At the foot of the highest mountains in Austria on the edge of the Hohe Tauern National Park, the unique Tauern Cycle Path begins. In around 200 miles (320 kilometres), it takes you from idyllic alpine landscapes, through the Mozart city of Salzburg to the three-river town of Passau. You follow the River Salzach as it develops from a babbling mountain stream into a strong, stately river and flows into the Inn.
In this Collection, we have divided the Tauern Cycle Path into five intermediate stages that are between 30 and 50 miles (50 and 80 kilometers) long. As there is lots to discover on the way and several excursion options at the end of the routes, you could also shorten each stage. This would also make the routes very suitable for families.
Your journey begins at over 3,300 feet (1,000 meters) in Krimml, which you can reach by train. Right at the beginning, you will witness a breathtaking natural spectacle: the Krimml Waterfalls. Following the Salzach River, you then cycle from the Pinzgau to the Pongau, where the Salzach bends to the north. On the way to Salzburg, there are several cities worth seeing such as Zell am See, Bischofshofen and Hallein. Salzburg, the city of Mozart, is worth a trip on its own. From there, you will follow the Austrian-Bavarian border, past the baroque Schärding, until you reach the three-river town Passau. This is where the Tauern Cycle Path ends – a route brimming with cultural highlights, Austrian hospitality, culinary delicacies and unique landscapes.
Your journey on the Tauern Cycle Path begins at the foothills of the Hohe Tauern National Park in Krimml. You can easily reach Krimml with the Pinzgauer Lokalbahn, a narrow-gauge railway that takes you and your bike from Zell am See to Krimml in less than an hour and a half. Once there you drive a bit up the valley to marvel at the unique natural spectacle of the Krimml waterfalls.At the highest waterfall in Austria, the Tauern cycle path starts at over 1,000 meters. You follow the river Salzach downstream from west to east. On today's stage it is almost only downhill with only a few, very short increases. The landscape is wonderful alpine. Around you, you can see mountain peaks far beyond the 3,000 meters.Your path always leads along the rippling Salzach along small, pretty villages and past many bathing lakes, where you can refresh yourself. In Bruck an der Großglocknerstraße you leave the Tauern Cycle Path for a short time to reach your intermediate destination Zell am See. The place is beautifully located on the banks of the huge, eponymous mountain lake.
At the beginning of today's stage you drive the short distance back to Bruck an der Großglocknerstraße. But you can also take a small, but worthwhile detour in order to circumnavigate Lake Zell in a clockwise direction. No matter which way you choose, you will come to the summit of Fischhorn Castle in Bruck an der Großglocknerstraße. This is where the Grossglockner High Alpine Road, opened in 1935, begins.But do not drive this up, but follow the course of the Salzach. Most of the time, the trail leads you to secondary roads and well-developed cycle paths. If the valley is very narrow, the route runs a few kilometers on the main road. In Taxenbach you drive up the first significant incline to the center of town, before you continue through the gorge-like Salzachtal.Shortly before Schwarzach im Pongau you cross another, neat climb to a reservoir. At the top there is a wonderful panorama and after a fast descent you reach Schwarzach im Pongau. From here, your route runs flat and always along the banks of the Salzach to your intermediate destination Bischofshofen.
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With the change from Pinzgau to Pongau the Salzach makes a bend to the north. So you change the direction of travel and continue to follow the wild river. Today's stage is flat with a few short ascents. The first starts just ten kilometers after the start of the stage and leads you to the Hohenwerfen Fortress. From the foot of the castle hill, you can take the fortress lift up to the medieval castle.The route takes you through the narrow, wild Salzach gorge. Since the valley is oriented in a north-south direction, the sun rises here accordingly late and early. Just before Golling the gorge narrows again and you drive a short distance on a larger road and overcome a few meters. In Golling, where the Lammer flows into the Salzach, the valley suddenly becomes very wide and the rest of the stage is flat.On your way is the pretty town of Hallein, which is ideal for a short break. In the historic center you will find several cafes and restaurants. Hallein lies at the foot of the striking Untersberg and is known for the Salt Mine, a show mine.Just before Salzburg, a short detour to Hellbrunn Palace and the zoo of the same name is worthwhile. After a total of 50 kilometers, you will reach Salzburg, the city of Mozart, on the magnificent Salzach promenade. The unique old town rightly attracts many visitors. But also a bit away from the center, the Mirabell garden and the castle, Salzburg has many beautiful corners that are worth exploring.
Before you lies the queen stage of the Tauern cycle path. You leave Salzburg along the Salzachufer. With the Hohensalzburg Fortress at your back, you first pass the Mirabell Gardens, which houses several small gardens, such as the rose garden or the witty dwarf garden.A few kilometers behind Salzburg, the Salzach becomes the border between Austria and Germany. You drive on the Austrian side of the border river until the end of the Tauern cycle path. At Weitwörth you can either take a narrow path through a wetland or you can bypass the biotope. Both paths lead you to Oberndorf, where the Salzach makes a noose. There you can make a little detour to Upper Bavaria via a beautiful, old bridge or stay on the Austrian side and pass the Silent Night Chapel. It stands on the rubble wall of the former St. Nikola church, where in 1818 the famous Christmas carol "Silent Night, Holy Night" premiered.You follow the Salzach through a beautiful natural landscape. At the height of Tittmoning the Salzachtal becomes so narrow that you dodge on a hilly stretch. After a fast descent you reach Duttendorf. Here it is particularly worthwhile to cross the river and thus the border, because on the other side is Burghausen with the considerable castle complex and the beautiful old town streets.It gets a bit hilly until you reach the confluence of Salzach and Inn. From there, there are still about ten flat miles along the stately Inns to your destination Braunau.
The last stage of the Tauern Cycle Path is marked by the Baroque. After leaving the Salzach behind you, follow the Inn to its mouth. Several branches of the Inn make the way to a true nature experience. The first break is the Frauenstein Castle, which is known for its outdoor dining area. Along this stage you will also pass other castles and palaces, the Inn has been a border river for a long time.With Obernberg you will reach the first Baroque gem of your stage. In the marketplace, the colorful houses lined up. Good one and a half hours later you are already Schärding. The pretty town is very well suited for a long break. In addition to the Upper Town Square with the colorful late Baroque houses, the streets in the old town, the Orangerie and the castle park are worth seeing. From the castle park you can enjoy a great view of the Inn, the old Inn Bridge and the Neuhaus Castle. In the restaurant Lachinger you can taste delicious Innviertel specialties.The Inn has dug into loops in the hilly area and formed a beautiful natural landscape. You follow the Uferweg to Wernstein and shortly thereafter a Mostbauer is tendered, where you can taste delicious cider.Now the three-river town of Passau is not far away. Although you stay on the river side, you cross the border to Germany, because the Passau Inn city extends a little bit south of the Inn. From the historic core of the Innstadt, the Marienbrücke leads you to the other side of the Inn and you can see the magnificent city panorama, which is dominated by the huge cathedral. The last bit you can push over the Innpromenade or you drive through the old town to the top of the village, where the Ilz and the Inn flow into the Danube.