A titillating mix of twisting singletracks, testing hill climbs and scenic valley roads make the Austrian Tirol is a cyclist’s haven. Get on your bike and start exploring!
With towering mountains, shimmering lakes and lush valleys, the Austrian Tirol is one of those places that just screams adventure. For cyclists and mountain bikers it’s a true Mecca, with every part of the region teeming with narrow tracks, challenging climbs and family-friendly routes. In total, there are 5,400 kilometres of designated mountain bike tracks and 200 kilometres of singletrack trails ripe for exploring on two wheels. Not sure where to start? Here are five of the best cycling destinations…
Seamless transition of city to mountains | ©Innsbruck Tourismus/Mario Webhofer
1. St. Anton am Arlberg
When the snow melts in St. Anton, Austria’s world-famous ski resort transforms into a mountain biker’s paradise. It’s home to more than 200km of mountain bike routes suitable for every kind of rider. Pick from easy-going paths through lush meadows, gentle climbs that take you into the wilderness of the Arlberg and epic, mettle-testing descents.
A beautiful alpine sunset in St Anton | ©TVB St. Anton am Arlberg/ Wolfgang Ehn
Biking newbies will love the gentle, two hour-long Stanzertal Valley Route, which follows an old train track from St. Anton along the valley floor to Flirsch. For more of a challenge, pedal up to the Putzenalm, a beautifully situated mountain hut 655 vertical metres above St. Anton, or cycle through the woods to the turquoise waters of Verwall Lake. Both give a tantalising taste of the incredible biking terrain on offer in the Arlberg.
With more than 800 km of mountain biking and cycling routes, every keen cyclist needs to visit the Zillertal. Its mix of sheer valley walls, hidden lakes, rolling pastures and sky-piercing mountains offer a wealth of terrain and awe-inspiring views wherever you pedal.
Mountains and lakes are always a good combination | Photo: TirolWerbung
Two legs of the Tirol Mountain Bike Safari, a 670 km lift-assisted bike route that zigzags across the region, pass through the Zillertal, both showcasing the best of the valley’s biking. Stage 9 is the longest climb of the whole route, entering the Zillertal via the remote Geiseljoch Col. The reward is a cruisey descent all the way down to the valley floor. Stage 10, meanwhile, mixes steep alpine climbs with valley paths through postcard-ready villages and lush-green meadows.
3. St Johann in Tirol, Kitzbühler Alps
The baroque town of St Johann in Tirol is surrounded by rolling pastures and rocky mountains, making it the perfect base for cycling the eastern part of Tirol. It’s also in the heart of the biggest e-bike region in Austria. The Kitzbühler Alps is home to 1,000 km of cycling trails, served by 310 rental e-bikes, 43 rental stations and 80 battery replacement stations.
Biking on the nice plateaus in the Kitzbüheler Alps | Photo: Mirja Geh/Eye5
St Johann lies on the TransKitzAlp, a four-stage mountain bike route which crisscrosses its way through the Kitzbühel Alps, as well as the final stage of the Tirol Mountain Bike Safari. Both are filled with scenery typical of the region, including rolling pastures, high plateaus, enchanting valleys and testing climbs.
4. The Tiroler Zugspitz Arena
The Tiroler Zugspitz Arena is famed not only for the colossal Zugspitze mountain, but also for the glittering lakes that make up its landscape. And the best way to explore them? By bike, of course.
Plenty of spots to cool down with a swim – or just take a moment to reflect | ©Tiroler Zugspitz Arena/U. Wiesmeier
The half-day 3 Seen Tour takes in three of the most beautiful lakes; Mittersee, Blindsee and Weißensee, all great spots for wild swimming. It twists through forest paths for 11.2 km and offers jaw-dropping views of the Zugspitze mountain, which marks the border between Austria and Germany. With 513 m of ascent but no major climbs, it’s perfect for all levels of cyclists.
5. Alpbachtal Seenland
Famed for its biscuit tin-worthy villages, quiet valley paths and high-mountain tracks, Alpbachtal is a hidden gem for serious cyclists and mountain bikers.
Alpbachtal being its usual gorgeous self | Photo: TirolWerbung
Two classic mountain bike routes are Steinbergalm and Alpbach-Holzalm. The former takes you along wood-lined paths deep into the Alpbach valley to the hut of Steinbergalm, famed for its mountain cheese. At 7.9 km long, it includes 571 m of vertical ascent and is perfect for ambitious intermediate riders. The two hour-long Alpbach-Holzalm route is also suitable for intermediates. It starts at the village of Alpbach and crosses over the mountains to Holzalm, a traditional hut with incredible food and stunning panoramic views that will make you fall in love with the Austrian Tirol.
How to get there?
Innsbruck Airport is the gateway to the Austrian Tirol. easyJet flies there directly from London Gatwick, Bristol and Liverpool. British Airways has direct routes from London Heathrow and Gatwick, while Monarch flies from Birmingham, Manchester and London Gatwick. You can also fly via Vienna or Frankfurt with Lufthansa. Alternatively, Munich airport is roughly a two-hour drive, with transfers operated by Taxi Tirol (www.tirol-taxi.at)
Post sponsored by visittirol.co.uk.