Even during the Habsburg Empire, those who could afford it travelled along the southern railway to Trieste to spend their summers on the coast. A short drive away, the Italian town of Grado is still a wonderful destination today. From Vienna, this route leads through varied landscapes in Slovenia and Hungary to Italy’s sea, gelato and pizza. The Habsburg Empire is history, but thanks to the European freedom of movement, crossing its borders is easy once again.
We planned this route with a few requirements in mind. Firstly, we wanted it to be an adventure, i.e. it shouldn’t continuously follow a long-distance cycling route like the Eurovelo 9 (which isn’t signposted in Slovenia anyway). We also wanted the stages to end at campsites where possible as we were travelling with tents. Last but not least, we tried to minimise traffic and follow gravel roads as much as possible – gravel bikepacking so to speak.
This 11-stage route is the result of our planning. The gravel part doesn’t quite align with our original plan, but after some failed experiments, we increasingly chose to stick to asphalt roads. Nevertheless, 20% of the route is off-road. With heavily-loaded bikes, this was a good compromise between fast progress and gravel. The off-road segments were fun to ride and gave each stage its own character. Whilst I tackled this adventure on a gravel bike, my girlfriend rode a mountain bike with suitable tyres. You should definitely make sure your bike is suitable for bumpy terrain.
Almost every stage ends at a campsite. Only two stages end directly in a town centre as there are no nearby campsites. You won’t have any problems stocking up on supplies en route. You pass through small towns as well as larger cities such as Celje, Ljubljana and Trieste which also makes this route a great holiday.
To return from Grado, cycle to the train station Cervignano-Acquilea-Grado, which is about 20 kilometres (12.4 mi) away and take the regional train to Udine from there. Udine has lots of connections across Europe, just make sure you reserve a space for your bike as early as possible.
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Last updated: May 17, 2023
The first stage is kept a little shorter, but also has a high proportion of gravel roads, which take more and more time. The destination of the stage is Lake Neufeld, where you can refresh yourself after the tour. There is also a campsite here, but it is often quite full – it is best to reserve a spot…
After a pleasant night in the tent, you can jump into the water in the morning and enjoy the tranquility of the seaside resort. Little by little the day guests arrive and it's time to get back on the bike. The start is pleasantly flat. You follow the Leitha cycle path again through a wide landscape characterized…
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The first destination of today's stage is Szombathely (Steinamanger). I rescheduled the way there because the route we took via Tömörd was not particularly nice to drive due to the heavy traffic. According to the map, the adapted route via Köszegfalva should be much quieter and follow gravel paths away…
Today we are again crossing several borders, first to Slovenia and finally back to Austria. From the campsite you follow the road into the Örség National Park. On the paved road (there is a signposted cycle route, which we didn't ride because it would have meant a detour) we go through the hilly area…
Today takes you into the hilly Slovenian hinterland. You could also ride along the Mur and then continue on the Eurovelo 9, but the traffic-calmed route has its appeal, even if a few more meters of altitude have to be overcome. First of all: I don't know of any campsites in today's stage destination…
Today it will be hilly again. The Slovenian central area is really anything but flat. In return, in addition to fast descents, you can always enjoy great far-reaching views. In the stage destination Celje, you will find a pretty town center with many good restaurants and a simple campsite just outside…
After the many hills of the last few days, today is going to be a little more comfortable. The stage essentially runs along the Savinja River, which has its source in the Steiner Alps on the border with Austria and flows into the Sava at Zidani Most. The destination of the stage, a campsite near Trnovec…
Today's stage takes you over the Črnivec Saddle, the highest crossing of the entire route. This stage offers you an enormous variety of landscapes: from the tranquil Dreta valley and the culturally and historically interesting Gornji Grad with its impressive cathedral, to the Ljubljana basin with the…
Ljubljana is worth staying more than a day. The Slovenian capital invites you to stroll and enjoy. If you're having a hard time getting started, rest assured that today's stage is a particularly beautiful one, with many kilometers of perfect gravel roads.
Right on the outskirts you come to the Natura…
Today we finally go to the sea. Actually, the goal of the stage is a campsite above Trieste. But you will definitely see the sea and if there is still time, you can also take a trip to the beach of Trieste.
The first section to Postojna is not the greatest treat of the tour. However, the landscape is…
After a hopefully relaxing day in Trieste, it is now not far to the actual destination of this trip: Grado. The first section in particular will remain in my memory for a long time as the absolute highlight. Right at the beginning you drive down the panoramic Via Napoleonica, which is actually called…
Bike Touring Collection by NORTH STAR PEDALING
Bike Touring Collection by Pyhrn-Priel
Hiking Collection by Alex Foxfield
Mountain Biking Collection by Cycling Through A Pandemic