Our accommodation: We stayed at a beautiful place called Holzhackerhütte directly located on the Planei with a beautiful view over the valley with the Dachstein in the background. The owners are very friendly and the food (we had breakfast & dinner) exceptional.
Here you can directly book the accommodation for your next stay in Schladming: Holzhackerhütte, Planei
The first stop on our three-day trip to Upper Styria was the Green Lake – a natural jewel near Tragöß that has recently been elected as one of the most beautiful treasures of Styria. So, of course, we just had to see it. We started in Graz very early so we would be able to enjoy the place without thousands of tourists. We arrived there around 9:30 AM and quickly headed towards the lake. We walked approximately 15 minutes until we reached it – the walk is nice and leads through untouched forests being overlooked by the Hochschwab mountains. The lake is truly beautiful – emerald green (that is obviously the reason for its name) and crystal clear. Of course, we had to tip our feet into the water – and almost got a brain freeze. The lake has a temperature of only 6-7 degrees (43-45 Fahrenheit) because it emerges in spring when the snow melts. Surrounding the lake is an easy 30-45 minutes walk that provides many different but all equally stunning views on the emerald green water and the mountains around. It ends at the restaurant “Grüner See” where you can enjoy all different kinds of typical Austrian dishes.
The Mirror Lake on Reiteralm
We chose to continue our journey to the Dachstein region – our next stop – via a little pass road that brought us directly to Trofaiach and the highway and provided us with a gravel road and a little off-road feeling. After we had successfully checked-in at the Holzhackerhütte, a hut located right next to the piste on the Planai, we were still highly motivated for another hike – up to the Mirror Lake on Reiteralm. Following the path up the mountain and after we had successfully survived an attack by a cow (an example of what you always read and hear but actually would never think could actually happen to you), we made another animal encounter. This time little brown balls of fur relaxing along the way and that we identified as chamois. As we are not the complete fauna experts – the only animal Bianca can identify from a distance of 1 kilometer is a snake (even a tiny tiny baby snake) apart from that, she can barely distinguish a cat from a dog – so Tom decided it was chamois and Bianca agreed. It took us at least 10 minutes to take pictures and videos of them from each perspective before we continued the hike. The hike is easy to semi-difficult and the view is stunning. Across country, up the mountain we hiked for about an hour passing the “Lower Lake” until we eventually reached the Mirror Lake. We sat down on the bench, enjoyed a little snack, the fresh air, the clear view on the Dachstein massive and the mirror lake. It really looks as if the sky had just fallen down from the … well sky and landed directly in the lake. So right on the Reiteralm, heaven really is a place on earth. We went the same route back and enjoyed it just as much as the hike there.
After a delicious dinner in our hut with a nice view to the mountains around the Planai and the village Schladming, we slept very well and gained enough energy for our plans on the next day.
For the next day, we had pre-booked a ticket for the Dachstein gondola at 11:00 AM. In summer, it is absolutely necessary to book a ticket in advance as many tourists tend to have the same idea and go up the Dachstein. After a short ride with the gondola, around 10 minutes, we arrived at Styria’s rooftop, its highest mountain and a real natural beauty. If you go up the Dachstein, check the weather first because even in August it can get freezingly cold up there. But as long as you bring proper clothes, that’s no problem at all. When we reachted the top, it was very misty with no real view of the surroundings, so we decided to postpone the suspension bridge and the stairs to nothingness and do a little hike instead. Our original plan was to only hike until the “Kleiner Gjaidstein” but as we loved the track so much, we decided to do the big tour until the “Hoher Gjaidstein”. The track itself is not too hard, however it comprises some semi-difficult climbing parts that demand strength.
The view from the end of the trail, the Hoher Gjaidstein, rewards for all efforts along the way. We were really lucky because just as we reached the final destination, it cleared up and we got to enjoy the wonderful panorama around the Dachstein region. As it had cleared up, we decided to walk over the suspension bridge after our return to the gondola station. Tom really enjoyed it, Bianca at least gave her best and really tried to. Height is not the thing she loves most, but the walk over the bridge was thrilling and she loves thrill – so, in the end, it was ok. Once you passed the suspension bridge, you can walk on the bridge to nothingness – an even greater challenge for Bianca although the fog had just returned. Knowing that there is only a lot of nothing underneath, she was struggling but eventually stepped on the stairs for about 3 seconds. After this adventure it was almost time to go down the mountain again. A quick rum tea later, we headed down again full of wonderful memories of a perfect day at the Dachstein.
Hiking the Stoderzinken
The next day was already our last day in the region. We decided to hike up the Stoderzinken – the major mountain of the village Gröbming. We decided to drive up to the Gasthaus Steinerhaus and then hike up to the top. We did not take the direct route to the top – we took that one on the way back – but instead followed the round track for a little while and then entered the track to the top on the right. It was a pretty hard one-hour long hike until we reached the top. The view was as stunning as the days before. We watched the paragliders crossing over our heads and came up with the plan we also wanted to try this at one of our next destinations. That was the end of our trip to Upper Styria, our next stop was the South East.
Top travel hack for a good time in the Schladming region
If you stay two or more nights, you accommodation will most likely include the Schladming Dachstein Sommercard. Make sure you have it included because it enables you to use all toll-roads up the mountains and gondolas for free.