The München-Venezia cycle route Overview

Published on:  | Last updated: 9 August 2018

Cyclists on the Innradweg section of the München-Venezia cycle route near Vomp

Cyclists on the Innradweg section of the München-Venezia cycle route near Vomp

At a glance

Distance

557 kilometres

Difficulty/terrain

Relatively easy – the only significant climb on the route is from Innsbruck to Brenner. However, note that if you are heading in the other direction, there is a tough climb from Wiesing to the Achensee.

Traffic

Mainly on traffic-free cycleways or restricted roads, or on quiet roads. The climb to Brenner involves 8 kilometres or so on the main B182 road; this was not especially busy, but you can catch the train if you’d rather avoid it. There’s also a stressful stretch near Conegliano in the Veneto — again, you could take the train to avoid this if you prefer.

Surfaces

Mixed surfaces. In Austria and Germany, a significant proportion is on aggregate-surfaced bike paths – although these are generally in good condition. In Italy, a greater proportion of the route is on tarmac, but there are still some stretches on compacted-aggregate cycleways. The longest aggregate-surfaced sections are between Toblach and Cortina d’Ampezzo, and the final stretch from Treviso along the river Sile.

Signposting

The route is well signposted. The München-Venezia signage mainly relies on stickers or waymarkers added to existing cycle route signs, so it’s worth knowing the names of the cycle routes it uses and the places along the way.

Weather and when to go

May to September is probably the best time to go. You could go in April or May, but expect the sections in the mountains to be cold — with average temperatures in the single figures. Bear in mind that in the mountains the June, July and August are the rainiest months, both in terms of the overall amount, and the number of days on which it rains. However, this often takes the form of a thunderstorm in the late afternoon or early evening.

Route marker on the München-Venezia cycle route

Route marker on the München-Venezia cycle route

Overview

The München-Venezia cycle route follows traffic-free cycleways and quiet roads through Bavaria in southern Germany, the Austrian Tyrol, and the Italian Dolomites. It is possibly the easiest and most scenic route across the Alps.

Through southern Germany there are two variants, which meet up at the Austrian border, one follows the Isar river via the spa town of Bad Tölz (this is the variant described here) while the other goes via the Tegernsee.

The two variants come together again just over the Austrian border. The route then continues to the Achensee. From Maurach on the Achensee, it descends fairly steeply down into the valley of the river Inn before continuing following the Inn Radweg, possibly Austria’s premier cycleway. The Inntal is a broad river valley cutting its way west to east through the Alps, with villages high on the valley sides. As well as the dramatic scenery this is an area with a rich history.

The route climbs from the Inn valley through the Wipptal to the pass at Brenner (1370m). There are a couple of options, but whichever one you take you are looking at a climb with a total altitude gain of over 1000 metres.

With the climb over there’s a long descent towards Fortezza Franzensfeste where the main route turns east into the PusterTal (Puster valley). The views of the Dolomites get ever more impressive as you head towards Toblach. At Toblach you connect with the cycleway that follows the old railway line that once ran through the heart of the Dolomites. A short climb (a little over 300 metres altitude gain) takes you to the Passo Cimabanche and the border with the Veneto, and another long, and very scenic, descent down through Cortina d’Ampezzo and then on from there into the valley of the Piave river, following the historic Via Alemagna.

The final sections skirt the foothills of the Alps before turning south towards Treviso. From Treviso, the route follows the river Sile as it meanders towards the Laguna di Venezia (Venetian lagoon).

Highlights

  • the altstadt (old towns) in Bad Tölz, Schwaz, Hall in Tirol and Innsbruck
  • the Achensee
  • the Hungerburgbahn funicular in Innsbruck
  • the Inn valley and Wipptal
  • the historic centres of Sterzing (Vipiteno), Brixen (Bressanone), Bruneck (Brunico), and Treviso

A convenient route north over the Alps?

If you’re looking for a route over the Alps through Austria and into southern Germany, then you may be looking at this route and the Via Claudia Augusta. Both take you through some beautiful countryside and atmospheric alpine villages, but they both also have their problematic points: on the Via Claudia it is the crossing over the Fern Pass, and on the München-Venezia it’s the climb from Wiesing to Maurach. If you’re travelling heavily-loaded and looking for a convenient link to get you to the airport at München, I wouldn’t really recommend either.

It may be that the best option is to go round the mountains by following the Inn Radweg north either to Rosenheim where you can pick up the Mangfall Radweg to München, or continue to Passau where the Inn joins the Donau (Danube). I say may as I haven’t yet had the chance to test it out. For a guide to the Mangfall Radweg (in German) see: radtourenchef.de: Mangfall Radweg.

cyclist riding along the Isarkanal - part of the München-Venezia cycle route

cyclist riding along the Isarkanal – part of the München-Venezia cycle route

Options

There are four places where you have a choice of variants

  • between München and Achenkirch you have the option of following the Isar river via the pretty spa town of Bad Tölz or going via the Tegernsee (which I assume is also pretty)
  • on the outskirts of Innsbruck you have the option of continuing into the city’s aldstadt (historic centre) and on from there to the Brenner pass, or taking a slightly longer, but a little less steep route towards the pass
  • north of Brixen (Bressanone) you can opt to make a shortish detour to see the town (definitely don’t miss it)
  • in the final stretch as you approach Venezia you have the option of heading for Jesolo and the Venezia Lido on the islands on the eastern edge of the Venetian lagoon. This is worth considering if you plan to consider south towards Chioggia and Ravenna or if you are looking for more economical accommodation

In addition to these options I would also highly recommend a side trip to the Pragser Wildsee (Lago di Braies) which is quite possibly the most beautiful lake in the Dolomites.

Connections

This route connects with several national and international cycle routes, so there are lots of possibilities for making your own custom itinerary. Here are a few.

The route connects with the the Inn Radweg, one of Austria’s premier cycleways, near Jenbach. The Inn is a tributary of the Donau (Danube) which it joins at Passau, so you could follow the Inn Radweg from Passau (or Rosenheim). The Innradweg continues from Innsbruck to Imst where it connects with the Via Claudia, and from there you can continue on to Italy and the Reschen Pass.

In Italy you could continue south from Brixen towards Bozen (Bolzano) and from there follow the Adige (Etsch river) as it heads south towards the sea. You could follow it, along one of Europe’s best traffic-free cycleways, to Verona, or turn of to the Lago di Garda.

Again in Italy, you could continue from Toblach (Dobbiaco) to Innichen (San Candido) and from there follow the Drau (Drava) as it heads from its source near Toblach to the Donau.

Cyclists on the Neustadt in Sterzing (Vipiteno) leading to the Zwölferturm

The Neustadt in Sterzing (Vipiteno) leading to the Zwölferturm

Map and altitude profile

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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).



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München – Venezia distances
München – Bad Tölz 58 kms
Bad Tölz – Achenkirch 48 kms
Achenkirch – Hall in Tirol 51 kms
Hall in Tirol – Brenner via Ampass 49 kms
Hall in Tirol – Brenner via Innsbruck 50 kms
Brenner – Sterzing (Vipiteno) 22 kms
Sterzing – Bruneck (Brunico) 57 kms
Bruneck – Toblach 29 kms
Toblach – Cortina d’Ampezzo 29 kms
Cortina d’Ampezzo – Vittorio Veneto 105 kms
Vittorio Veneto – Treviso 67 kms
Treviso – Mestre 45 kms

Sign on the Innradweg/München-Venezia cycle route

Sign on the Innradweg/München-Venezia cycle route


Venezia

Many people will be attracted to this route by the fact that it leads to Venezia. I hate to say it, but Venezia is far from ideal as the destination for a cycling tour.

The first and most obvious problem is that bikes are banned from the historic centre of Venezia. You can ride over the causeway that leads to Venezia, and to the ferry terminal, but that’s as far as you can go.

The ban on bikes reflects the huge problem of overcrowding. In summer, Venezia is a small place that gets hit by a daily tsunami of people. With an estimated 30 million visitors a year, the situation has become so bad that there has even been discussion of using turnstiles to control access to the Piazza San Marco.

My advice would be that if you want to see the treasures of Venezia then go out of season. Don’t obsess about getting to Venezia, and ignore everything else along the way – there are a lot of places along the way where you can enjoy the region’s rich artistic and cultural heritage.

Hopefully that won’t put you off the route altogether. My top tips would be to find somewhere to stay on one of the islands on the eastern edge of the lagoon. From here you can take a vaporetto to the outer-lying islands of Burano and Murano and from there into Venezia itself. You can also island-hop along the edge of the lagoon to Chioggia and back (or continue south to Ravenna).

Cyclist on the München-Venezia cycle route near Pfons

Cyclist on the München-Venezia cycle route near Pfons

Getting there

Planes

The Flughafen München (Munich airport) is to the north-east of the city. You can catch the S-Bahn to the Hauptbahnhof in the centre of town (the journey takes about 40 minutes). Note that there are restrictions on when you can travel with a bike: according to mvv-muenchen.de, you may not take your bike on trains during the rush hour (i.e. Mondays to Fridays between 6:00 and 9:00 and, between 16:00 and 18:00 during school term times). Bike tickets cost 3€. Check the page for the detail on tandems, folders and bikes with small wheels (not to mention ‘fairy cycles’, whatever they are).

Alternatively, the Isar river and Isarradweg pass close to the airport so that you could follow the cycleway through München. You have the option of riding either bank, although the main cycleway is on the right bank (looking in the direction the river is flowing) so you’ll need to cross the river. According to the Open Street Map, there’s a cycleway that takes you from the Besucherpark along the Nordallee. It then follows the B301 south to the Grünecker Straße where you turn right and cross over the river.

Cyclist on the Pustertal cycle route near Welsberg (Monguelfto)

Cyclist on the Pustertal cycle route near Welsberg (Monguelfto)

Trains

As you’d expect, there are frequent train services to München Hauptbahnhof from a very wide range of European cities.

M has a well-established network of cycleways, so it’s relatively easy to pick up the route direct from the station – although you may find that, if you want to take the direct route through the Altstadt, you need to get off and push your bike through the pedestrian zone.

… and getting back

Planes

Venezia’s Marco Polo airport is relatively close to the centre of Mestre, and you can reach while avoiding the main road, by going from Mestre to Favaro Veneto, and then heading for Tessera.

Treviso airport is also a short train ride away.

Trains

If you want to go back to München (or Innsbruck) there are a couple of bike-friendly direct trains run by Deutsche Bahn and ÖBB (Austrian Railways). The only catch is that arrive in München in the evening (20:25 and 22:25). If you want an earlier train, there’s an hourly Trenitalia treno regionale to Verona Porta Nuova where you can catch the EuroCity trains. The journey from Venezia Mestre to Verona takes about 75 minutes.

Cyclists on the Innradweg section of the München-Venezia cycle route near Wattens

Cyclists on the Innradweg section of the München-Venezia cycle route near Wattens

More information

Places to stay

Hotels and B&Bs

There are plenty of hotels and accommodation along the way, generally reasonably priced.

One thing to bear in mind if you are planning to stay overnight in München is that if there is a major trade show, prices can literally triple — and that is prices on everything from hostels upwards. If you can choose when to travel it is worth using booking.com to research prices before you book your travel tickets. Another event to bear in mind is the Oktoberfest which, despite the name, starts around September 20th.

My favourite place to stay is the Bold Hotels hotel in München centre which is an easy bike ride from the station. It also has a car park where you can leave your bike (and the rooms have handy bike-sized balconies, but whether you are officially allowed to store your bike on the balcony, I don’t know).

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.

Hostels

There are a dozen hostels on the section of the route through Germany and Austria, although most of these are in München and Innsbruck.

There are only three hostels along the Italian section of the route. There are several hostels in Venezia, but if you are travelling with a bike you won’t be able to get to them (although you could leave your bike at the secure parking at Venezia Mestre station).

  Map:  MV-hostels-map – show hostels map in overlay    |    MV-hostels-map – show hostels map in new window   

Campsites

There aren’t a huge number of campsites on the German section of the route, but there are enough. There’s a much greater choice along the route through Austrian, although there is no campsite between Innsbruck and Sterzing on the Italian side of the Brenner pass.

In Italy, 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.

  Map:  MV-campsites-map – show campsites map in overlay    |  MV-campsites-map –   show campsites map in new window   

Transport and services

Bike shops and bike hire

The individual sections of this guide list bike shops along the way.

Bike hire in M

The most promising option for renting a bike in München looks to be bikebringer.de who offer respectable-looking trekking bikes plus accessories including child seats and pannier bags. As you’d expect from the name, they offer a delivery and collections service, but they are also based close to the route in Sendling to the south of the city centre.

Bike parking in Mestre

There is a ‘Bici Park’ next to the station in Mestre (actv.avmspa.it: Bici Park Mestre Venezia). It is aimed at cycle tourists, as well as commuters and locals, so I assume that access is controlled, and it is supervised, but I don’t know how secure it is. The other option is to stay in Mestre or in or the Lido, and find accommodation where you can also store your bike while you go sightseeing. It’s not much help, but you can see the Google Streetview images of the Bici Park on the Italian-language version of that page (actv.avmspa.it: Bici Park Mestre Venezia (Italian).).

Transport services for groups

There are probably other companies, but here are links to three firms in the Treviso and Venezia areas who have bike trailers and offer transport services to groups:

For further information please contact the firms direct.

Resources

Cycling-related websites

General tourist information websites

  • bavaria.by (en/de/it/nl/fr/pl/ru/cn/jp)
  • austria.info (available in 22 languages)
  • tyrol.com (de/en/it/nl/fr/di/ro/pl/ck/ru) is probably the most useful tourist information site for the Austrian section. There’s also an excellent iOS/Android app
  • suedtirol.info (de/it/en/nl/cs/pl/fr/ru) is the main tourist information site for the Südtirol region of Italy
  • veneto.eu (it/en/fr/de/es/pt/ru/cn) is the major tourist information site for the Veneto region

Resources for M

  • muenchen.de (en/fr/it/ru/cn) is the main tourist information website. If you are planning on exploring Münchn by bike then check out the site’s cycling section: muenchen.de: biking
  • the Open Street Map mapping seems to cover cycleways in the city pretty well, but if you need it there’s also an online cycle route planner at muenchen.de: cycle route planner (de/en)
  • muenchen.de: Brochures including links to download a city map, an excellent city guide and accommodation directory. If you go to the German-language version (muenchen.de: Download of the page you’ll find (in the bottom left corner) a link to a nice guide to bike rides around the centre of München. The text is selectable so you can translate it using Google Translate — although the maps on their own might be enough
  • muenchen.de: taking-your-bike rules on taking your bike on public transport

Other useful websites

Maps

I use and would highly recommend the Open Street Map digital mapping from openfietsmap.nl. For traditional maps, there are the excellent ADFC-Radtourenkarte. These are 1:150,000 and the Oberbayern München (Blatt 156) covers the route as far as Innsbruck. As a bonus, the maps are waterproof, and you can download the gps files for all the cycle routes shown on the map (amazon.co.uk: ADFC-Radtourenkarte Oberbayern M).

Tour operators

The muenchen-venezia.info website has information about a couple of tour operators offering holidays on the route:

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.

Downloads

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
München-Venezia A4 maps
München-Venezia A5 maps

About the maps

sample map page.

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.

GPS files

  •  München-Venezia gps files
    (.zip file containing 18 gpx files)
  • Italy Points of Interest

    About POIs

    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 April 2018. The file format is only compatible with Garmin GPSes .

Articles in this series

München-Venezia cycle route: the Ciclabile delle Dolomiti between Cortina d'Ampezzo and Calalzo di Cadore

München-Venezia cycle route: the Ciclabile delle Dolomiti between Cortina d’Ampezzo and Calalzo di Cadore


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