In ancient Rome, people used to say: “baths, wine, and love corrupt our bodies, but real life can only come from baths, wine, and love.” Adding two wheels into the mix creates the perfect combination of keeping fit and indulging. Can you imagine anything better than relaxing amongst beautiful vineyards enjoying delicious wine and relaxing your tired legs in thermal waters after a cycle tour? Probably not.
The Styrian Wine Country Cycle Trail follows this Roman motto as it takes you through wonderful vineyards and orchards in the heart of Austria and along the Styrian Thermal Cycle Path (Thermenradweg). On the way, you can try the region’s world-famous pumpkin seed oil which is known as “green gold.” There are also many traditional villages and the historical Styrian capital of Graz to discover to round off your cycling experience.
I have divided this adventure, which is just over 273 miles (440 km) long, into 14 easy stages. Depending on your fitness level, you can of course combine the stages together. Leibnitz in the south of Styria is a good place to start as you can cycle directly into the vineyards from there. Graz is also a convenient start point with good transport links. But, as the route is a circular, you can start at any point.
From Leibnitz, the route heads through Southern Styria to Deutschlandsberg, a small town in the Schilcherland region of Western Stryia. From there, the path continues on to Graz, Gleisdorf, and Hartberg, where you explore the thermal and volcanic landscapes of Sytria following the Thermal Cycle Path south. Next, you cycle along the Slovenian border, through the Fürstenfeld region and onto Bad Radkersburg, a spa town known for its thermal spring. Finally, you cycle along the flat banks of the River Mur back to your start point in Liebnitz.
Overnight accommodation is available at almost every stage destination. If the endpoint is a little off the beaten track, I’ve given more details in the Tour description. The many wine taverns known as Buschenschanken serve home-made wine, culinary delicacies, and delicious meals en route.
You can enjoy everything Styria has to offer to the fullest with the GenussCard. This card gives you free admission to a variety of attractions, as well as other benefits like free e-bike hire.
E-biking is a great way to explore the region. The terrain through the vineyards can be challenging in places, but an e-bike gives your legs a break. No matter which bike you choose, cycling is a great way to work up your appetite and thirst before indulging.
In addition to the official Styrian Wine Country Cycle Trail, I have included two more route variations at the end of the Collection. You can use these additional stages to complement or redesign your route through Styria. I hope you have a great time on your bike trip through this spectacular region, complete with lots of baths, wine, and love!
Your gourmet tour through Styria begins in Leibnitz, about 30 kilometers south of Graz. Leibnitz offers itself as a good entry point for the tour, because on the one hand it is very easy to reach by public transport (for example via Graz), and on the other hand you are already in the heart of southern Styria. So you can find yourself at the next winery before you even start cycling. If you arrive by car, there is also good parking at the municipal outdoor pool in Leibnitz directly on the bike path.Alternatively, you can of course start the tour in Graz, but then you would first have to drive through the urban jungle. If you would rather start in Graz, you simply start the tour with stage 6.After you have swung north on the Römer Cycle Path in Leibnitz from the train station, you first cycle for about two kilometers on narrow, cozy paths through the green Leibnitzer Au. If you want, you can also refresh yourself briefly at the stone weir, the oldest river bath in Styria, before you gently follow the Sulm upstream to Wippelsach.Here you can briefly leave the tour in Wippelsach and turn left on the main road to visit the first Buschenschank along the route. After you have turned, follow Großklein-Straße for 1,100 meters in a southward direction until just before Kleinklein, where the entrance to Buschenschank Hartermichl is already waiting for you on the left-hand side of the street. By the way: The towns are really called that, I had to take a look twice.Conveniently, after visiting the Buschenschank there are only ten kilometers to Gleinstätten - and that on a completely flat route. So even after a glass or two of wine, it shouldn't be a problem to roll comfortably through to the end of the day. With all the good wine in Styria: Remember that in Austria the alcohol limit for cyclists is set at 0.8.By the way: Instead of stages 1 and 2, you can alternatively drive variants 1a and 1b. You will find this at the end of the collection.
By the way, southern Styria not only stands for good wine, the world-famous Styrian pumpkin seed oil - also known as “green gold” - is produced here. But before you pack your bike bags with dozens of bottles of pumpkin seed oil for your home - don't worry: at the end of your trip, you will drive through southern Styria again and shortly before reaching your destination you will even pass a deli.Today's stage begins, as is customary for a day in the Styrian wine region, with a fruity breakfast in the Bernhardtkeller Buschenschank. For this, you leave the bike path for a short time two kilometers after the start of the tour and go up to the Georgenberg.After a hearty refreshment in the morning you follow the Sulm to Schwanberg, where - apart from the trip to the Georgenberg - the first small vineyard stage is waiting for you. Passing some wineries it goes about 100 meters into the heights until shortly before Hollenegg the path leads downhill again.If you are traveling in Styria between July 25 and November 1, you will have noticed the strange crucifix-like windmills that rustle between the wine fields. Or maybe it was the dull, hollow knocking sounds that you already noticed long before the windmill moved into your field of vision. What it's all about? It is a kind of traditional scarecrow, also called Klapotetz, which prevents the birds from snacking on the fruit when the grapes are ripe. After November 1st they will be stowed in the shed again and only taken out to Jakobi.If you want, you can end the day again with a good wine. Either you stop in one of the two Buschenschanken just behind Rettenberg or move the wine tasting directly to your destination in Deutschlandsberg, where there are also a few excellent wineries west of the city limits.
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Your path leads you today through the Schilcherland, the birthplace of the rose wine of the same name. You leave Deutschlandsberg and drive in a kind of zigzag course via Frauental an der Lassnitz to Bad Gams to Stainz, where you follow the Stainzbach downstream to Mettersdorf before continuing north to Lannach.Not only wine lovers will get their money's worth today and during the next few days, fans of culture and architecture will also be rewarded on the route with a rich treasure of various cultural assets such as castles, palaces and pilgrimage churches. Although these are not always exactly on the edge of the path, it is sometimes such a sumptuous building that they have in common that you can see them from a distance.Except for two hilly sections, the bike path is now quite flat and mostly leads through river valleys that are easy to drive. You will also cross some of the Buschenschank on the way for your physical well-being. Most of them you will meet in front of Stainz, so do not linger too long, because after the village there are still a good 20 kilometers to go before you reach your destination in Lannach.By the way: If you want, you can extend your Styria bike tour with the variants 2a and 2b after half of stage 3. You will find this at the end of the collection.
Today's stage takes you from Lannach via Lieboch along West Styria to the north to Stiwoll and further east to the surrounding area of Graz to Gratwein-Straßengel. Most of the route you follow the Liebochbach until you turn left at Hitzendorf for the first time out of its valley for a short detour to the Lourdes chapel.This little hill was just the warm-up program. Less than three kilometers later, it is finally time for the first real mountain stage of the tour. You leave the Liebochbach valley and crank yourself up from 388 to 672 vertical meters. Don't be shy, you will thank the view that you will leave the valleys. As a reward, the Lärchegg Schmölzer Buschenschank awaits you below the Schmelzerkogel at the pass, where you can relax from the strenuous ascent and draw new energy.You'll need it, because after a little more than two kilometers of descent, the next hump is waiting for you. If you want, you can refresh yourself again in a bush bar after this effort. This time almost with "open end", because the last ten kilometers to Gratwein-Straßegel are now really downhill.
I deliberately kept today's stage a little shorter, so that after your arrival in Graz you still have enough time to explore the city. So that you don't get bored on the way, I have built a small high-altitude excursion to the Gösting castle ruins, from which you have an excellent view of the Graz basin.But the climb up to the castle is quite a challenge: 180 meters of altitude must be overcome over a distance of just one and a half kilometers. This results in an average gradient of around 12 percent. Fortunately, the climb is mostly on a dirt road. So you can easily get off and push comfortably if necessary. You always have the time for this today.Once you have arrived in Graz, there are countless options with which you can spend your afternoon: a small ride on the Schlossberg with a subsequent view of the clock tower; if there is still enough time, go up and down the double spiral staircase in Graz Castle ... Whatever you decide, what you shouldn't miss is a visit to the Murinsel, which is especially beautiful to look at at dusk and brightly colored shines.
From Graz you follow the Mur downstream for about seven kilometers, then turn left in the outskirts of Graz onto the Mostwärts cycle path and follow the Raababach river up to shortly after Pachern, where the cycle path branches off into the hilly country.The stage, which has been quite gentle up to now, is now picking up significantly and it is becoming a bit mountainous. Except for a short climb at Wöbling, the climbs remain moderate. In addition, the somewhat annoying highway, which has shamelessly joined your side for the last few kilometers, is now finally saying goodbye to the other side of the hill and you can hear the birds chirping again.You will reach the highest point of your tour today in Laßnitzhöhe. The name says it all, because on your further route via Laßnitzthal to Gleisdorf it is all downhill - first with decent speed, then later more relaxed. Treat yourself to a proper break in Laßnitzhöhe, you deserve it.Unfortunately, from shortly before Laßnitzthal to your destination in Gleisdorf, the motorway again runs parallel to the bike path. However, as it continues to go slightly downhill, you will reach Gleisdorf quite quickly and can devote yourself to other things there after your arrival. How about a change of pace in the Gleisdorfer wave pool?
The good news today: The highway is finally saying goodbye to the east, while the bike path is heading north. The bad news - there is no such thing. The route gently climbs from Gleisdorf der Raab to Sankt Ruprecht an der Raab. The path branches off from the large river valley and follows the Weizbach upstream until just before Weiz.Here you leave the plain and turn east into the hills. Grapevines alternate here in a constant game with apple orchards and plantations. It is obvious: You are now clearly in Eastern Styria, the largest apple growing region in Austria. 85 percent of Austrian apples are harvested here.The good wine must of course not be neglected. Five kilometers before your destination in Puch near Weiz, a tavern invites you to end the tour. Just follow the route from the Etzersdorf exit for a good kilometer to the Wetzelberg junction bus stop, turn left here from the tour and a hundred meters later there is nothing standing in the way of comfort.In Puch bei Weiz, by the way, the apple has a very clear program: be it a visit to the fruit tree museum “Haus des Apfels” or the local outdoor pool, which has also made fresh, crunchy fruit their motto - apple everywhere. Can you resist this sweet temptation?
This stage could go quite well as the epitome of what is generally understood as "consistently hilly": no mountains, but a steady up and down over almost 40 kilometers. In total, there will be around 500 vertical meters. So plan enough time for today's route. In view of the great landscape, it will also be worth it if you don't have to hurry.You start with a short but crisp climb from Puch near Weiz over a hilltop into the Feistritztal. On its way, the Feistritz forms several spectacular gorge landscapes and is generally regarded as the border of the Alps as a whole. Shortly before the Feistritz leaves the deep gorge and feeds the artificial lake Stubenbergsee with its water, it flows through the so-called Stubenbergklamm, which is considered one of the most beautiful cycle path sections in Austria.As beautiful as the path is, you should exercise extra caution in bad weather, because the gorge is located in a flood zone. In addition, the cycle path leads through a nature reserve, which is why it could only be realized under strict conditions with as little intervention in nature as possible. Again and again, fords (crossings just above the water) will cross your path. These have no railings and must not be entered or driven on during floods.At your destination in Hartberg you will find all kinds of options for a day's end to suit every taste: You can either go on a discovery tour of the Hartberger Gmoos nature reserve, visit the historic city center and then take a look behind the scenes of the historic Posch mill , or simply end the day comfortably in the HERZ, the Hartberg recreation and leisure center.
The second part of the Styrian cycle of pleasure cycle begins today - today you turn to the Styrian thermal cycle path. That means: pure relaxation, no matter how exhausting the bike day was and the best conditions for a small thermal marathon. However, there are so many thermal baths along the way that you are well advised to select a little - too much relaxation is sometimes known to be too much of a good thing.For example, some spas are better suited for a visit if you are traveling with children, as there is also an adventure pool with a slide attached. Others clearly focus on pure wellness and relaxation. Others are like a small resort with an attached hotel. A thermal bath is even a true work of art.Since there are so many thermal baths, these are sometimes not always skillfully at the end of the stage. Take the Rogner Bad Blumau, for example: Here it may be worth adapting the stages to suit your needs.So your goal today is in Bad Waltersdorf, which has two different baths: the family-friendly H2O and the wellness-oriented healing spa. However, if you would like to enjoy a very special spa stay including an overnight stay, I recommend driving another eight kilometers to Rogner Bad Blumau, where the Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser realized his dream of living in harmony with nature.
Stage number 10 lives up to the thermal cycle path and runs completely relaxed in the river valley. There are almost no climbs on the way. If you feel like it, you can take a short detour up to the millennial oak just behind Bad Blumau and enjoy the view of the Safental. If you prefer to stay on the plain - no problem - just follow the bike path and 500 meters later you will be on tour again in Bierbaum an der Safen.As you will see, this place name is part of the Fürstenfeld program today. Although the beer does not grow on trees here, there are two breweries where you can taste delicious, local beers and "craft beer" specialties. A hearty meal should of course not be missing.The stage ends in Bad Loipersdorf, a little south of Fürstenfeld. However, it is worthwhile today to adjust the daily goal again to your wishes: Maybe the beer tastes too good in Fürstenfeld or you have trouble chasing your family out of the largest outdoor pool in Europe - then just spend the night there, there is enough accommodation options. Alternatively, you can also consider another relaxed evening in the Loipersdorf thermal resort, which is located about five kilometers south of Bad Loipersdorf.
Today's stage takes you from Bad Loipersdorf over a short, neat ascent to the Loipersdorf thermal resort and then down to the Edelsbach valley on a plateau lined with vineyards and orchards. A medium-sized hill still has to be overcome and you have reached the Grazbach, which accompanies you on gently sloping paths to its mouth in the Raab.When you get to the Raab, you are almost there, which is a bit off the bike path today. In Schiefer you leave the Thermenradweg and drive about three kilometers west to Fehring, where you should find a suitable place to stay.Small info on the side: The Raab is not necessarily a river that I would jump into. For example, around 2007 there were various disputes between Austria and Hungary over the foaming river water, water quality and chemical contamination of the Raab. At some point this led to a Hungarian environmental organization calling for boycott of Austrian beer with the comment that it would foam just like the Raab. In 2010 the Raab was contaminated again - as I said, I would avoid taking a bath in it. But after so much soothing thermal water during the past few days, your need for bathing may also be covered.
The route takes you today from Fehring back to Schiefer, where you turn back onto the Thermenradweg, which continues south here. For a bit you follow the Kroppibach on the edge of the Kroppiwald slowly uphill until you reach a subtly hilly high plateau on which you drive the next seven kilometers.There are all sorts of interesting things to discover along the way: for example, you can treat yourself to a shady break in the sculpture forest or get in touch with the world's largest birds. But be careful: your finger looks like a giant worm to the ostrich. Snap!It descends into the Jeserbachtal and just under four kilometers later up the last mountain of the day - not to say the whole bike tour. The next two stages are completely flat back to Leibnitz. So enjoy the view in St. Anna am Aigen or even better: take a generous break in the Pfeifer Buschenschank.To do this, leave the tour shortly before the end of the village and turn right onto the Panorama Tour bike path. You follow the Gaisruckweg through the vineyards for 600 meters down to its end and then turn left until you reach the Gaisruck bus stop after 500 meters. There you can already see the Buschenschank from the street. If the afternoon should drag into the evening, no problem: The Buschenschank also offers guest rooms.Your destination today is in Gruisla, about eight kilometers south of St. Anna am Aigen. Alternatively, you will also find a Buschenschank, which also conveniently rents out guest rooms.
As of today, the elevation profile doesn't show much more than a horizontal line until the end of your tour. So look forward to a cozy end to the Weinland Steiermark bike tour.From Gruisla you follow the thermal cycle path further south until you reach Bad Radkersburg on the Slovenian-Austrian border. Here you can take a generous break and, for example, pay a visit to the Radkersburgerhof pastry shop directly opposite the thermal baths. Bad Radkersburg, as part of the Small Historic Cities, has a very good tourist infrastructure, which makes an exploration tour particularly interesting.Since you are now leaving the thermal cycle path, you can of course also think about enjoying a little wellness again. If afterwards you only want to pedal reluctantly, you can finish the stage here with a clear conscience. The extremely pleasant altitude profile to your destination in Leibnitz the next day also allows you to postpone a section of the route to the next day. However, be aware that in this case a route of 55 kilometers is waiting for you - not entirely without, even if the bike path along the Mur is completely flat.As an alternative to the thermal baths, you can hop on a dip in the Liebmannsee just behind Radkersburg, which might be more appropriate on a nice, hot summer day. From there it is a little more than 21 kilometers, which you follow the route through beautiful floodplain forests and other lakes along the Mur to Mureck, your today's destination.
It continues gently upstream along the Mur. You are floating towards your goal. After Mureck you leave the floodplain forests and drive past Lichendorf to near Straß in Steiermark.There you can take a short break against the immense thirst for cyclists after half a route in one of the most cozy beer gardens in the world, before going on a small culinary excursion to the pleasure shelf in South Styria. In the exhibition you can try and buy all sorts of delicious products from the region - excellent for a few souvenirs back home.They don't weigh very long in the luggage either, because it's only 13 kilometers to Leibnitz. From the Mur you turn towards the Sulm again for a short distance and you have reached your destination. Now you can officially report on the taste of Styria, the mysterious sounds in the vineyards, the soothing thermal water and with certainty you also have many delicious memorabilia in your luggage.The tour takes you directly back to the station building in Leibnitz, where you will find numerous train connections to Graz and other Austrian cities as well as to Germany. I wish you a good trip home!
This variant leads you through the Southern Styria nature park, which is blessed with an almost Mediterranean climate, past beautiful vineyards and bush taverns, which sometimes tempt you to sit for a longer time. Variant 1a replaces stages 1 and 2 together with variant 1b, but can also be used as a supplement to these, in the sense of a “small” wine country Styria bike tour.You also start in Leibnitz, but now drive south and follow the Mur to Ehrenhausen. There you turn west from the Mur until you reach the junction into the vineyards just behind Gamlitz.300 vertical meters up here to the Wurzenberg, the summit of which you brush lightly at 553 meters. The beautiful panoramas over the wineries, whose vines shine in the light of the South Styrian sun, will quickly reward you for this little effort.This is followed by a wonderfully refreshing descent to the day's destination in Leutschach. As you will notice, in addition to wine, hops also rule here. In Leutschach at the latest, you have the opportunity to enjoy this in the local brewery. Numerous beer specialties that may only be found in southern Styria are waiting to be tried by you. And what could be nicer after a mountain stage than a freshly tapped, cool beer?If you are "sporty" after a little change, then inquire at the brewery or the local tourist office about the Leutschacher mini golf hiking trail. This leads over about ten kilometers past wineries, courtyards, seed oil presses and other sights and “pleasure” that you shouldn't miss. The golf balls and clubs required for this can be borrowed anywhere in the participating companies. You decide the sequence and length of the route yourself. If you want to do the whole course, you have to plan about three hours.
It continues from southern Styria to the foothills of the Schilcherland near Schwanberg. Shortly after Leutschach you turn again into the vineyards, which this time have to be climbed about 220 meters before a refreshing descent to Arnfels awaits you after the passage of the Salzkogel.You now follow the Pößnitzbach to Saggau and from there the somewhat larger Saggaubach to Unterhaag, where you make a small detour to a Buschenschank at the foot of the vineyards. Here you can treat yourself to a well-deserved break.The path continues along the Saggaubach to Eibiswald, where you turn north. Now it gets a bit hilly again and you cross the bottom of the Weißen Sulm after the first hill. Another short, crisp climb behind Mitterlimberg and a few kilometers later you have reached Schwanberg, your today's goal.Here in Schwanberg, variants 1a and 1b bring stage 2 of the Weinland Steiermark cycle tour together again, which at this point leads for another 13 kilometers to Deutschlandsberg. If you don't have as much time and therefore want to keep the Styria bike tour overall “small”, you also have the option of going back to Leibnitz on stage 2.
This quite sporty variant leads you across the Schilcherland and into the home of the traditional Lipizzaner horse breed. About half of the third stage, you branch off shortly before Stainz to the northwest towards Neurath and follow the Stainzbach until you turn a little way before Marhof into the vineyards.You can expect a decent climb of about 400 meters with an average gradient of roughly 8 percent. Thanks to the view over the wineries of the Hochgrails, which is considered one of the most beautiful wine-growing regions in Europe, you can reach the pass for the wonderful panoramas before you can even spell “Lipizzaner” correctly.The route is not too long at 22 kilometers today, so you can easily master the first part of stage 3 (to Stainz) in advance. Your daily goal is in Ligist. Until then, it is only twelve kilometers from the highest point of the tour, and most of the time it is pleasantly downhill. If you want, you can take a short swing to the Zach bus stop a little more than two kilometers before the stage and toast the great mountain stage.
Today's stage has a lot to do: 52 kilometers in total have to be cycled. Fortunately, most of the route takes you downhill. The first 20 kilometers, however, go one more time into the vineyards. So the stage remains challenging, but if you are a horse lover, it will also lead you to the breeding stud of the famous white horse breed in Köflach.Alternatively, you can shorten the route in Krottendorf, where the way there and back cross, and turn sharply right to Hallersdorf. This saves you a whole 37 kilometers and 310 vertical meters.In any case, the stage ends south of Lieboch, not far from the motorway, and meets stage 4 of the Weinland Steiermark cycle tour again. In other words, should you have shortened the route today, you can consider whether you might want to travel a little further north. Be sure to inform yourself in advance about the accommodation options on the way, because there are not many of them in this corner of Styria.