Starting Point in Austria
Near Rheineck (CH), 400 m. After 80 kilometers, The E5 crosses the border to Germany near Neuschwandalpe, 1100 m. After another 50 km, the border to Austria will be crossed a second time (Mädelejoch, 1973 m).
The second part in Tyrol/Tirol is about 120 km long. This section is very popular – some huts are fully booked weeks (on some days even months) in advance.
End Point in Austria
Timmelsjoch, 2474 m, on the border to Italy.
Route of E5 in Austria
Part I (Vorarlberg)
Bregenz – Alberschwende – Hittisau – Neuschwandalpe
Part II (Tirol)
Mädelejoch – Memminger Hütte – Zams – Pitztal – Braunschweiger Hütte – Pitztaler Jöchl (2995 m, highest point) – Zwieselstein/Ötztal – Timmelsjoch
Please note that there are several marked alternatives to the route given above. They can be helpful in case the huts on the main route are overcrowded. More details in the literature mentioned below.
80 km (part I), 120 km (part II)
Ground path of E-Path
Vorarlberg: Maximiliansweg (same as Österreichischer Weitwanderweg 04 and E-Path 4 (non-alpine), 80 km
Tirol: no notable ground paths
Deutscher Alpenverein (DAV)
(Vorarlberg, part I:) ÖAV Sektion Weitwanderer: Voralpenweg – Führer zum Österreichischen Weitwanderweg 04. Order online via www.freytagberndt.com
(Tirol, part II:) Baur/Steuerwald: Fernwanderweg E5, Bergverlag Rother
These map publishers each cover the whole area (link to sheet lines in bracket):
Austrian flag along the way, at crossings route indicator signs with name and path number (grey signs in Vorarlberg, yellow signs in Tirol)
Crossing with another E-Path
Inns, guesthouses and pensions can be found at least every 20 – 30 km outside the Alps and every half a day in the alpine region. All publications listed above are pretty accurate when it comes to names and contact detail of possible places to stay. In the alpine region, mainly the German Alpine Association (DAV) maintains mountain huts where you can eat and sleep during summer. Some mountain huts offer self-supporting accommodation, some are basic shelters, others are quite comfortable. You can check out the equipment as well as capacity and other important information at: https://www.alpenverein.de/DAV-Services/Huettensuche/
You might consider a membership with Germany’s or Austria’s Alpine Association, as there are significant discounts on accommodation and it includes an insurance package (emergency transport, helicopter transport, etc. …). More information: www.alpenverein.de or www.alpenverein.at. Active memberships in any other east-alpine alpine association (Switzerland, South Tyrol) are usually accepted as well.
You don’t need alpine equipment along the “Voralpenweg” in Vorarlberg, but you will reach medium alpine territory (mainly below forest line).
In Tirol, alpine hiking equipment is required. Climbing gear is not necessary along the marked E5 path. Weatherproof hiking equipment is mandatory, as there can be snowstorms at any time of the year.
In several decentral villages you won’t find a grocery shop anymore, so you rely on your host/hut from time to time. It is usually no problem to buy sandwiches from the breakfast buffet (“lunch package”). Usually you have a chance to get warm food once a day.
Bregenz is easy to reach by train. The next airports is Altenrhein. Most hikers who want to cross the alps start in Oberstdorf (Bayern), which can be reached by train as well.
Between the major cities though you will mostly rely on busses. Hikers use shuttles to overcome the street section in Pitztal. There is a cable car to get from Zams (767 m) to Venet peak (2212 m).
Martin Marktl, Austrian Alpine Association (ÖAV)