPASS cover the whole area. You need the following cards:

“8 Tegernsee, Schliersee, Wendelstein” (1:50,000) or “08 Tegernseer Tal” (1:25,000)

“290 Rund um Innsbruck”, 2 sets of cards, field guide included (1:50,000)

“44 Sterzing, Ratschings, Ridnaun, Pfitsch” (1:50,000)

The digital KOMPASS map “4310 Über die Alpen” also covers the whole tour.


Planning the tour

Depending on the snow conditions, this tour is suitable for the period between end of June and mid-October. The shadowed areas might still be covered with rests of snow in July. Several alpine pasture huts or guesthouses are closed before June.

You can plan your trans-alpine crossing individually and book the accommodations yourself or choose from three different options in our “offers” section if you prefer to have your tour organized.

If you travel to Tegernsee Lake by train, you will walk from Gmund train station along the first route to reach your accommodation (or by bus to Wildbad Kreuth and back to your accommodation). If you arrive by car, go directly to your accommodation and, optionally, hike the first route  or a part of it in the afternoon (or, if you stay at Tegernsee Lake for two nights, on the following day).

By regional bus to the “Siebenhütten” bus stop, which is the starting point of the second route, from Wildbad Kreuth to Achenkirch. With regard to the fitness level, this is the most challenging route. Therefore, you can alternatively take the direct RVO bus (Regional passenger rail Upper Bavaria, the bus runs 2 x per day) to the starting point of route number 3, Achenkirch.

Upon arrival in Achenwald, a part of Achenkirch, take the bus to Achenkirch that leaves at 3.43 p.m. or 6.04 p.m. and needs about 10 minutes or call a taxi.

The third route from Achenkirch to Maurach runs alongside Lake Achensee and is relatively easy with an elevation gain/loss of only 200 metres. A relaxed route  after the challenging one of the previous day with plenty of time for a bit of sightseeing or a boat trip on the lake. At some sections, steps and handrails facilitate your ascent and you should not be scared of heights. On rainy days or wet ground we suggest taking the cruise ship to the Gaisalm and continue the trail from there. Or walk on the eastern lake side straight into Maurach.

The next route from Maurach to Hochfügen (Route 4) runs across the Inntal Valley towards Fügen, situated at the entrance of the Zillertal Valley. According to the planning, you will take the regional bus to Jenbach and continue with Zillertal Train to Fügen. The change included, this will take about one hour.  The Spieljochbahn Gondola will speed you to Spieljoch, from where you continue your tour on high mountain terrain. The whole route takes about 3 ¾ hours, which means you can start around lunch time from Spieljochbahn mountain station. Stable weather conditions (no risk of thunderstorms in the afternoon) provided, you can even start a bit later. Taking a ride on Achensee Cog Railway from Maurach to Jenbach is an unforgettable experience. If you plan to do that instead of riding the bus, calculate at least one extra hour.

It’s, of course, also possible to walk from Maurach to Fügen, but you should schedule an extra day for this.

Route 5: At the end of route 4, from Hochfügen to Mayrhofen, at the Melchboden snack bar, which is situated on Zillertal High Elevation Road at some 2,000 metres above sea level, you can ride the bus to Ramsau in Zillertal Valley (departure time 15.50) and continue on Zillertal Train to Mayrhofen (travel time about 1 hour). Doing so, you can avoid a long descent on Zillertal High Elevation Road down to the valley, which is situated at some 1,400 metres below.

For the next day (Route 6), we recommend you to ride the public bus (runs 4 times in the morning; bus schedules at from Mayrhofen (633m) to Schlegeis Reservoir at an elevation of 1,800 metres. Calculate an extra day if you choose to walk the whole way via Ginzling instead.

The hike through Pfitsch Valley to Sterzing (Route 7) runs across the valley floor, on several trails, meadow paths and quiet roads. During summer 2012, heavy precipitations triggered mudflows that caused a lot of damage to the infrastructure (hiking trails and bridges). Some damages have not yet been covered.  This route provides many opportunities to cut it short by taking the public bus (runs every hour).


Arrival at Lake Tegernsee

By public transport:

Direct train from Munich Central Station to Gmund, situated at Lake Tegernsee, or to the resort of Tegernsee. Travel time 53 or 62 minutes. By public bus from Gmund or Tegernsee to your accommodation at Lake Tegernsee.

By car:

A8 highway until exit “Holzkirchen” and then on B318 / B307 to Tegernsee.

If you take your own car to Tegernsee, please be aware that the return journey by public transport is rather complicated and that you might have to pay for the parking.


Return journey from Sterzing to Tegernsee:

By train across Brenner (change train) and Innsbruck via Munich (change train) back to Tegernsee. Travel time about 5 hours.

With the package “Comfortable without Luggage” or the guided Tour the return journey in an organized shuttlebus is included in the price. Travel time 2-2,5 hours.

Equipment and Emergency

Equipment tips:

  • Hiking shoes with good grip From top to toe
  • breathable clothing adapted to the weather conditions
  • Sun protection: Sun protection with SPF > 30, sun hat/cap, sunglasses
  • First Aid Kid containing a bivouac sack or at least one rescue blanket
  • Sufficient food and water
  • Trail map
  • Fully charged mobile phone with emergency numbers stored
  • Optionally hiking sticks

Despite the easy to moderate trails of the trans-alpine crossing, be aware that some of the routes are located at 1,500 metres above sea level or higher and take you to high mountain terrain. Sudden bad weather with snowfall below 2,000 metres is possible even during summer. Therefore, please take the following safety measures:

  • Check the weather forecast prior to the start of the tour and also during the tour
  • Get local information on weather, trails and closing days of huts and taverns at your local accommodation
  • Carry additional clothing and a bivouac sac or a rescue blanket


In case of emergency

In case of emergency Emergency numbers: 112 in Germany and Austria, 118 in South Tyrol/Italy.
The European emergency number 112 (Germany & Austria) is free of charge, works in all mobile networks, also when “your” network on your current location is not available, and even without SIM card. Tip: Enter “112” instead of the Pin code!

  • What happened?
  • How many people are injured?
  • Where did it happen? (Maybe GPS coordinates)
  • Who is calling (number for return call)?
  • When did it happen?
  • What are the weather conditions at the place of accident?