Austrian Alps: Innsbruck to Salzburg
22 June – 6 July 2013
Travel centuries old trade routes over breathtaking mountain passes and thru valleys connecting Tirolean villages as we ride in a land famous for family meals, colorful flower boxes, music, Alpine skiing and hiking. Traversing Tirol, Karnten, Steiermark climbs and valleys between Innsbruck and Salzburg.
The Tyrol! This very name evokes to the eye a magnificent vision of consummate earthly beauty: emerald valleys through which wild mountain torrents rush untamed, ancient towns and tranquil villages resting on meadowy slopes; above the villages, dark forests, white, grey and red rock faces towering up from their shade; above these rocky pinnacles, a shimmering, sparkling awning of ice and eternal snow…” this is our destination and our journey. Known from mediaeval times as the “land in the mountains” the Tyrol is today comprised of three distinct regions; Tirol, Sud-Tirol, and Osttirol.
The mountains beckon us to explore the high peaks and glaciers of the Grossglockner-Tauern, Lienzer Dolomiten, Kitzbuhler Alps and Zillertaler Alps and the Hohe Touern National Park. The Hohe Tauern is comprised of primeval landscape and Alpine farming culture; it is by far the largest nature protection area in Central Europe. The Hohe Tauern National Park extends over vast expanses of pristine Alpine landscapes – glaciers, rock faces, plant communes, glacial and mountain streams – and summer pastures that have been carefully tended for hundreds of years. Three Austrian provinces – Carinthia, Salzburg and Tyrol – share the park; the inter-province nature protection area represents a mission for the present and responsibility for the future. These provinces will be the backdrop for our two week cycling tour of Austria with a bit of the Julian Alps in Slovenia too.
As we traverse the Inns, Drau, Pongau and Gail river valleys we are treated to sights that remind us of the past and point us to the future. We invite you to join us for this very special exploration of the culture, heritage, flavors and sights of the Austrian Alps – Tirol and OstTirol. Carinthia occupies a favoured geographical situation on the southern side of the Austrian Alps in the Alps-Adriatic region, so it is especially spoiled by the sun and enjoys a mild, yet snow-filled, winter climate. And of course this also has an effect on the people who live here. So it is no surprise that Carinthians are regarded as being especially fun-loving. Arrive and come alive – nowhere else is this promise fulfilled with more relish than in Carinthia.
Finally we will arrive in Salzburg, one of the most popular destinations for visitors. Castles, cathedrals, Sound of Music, Mozart and Steigl brewery all create a diversion to suit a host of interests. From ski resorts, national parks, cyclepaths, delicate pastries, glaciated peaks or cooking typical of Austria there is sure to be something for everyone on our ride from Innsbruck to Salzburg.
Day 1 – Innsbruck arrival 22 June 2013
We will meet you in Innsbruck for the short transfer to our hotel in the heart of Innsbruck’s historical town center. After assembly of bikes and settling into our rooms we will go for a ride along the Inns river thru berry fields and farmland to shake out the kinks of air travel.
Day 2 – Zell am Ziller 70km, 600m
An urban ride along the Innsradweg downstream takes away from the hustle of this traditional tradecenter and onto the farm roads above the Inns. The pastoral vistas of the Bavarian Alps are postcard perfect. The narrow roads leading to the high meadows are tranquil with only the sounds of the bells on grazing cattle and distant cascading streams. The Zillertal is one of many glacial valleys (tal) where locals love to ski. Our hotel in Zell am Ziller will welcome us with typical Austrian hospitality and delicious meals.
Day 3 – Bruck am den Grossglockner 92km, 1100m
Leaving the Zillertal below us we climb over the Gerloss pass amid meadows, streams and peaks to begin our long descending ride along the Salzach river thru Krimmel, Mittersill and Kaprun. The stunning Krimmeler Wasserfalle is the fifth highest waterfall in the world at 380m; enjoy the views and snap a few images. Mittersill is the strategically located near major ski destinations, so it is natural that the Blizzard ski company is headquartered in town. Most of the ride after Krimmel utilizes paved farm paths thru pastures until we arrive in Bruck. Here we’ll stay in a historic coach house at the confluence of the Salzach and Zeller-Fusch rivers.
Day 4 – Lienz 82km, 2400m or 115km, 2900m
The stunning Grossglockner High Alpine road will challenge your legs and lungs, and thrill your heart with the stunning vistas of glaciers, waterfalls, and imposing peaks. From the entrance of the National Park the average incline of 9.7% for 12km is the biggest challenge or our tour, but perhaps the most visually rewarding.
Day 5 – Lienz loops
A rest day may be the perfect antidote to a megaday of climbing, so we scheduled a stayover day in the wonderful Karnten town of Lienz to relax, walk or pedal easily to nearby sites. Of course, for those who just cannot get enough riding we have a few options available that will take us into the HohenTauren. Either way, the day is yours to explore and enjoy Lienz; the heart of the Lienzer Dolomitien.
Day 6 – Tropolach 60km, 400m or 102k, 1500m
Karnten (Carinthia) is a province of Austria that is off-the-radar for non-Austrians. Yet, it is well known for spas, resorts, hiking, cycling and great food. We propose two diverse routes that converge in the Gailtal valley leading to Hermagor. And, we will experience the luxuries of an Austrian Spa for the next couple of days. The experience is uniquely Austrian; the “bar” for luxury lodgings will certainly be raised. Enjoy!!
Day 7 – Tropolach loops
A spa day or a riding day? Hmmm…maybe a leisurely ride in the morning and the spa in the afternoon is your choice
today. There is truly something for everyone in Hermagor.
Day 8 – KranjskaGora 92km, 2305m or 62km, 615m
Slovenia and the Julian Alps-Adriatic are our destination at the end of the day. Route options abound; river valley routes or alpine mountain passes, it’s your choice. The three lands of Austria, Italia and Slovenia come together in Tarvisio; all of our route options will merge in the center of town. A recently completed cyclepath takes us off the more trafficked roads as we cross into Slovenia and pedal downstream to KranjskaGora. Our host is a former professional mountain biker who now manages his family’s hotel. As a skier and cyclist Gregor knows exactly what we need and appreciate for our visit. Welcome home!
Day 9 – KranjskaGora loops
Today we traverse the Julian Alps and the Triglav National Park over a road that was built in the tracks of ancient traders between the Adriatic and Black Seas. Cobblestones, dramatic peaks, light traffic and steep roads are features of our route. Do not worry about the steep part too much; it is mostly on the downhill side of the park. We will once again ride thru Tarviasio for our return to KranjskaGora.
Day 10 – Tamsweg 127km, 1839m
We leave our wonderful Slovenia hosts today and return to Austria over a small pass with a very steep descent to Villach. Riding thru Villach highlights the varied cultures, colors and cuisine of this region. The ride is one of longer ones and also one of our more diverse topographic journeys. Many places of interest provide an insight into Tamsweg’s history. The pilgrimage church of St Leonhard, the parish church St Jakobus, the Mur Valley railway, the Taurach railway, the Lungau Local History Museum in Tamsweg, the historic Marketsquare, old town houses. The Marketsquare is a natural gathering place for post-ride refreshments and story telling. Fun!!
Day 11 – Schladming 93km, 1623m
We continue our journey toward Salzburg on quiet roads, rolling terrain amid grazing sheep and cattle. Climbing over the Sokl Pass takes us to the Dachstein Alps with ski resorts seemingly around every corner. Schladming is world famous in the ski world for it’s annual World Cup Night Slalom races. The old town is perfectly suited for relaxing at a sidewalk cafe to enjoy local taste treats.
Day 12 – Schladming loop 65km, 1200m
The Dachstein mountains form the backdrop of our riding exploration of villages and ski towns. The Pongau region is home to one of the most prominent ski manufacturing companies-Atomic at Altenmarkt. Our route includes quaint villages, classic cathedrals and grazing cattle. OR A tram ride high above Schladming to hike for lunch. You might also enjoy lift-served mountainbiking.
Day 13 – Strobl 112km, 907m
Mozart balls, Sound of Music, Salzkammergut lakes region…our tour switches gears as we leave ski resorts behind in favor of lakes and hills. I discovered a “secret” passage without cars between two valleys while scouting roads. It is as if we ride thru a portal in time from the glamour of skiing to the serenity of hiking along lakeshores. We too will sleep by the shores of the Wolfgangsee after riding along the shores of the Hallstater See. Truly a picturesque day of cycling.
Day 14 – Salzburg 56km, 722m or 85km, 1542m
Mozart balls are everywhere in Salzburg, the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Castles, cathedrals and music abound in Salzburg. Of course the Sound of Music featured villages and churches near Salzburg. Walking thru history is the perfect end to our tour.
Day 15 – Salzburg departures 6 July 2013
Departures direct from Salzburg or transfer to Munich or Innsbruck for flights the next day..
Day 16 – Innsbruck or Munich departures 7 July 2013
Comfortable family operated Bu0026amp;Bs, inns and hotels well situated to enjoy local culture and flavors.
Group breakfasts and dinners featuring typical local flavors and dishes prepared individually for our enjoyment. Breakfasts provided by our lodging partners. Dinners generally include a variety of choices for each course (starter, first course, main course, dessert); paired with wines, beer and after dinner coffee. Most dinners served from the kitchens of our hotels, others taken in nearby restaurants.
15 nights, 15 breakfasts, 13 dinners, daily road snacks/picnics, maps and route descriptions, luggage transfers, on-the-road ride guides, van support (sag wagon).
Lunches, 2 dinners, tips u0026amp; gratuities, airfare, museum entries, trams or lifts, trip insurance
$4500 double occupancy per person
$5250 single occupancy per person (3 spaces possible)