Cycling from Salzburg to Venice
Description Cycle route from Salzburg to Venice and Istria
Salzburg is either the start or end point of the new route to Venice and Istria, Middle Europe, part 2. Salzburg is also one of the most beautiful towns in this part of Europe and easily reached by train via Munich.
The Alps rise up behind Salzburg from where the route to Venice ascends via the Saalach valley to Zell am See, continuing to rise up to Bad Gastein and the highest point on the route at Bockstein. From here the Tauern shuttle train service takes you through the tunnel under the Alps to Carinthia. The route then descends along the river Drau to Villach after which it heads towards Italy. The creation of this cycle route happily coincided with the opening of the Alpe Adria Bicycle Route. There are actually very few suitable crossings between Austria and Italy. Although we only follow this new route where it is advantageous on our journey to Venice. When starting either from Salzburg or from the other side of the Alps, we have taken (in the opinion of many others familiar with cycling in this area) a much better route than the Alpe Adria provides. The advantage of using parts of the new route is that the main part of it is properly signposted. The cycle path from the Italian border down into the valley is really fantastic. It has been laid on the track of a former double railway line and it’s more like a cycle ‘motorway’ all the way down.
The route runs along the base of the Dolomites to the Prosecco hills. Conegliano marks the entrance to the wine growing area and although the direct route continues around the bottom of the hills, we really couldn’t miss the opportunity to find a side road through the wonderfully, undulating vineyards. On its way to the lagoon, the route goes through Treviso, one of the loveliest towns in the Veneto. It’s a delightfully pleasant town to use as a base for those wanting to visit Venice and avoid paying over the odds there for a bed. Taking the cycle path running along the Sile river you eventually reach the lagoon, with Serenissima in the distance. For those wanting to visit Venice it is strongly advised to leave your bike behind in either Mestre or the Lido. Bicycles are simply totally impractical and not welcome in Venice.
This route includes many side routes. First of all the route splits at the ‘three-countries-corner’ where the borders of Austria, Italy and Slovenia come together. From there you take the cycle path through the Triglav National Park in Slovenia and the valley of the Sava, eventually arriving at the Slovenian capital Ljubljana.
The biggest side route however runs through Friuli and the Karst Plateau to Istria. The wine-growing area of Collio lies on the lower hills between the Julian Alps and the plain. Just over the border this is also called the ‘Brda’. It’s a beautiful area and everything that is produced here is simply delicious. After Gorizia the route continues through the Karst Plateau, eventually descending in Istria down to the sea. The Venetian port of Piran/Pirano is located on the Slovenian side. In Croatia the route runs through the ancient hinterland towards Porec/Parenzo, a lovely final stage of the trip. From Porec and Pirano you can take the ferry back to Venice, thereby making a round trip.
Though there's more to it than that. There are also a number of side routes, such as the link between Bled and the valley of the Soca that eventually joins with the side route to Istria. In total this guidebook contains more 1320 kilometres of sheer cycling pleasure.
Salzburg – Venice is 530 km. From Salzburg to Istria is 580 km.
You get a lot for your money with this thick guidebook.
Salzburg, Venice and Villach are easy to reach by train. But you can also fly to and from Venice and Treviso.
Edition/Year: 3rd edition, 2018
Language: Dutch - an English translation of the directions available on
request - full English version available later.
Distance: Salzburg – Venice: 530 km Salzburg – Istria 580 km
Detailed Maps: 65, scale 1:100,000
City Maps: 5, scale varies
Difficulty rating: Apart from just 1 kilometre, easy to average
Direction: Described in both directions
Sample pages with detailed maps and height profiles.