On this trip, we were hiking around 160 km from Germany to Italy. The difficult part was however not the distance but walking up and down a mountain on a daily basis. The E5 initially starts from Konstanz (Germany) and ends in Verona (Italy). However, most hikers start the tour from Oberstdorf – since this is the part where you are actually in the Alps – and finish the tour in Meran.
The route contains about 20.000 meters in altitude and does not require any special skills or alpine gear. However, you should be in good shape to be able to walk 1000 meters in altitude a day.
The trip across the Alps took us six days, and we were walking about 10 hours a day. Concerning the costs, you can calculate about 20 EUR per night to stay in a hut excluding food (which would be another 15-20 EUR for breakfast and dinner at the hut).
From Oberstdorf, you reach Austria via the Unteren Madeljoch and continue via the Allgäuer, Lechtaler and Ötztaler Alps until you reach Italy via the Timmelsjoch. From there your way continues in South Tyrol until you reach Bozen. The highlight of the tour is, e.g., the Geigenkamm and the Pitztal (where you come to an altitude of 3000 m).
Highlights of the trip
We started our ascent in Oberstdorf along a Glacier. Fortunately, it didn’t rain. Otherwise, it would have been quite slippery walking up in the mud and scree. At some point, we reached the border of Germany and Austria where we saw a boundary post which has been shot at.
We had a fantastic view of the moon in the sky watching our steps up to the Memminger Hut where we enjoyed our dinner together with other hikers.
On the next day, after an excellent breakfast, we had to walk again over scree on our way from the Memminger Hut to Zams which was our deepest descent on tour – 1825 m. We were awarded again with stunning scenery, clear mountain lakes, and ice on our trail to Zams.
From Zams we walked most of the day in a valley. The first part was not very demanding, and you could also take a bus instead of walking 30 km through the Pitztal. However, our goal was not to use any transportation until we reach our destination. There were also cows that crossed our way and they made a friendly impression on us.
The Braunschweiger Hut – located at an altitude of 2.759 m. The landscape reminded me of astronauts walking on the moon. We went straight into the hut and energized ourselves with Austrian pastries and some cold drinks.
As we continued our trip, we came across the Wildspitze, which is with its 3.768m the highest mountain of North Tyrol 3.768 m. Again scree and lakes. Also breathing was a little bit more demanding at this altitude.
On the way to Zwieselstein, we reached the highest point of the tour – the Pitztaler Jöchel with 2995 m. We had to walk over a Glacier. My Suunto Core helped a bit to estimate the altitude and the time still needed to reach our destination. 2993 m was the highest spot where we have been on this hike.
And then we reached the Timmelsjoch (2.509 m), which is located between Zwieselstein and Moos, and the border between Austria and Italy. We had terrible weather. It was cold and rainy. In Moos we had a break at the Pfändler Alm. From the Pfändler Alm to the Meraner Hut, we had the longest ascent on our tour – from 1.345 m
to 2.781 m. And again we were rewarded with an excellent panoramic view from the peak of the Kreuzjoch. Below the view towards the Dolomites in South Tyrol.
On our last day, we hiked from the Meraner Hut to Bozen and then took the bus back to Oberstdorf. I can warmly recommend this trip. You may also meet like-minded hikers during the journey or on the huts as well and enjoy the great Austrian and Italian kitchen.