E5 – Oberstdorf to Meran

Wildspitze - Austria

On this trip, we were hiking around 160 km from Germany to Italy. However, the difficult part was not the distance but ascending and descending the mountain daily. The E5 starts officially from Konstanz in Germany and ends in Verona in Italy. However, most hikers start the tour from Oberstdorf, as this is the part where you are actually in the Alps and finish the tour in Meran.

E5 European long-distance path
Hiking along a glacier from Oberstdorf

The trip across the Alps took us six days, and we were walking about 10 hours a day. It was also not that expensive as we just spent about 20 EUR per night to stay in huts excluding food (which adds another 15-20 EUR for breakfast and dinner).

From Oberstdorf, we reached Austria via the Unteren Madeljoch and continue through the Allgäuer, Lechtaler and Ötztaler Alps until we reached Italy via the Timmelsjoch. From there, our way continued in South Tyrol until we reached Bozen.

Highlights of the trip

We started our ascent in Oberstdorf along a glacier. Luckily it didn’t rain. Otherwise, it would have been pretty slippery to hike high in the mud. We reached the border between Germany and Austria, where we saw a border post that was shot at.

We had a fantastic view of the moon in the sky when we saw our steps to the Memminger Hütte, where we had our dinner together with other hikers.

The next day, after an excellent breakfast, we hiked from the Memminger Hütte to Zams, our deepest descent on tour – 1825 m. However, we were rewarded with a breathtaking landscape and clear mountain lakes.

From Zams, we hiked in a valley for most of the day. The first part was not very demanding, and we could have taken a bus instead of walking 30 km through the Pitztal. However, our goal was not to use any means of transport until we reach our destination. Some cows also crossed our path and made a friendly impression on us.

E5 European long distance path
Cows along our hike on the E5

Closer to the Braunschweiger Hut at an altitude of 2.759 m, the landscape looked slightly like the moon. We went straight into the hut and had Austrian pastries and some cold drinks.

E5 European long-distance path
E5 long-distance hiking trail

As we continued our trip, we came across the Wildspitze, with its 3.768m, the highest mountain of North Tyrol 3.768 m. There were lakes, and breathing was also a little bit more demanding at this altitude.

On the way to Zwieselstein, we reached the highest tour point, the Pitztaler Jöchel with 2995 m. Then, we had to walk over to a Glacier. I was looking at my Suunto Core to estimate the altitude and time needed to reach our destination. 2993 m was the highest spot on this trip.

E5 European long-distance path
e5 long-distance hiking trail

And then we reached the Timmelsjoch (2.509 m), 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. 

We had the longest ascents on our tour from the Pfändler Alm to the Meraner Hut from 1.345 m
to 2.781 m. And again, we were rewarded with a scenic view from the peak of the Kreuzjoch. In the picture below, you can see the Dolomites in South Tyrol.

E5 European long-distance path
View towards the Dolomites on the E5

We hiked from the Meraner Hut to Bozen on our last day and then took the bus back to Oberstdorf.

To conclude, I can warmly recommend this trip and also the Austrian and Italian kitchen.