Active on Holiday Blog Tour report: Alpe Adria Cycle Path cycling holiday

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Tour report: Alpe Adria Cycle Path cycle tour

Read the day-by-day cycling experiences of one of our management team who went on the Alpe Adria Cycle Path cycling holiday in the latest instalment of our blog series.

To book this cycling holiday, head to the Alpe Adria Cycle Path page to learn more about the itinerary.

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Verena in Salzburg

Day 1: Leaving Salzburg's magnificent backdrop behind

My partner and I embarked on our journey on a Friday at the end of May as Austria reopened after the Covid lockdowns. We cycled a few kilometres from our hometown to Salzburg, where the first part of the Alpe Adria Cycle Path begins. I was excited and curious about this new experience and thrilled that I was able to get back out on tour

I have to say, even though Salzburg is practically my hometown - I live just a few kilometres away - the city never fails to captivate me. As we cycled along the banks of the Salzach River, with our bikes, gazing at the impressive Hohensalzburg Fortress and the enchanting old town, I couldn't help but feel a shiver of awe. Salzburg truly leaves a lasting impression.

Although I prefer cycling on more challenging paths, I thoroughly enjoyed the initial kilometres from Salzburg to Hallein because they propelled me towards the unknown. As expected, we didn't opt for luggage transfer on this tour since the cycling season had not yet begun. Instead, we completed the nearly 200-kilometre journey from Salzburg to Villach in just three days, rather than the usual six.

We did this not only because we had an abundance of energy after the lockdown but also because only a few hotels were open at the time. But I digress. The Celtic town of Hallein, with its charming town centre, immediately put us in a holiday mood. It exudes an incredible atmosphere that almost resembles Italy. Therefore, we treated ourselves to an Aperol Spritz - it was a must.

View to the castle in Golling

Day 2: Embracing the mountains

From Hallein, the journey to Golling felt like a short distance, and things became interesting for me. The cycle path, running comfortably alongside the Salzach River, takes a turn after Golling and ventures into the mountains.

This not only provides a stunning backdrop but also adds a bit of challenge to the route. We cycled over gentle hills, passing idyllic farms, vast meadows, and lush greenery with grazing cows. This is Austria the world imagines - picture-perfect. Then we ascended the Lueg Pass.

Although it may sound impressive, it wasn't exhausting. Once you reach the highest point, you'll be rewarded with what is arguably the most beautiful section of the route. Here, you can let your bike speed downhill for what feels like an eternity while appreciating the breathtaking surroundings. The view of the Tennengebirge mountains and Hohenwerfen Castle is truly captivating.

Verena with her bike

Day 3: Heading further south

The next day, we cycled from the Pongau region in Salzburg towards the Gastein Valley, following a truly spectacular cycle path above the Salzach River. From there, we enjoyed a stunning view of the entire Salzach Valley, extending as far as Pinzgau. Eventually, we reached the official cycle route of the Tauern Cycle Path, which led us downhill to a bridge spanning a magnificent gorge.

I was particularly excited about the Klammtunnel, which takes you into the Gastein Valley, but to be honest, I was relieved when we emerged from it. It only takes 15 minutes, but as you can imagine, travelling through a tunnel also used by cars is far from peaceful and well-lit.

Nevertheless, since it's a short distance, it's bearable. Exiting the tunnel, we were rewarded with an idyllic mountain landscape. The old mountain farms nestled in the green Alps, with grazing cattle, made it feel as though Heidi and Peter could appear at any moment.

This picturesque scenery accompanied us until the Mölltal region. We cycled alongside the peacefully gurgling Gasteiner Ache River until we reached Bad Gastein, where a captivating waterfall in the heart of the town caught our attention.

View over the valley Mölltal

Day 4: Uphill and downhill to Villach

The small village of Böckstein was once renowned for its mining activities. With its idyllic location, small streams, and stunning backdrop, the place immediately enchanted me. From there, we took the train through the Tauernschleuse to Mallnitz. Mallnitz is a genuine mountaineering village and serves as the starting point for many wonderful mountain tours.

From Mallnitz, we began a rapid descent into the expansive Mölltal valley. Over approximately 10 kilometres, we cycled downhill on winding paths, evoking an exuberant "Huiiiii!" from the child within me. It was truly exhilarating!

Upon reaching the bottom, a scene awaited us that we couldn't get enough of - magnificent mountain ranges on both sides, the peaceful flow of the Möll River alongside the cycle path, and the vastness of the valley. It was simply spectacular.

In the late afternoon, we received a warm welcome at our partner hotel, Mölltalerhof. After a restful night, we set off towards Villach on Sunday morning, following a leisurely breakfast. At Möllbruck, we encountered the Drau River, a wide and beautiful waterway that delighted us with its shimmering colours.

Finally, after cycling nearly 200 kilometres, we arrived at our destination, Villach. It was a wonderful feeling to be travelling again after such a long time, visiting restaurants, and discovering new places.

After spending a few hours in Austria's carnival city, we packed up our bikes and tired bodies, boarding the train back to Salzburg. After a prolonged period of lockdown, uncertainty, and isolation, these days were a blessing for us. We disembarked in Salzburg, filled with joy. However, the smile quickly vanished from my partner's face when I informed him that we would be cycling back home!

Book the Alpe Adria Cycle Path cycle tour


Alpe Adria Cycle Path: Salzburg-Villach

Self-Guided | 7 Days
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