When Is the Best Time
The via ferrata Drachenwand is one of the most spectacular climbs with scenic views of Mondsee – Moon Lake. This climbing path is located at Mondsee in St. Lorenz, a half an hour's drive east of Salzburg. I added lots of pictures and details from our recent climb in 2022.
The location is breathtaking, and so is the via ferrata offering excellent views. Most picturesque is the suspension bridge.
The best time to climb this via ferrata is from May to October, during days without precipitation. Don’t climb this via ferrata when rain or a thunderstorm is forecasted because it is an almost vertical climb to the summit of Drachenwand - Dragon Wall and also a steep alpine path back to the trailhead and car park.
The wall of this mountain and the trail back is slippery when wet, even in dry conditions, some parts of the wall are slippery because of the scuffed rocks from the many climbers.
The best daytime to climb the Drachenwand via ferrata is the morning for two reasons; first, to avoid crowds and waiting times behind less experienced climbers, and second, the climb is even more demanding during the midday heat. It is an exposed climb with very little shade. Drachenwand is a popular via ferrata and well-frequented during the day.
Alternatively, you can do the via ferrata in the early afternoon in summer with plenty of daylight as we did. Crowds were bearable in the afternoon.
Parking Drachenwand (Google Maps)
It is a huge parking lot close to Gasthof Drachenwand with adequate spaces; even on bank holidays and weekends, a few spaces were left. The smaller first parking is for free, the bigger on the meadow requests a fee of 3 Euro from 6 am until 10 pm. No overnight parking!
I will give you a detailed climbing description also for the return alpine route. When I tried to figure out how difficult the trail – via ferrata is and especially the way back, it was quite an effort, and, in the end, I have to confess the climb is more challenging than often mentioned.
Drachenloch - Dragon's Hole
Don't miss out on the Drachenloch after the summit when you start the descent. Most hikers and climbers miss this excellent picture spot.
If you wish to climb the Drachenwand via ferrata in autumn, consider the cold temperature in the morning, and most of the via ferrata is in shade, and the alpine path back is sunny. Don't hike in wet conditions! The hike back is as strenuous as the climb to the summit of 1.060 above sea level.
Hiking Tip - Alternative
An alternative hike which also offers spectacular views of the four lakes is the mountain Schafberg, the prominent mountain which you see from the Dragon Wall or Drachenwand. The trail leads through a forest and is steep ascending, and a bit slippery after rain. However, this track is much safer, and you have the opportunity to take the mountain train back. The trail is 12 km long, has an elevation gain of 1.200 m and takes 4 hours up and 3 hours down.
More about Drachenwand and Foodie tips below.
- A helmet is essential because of the risk of rockfall
- Via ferrata climbing gear
- Gloves to protect your fingers from the metal ropes
- Shoes with excellent grip
- Sunscreen, especially in summer.
Best Months to Visit
Location and Tips
The Drachenwand – Dragon Wall via ferrata is truly one of the most scenic climbs we ever did. Our friend Milan from the Czech Republic recommended the tour to us, and it was a fantastic day in the mountains.
Climbing Details and Route
- Difficulty: moderately difficult – Not for beginners
- Elevation Gain: 486 m from 575 m to 1060 m elevation Drachenwand summit
- Ascent: at least 2 hours – it took us 2.15 hours with a couple of photo stops
- Descent: It is a steep alpine path back to the trailhead and may be demanding after the more than two hours climb. Decent 842 m elevation loss plus ascent 95 m
- Categorized: Mostly A/B and B/C and one part C if you choose the easier part with the suspension bridge. We would categorize this via ferrata mostly C.
Honestly, this climb is tougher than often mentioned. I highly recommend this exceptional via ferrata but first, hike an easier trail to acclimate. Since we live close to the Alps, we easily hike and climb such trails but not before we moved here.
Don’t underestimate the demanding climb on vertical parts, and on the way back, there are many steep ladders to get down. We overpassed several exhausted hikers on the way back.
Drachenwand Via Ferrata Climbing Description
It is a short trail of 20 minutes to get to Drachenwand's entry point. The climbing route is excellently marked and separated into 20 parts. These markers give you an idea of how long it still takes during the tour.
Most of this via ferrata is a steep climb and starts with two ladders.
Climbing this via ferrata works only if you do not have any fear of heights. It is a steep and exposed path up to the summit.
The hiking route and walking path are well marked. Don't continue here into the canyon instead, turn right and follow the sign.
However, the most strenuous and tricky part comes after the suspension bridge.
It is a popular via ferrata and there are other climbers around, especially after the easier part, which leads to the right and above the suspension bridge.
This sharp rock is another tricky point which you have to conquer.
You get rewarded with a breathtaking view from the top of the Drachenwand - dragon wall down to Mondsee - moon lake. However, the way back is as strenuous as the via ferrata.
You need a proper meal or high-energy food to concentrate on the alpine path back to the car park. IMO the hike is, in parts, even harder because you are no longer secured by your climbing gear. When you leave the top of the Dragon Wall, roughly after 5 minutes, is the other highlight the Dragon Hole easily overlooked.
Then continue on the exposed and narrow path for about 2 hours.
This is the best view of all on the hike back. You see other climbers on the via ferrata and on the top of the sharp rock to the left is the suspension bridge we crossed. However, it is still an hour back to the parking.
The alpine path is steep and slippery in parts, and a section was broken off by a landslide.
It takes less than half an hour now to get back to the parking lot or the restaurant mentioned below.
My Tips for Mondsee – What to Do After the Via Ferrata
By chance, we had an excellent dinner after the climb at Gasthof Drachenwand, which you pass by shortly before you reach the car park.
The food quality and taste were exceptional, and we went there for lunch again and also in autumn. I highly recommend reserving a table during the colder time of the year when the beer garden is closed. The menu changes seasonally. In autumn, there is wild boar goulash available (photo of the dish from our last visit) or venison fillet but vegan too and try the Apfelstrudel or Tiramisu. (This is not a paid ad – it is an outstanding restaurant with fast service and attentive staff).
Where to Stay: Hotels and Camping
The entire area is popular and busy. Therefore we chose the closest and quietly located campground just 2 km by bike to the trailhead. We definitely come back to the super clean, nice, and quiet camping with a view of the Dragon wall - Drachenwand and a wonderful jetty to go swimming. Austria Camp Mondsee (This is not an ad just one of my recommendations).
The area is called Salzburger Land and is famous for its crystal-clear lakes. The lakes Mondsee (by booking.com - Thanks, by booking via my website to support my work) and Wolfgangsee are warm, and Attersee is much colder, but all are magnificent for swimming. You can easily spend a weekend or an entire week in this region.
Some pictures are provided by my friend Milan.
Please get in touch with me if you wish to use any of my photos, but I will take action against picture theft.