Cycle Trips in the Austrian Alps

Our Bicycle Trips in the Salzburg Hinterland (Austria)

On this page, you will find...

Austrian mountain behind lakeAs a cultural reference, Julie Andrews and the “Sound of You-Still-Know-What” are fading from view.  And the gingerbread houses, flowerboxes, alpine pastures, perfect churches..., were only a film set, anyway, right?

Well, no, actually:  they live here, in the foothills of the Austrian Alps, romantically known as the Salzkammergut (it’s more idyllic than it sounds).  Indeed, we theorize that the film’s success must have had at least as much to do with its setting as with its story. 

Come and draw your own conclusions.  Bike through emerald meadows sprinkled with flowers, and along the shores of lakes which admirably reflect their surrounding snow-capped peaks.  Glide over inland seas as smooth as glass, in electric boats as silent as the swans that swim alongside.

Fresh trout, wheat beers, world-class coffee and the most beautiful pastries, are served on terraces which look upon scenes so romantic that it is hard to take them seriously.

And everywhere, the glory and opulance of Baroque and Rococo architecture, legacies of the Austro-Hungarian empire at its mightiest.  From the sophistication of Salzburg to the bourgeois elegance of Bad Ischl, to the back-country magnificance of the Ennstal, this is one of our most beautiful rides.

The following trips visit the SalzburgerLand:

Biking Transcontinental (5 weeks)
Visits France (Northern Burgundy), Switzerland, the Italian Lakes, the SalzburgerLand, and the Danube Valley

Mozart & the Matterhorn (3+ weeks)
Visits Zermatt (Switzerland), the Italian Lakes, the SalzburgerLand, and the Danube Valley

The Salzburgerland & the Danube (2 weeks)
Visits both of our Austrian routes:  this one, and the Danube Valley

Lively, Singing Hills
follows this itinerary exclusively.
Departure dates and prices are in the table, below

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Day-by-Day Itinerary:  Lively, Singing Hills
Day of the Week
Typical distances, in km
Sunday & Monday
If you’re arriving from Italy, things work again.  If from Germany, the prices go down by 20%.  If from another continent, you won’t have all that baggage (the airline probably lost it), and the charm will delight.  For help arriving, see our “Access Package.”   Or, follow this link for specific hints on reaching Salzburg.

Our trip assembles on Sunday, and the earlier you arrive, the more time you have for the city (we can book you an additional — Saturday — night if you wish).  Strudel at the Glockenspiel cafe, evening Mozart.  Claim your bike, and adjust to its quirks on Salzburg's delightful bike path network.

On Monday, pretty loops can take you to a water castle, a salt mine, an eagle’s nest (the ambitious can ride all the way to beautiful Berchtesgaden, regrettably (in)famous as Hitler’s rural retreat)..., and still get you back into Salzburg in time for more Mozart.   Or more strudel.   Spend a festive evening in a tree-shaded beer garden (at least until you slip under the shady table).

Half Baggage
20 - 60 k
A train gets us out of town.  Then it’s off to a trio of beautiful lakes, the Irrsee, the Mondsee and the St. Wolfgangsee.  Follow lakeside roads through fairy-tale landscapes.  The yellow onion-domed church in Mondsee is where the marriage took place in “Sound of Guess What.”  You'll have to go on the trip if you want to know about the trickery....

We are surrounded by mountains, and in the evening, we go up one.  Tonight’s hotel is on top of a local Alp!  Don’t panic, we use a 100-year-old cog railway to get up there.
45 k
Down the mountain in the morning, and then from St. Wolfgang to Bad Ischl for Austria's most famous pastry shop.  You'll quickly see why.  Kaiser Franz Joseph kept his country villa here:  a visit allows you to admire the gardens, and also his single-minded persecution of the local deer population.   “Bad” in this context is not a qualitative comment, incidentally, but rather the German word for “bath,” or spa.

Up the valley to the Hallstätter See, and to Austria's prettiest village.  A day of superlatives.  Rent an electric boat to glide out onto the glass lake, or have a cherry strudle on the shore and watch the trout in the waters at your feet.

Finally, on up the Traun valley to Bad Aussee for a two-night stay in a country gasthof.

Half Baggage
60 k
A day in the Bad Aussee land.  Cycle back to Hallstätt to visit the salt mines, or to Obertraun for a cable-car ride to the top of the Dachstein.  Local stalactite / stalagmite caves are a spectacular underground option.

Visit Altaussee to gaze up at the Loser (an Alp, not a person).  Sip the local white wine on the shores of the Grundlesee.  Or leave behind the already limited hustle and bustle for a hike to one of Austria's most isolated and beautiful lakes... perhaps for a picnic on its shores.  Venison is a local specialty, in season.

Half Baggage
0 - 70 k
A relaxing and beautiful day.  You're in the heart of Austria now, pedaling through farming villages covered in flowers, and down bucolic river valleys surrounded by soaring mountains.  Tourists rarely come this way - you'll see far more farm animals.

The scenery unfolds before you, and no two kilometers are the same, on this, one of our most magical biking days.  Morning sees us pass out of the Salzkammergut, down a valley enclosed by sheer mountains.  Admire the white village of Pürgg, whose Johanneskappel is high enough up on the bluff that you have an excuse not to climb up for the Romanesque frescoes.  Trautenfels Castle menacingly guards our exit to the Enns Valley plain.

And then the valley narrows.  The twin onion domes of Frauenberg church face the slim spires of the Admont abbey church, in turned framed by the natural spires of two imposing mountains.  The spectacular Rococo abbey library merits a quick stop, even if you don’t read German. 

75 k

Wake up in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by tall mountains, and end the day in a bustling provincial city surrounded by lush (and flat!) farmland.

First, a ride down
the Gesäuse Gorge, and through the national park of the same name.  Which name derives from the sound of the Enns rushing over its rocky bed.  The narrow gorge is a favorite destination of Austrian climbers....

On down the beautiful Enns valley, much of our route on a cycle path.  The ambitious can tack on a mountain climb, the less so can shorten the day with a train ride.

We pass out of the Alps via a gentle path through soothing country, one of the more dramatic scenery changes you will ever see in a such a short geographical distance.  Our route follows the Enns River to its confluence with the Steyr, in the city of Steyr, itself the capital of the Steyr district of Austria.  Dearth of imagination in all that, eh?

If your travel by bike ends here, try to give a bit of time to Steyr.  Visit the entertaining “work museum,” or watch for Shubert’s trout in the rapids.  The prettiest location in town happens to be right where our hotel is, overlooking the mingling waters.  See our “Access Package” for a hotel night and a celebratory final dinner, plus a train to Vienna, Munich, or elsewhere.

If you are continuing with us, you will have two nights in Steyr, and can use the loop day in between to hang out on the hotel’s delightful terrace and get looped....

Half Baggage

60 or
115 k,

Lively, Singing Hills — Facts & Figures
2018 Dates
Baggage Services
Difficulty of the Ride

Schedule Pending
Follow this link to help choose the trip dates

$2,195 US
$2,675 C
1,650 €
Daily, Half
Easy to Moderate

A couple of long days, but the longest are flat, as is the bulk of the riding.  Back-ups are excellent.  A few “walking” hills (you are in the Alps...); if you voluntarily go up a few more, you have a “Moderate” or a “Challenging” ride on your hands.

* Prices in $ and € do not include precisely the same things.  Click here for details.

Prices of Optional Extras (links lead to explanations)
$ prices include the bike.
See here for information on bringing your own.
§ At least 4 riders must subscribe to a given baggage service for it to operate.  The services listed are those currently offered on the departure in question.  Services which appear in bold already have at least 3 subscribers (so, one more would ensure their operation, if it is not already confirmed).

Reaching & Leaving Your Trip:  General Information on Access Packages
Specific information on reaching your trip’s start in... Salzburg
Specific information on departing from your trip’s end... Steyr