Pilgrimage routes in the Murau-Murtal: Finding yourself one step at a time

In the past, pilgrimage was a primarily religious journey or a visit to a sacred place. Today, it is much more. It is journey to find oneself, a new way to relax and not be so hectic. The Murau-Murtal in Styria offers you a fantastic opportunity to embark on such a journey.

This rustic way of travelling appeals to more people today than ever before. Every year thousands of people take the opportunity to balance body and soul on one of the many pilgrim routes - from the Olavsweg in Norway to perhaps the most famous pilgrimage route of all - the Way of St. Paul in Spain. 


Whether you travel alone or as a group - a break from everyday life could hardly be simpler and more rustic. The Murau-Murtal offers two fantastic pilgrimage routes.

Mariazeller Gründerweg (Mariazell Founders’ Trail) - Alpine panoramas for experienced hikers

The Mariazell Founders’ Trail leads from St. Lambrecht Benedictine Abbey to Zirbitzkogel-Grebenzen Nature Park in seven stages to the basilica in Mariazell. 

The Mariazell Founders’ Trail (192 km) winds its way along footpaths, small roads and high-altitude Alpine terrain.

The trail takes around 50 hours to complete and features some fairly demanding stages. It is suitable for experienced pilgrims and long-distance hikers. You will be rewarded for your efforts with breathtaking panoramas and a large number of architectural highlights such as St. Lambrecht Abbey and Seckau Abbey.


Essential information for the Mariazell Founders’ Trail

  • Planning is key:The Mariazell Founders' Trail is a demanding pilgrimage route. Consider in advance how many far and how high you expect to climb per day and plan your stages accordingly. Challenge yourself, but know your limits!
  • Arrange accommodation in advance: this is the best way to ensure a comfortable night in one of the many establishments along the route. The best way is by phoning to book in advance!
  • Let it snow:Remember that the key stage from Seckau to Mautern leads you through Alpine terrain. Snow and fog are not uncommon here, even in summer. So make sure to pack a hood and gloves!
  • Knowing where you stand: There is no uniform path markings on the Mariazell Founders' Trail! In addition to a good sense of orientation, professional hiking maps of the region are always helpful!

The Hemma Pilgerweg (Way of St. Hemma)

The Way of St. Hemma connects the Austrian states of Carinthia and Styria. It leads pilgrims from Gurk to Admont Abbey via Oberwölz. 

This beautiful pilgrimage route is dedicated to Saint Hemma, the founder of the Benedictine monasteries of Gurk and Admont, who lived in the eleventh century. She is buried in the crypt at Gurk Cathedral and is worshiped in the Austrian states of Styria and Carinthia, as well as Slovenia.

The seven stages of the Way of St. Hemma lead through breathtaking natural landscapes and past spectacular sights. Whether you love the Alpine world or prefer picturesque villages, you can arrange the stages to suit you. The Way of St. Hemma guarantees something for everyone!


The highlights of the Way of St. Hemma

  • Gurk Cathedral:The impressive pillar basilica is considered one of the most important Romanesque buildings in Europe. At 60 m high, its twin towers can be seen by pilgrims from miles away and are an invitation to visit the cathedral.
  • Crossing the Niedere Tauern via the Glattjoch: Without doubt the most spectacular stage on your trail! Situated between Oberwölz and Donnersbachwald, the Glattjoch (1,989 m) provides an unforgettable view!
  • Oberwölz: A beautiful little town! Styria’s smallest town has an impressively picturesque historic centre and imposing town walls!
  • Admont Abbey: This famous Benedictine abbey was founded in 1074 and is the oldest existing monastic building in Styria. The largest monastic library in the world and a modern museum await you!


Pilgrimage route checklist

If you’re clear about where it leads, but still don’t quite understand how, we’ve done some research into what you really need to have with you in your backpack on a pilgrimage. 

  • Comfortable hiking boots: Although you, technically speaking, you wear them rather than pack them, good boots are the keystone of a successful pilgrimage!
  • Suitable clothing:Your clothing should above all be comfortable, functional and suitable for the relevant season. Don't forget special hiking socks, rainwear and headgear (warm hood, sun hat)! • Essentials: A water bottle and a light sleeping bag are a must for every backpack!
  • First aid kit:A few cosmetic products, bandages and blister plasters are part of your basic equipment. Sun cream and sunglasses will provide protection on bright days.
  • Documents and information:
  • In addition to the usual travel documents, pilgrims should not forget their mobile phones, chargers and hiking maps.
  • A big help:Pocket knife, headlamp, earplug, small towel, hiking stick. If you still have room, you should definitely pack some of these small items of equipment!

Reasons for a pilgrimage in the Murau-Murtal:

  • A pilgrimage offers the greatest possible contrast to hectic everyday life. 
  • Just you and your backpack, reduced to the essentials. 
  • The way ahead of you and your own pace. 
  • Enough time to clear your head and get things straight. 
  • Reaching your physical limits and becoming something greater than yourself. 
  • Ample opportunities for wonderful encounters and a unique sense of community with other pilgrims.  

A real adventure!

If you’re itching to get your backpack and hiking boots out of the cupboard you should the region’s best accommodation providers straight away!