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Cycling Austria


The 2018 Innsbruck World Championships thrust road cycling in Austria into the hearts and minds of the cycling world.

Like many, we were wowed by the majestic mountains and the insane gradients we saw the pros riding - and inevitably our thoughts turned to planning a cycling holiday in Austria. 

But when it came to finding information on the best areas and cycling routes in Austria, there didn't seem to be much available for English-speaking cyclists. Our theory is that Austria has been such a popular cycling destination for Austrian and German cyclists, that they haven’t felt it necessary to share the secret with us!

Fortunately, Martin Baumann from roadbike-holidays.com has stepped in to fill the information void. Though our plans for an “actual visit” have (so far) been thwarted by Covid, we’ve worked with Martin to create this guide. We hope it gives you all the detail you need to plan your Austrian cycling holidays. 


Want to find out more about cycling Austria?

For many years Martin was a cycling tour guide and organised bike tours in Austria (and Italy too). Now he runs Road Bike Holidays, which connects cyclists with bike hotels in Austria and beyond. This gives Martin the excuse to travel and ride throughout Austria - so he’s extremely well placed to help us with this guide. 

In this guide, Martin shares his passion for cycling in Austria, including the best routes to ride, information on when to visit, Austria bike hotels (and even the dessert you mustn’t miss). As you can imagine, we are now more keen than ever to get to Austria ourselves! 

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Introduction to cycling in Austria

Austria’s cycling scene isn’t as well-known as some other European cycling destinations. Yet it offers many of the advantages that they do - and more.

One big advantage is that Austria is a relatively small country, which means that the distances between places aren’t huge. This makes multi-stop trips quite feasible - and a good idea, since there is a huge variety of landscapes to explore.


Terrain

In Austria you’ll find everything from flat, easy riding in the east of the country, near Vienna, to high mountains in the west that are really spectacular and easily comparable with anything in France, Italy and Switzerland. 

The Grossglockner climb is the most famous cycling climb in Austria, but there are also others like the very demanding Rettenbachferner and the Kitzbühl climb, which is known as the toughest climb in Europe! I share some of my favourite climbs and routes below.


Cycling events

Cycling in Austria has benefited from some pro racing exposure via the 2018 Innsbruck World Champs, the annual Tour of Austria and Tour of the Alps. There are also cycling events for amateur cyclists in Austria that are a really big deal here and in neighbouring countries, even if they aren’t so well known in the UK. For example, the hugely oversubscribed Ötztaler Radmarathon with 4,500 participants each year. There's more information below.


Cycling culture

The popularity of these amateur events reflects the fact that cycling as a sport is very popular amongst Austrians. Like in Italy, cycling is really part of the culture. It’s also had a boost as a result of Covid and there’s a great cycling community here. 

You’ll find plenty of bike shops in Austrian towns and there is also a strong Austrian cycling hotel scene, as seen by the fantastic hotels we represent at roadbike-holidays.com, many of which are owned and run by passionate cyclists. To date, the hotels have mostly been known to Austrian and German cyclists, but I suspect that won’t remain the case for much longer. There’s more on the hotels below.

Cycling Austria with a lake behind and meadows

Mondsee  - Salzkammergut (credit © TVB Mondsee-Irrsee_Valentin Weinhäupl)

Austrian cyclist descending a mountain (credit Obereggen_Alex Moling)

Downhill from the Großglockner (credit: Obereggen_Alex Moling)

Cyclists climbing Austria's most famous cycling climb Grossglockner (credit: Pinzgau_Heiko Mandl)

All the way up the Großglockner (credit: Pinzgau_Heiko Mandl)

Austria cycling routes

Geography of Austria

The basic rule of thumb is that everything east of Salzburg is flat or rolling terrain. Everything west of Salzburg is more or less mountains. That’s not 100% percent accurate, but it's probably 95% true and maybe that's good enough?!

Novice riders, or those looking for more a leisurely ride, are definitely best in the east of the country; Austria’s Tyrol and Bregenz Forest regions are best for the more experienced cyclists.


What are the roads like in Austria?

As you’d expect, the paved roads in Austria are mainly in very good condition and (by and large) cyclists are respected.

There’s an extensive network of roads in Austria. Of course, they’re more limited in the high mountains, but even here there are a lot of narrow farm roads; they may be dead ends but they can still be spectacular. This road network means that at busy times of year, like the summer, you’ve got choices when it comes to which roads you ride. Check out the When to Visit section below for more tips on this.

There’s also a great network of cycle paths. Anyone that's ever done two minutes of research on the most popular leisure cycling in Europe, will have come across the Danube cycle path/bike trail. It's regularly voted one of the best cycling routes in Europe.  


French Alps vs Austrian Alps

In both France and Austria you find classic long, twisting climbs.

The French Alps are better known as a cycling destination, but in my opinion, the stunning scenery of the Austrian Alps has more to offer. Think flower-filled meadows, craggy snow-peaked mountains and glassy, blue lakes. I’ve never seen more impressive scenery.

I also think the roads in the mountains of Austria are a bit steeper, but perhaps not quite as long. For example, comparing the Col du Galibier and Grossglockner, the Grossglockner is shorter but it's definitely a bit steeper.

Austrian road engineers have a reputation for being frugal with the asphalt; and that reputation is justified! When you’re riding in the mountains, it definitely feels like the engineers were anti-switchback… it's not an issue in the east of the country since there the terrain is hills rather than mountains - but when it comes to the mountains, expect steep gradients!

Mountain landscapes perfect for cycling in Austria, Salzkammergut (credit: ©Foto WOM Medien GMBH Andreas Meyer)

Salzkammergut (credit ©Foto WOM Medien GMBH Andreas Meyer)

Cyclists on Grossglockner Austria bike climb(credit: Pinzgau_Heiko Mandl)

Großglockner (credit: Pinzgau_Heiko Mandl)

Cycling in Austria; two cyclists in the mountains (credit Bregenzerwald_Arjan Kruik)

Bregenzerwald (credit: Bregenzerwald_Arjan Kruik)

Looking for somewhere to stay in Austria?

Roadbike Holidays would love to help!

On their website you'll find Austria's best cycling hotels.

The Roadbike Holidays team visit each hotel they work with and check it offers everything cyclists want - from secure bike storage to laundry services, bike servicing stations, post-ride meals and knowledgeable, cycling-orientated staff.

Check out their approved hotels here.

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Best cycling routes in Austria 

Below I give an overview of my favourite road bike regions and a few examples of some of the best biking roads in Austria.


1. Vienna, Bucklige Welt region

"The region of wine and hills"

In the east of Austria, you find Vienna and the Bucklige Welt of Lower Austria. There are a lot of vineyards, lakes and very stable climate conditions. The landscape is gently hilly and there are exquisite country roads through orchards and past quaint villages. It’s well-suited to beginner level and intermediate cyclists who prefer to avoid the mountains. 

The region is located on the outskirts of Vienna, so a trip here means you could also spend a rest day sightseeing in Vienna and cycling along the Danube cycle path (which is in fact paved, so suitable for road bikes - as well as family cycling holidays). 


cycling routes in the Vienna, Bucklige Welt region
Easy: Katzentürl

The Katzentürl tour is a relatively short ride within the destination of Bucklige Welt.

You will experience vineyards and nice views from the top of the hills.

It is the perfect tour for getting to know the area and warming up your legs.

Hard: Around the Bucklige Welt

This tour provides a long day in the saddle. 

The first part is really demanding, with four bigger climbs. In this section you also pass the highest mountain of the region, the Schneeberg. Then the tour gets flatter as you come closer to Vienna and the Danube. 

On the return you will face some smaller hills as you come back into Bucklige Welt.



Road cycling in Bucklige Welt, Austria (credit ®JorisLugtigheid)

Bucklige Welt - the land of 100 hills (or, in any event, lots!) (credit ®JorisLugtigheid)

Cyclists on a road in Austria (credit ®JorisLugtigheid)

This region of Austria is definitely not flat! (credit ®JorisLugtigheid)

Cycling in Bucklige Welt, Austria credit ®JorisLugtigheid

Lots and lots of rolling hills to keep you working (credit: ®JorisLugtigheid)

For where to stay in the Vienna, Bucklige Welt region, see below.


2. Salzburg region, Salzburgerland region

"Lakes and city"

Moving west from Vienna, you come to the Salzburg region. 

It’s got a distinctive mixture of sparkling lakes, impressive mountains and culture that promise a road bike experience you won’t forget. There are lakes, and small hills around the lakes, which give the possibility for some really nice rolling tours. 

But you can also do rides with 3,000+ metres of elevation gain if you want them - because it’s not so far from the mighty Grossglockner (more on that below) - and there are flat areas too, so perfect if you want some sprint training. 

You can combine your cycling holiday with some sightseeing in the spectacular city of Salzburg (most famous for being home to Mozart). The lakes in this region are also brilliant for summer holidays.


Example cycling routes in the Salzburg region
Easy:  Mondsee

A perfect tour around the most scenic lakes in this destination.

You pass by the lakes Wolfangsee, Fuschlsee and Mondsee. These are all perfect for swimming – so don’t forget your swimsuit!

Hard: Postalm

This route takes you on small roads and through a beautiful landscape. 

The toughest part of this tour is the Postalm climb at the beginning of the tour. After that you follow narrow roads, with little traffic, through the heart of the Salzkammergut. 

It's a day to remember!

Famous climb: Postalm

The Postalm climb is the only really famous climb in Salzkammergut. 

The top is only 1,304 metres above sea level which is not really that high. 

Compared to the Alpine destinations it is a rather flat and steady climb, which is really nice to ride.

Cyclists cycling by a lake in Austria ©Foto WOM Medien GMBH Andreas Meyer

Just a taste of the kind of scenery you can expect (credit ©Foto WOM Medien GMBH Andreas Meyer)

Cyclists cycling fast with blurred background in Austria (credit © TVB Mondsee-Irrsee_Valentin Weinhäupl)

Varied terrain offers scope for diverse training in the Salzburg region (credit © TVB Mondsee-Irrsee_Valentin Weinhäupl)

Mountain scenery in Austria (©Foto WOM Medien GMBH Andreas Meyer)

Salzkammergut (credit ©Foto WOM Medien GMBH Andreas Meyer)

For where to stay in the Salzburg region, see below.


3. Grossglockner region, Salzburger Land - Pinzgau


The Grossglockner cycling climb is the longest and most famous climb in the country for cyclists. 

It’s 16 kilometres of ascent with 10 percent of average incline. So cycling Grossglockner is a challenge and you shouldn’t underestimate that steep gradient! It takes you on a journey up the highest mountain peak in Austria.

Every year the Glocknerkonig event attracts about 3,000 cyclists from all over the world race from the bottom to the top. 

Riding around in this destination offers a nice variety. You can go really flat in the valley. Even though the main roads are quite busy the cycle paths are perfect for road biking. Additionally you can do the Ironman tour which offers a nice climb to the mountain range Hochkönig. The highlight and the reason why cyclists come here is of course the Großglockner. It is the longest and most spectacular climb in Austria.


cycling routes in the Grossglockner region
Easy: Dientenrunde

This tour represents the tour of the famous Ironman Zell am See.

It is a rather flat route with one big climb to the top of Dientner Sattel.

After reaching the top, you descend all the way down to the valley where you cycle through nice small Austrian villages.

Hard: Großglockner Tour

A day to remember.

On this tour you will experience the Großglockner from both sides and collect more than 3,720 metres of elevation which equals nearly the highest peak of Austria – the Großglockner with its summit 3,798 metres above sea level.

Famous climb: Großglockner


The Grossglockner-Hochalpenstrasse (High Alpine Road) is famous for its beauty and for being the highest peak in Austria.

The climb is consistently steep (other than for the hairpins which are almost flat) and finishes on a cobbles. It's extremely memorable. 

Two cyclsits cycling through Grossglockner region Austria (credit Pinzgau_Heiko Mandl)

Down in the valley of the Großglockner region (credit: Pinzgau_Heiko Mandl)

Cyclists on Grossglockner cycling climb Austria (credit Pinzgau_Heiko Mandl)

Großglockner (credit: Pinzgau_Heiko Mandl)

Cyclists on Grossglockner cycling climb Austria(credit: Pinzgau_Heiko Mandl)

Großglockner (credit: Pinzgau_Heiko Mandl)

For where to stay in the Grossglockner region, see below.

 

4. Innsbruck and Ötztal, Tyrol region

"Austrian Alps"

Going west again, you come to the Tyrol in Austria. It’s an area known for its ski resorts and the scenery here is classic Alpine. This is a destination for experienced cyclists; there are no easy rides here!

The capital of the region is Innsbruck. The city runs beside the Inn river and it’s surrounded by mountains - the Karwendel mountains to the borth, the Stubai Alps to the south-west and Tux Alps to the south-east. Innsbruck is somewhere you should definitely visit. It’s here that the World Road Championships were held in 2018 - on what’s generally acknowledged to be one of the most difficult courses that there’s ever been. It’s no surprise really, given the only options are flat along the river east or west - or up!

The famous Ötztaler Radmarathon event is also held in this region. The event starts from the town of Sölden and it's one of the biggest mass participation events in Europe with 4,500 participants and around 4,500 metres of elevation gain. More below.

Some of the region’s most popular climbs are the Ötztal Valley Glacier Road, Silvretta High Alpine Road, the Reschen Pass and Timmelsjoch.

This is a destination for the serious cyclists - and our hotel here is perfect too, based at 2,000 metres above sea level it’s a great place for a high altitude training camp.

Even here, there are things for your non-road cycling family members to take part in. For example the mountain biking and hiking are excellent, there’s the amazing James Bond Museum and the Aqua Dome spa is incredible.


cycling routes in the Ötztal region
Hard: To the Glacier

Do you want to have a relaxed day in the saddle? 

Then this one is definitely not for you!

The Rettenbach Ferner is one of the biggest glaciers in Austria and the way to the top is not easy.

It has been the stage finish of the Tour de Swiss on several occasions when even the pros had to suffer at this climb with its average gradient of 12 %.

Harder: Ötztaler Radmarathon

The original route of the famous amateur race Ötztaler Radmarathon is rideable for all cyclists when the mountain passes are open and snow free. That's normally from June to September. 

It is one of the most challenging rides for amateur cyclists.

Save your energy for the Grande Finale. The last climb is the Timmelsjoch with more than 25 kilometers and 1,800 meters of elevation gain, making it one of the longest climbs in the Alps.

It's even tougher when you face three other climbs before reaching the beginning of Timmelsjoch!

Famous climb: Kühtai

This is the first climb of the Ötztaler Radmarathon. It starts in Oetz in the bottom part of the valley. You climb from Öetz at around 800 metres up to the top of the pass at 2,020 metres. From here you drop down into Innsbruck. There’s also a nice tour you can do along the Innsbruck Valley and back to Öetz. 


Cycling road in the Otztal valley Austria (© Ötztal Tourismus Rudi Wyhlidal)

Nice views over the Ötztal valley (credit © Ötztal Tourismus Rudi Wyhlidal)

Cyclists in the high alps of Austria (credit © Ötztal Tourismus Bernhard Ploner)

The motor museum at the Timmelsjoch (credit © Ötztal Tourismus Bernhard Ploner)

Cyclist on an Austrian cycle tour mountain pass(credit © Ötztal Tourismus Rudi Wyhlidal)

 Climbing up the Rettenbachfernre (credit © Ötztal Tourismus Rudi Wyhlidal)

For where to stay in the Ötztal region, see below.


5. Bregenz Forest, Vorarlberg region

"Woods, nature and high mountains"

Bregenz Forest sits in the Vorarlberg region of Austria - it’s close to the border with Switzerland and it’s about as far west as you can go in Austria. For those that like to border hop, you can take in Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland from here! There are also a great range of bike routes leading from beautiful Lake Constance.

The region combines enchanting villages, interesting architecture with lots of houses made from wood and impressive mountain scenery. It feels very remote and rural, well and truly away from everything. There are some huge Alpine passes around here including Hochtannberg Pass, the Flexen Pass and the Faschinajoch.

If I’m not training for the Ötztaler Radmarathon, the Bregenz Forest is my favourite area of Austria to ride in - the landscape is a little more open than the Ötztal valley; there are just so many riding possibilities!


cycling routes in the Bregenz Forest
Easy: Schenkelbrennerround


Two big climbs await you on this tour. The Furkajoch is the first challenge of the day before you head down to the Rhein valley. 

To get back from the Rhein valley to the Bregenzerwald you have to face the Bödele - but compared to the Furkajoch this one is rather easy. 

To finish the tour you ride on small roads through the amazing landscape of the Bregenzerwald.

Hard: Mountain lakes


This tour offers a special experience while riding two Alpine mountain lakes: the Spulersee and the Formarinsee. 

On the way to the lakes you will also face the Hochtannbergpass and ride through the most famous ski resort in Austria – The Arlberg.

Famous climb: Furkajoch


The Furkajoch, not to be confused with the Swiss Furkapass, is the most western Alpine pass in Vorarlberg and thus in Austria.

Despite its modest height, it is certainly one of the toughest climbs in the Alps because of the steep ramp on the west approach.

Two cyclists on an Austria bike tour in the Bregenz Forest region of Austria(copyright: Bregenzerwald_Arjan Kruik)

Nice scenery in the Bregenzerwald (credit: Bregenzerwald_Arjan Kruik)

Two cyclists on an Austria mountain in the Bregenz Forest region of Austria(copyright: Bregenzerwald_Arjan Kruik)

Cycle path through the Bregenzerwald (credit: Bregenzerwald_Arjan Kruik)

Reaching the summit of a big mountain by bike in Austria (copyright: Bregenzerwald_Arjan Kruik)

The Riedberg Pass (credit: Bregenzerwald_Arjan Kruik)

For where to stay in the Bregenz region, see below.


Looking for somewhere to stay in Austria?

Roadbike Holidays would love to help!

On their website you'll find Austria's best cycling hotels.

The Roadbike Holidays team visit each hotel they work with and check it offers everything cyclists want - from secure bike storage to laundry services, bike servicing stations, post-ride meals and knowledgeable, cycling-orientated staff.

Check out their approved hotels here.

Roadbike holidays logo


What are the key road cycling events in Austria?

Pro racing in Austria

Our pro cycling scene was badly affected by the 90s doping scandals. Fortunately however we do still have some exposure to World Tour racing - the Tour of Austria takes place here every year and of course there were the very successful World Road Championships in 2018. 

The early season Tour of the Alps also takes place in mid to late April each year. Half of the race is held in Austria (within the state of Tyrol) and half in Italy. The Tour of the Alps is thought of as a last preparation race for the Giro d’Italia, which usually starts around two weeks after the Tour of the Alps finishes.


Amateur cycling events in Austria

The three most famous amateur road cycling events in Austria are below. The Ötztaler Radmarathon takes place in the Tyrol region while the Glocknerkonig and Eddie Merckx Classic are both in the Salzburgerland region.


Ötztaler Radmarathon

The Ötztaler Radmarathon is by far the biggest amateur cycling event in Austria. It’s considered a “must-do” by most Austrian, German and Swiss cyclists, on the same level as the Maratona dles Dolomites and Marmotte. As a result, it can be really difficult to get a place - I’ve heard 30-40,000 people register and just 4,000 get lucky and get a spot! 

I think the Ötztaler Radmarathon is even harder than the Maratona. I’ve taken part in it twice, once when I was just 18 years old and the second time when it rained all day and was only around 2 degrees on the mountain tops! Both were really hard for their own reasons - but they were still fantastic experiences. 

The fastest cyclists take around 6 hours 50 minutes and the last participants are on the road for about 13.5 hours. So the range is quite huge! But there’s a great spirit.

There are always big crowds on the roads supporting the cyclists, especially around Innsbruck. There are also amazing refuelling stations where you get drinks and food on the mountaintops, which are really well organised.

The hardest part for me was the final climb - the last 30 kilometres are basically 30 kilometres uphill (and you’re already at 1,800 meters of elevation!). It’s really tough because you may already have been seven or eight hours (or more!) in the saddle and you still have to go one hour uphill. So as you come closer to the top, you know you can make it and it feels great to be cheered on by the crowds. Coming over the line really gives you a huge sense of achievement!

Glocknerkonig (King of the Glockner)

This is a really tough race!  The classic version takes you 27 kilometres uphill, with 1,694 of elevation gain and gradients up to 12%. It’s basically just 1.5 hours all-out effort from the bottom to the top.

It feels way more competitive than the Ötztaler Radmarathon. Everyone's trying to get their best possible time, rather than just complete the course.

I think the winner does it in around 1 hour 16 minutes!

Eddie Merckx Classic

This well-known event bears the name of a very well-known cyclist, the great Eddie Merckx.

Though Merckx is Belgian (not Austrian - in case you were wondering!) he loves the Salzburg Lake District. After the 2006 UCI Road World Championships in Salzburg, he decided to hold an annual cycling race in this region. It’s still going now (Covid-permitting of course…).

The race starts and finishes in Fuschl am See and there are four different routes to choose from and a diverse range of bikes are permitted.

The classic route takes you past eleven beautiful lakes in the Salzburger Land and Salzkammergut.

Each year the event attracts around 1,500 cyclists.


What are the best bike hotels in Austria?

At roadbike-holidays.com, we help connect cyclists with 14 hotels in Austria that are specialist cycling hotels. To work with us, we check they meet strict quality requirements regarding what they offer cyclists. There’s information on how we do these checks and inspections here. There’s also full information on what every hotel has to offer here

In summary, though you can be sure that every hotel on our site offers things like

  • Bike room with CCTV
  • Individual bike locks
  • Drying and laundry service
  • Repair area
  • Route information including free GPS files
  • Pick-up service if you have a mechanical etc
  • Breakfast buffet and afternoon snack
  • Most of the hotels we feature are cycling hotels because it’s the owner’s passion; they decided to become road cycling hotels because they are road cyclists themselves and are so passionate about it that they created their hotels focused on it.

That means that in every hotel of ours, there is a cycling expert. This means that there’s someone to get advice from on routes, to help with guided tours. This reduces the need to plan everything in advance; you can just come to the hotel and then the specialist there will help you plan your riding.

You can find all our hotels here.

The hotels that are relevant to the regions I’ve picked out above are as follows:


1. Vienna, Bucklige Welt region

Hotel Krumbacherhof 

The owner of this small three star hotel is a passionate road cyclist (and mountain biker!).

He knows the area incredibly well and can often be found cycling with guests in the morning and preparing dinner in the evening.

This means he offers a very individual experience.

It’s an outstanding place to stay, right in the heart of the best riding in the region.

Landfasthof Kumbacherhof cycling hotel Austria

Landgasthof Krumbacherhof - Bucklige Welt

2. Salzburg region, Salzburgerland region

Roadbike and Triathlon Hotel Mohrenwirt 

This is a four star hotel that’s completely targeted to cyclists, be it road cyclists or triathletes.

The hotel owner is a passionate athlete who competed in the Ironman Hawaii. They offer guided tours, have great Canyon bike rental and offer great healthy (but substantial) meals too.

Just 300 metres from the hotels is a private swimming beach at Lake Fuschl with a heated 25 metre outdoor pool (free entry for hotel guests). It’s a fantastic facility!

It's one of the most specialised hotels we have in our group.

RENRAD AND TRIATHLON HOTEL Austria

Rennrad & Triathlon Hotel Mohrenwirt - Salzkammergut (credit ©Erwin_Haiden,bikeboard)

3. Grossglockner region

Sportcamp Woferlgut

This four star hotel is located just 14 kilometres from the famous Grossglockner High Alpine Road. Ironman 70.3 is held in Zell am See.

There are lots of activities for non-cyclists too (or for your rest days), with a swimming lake, mini golf and three tennis courts on site. There’s also basketball, football, beach volleyball, billiards, table tennis, hiking, mountain bike tours, two playgrounds, a cinema and an indoor play area!

The pièce de resistance is the aqua world, opened in 2018, with five different pools including a 50-metre indoor pool and wellness area.

If you’re with kids, they will love the amazing facilities that include a 100 metre long slide.

Renrad bike hotel austria

Sportcamp Woferlgut - Pinzgau

4. Innsbruck and Ötztal, Tyrol region

Alpenhotel Laurin

This hotel is brilliant for high altitude training.

It sits at 2,150m close to the cycling mecca of Solden, at the foot of the Timmelsjoch. It's perfect for training camps for the Ötztaler Radmarathon (or other tough cycling events) as you can do a lot of climbing from here! Perhaps even exclusively climbing!

After a hard day of riding you can then relax in the hotel’s Tyrolean bathhouse, with sauna, steam room, infrared room, jacuzzi and relaxation room.

It also has fantastic views of the Ötztal glacier.

Alpenhotel Laurin Austria

Alpenhotel Laurin - Ötztal

5. Bregenz Forest, Vorarlberg region

Hotel Bären & Cafe Deli 

Situated at the charming Mellau village square, this recently converted three star Alpine hotel is run by passionate cyclists who love to provide tips about the best roads around Lake Constance and the nearby alpine passes.

The decor is chic and modern.

The owner is a very enthusiastic road cyclists and the hotel also has a yoga studio, plus a really nice coffee shop attached to it.

Cycling hotel in Austria

Hotel Bären & Cafe Deli - Bregenzerwald

Hotel zum Gämsle 

This traditional three-star hotel is a small hotel, totally made out of wood.

It’s therefore got a very special look and feel to it and it’s a great point for starting cycling tours of the Bregenz Forest.

Isabelita, the hotel owner, is also a cyclist herself. The Gämsle is also listed in the Falstaff Restaurant Guide.

There’s a nice garden, sun terrace as well as a Finnish sauna and a chill-out room.

Road cycling friendly hotel in Austria

Hotel Wirtshaus zum Gämsle - Bregenzerwald

Combining cycling and family holidays

Our hotels are not only designed for cyclists. They are also brilliant places for family holidays - for example you can access swimming pools, lakes, kids clubs and many other non-cycling specific activities. For example, Alpenhotel Laurin in the Oztal Valley is a good bet if your kids (or you!) are into James Bond, because the James Bond Museum is not far away.

Location-wise, many of them mean that you are also close to world-famous cultured cities: for example  Vienna is accessible from Hotel Krumbacherhof  and Salzburg is accessible from Roadbike and Triathlon Hotel Mohrenwirt


Do you recommend booking an organised cycling tour in Austria?

One of the core concepts of Roadbike Holidays is that in each of our hotels you’ll find a cycling expert. So cyclists can get everything they need from our hotels - from bike route information and tips, to bike wash and laundry service.

Everything is in one place and many guests find they don’t need a full-on Austria bike tour as such (or even do much planning before they come!). 

But of course some people always like the comfort of having a local guide with them when they're out riding - and there is an advantage that they may get more understanding of local culture, history and traditions as they ride along. A nice balance can be to have a tour on the first or second day, so you get to know the area, some information on the philosophy and culture of the people and find the nicest roads. Then after that you can explore on your own.

If you would like a guide, all our hotels can usually help, but I always advise customers to check before you book.  

As an example, at Hotel Krumbacherhof, the owner is also the chef and cycling guide. So in the morning he goes cycling with you and in the afternoon he cooks you dinner, so you have a very individual relationship.

Bike hire

Are there many places for bike hire in Austria?

Historically, many cyclists to Austria have come from Germany, since it’s not too far. Such cyclists are usually driving so it’s easy for them to bring their own bikes. This means that you don't tend to find road bike rental in every town; mountain bike rental is pretty common, but road bike rental less so.

That said, lots of our hotels can help guests out with hiring road bikes. Sometimes they have road bikes for rent on site, alternatively they can often arrange rental delivery for you. 


What about bike shops?

In terms of bike shops, plenty of towns and villages still have local bike shops.

It’s also mandatory for our hotels to have a partnership with a bike shop that can assist with small repairs or spare parts for your bike. 

Our hotels will arrange for you to be picked up if you have a break down while out riding and then will put you in touch with a bike shop who can help mend your bike.

When to visit Austria

From a weather perspective, the most reliable time of year to visit Austria’s mountains is between June and September. The season is a bit longer in the lower areas in the east of Austria; there the season is April to the end of October. 

The eastern part of Austria is known as being the warmest, so if sunshine and warm temperatures are important to you, head there rather than the high mountains in the west of the country. 

As with most places, July and August are the busiest months due to school holidays, so expect more traffic on the roads then.

In particular, bear in mind that the narrow valleys in the western part of Austria can get very busy in the peak summer months. The Grossglockner has started charging vehicles using the road, in an effort to reduce the numbers in the summer months. The Bregenz Forest region is known for being quieter than the Öztal Valley if you’re travelling in July and August in the western mountains. September and October can be better months if you’re keen on riding these high mountain passes. 

The eastern regions, like Bucklige Welt near Vienna, as well as the Salzburg region can be less busy in summer. 

Looking for somewhere to stay in Austria?

Roadbike Holidays would love to help!

On their website you'll find Austria's best cycling hotels.

The Roadbike Holidays team visit each hotel they work with and check it offers everything cyclists want - from secure bike storage to laundry services, bike servicing stations, post-ride meals and knowledgeable, cycling-orientated staff.

Check out their approved hotels here.

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Tips for biking in Austria

Books and maps about Austria

If you’re looking for an Austrian cycling map, the Kompass map series are excellent.

Kit to bring to Austria

I'd always recommend that cyclists bring a rain jacket when they visit Austria, because the weather changes quite fast. You have to expect some thunderstorms even in summer. 


Gearing

If you’re planning on cycling the Austrian Alps, I’d recommend a compact gearing of the 50-34. I personally ride 50-34 and 11-28 rear cassette. It just gives me that flexibility and security when I’m having a hard day and I’m in danger of running out of gas. Remember the Austrian mountains are steep! 


Rest days on a road bike tour of Austria

If you’re coming on a seven day cycling trip, I’d definitely suggest putting in a rest day after the third day. It’ll allow you to enjoy the last three days again. Especially if you’re not used to our steep mountains, there’s no point killing yourself and going out hard each day without a break. Your legs won’t take it and you’ll run out of power. So I always recommend a rest day during a cycling holiday (especially a cycling holiday in Austria!). 


Training for a cycling trip to Austria

On a training front, you don’t need to be particularly fit for most destinations in Austria - but I wouldn't recommend you go to Ötztal Valley, Grossglockner region or Bregenz Forest without any training as you probably won’t enjoy your trip that much!


Car hire

I would always suggest car hire because you're way more flexible than if you’re relying on public transportation. I cannot say that it doesn't work in Austria, but some of our hotels are in remote places and a car will just be more flexible. Especially if you have a mechanical problem and need to go to a bike shop.


Rules of the road

You can’t ride on the highway in Austria. It’s compulsory for children under 12 to wear helmets and cycling on pavements is forbidden.

By law, the drivers or the car drivers are obliged to keep 1.5 metre distance from cyclists. 

There’s more on Austria’s Highway Code here and information for cyclists in Vienna here.


When do the cols open?

This site is useful as it lists some of the main passes and whether they are open or closed. If you’re waiting to book a trip, you could always try asking one of our local hotels or the local tourist office for information before you book/travel.


Austrian cuisine you have to try

When you’re in Austria, you have to try one of our culinary delights; the delicious Kaiserschmarrn. These are Austrian pancakes and they are really tasty. They’re full of sugar and will power you through the last kilometres of your ride!

Of course the country’s Wiener Schnitzel, Apfelstrudel and Sachertorte are also must-eats!


What to see when you’re not cycling

If you haven’t been to Austria before and have any interest in art and culture, you should definitely consider a little sightseeing in our famous cities. The Salzburg and Vienna regions above are probably the most obvious places these are relevant, but Innsbruck is also a beautiful city and Bregenz is really nice because it's on Lake Constance. Check out the tips for family cycling holidays above.


Do you need to speak German?

German is the official language, but lots of people speak English in the towns and cities. Rural Austria can be a bit more patchy so some German would come in handy.


How to get to Austria?

The main airports are Vienna, Salzburg and Innsbruck - which match the regions I suggest visiting perfectly! It’s only two hours drive from Innsbruck to Bregenz.

If you're looking for an airport transfer, there’s a great hire company called Four Seasons that offers transfers from the airport to Saltzberg and Innsbruck. They’ll also take bike boxes.


Have you cycled in Austria?

How was it?

Got any tips to share? Comment below!


Looking for somewhere to stay in Austria?


Roadbike Holidays are our partner in Austria. 

On their website you'll find Austria's best cycling hotels.

The Roadbike Holidays team visit each hotel they work with and check it offers everything cyclists want - from secure bike storage to laundry services, bike servicing stations, post-ride meals and knowledgeable, cycling-orientated staff.

You can find the full list of services their hotels offer here and details of their quality assurance scheme here.


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Martin Baumann from RoadBike Holidays in Austria

More About Martin

Martin Baumann runs RoadBike Holidays. For many years Martin was a bike tour guide in Austria and Italy, before getting involved in setting up RoadBike Holidays.

He has a passion for cycling and making sure cyclists that visit Austria see the best parts - and of course stay in the best hotels!

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