From Kappl to Ischgl

Stage 3: the smuggler’s stage

There are two variations of the smuggler’s stage: a moderately difficult and a difficult one – without any trails. No matter which one you choose: this hike leads you from Austria to Switzerland and back. And it’s incredibly beautiful. 

Details about the smuggler’s stage 

  • walking time: 9.5 hours 
  • distance: 21 kilometres 
  • difference in altitude – ascent: 2,000 metres 
  • difference in altitude – descent: 1,800 metres 
  • level of difficulty: moderate / or: difficult 
  • options for a stop: Visnitz Alm 
  • parking options: parking ground See and Kappl cable cars, park deck Kappl village, Volksbank parking garage, Silvretta parking ground, parking garage Ischgl 


You would like to find out more about the classification of the stages and the hiking trails in and around Ischgl? Read more about the easy, moderately difficult and difficult hiking routes at the Paznaun! 

Route: from Kappl to Ischgl 

  • Starting point: from Kappl, follow the signpost “Samnaun” 
  • after 1.5 hours, you’ll reach the Visnitz Alm at 2,250 metres above sea level and, after another 40 minutes or so, you’ll encounter a footpath – the actual smuggler’s route 
  • at the end of the Visnitz valley, you’ll walk towards Samnaun past the lower and upper Zollhütte (toll hut)
  • a narrow and steep path leads up to 2,694 metres above sea level to the eastern Visnitzjoch – from there, you’ll head over to Switzerland above the Alp Bella at 2,400 metres above sea level 
  • continue below the Muttersattel, past the lakes towards the Flimjoch
  • alternative route for experienced alpinists: from the eastern Visnitzjoch, across the ridge along the state line towards the western Visnitzjoch – duration: approx. 45 minutes; over steep and rocky hillsides without trails and about 200 metres of boulders down to the lakes and the signposted path towards the Flimjoch at 2,757 metres above sea level. Note: The alternative route can only be hiked on good weather days and by experienced mountaineers! The descent towards the lakes doesn’t have any trails! 
  • once you’ve reached the Flimjoch via the upper Vellilalpe at 2,061 metres above sea level, follow the signposted trail down into the valley towards Ischgl
  • tip for sore muscles: from the Flimjoch, you can reach the Idalp within an hour – from there, you can float down to Ischgl with the Fimbabahn and Silvrettabahn cable cars …

Stage details as a download  

Download the route description via GPX Track onto your smartphone or tablet and find out more about the smuggler’s stage. 

Download: GPX Track Paznaun High Route – all stages
Download: GPX Track Paznaun High Route – stage 3 
Checklist Long-distance hiking (PDF-Download)

Lookout and photo points along the smuggler’s stage 

The Visnitz valley is wildly romantic and deserted – take a breather and enjoy nature to the fullest. 

Well-prepared for the hiking adventure! 

The smuggler’s stage from Austria to Switzerland and back really packs quite a punch! Are you prepared? In the long-distance hiking checklist, you’ll find lots of helpful tips and advice for this hike from Kappl to Ischgl. 

Hike in the tracks of the smugglers of yore. If you’ve completed the smuggler’s circuit on skis already, then you know how fascinating it is! Tie your hiking boots and let’s go!