“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike.” – John F Kennedy
Add to that a landscape where the scenery is invitingly grand, the choice of routes is seemingly infinite, and an event calendar that offers challenges for all abilities, and you’ve best described a cycling holiday in Austria. Whether hitching a ride with your bike on a glacial cable car, throwing down a few tricks at a mountain bike park, or taking in the cultural views on a leisurely riverside pedal along the Danube, rediscover the simple pleasure on a cycling holiday in Austria.
Two regions in particular stand out for their premium cycling offerings – the all-season recreational resort of Zell am See-Kaprun, punctuated by the Kitzsteinhorn glacier, which offers an outstanding natural arena for adventures on two wheels in Austria’s Salzburgerland province, and Linz, the capital city of the province of Upper Austria, in which a historic river route lets you follow the spoor of emperors and kings.
Zell am See-Kaprun – big time biking – A past host of the World Mountain Bike Championships, and one of Austria’s biggest e-bike regions, the well-developed and well-marked network of cycling routes in Zell am See-Kaprun stretches some 240km through a landscape of glaciers, mountains and lakes. Riders of varying abilities will feel confident on their chosen trail, whether it’s a memorable mountain bike excursion on three designated free-ride trails winding 12km on the Kitzsteinhorn (bikes are free on the glacier cable car), or a leisurely family pedal around shimmering Lake Zell. At Austria’s most altitudinous e-motocross park – Schmidolin’s Chair of Fire – children from 6-14 years can have fun challenging themselves on soundless, zero-emission e-bikes over a race course stretching over 280m. Up on the nearby Maiskogel mountain, a 2000m2 bike park for all ages comes with drops, pallets, bridges, banked turns and kickers, and also includes an obstacle area for lessons and children’s coaching. Detailed cycling maps and suggestions (for all levels of cycling and fitness) graded by difficulty, age etc, information on bike huts, and bike hire arrangements can be downloaded directly from Zell am See-Kaprun’s website www.zellamsee-kaprum.com
Linz – a royal route by the river – Once an industrial hub, Linz has evolved into one of the country’s cultural hubs with a host of museums, special exhibitions and music festivals. Existing alongside this arts scene is a city with an opportunity for outdoor recreation as well. The Danube, Europe’s second longest river, and once used as a trade route by emperors and kings, today remains the crowning glory of Linz’s active offerings in the form of the Danube Cycle Path, one of the continent’s most popular long-distance cycle paths, beginning (or ending) in the Bavarian city of Passau, leading through Austria (including Linz, the Wachau wine valley, and Vienna), to Bratislava in Slovakia and covering some 365km. On the Linz portion of the path, riders will enjoy riverside views of the city’s landmark Lentos Art Museum with its focus on modern art, the Brucknerhaus concert and event centre, the Nibelungen bridge leading to the Main Square, and a glance upward and you’ll see the popular tourist and pilgrimage site of the Pöstlingberg, a high hill (539m) with a viewing platform over the city and the Pöstlingberg pilgrimage church built in 1748. The Danube Cycle Path through its entirety is well-marked, paved and almost traffic-free; the ride is mainly flat so ideal also as a first time bike tour. The tourist offices of Linz and the Donau Region make it easy to plan different routes, offering a variety of brochures and recommendations based on season, distance, duration, and also bike-friendly accommodation along the way. www.linztourismus.at/en,www.donauregion.at/en, www.donaureisen.at/en