Published on: 28 August 2015 | Last updated: 2 April 2017
The München-Venezia (Munich-Venice) cycle route is a new signed international cycle route that crosses the border with Italy at the Brenner Pass before taking you through the Südtirol and into the Veneto and of course Venezia. The total length of the route is 560 kilometres - of which 350 are in Italy.
The route links together some of Italy's best traffic-free cycleways including, possibly Italy's most scenic cycleway, the Ciclabile delle Dolomiti which follows the course of the old rail line through the Dolomites.
On this page
This article gives an overview of the route in Italy. On this page you will find download links for maps and gps files as well as information about websites and resources, and getting there. The articles in this series give a more detailed description of the route (see sidebar or the list of articles in this series at the bottom of the page).
At a glance
If you're heading south the route would be pretty easy with no significant climbs. Heading north there is of course a lot more climbing - although most of the climbs are long and gradual.
A significant proportion of the route (about 200 kms) is on dedicated traffic-free cycleways. The first half of the route is almost entirely traffic-free. The second half is mainly on quiet roads, but there are a couple of stretches on busier roads.
The large majority of the route is on surface cycleways and roads, however there are two significant sections of aggregate cycleway between Toblach and Cortina d'Ampezzo, and along the River Sile between Treviso and Venezia. These sections are most suited to trekking and mountain bikes - although would be rideable with cyclocross and similar type bikes.
The route is signed in both directions.
The new cycle route has been made possible by the opening of two new stretches of cycleway in the Veneto that make it possible to continue south from the existing Lunga Via delle Dolomiti cycleway and continue on the old Via Alemagna - a road alongside the Piave river that's as spectacular as any you'll find elsewhere in the Dolomites. The old road has been made redundant by a new fast strada statale. The two new stretches of cycleway mean that you can pick up the via Alemagna without having to negotiate the busy strada statale.
The local authorities and the regione Veneto have also invested heavily (3.75 million euros) in the cycleway south-east from Treviso along the Sile river. Eventually this route will continue on towards the sea.
Map and altitude profile
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|Brenner - Sterzing - Fortezza-Frankenfeste||44 kms|
|Fortezza-Frankenfeste - Cortina d'Ampezzo||94 kms|
|Cortina d'Ampezzo - Vittorio Veneto||105 kms|
|Vittorio Veneto - Treviso||67 kms|
|Treviso - Mestre||45 kms|
|Treviso - Punta Sabbioni (eastern shore of the Venice lagoon)||86 kms|
The München-Venezia cycle route comes into Italy over the Brenner Pass (1370m). It then descends to the beautiful town of Sterzing (Vitipeno) (961m). It continues, descending more gently, to Fortezza-Franzensfeste (812m) before starting a very gentle climb though the broad valley of the PusterTal following the Puster river to Toblach (Dobbiaco). From Toblach (1200m) a scenic cycleway takes you into the Dolomites and the Passo di Cimabanche (1533m) on the border with the Veneto.
From the Passo di Cimabanche there's then a long cruising descent following perhaps Italy's most beautiful cycleway the Ciclabile delle Dolomiti which takes you via Cortina d'Ampezzo (1219m) and on towards Calalzo di Cadore.
Before you get to Calalzo you need to turn off before Sottocastello di Cadore and pick up the Via Alemagna - the old strada statale that has been replaced by the new SS51. It follows the course of the Piave.
Until Sottocastello the route is almost entirely on dedicated cycleways, but from here on, the route is mainly on quiet roads. At Ponte nelle Alpi there is a stretch of 2.5 kilometres on the busy SS51 as it crosses over the Piave.
After Ponte nelle Alpi the route goes via the Lago di Santa Croce (altitude: 400 metres) before leaving the mountains behind as it reaches the Veneto plain at Vittorio Veneto. From here it continues into the prosecco wine country and the town of Conegliano and then onto Treviso.
Treviso and the Girasile cycleway are one of the highlights of the route. The River Sile now forms part of a nature reserve and the cycleway takes you for 22 kilometres along the river bank as it makes its leisurely way to the sea.
The route offers you two options one is to go to Mestre on the western shore of the Venetian lagoon and the other goes via Jesolo to the eastern shore. If you have time I'd recommend the Jesolo option and spending some time exploring the islands by vaporetto. Otherwise Mestre is probably the more convenient option because of its excellent rail links. Mestre is pretty bike-friendly and the route into the town was surprisingly quiet.
No bikes in Venezia
You can't take a bike into Venezia. There's a local law banning them. You can ride on the causeway that takes you to Venezia Santa Lucia station but that's it. Personally I would stop in Mestre: at best the causeway will be a disappointment.
Bikes are also banned from the vaporetti going into the Venezia itself - the only exception is the line that goes to the rail station (you can transport bikes on the ferry lines that serve the islands on the eastern shore of the lagoon).
The signposting is generally excellent. However, the signposting in the Südtirol differs from the signposting used in the Veneto. In the Südtirol there's generally a single blue München-Venezia symbol attached to the signs. The local signs generally include the names of the places the cycleway goes to so if you are going south from the Brenner you follow the signs for Sterzing/Vitipeno and if you are going north you follow the signs for the Brenner. So reasonably straightforward at least if you know the names of the main towns on the route.
In the Veneto the signs mainly use the numbers for the Veneto regional route system. So to start with you'll see signs that refer to the E4 (the cycleway between the Passo di Cimabanche-Cortina and Calalzo di Cadore. Later you'll see the signs for the I4 - this is the regional From the Dolomites to Venice route - this is the backbone of the route south to the coast. At Treviso it joins up with the I2 Anello del Veneto - (Veneto Ring) route so the signs are I2/I4.
Options and connections
The cycleways from the Brenner pass form part of the the Ciclopista del Sole (eurovelo 7). At Fortezza Franzensfeste if continues towards Brixen (Bressanone) and Bozen (Bolzano) following the River Adige (Etsch in German). This stretch of cycleway is one of the main arteries of the Italian cycle network and offers you lots of options. You could opt to continue following the Ciclopista del Sole as it leads south towards Mantova, Bologna, Firenze and Rome. You could turn opt go finish your tour at the Lago di Garda or in Verona where there are bike-friendly EuroCity trains back to Innsbruck and München.
Another option is to follow the Via Claudia Augusta towards the Lago di Caldonazzo where you can pick up the Ciclabile del Brenta, another of Italy's best traffic-free cycleways. The ciclabile leads through the gorge carved by the Brenta river south towards Bassano del Grappa. The Via Claudia Augusta heads south-east across the Veneto plain to Treviso and then follows the Sile river towards the coast.
A third possibility would be to follow the München-Venezia to Toblach (Dobbiaco) and from there continue on into Austria following the Drauradweg (Ciclabile della Drava) along the River Drau (Drava) to Villach and then pick up the Ciclovia Alpe-Adria Radweg. (For a guide to this route see: Through Austria following the River Drau from Toblach to Tarvisio). The Ciclovia Alpe-Adria-Radweg heads south to Grado on the Adriatic coast following the FVG1 route. The northern section of the FVG1 is a spectacular traffic-free cycleway following an old rail line.
Once you get to the coast you can pick up the eurovelo 8 cycle route which leads south from Venezia to the mouth of the Po and then across Italy - or you could go east towards Trieste and then into Slovenija and Croatia. See also: Islands and Lagoons of the Adriatic Coast.
Maps to print out or view offline
Show map download links for individual sections
München-Venezia Cycle route A4 maps
- München-Venezia 1 - Brenner to Fortezza-Franzensfeste: A4 maps
- München-Venezia 2 - Fortezza-Franzensfeste to Cortina d'Ampezzo: A4 maps
- München-Venezia 3 - Cortina d'Ampezzo to the Lago di Santa Croce: A4 maps
- München-Venezia 4 - Lago di Santa Croce to Treviso: A4 maps
- München-Venezia 5 - Treviso to Mestre (Venezia): A4 maps
- München-Venezia 5 - variant via Jesolo to the Lido di Venezia: A4 maps
München-Venezia Cycle route A5 maps
- München-Venezia 1 - Brenner to Fortezza-Franzensfeste: A5 maps
- München-Venezia 2 - Fortezza-Franzensfeste to Cortina d'Ampezzo: A5 maps
- München-Venezia 3 - Cortina d'Ampezzo to the Lago di Santa Croce: A5 maps
- München-Venezia 4 - Lago di Santa Croce to Treviso: A5 maps
- München-Venezia 5 - Treviso to Mestre (Venezia): A5 maps
- München-Venezia 5 - variant via Jesolo to the Lido di Venezia: 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.
- Muenchen-Venezia gps files
(.zip file containing 8 gpx track and waypoint 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
Hotels and B&Bs
There are plenty of hotels and accommodation along the way, generally reasonably priced.
Campsites and hostels
There's a reasonable choice of campsites along the northern part of the route, but none on the southern section until you get to the coast.
There are only three hostels along the Italian section of the route:
- the Jugendherberge Brixen at Brixen (Bressanone)
- the Jugendherberge Toblach at Toblach (Dobbiaco) and
- the Ostello Lunga Via delle Dolomiti at Calalzo di Cadore
There are several hostels in Venezia, but if you are travelling with a bike you won't be able to get to them.
Transport and services
Getting there and away
The main airports are of course München and Venezia Marco Polo, but Treviso and Innsbruck are also options.
If you are thinking of doing the Italian section of the route then the best starting point would be the station at Brenner.
From Venezia-Mestre station you can get direct trains to Verona, Bologna and Trieste. There's a direct ÖBB EuroCity train from Venezia to Wien (reservations required both for passengers and bikes). ÖBB also operate night trains between Venezia, Salzburg and Wien
but you can't take your bike on these trains.
The section of the route in the Südtirol is served by the train line that runs between the Brenner pass and Verona via Trento and Bozen. Both trenitalia and TreNord operate bike-friendly services along this route. Note however, that these trains are very popular with cyclists. If you want to go to Austria or Germany then the EuroCity trains are probably the better option: you have to reserve a place for your bike (which costs 10€) but this means that you have a guaranteed place.
The regional train company SAD operates services between Fortezza Franzensfeste and Innichen/San Candido - with some service continuing to Lienz. These services are very bike-friendly. Note that due to the popularity of the Drauradweg cycleway you cannot load bikes onto the train at Lienz station - but you can load at other stations along the route.
There are very good rail connections along the Veneto section - but it's important to note that at the time of writing you can't take bikes on the most of the train service to and from Calalzo di Cadore (the train station closest to Cortina d'Ampezzo). The exception is a weekly service which runs direct from Venezia. It leaves Venezia at 7:50 on Saturdays (and public holidays) and returns from Calalzo at 17:40. Download the timetable: trenitalia.com: Venezia-Calalzo di Cadore timetable. Alternatively you can continue on to Ponte nelle Alpi and take the train from there (station name: Ponte Alpi-Polpet) .
Other main railway hubs along the way are Treviso and Venezia Mestre.
The route has a dedicated website: muenchen-venezia.info (de/en/it). It looks like it could be useful, but it's still under development.
The official tourism information website for the Südtirol is suedtirol.info (en/it/de/nl/cz/pl/ru) has some information a bike routes section (suedtirol.info: bike tours with information about the Brenner and Pusterbike cycleways.
veneto.eu - in the Veneto the route mainly follows existing cycle routes. The Veneto region have produced excellent maps that are downloadable as pdfs (as well as being available from local tourist offices). These are available in eight languages (it/de/fr/en/es/pt/ru/jp). for the English versions go to I4 - From the Dolomites to Venice. These give a good guide to the route through the Veneto - with the exception of the section between Sottocastello and Ponte degli Alpi.
ciclabiledolomiti.com (it only) is the official site for the cycleway between Cortina and the Calalzo di Cadore.
The muenchen-venezia.info website has information about a couple of tour operators offering holidays on the route:
- Toblach-based Fun-Active offer an 8-night self-guided trip (italybike.info: Munich-Venice)
- Feuer un Eis (based in southern Bavaria) offer a couple of self-guided tours (one is 8 nights long and the other 10 nights) as well as a guided group tour and a shortened version starting in Innsbruck. For more information see: sportive-reisen.de: Radfernweg Muenchen-Venezia
- Vicenza-based GiroLibero offer a seven-night self-guided tour from Bozen in Italy's Südtirol (girolibero.com: Bolzano-Cortina-Venice)
If you're wondering: 'self-guided' means that the operator transports your luggage and takes care of booking the hotels etc. They also provide maps etc and some degree of backup if you have problems.
Articles in this series
- München-Venezia cycle route: overview
- Part 1: Brenner to Cortina d'Ampezzo
- Part 2: Cortina d'Ampezzo to the Lago di Santa Croce
- Part 3: Lago di Santa Croce to Treviso
- Part 4: Treviso to Mestre and Venezia
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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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