Family Hiking Area Thurntaler

Hiking in front of the Dolomites

The Thurntaler (2,404 m) is one of the local mountains of Außervillgraten and is a popular excursion destination in summer, especially for hikers. In winter the Thurntaler is better known as the ski resort Sillian-Hochpustertal and is a popular family ski area. The Thurntaler Rast restaurant, starting point for many hikes, can be reached in summer as well as in winter via a toll-free mountain road directly from the centre of Außervillgraten. Alternatively, you can also take the 6-seater cable car from Sillian to the mountain. The Thurntaler offers easy to medium-difficulty hiking routes suitable for all age groups. Due to the favourable sunshine, the Thurntaler also offers optimal thermal conditions for paragliding and hang-gliding.

The Thurntaler in Summer

Thurntaler | Außervillgraten | Villgratentalv

Family hike to the 3 lakes

Starting point for the hike to the 3 lakes (approx. 1h walking time) is the car parking at the Thurntaler Rast restaurant. From here you follow the slightly ascending gravel path to the panorama restaurant Gadein. From there the path leads to the right, above the panorama restaurant and slightly ascending to the 3 lakes and the big storage reservoir. While children splash around a little at the “Schafsee”, “Klammsee” or “Kuhsee” lake, parents can enjoy a wonderful panoramic view of the Dolomites and Carnic Alps in the south and the Villgrater mountains in the north.

Thurntaler Summit Hike

The hike to the Thurntaler summit (approx. 2.5h walking time) is the ideal starting point for a hiking holiday in Außervillgraten. From the parking place of the Thurntaler Rast restaurant you follow the gravel path up to the panorama restaurant Gadein. From here the path continues to the left to the shepherd’s hut on the Outer High Alp. At Alpeggele (just above the shepherd’s hut) you then climb up to the right along trail 7 to the Thurntaler summit (2,407 m). The summit offers a breathtaking 360° view of the Villgrater mountains, the surrounding valleys, the Carnic Alps, the Gailtal Alps and the Sesto & Lienz Dolomites. The descent is via the 3 lakes back to the Thurntaler Rast restaurant.

Thurntaler | Außervillgraten | Villgratental
Thurntaler | Außervillgraten | Villgratental

Thurntaler Round Hiking Trail

The Thurntaler round hiking trail (approx. 5h walking time) is awarded as a Tyrolean Jubilee Trail and is very popular with guests and locals, especially because of the breathtaking mountain panorama. The round trail leads from the car park of the Thurntaler Rast restaurant in the direction of the panoramic restaurant Gadein and further along trail 10b to the Outer High Alp (Sillian) with a fantastic panoramic view over the Pustertal valley and the Sesto Dolomites. Path 10 continues over green alpine meadows to the mountain ridge. From there it goes down to the Hintere Hochalmhütte on the Villgratental valley side. Here you follow path 10b over the Hofilet Alm back to the Thurntaler Rast restaurant.

Herz Ass Mountain Panorama Trail – Stage 5

The 5th stage of the Herz-Ass hike is called the Grenzlandweg, which leads from the village of Kalkstein in Innervillgraten over flower-covered mowers up to the Bonner Höhenweg and from there on towards the Thurntaler. The view of the famous “Three Peaks” of the Sesto Dolomites is one of the highlights of this route. With this impressive sight you almost forget that once raging border fights were fought here during the First World War. Even today you will find unmissable and admonishing remains in the landscape. Before you choose the descent to Thurntaler Rast restaurant and Ausservillgraten at the turnoff, you reach the Thurntaler lake. This mountain lake is closely connected with the legend of Thurntaler Urban.

Herz Ass Gebirgspanoramaweg | Außervillgraten | Villgratental

Die Sage vom Thurntaler Urban

The Thurntaler Urban was a poor day labourer in the district Unterwalden in Außervillgraten, who lived a miserable life with his wife Urschl. In order to earn some extra money, they collected medicinal herbs in the mountains and tried to sell them at the market in Sillian. But the business was getting worse every day, because everyone preferred to buy from the foreign herbalists. Also the attempt to peddle the goods from farm to farm failed miserably. Everywhere the couple was thrown out at the door and gate. Urban was seized by pure anger and he swore revenge. On the way home he cursed so long and loudly until the devil appeared before him. Urban screamed: “You can’t help me either, black devil! Get you gone!”. The Devil cried out: “Whatever you want, you shall have everything, if you give me your soul in return!” Without thinking, Urban agreed to the deal and signed with his blood. From this time on all farmers had to suffer badly and Urban had to pay back. By his devilish power he harmed everyone, where and how he could. Many were deprived of house and farm, belongings and property. The people, however, noticed who the culprit and was responsible for all evil, and chased him away. Urban and Urschl fled to the Thurntaler lake, where they lived in a rockhole. But there too he indulged in his revenge: When he made waves in the dark deep water with his stick, a wild storm quickly came up and caused great damage in the whole area. Whenever lightning and thunder raged in the sky, Urban and his wife rode through the air in a wooden milk bowl. The infernal one even rode with them at times. One day, Urban picked up a pick and shovel and began to dig up the shore to drain the Thurntal Lake, so that all of Sillian would be flooded and buried. A shepherd boy who happened to be passing by saw this and sounded the alarm. The people hurried to the church, took refuge in prayer and rang the bells of the “Great Spoonbill”. Urban heard the ringing which broke his infernal power. He cried out in agony: “Because I heard the bull roar in Sillian, I can’t go on!” Full of rage, he was the shovel far from him. Even today nothing grows where it fell down and has been a black spot ever since. But Urban didn’t give up and kept on driving more pieces until one day the arm of justice took him and Urschl and put them both in a hole. Finally he was hanged and they were beheaded before the bodies were burned and their ashes scattered to the four winds.

Thurntaler Urban | Außervillgraten | Villgratental

A larger-than-life wooden art figure of Thurntaler Urban can be admired in the Panorama Restaurant Gadein in the Urban Bar.

Refreshment Facilities

After an extended hike, the physical well-being should not be neglected. The innkeeper Hermann Ortner and his team at the Thurntaler Rast restaurant and at the panorama restaurant Gadein take care of this.

Thurntaler Rast Restaurant

Thurntaler Rast | Außervillgraten | Villgratental

The Thurntaler Rast restaurant is situated at an altitude of 1,978 m and can be reached via the toll-free mountain road from Außervillgraten. In summer the Thurntaler Rast restaurant is an insider culinary tip and a popular destination for guests and locals alike. Typical East Tyrolean specialities are served in the cosy guest rooms or on the sun terrace with a magnificent view. In addition, a small playground promises fun for children and never lets even small guests get bored.

Panorama Restaurant Gadein

Panoramarestaurant Gadein | Außervillgraten | Villgratental

The Panorama Restaurant Gadein is located directly at the top station of the Sillian cable car and is known for its excellent and traditional cuisine. The Gadein team offers its guests homemade pastries, Schlipfkrapfen, Tiroler Gröstl, Kasspatzl’n or Kaiserschmarrn as well as many other delicious dishes on the sun terrace with a panoramic view!  In summer, a family festival is held every Wednesday at the Panorama Restaurant Gadein. After an easy guided hike, a varied programme for young and old awaits guests at the starting point!

Webcam Thurntaler

Webcam Bergstation Sesselbahn Thurntaler
Webcam Bergstation 6er-Sesselbahn Thurntaler mit Blick auf die Villgrater Berge und Lienzer Dolomiten.
Webcam Sesselbahn Außervillgraten
Webcam Bergstation Sesselbahn Ausservillgraten mit Blick Richtung Gadein, Karnischer Kamm und Sextner Dolomiten.

Location Information


Thurntaler Rast Restaurant

Fam. Hermann Ortner
Außervillgraten 250
9931 Außervillgraten

P: +43 (0)4843 5580
F: +43 (0)4843 20080
Mobil: +43 (0)664 5110368

Thurntaler Rast P: +43 (0)4843 5243
Gadein P: +43 (0)4842 6320

Tourist Information

Mühlgasse 11
9900 Lienz, Austria
P: +43 50 212 212

Video – High above the Thurntaler

The Thurntaler in Winter

Ski Resort Sillian - Hochpustertal

Lots of sunshine, ski slopes above the tree line, a fun park and a children’s area – despite its relatively small size the ski centre Sillian in the Hochpustertal valley offers everything that is also offered in larger ski areas.

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