Contrasts are what make life exciting and this applies to cycle paths too. The Traun Bike Trail is a good example of this. The Tour starts in Gmunden, a town in Upper Austria that is backdropped by alpine peaks and the mighty Traunstein mountain. However, it ends on the Danube, right by one of the largest industrial areas in the country, where furnaces glow and steam around the clock. In between, you experience all the charm of Upper Austria – from lovely river landscapes to inviting towns and buildings that are steeped in history.
As the name of the trail suggests, the Traun is the centre point of this Tour. The river rises in the heights of the Totes Gebirge mountain group, before flowing into the Hallstättersee and Traunsee lakes and finally rewatching the Danube near Linz, the capital of Upper Austria.
The Traun Bike Trail, signposted with R4 for short, accompanies the Traun as it flows from Gmunden to its mouth. Covering 86 kilometres (53 miles), the route leads along cycle paths and side roads. If you want to complete the distance in one day, it would be a sporty undertaking. If possible, take your time as there is a lot to discover right from the get-go. As well as Gmunden, the beautiful starting point on Lake Traunsee, and the scenic beauty of the Upper Austria alpine foothills, there are also many cultural monuments that make this bike trip even more interesting. The highlights are as varied as the region itself, including: A museum dedicated to the paper industry that historically thrived in the region; the oldest hydroelectric power station in Austria; the impressive Lambach Abbey, and more.
Although the Traun Bike Trail is worth a trip in itself, there are also many possibilities to combine the route with other beautiful cycle paths if you want to extend your adventure. For example, the Salzkammergut Cycle Path is a good choice. We recommend the section from the town of Bad Ischl to Ebensee lake and on to Traunsee lake. You can also extend the trail at the end by joining the Danube Cycle Path and riding back to Linz along the north riverbank.
We recommend catching the train to Gmunden as the town lies on the Attnang-Puchheim railway junction and is very well connected. There are also good public transport connections at the destination, a little east of Linz. Just 3 kilomtres (1.8 miles) away, you reach Asten-Fisching railway station which has regular S-Bahn trains to Linz. Last but not least, we have a culinary tip:
Finally, a culinary tip: The Traun region is known for its Steckerlfische, a regional specialty of grilled fish. You can try it at several restaurants en route.
The Traun cycle path begins in the middle of Gmunden. Before you start, depending on the weather, you have hopefully already enjoyed a refreshing swim in the Traunsee or at least strolled a round on the esplanade. From here you have a wonderful view of the beautiful mountains around the Traunsee. Immediately after the promising start you switch to the other side of the river on the Marienbrücke. The path leads you on side streets to Laakirchen, one of the centers of the Upper Austrian paper industry. If you are interested in the subject, then I recommend a visit to the papermaking museum. Also of interest a few hundred meters away is the historic Gschröff hydroelectric power station, which is a few meters away from the cycle path - it was the first electric hydroelectric power station in Austria and is so well preserved that it still works today.
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