The Via Claudia Augusta is an ancient trail that takes you from Germany to Italy via an epic Alpine crossing. The cycle path mostly follows the ancient Roman road that was used by soldiers and traders all those years ago. It meanders through wide fields, past Alpine foothills, alongside blue rivers, over winding pass roads with breathtaking views, between the high peaks of the Alps and past picturesque orchards.
This 434-mile (700-kilometer) long adventure starts in Donauwörth. From there, the Via Claudia Augusta leads south via Augsburg and Füssen. In Austria, it takes you over the Fernpas before making a small detour into Switzerland and continuing over the Reschenpass to Italy. The Via Claudia Augusta then meanders through the Adige Valley via Merano and Bolzano to Trento. From here, the trail forks into two variants: The first leads you through the Dolomites in Trentino to the Adriatic Sea near Venice. The second is the slightly easier alternative, taking you through the Adige Valley to Verona and on to Po. Whichever you choose, you'll discover true beauty as you pedal, with the only considerations being whether or not you want to continue your ride through the mountains (and up some steep inclines), or whether you'd prefer a more relaxed ride through the river valley.
In this Collection, we bring you both variants. There are 13 stages on the Via Claudia Augusta to the Adriatic Sea and twelve to the Po. The first nine stages from Donauwörth to Trento are the same for both variants of the ride. Following these stages, stick to version a for the Adriatic Sea and version b for Po.
Each stage of this ride is around 40 miles (60 kilometers) long. If you'd prefer to cut them shorter, however — maybe as a result of the elevation/inclines — you can do so freely. You'll find ample accommodation options throughout the ride, so finding a place to lay your weary head won't be a problem.
What's more, the start and the two endpoints of the Via Claudia Augusta cycle path can be easily reached/left on public transport. There are also airports nearby if you need to fly out, with low-cost European carriers serving flights to and from Venice and Verona in Italy and Memmingen and Munich in Germany.
On the Italian side, some sections of the Via Claudia Augusta run along the Etschtal cycle path. If you want to combine both cycle paths in your adventure across the Alps, you can find all the information for extending your trip here: komoot.com/collection/503/on-the-adige-valley-cycle-path-through-south-tyrol
The Via Claudia Augusta is recommended in the brochure "Deutschland per Rad entdecken" by the ADFC (German Cyclist's Association) and is ranked as a quality cycle route with four stars. More information (in German): adfc.de/artikel/radurlaub-als-sternstunde
In Donauwörth starts the Via Claudia Augusta, which brings you across the Alps to Italy. On this first stage, you cycle directly to the train station in Donauwörth, where you can easily reach the train. After crossing the Danube and leaving the city behind you, you drive straight on the Via Claudia Augusta heading south. Today's stage destination there is called Augsburg.On the way to the Bavarian city you follow first the Schmutter and then the Lech - upstream by the way, that means for you, it always goes slightly uphill. So you have enough time to enjoy the beautiful field and meadow landscape along the two rivers. For leisurely breaks along the way, you can use the bathing spots on the Lech to refresh you there or you can take a break in one of the small places through which the cycle path leads you.Arrived in Augsburg, it is worth to stroll through the historic old town. Strengthen and relax in one of Germany's oldest cities, where there is a wide selection of restaurants and many cozy accommodations.
The second stage of the Via Claudia Augusta leads you further south, getting closer and closer to the Alps, because you have to cross them. But not today, because on this day's stage it's only from Augsburg to Denklingen in southern Bavaria.The fact that the Alps come closer, but you notice the route profile, namely, it goes uphill continuously. You can see that as training for the high mountains, or simply as a reason to take it easy and make as many breaks as possible along the way. And that's exactly what this second stage is perfect for. When leaving Augsburg, for example, you can pay a visit to the Botanical Garden in the morning, which is particularly idyllic. Continue south through picturesque meadows and wide fields. A bathing lake, nice restaurants with a beer garden and rest areas with information boards on the Via Claudia Augusta and the Roman period in the region invite you to stop along the cycle path.In the small town of Denklingen you can end the day comfortably. There are country inns and apartments to stay overnight and you can cool off on hot summer days at a swimming lake nearby.
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Today you'll get a taste of the Alps. The third stage on the Via Claudia Augusta takes you through the hilly Alpine foothills to Füssen. This is, so to speak, the dress rehearsal, before it goes over the Alps.At the beginning of this stage, it starts very relaxed. You roll leisurely to the Lech and cycle along the flat road for a few kilometers along the shore. Then there are some smaller climbs that take you right into the beautiful hills of the South. On the left and right side of the road are lush green pastures. On the horizon majestically rise the Alps, which come closer with every kilometer driven and present themselves to you ever more impressively. Shortly before Füssen, the time has come: At Forggensee, the mountains seem to be close enough to touch and the sight, reflecting in the water Alps, is just fantastic. Here is a break, because in the lake you can also swim.The last few kilometers to the stage finish Füssen are relatively flat and therefore very pleasant at the end of the stage. In the city on the Austrian border are many accommodation options available. So you can comfortably spend the night, so you can start the next day with the crossing of the Alps.
The first alpine stage of the Via Claudia Augusta is on today. From Füssen you cycle to Austria in the beautiful Ehrwald. You drive out of Füssen along the shimmering blue Lech and accompany the river across the Austrian border. Through the Lechtal it goes on comfortably. On the only slightly rising bike path it is easy to drive, which gives you the opportunity to really enjoy the picturesque mountain panorama.About halfway you reach Reutta. The Tyrolean place is perfect for a break. Here you can relax and strengthen yourself for the first crisp climb into the mountains. Behind Reutta it starts: You drive over the first mountain pass on your way to Italy. The highest point you reach at about 1129 meters altitude in Lähn. On your way there you drive parallel to the Fernpassstraße and the train route. So, if your strength leaves you, you can switch to the train.From this point, the bike path leads exclusively downhill for several kilometers. As you roll into the stage destination Ehrwald, you have a fantastic view of the Zugspitze, which lies ahead of you.
On the fifth stage of the Via Claudia Augusta you can expect some exciting sections in the mountains, beautiful lakes and the beautiful city of Imst.It starts right at the beginning with a crisp rise on the Fernpass. He will take you past the picturesque Weissensee to an altitude of 1,274 meters. On the other side, an exciting descent awaits you: it goes through the forest and past steep cliffs. Some sections are unpaved. Here special care and slow driving is required. A unique highlight on the way is the boardwalk around the steep cliffs. In addition to the adrenaline rush, the section also offers a spectacular view of the valley.After this fascinating descent on the old Roman road, it goes on the Via Claudia Augusta a little more comfortable. On an almost flat stretch you cycle mostly through the forest to Imst, where you can take a break and enjoy the beautiful city. Behind Imst, you will meet the Inn and follow the river through its beautiful valley to Landeck, today's stage destination.
From Landeck it starts on the sixth stage of the Via Claudia Augusta once moderately going on. Although some altitude meters are waiting for you today, at the beginning these are still distributed on a steady and steady increase, similar to the first stages in Germany. Always along the bank of the Inn you cycle through the narrow, deeply cut valley. To the left and right rise mighty mountains, which provide a unique alpine feeling.After about three quarters of the way, you will visit Switzerland. The Inn forms the natural border between Austria and Switzerland. So you cycle a few kilometers on the Swiss side to the small town of Martina. Here you cross the Inn and the border with Austria and start with the ascent to the Norbertshöhe, which is just before the Nauders stage destination at 1,405 meters altitude. The climb leads you over a serpentine road with fantastic views.Once at the top, you can first catch a breath on the bench or you can go straight to the inn and treat yourself to a large piece of cake or something hearty. The last two kilometers to the stage destination Nauders drive then practically by itself - it goes namely downhill.
The Reschenpass continues today to Italy. At the beginning you cycle slightly uphill from Nauders and after about five kilometers you cross the border to Italy. Here you meet the Reschensee and soon reach the highest point, which is at 1,505 meters altitude. From now on along the flat, well-paved cycle path along the shores of the Reschensee. While cycling, you can enjoy the fantastic view of the water and the mountains. A special highlight is the steeple of the sunken village of Alt-Graun, which juts out of the lake.After leaving Reschensee behind you and driving along the shores of Lake Haider, a long, pleasant descent follows along the Adige River. On flat paths you now cycle past picturesque orchards and biotopes through the Adige Valley to the destination of Silandro. Here you have good choice of accommodation and there is a train station if you want to change to the train.
From Schlanders it goes on the Via Claudia Augusta today continuously downhill. On the way, you can let the incredibly beautiful landscape relax on you.Right at the beginning you will cycle past Kastelbell Castle, which sits enthroned on a high cliff surrounded by vineyards. Then you continue through the Adige Valley, which is lined with majestic mountains. After about half of the stage you have a beautiful view of the city just before Meran from the height, which lies at your feet at this moment. Then follows a lively descent.In Meran offers a break. Strolling through the city, you will pass many cafes and restaurants that invite you to stop by. Strengthened it goes on a flat stretch of picturesque apple orchards over to the milestone Bolzano. Here you can enjoy all the advantages of a city. In addition to numerous accommodations for overnight stays, you also have access to regional and national and international long-distance trains in the capital of South Tyrol.
Today on the ninth stage, the route is largely flat from Bolzano to Trento, where Via Claudia Augusta forks.Right at the beginning of the tour you pass Sigmundskorn Castle, an impressive medieval fortress standing high above the Adige near Bolzano on a steep cliff. Incidentally, one of the six mountain museums of Reinhold Messner is located in the castle. On the well-maintained bike path you cycle further south through picturesque orchards and often directly along the banks of the Adige along. On these sections, you can enjoy the view of the river meandering through the mountain-lined valley. For the small and large breaks in between, there are now and then on the bike path wells where you can fill the water bottle, and small places that invite you to stop by.In the center of Trento, surrounded by mountains, there are many places to stay and a train station if you want to continue by train. Here also the Via Claudia Augusta splits in two routes. If you want to continue, you can either drive through the mountains to Altino near Venice (option a) or you can cycle comfortably through the Adige Valley via Verona to the Po (variant b).
In Trento, you leave the Etschtal heading east and return to the mountains. Although they are not as high as the Alps further north, nevertheless, the altitude profile is varied and it come together some altitude.At the gates of Trentos, you immediately climb into the Fiemme Alps. On this first climb you overcome the most altitude in a row, then it continues moderately at the height. Here you come through many small villages and villages that offer both a short break and a longer rest. Even overnight accommodation is available if you want to shorten the stage.About half way you cycle alternately through vineyards and refreshing shady forest. In the clearings, a beautiful view opens up over the Lago di Levico, which lies at your feet in the valley. Here is the highest point of the stage reached and after a relaxing descent, it goes on a relatively flat route to the final destination Borgo. The charming town on the Brenta enchants above all with its old town, built directly on the river.
From Borgo we continue today up from the Val di Fiemme to the Dolomites. Two big climbs await you on the eleventh stage of the Via Claudia Augusta. These are crowned by a spectacular mountain panorama.The first few kilometers behind Borgo are still flat, after which the first climb begins. Via the Forcella Pass, which is 910 meters high, you will reach Castello Tesino. In the small mountain community you can take a good break. There are also overnight accommodations, including a campsite. After you have rested and strengthened yourself in the place, a winding descent awaits you.Passing through a beautiful forest and meadow landscape, you will cycle through the fascinating mountains, passing through small villages and occasionally passing an inn. Shortly before the end of the stage, the second big climb awaits you: You climb the 1,011 meter high Croce d'Aune Pass. Once at the top, you can pat yourself on the back, enjoy the view and the moment and look forward to the next almost 14-kilometer descent on which you can let yourself roll to the final destination, Feltre.
The twelfth stage of the Via Claudia Augusta takes you today again over the finest mountain roads that lead through the impressive scenery of the Southern Carnic Alps.At the beginning, however, the stage shows its cozy side. You cycle through idyllic forest and meadow landscape and come through charming little villages and villages. Halfway you reach the Polden and cross it at a dam. Below the dam you can refresh yourself in the waters of the river or take a break in the relaxed beer garden on the shore.After refueling, head to the second half of the stage, which has the biggest climb of the day for you: the 910-meter Praderadego Pass. Once at the top, you can take a break and eat in one of the two restaurants. Then you are ready for the absolute highlight of the day: the descent. It leads you on narrow serpentines into the valley, past steep cliffs and magnificent vantage points - lasting impressions that inspire you to the stage destination Pieve di Soligo.
Today is the last stage of the Via Claudia Augusta, which brings you to the end point to Altino on the Adriatic.Right at the beginning you can pedal again and cycle up a small climb that leads you through idyllic woodland and lush green meadows. As soon as you have mastered the ascent, a fast descent will take you past the impressive Castello di Susegana and picturesque vineyards. Finally, it becomes shallower and you always cycle gently downhill through beautiful fields and orchards.About halfway you pass the pretty town of Treviso, which enchants with its numerous canals. Here is worth a stroll through the old town. From Treviso the bike path takes you to the river Sile, where you cycle along the water for a while, until the Via Claudia Augusta finally leads you straight through the fields, draws a small loop on the Santa Maria canal and brings you to the ancient Altino. Here ends the old Roman road Via Claudia Augusta, which you followed from Germany over the Alps. At the end of the exciting bike tour you can visit the excavations and exhibits around Altino.To continue your journey from here, you can cycle to the station in Quarto d'Altino or directly to the nearby Venice airport.
From Trento you drive comfortably southwards. Almost the entire stretch of today's stage is slightly downhill, so you can just roll it on many sections and enjoy the beautiful scenery.Right from the beginning you cycle along the Adige river. The river leads you out of Trento and leads you through the picturesque Adige Valley, which is also lined with impressive mountains. Most of the way you drive directly along the shore, which allows you to enjoy the well-paved Etschtalradweg and the view of the river. In addition to charming villages, you will pass through many wine plantations today, which run through the valley to the foot of the hills.Shortly before the Adige valley widens, you reach the stage destination, the small town of Rivalta. Here are some hostels and restaurants. In neighboring Peri you can also find refreshments and a train station if you want to continue by train.
On the eleventh stage of the Via Claudia Augusta you can once again enjoy the beautiful Adige Valley on the way to Verona.The first few kilometers you cycle through the narrow, cut in the Adige Valley. Once again, you can let the beautiful mountain scenery on you, which sets the Etsch so unique in scene. The picturesque grapevines along the way accompany you on this section. After the first quarter, you leave the valley and pedal hard to get up. Once at the top, you have a magnificent view of the Adige Valley, which is now at your feet.A rapid descent completes the small detour into the mountains. Back in the Adige Valley, the landscape has changed: the valley is now wide open, the mountains are behind you and on your right, Lake Garda is only a stone's throw away. Between the Adige and the Biffis Canal you cycle past fields and plantations to the stage destination Verona.
Today is the last stage on the Via Claudia Augusta, which brings you to the end of the ancient Roman road to the Po.On the way from Verona, a few small climbs are waiting for you. At the place Custoza you have reached the highest point of the stage and from now on it is only downhill. After enjoying a thrilling downhill ride and rolling a few miles, it's worth braking to Villafranca di Verona for a break. Here you can treat yourself to an espresso in one of the cafes and see the castle of the city, which in summer serves as a backdrop for big rock concerts. Afterwards it continues, always slightly downhill, through a rural area with wide fields, meadows and lush plantations, until you finally reach the Po.Here on a river loop is the place Ostiglia, in which the Via Claudia Augusta ends and thus your bike tour. While your gaze wanders over the river, you can review your journey by bike across the Alps and think about how the ancient Romans would have mastered this journey back then. Once you have seen everything in Ostiglia and taken off the Po, you can take the train from the station of the village, which brings you back to Verona, for example.