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The Hard

THE GRAVEL TOUR AROUND SALZBURGERLAND FOR THE TOUGHEST UNDER THE SUN

The SalzburgerLand invites all gravel bike enthusiasts to an unforgettable round tour lasting about 10 to 12 days. Which makes the country and its gravel regions experienceable in a completely new way. 'The Hard' Gravel Tour SalzburgerLand focuses on nature, picturesque landscapes and the element of water.

Even ‘The Hard’ starts off gently. Because the entire route largely follows ‘The Soft’ tour. It is, however, peppered with extensions over Salzburger Lungau and Carinthia. In addition, there are mountain stages and passes with the Zwölferhorn, the Radstädter Tauern (Obertauern), Leogang with the Asitz, the Aschauer Saddle, and as a highlight, the Grossglockner High Alpine Road. 650 kilometers and a whopping 12,700 meters of elevation gain are accumulated on the round tour. In all gravel regions, not only great accommodations and bike hotels await you, but also additional loops and other highlights to discover. This allows everyone to tailor and expand their gravel experience as they wish.

 

The tough one – step by step through the gravel regions

The city of Salzburg

Although it’s possible to start at any location, the city of Salzburg is the starting point for many cyclists. Already the first section is hard and requires a good amount of stamina. But not to worry, you’ll be more than rewarded with magnificent views and great natural experiences. The adventure starts in the city of Salzburg, which can ideally be reached by train or bus using public transport. The ride along the Salzach bike path is an initial highlight. Especially the view from the Müllner Steg with the Hohensalzburg Fortress is something you shouldn’t miss. And the Cathedral, Mirabell Palace, and Mirabell Gardens are also in close proximity and invite you to delve into the culture of the Mozart city.

Then, it’s finally time to head out into nature. Those arriving the day before will find the right accommodation for every budget with Hotel St. Virgil, Hotel Hohenstauffen, the Green Hotel zur Post, and Hotel Pension Adlerhof.

Road Bike region SalzburgerLand-Salzkammergut

Past Glasenbach, it goes through the imposing Strubklamm eastward into the mountains and into the Road bike holidays in the European Alps in Austria (rennrad-austria.at). At the rock pool in Faistenau, one should definitely take a break and let the power and force of the water at this extraordinary place have its effect. Along the Alm, one soon reaches the Hintersee, along whose shore one gravels over a wonderful piece of gravel on the track of the old forest railway.

 

For those staying overnight here, Hotel DAS Hintersee is recommended. Refreshments are available at the Lago Bar on the western shore. If you want to make a detour to Fuschl am See, the road bike & triathlon Hotel Jakob and the Hotel Seewinkel await you in close proximity to the lake.

The following section, with views of the Faistenauer Schafberg, is not only sweaty due to the altitude meters to be conquered. At its end, the cozy Hatzenalm invites you to stop by.

„Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.“
Albert Einstein

Lake Wolfgangsee

The first glimpse of Lake Wolfgang from Zwölferhorn is something you’ll never forget. Keep your camera within reach! The hike up the mountain requires good physical condition, but the anticipation of a rest at the Lärchenhütte or Sausteigalm will help you muster your final reserves. Back in the valley, the trail follows the lakeshore from Abersee to Strobl. However, you can also enjoy the region on board the WolfgangseeSchifffahrt ferry and give your tired legs a break. A dip in the cool waters of the lake is a must anyway. For example, at the swimming spots on Lake Wolfgangsee, in the Wassbad Strobl, or at the free ‘Strandbad’ in St. Gilgen. For accommodations, the Aberseehof, the Wiesenhof, or the Stroblerhof are recommended. You can find top-notch cuisine at Gasthof Gamsjaga or Kirchenwirt Strobl.

 

Tennengau

From Strobl, the route ascends to the picturesque Postalm. Upon arrival, a visit is a must. For example, at the Almkäserei Schnitzhofalm, a culinary highlight of the Via Culinaria. From there, the path runs through 15 solitary kilometers down the Lienbach and Aubach valleys to Pichl bei Abtenau into the Tennengau. The historic Old Postalm Road has long been closed to public traffic and is a true biking paradise. Our hotel recommendation for Abtenau is the Aktivhotel Gutjahr.

 

Salzburger Sportwelt

The journey continues enjoyably from Annaberg in the Lammertal to St. Martin at the Tennengebirge, where the Berghotel Lämmerhof and the Wohlfühlresort Martinerhof are 2 wonderful accommodations. Then the Pongau and Salzburger Sportwelt await you. The first stops on the tour plan are Neuberg bei Filzmoos and Eben, then Flachau with the Hotel Hotels Montanara as a popular stage end. The Bikehotel Tauernhof is being renovated in 2024 and will reopen at the end of the year.

 

After a crisp climb over a panoramic gravel track, there’s nothing better than sitting on the terrace at Sattelbauer and enjoying the view. From here, Radstadt is quickly reached. The old town in the mountains invites you to linger. For example, at the Gasthof Stegerbräu. From there, the route runs along the Taurach from Waldherr to the Wildpark Untertauern on the Taurachtal bike path. Graveling as it should be!

Salzburger Lungau

Warming up, the journey leads up to Obertauern. In the famous winter sports resort, it’s recommended to take a break and absorb the hard-earned mountain panorama. The journey continues into Salzburger Lungau and to Mauterndorf, where not only can one enjoy a wonderful night’s sleep at the Metzgerstub’n, but also dine splendidly. Those who still have energy for a few more kilometers can spend the night at the Landhotel Blasiwirt in St. Michael, where the Volkswagen Gravelbike Experience will make a stop in May 2024. There’s much to discover in Salzburg’s southernmost region, such as Mauterndorf Castle with its newly built drawbridge or the Edenvest ruins, a lost place in Thomatal-Gruben.

 

CARINTHIA AND THE GLOCKNER

Heading south from here, the path plunges deeper into the mountains until Innerkrems, the first town in the Kärntner Nockberge (Carinthian Nock Mountains), is reached. The western shore of Lake Millstätter and the Drau Valley are the next waypoints. In the town of Seeboden on Lake Millstätter, three accommodations await weary cyclists: the Sporthotel Hotel Royal X, DAS MOERISCH, and the Hotel Moserhof. Those wishing to spend the night in Spittal an der Drau will find excellent hospitality at the Hotel Ertl***. The same applies to the Gasthaus Zum Goldenen Rössl in Sachsenburg. Next, a short detour to the Osttirol region and Lienz is on the tour plan. Our overnight recommendation here is the Spiele- und Buchhotel Tschitscher*** in Nikolsdorf.

 

Heading north, the route steadily climbs until reaching Heiligenblut with its pointed church tower, the spectacular view of the Grossglockner, and the Nationalpark Lodge Grossglockner. Now comes the king of challenges: the ride up the High Alpine Road to Fuscher Törl, 2,428 meters above sea level! Known as Austria’s highest view. For those still having strength in their calves, a detour up to the Edelweißspitze is highly recommended—where else can one cycle up to a height of 2,571 meters? Exactly! A short break, whistle at the marmots about the weather, and then it’s time to bundle up. For from here, it’s all downhill through BRUCK FUSCH | GROSSGLOCKNER and into the Zell am See-Kaprun region.

Zell am See-Kaprun

After leaving Bruck an der Glocknerstraße behind and thoroughly enjoying the panorama of Austria’s highest mountains, Lake Zellersee is circumnavigated counter-clockwise. A dive into the cool waters with a view up to the Kitzsteinhorn is mandatory, for instance at Lido Thumersbach beach or the north shore. Refreshed, one can then immerse into the city flair of Zell am See around the town square or enjoy a 3-kilometer detour through the Kesselfall Cycle Path and the Sigmund-Thun Gorge to Klammsee, depending on what one feels like. Our accommodation tips for the region are Sporthotel Kitz in Bruck, Sportresort Alpenblick in Zell am See and Kaprunerhof in Kaprun.

 

Mittersill

Graveling westward with the Salzach in view, one enters the Mittersill-Hollersbach-Stuhlfelden region. Here, one should continually glance left to not miss the most beautiful views into the mountain world around the Kitzsteinhorn and Grossvenediger. Arriving in Mittersill, the National Park Worlds offers deep insights into the flora and fauna of the High Tauern National Park. Not far from there is the Hotel Bräurup, which not only provides a good accommodation tip but is also a guarantee for a cozy evening thanks to its own inn brewery. This also applies to Hotel Heitzmann on the town square, Sporthotel Kogler and Wanderhotel Kirchner in nearby Bramberg. In Mittersill, the path leaves the Salzach valley and heads over the Pass Thurn into Tyrol. After Jochberg, the winter sports resort of Kitzbühel is reached. With views of the world-famous Hahnenkamm and the Kitzbüheler Horn, it’s relaxing to stroll through the downtown or even spend the night at Hotel Schweizerhof. Through St. Johann in Tyrol and Fieberbrunn, it goes back to SalzburgerLand.

 

Austria’s largest bike-region Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn

In Austria’s largest bike-region, the ascent to the Spielberghaus must first be conquered. Here, where MTB star Vali Höll grew up, it’s all about biking, good food, and cozy get-togethers. Definitely make a stop, maybe even for the night? The route runs from here past the Asitz Trail by the Kohlmaiskopf, the Großer and Kleiner Asitz into the Bikepark Leogang and down to Leogang. There, the Bio-Hotel Rupertus and the Hotel Bacher Asitzstubn are two of our bike-friendly accommodation options. The same applies to Hotel Ritzenhof in Saalfelden. Those wanting to make a detour to Saalbach should definitely spend the night at the Spielberghaus.

 

Salzburger Saalachtal

Now it’s time to enter the Salzburger Saalachtal, with the towns of Weißbach, St. Martin, Lofer, and Unken. Here, alongside relaxing kilometers on the Tauern bike path, a series of natural spectacles await, each justifying a pause in its own right. For example, the Seisenberg Gorge in the mountaineering village of Weißbach bei Lofer. Or the nearby Lamprechts cave. On warm days, the Vorderkaser natural bathing area invites you to swim and chill. Those looking for accommodation in the region will find the Friedlwirt or the Naturhotel Schütterbad, both in Unken.

 

Back in the city of Salzburg

Über Bad Reichenhall erreicht man schließlich wieder die Stadt Salzburg. Ein toller Abschluss, den man im Café am Kai beim Müllnersteg mit Blick auf die Stadt gebührend feiert. Wer noch etwas Zeit hat, der sollte sich unbedingt noch dem Flair der Stadt mit all ihren kulturellen, landschaftlichen und kulinarischen Facetten hingeben oder dem Schloss Hellbrunn mit den weltbekannten Wasserspielen einen Besuch abstatten. Unsere Übernachtungstipps für die Mozartstadt: das Hotel St. Virgil, das Hotel Hohenstauffen, das Grünen Hotel zur Post und die Hotel Pension Adlerhof.

„Bicycles may change but cycling is timeless“
Zapata Espinoza

How to get here

The train enables an environmentally friendly and stress-free arrival to this unique gravel adventure. On each of the two rounds, there are several entry and exit points at train stations (for example, Salzburg, Radstadt, St. Johann in Salzburg, or Saalfelden), allowing for easy customization of the tour. Besides the train, SalzburgerLand is also accessible by a comprehensive long-distance bus service. From the (bus) stations, Postbus hiking buses continue to the destination.

 

Accommodation in our gravel regions

Our accommodations and hoteliers are as bike-friendly as the entire region. The bike hotels in the SalzburgerLand offer a wide selection of suitable accommodations.

©roastmedia/ SalzburgerLand Tourismus

 

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