The Schesaplana Hike via Lunersee was one of the best hikes I did during my 12-week van life road trip through Europe.
Not only taking in an incredible alpine lake but also climbing the summit of a nearly 3000m peak to soak in the typical Austrian alpine views.
The view from the summit is one of the best you’ll get, and the panorama is absolutely breathtaking. I later realised that most of Austria is like this, but the Schesaplana Hike via Lunersee is made more special by the beautiful lake that sits just below 2000.
Quick Facts about Schesaplana Hike
- Distance: 11km
- Time: 4-6 hours
- Best travel time: Anytime, but maybe avoid weekends if you want it to be quiet.
- Difficulty: Difficult day in the mountains, and a tough elevation gain.
- Parking: Somewhere along the road to Lunersee Bahn. I parked before the first paid car park as it was free, it just added a road walk in but saved ££.
High Points of the Schesaplana Hike
- Superb panoramic views throughout all of Austria
- Incredible alpine lake at Lunersee
- Wonderful alpine meadow vistas
- Hut around half way for beer and food!
Low Points of the Schesaplana Hike
Tough going, and a lot of elevation gain.
How to get to the Schesaplana Hike trailhead
Parking is available and easy at the Lunerseebahn station. I would recommend parking further down and road walking up, as it’ll say the eye-watering prices for paid parking.
You’ve got two options to get to Lunersee. You can take the cable car up (€18 round trip) or you can hike. If you’re going to Schesaplana, I’d recommend just taking the cable car and not turning this day into an even bigger hike.
From the top of the station, you’ll be mesmerised by the blue alpine lake waters of Lunersee.
Stay to the right of the lake until you see signs for Schesaplanahutte.
The hut is around 2350m and the summit is another 600m on top of that.
The trail is well-marked and easy to follow, it’s just steep and tricky in some places.
Stop for a snack and some food on the way up and make sure you stop again on the way back down for a celebratory beer.
The hut only accepts cash so don’t make the same silly mistake I did and have to ask a lovely German woman to pay for my beer!
Here’s the AllTrails link for the hike.
My Experience of the Schesaplana Hike
This was one of my first big hikes in Europe solo and it was one I’d had on the list before getting into Austria.
I wasn’t sure if I was going to do just the Lunersee circuit loop that takes you around the magnificant lake. Or I was going to get up to the summit of Schesaplana and get close to 3000m.
The day was clear, the sky was blue and I had a spring in my step. I decided to send it and see what the worst would happen.
Turns out its a tough hike, and the steep gradient is no joke in some parts.
But the climb is always worth it, and with the Schesaplana hike it was absolutely no different. The incredible views into Switzerland, Austria, Italy and beyond were absolutely incredible.
Not to mention the view back down over the lake you’ve just been near and the glacier on the opposite side.
All in all, an absolutely fantastic day in the Austrian mountains and with the hut system being so wonderful it makes a good day and even better one.
Add it to your list for when you visit Austria next!