The Austrian Riviera.
- 8 Days / 7 Nights
- self guided
Arrival in Villach
The stillness of the mountains, the gentle lakeside of the crystal-clear lakes, pure nature – located in the heart of Carinthia the entire region around Villach reflects this entire diversity. Already the Romans, probably the first lakeside tourists appreciated relaxation and recuperation in these thermal baths and even Paracelsus enjoyed here the healing effects of the thermal springs.
Past Villach’s thermal spa you leave the town and cycle at the foot of the Karawanken-mountains headed East to the first lake of your loop tour, the turquoise-blue Lake Faaker See. The lake’s backdrop is the Mittagskogel-peak, a genuine rock giant. Extensive, undeveloped meadows and green wooded areas surround the lake and in the middle of the lake you find a wooded island. After a relaxing break at the lakeside and/or a lunch break you start your journey back. You tackle a small ridge on your bikes and hence reach the glistening river Drau with grey-green milky waters. The Drau-cycle path – on flat terrain and very well-developed – leads you along a leisurely route back to Villach.
You leave Villach along the Seebach-stream and enjoy the view onto the castle ruin Landskron. On a clear day the castle ruin is visible above Villach and far beyond. The knights from long ago knew exactly where they took up residence. It is no surprise since the picturesque backdrop has not changed over time: in the forefront the green colour of the Gerlitzen Alpe, in the background the blue of Lake Ossiacher See. Lake Ossiacher See, the ’bath‘, with a total length of eleven kilometres features (just like nearly all of Carinthia’s lakes) drinking water quality. In Ossiach the mountains and the crystal-clear water of the lake with a water temperature of up to 27 degrees in summer delight on the one hand and on the other hand the monastery dating back to the 11th century with its spectacular, late baroque church. Next the pretty resort of Steindorf on Lake Ossiacher See beckons. Then a short stop in Bodensdorf before today’s tour has come full circle in Villach.
You start the tour by cycling a few kilometres along the Drau-cycle path headed East. The route continues through unspoilt Carinthian farmland. Your next destination is the bussling town of Velden on Lake Wörthersee. The clear, turquoise-blue water of Lake Wörthersees and the hussle and bussle invite you to a break in the ‚celebrity ‘-town. Through a charming scenery with rolling hills you reach the ‚Keutschach Seental‘. Sometimes it is a languorous wayside cross, sometimes it is a farm house decorated with flowers that catches your eye. The wide valley, the soft rolling hills and wooded mountains, four lovely lakes and in the distance: mountains. Even the close-by sunny South can be felt. Lake Hafnersee, Lake Keutschacher See, Lake Baßgeigensee and Lake Rauschelesee are grouped around the resort Keutschach. The ‚Lend ‘-canal, situated at the eastern shores of Lake Wörthersee, leads you into the state capital of Carinthia, to Klagenfurt.
Klagenfurt – "the Rose of Lake Wörthersee" – captivates with its enchanting old part of town. Built by Italian architects in the 16/17th century, it has kept its southern flair over centuries. As legend has it the home of a dragon (Lindwurm), today features winding alleyways, romantic archade courts churches and town houses to explore.
After such a big dose of culture you continue by bike. Along the small river Glan you will leave Klagenfurt and after you passed a small range of hills with villages and forest you will reach the river Drau. On the Drau-river cycle path you will cycle to the Völkermarkter reservoir. Now it is only a short distance before you reach the warmest lake of the state, Lake Klopeiner See. The shores of Lake Klopeiner See are very inviting: the surroundins are mostly wooded and from the hilltops you see flashes of white little churches, in the South the Karawanken-mountain chain rises and above it all you see the sun in the (usually) blue sky. Now there is only enough time for a refreshing swim in the lake.
Idyllic cycle paths lead you from Klopeiner See to the Völkermarkter reservoir, where you will cycle along its waterfront and then pass the river Drau for the last time. On the Glan-Gurk-cycle path you will be led around the former duke city Völkermarkt, capital of the Jaunatal and located on a rising ground and further through typical Carinthian villages and landscapes in direction to the castle Hochosterwitz. It is very impressive what the nature and human beings created there! On top of a 150m high chalk rock there is an invulnerable fortress which overcame lots of centuries and can be visited now. Numerous castles and palaces in the surroundings remind us of the former significance of the onetime state capital St. Veit.
For centuries St. Veit has been the seat of the Carinthian bishops. The city wall, the medieval main square, the oppulent Rainassance houses, beautiful archade courts, Herzogsburg-castle and many monuments still testify of this period even today. You head west and cycle along the river Glan to Glanegg. Already visible from afar is Glanegg castle ruin, towering here over and above the valley. The cycle path leads you through Feldkirchen which is surrounded by wooded hills, romantic palaces and venerable ruins and directly to Lake Ossiacher See and back again to your start-and end destination, beautiful Villach.
The alternation between the individual river valleys and Lakes – as well as avoiding roads with heavy traffic – brings about a slightly hilly tour course. This journey can be easily overcome with a “normal” biker's constitution. Mostly you cycle along asphaltic bike paths and side roads with less of traffic.
Category: well selected 3***- and 4****- hotels and inn's, mostly located in the center (for example near the lake at the Klopeiner See)
- Accommodation as already mentioned
- Breakfast buffet or an extensive breakfast
- Luggage transfer between the hotels
- developed route
- Detailed travel documents 1x per room (German, English with route maps, route description, local attractions, important telephone numbers)
- GPS-data is available
- Service hotline
- If half board is booked: Half boad evening meal (mostly multi-course, sometimes outside the property, payable with voucher, in St. Veit B&B)
Arrival / Parking / Departure
- Villach Train Station
- Klagenfurt Airport
- Unguided, public car park free of charge and public underground car park (approx. € 35 per week) in the surrounding of the hotel
Where visitor´s tax is due, it is not included in the tour price.