Way of St. James Western Styria from Thal/Graz to Lavamünd/Carinthia
The Way of St. James in Western Styria was opened on 25 July 2010 and is divided into eight stages. These were chosen so that they are manageable for the average hiker. Overnight accommodation is available at the end of each stage. Particularly athletic pilgrims will probably manage a larger daily workload; in the event of bad weather or sightseeing, the mileage will be less. For the most part, the trail leads along existing hiking and pilgrimage routes and partly along asphalted municipal and provincial roads.
The Lipizzanerheimat region is an irresistible combination of tradition and modernity, rural lifestyle and diverse folk culture. Distinctive and rich in experience, we can enjoy the unique interplay of scenic features. Along gentle hilly landscapes, in the middle of green alpine meadows or high up on the Koralpe, we can harmonise our senses free from everyday stress and noise. Honest cordiality and tangible hospitality are the special features of this unique journey of discovery.
Many world-famous artists have left their mark here. Friedensreich Hundertwasser designed the St. Barbara Church and Prof. Ernst Fuchs the Moses Fountain in Bärnbach. Additionally, who doesn't know the Lipizzaner horses and the Lipizzaner stud farm? Exhibitions at the Stölzle Glas Center Bärnbach provide an annual insight into the fascination of glass. Dive in and relax at the Therme Nova in Köflach. We can cool off in one of the reservoirs (Hirzmann Reservoir, Pack Reservoir, Sobother Reservoir) as well as on the leisure island of Piberstein or in the Schlossbad Bärnbach.
From the Jakob Church in Thal near Graz, designed by Ernst Fuchs, the trail leads via the Jostbauer Cross and Plankenwarth Castle to the Church of St. Oswald near Plankenwarth. Past the Staberhansl wine tavern, we reach Stiwoll with its late Romanesque church. Via the Stiwollgraben, we reach the village of St. Pankrazen/Gschnaidt. The route continues in the direction of Geistthal to reach the Kohlbauerkreuz. After a leisurely walk, we reach the Jakobskirche in Geistthal, whose first documented mention dates back to around 1245. Next stops are the Römaskogel, the Reinprechtskogels and the Fürstaller Kreuz to reach the Wilhelm estate in Kohlschwarz. We continue towards Hochkogel and then downhill to the centre of the art and culture town of Bärnbach with St. Barbara's Church.
From Bärnbach, we continue along a meadow and forest path to the Lipizzaner stud farm Piber and subsequently to Therme Nova, to the town of Köflach and to Maria Lankowitz, where we find the beautiful pilgrimage church. The idyllically designed vicarage with the pictures of saints by Anton Hafner invites you to take a break.
From the pilgrimage church in Maria Lankowitz, we march past the municipal office, Maria Lankowitz Castle, the golf course and the leisure island of Piberstein to reach the Lustiger Bauer inn. We reach Edelschrott via a hiking trail leading steeply uphill (Hans Klöpfer Weg 91). The route continues via the Hirzmann reservoir to Modriach and on to the Hoiswirt Modriach-Winkel alpine inn. On forest and meadow paths and partly road sections, the route continues via St. Oswald/Kloster to St. Jakob in Freiland. On the road we now go downhill for about 6 km to St. Jacob's Church with the statue of St. Jacob. The rest of the way takes us past the Frauental pilgrimage cross and the statue of St. Christopher to Osterwitz. We leave this idllyic place of pilgrimage and walk along trail 553 to the Trahüttner Hut at 1,317 m above sea level. Via the Wildbachsattel-Glashütten junction we reach the Weinebene.
From the Weinebene we follow the long-distance trail 505 to the Koralpenspeik at 2,140 m above sea level with the Goldhauben. In clear weather we enjoy the magnificent view of the Styrian and Carinthian mountains. The Way of St. James continues along the border between Styria and Carinthia. Next station: Dreieckkogel and Dreieckhütte. From here, follow trail 560 south to the hiking village of Soboth, where the Slovenian Way of St. James also joins. From here we follow the signpost 06/03A to Lavamünd.
Die acht Etappen sind auch einzeln abrufbar. An jedem Etappenziel und bei jeder Jakobskirche entlang des weststeirischen Jakobsweges gibt es einen Pilgerstein, der die noch zu gehenden Kilometer bis zum Ende der Pilgerreise in Santiago de Compostela anzeigt. Bei den „Pilgerkastln“ am Jakobsweg haben wir die Möglichkeit, unserer Gedanken und Erlebnisse in einem Buch niederzuschreiben.
Accessible by train and bus.
Detailed information about arriving by ÖBB (Austrian Federal Railways) can be found at www.oebb.at or on the Verbundlinie Steiermark website www.busbahnbim.at
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