Published on: 29 August 2015 | Last updated: 26 March 2017
At a glance
Easy —gentle incline with a small number of short climbs
Almost entirely traffic-free
This is a fabulous ride - it would definitely make my list of the top five traffic-free cycleways and maybe the best. It's a very scenic ride down the Valcanale mountain valley following the Fiume Fella (Fella river) with some dramatic railway bridges. There are also a fair number of tunnels. While the tunnels are illuminated a light would be a good idea.
The ciclovia starts immediately after the Italian-Austrian border - as you cross the border at the now-deserted checkpoint, look for a wooden fence on your right-hand side, with Ciclovia Alpe-Adria in big red letters. there's then a very short but fairly steep climb and then a glorious stretch of cycleway that takes you through the woodland to the village of Coccau. When I rode the route (in 2015) a deviazione took you through the village and then onto an almost-deserted road that went round the tunnel on the SS13 where the the cycleway resumes on the other side of the tunnel beside the main road. At the time time of writing work was due to start to convert a section of the old rail line into cycleway so keep an eye out for the signs.
Map and altitude profile
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|Villach - Tarvisio||32 kms|
|Border - Tarvisio||8kms|
|Tarvisio - Kranjska Gora||17 kms|
|Tarvisio Boscoverde station - Tarvisio||2kms|
|Tarvisio - Pontebba||25 kms|
|Pontebba - Chiusaforte||13 kms|
|Chiusaforte - Resiutta||8.2 kms|
The cycleway takes you into Tarvisio. Before you get there there's a junction with the FVG1A that takes you to the border with Slovenija and on from there to Kranjska Gora and Jesenice. Even if you're aim is to head south to Grado I'd highly recommend considering a side-trip to Kranjska Gora - the ride through the forest and then into the Alpine meadows with views of the Julian Alps is well worth the time.
Tarvisio has stations to spare. The modern station is at Tarvisio Boscoverde a couple of kilometres out of town (there's a cycleway that takes you there). The cycleway takes you past the old Tarvisio Centrale station - which doesn't actually seem at all central, and then onto the Tarvisio Città station which actually is in the heart of town.
From Tarvisio the cycleway goes gently uphill to Camporosso (820m) before starting the downhill cruise to Pontebba.
In 2016 two new section of cycleway were opened taking you past the new Ugovizza-Valbruna station. If you're looking for a place to eat or a place to stay then you might still want to consider taking the old route that takes quiet roads to Valbruna
The cycleway also passes in front of the old station at Ugovizzo with the bar-trattoria (Da Lucia), with a play area if you're travelling with little ones.
The two new sections mean that the ride is very straightforward until almost Pontebba where things get a little more complicated.
Just before Pontebba there's a section of the route where you weave in and out of the feet of the motorway viaduct, before coming out onto the Via Deposito which takes you to the bridge over the railway (look out for Pontebba's church). There's then a short steepish descent that brings you out onto the main street in front of the tourist information office. Turn right and continue over the bridge which, until 1918, marked the border between Austria and Italy.
Coming out of Pontebba you turn right just before you reach the SS13 and climb past the chapel (Capella di San Rocco) and then down again and up (I needed to push). There's then a section of the old railway line and then you need to descend again on a ramp, then cycle a short way on the road until you reach a ramp/steps. The ramp isn't that sleep and it's a pretty short - so no big deal. (The reason for the two ramps is presumably because of the disused tunnels that would be expensive to repair).
The complicated bit out of the way, it's plain sailing from here to Resiutta, with a couple of dramatic bridges over the Fella river.
At the Stazione di Chiusaforte (no longer a real station) there's a friendly bar, restaurant and information centre Facebook page. They also had a sign advertising repair assistance.
After Chiusaforte the cycleway continues on the old rail line with another dramatic bridge - the Ponte Petraria. Here you have two alternatives:
- you can turn off here and follow a quiet strada comunale to Moggio Udinese, this option involves some climbing. This option means you can avoid the SS13 when the cycleway comes to an end at Resiutta;
- or you can continue on along the cycleway to Resiutta.
A sort speeded-up video of the FVG1 between Tarvisio and Resiutta — and the new section between Venzone and Gemona del Friuli (see part 2). No soundtrack. For best quality you'll need to click the HD button and select 720p.
From Resiutta to Venzone
When I rode this section of the route in 2015 the Resiutta the cycleway continues to the old station and then it just stopped. However in 2016 there were some improvements which means that it should be a lot easier to navigate this section. In December 2016 two sections of old railway tunnel were reopened. According to website of the Friends of the Ciclovia Alpe-Adria Radweg, the cycleway now continues uninterrupted to close to Moggio Udinese where an underpass takes you under the main road and you can then cross over the bridge into the village. For further information and pictures go to ciclovia-alpeadria-radweg.eu.
The other improvement is that the route from Moggio Udinese to Carnia has been improved. When I rode it in 2015 it was a fairly rough track, but I was told by the helpful people in the Stazione di Chiusaforte that this section has now been bashed and is much smoother. I'm hoping to be able to go back in 2017 and test it out.
|Resiutta - Moggio Udinese (via SS13)||3.4 kms|
|Pertraria - Moggio Udinese (variant)||7.2 kms|
|Moggio Udinese - Carnia||8.9 kms|
|Carnia - Venzone||5 kms|
The road from Moggio Udinese comes out onto the SS52 which leads into Carnia. For a quieter alternative look to your left and take the minor road on the other other side of the strada statale this goes under the A23 autostrada and leads to a bridge over the Fiume Fella.
The road takes you into Carnia. After Carnia there are a couple of short section where you need to ride on main SS13 before crossing over to pick up the Via San Leonardo which is virtually the last leg into Venzone. There are plans to install lights on this crossing.
When I rode this route in 2014 the signage on the cycleway was very good until Resiutta and then seemed to be virtually non-existent until I got to just outside Venzone where there were lampposts with stickers - the credit for these goes to the volunteer 'Radweg Angels' (who have funded the signs out of their own pockets). There were for improved signage and for asphalting in 2015, so things should have improved significantly.
Places to stay
Hotels and B&Bs
The stages of the official route are Villach-Tarvisio and Tarvisio-Venzone, but there are plenty of alternative stopover options: Arnoldstein in Austria; Kranjska-Gora in Slovenija; and in Italy, Fusine, Valbruna, Pontebba, Chiusaforte, Moggio Udinese and Resiutta. The Stazione di Chiusaforte bar-ristorante has a lot of information about places to stay in and around Chiusaforte - and beyond. They even kindly offered to help me book somewhere.
I have stayed at:
- the Albergo al Sole in Fusine Val Romana close to the FVG1A as it heads for the border with Slovenija. A friendly, family-run hotel in a great location and a reasonably-priced alternative to the hotels in Tarvisio.
- the Locanda Mandi (which used to be the Ostello del Ciclista) which is very close to the cycleway and quite possibly the best value option in the Tarvisio area. To find it either follow the signs for the Ostello del Ciclista or take the road to the Lago di Fusine
Find and book places to stay with Booking.com
Booking.com pages for places on this section of the route:
About these links
If you use these links to book accommodation Booking.com will pay me a small part of their commission. This helps support the costs of producing this site.
I use Booking.com to find and book places to stay when there are no campsites in the area. The large majority of hotels and many hostels are now on ‘Booking’. I like it because it means that I can get almost-instant confirmation. The rating system is also a reliable guide to the quality of the accommodation.
I’ve never had a problem finding places to keep my bike —even if it’s a cupboard or store room. I always use the ‘special requests’ field on the booking form to tell the hotel that I’m travelling with a bike, which gives them the opportunity to let me know if there’s a problem.
Many properties offer free cancellation but it’s a good idea to check the conditions as these vary from property to property.
Venzone - there are a a couple of hotels near to Venzone, but my top tip would be the Locanda al Municipio. The price was 35€ for a single room and 60€ for a double. The price includes breakfast — although this was only available from 8.30 (they did provide me with a kettle and a slice of torta), however you can get an early coffee and brioche at the bar on the other side of the square. The locanda has reasonably secure bike storage in a courtyard that is locked at night.
Note that Venzone is a pinch point. I had no problem getting a room on a Friday night, but the Locanda was fully booked for the Saturday. If you are planning to stay on a Saturday night then it would be worth booking ahead.
Campsites and hostels
At Valbruna there's the Casa Alpina Julius Kugy. There's a campsite and a couple of hostels at Kranjska Gora.
If you're looking for economical options along the way don't despair, there were B&Bs offering rooms at 25€/person a night.
Transport and services
The cycleway is easily accessible from the Tarvisio Boscoverde station: simply take the lift down to the underpass and then look for the cycleway when you come out of the underpass.
If I were doing this route again I would be tempted to go to the station at Thörl-Maglern just over the border in Austria. For more information about trains pleases check the Getting there section in the overview article.
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
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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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