The 410 km long Alpe-Adria cycle path “radweg” as it is called in German is an unforgettable experience. Starting in Villach, you set off on a week of cycling through the Carinthia, in the sunny south of Austria and then crosses the border into Italy. The route through Carinthia is particularly attractive for the fact that the itinerary is mostly downhill to the sea.
The landscape along the bike path is of extraordinary beauty: majestic mountains, deep valleys, refreshing lakes and lush farmland. The further south you go the more gentle and rural it becomes, until finally you can soak your feet in the northern Adriatic sea. As you cross the border you ride along the Austro Hungarian the single track railway line, converted into a modern cycle path with stunning views of the Julian Alps and Tagliamento river as it winds it way along the Val Canale valley towards Venzone, Gemona and the large plains surrounding Udine. The last ride down to the sea, stop in the fortified town of Palmanova built in a 9 pointed start shape with 3 sets of imposing city walls.
Continue on to the admirable Ancient Roman port town of Aquileia and visit the magnificent mosaics in the Basilica. The final stretch is by train to Venice where you have a full day at disposal to amble among its narrow alleyways and beautiful piazzas.
After arriving into Villach and checking in to your hotel the rest of your day is free to relax and explore. Villach was the first town to be awarded Alpine Town of the Year.
From Villach you follow the Gail river, a tributary of the Drava, on the southern side of the Villacher Alpe, crossing a section of the Dobratsch Nature Park. Pedaling through small villages, gentle and gradual climbing you approach the Italian border, which you cross at Thörl-Maglern. Following an abandoned railway line recently converted into a cycle path, you soon arrive in Tarvisio, just a few kilometers beyond the border and the northern starting point for the Val Canale. 4 km further along is Camporosso, our destination for tonight.
For a birds eye view of the Julian Alps, take the cable car up to the Monte Lussari Monastery from where you the sweeping vistas on the Mangart and Jof di Montasio mountains. Once back on the cycle path breath in the crisp mountain air as you continue downstream, cycling high above the river Fella as this beautiful and easy path cuts straight through the narrowest section of the Val Canale, passing small mountain villages and offering wonderful views at every turn. Stop in Venzone to admire the pretty village so lovingly restored after it was razed to the ground during the earthquake of 1976.
In Gemona, the mountains give way to the fertile plains of the Tagliamento River. Meandering your way via lush fields and small villages you reach Udine the historical capital of Friuli region where it is said that Attila, leader of the Huns had a hill built from where he could control the siege of Aquileia by instructing his soldiers to bring soil in their helmet and shield, because, the landscape was too flat. Wondering through the old town the signs that this town has always been a crossroad between Eastern and western cultures is still clearly visible in the many beautiful palaces dating back to the various periods of domination.
Zigzagging your way through small towns, fields and forests, on bike lanes and quiet country roads you reach Palmanova built with 3 imposing star-shaped concentric city walls and an immense central square. Continued to Aquileia, a large and prominent city in Antiquity and one of the largest cities in the world in 2nd century AD with over 100.000 inhabitants, now a small town with an important archeological site.
Finally you reach Grado where the Adriatic sea awaits you for a refreshing swim.
A short taxi ride takes you to the train station where you catch the train to Venice. After checking in to your hotel downtown let yourself be mesmerised by the uniqueness of the floating city.
The trip ends after breakfast, unless you have booked extra nights or other optional services with us.
6 nights in double rooms in 3/4* hotels with breakfast
Hotel Mosser is a charming and historic building right in the centre of Villach. It offers spacious, comfortable and well-finished rooms with vintage style, telephone, TV, free Wifi. International breakfast is various and rich.
This family run hotel is located on Camporosso plain. Its rooms aren't so spacious, but these are recently renovated, cleand with mountain style and free Wifi, TV and private bathroom. Buffet breakfast is various of sweet and savory dishes. Staff is helpful. The restaurant is good and it offers traditional dishes, with game and fresh fish.
This inn is centrally located in Venzone and it has basic rooms with wood floor. These haven't TV, but have Wifi and private bathroom. The restaurant is very good with traditional dishes. Breakfast is normal. Staff is helpful and welcoming.
Hotel San Giorgio*** is centrally located in Udine, 5 minutes from the castle. It offers clean, welcoming rooms even if some of these have a vintage style and TV, free Wifi. Breakfast is good. Staff is very kind and welcoming. Restaurant proposes homemade cuisine.
Hotel Villa Rosa is located a few steps from the beach and the historic center in a quiet position behind principal hotel, Hotel Diana. Rooms are decorated in a simple way with air-conditioning/heating, TV, free Wifi and a little balcony. Breakfast is savoury and sweet and it's served at Hotel Diana.
This inn is centrally located a few steps from Piazza San Marco housed in a historic Venetian property of the 15th century. Despite being centrally located this inn is very quiet. Rooms are well-furnished, comfortable and clean, soundproofed with free Wifi, TV, air conditioning/heating. Staff is courteous and helpful.
From Salzburg airport (SZG), you can easily reach the centre by bus.
On departure, there are several busses running between Venice Santa Lucia train station and Venice Marco Polo airport (VCE).
If flying from Salzburg (SZG), you need to get there by train (not direct). Check timetables on http://fahrplan.oebb.at/bin/query.exe/en?.
GPS tracks available on request.
What is included:
· 6 nights in double rooms in 3/4* hotels with breakfast
· Bike theft insurance
· Luggage transfer from hotel to other but when you travel from Grado to Venice you take your own luggage on the train to Venice
· Telephone support 24 hours
· People and luggage transfer Grado-Cervignano/Aquileia/Grado train station
· Maps and detailed itinerary
What is not included:
· Journey to the place of arrival and departure
· Lunches and dinners, except where otherwise noted
· Visits and entrance fees - tips
· Possible sojourn taxes
· Anything not specified under "The price includes"
These services can be added to the ones included in the base price of the tour:
· Single room supplement
· Half board supplement
· E-bike or hybrid bike collection with equipment
· Any transfer to get to the starting point or to return from the point of arrival, which can be quoted on request.