How to hike the legendary Liechtensteinklamm gorge (Austria)
Today I’m going to introduce you to a nature attraction in Austria. Think emerald-green water, mossy stones, vertigo-inducing cliffs, misty waterfalls and ancient legends. I’m showing you the gorgeous Liechtensteinklamm (or Liechtenstein gorge to use its English name).
Okay, let’s begin!
Travel update (2021): The gorge was closed for nearly 3 years due to a rock fall in May 2017, but has recently been reopened. Everything is renewed. Including the new spiral staircase “Helix”, which stretches 30 meters, and the entrance fee (now €10 for adults). It can get crowded there, so remember to keep your distance and wear a face mask.
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Introduction to Liechtensteinklamm
- Opening hours: May-Sep: 9am-6pm / Oct: 9am-4pm
- Entrance fee: €10 for adults (free parking)
Liechtensteinklamm is a narrow gorge, located south of the town St. Johan im Pongau (about 50 km south of Salzburg). It was named after Prince Johann II of Liechtenstein who generously funded the walkway in 1876.
Liechtenstein gorge is 4km long and has walls up to 300m, which makes it one of the deepest and longest gorges in the Alps. Only 1km is accessible to visitors, though.
You’ll find several smaller waterfalls along the way and a large waterfall at the end, the Liechtensteinklamm wasserfall.
How to get to Liechtenstein gorge
The gorge is easy to find. And at the entrance, there’s a restaurant, toilet and info about the gorge. You can reach Liechtensteinklamm by train or car:
By train & bus
Take the train from Salzburg to St. Johann im Pongau and catch bus 540 to Plankenau. Tell the bus driver that you’re going to Liechtensteinklamm. You’ll know when to get off because the bus has to reverse at this point. From there, it’s a half hour walk to the gorge entrance (2 km).
Check the time table for trains here: reiseauskunft.bahn.de/
You can also visit by car. Simply drive to St. Johann im Pongau and continue on Wagrainer Strasse. Take Hauptstraße to Liechtensteinklammstraße. It takes 5 minutes. You’ll find parking lots at the entrance and they’re free.
Hiking the gorge
When I visited, rain was coming down in buckets.
It wasn’t ideal, but on the other hand, bad weather shouldn’t stop you. Once you’re inside the gorge, you’ll be sheltered from the rain by the narrow cliff walls. Some of the steps might be wet and a little slippery (it’s always wet inside the gorge because of the water), so always wear sturdy shoes.
You start at the entrance and follow the trail into the gorge. There’s a fence so it’s very safe.
After 20 minutes of hiking, there’s barely any sunlight. All you’ll hear is the thundering water below you as you feel the cold, wet air on the grotto-like pathway. Remember to stop and take photos of the rapids and the rays of light passing through the cliff walls.
Legend of the Liechtenstein gorge Austria
Liechtensteinklamm is a beautiful place.
And you know, there’s actually a myth connected with its genesis. According to legend, it was created when the devil full of anger over a failed plan, threw water onto the rocks and created the gorge. A moody creation myth, yes, but it sure has a mystic atmosphere that fits well with the location.
Legend also says that there are healing springs beneath the gorge. But it hasn’t been possible to extract them.
Liechtenstein gorge waterfall
By the end of the gorge, the cliffs widens and you’ll spot a high waterfall. From afar, you will hear the thundering water rushing down the cliff and into the echoing gorge.
I don’t know about you, but I LOVE waterfalls. In my world, they’re the awesomest thing ever created and for some reason they make me feel like I’ve come home.
When to visit
It’s best to visit the gorge in the early morning or late afternoon. It’s the least crowded time, and it’s best for photos. The busiest time is from June-August between 10am and 2pm.
Your hike through the Liechtenstein gorge Austria will take about 1.5 hours (roundtrip). It’s the same way in and out.
What to bring
The path and bridges are regularly checked and can be walked on in any weather. I do recommend checking the weather forecast, though, because you might want to bring your rain coat.
- Hiking boots or sturdy sneakers
- Warm clothing (depending on the season)
- Camera (plus tripod)
- Face mask + hand sanitizer
Map of Liechtensteinklamm
Liechtensteinklamm is located in Salzburgerland, one of Austria’s nine states. Find Liechtensteinklamm on the map by clicking the red pin. You can zoom in and out.
More stuff you’ll love:
- Salzburg: How to enjoy the most spectacular 24 hours in Salzburg
- Hallstatt: How to spend a magical one day in Hallstatt Austria
- Vienna: How to spend the perfect 2 days in Vienna
- Schönbrunn: 15 fascinating Schonbrunn Palace facts
- Vienna hotel guide: Where to stay in Vienna for first time visitors
- Grand Hotel review: Vienna’s best 5 star hotel
What a stunning place! I really don’t know much about what Austria has to offer but this proves that not all of Europe is just pretty streets and pastry shops, lol!
So true! Austria is such a paradise when it comes to nature, especially Hallstatt which I’m writing about next week.
Hallstatt! Can’t wait to see your blog on that
Thanks for reading! You can find it here: https://adventurousmiriam.com/hallstatt-austria/
Ohmy! That place looks incredible!! Those aquamarine pools looks so beautiful
Right? This gorge was beautiful and there were others in the same area. Austria has such gorgeous nature.
Oh my, that color! 🙂 We have just came back from Slovenia and it reminded me of Soca Valley and the beautiful gorges there instantly. In Austria we’ve only visited one gorge so far: Bärenschützklamm in Styria. It has a series of lovely waterfalls all along the way while climbing to the top of the canyon. We need to see Liechtensteinklamm, too, can’t get bored with these beauties! Neither waterfalls… 😀
Yes, me too. Slovenia is such a beautiful country – did you see any waterfalls in Soca valley? I hope you enjoyed your trip there! 🙂
It was wonderful… Slovenia is such a small country, but it’s full of beauties! We visited Virje, Boka and Kozjak waterfalls and Tolmin Gorges and also hiked part of the Soca River Trail. Time just flied too fast. 😀
Great itinerary! Soca is amazing, but many visitors skip it because it isn’t as easily accessed as Lake Bled and Bohinj. We need to spread the good word 😀
Well, yeah, we wouldn’t say we enjoyed driving there… 😀 There’s no highway to reach them easily, but it was absolutely worth it!
For sure! I guess that’s how it is with the best things in life – they’re not easy to get, but they’re sure worth fighting for 🙂
Woah. A Kiwi friend of mine always said Austria was one of the most beautiful places she’d been in the world. It felt like high praise coming from someone who grew up in New Zealand. But your post and pictures sure help me to understand what she meant! Thanks for sharing.
Aw, thanks Tanya! Austria takes your breath away, that’s for sure.
We were there in October 2012. It rained & we did the same as you, but only the bus; at the last stop, it started raining. I was miserable, wet and in pain from walking – I think it took us over an hour to walk there ( and found out the gorge was w-a-y past the parking lots, uphill. But it is beautiful….I took just about the same photos as you did. Luckily we got a ride back to town with an American GI family we met on an earlier hike.
What a coincidence, the exact same thing happened to both of us! First the rain, and then I hitchhiked back to town and got a ride with an Austrian family. I guess we both had good and bad luck 🙂
I was there in 2016. The water was grey because it had been raining a day before. The gorges are incredible! I love your pictures. I can see what it looks like with clear water. Thanks for sharing!
You’re welcome, Dana! Now I’m glad I didn’t wait one day to go because then the water would have been grey as well. I hope you had a great trip anyways 🙂
Hello Miriam, we are planning to visit Austria in December. Do you think this hiking is going to be a worth visit?
Hi, unfortunately Liechtensteinklamm is closed from November to May, so it’s not possible to visit.