Since 2015 the Long-distance cycle route Munich-Venice the Bavarian capital and the lagoon city of Venice with each other. At up to 1.530 meters, the route to the south covers a total of 560 kilometers and passes three countries. I know this route over the Brenner in the direction of Italy only too well from several holidays in the south, but so far only from the view from the car window. But this summer, exactly this route should be covered with bare legs on the bike. At the thought of it, I was driven by great enthusiasm but also a little jitter, after all, it was time to cross the Alps!
Together with a friend we decided to arrive in Venice within two weeks with a small change to the starting point. With two thickly packed bicycle bags, including camping equipment, we start the tour in Rosenheim, a small town on the Inn, which is about 60 kilometers south-east of Munich.
It starts in Rosenheim, an idyllic small town on the Inn
It starts comfortably along the Inn through the Alpine foothills towards Innsbruck. After a good 30 kilometers we cross the German-Austrian border before Kufstein. The closer we get to Innsbruck, the more the mountains condense around us and the main ridge of the Alps can be seen in the distance. In Jenbach am Inn we meet the official Munich-Venezia cycle path, which from then on is well signposted with a uniform logo. On the way there are always charming, medieval towns such as Rattenberg or Hall in Tirol, where you can take a break. Innsbruck is also very worth seeing as a city. Here pretty, colorful houses stand close together in small alleys and the mountains protrude in the background.
Up to the Italian border
The next morning we face the steepest ascent of the tour. The first section from Innsbruck to Patsch is particularly tough: we have to climb 10 meters in altitude in just 500 kilometers. The road is accordingly steep. Once in Patsch, the route continues through villages in the eastern Wipptal valley to the Brenner. After about ten kilometers at an altitude, it then goes on a moderate incline for the remaining 20 kilometers up to the Brenner. Upon arrival we proudly pass the border sign "Italia" - that was faster than expected!
We are then rewarded with a descent into the Eisack Valley. Here a former railway line has been converted into a cycle path, free travel far away from the motorway - a dream! We are cycling more and more into South Tyrol. The meadows and grasses are incredibly lush here and many bright flowers adorn the path. The wonderful landscape invites you to linger, which is why we give our legs and brave buttocks a break near Franzensfeste and stay two nights at a campsite.
The “Saalerwirt” hotel: A successful change from everyday camping
The route then continues into the Puster Valley. We drive into the valley along the river Rienz and decide to spend the next night in a hotel instead of in a tent. Of the Saalerwirt in St. Lorenzen offers the perfect change from our everyday camping life. The hotel is about 5 kilometers away from St. Lorenzen and is embedded in the hilly mountain landscape. After we arrive there after a moderate ascent, a feeling of joy and relaxation spreads, because we can arrive at our destination for the day in peace and quiet and no longer have to pitch a tent!
Although the host's terrace is well attended, the place is quiet. Saalen has just 50 inhabitants, which means that the Saalerwirt and the neighboring Maria Saalen welfare church form the center of the village.
Assumption Day - a very special holiday for Italians
Franziska welcomes us warmly and lets us know that today is a very special holiday for Italians - the Assumption of Mary. Many Italian companies close their businesses for two weeks at this time and families use the time to take a vacation. You won't notice any of the hustle and bustle in the beautiful outdoor area of the hotel with its natural swimming pond, Kneipp basin, sun terrace, hammocks and barefoot path. Here we find the ideal relaxation after cycling in the morning. In addition to the idyllic outdoor area, the Saalerwirt also has a beautifully designed spa area with two saunas and a yoga room. Regeneration in full swing!
In the evening a 5-course gala menu awaits us. Of the Saalerwirt attaches particular importance to the origin of its products and the careful and balanced preparation of the dishes. Many of the ingredients are organic products from our own farm or come from the region. In the various courses that are served to us, the tartare made from smoked trout with apple pearls and celery vinaigrette is a special culinary delight for me. The view from the terrace of the surrounding mountains rounds off the dinner perfectly.
In an idyllic yoga class in the morning, we gently wake up our body parts
The next day we start with “Gentle Wake Up” yoga. The yoga teacher Magdalena is part of the host family and offers free yoga classes for hotel guests four times a week. Individual yoga lessons can also be booked with her on request.
We meet at the yoga room by the spa area and walk a little bit into the forest equipped with a yoga mat and blanket, where we get to the wooden yoga terrace. The sun is just slowly emerging from between the trees, creating a wonderful atmosphere. Naturally, Magdalena leads the yoga practice in German and Italian in order to give the German-speaking and Italian guests the opportunity to follow the practice.
While we gently wake up our different parts of the body with different yoga positions, two horses trot down the hill past the yoga platform. You live on the property of the host family. Due to the celebrations for the Assumption of Mary, the chapel plays in the welfare church down in the village again and again, which you can easily hear up here - a really magical and almost fairytale morning!
After this soothing yoga unit, we strengthen ourselves for the upcoming cycling stage at the rich breakfast buffet. Homemade muesli and jams, honey straight from Saalen, typical Vinschgal rolls and a fine selection of teas make our hearts beat faster. The last big climb to the Gemärkspass can come!
We continue: The last big climb to the Gemärkspass lies ahead of us
After it was mainly downhill after the Brenner Pass, we now expect again almost 800 meters in altitude, but this time it is characterized by a more moderate gradient. We continue to follow the Rienz river, where part of the forest is blocked by violent thunderstorms and we have to take a small detour above through a few places. Our additional effort is rewarded with a wonderful view of the hilly South Tyrolean landscape.
From Toblach our route follows the Dolomites cycle path. Here, too, a former railway line has been converted into a cycle path, allowing us to cross the beautiful mountains far away from traffic. On the way are the mountain lakes Toblacher See and Dürrensee, which create a breathtaking backdrop in combination with the Dolomites. We slowly feel that we are deep in the mountains - the mountains are getting higher and rockier, the path more rocky and it is getting quite fresh. The arrival at the highest point of our route is reached unexpectedly quickly and we are happy that the remaining 240 kilometers to Venice are now almost entirely downhill.
The bike route leads us through the Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The subsequent path leads us through the Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and through former railway tunnels down to Cortina d'Ampezzo. There we pitch our tent as soon as we arrive, because the next thunderstorm is approaching. In the afternoons and evenings, things like to brew in the mountains, which is why we spent the last few evenings reading in our tents in the rain. The Solar lamp from "Little Sun" as a sustainable travel accessory not missing. During the day we clip the lamp with solar collector onto our bike bag for charging, so that we have light in the tent in the evening. The small lamp shines for a full five hours after a full charge.
The next day's stage takes us from Cortina d'Ampezzo 80 kilometers south to Lago di Santa Croce. This stage turns out to be the most impressive part of the entire route at the end of our tour. The path in Cortina continues to follow the old railway line, which is now well paved and runs along above the village framed by the Dolomite peaks. The railway line was built during World War I to supply the stationed units with sufficient material. In 1, the railway was finally shut down due to insufficient use, but the pretty stations on the cycle path are still a reminder of the operation today.
We “roll” downhill through a fascinating mountain backdrop
Surrounded by the fascinating mountain scenery, we more or less “roll” into the Val di Cadore. At the beginning of the stage we share the route with many other cycling and hiking tourists, but the further we go into the valley landscape, the calmer and more peaceful the surroundings become. The villages on the way are rather sparsely populated and give reason to fully enjoy the unique natural landscape. After almost 40 kilometers downhill, we now follow the river Piave on a plain to the foothills of the Alps, Lago di Santa Croce. In the valley of the Piave, the view of the turquoise-blue water and the white gravel banks of the river together with the surrounding rocky mountains is particularly impressive.
We follow the Italian sun further into the Veneto region
We spend two nights at a campsite by the lake in Farra d'Alpago before we say goodbye to the fascinating mountain world and continue into the Veneto region, always facing the Italian sun. The path leads past two other lakes and then through the historic city of Vittorio Veneto, where we take our lunch break. The route leads across the vineyards of the famous Prosecco region to Conegliano. The medieval town of Conegliano is home to the famous sparkling wine and is well worth a visit with its small old town.
The following 110 kilometers from Conegliano via Treviso to Lido di Jesolo are characterized by a lot of agriculture, flat plains and, above all, incredible heat. The more unforgettable is the moment when we arrive in Jesolo and can finally refresh ourselves in the sea!
Final spurt after two weeks of cycling
Now it's the final spurt! We cycle the remaining 30 kilometers on the headland in front of Venice to Punta Sabbioni, where we take the boat to the Lido di Venezia. It is forbidden to take bicycles into the lagoon city, which is why we visit the city from Lido di Venezia. It's hard to believe that after two weeks of cycling we finally arrived in Venice.
My personal opinion:
It was a really fantastic and very varied tour that takes place on easily navigable and signposted paths. Being in the fresh air every day and being close to nature and the people of the country is unique and absolutely recommendable. Even if we started the tour with a lot of respect for the steep climbs, in retrospect it can be said that it was consistently doable. So, just get on the saddle and off you go!