Top 5 cycle routes in Austria

Tuesday, 27 March 2012 11:34 AM

Austria is home to some of the finest scenery in Europe, with towering alpine peaks and mountain lakes dotted around the landscape. As well as looking good in photos, this terrain is perfect for exploring by bike.

The popularity of cycling holidays and mountain biking expeditions means there is now a network of bicycle paths across Austria for visitors to tackle. There is something to suit riders of all ability levels, so there is sure to be a suitable setting for your break.

Danube Bike Trail

You will see plenty of people in cycle clothing on the banks of the mighty River Danube, as there are lots of car-free paths alongside it. Ride from Passau in Germany to Hainburg close to the border with Slovakia and you will get a taste of everything Austria has to offer.

The 197-mile route includes the capital Vienna and the city of Linz, and also runs past vineyards, castles and quaint traditional villages. It is one of the flattest routes in Austria, so is an excellent choice for less experienced riders.

Bike Trail Tirol

If you prefer mountain biking to more conventional cycling, Tirol is the perfect destination for your holiday. There is a 600-mile network of paths that stretches across the state and includes 88,500 ft of elevation as it heads over the Eastern Alps.

Tackling the whole thing is a huge undertaking, but you can choose to pull on your mountain bike gear and join the trail at any point. It is split into 32 separate one-day stages, which range from those suitable for leisure riders to ones that would test professionals.

Bike Trail Tirol has lots of information for visitors on its website, including suggested routes for one-week holidays. You can even download GPS data and elevation profiles for the stages to help you plan your trip.

Grenzland Cycle Path

This 140-mile trail from Kramesau to Arbesbach runs through rolling hills and woodland, and is surrounded by some of Austria's most idyllic scenery. It features a total of 2,200 ft of elevation, but the terrain is undulating rather than steep, so it is suitable for most cyclists.

As well as views of the Alps and the Danube Valley, you will see vast forests and traditional villages along the way. Among the landmarks en route are the abbey at Schlagl, the Anton Bruckner attractions in Windhaag and the Bad Leonfelden spa, where you can enjoy a relaxing mud bath.

Lake Constance

The Lake Constance cycle path is a 173-mile loop along the shores of this tranquil stretch of water. The route is relatively traffic-free and there are lots of good hotels along the way, so it is about as relaxing as it is possible for a cycling holiday to be.

Make sure you take the ferry to see the garden isle of Mainau and the 15th century church on Reichenau Island, as well as stopping to explore the town of Bregenz. There are also plenty of beaches on the lake's shore where you can relax or go for a swim.

Tauern Cycleway

This cycle route will take you into the heart of Salzburg and give you plenty of time to explore its collection of castles, churches and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart-related attractions. It also runs past some spectacular natural sights, including Krimml Waterfalls and Liechtenstein Gorge.

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