Salzburg to the Adriatic Cycling Holiday

A fabulous cycling odyssey from Salzburg in Austria along the glorious Alpe-Adria Cycle Trail to Grado near Trieste on the Adriatic coast. Mostly traffic-free cycling with jaw-droppingly dramatic scenery through the heart of the Alps.

The 410 kilometre Alpe-Adria Cycle Trail is fast becoming one of Europe's most popular leisure cycling routes. Starting from the historic town of Salzburg, the route leads riders along scenic cycle paths through the Austrian regions of Salzburgerland and Corinthia before crossing into Friuli in Italy and finishing in the fishing village of Grado not far from Trieste on the Adriatic Coast.

Alpe Adria Cycle Path - Chiusaforte

Recent additions and improvements to the route have made it more attractive to leisure cyclists and, considering it bisects the Alps, the going is actually pretty easy, particularly in Italy. The scenery is the star of the show of course and throughout the route you will find yourself stopping to appreciate the alpine splendour that surrounds you. For the vast majority of the route you will be cycling on dedicated cycle paths or quiet country lanes which means you can relax and drink in the views without worrying about traffic.

Besides the scenery, the different cultural and culinary flavours of each region make this a highly enjoyable and memorable route.

This is a moderate route and as such will suit regular cyclists who are happy to take on a few climbs along the way. The first two days in Austria are quite challenging but once you cross into Italy the going is a lot easier.

Salzburg to the Adriatic Cycling Holiday

A fabulous cycling odyssey from Salzburg in Austria along the glorious Alpe-Adria Cycle Trail to Grado near Trieste on the Adriatic coast. Mostly traffic-free cycling with jaw-droppingly dramatic scenery through the heart of the Alps.

The 410 kilometre Alpe-Adria Cycle Trail is fast becoming one of Europe's most popular leisure cycling routes. Starting from the historic town of Salzburg, the route leads riders along scenic cycle paths through the Austrian regions of Salzburgerland and Corinthia before crossing into Friuli in Italy and finishing in the fishing village of Grado not far from Trieste on the Adriatic Coast.

Alpe Adria Cycle Path - Chiusaforte

Recent additions and improvements to the route have made it more attractive to leisure cyclists and, considering it bisects the Alps, the going is actually pretty easy, particularly in Italy. The scenery is the star of the show of course and throughout the route you will find yourself stopping to appreciate the alpine splendour that surrounds you. For the vast majority of the route you will be cycling on dedicated cycle paths or quiet country lanes which means you can relax and drink in the views without worrying about traffic.

Besides the scenery, the different cultural and culinary flavours of each region make this a highly enjoyable and memorable route.

This is a moderate route and as such will suit regular cyclists who are happy to take on a few climbs along the way. The first two days in Austria are quite challenging but once you cross into Italy the going is a lot easier.

Itinerary

This route is classed as moderate, you'll be covering about 60 kms each day and on the two hardest days you will climb around 500 meters in total. You'll mainly be cycling on well-maintained cycle paths and quiet roads. On a few short sections, where there is no alternative you will also ride on busier roads

Day 1 : Arrive Salzburg

Check in to your hotel and then spend the rest of day exploring this small but fascinating city. Your welcome briefing and bike handover will take place around 17:30.

Salzburg must-sees include the Getreidegasse, a marvellous, old-world shopping street where ornate, wrought iron signs depict what is being sold within. Here you can also visit the birthplace of the city’s most famous son, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart lived at No. 9 until he was 17 years old. The city’s most prominent landmark, the Hohensalzburg Fortress, is also worth visiting and don’t worry about the climb as there’s a funicular railway to whisk you to the top. Of course the city is also inextricably linked with the ever popular movie “The Sound of Music”, starring Julie Andrews, and tours are offered taking in the sites and landmarks that featured in the film.

Day 2 : Salzburg - St. Johann
40 miles/65km

Your first day’s cycling leads you south, out of the city and along the beautiful Salzach Valley. The wide green valley is bordered by towering peaks and dotted with pretty alpine towns and villages. The riverside cycle path is charming and the scenery sublime. Stop to admire the thundering waterfall at Golling before riding through the narrow Salzach Canyon with its steep pine-clad flanks. As the valley widens once more you’ll see the 900 year old Hohenwerfen Castle sitting high on its own hill above the village of Werfen. Nearby you will also find the largest ice cave in the world and we highly recommend a visit (more info eisriesenwelt.at ). Your first day of riding ends in the alpine town of St. Johann where you will spend the night.

Day 3 : St. Johann - Mölltal Valley
37 miles/60km plus train

You continue your journey south on the riverside cycle path today. Shortly after setting off you may wish to make a small detour to the impressive Liechtensteinklamm, a deep and narrow gorge through which a wooden walk-way has been constructed for safe viewing. A little further on you bid the Salzach River ‘auf wiedersehen‘ and turn into the picturesque Gastein Valley. Near the end of the valley you arrive in the beautiful spa town of Badgastein with a natural waterfall tumbling through its centre. A little further along the road you arrive in the hamlet of Böckstein and here you board a train for the 11 minute journey through the Tauern Tunnel to the Mölltal Valley. The trains run every hour so there is no mad rush to make a particular departure. You are now on the sunny side of the Alps, having just passed under the backbone of the famous mountain range, and you’ll spend the night in a charming alpine town a little further down the valley.

Day 4 : Mölltal Valley - Villach
43 miles/70 km

An easy day today as you descend gently along the Mölltal Valley . Charming villages, towering granite peaks, sparkling mountain streams and vivid green meadows create picturesque scenes that will live long in the memory. In the village of Kolbnitz you may wish to take a break and ascend to 1200m on the cogwheel railway for some lovely views across the valley. Follow the Drau River on it’s gentle descent, passingthe bustling town of Spital an der Drau. Your goal today is the large town of Villach located at the meeting point of four valleys. The weather tends to come from the south here and you may notice a distinctly mediterranean feel to the place. Enjoy a stroll through the lovely old-town centre or, if you’re still feeling active, head to nearby Lake Ossiach for more cycling, a walk or even a swim.

Day 5 : Villach – Venzone/Surroundings 37 miles/60 km + train ride

The day starts with a short train ride across the Italian border and up the valley to the town of Tarvisio. You can of course cycle this section of the Alpe Adria Cycle Path but be aware you will climb about 500 meters over a distance of 30 kilometres. Alighting in Tarvisio with your bike you begin a gentle descent along the the incredibly scenic Canale Valley following a winding alpine cycle path. From your bike you can marvel at the beauty of the Friulian alpine region with its towering peaks and extensive forests. Your destination today is the pretty alpine village of Venzone, or a village nearby.

Day 6 : Venzone/Surroundings - Udine 37 miles/60 km

Today's ride starts in the mountains but finishes in the lowland plains of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. As you bid the mountains goodbye we recommend stopping in the village of Gemona del Friuli to admire the majestic cathedral. Pressing on along the cycle path you will begin to see vineyards which belong to the region's small scale but high quality wine makers. Besides producing some nice Cabernet -Sauvignons and Merlots the region is also fast gaining a reputtion for its excellent Prosecco. Your destination today is the bustling city of Udine. After checking in to your hotel take a stroll through the winding historic streets of the old town to Piazza della Libertà with its gothic town hall.


Day 7 : Udine - Grado 34 miles/55 km

Leaving Udine you may begin to feel the warm Scirocco wind as the surrounding landscape changes once again. Canals, wetlands and reed beds line the route as you head towards the coast and the Gulf of Venice. Take time to stop in the Roman city of Aquileia to admire the ancient buildings before following the causeway road across the glistening lagoon to the historic fishing town of Grado, journey's end. Depending on the weather and your mood you may choose to head for the beach, the historic harbour or enjoy a lazy stroll along the narrow streets lined with tempting restaurants.

Day 8 : Departure

After breakfast it is time to head for home or your next adventure.

Bikes

On this tour you can choose between a regular bike, a regular Plus bike or an electric bike.

Regular bikes provided are modern alloy framed models with 21 speeds. The bikes come equipped with pannier, lock and a repair kit with pump.

The regular Plus bike offers a step up in terms of components (hydraulic Magura brakes HS 11, Shimano Deore XT) and the frame provides a more sporty riding position. High quality, suntour suspension forks ensure a comfortable ride on these bikes. The bikes come equipped with pannier, lock and a repair kit with pump.

Electric bikes are also available.

We suggest you bring your own helmet for safety and hygiene reasons. Alternatively, helmets for adults are available to buy (payable locally, €35). This must be advised at the time of booking.

Accommodation

Below you will find examples of the types of accommodation typically used on this tour. Please note that the hotels we book for you may differ slightly from those described but they will certainly be of a similar standard.

Superior: Good quality 3 and 4 star hotels.

Salzburg: Hotel Goldenes Theater

St. Johann: Brückenwirt

Mölltal Valley: Erlebnishotel Mölltal

Villach: Hotel Mosser

Venzone: Hotel Pittis (Osoppo)

Udine: Hotel Clocchiatti Next

Grado: Hotel Rialto

Local taxes

Some hotels have started to charge a local/tourist tax. These taxes are not included in the sale price of the tour and must be paid directly by you at check-in or checkout at the hotels. This fee varies and is ever changing but as a guide, you may be asked to pay between €1-€4 per person per night

Getting there

Fly to Salzburg airport and then take the regular public bus into the city. Alternatively you can also fly to Munich airport followed by a commuter train into the centre and then an intercity train to Salzburg – total journey time approx 2.5 hours.

At the end of the holiday you can fly home from Trieste Airport (also known as the Aeroporto Friuli-Venezia Giulia), which is just 11 miles from Grado. Other nearby airports include Venice Marco Polo (3hours) and Venice Treviso (3.5 hours).

Research flights from the UK here.

Research train times here.

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