The Coolest Hike in Europe: Leichtensteinklamm, Austria
Better yet, the coolest hike ever…
While on my recent adventure in Salzburg, we stopped by for a few hours of exploration at the alpine gorge only open in the summer, Leichtenstenklamm (pronouncation unknown). Originally installed in 1875, the 4km of walkways through the narrow gorge are referenced as “a miracle of nature with a touch of adventure, special event, and romantic atmosphere“. (..and you thought I was dramatic)
A five minute walk from the parking area, from start to finish the scene was absolutely stunning.
After 20 minutes into the hike, sunlight was barely reaching our path in the increasingly-narrowing gorge. The sounds of the rapids below echoed loudly against the walls as we trod on. Naturally I stopped to take pictures but grew anxious lingering in such foreign space. Prior to the hike, it was made clear that geologists and the like frequently check the path to ensure it’s stability and safety. Despite this peace of mind, it felt something similar to an amusement park ride and unnatural and thrilling to be in such a precarious position.
As the gorge grew alarmingly narrow, we entered the ‘safety tunnel’, a hollowed tunnel bore through the rock wall.
After making our way through the tunnel we continued on, enveloped in mist from the rapids below. As the gorge widened we were delighted to find a gorgeous waterfall. (High five Austria, you think of everything!)
So focused on the floating-sidewalk-alpine-gorge experience that I completely missed the waterfall memo in the guidebook. The icing on the cake, it was beautiful and wholeheartedly justifies my ‘coolest hike in Europe’ accolades, right?
Lingering for a bit to enjoy our surroundings, we then turned back and made our way to the start, far more confident with the route then we were initially. Stuart, such a trooper, may have been too distracted by the creaking walkways to enjoy the views but seemed delighted with his muddy paws.
Back at the start, we relaxed in sunshine by Klamm Furst Gasthus. We could have hung around for a traditional Austrian lunch and beer in the picture perfect beer garden, instead, we moved on to idyllic Zell Am See (to come!).
What about you, where’s the coolest hike you’ve ever had?
P.S. If you think this is bucket list worthy, you should check out boating in Hallstatt!