Weg des Buches Pilgrim Way

Cycling and hiking trail from Passau to Ramsau am Dachstein

Hike in the footsteps of Protestant Bible smugglers from past centuries. This is made possible by the pilgrimag way “Weg des Buches”. The pilgrimage route starts as a cycling and hiking trail in Passau and leads over 29 daily stages to Carinthia. The pilgrims follow the paths along which smugglers brought bibles, hymn books and devotional books from Bavaria to Austria. Detailed information about the tour can be found in the hiking guide with the title “Weg des Buches”. Offers, numerous descriptions of hiking routes, places to stop and stay overnight.

The route starts in Passau and leads to Ebensee in five daily stages. From there the Bible smuggling trail starts on the Soleweg via Bad Goisern, past the old cave meeting points of the secret Protestants to Hallstatt and Gosau, then on the Bibelsteig over the Steiglpass to Ramsau am Dachstein and on to Schladming. The other tour locations are Tamsweg, Ramingstein, Feld a. S./Afritz, Bad Bleiberg to the end of the path in Arnoldstein.

The (suggested) 29 daily stages, five cycling tours and 24 hiking days describe a thematic long-distance hiking trail on existing cycling and hiking trail networks.


In 1521 miners, craftsmen and merchants brought Luther’s writings to Austria. Nobles joined the Reformation movement. At the end of the 16th century, with the Counter-Reformation, systematic persecution of the Austrian Protestants and a re-Catholicization of the churches and communities began. Lutheran teachers and preachers were expelled, followers of Lutheran teaching were denounced and some were deported. 

In Ramsau am Dachstein the protestant movement survived. Worship services in secret places (Moarhof-Tenn, Predigtstuhl) according to the “Lutheran style” and in their language. Sermon books, hymn books and Luther Bibles were smuggled into Ramsau via winding paths from southern Germany and hidden from the Catholic captors. A few exemplares from this period have been preserved today. With the enactment of the Tolerance Patent on October 13, 1781 by Emperor Joseph II, 150 years of secret Protestantism came to an end. Almost the entire population of Ramsau then declared themselves “akatholisch”, as the Protestants were officially called at the time.

For more information see: www.wegdesbuches.eu