Published on: 9 January 2018 | Last updated: 10 January 2020
At a glance
Easy, although there are a couple of short climbs.
Most of this section is on traffic-free cycleways or quiet roads, but from Golling to Werfen the route follows a main road. While the traffic isn’t particularly heavy it is fast moving and there is a 5-kilometre stretch where there isn’t even a shoulder. You can avoid this section by taking the train from Golling to Werfen.
Mixed. A significant proportion of the route is on bike paths with a compacted aggregate surface.
The route is well signposted.
Options and variants
There are cycleways on both sides of the river coming out of Salzburg and for much of the way to Hallein.
At Salzburg the route connects with the Mozart Radweg.
Also known as …
This section of the route is part of the Tauern Radweg.
Map and altitude profile
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|Salzburg - Golling
|Salzburg - Hallein
|Hallein - Golling
|Golling - Werfen
Salzburg to Golling
Coming out of Salzburg the route (signed as the Tauernradweg) follows the river. There are cycleways on both banks.
A little over 4 kilometres out from the centre there is a turning where you can follow a signed route to the Schloss Hellbrunn.
Shortly after that, the tarmac surface gives way to compacted aggregate. This is very smooth and easy rolling. It continues to the Urstein dam (kraftwerk, the route goes under the autobahn, and then crosses over a bridge before continuing along the main Salzach, following the signs for Hallein.
The route brings you into Hallein. It’s worth spending a few minutes just riding around the its pretty altstadt (historic centre).
From the centre, it’s back to the riverside and out of town, following the Tauernradweg signs for Kuchl. As you come out of town you need to bear right on to Gamper Straße Sud – the sign is easy to miss. The section to Kuchl is on a beautiful and incredibly quiet country road that runs partly through meadows and partly through shady woodland.
As you near Kuchl there’s a bridge over the autobahn. If you want to go into Kuchl there’s a bridge a little further on that takes you over the river and into the town; otherwise, you can continue straight on, following signs for Golling 5 kilometres further on.
From here you continue on a quiet road to Golling. Before you get to Golling itself, you can turn off the route to visit the Gollinger Wasserfall. The road to the entrance goes past the Landgasthof Torrenerhof hotel and campsite. Look out for the church of Sankt Nikolaus on a spike of rock just opposite the entrance to the ravine with the waterfall.
Admission to the falls costs 3 euros for adults. They are open from 1 May to 31 October. There are two falls with a combined height of 75 metres. Check prices and opening times on the Golling tourist information website: golling.info: Golling Falls.
Look out for the Burg Golling on the height above you as you cross the bridge into the Golling.
The signs as you come into the village are confusing: just you just before you get to the level crossing you need to turn right, following signs for the Pass Lueg. However, if you want to visit Golling itself, continue over the level crossing then turn right, and then left by the SPAR supermarket following the signs for Marktplatz. The main street of the town is very pretty and well worth a quick look, and of course, it’s a good place to get a cup of coffee or something to eat.
Coming out of Golling the route crosses over the autobahn and the rail line, before coming out onto the B159 Road where you turn right. According to the signs, the Pass Lueg is 1 .9 kilometres away, and Werfen is 15.5 kilometres. There is a short stretch of about a hundred metres where you have to follow the shoulder of the road before you can pick up a cycleway which runs along the right-hand side of the road.
At the Pass Lueg (522m) there’s a short tunnel (133 metres long). You can avoid the tunnel by crossing the road and making the short climb on the road to the left of the tunnel which climbs above it to the original Pass Lueg. At the old pass there is a gasthof and a baroque chapel. Unfortunately, the roadside cycleway then stops abruptly a couple of hundred metres or so later. And, if you are travelling southwards, you have to cross back over the road.
At the entrance to the tunnel, there’s also the entrance to the Salzachöfen (the Salzach river gorges). I’m kicking myself for missing these. According to the golling.info admission is 3€ for adults, and the gorge is open from the beginning of May until the end of October.
Golling to Werfen
The bad news is that a little way on from the old Pass Lueg, you have to join the main B159. You continue on the B159 for 12 kilometres until Werfen where you can turn off to go through the Markt main street in Werfen. The road runs through the narrow gap created by the Salzach river between the Tennengebirge (Tennen Mountains) to the east and the Berchtesgadener Alpen to the west. At points, it is a very narrow gap which both the railway line and the road have to squeeze through. The traffic isn’t heavy (most through traffic takes the autobahn which runs in a tunnel) but it is fast-moving, and there’s no cycleway or cycle lane, although for the last seven kilometres into Werfen there is a reasonable shoulder so you can continue with at least some peace of mind as the traffic whizzes past. As you get closer to Werfen, this turns into a cycle lane - although I couldn’t see anything equivalent on the northbound side of the road.
For me, this was the least enjoyable part of the whole Ciclovia Alpe Adria Radweg. I would advise seriously considering taking the train between Golling-Abtenau station and Werfen. There are two trains an hour, and the journey takes about 15 minutes. If you want to visit the Salzachöfen, you can always ride there and then double back to the station.
The Lammertal alternative (the Bartlett Variant)
There is an alternative: you can avoid the main road by turning off the main route at Golling and following the Lammer river (and the Lammer Radweg cycleway) into the Lammertal. The alternative involves a bit of a detour, but only a modest amount of climbing, and looks like the more enjoyable option (thanks to Stephanie and Andy Bartlett who suggested this option).
As you approach Werfen, the Burg Hohenwerfen (Hohenwerfen Castle) comes into view. Perched high above the road and river the location could hardly be more dramatic. This is also the highest point of this section of the route. As you head downhill, look out for the turning on the right-hand side where you finally get the chance to turn off the B159, as the route heads through the centre of Werfen and then under the main road. If you miss the turning, you can pick up the route later.
I didn’t visit the Burg Hohenwerfen, but in many ways, it would be as good as the Salzburg castle. There’s lots of information on the website: salzburg-burgen.at) the official website for the Festung Hohensalzburg, the Burg Hohenwerfen and the Burg Mauterndorf.
The Burg Hohenwerfen also appears in the background of the picnic scene of the Sound of Music, filmed in the Gschwantanger hay meadows high above Werfen. You can walk up there: according to the tourist information website (werfen.at) ‘With sturdy shoes on their feet, young and old can complete this easy hike in about an hour’.
The Eisriesenwelt ice caves
Werfen’s other main attraction is the Eisriesenwelt (World of the Ice Giants) ice caves (website: eisriesenwelt.at — de/en/it). The cave system extends for 42 kilometres into the Tennengebirge limestone massif. The first kilometre is filled with ice which remains frozen throughout the year. As you enter the caves you are met with a blast of cold air; the cave system acts like a giant chimney: in winter when the air inside the mountain is warmer than outside, cold air is drawn into the caves helping to freeze the ice. In summer the process is reversed with air from outside cooling as it descends the chimney.
The caves with their ice formations are a memorable experience. Lit by a combination of safety lamps and magnesium (I suspect these are mainly for dramatic effect).
To get to them, you have to take a shuttle bus that takes you up to the lift station where a cable car takes you part of the way up the mountain before you continue along a path with some fantastic views over the castle and the valley. You need to allow 3 hours for the visit. The caves open at 8 in the morning with the last admission at 15:00 in low season and 16:00 in July and August. The shuttle bus runs every couple of hours, so check bus times (you can download the timetable from the website). A combined ticket for the caves and the cable car costs €24, although if you’re feeling energetic, you could hike up, this takes 1.5 hours each way. Top tip: if you have a pair of cycling gloves, take them as the railings on the walkways get very cold.
Places to stay
Hotels and B&Bs
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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.
There are plenty of hostels in Salzburg: the [Jugendherberge Salzburg Eduard-Heinrich-Haus | Jugendherberge Salzburg Walserfeld | Jugendherberge Salzburg Aigen | Die Stadtalm | Summer Hostel Salzburg | Muffin Hostel | A&O Salzburg Hauptbahnhof | Kolpinghaus Salzburg | YOHO.
After Salzburg, the next hostel along the route is the Jugendherberge St. Johann im Pongau
Close to Hallein, is the Auwirt Camping Looking at the map it seems to be pretty easily accessible from the cycle route, with a stretch of cycleway that enables you to avoid the B159.
At Golling, there are two sites: the Torrenerhof landgasthof with a campsite, and the Camping Martina. The Torrenerhof is close to the waterfall, while the Camping Martina is closer to Golling itself.
A little further on from Werfen and Pfarrwerfen is the Camping Vierthaler. The easiest way to get to it is by riding the cycleway and then crossing the river by the kraftwerk (the turning is signed). It’s a simple, friendly website. Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a hike (6.1 kilometres) from the centre of Werfen — it’s literally a hike as there’s no bus service.
Transport and services
Bike shops along the route
- Salzburg: Active Velo Willibald-Hauthaler-Straße 10 | Bergspezl RAD | Björn Korell Bikes (Maxglaner Hauptstraße 12) | Ebner Radsport (Leitmeritzstraße 2) | Fiets Fahrradfachwerkstatt | Forstinger Österreich | Maroné | MM-Bikeshop | Mobility System | Radlfürst | Radsport Wagner | Stadtrad | Velo rep Salzburger Fahrradwerkstatt | Vogl Bike (Elisabethstraße 63) | Werner Ebner (Leitmeritzstraße 2)
- Puch bei Hallein: Bergspezl Süd
- Hallein: Grundtner
- Kuchl: Fahrradservice Wallinger | Michi’s Radladen
Tourist information websites
- salzburgerland.com tourist information website for the Salzburg region. (de/en/it/nl/da/pl/cs/hu) Brochures to order.
- salzburg.info. tourist information for the city of Salzburg
- hallein.com (de/en)
- golling.info (de/en)
Places and attractions
- alpe-adria-radweg.com (it/en/de) is the official website for the route
- Mozart Radweg
- salzburgerland.com: the Tauern Cycle Trail a guide to the Tauernradweg (Tauern cycle Trail) available in 8 languages (de/en/it/nl/da/pl/cs/hu).
- The salzburgerland.com (de/en/it/nl/da/pl/cs/hu) also has a section dedicated to cycling Cycling – Insider Tips with guides to cycle routes in the Salzburg region.
- austria.info: Cycling and Biking
- salzburg.info: Cycling and Biking
- hallein.com: Cycling and Mountain Biking (de/en)
Articles in this series
- Ciclovia Alpe-Adria Radweg Overview
- Ciclovia Alpe-Adria Radweg: 1: Salzburg to Werfen
- Ciclovia Alpe-Adria Radweg:2: Werfen to Böckstein
- Ciclovia Alpe-Adria Radweg: 3 Mallnitz to Villach and Tarvisio
- Ciclovia Alpe-Adria Radweg: 4: Tarvisio to Venzone
- Ciclovia Alpe-Adria Radweg: 5: Venzone to Udine
- Ciclovia Alpe-Adria Radweg: 6: Udine to Grado