Imagine a way to see extraordinary, beautiful, powerful, impressive and almost unbelievable things. A trail that would surely be unique in its diversity. The Tauern Cycle Trail has more than enough of all this. If you are a cyclist, you can expect to experience something that will not be forgotten.
Enjoy the impressive panorama of the Hohe Tauern. Hang your feet in the cool waters of Lake Zell, while the surrounding peaks are reflected in the slightly rippling water. Look up at the entrance to the Ice Caves, the largest ice caves on earth, while you experience the relaxation of the Salzach and the humming of your tires, which you so rarely feel. The old walls of the fortress Hohensalzburg are already visible from afar, which announces the early arrival in the ‘Mozart City’ of Salzburg. While sitting in a café taking in the atmosphere, you can decide whether you want to cycle back to Zell am See via Lofer, or to continue along the Salzach and the Inn up to Passau.
No matter what your choice is, the Tauern Cycle Trail is an experience you will not quickly forget and you will be guaranteed to return.
The Tauern Cycle Trail Circuit
Even if there were certainly some extreme athletes who could complete the Tauern Cycle Trail in one day, it is still possible to divide the 270km into several stages and to dive intensively into a region that has so much more to offer than just a sporting challenge. More than 100 natural attractions, excursion destinations, hotels and inns await discovery by you on the following 7 stages.
By the way: of course you can start the circuit from any town.
1. Krimml to Mittersill
Even if you can hardly wait to get started as a bike enthusiast and cycle the first kilometres of the Tauern Cycle Trail downwind, you should still pay a visit to the Krimmler waterfalls at the start of the circuit. Austria’s largest and most imposing waterfalls are a unique experience. But do not stay too long: there is still a lot to be experienced and you also have some good views of the natural power of the water along the way.
At the Krimmler brook and finally along the Salzach you descend through the forest and meadows until you reach Neukirchen am Großvenediger. At the end of the village you could cool down in the natural bathing area for the first time, or you can go directly to Bramberg am Wildkogel or the lake in Hollersbach. The first stage ends after 33 kilometres in Mittersill, where you can discover the interesting National Park Centre.
2. Mittersill to Bruck on the Glockner street
The 2nd stage continues along the Salzach through Stuhlfelden, Uttendorf, Niedernsill, Piesendorf and Kaprun to Bruck on the Glockner street, 32 kilometres away. Whether you also take a short trip into the wonderful district capital town of Zell am See, is of course entirely up to you but it is highly recommended at this point. You should, however, make a short stop in Kaprun. The view up to the Kitzsteinhorn is truly beautiful.
By the way: In Bruck there is the option to take the branch trail off over the Pinzgauer Saalachtal (see stages 6 and 7 in the opposite direction)
3. From Bruck to Schwarzach
Before you leave Bruck, be sure to take a moment to explore the view of the mountains to the South. The road, which runs through the ever narrowing valley, leads up to the Glockner Mountain, almost to the Großglockner, at 3,798 metres the highest mountain in Austria. The trail across the road to Franz-Josefs-Höhe is a very popular challenge for cyclists. Today, however, you stay down in the valley and get ready to master the 31 kilometres of this stage. Via Taxenbach one finally reaches Schwarzach.
4. Schwarzach to Golling (Fabulous Tauern Cycle Trail)
With 43.3 kilometres this is one of the longest stages on the Tauern Cycle Trail. It goes through St. Johann im Pongau, Bischofshofen, Pfarrwerfen Werfen and the “gentle” Pass Lueg to Golling. No matter whether you want to visit the Liechtensteinklamm and the Pongauer cathedral in St. Johann, the ski jumping hill in Bischofshofen, or the Castle of Hohenwerfen and the Ice Caves in Werfen: this stage has so much to offer that one or more stops are essential here.
Tip: The almost 30km from Schwarzach to Werfen are know as the “Fabulous Tauern Cycle Trail”. This stretch leads along the River Salzach and is easy to ride for families with kids. Along the way there are many traces of the past and numerous signposts telling the old stories. There is so much to discover here and not only for kids, from the popular stories, to the lovely Alpine pastures, and the legend of the seven mills in Pfarrwerfen.
By the way: families are recommended to travel by train for the 17km long section between Werfen and Golling. Thus, you can avoid the the narrow main road section before the Pass Lueg.
5. From Golling to Salzburg
Even if you can hardly wait to complete the 28 kilometres of this stage and see the City of Salzburg with its world-famous city centre, the great restaurants and its exciting history, there is so much to explore along the way. The picturesque market square of Kuchl, the Celtic town of Hallein or the Salzburg Zoo are only a few of these attractions. Bad Vigaun, Puch and Elsbethen-Glasenbach are also well worth a short stop.
By the way: If you want to continue cycling along the Salzach towards the North: see stages 8 and 9!
6. From Salzburg to Lofer
This stage covers 48.4 kilometres through the ‘Little German Corner’. After leaving the city limits of Salzburg, you will quickly reach the Bavarian town of Bad Reichenhall via Gois (Wals) and Großgmain with its famous open-air museum. Even today, you can still see the wealth from the time of salt in the imposing buildings of the city centre. Continue through Schneizlreuth to Unken and finally to Lofer. The trail leads along the Saalach, which seems to be a constant alternation between idyllic river and wild water.
7. Lofer to Zell am See / Bruck
Shortly after Lofer you reach the village of St. Martin, from where you can take a trip to the pilgrimage church of Maria-Kirchental. The Tauern Cycle Trail continues along the Saalach, crosses Weißbach and finally leads via Saalfelden, Maria Alm, Maishofen and Zell am See back to Bruck. With 53.1 kilometres it’s not exactly a short stage.
By the way: From Zell am See one can take the Pinzgauer local railway back to Krimml, the starting point of the Tauern Cycle Trail circuit.
The Tauern Cycle Trail from Krimml to Passau in 7 Stages
The stages from Krimml to Salzburg are identical to the stages described above in 1 to 5!
8. Salzburg to Braunau
There are now 79.6 kilometres along the border with German to be mastered. The highlights along the Salzach and later the Inn are surely Oberndorf, which celebrates the anniversary “200 Years of Silent Night” in 2018, and Burghausen with the longest castle in the world. But also along the way there is a lot of natural beauty on offer.
9. From Braunau to Passau
Finally, the goal is within reach, at a distance of 65.9 kilometres. Along the Inn, this last stretch of trail leads through wonderful nature and ends in the picturesque town of Passau on the three rivers Inn, Danube and Ilz. Enjoy the medieval old town and raise a toast to the Tauern Cycle Trail – you deserve it.
Tauern Cycle Trail Facts:
Length: 270km (Tauern Cycle Trail circuit) or 310km (Krimml to Passau)
Height Difference: 600m (Tauern Cycle Trail circuit) or 750m (Krimml to Passau)
Suitable for the whole family, especially the route through the Saalachtal.
Arrival: either with the car or the Pinzgauer Lokalbahn.
Accommodation: along the trail there are many Hotels and Accommodations which specialise in cyclists requirements.