The Way of St John – the Johannesweg – winds its way for 52 miles (84 kilometers) between the gently rolling hills and the expansive, mystical pine forests of the Mühlviertel region: a pilgrimage route with twelve checkpoints that was established in 2012. Small yellow signs mark this route through the unspoiled countryside, dotted with only a few traditional farmhouses. You immediately sense that this is a special area. The rivers and streams follow their ancient courses through the countryside, and the woods seem endless. The landscape radiates a remarkable energy that lets you immerse yourself in the experience.
The perfect timeout
The Johannesweg is a circular trail that passes about 6 sleepy hamlets in Upper Austria. There is a lot to discover along the route - like summit crosses, scenic meadows, chapels, and castle ruins - but the central purpose behind any pilgrimage is spending time with yourself. The “refuge of the pilgrimage” allows you – from a safe distance – to look at your life and to evaluate, review and improve it; to forget the everyday worries and, above all, to get to know yourself better. For many pilgrims, their journey represents a fresh start in a new chapter of their life.
The kindness of the locals
Kindness and goodwill are also hallmarks of this pilgrimage, because even the locals who live along the Way of St John radiate exceptional warmth and friendliness. The approximately 30 inns that welcome hikers to spend the night are run by enthusiastic hosts, who want guests to become part of the local culture. Every time you are greeted with a hearty Grüss dich! from off in the distance, you are spurred on to forget your tired feet and keep persevering.
The Way of St John takes three to four days to complete and offers the perfect opportunity to spontaneously flee your daily routine and give yourself a timeout.