Day 1: Arrival at the Lake Reschen
In glorious sunshine, we arrived in Reschen am See, a village of 900 people living just over the Austrian-Italian border. We stayed in the Alpenhotel Panorama hotel. The owner Toni was waiting for us and greeted us warmly with homemade schnapps!
After we unloaded our things into our very bright and spacious room, we took in the wonderful view. Shortly after we made our way to the sunken steeple of Graun. Worth seeing if you are travelling in the area! For dinner, we ate at the “Schwarzer Adler”, a good restaurant with excellent South Tyrolean cuisine in the centre of the town.
Day 2: Lake Reschen – Merano
After a hearty breakfast, we received tour information, essential tips, and rental bikes from our station manager. Although it was sunny, the temperatures were fresh, so we packed some warm clothes. As we cycled along the deep blue Lake Reschen, we had to overcome a few small inclines, but they were effortless and totally manageable. We continued to the Haidersee and the village of St. Valentin.
From Burgeis, the Adige was our constant companion. We travelled pleasantly downriver and with each meter towards Merano, it became noticeably warmer. Past the villages of Mals, Latsch and Lass, we headed on to Schlanders, the capital of the Vinschgau. Normally, this marks the end of the first stage of the cycle tour.
However, due to time constraints, we combined the first two stages. So, after a short refreshment, we made our way to Merano. The Adige cycle path runs through orchards and tranquil villages such as Kastelbell and Naturno. Further along the river, you have a fantastic view of the city and the Merano Oberland, just before the destination. After a long descent, and about 90km of cycling, we arrived in the Mediterranean spa town. Our hotel, the newly renovated Hotel Flora, is located right on the Passer River and was easy to find. In the somewhat hidden restaurant Laubenkeller we ate a well-deserved meal of traditional specialties.
Day 3: Merano – Bolzano
At this stage, there are two ways to cycle to Bolzano. Either further downstream along the Adige, or a more scenic route over Lana. We opted for the latter. Shortly after Merano, we followed the cycle route to Lana. The cycle path begins next to a busy road and requires more careful navigation. But with our Cycling app, it was easy to find the right way. Then we travelled through orchards as far as the eye can see. Some farmers were busy harvesting as we cycled by.
The track was consistently flat to Nals, followed by a short climb in Andriano. Then it went back downhill and back on the Adige cycle path. After a few kilometres, we could see Sigmundskron Castle, which towers over Bolzano.
We cycled around 8 kilometres on the very well-developed cycle path to the centre of Bolzano. From Waltherplatz we pushed our bikes, as it proved difficult to cycle through the crowded centre. This town is famous during the week, with visitors flocking to the old city.
We quickly reached our hotel, Scala Stiegl, a 4-star hotel located in the centre with a historical flair. In the evening we explored the old town and noticed people speaking more and more Italian than the earlier German. For dinner, we went to the recommended restaurant Fink to eat pizza.
Day 4: Bolzano – Trento
Today was the second longest stage of our bike tour, with 70 kilometres ahead of us. How could we possibly do anything else but cycle south along the Adige? The route was only on cycle paths and consistently flat. Vineyards and orchards dominated the landscape. As it continued straight, we could enjoy the beautiful scenery. The climate grew milder.
We wore our shorts and T-shirts – a stark contrast to the first day when we wore scarves and thick jackets. The weather was just fantastic! Soon we left German-speaking South Tyrol behind and arrived in the Italian-speaking Trentino.
For lunch, we ate in the restaurant La Cacciatora, which is situated directly on the Adige cycle path and serves a delicious choice of pasta. Back on the cycle path, we left the river just before Trento to avoid a nature reserve. From there it was only a few kilometres to the cultural city of Treno. We stayed in the stylish NH Hotel in a newly built neighbourhood. We walked to the old town in the evening, which impressed us with its cathedral and palace. It was clear we had now arrived in ‘real’ Italy. Our evening was spent enjoying Restaurant Everest!
Day 5: Trento – Torbole
It’s hard to believe, but this was the last stage of our trip. The track was a bit hillier than in previous days. First, we went back onto the Adige cycle path and through the charming town of Rovereto. Then we left the river to go towards Lake Garda. We cycled through the beautiful little village of Mori and stopped at the ice cream parlour Bologna to taste the well-known pistachio ice cream.
This was probably the best ice cream I have ever eaten without exaggerating. Simply delicious! So, we picked up another ice cream and lingered on the sun terrace. Finally, we continued towards Lake Garda shortly before Torbole came the biggest climb of the tour – about 100 vertical metres.
But then came the trip's highlight – the fantastic view over Lake Garda! This view compensated for the effort expended during the trip! The grand finale was followed by a long descent to Torbole sul Garda. After we arrived at the hotel Caravel, which was easy to find, we walked along the waterfront to Riva in the late afternoon sun.
We took the ship back. At the end of our cycle tour, we enjoyed a fish platter and a glass of Vino Bianco in restaurant Geier, which is right on the lake. We reminisced about the beautiful experiences of the last days.
Day 6: Departure Day
On the last morning our colleague Andrea, the guest supervisor on site, picked us up punctually. We went back to Reschen, where our cycle tour started five days previously. On the way we passed some of the places we had cycled through. So, we were able to see them from a different perspective and the lovely memories came back quickly.