Published on: 28 August 2015 | Last updated: 14 May 2017
At a glance
Easy —the terrain is mostly a gentle incline or flat
There's a long section of traffic-free followed by a mix of quiet roads and cycleways
Mostly on surfaced roads or cycleways but there are some some unsurfaced sections
The route is generally well signed
The FVG1 is the name for the Italian section of the Ciclovia Alpe-Adria Radweg (FVG stands for Friuli-Venezia-Giulia). The route can be divided into four parts:
- the first is a traffic-free, surfaced, cycleway that follows the course of the old rail line that lead to Tarvisio and from there to Villach in Austria and across the border into Slovenia. At the present moment this takes you from the border to Resiutta - a total of almost 80 kilometres;
- the second section between Resiutta and Carnia doesn't exist - officially it's been 'suspended' - but you have the option of either taking a quiet strada comunale to Moggio Udinese and then a strada bianca (dirt road) to Carnia, or a short stretch on the busy main road SS13 to Moggio Udinese and then the dirt road. The dirt road is effectively traffic free, but only really suitable for mountain and trekking bikes. You could of course also take the SS13 all the way;
- from Carnia south to Strassoldo the route mainly follows tarmac country roads (with some sections of unsurfaced strada bianca and cycleway)
- from Strassoldo to Grado the route is almost entirely on traffic-free cycleways. From Cervignano del Friuli to Grado it follows the old railway line that ran between Cervignano, Aquileia and Belvedere on the shores of the Grado lagoon, and then there is a dedicated cycleway on the causeway that links Grado with the mainland.
Work in progress
By the time you read this the route will have changed. There has been a lot of work over the last couple of years building new sections of cycleway. Two new sections opened in 2015, and another two in 2016.
|Villach - Tarvisio||32 kms|
|Tarvisio - Resiutta||46 kms|
|Resiutta - Venzone||17 kms|
|Venzone - Udine||55 kms|
|Udine - Grado||55 kms|
Signs and finding your way
For much of its course between Tarvisio and Grado the route is very well signed, but there are some gaps. If you are only planning on following the route from Tarvisio to Resiutta then you probably don't need a map, but if you are planning on going further, then maps are pretty much essential - even on the well-signed sections its easy to miss a sign and take a wrong turning.
If you are using Open Street Map digital mapping, the CAAR is pretty well mapped although the OSM mapping does not yet include the newest sections of cycleway. You may see some small differences between the FVG1 and CAAR on the OSM maps.
The section of the route on the old railway line via Tarvisio to Resiutta is one of Italy's most scenic traffic-free cycleways, especially on the sections south of Pontebba where the cycleway follows the river Fella over a series of spectacular rail bridges. There are also a couple of lovely woodland sections as the route follows country roads beside the Tagliamento river. As you get further south the major interest is in the towns and villages you pass through, and in particular:
- Venzone a medieval walled city that was painstakingly rebuilt after being almost entirely destroyed in an earthquake in the 1970s;
- Udine and its Piazza della Libertà - one of Italy's most elegant city piazzas
- the medieval borgo of Strassoldo -a hidden gem that's easy to miss
- the star-shaped town of Palmanova with its Gran Piazza
- the world-heritage listed site of Aquileia. The mosaics of its duomo are a must-see.
Grado at the end of the route was once a rival to Venezia, but was long ago eclipsed by its neighbour. Today it's a modern, attractive, seaside resort - although there is a very small centro storico.
Options and variations
There are a number of connecting routes which mean you can use the FVG1 as part of a longer tour:
- at the northern end it connects with the Drauradweg (Ciclabile della Drava) which runs between Toblach (Dobbiaco) in Italy via Lienz to Maribor in Croatia [Correction: Maribor is in Slovenija - thanks to Natasa for telling me]. You could take the Drauradweg from Toblach and then the Ciclovia Alpe-Adria-Radweg from Spittal;
- as well as the FVG1 there's also the FVG1a - a branch that runs from just north of Tarvisio along the old rail line to the border with Slovenija where it turns into the D2 that runs as far as Jesenice. I'd definitely suggest at least a quick side-trip to Kranjska Gora.
- at Cervignano the FVG1 connects with the FVG2 (eurovelo 8) you can then head for Venezia or continue on to Grado from where you can continue on to Trieste and into Slovenija
There are lots of other options - see Friuli Venezia Giulia cycleways and cycle routes for more information.
You could do the first section of the route as a day-ride from the station at Tarvisio Boscoverde (or, even better, cross the border and start from Thörl-Maglern) if you catch the early train MiCoTra train from Udine (see the Getting there section) - or of course you could stopover the night before in Tarvisio or nearby Valbruna). Pontebba is the most convenient destination, but you could also opt to go on to Carnia, Venzone or Gemona del Friuli - depending on how fast you are travelling.
Getting there - and back again
The best option for getting to the northern end of the FVG1 is the MiCoTra (it). For information about timetables and fares see oebb.at. You can also download the 2016 MiCoTra timetable 2016 MiCoTra timetable.
The service is a joint venture between the regional governments of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia and Kärnten (Carinthia). The had been worried that there might not be enough bike spaces, but in fact the bikes had a huge coach all to themselves and (and someone to load and unload), on busy days there are two coaches.
Update: New trains on the line between Trieste, Udine, and Tarvisio - each with a capacity to carry 28 bikes - means that there are now plenty of other options for getting to the beginning of the route, or returning from the end.
Getting back from Grado
If you're planning to get the train from the end of the route the nearest station is Cervignano-Aquileia-Grado. There are direct services from there to Udine, Trieste and Venezia. If you are heading for Austria then the best option is probably the MiCoTra train from Udine. You could also take the Eurocity services from Venezia (which stops at Udine) but I'm not sure this offers much of an advantage over the MiCoTra train. A better option might be to head for the Verona and from there take the Eurocity train via Innsbruck to München.
The bad news is that the Cervignano-Aquileia-Grado station is (you're probably ahead of me on this one) at Cervignano. It's only 17 kms so it's not that big a deal if you have to retrace your steps, but in 2015 the regional government introduced a bike and bus transport service between Grado and Udine (and one between Grado and Trieste). In 2016 the operating period for the service was extended and ran between the 23 April and the 25 September and had a capacity of 20 bikes.
You can reserve places by email - for more information and a timetable you can download the pdf leaflet (it/de) from alpe-adria-radweg.com or from the bus company's website saf.ud.it . Alternative download link from this site: Grado-Udine Bici-Bus 2016. (Note these links are to the 2016 timetable as this was the only one available at the time of writing in March 2017.
Bad news for riders of tandems, recumbents and other non-standard bikes
The 2016 edition of the flyer includes a paragraph on the type of bikes that you can't take on the Bici-Bus. The major exclusions are tandems, recumbents, trikes, e-bikes that weigh more than 25 kilos, and bikes with tyres that are larger than 2.5 inches. You also can't take biciclette carenate/semicarenate —I've no idea what they are called in English, but a Google image search suggests they are bikes with a fairing.
Kärtner Linien have made a neat little 45-second promo video for the service.
Private road transfers
Oberkofler Touristik operates a bus between Grado and Salzburg, on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays between April and October. Prices from 85€/person for Grado to Villach. "Rad-taxi" services are available on other days.
Maps to print out or view offline
The zip files contain pdf files packaged together for convenience. If you are using a tablet you may find it easier to download the individual sections.
Show map download links for individual sections
FVG1 (Ciclovia Alpe-Adria Radweg) A4 maps
- FVG1 Ciclovia Alpe Adria Radweg: A4 maps: 1: Border to Tarvisio and Venzone
- FVG1 Ciclovia Alpe Adria Radweg: A4 maps: 2: Venzone to Udine
- FVG1 Ciclovia Alpe Adria Radweg: A4 maps: 3: Udine to Grado
- FVG1A and D2 Tarvisio to Kranjska Gora: A4 maps
FVG1 (Ciclovia Alpe-Adria Radweg) A5 maps
About the maps
Links open in new windows unless you ‘save as’ etc.
The maps are in two versions: A4 portrait format - for printing and maybe also for viewing on an iPad, and A5 for smaller tablets and smartphones. As far as eReaders are concerned so far I’ve not managed to get them to work on a Nook - but you may have more success with other devices.
- FVG1 (Ciclovia Alpe-Adria Radweg) gps files
(.zip file containing 6 gpx files)
- Italy Points of Interest
POIs are like waypoints, but while you can usually only store a limited number of waypoints on a device, you can store thousands of POIs. These files include information about campsites and hostels, bike shops, train stations, drinking water sources as well as warnings for tunnels and roads where bikes are banned. Please check the ReadMe file for instructions. Updated March 2017.
Places to stay
The articles in this series include a maps showing hotels and B&Bs along that part of route with full contact details. Click the links below to see an overview for the route as a whole.
The website for the route divides the route into stages, but there's nothing to say that you have to follow the official stages. It's worth noting that there's only one place to stay in Venzone (the excellent Locanda al Municipio).
There are a few campsites along Italian section of the route, or at least close to it - but also some gaps. There's a camper stop near Tarvisio, but unfortunately it has no toilet or showers. There is a campsite at Kranjska Gora.
Hostels and rifugi
Hostels are few and far between (but there is a lot of very reasonably-priced accommodation available along the route). The hostels I know about are
Transport and services
The official website is alpe-adria-radweg.com/ (de/it/en).
There's also ciclovia-alpeadria-radweg.eu the site of the Friends of the Ciclovia Alpe Adria Radweg (en/it).
The CAAR project have produced a very good smartphone app Alpe Adria Biketour (available for both iOS and Android ). One of the most useful features of the app is that it enables you to save detailed map for offline viewing.
Note for GPS users: you can download the tracks for the official route from the CAAR website. However, note that the gpx track available from the home page is out of date - the best bet is to go to the interactive map, click on the section you are interested in, and then when the overlay appears, click on the map in the overlay - this will then take you to the page on outdooractive.com from where you can download the gps track.
I'm sure there are other tour operators offering holidays on the Ciclovia Alpe-Adria Radweg, but here are three:
Articles in this series
- FVG1(Ciclovia Alpe-Adria Radweg): overview
- Part 1: Tarvisio to Venzone
- Part 2: Venzone to Udine
- Part 3: Udine to Grado
Get in touch
Please get in touch if you find any errors in the information, or if there’s anything, good or bad, that you’d want other cyclists to know.
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