Refreshing mountain lakes, green valleys and the sea
From the Dolomites to the Adriatic Sea is a cycling tour that takes you through a stunning mountain landscape to the seashores of the Adriatic Sea. This two-country tour offers varied natural landscapes: mountains, mountain lakes and the Adriatic Sea. The route passes refreshing lakes that invite you to swim or just relax on the banks, enjoying the sun and the beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. The route begins at the source of the Drava River (Drau), near Dobbiaco (Toblach) following the cycle path along the river.
Dobbiaco is a mountain village with a beautiful backdrop of the Dolomite Mountains. The village much visited both in summer by lovers of hiking and cycling as in winter by skiers. Here it was where the composer Mahler found inspiration during his summer holidays in 1908-1910: “It is wonderful to be here, it sets your soul and body at ease…” The River Drava accompanies you on the way passing the border Italy- Austria cycling to Lienz (673 a.s.l.) the town of two castles: Bruck castle with its town museum and Tammerburg castle used for concerts. From here the tour takes you through Spittal and you continue cycling till Villach. Close to Villach we find two natural paradises, the deep blue Faaker Lake with its island in the middle and the bigger Ossiacher lake.
From Villach, you will head south to enter Italy again pedalling towards Moggio Udinese, Tolmezzo, and Venzone and crossing Tarvisio surrounded by green woods. Following the Tagliamento River, you will pass through the picturesque Gemona del Friuli and then arrive in UDINE, the an important city of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region. Coming closer to the Adriatic Sea you feel the salty sea breeze touching your skin. But before enjoying the sea a last highlight is waiting for you, the lovely town of Grado, overwhelming you with its Venetian charm and beautiful beaches.
The daily program of the 8-day tour
Arrival in the Alta-Pusteria-Valley: Dobbiaco (Toblach) or Villabassa (Niederdorf)
Individual arrival at your first hotel is in the Alta Pusteria Valley. For those arriving earlier, it is well worth cycling into the Höhlenstein Valley to visit Lake Toblach or the courageous can go to the adventure Park or you could visit the Gustav Mahler Wild Animal Park.
Overnight stay with breakfast in Dobbiaco or Villabassa
Starting in Villabassa or Dobbiaco, you cycle along the bike path to Innichen (San Candido) and then on to Sillian, a paradise for who loves active and nature holidays. After this, the route goes downhill all the way to the sunny Austrian town of Lienz, then continuing in the direction of Oberdrauburg. A few km outside Lienz we recommend a stop in the ancient Roman settlement of Aguntum.
Overnight stay with breakfast in Oberdrauburg
Distance: 70-75 km / 43-46 mi
Ascent/descent: +95 m -620 m
From Oberdrauburg you cycle through a splendid scenery along an important Roman trade route till Berg im Tal, a characteristic austrian village. From Berg you will pass through idyllic landscapes and dreamy villages on the way to Spittal. There will be the opportunity to take a detour to Lake Millstätter for a quick swim or a short brake time. Spittal is famous for the concerts and comedy shows held at Porcia Castle, one of the most beautiful Renaissance castles in Austria which is definitely worth a visit.
Overnight stay with breakfast in Spittal an der Drau
Distance: 55 km / 34 miles
Ascent/Descent: +65 m -140 m
This day’s cycling takes you to Villach, the largest town in Carinthia. Villach, a quite small town, so it is easy to get around on foot, is well known not only for its carnival events but also for its funfair. There are many places of interest to visit like the Landskron Castle with its falconry, the bell-tower of St. Jakob and the museum of Doll-Art… and of course, there are many boutiques, pubs and restaurants. A trip to the local lake Faaker is also worthwhile or the nearby Monkey mountain with 145 Japanese Macaques that move freely in the whole park.
Overnight stay with breakfast Villach
Distance: 40 km / 24,9 miles
Ascent/descent: +15 m -60 m
Following the course of the Gail river, you will leave Villach returning to Italy from the Val Canale. Tarvisio is surrounded by woods, mountains and valley. It is an important cultural and commercial centre not far from Austria and Slovenia and a meeting point for the three nations. From Tarvisio you will continue cycling through the Friuli hills up to Moggio Udinese/Tolmezzo/Venzone. Possibility to shorten the stage reaching Ugovizza by train (ticket not included).
Overnight stay with breakfast in Moggio Udinese/Tolmezzo/Venzone
Distance: 85-90 km/53-56 mi (altitude difference +820 m -1040 m) or
40-55 km/25-34 mi (altitude difference +190 m -270 m) + train to Ugovizza
Today your itinerary will take you south. You will reach the beautiful Gemona del Friuli with its historic center and the spectacular cathedral dedicated to S. Maria Assunta. You will then pedal through the vineyards and it will be worth stopping for a taste of the excellent Friulian wines. At the end of the stage, Udine awaits you, the regional capital of Friuli Venezia Giulia and a surprising city where the influences of Venetian Renaissance culture are evident. The town is dominate by the castle which houses a museum with works of Tiepolo and Caravaggio.
Overnight stay with breakfast in Udine
Distance: 60 km /37,3 mi
Ascent/Descent: +120 m -240 m)
The last leg of the tour will take you to the Adriatic Sea. You will pedal up to Grado, a quiet seaside town with a Venetian charm. Worth seeing in the old city are the basilicas of Sant’Eufemia and S. Maria delle Grazie. In addition, three kilometers of beach await you to enjoy the sun and the sea.
Overnight stay with breakfast in Grado
Distance: 55 km / 34 miles
Ascent/Descent: +120 m -130 m
Possibility to extend the stay. On request, on Saturday it is possible to transfer back to Dobbiaco/Villabassa. Alternatively, bus from Trieste or Udine to San Candido.
Impressions from the Dolomites to the Adriatic Sea
This bike tour from the Dolomites to the Adriatic Sea is ideal for those who wish to cycle on routes that are not excessively difficult. The route follow mainly the river Drava in the first part and then proceed between secondary roads and stretches of cycle path without too steep slopes. The bicycle paths are well marked, mostly asphalted and without traffic. The hardest route on day 5 can be shortened and lightened by train. From children of 14 years who have cycle experience.
Arrival every Saturday from 04/05/2024 until 28/09/2024 (last available date). With a minimum of 5 participants individual starting dates are possible.
2 or more people (solo traveller on request).
START / FINISH:
Dobbiaco (Toblach)-Villabassa (Niederdorf) / Grado