The E5 Trans Alp

Trek from Germany, through Austria and into Italy




From $1,940 Land only

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Holiday Overview


  • The very best of this famous long-distance hike
  • Views from Rettenbach Ferner
  • Visit the `Iceman` Museum in Bozen
  • Pleasant and comfortable accommodation

This holiday focuses on the highest and most spectacular section of the E5 long distance hike. After a first night in Mittelberg, our trek begins in the picturesque Bavarian ski resort of Oberstdorf and continues for a week, crossing the mighty mountains of the Tyrol to the medieval town of Meran in Italy. With an atmospheric mix of mountain refuge and charming guesthouse accommodation, we experience the best of this route, as we stay high on some nights and descend to pretty villages on others. Hiking through flower-spangled meadows and beside Alpine lakes, we ascend via rocky ridges and high passes to a number of viewpoint summits, such as Seekopf  (2412m) and Rettenbach Ferner (2820m). This part of the E5 is renowned for its spectacular scenery and for the abundance of its Alpine wildlife, including marmots and ibex. This is a classic and age-old trans-alp route, trodden around 5000 years ago by the famous ‘Iceman', Otzi.

Is this holiday for you?

This trek is a high level traverse from Germany through Austria to Italy staying in a mix of comfortable guesthouses and mountain huts and involves walking on an established waymarked trail over variety of terrain including forest paths, Alpine meadows and over rocky passes. The trails used for the most part offer very good underfoot conditions but there are several sections where we will cross boulders and others where we may encounter patches of winter snow. A few places along the route involve some easy scrambling with some exposure. Exposed parts of this route are well protected with cables but a good head for heights is a requirement. We average around 5 to 7 hours walking each day with typically 800 to 1500 metres of ascent and / or descent each day.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Transfers provided from the railway station in Oy-Mittelberg to the group guesthouse in the village.
  • Short transfer to Oberstdorf, then walk up to our overnight stop at the Kemptner Hutte (1846m).
  • Hike to Holzgau in the Austrian Tyrol. Transfer, then walk up to the Memminger Hutte (2242m).
  • Walk up to the Seescharte Pass (2599m) and descend to the village of Zams
  • Cable car, then ridge-walk to the Pitzal Valley. Drive and hike to the Braunschweiger Hutte (2760m).
  • Walk to the E5 highpoint at Rettenbach Ferner (2820m), then descend to Oetztal.
  • Transfer to the Timmelsjoch (2600m) and walk to Moos in Italy. Then hike up to the Hirzer Hutte.
  • Walk via the Hinteregg Alm with views of Ortler (3890m). Take the gondola down to the town of Meran.
  • Scenic drive back across the Alps. Stop off at Bozen en route and overnight in Oy-Mittelberg.
  • Departure day. Transfers to the railway station in Oy-Mittelberg are provided.
Fri 01 Jul - Sun 10 Jul Code ETA /01/16/ Adult$1,940 Status Available Book now
Fri 29 Jul - Sun 07 Aug Code ETA /02/16/ Adult$1,940 Status Available Book now
Fri 19 Aug - Sun 28 Aug Code ETA /03/16/ Adult$1,940 Status Available Book now
We sell this holiday on a Land Only basis. If travelling by air, we recommend that you book your flights to Munich Airport. Please refer to the 'Joining Arrangements and Transfers' section of the trip dossier for further details. Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

If flying from the UK there are a number of low cost airlines offering flights to Munich. These include Easyjet who have flights from London, Manchester & Edinburgh. Other airports may be available. Click on the 'Flight information' link below for further information on booking low cost airlines. Alternatively if you would prefer to book a 'flight inclusive package' using scheduled airlines from the UK please contact our flights department for a quote. Whilst flight prices are likely to be more expensive you will benefit from full financial protection.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee*

* Against Land Only services.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • point
  • trip direction
  • trek
  • transfer

Holiday Itinerary

  • Transfers provided from the railway station in Oy-Mittelberg to the group guesthouse in the village.

    Meet at the group guesthouse in beautiful little Bavarian village of Oy-Mittelberg. KE Land Only package services begin with a transfer from the railway station at Oy-Mittelberg. At 7.00pm we meet with our guide and have a briefing about the week ahead during dinner at the group hotel.

    • Accommodation Guesthouse

    • Meals d

  • Short transfer to Oberstdorf, then walk up to our overnight stop at the Kemptner Hutte (1846m).

    After a final check of our equipment, to make sure we are carrying only the essentials, we can leave our trek bags at the hotel. We then make the short transfer to Oberstdorf, Germany's famous and most southerly winter resort. There’s no real rush today and we will have time to buy a few snack items for our picnic lunch, before setting off on the shortish hike to our first mountain accommodation at the Kemptner Hutte (1846m). The route heads south out of Oberstdorf, following the Trettach stream and through pretty ‘alps’ or grazing areas with many Alpine flowers. We pass the small lake of Christelessee and reach a steeper and meandering rocky trail which brings us to the hut after approximately 4 hours of walking.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Ascent 850m

    • Meals bd

    • Time 4 hrs walking

  • Hike to Holzgau in the Austrian Tyrol. Transfer, then walk up to the Memminger Hutte (2242m).

    We climb to a ridge forming the border between Germany and Austria and cross the pass known as the Maedelejoch (1974m), before descending to Holzgau in the Tyrol. We then have a short transfer to the next trailhead and our back packs are taken up to the next hut by cable car while we enjoy the short, but steep hike up to the Memminger Huette (2242m). Situated on a grassy plateau, with a pretty green lake, this is an idyllic spot. In the late afternoon, possibly even after dinner, there is the option to make the short (30 minute) hike to the summit of Seekopf (2412m) to enjoy the Alpine ambience as the sun begins to set.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Ascent 950m

    • Meals bd

    • Descent 850m

    • Time 6 - 7 hrs walking

  • Walk up to the Seescharte Pass (2599m) and descend to the village of Zams

    Today, we have a short ascent and a much longer descent. The first part of the walk takes us to a pretty Alpine lake amongst meadows, beyond which we climb to the Seescharte pass (2599m), with great views of distant peaks and of the route dropping into the valley ahead. Beyond the pass, it’s a long and scenic descent to the village of Zams, beside the River Inn. Here, we check in at a pleasant guesthouse, with the prospect of hot showers and hearty Tyrolean food.

    • Accommodation Guesthouse

    • Ascent 420m

    • Meals bd

    • Descent 1800m

    • Time 6 - 7 hrs walking

  • Cable car, then ridge-walk to the Pitzal Valley. Drive and hike to the Braunschweiger Hutte (2760m).

    We have another longish day today, made somewhat easier by the fact that we can take the Venet Gondola up to a height of 2208 metres, thus regaining much of our lost altitude. From here, well above the tree line again, we follow a scenic ridge across several minor summits and have ever-changing 360 views of the rugged Tyrolean landscape. Descending open slopes towards the town of Wenns in the valley, there are several great places to stop for a coffee or a snack. Reaching the Pitzal Valley, we have another transfer of almost 30 kilometres to the next trailhead close to Mittelberg. Once again, we can use a luggage lift to take our bags up to the hut, whilst we walk beside a series of waterfalls on the River Pitze. Onwards and upwards, we finally come within sight of the ice of the Mittleberg Glacier, beside which the Braunschweiger Huette is located at an elevation of 2760 metres.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Ascent 1150m

    • Meals bd

    • Descent 800m

    • Time 6 - 7 hrs walking

  • Walk to the E5 highpoint at Rettenbach Ferner (2820m), then descend to Oetztal.

    High in the mountains, we have a good chance today to spot ibex, as we make our way towards the highest point on the E5 at the Rettenbach Ferner (2820m). The ascent to this pass is quite straightforward, but there is often a big snowfield on its east side and more tricky conditions, with some scrambling and sections of cables to protect exposed places. From here, we have views of many big peaks including the Wildspitze (3780m), before we begin the long descend to the famous town of Oetztal, where the ‘Iceman’ Otzi was found. We stay tonight in a comfortable guesthouse equipped with spa and sauna.

    • Accommodation Guesthouse

    • Ascent 300m

    • Meals bd

    • Descent 1400m

    • Time 6 - 7 hrs walking

  • Transfer to the Timmelsjoch (2600m) and walk to Moos in Italy. Then hike up to the Hirzer Hutte.

    We start the day with a short transfer to the pass of Timmelsjoch (2600m) on the border between Austria and Italy. Then, it's gently uphill, with a chance to spot mountain goats grazing on the sparse vegetation. Soon, however, we are heading down into a valley, towards the small village of Moos, where we stop for lunch. After lunch we hike back up through forest for 2 hours to the Pfandler Alm (meadow). The hut on the Pfandler Alm is small and privately owned. It sits on a green meadow surrounded by forest. Nearby, a rustic hut is supposed to have provided shelter to Andreas Hofer, a freedom fighter at the time of Napolean.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Ascent 700m

    • Meals bd

    • Descent 1470m

    • Time 6 - 7 hrs walking

  • Walk via the Hinteregg Alm with views of Ortler (3890m). Take the gondola down to the town of Meran.

    For our last day on the E5 we hike across Alpine meadows to the Hinteregg Alm (1990m) where we have spectacular views of Ortler (3890m), the highest peak in the Eastern Alps. After a further hour an a half of pleasant hiking, we reach the gondola that takes us down to the medieval town of Meran and the end of our trans-Alp journey. We overnight at a comfortable hotel.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 850m

    • Meals bd

    • Descent 200m

    • Time 4 - 5 hrs walking

  • Scenic drive back across the Alps. Stop off at Bozen en route and overnight in Oy-Mittelberg.

    We have a scenic drive back across the Alps to our starting point of Oy-Mittelberg. On the way we will stop at the museum in Bozen to visit the 5000 year old 'Iceman' found mummified in the Schnalstal Glacier. Arriving in Oy-Mittelberg we check in at our guesthouse and enjoy a celebratory dinner.

    • Accommodation Guesthouse

    • Meals bd

  • Departure day. Transfers to the railway station in Oy-Mittelberg are provided.

    KE Land Only package services end after breakfast at the hotel. Transfers to the railway station in Oy-Mittelberg are provided.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • English-speaking qualified guide
  • Transfers between Oy-Mittelberg railway station and the group hotel
  • 5 nights guesthouse and 4 nights mountain huts
  • All meals except lunches
  • Entrance fee and guided tour of Bozen Museum
  • All land transport and transfers required by the itinerary

  • Travel insurance
  • Lunches and snacks
  • Miscellaneous personal expenses
  • Entrance fees and costs involved in any optional activities

We spend 5 nights in local guesthouses and 4 nights in mountain huts or refuges. These mountain huts owned and operated by the German or Austrian Mountaineering Club provide simple accommodation in non segregated dormitory rooms. All the huts have restaurants, dining room, toilets and washing facilities. Some also have drying rooms and showers. Accommodation in guest houses is normally twin-share. If you are travelling by yourself you will be paired up with another individual traveller of the same sex for rooms in guest houses. Single supplements are not available for this trip.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

All meals except lunches included.

As you might expect, the food available in restaurants, hotels and even in the mountain huts in Germany, Austria and in italy is excellent. Continental breakfasts and full 3-course evening meals are included everyday. Lunches and/or hill snacks can be purchased in Oberstdorf on the first day of trekking and from the huts on subsequent days.

The easiest way to join the trip is by air to Munich and from there by train to Oy-Mittelberg. There is a train station within the terminal at Munich Airport and there are regular trains towards Oy-Mittelberg. Tickets can be booked online at The standard return fare is around 66 Euro but it is usual to get up to a third off this fare for advance bookings. On arrival at Oy-Mittelberg you will be met by our local representative who will arrange the transfer to the group hotel. all clients must let us know their travel details including flight and train times.

After breakfast at our overnight accommodation, we try to get a reasonably early start. We carry a packed lunch (which you can purchase each day at our overnight accommodation) and will stop off for a picnic at an appropriate point during the day's walk. We will generally walk for around six to seven hours each day and aim to reach our overnight stop by four or five pm, in time for a wash or shower before dinner. The pace of the trekking will allow us time to stop to admire the views and to take photographs.

The group will be led by an English-speaking local mountain guide. There will also be a support vehicle and driver at the beginning and end of the holiday.

The package price includes all accommodation, guiding and all meals except lunches. You allow for lunches and snacks plus drinks, including bottled water (which is expensive in the huts). Beer, wine and soft drinks are available every night. €200 should be sufficient to cover all personal expenses including your lunches. The currency required is the euro and there are cash point facilities in Munich Airport, in Oy-Mittelberg and in Oberstdorf.

Group members will carry all of their personal equipment during the trek and it is important to keep the overall weight of your equipment to a minimum. Since you will not be required to carry either a sleeping bag or a camping mattress, it should be possible to keep the weight of your pack to between 8 and 10 kg. Whilst in the mountains you will leave your trek bag and travel clothes at the guesthouse in Oy-Mittelberg.

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

This holiday involves going to moderately high altitude.  During the course of your trip you will reach altitudes in excess of 2500 metres.  Most people will have no difficulty with this level of altitude but before coming on the holiday, we recommend you read the advice on trekking at high altitude.  You can also talk to one of our trekking experts if you have any concerns about altitude.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your pack to a minimum. During this holiday you will carry all of the things you need during the trek. It is possible to leave travel clothes in your luggage at the guesthouse.

You must bring the following items:

  • Walking boots*
  • Shoes or slippers for use in the huts
  • Gaiters (long or short)
  • Socks – technical walking socks are best (2/3 pairs)
  • Underwear
  • Trekking Trousers/Pants (not cotton)
  • Thermal Base Layer x 2 (one long sleeved)
  • T-shirt or casual shirts x 2
  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper
  • Waterproof jacket (with hood)
  • Waterproof overtrousers (rainpants)
  • Sunhat
  • Warm hat
  • Eye wear – sunglasses
  • Warm gloves/ski gloves or mittens
  • Rucksack 40 to 50 litres
  • Torch / flashlight
  • Sleeping bag liner/sheet sleeping bag (silk is lightest)**
  • Sun Protection (high factor for skin)
  • Lip salve – with sunscreen
  • Water bottle x 1 litre
  • Dry Bag(s) to keep essentials dry
  • Small Wash kit and Pack Towel
  • Small Padlock (for trek bag)
  • Basic First Aid Kit. Including: antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), painkillers, plasters and blister treatment, Insect repellent, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite).

The following items are optional:

  • Trekking poles (recommended)
  • Extra warm layer – (prima loft or lightweight down)
  • Shorts
  • Earplugs (particularly if you are not the one snoring!)
  • Pocket-knife (note: always pack sharp objects in hold baggage)
  • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)
  • Camera, media, batteries
  • Travel Clothes


* Walking Boots:Recommended boots for this trip are comfortable, warm and sufficiently robust to protect feet and ankles on a variety of terrain including boulders and loose scree. You may also encounter snow patches and boots should be waterproof.

**Sleeping bags are NOT required as bedding is provided at mountain huts. However, you must bring a sheet sleeping bag.



For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport.

Visa Europe

UK and USA passport holders do not require a visa.

You should attend your own doctor and dentist for a check-up. No special vaccinations are required for this trip. UK residents should obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before travelling. The EHIC is normally valid for three to five years and covers any medical treatment (except in Switzerland) that becomes necessary during your trip, because of either illness or an accident. The card gives access to state-provided medical treatment only, and you'll be treated on the same basis as an 'insured' person living in the country you're visiting. Remember, this might not cover all the things you'd expect to get free of charge from the NHS in the UK. You may have to make a contribution to the cost of your care. You can obtain an EHIC from the Department of Health by phone, online, or at the post office.

You should contact your GP or travel clinic to check whether you require any specific vaccinations. UK residents should obtain a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This entitles you to state provided medical treatment, but is not a substitute for medical travel insurance which is still vital when travelling overseas.

The unit of currency in Europe is the Euro.

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

It makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on a trekking or climbing trip getting some additional exercise. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience. We would suggest that you adopt a weekly exercise regime leading up to your trip. Jogging, squash and swimming are good for developing better stamina. Before departure, we suggest that you try to fit in a number of long walks in hilly country.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

The temperatures that we can expect to encounter during the day will be reasonably warm, ranging from 10°C / 50°F to 25°C/ 77°F. It can be cool in the evenings at our highest overnight stopping places, falling close to freezing point at night. The weather is usually stable during July and August, but mountainous areas do generate their own weather systems and occasional rain and even stormy weather cannot be ruled out. You should be prepared for all eventualities!

Across the Eastern Alps: E5. Cicerone Press.

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