Via Claudia Augusta: Part 6 The Etschtal Radweg (Ciclabile della Valle dell'Adige) from Algund to Trento

Published on:  | Last updated: 7 May 2017

Cycleway between Bozen (Bolzano) and Trento

Cycleway between Bozen (Bolzano) and Trento

At a glance

Distance

93 kilometres via Meran | 94 Kilometres via (Marling)

Difficulty/​Terrain

Easy - flat or slightly downhill

Traffic

Traffic-free cycleways if you go via Meran. The Marling option involves some quiet roads.

Note that at weekends in summer the cycleway gets very busy. In my exper­ience it is friendlier and more relaxed during the week.

Surface

Surfaced

Signs

Well-signed

Overview

Leaving the Vinschgau behind, the Via Claudia heads into the broad river valley with the high rock walls on either side. You are now on the Etschtal Radweg (Ciclabile Valle dell'Adige) which runs on the top of the high embank­ments (levees) built as flood defences along the banks of the river. The landscape is dominated by apple growing: it must be a wonderful sight in spring when the apple blossom is out. Continuing to follow the river Etsch-Adige the route crosses the border into the Trentino.

Map and altitude profile

Powered by WP-GPX Maps

 tips for using the map

Map screen grab

Run your cursor over the graph to show the elevation, and distance from the start, for any given point on the route. (Note: the altitude graph is not shown where the route is flat).



map detail

Click the little icon in the right-hand corner to see the map fullscreen


Distances

Distances
Algund - Meran 4 kms
Meran - Bozen 35 kms
Bozen - Auer 17 kms
Auer - Salurn 12 kms
Salurn - Lavis 33kms
Lavis - Trento 9 kms
Cyclists crossing the Etsch (Adige) near Bozen

Crossing the Etsch (Adige) near Bozen

Options

Through Germany and Austria there's one single route, but in Italy there are a number of points where you have choices. One of these is at Algund (Lagundo). The route shown on the viaclaudia.org website (and on OpenStreetMap maps) crosses the Adige and heads via Marling and Lana. However, you can also continue on towards Meran and Bozen. The two options converge near Bozen.

If you're not inter­ested in visiting Meran or Bozen then the Marling route is quite a scenic option, but note that, apart from some Via Claudia inform­ation panels, it is unsigned. It also follows quiet roads rather than traffic-free cycleways (although the roads are very quiet).

Map of the two options at Algund

  Map:  VCA-Algund-options-map-show map in overlay    |    VCA-Algund-options-map-show map in new window   

Blue-aproned figure outside the Pircher restaurant near Nals

Figure outside the Pircher restaurant near Nals. The blue apron is tradi­tional workwear in the area

Even more options

There's nothing that says that you have to head south from Bozen; you could head north towards Brixen (Bressanone) and from there take the Pusterbike through the Pustertal (val Pusteria). See Südtirol cycleways and the Pusterbike cycleway for more inform­ation.

Heading south from Bozen you could take the option of going through the wine country around Kaltern and the KaltererSee. This might combine well with the Marling option of the Via Claudia.

The Sudtirol Wine Road (Suedtiroler Weinstrasse) website has inform­ation about three circular rides around Bozen. The northern wine route is a 45-kilometre circular route to the north and west of Bozen. The central wine route is a 23-kilometre circular ride in the Kaltern area. The southern wine route is a 39-kilometre circular ride through the wine-growing area to the south of the Kalterersee.

Algund

The wooden bridge on the approach to Algund is also the parting of the way for the two options. Turn right if you want to go to Marling. The route passes Forst Brauerei. Nearby is the Burg Vorst (Castello Foresta) which is owned by the family who own the brewery.

Note that the route crosses a main road that is off-limits to bikes, you can go straight on but not right or left.

Meran

After Naturns comes the spa town of Meran. I would defin­itely advise detouring off the cycle route to explore the city centre. If you have the time and the inclin­ation you might want to visit the spa itself (opening times and prices). (You may also want to check out the link for the Piscina Naturale/​Naturbad at Gargazzone (photogallery | opening hours and prices). Take the underpass that links the cycleway with Gargazzone and then follow the signs.

Naturbad Gargazon

The Naturbad Gargazon. Photo Georg Mayr by courtesy of the Naturbad Gargazon

You could also visit the Schloss Tirol castle - home to the dukes of Tyrol until they moved their capital to Innsbruck, or the gardens of the Trauttmansdorff Castle.

Bozen (Bolzano)

Bozen is about 100 metres in altitude below Meran - so enjoy the last bit of downhill. From Bozen to Trento it’s pretty much all flat. You could bypass the centre of Bozen (Bolzano) but again it would be a pity to miss out on it. The city has one of the best networks of cycleways of any city in Italy and it’s defin­itely worth taking the time to wander around. (download a pdf map of the city’s cyclepaths ). Fore more about Bozen see: italy-cycling-guide.info: Bozen.

Signs on the Bozen city boundary welcoming cyclists to the city of the bicycle

Signs on the Bozen city boundary welcoming cyclists to the city of the bicycle

Sigmundskron (Ponte d'Adige)

The two variants rejoin near to Terlan and Andrian. A little further on you come to Sigmundskron (Ponte d'Adige) and the only point on the route where the signage is confusing: it seems to be directing you right, over the bridge, when in fact you need to go left (following the sign for the Radstation Wiesl). ( picture of the signs). By the way, even if you are heading for Eppian and the wine route it's still better to go left than right: there's an old railway bridge that takes you over the river and you can pick up the cycleway to Eppian.

You take the next right and then right again. In front of you you should see a castle on a hill — this is the Schloss Sigmundskron (Castello Firmiano). The castle has been restored and is now home to the Messner Mountain Museum Firmian. The museum's theme (borrowing the words from the website) is man’s encounter with the mountains. An itinerary between the various works of art, install­a­tions and relics and explores the religious signi­ficance of the peaks as an aid to orient­ation and a bridge to the beyond. It looks like an inter­esting place, I just wish I'd known about it when I passed by. The Museum is open every day except Thursdays from late March to November —follow the link to check opening times.

Cyclists on the Adige cycleway near Salurn

Cyclists on the Adige cycleway near Salurn (Salorno)

On to Trento

The villages in the valley tend to be located a little away from the river, so the cycleway will take you past the villages rather than through them so you need to make a conscious effort to make side-trips. My suggestion would be to stop off at Egna/​Neumarkt, a wine-producing centre and pretty village with arcaded streets and Venetian-influ­enced archi­tecture. You could also stop off at the nearby Klösterle Sankt Florian once a hospice for pilgrims (including Albrecht Dürer on his way to Venezia). Look out also for the Schlöss Haderberg on a rocky spike above Salurn. In an area with so many castles this has perhaps the most dramatic location.

The bicigrills

A bicigrill is a cafe beside a cycleway. The name comes from the Autogrills on Italy's autostrade. The bicigrill by the bridge at Salurn is, for me at least, always a welcome sight and an oblig­atory stop. It's something of an insti­tution, although it now has a rival for your affec­tions a a few kilometres further on: the Bicigrill Faeda aka Bike Break. If you're heading on towards Verona, look out for another insti­tution the Bicigrill Nomi near Rovereto.

A few kilometres even further on, near Mezzacorona, is La Cacciatora restaurant. Not a bicigrill, but a popular stop on the route. Recommended, but it gets busy.

After Salurn you come into the Trentino. The first town on the Trentino side of the border is Lavis and the route detours into the town in order to cross a bridge over a tributary of the Adige. Lavis has an attractive historic centre with a couple of nice bars and cafes so it’s worth seeking out. Look out for the frescoed bookshop. There’s also a bar on the bridge on the route itself.

Decorated building facade - Lavis (Trentino)

Decorated building facade - Lavis (Trentino)

The Moser Museum

At Lavis cycling fans may want to turn off the route to visit the Museo dei Moser at the Cantina Moser vineyard (Maso Villa Warth).

The Moser family has produced more than its fair share of cycling champions - the Gazzetta dello Sport (Italy's main sports paper - you'll find it in every Italian cafe and bar) called them a dinastia: producing eight profes­sional cyclists. (Including Gilberto Simoni the total comes to nine). The village they come from, Palù di Giovo, has produced four pink-jersey winners.

The best-known member of the family is Francesco Moser who in 1984 broke the one-hour record set by Eddy Merckx 12 years before, and went on to win the Giro d'Italia in the same year.

The Museo Moser: one of Francesco Moser's bikes, and in the background one of the family's collection of pink jerseys

The Museo Moser: one of Francesco Moser's bikes, and in the background one of the family's collection of pink jerseys. Photo: Cantina Moser

You can reach the Cantina Moser taking the SP131 out of Lavis (avoiding the SS12). Note that visits are by appointment - the email address is info@mosertrento.com.

The Moserissima

The city of Trento has launched a new cycling event La Moserissima named after Sr. Moser. It's a non-competitve cycling event for vintage bikes (biciclette di epoca) inspired by Toscana's Eroica — the course is 55 kilometres over a mixture of surfaced and unsur­faced roads with a respectable but not scary amount of climbing (678 metres total altitude gain). There are stops at the Cantina CAVIT as well as the Cantina Moser. Judging by the promo video it looks quite fun if you're into the retro thing:

  show larger in overlay

There's full inform­ation on discovertrento.it: La Moserissima you can also go find the event on facebook facebook.com/LaMoserissima.

Trento

Trento is a few kilometres further on. Trento is defin­itely worth a stop - even if it’s only a brief one to visit the Piazza del Duomo - this is only a couple of hundred metres or so off the route (but sadly, not signposted), with the frescoed palazzi and the nearby Palazzo Geremia on the Via Belanzani.

If you have more time then you defin­itely shouldn't miss the Castello Buonconsiglio. For more about Trento see italy-cycling-guide.info: Trento.

Trento: Palazzo Geremia

Trento: Palazzo Geremia. Photo by Matteo Ianeselli. Source Wikimedia Commons

More information

Places to stay

Hotels and B&Bs etc

Tourist inform­ation sites with accom­mod­ation search and booking facil­ities:

Find and book places to stay with Booking.com

Booking.com pages for places on this section of the route:

Marling variant:

 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.

Hostels

  Map of hostels along the route:  FT-maps-VCA-hostels-show in overlay    |    FT-maps-VCA-hostels-show in new window   

Campsites

At Algund there's the Camping Via Claudia Augusta. A little further on in the centre of Meran is the Camping Meran. The nearest campsite to Bozen is the Moosbauer. It's a busy site but they seemed to be able to squeeze in cyclists even when they are turning campervans away.

There are several campsites within relat­ively easy reach of the route between Bozen and Trento. The closest campsite to Trento is at Lavis - the Albergo Camping Moser (Via Nazionale 64, Nave San Felice Lavis - 0461 870248). The hotel has no website and no email, but you can see the campsite entrance on Google Streetview. There are also several campsites around the Lago di Caldonazzo. Update: I've just discovered the Agriturismo Locanda de L'Arguta just off the route, a little way south of Trento. this might be your best bet if you want to stay somewhere near Trento.

There's a campsite on the Marling variant: the Zum Guten Tropfen at Nals. There are also a couple at the Kalterer See (Lago Caldaro).

  Map of campsites along the route:  FT-maps-VCA-campsites show map in overlay    |    FT-maps-VCA-campsites show map in new window   

Transport and services

Transport connections

There are rail stations all along the route. The stations on the route offer both local, national and inter­na­tional connec­tions. For local services, the best bet is probably the trenitalia regional services. DeutscheBahn also offer services connecting with München (Munich) and Innsbruck to the north an Venezia, Verona, and Bologna to the south.

Left luggage and bike storage

With branches in the stations in Bozen and Trento, Basecamp Dolomites (it/​en/​de) offer luggage and bike storage. Rates are: 5 € for up to 5 hours, and then 0,90 € per hour for 6 to 12 hours, and 15€/day for over 12 hours (all prices are per piece of luggage —I don't know if there is scope for negoti­ation if you have a bike and four panniers). They are open 365 days from 9:00-11:45 and 12:15 – 18:00.

Bike shops on this section of the route

If you know of other bike shops, or you spot a mistake, please let me know.

Resources

General tourist information

The two main regional tourist inform­ation sites are:

Useful local sites include:

For inform­ation about the wine road:

Cycling information websites

Other useful information

Sign for a bar-spaghetteria on the Valle dell'Adige cycleway

Sign for a bar-spaghet­teria on the Valle dell'Adige cycleway

Articles in this series

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.


Join the mailing list?

If you’ve found this site useful why not sign up to the mailing list for occasional updates about new routes.