One of my hobbies is planning a cycling route, running through maps in detail and thinking about where it will take me. As inspiration for you, dear reader, I have added some of my favourite (tried and tested) routes below. Please be aware when riding these that the route may have changed – make sure you check the route yourself before riding. Keep an eye on this list as I’ll be adding new routes over time!
A classic tour from the Passau Cathedral to the St. Stephan’s Cathedral in Vienna along the Danube river, following the Eurovelo 6 route. In 2021, I did this in one day as training, however I would recommend travelling over several days. Linz and Melk are situated well, allowing for a 3 day tour of 100km each day. The route is mostly asphalted, but on some stretches you’ll share the road with cars, but I never felt unsafe. There are plenty of little hotels on the route which are cycle friendly. Some ideas for visits are both cathedrals, Linz city, Mauthausen concentration camp memorial site, the village of Grein and its ice cream parlour, the picturesque town of Melk, the orchards and vinyards in the Wachau (a lovely place you’ll ride through them), the Zwentendorf nuclear power plant, and the garden town of Tulln. The route is well signposted, and there are often bike paths on both side of the river and some ferries connecting the banks, however these ferries are often not regular.
2. Vienna Marchfeldkanal
A nice day out from the city centre of Vienna along the Marchfeldkanal river to Deutsch-Wagram (the site of a battle of Napoleon against the Austrians in 1809). The route is mostly small loose gravel, so wider tyres are ideal. I’ve done this several times on 25 mm wide tyres (normal road bike), but it will be easier on a gravel or mountain bike. The route takes you from Vienna city centre, along the Donau Island, and onto the Marchfeldkanal bike path. You will then follow the river, across picturesque bridges, through peaceful Viennese residential areas and out into the countryside. Although I haven’t tried it myself, the end is the Deutsch-Wagram train station, with a service back to Vienna Praterstern (although you could always cycle back). Bring along a picnic basket!
3. Großglockner Tour
Starting from kilometer zero of the Großglockner Hochalpenstraße in Bruck, this route will take you up to the various highlights of Austria’s highest road, including Fuscher Törl, Edelweißspitze, Hochtor and the Kaiser Franz Josefs Höhe visitor centre. Respect to you if you make it up to any one of these points – I first rode up to Fuscher Törl, but you can go to the very highest point at the Edelweißspitze, or even all the way across and to Heiligenblut on the southern side. Access is free for cyclists but there can be quite a lot of traffic at peak times. There are restaurants, shops and toilets at Fuscher Törl and the visitor centre, and there is a water fountain at Mitteralm (marked on Komoot). For budding kings / queens of the mountain, there is a timing booth at Ferleiten and another at Fuscher Törl (check operating times) – don’t forget to download your certificate! Check the website to see opening times and for more information.
4. Edinburgh to St. Andrews
Ok, this is a bit of a cheeky one. I haven’t ridden this route on a bike (yet, but it’s definitely on the todo list), but I know the roads fairly well from driving. This is a great day trip taking dedicated bike lanes and minor roads, riding from Scotland’s capital city to the university town of St. Andrews, passing over the old Forth Road Bridge, along the coast and ending up at a castle ruin. There will probably be a fair bit of wind and – knowing my homeland – rain, but if you pick a good day this will definitely be a special ride.
More routes to come!