The Via Claudia Augusta

Published on:  | Last updated: 13 January 2020

Cyclists on the Via Claudia near the Forggensee

Cyclists on the Via Claudia near the Forggensee

At a glance


326 kilometres (in Austria and Germany)
355 or 387 kilometres in Italy (distance depends on which variant you choose)


Fairly easy. If you are heading north-south there are some short climbs to the main passes but there are shuttles if you’d rather avoid these.


Mainly on traffic-free cycleways (although these may be roads that are restricted to agricul­tural vehicles so in summer expect to see tractors trundling round with trailers of freshly-mown hay).


Mainly on surfaced roads or cycleways. But note that there are some important stretches on unsur­faced cycleways and forest roads. In particular the route over the Fernpass in Austria is likely to be problematic for people with trailers or full-loaded touring bikes.

Finding your way

The route is generally very well signposted in both direc­tions. However, note that in Italy there are some variants of the route that aren’t signposted, and in the Veneto region the signposting is very patchy. 

Signposting is generally very good, but each country has different approaches. Click the photo below for a small slideshow of examples of signs from the German, Austrian and Italian sections of the route.

When to go

May to September or October is probably the best time. The highest point on the route is 1504 metres so snow shouldn’t be a problem. Bear in mind that even in summer, the weather in the mountains can be unsettled.

The Via Claudia near the Isesee

The Via Claudia near the Isesee near Augsburg


The Via Claudia Augusta is an inter­na­tional cycle route that runs through southern Germany, Austria and Italy (with a brief section in Switzerland). The route takes its name from the road build by the Roman emperor Claudius Augustus. The road became, and remained, one of the major routes for trade and travel across the Alps. 

The Roman road linked the Donau (Danube) with the river Po and with the Adriatic coast near Venezia. The cities along the way included Augusta Vindelicorum (modern-day Augsburg), Feltria (modern-day Feltre), Tridentum (Trento), Verona, and the river port of Hostiliae (Ostiglia) on the Po.

There are surpris­ingly few visible remains of the old Roman road - there are a couple of short stretches of the old road that you can see in southern Germany. A couple of milestones have been discovered along the Italian section of the road. You can see the remains of the old roman bridge at Algund (Lagundo) in Italy.

The precise route of the old Roman road is uncertain but this was, and is, a major trading route and avenue of commu­nic­ation and cultural exchange connecting northern Europe with the Mediterranean and beyond. One of the great things about the route is the mixing of the influ­ences from the German-speaking and Italian-speaking areas. 

The Altfinstermünz on the river Inn between Pfunds and Martina

The Altfinstermünz on the river Inn between Pfunds and Martina

The Via Claudia is about much more than the Roman remains - the route remains an important artery of commerce and cultural exchange for almost two millennia after it was built. The route is dotted with castles and forti­fic­a­tions built to defend, control, and tax, trade along the route. 

The route is a story of three rivers. In Germany, it follows the Lech south to the border with Austria. In Austria, it follows the course of the Inn for part of the way and in Italy, it follows the Adige (Etsch in German).

The majority of the route is on traffic-free cycleways. If the cycleways have a disad­vantage it’s that they often bypass the towns and villages along the way so it’s very easy to just keep cycling and miss out on the places along the way. To get the most out of this route you need to take the time for little detours off the route - even if it’s only to go for a swim. 

Overview map

  Map:  VCA-overview-map-show map in overlay    |    VCA-overview-map-show map in new window 

Options and connections

In Germany and Austria there is one single official route, while in Italy there are a number of variants (these are discussed in more detail in the Via Claudia Augusta in Italy). It also connects with other cycleways and routes which means that you have lots of options if you want to make the Via Claudia part of a longer journey. 

In Germany the Via Claudia connects at Donauwörth with the Donau Radweg (Danube cycleway) which runs from Donaueschingen in Germany to Budapest (and beyond). The other major connection in Germany is with the D9 Romantische Straße (Romantic Road) cycle route which runs from Würtzburg to Füssen. 

In Austria the major connection is with the Inn Radweg. The Inn Radweg connects in turn with the München-Venezia cycle route, and so offers an altern­ative route into Italy, or an altern­ative route to München (Munich).

And if that isn’t already more than enough choices, the Via Claudia connects with two of Italy’s main inter­na­tional cycle routes: the Ciclopista del Sole (eurovelo 7) which continues south to Bologna and the n Firenze and Rome, and with the Ciclovia del Po (eurovelo 8)which runs east-west across the country. 

For more detail on these options see: the The Via Claudia Augusta in Germany and Austria and the The Via Claudia Augusta in Italy.

The shuttles

The Via Claudia Augusta is unusual in that there are 6 shuttle bus services provided to support the route. Two of these are in the Austrian section and the remaining four in Italy.

If you don’t mind a bit of climbing then in most cases there’s nothing to stop you going ahead under your own steam, however, I think it is worth thinking seriously about the taking the shuttle over the Fernpass, and taking the shuttle (or train) from Trento to the Lago di Caldonazzo. The descent from the Fernpass is a mountain-bike track which is tricky at points and would be difficult if you are pulling a trailer or riding on a fully-loaded touring bike. The first part of the climb out of Trento is on a very narrow and relat­ively busy road.

You can download the timetables for the shuttles from the website (see the Resources section of this page).

Sign for the bike-shuttle over the Reschenpass

Sign for the bike-shuttle over the Reschenpass (click on picture to enlarge)

Booking the shuttles

There is a booking system for all the shuttles, except for the bus to Nauders which is a regular public bus service. The pdf timetable leaflets give instruc­tions on what you need to do: it’s pretty straight­forward. The website says Bitte spätesten 24 Stunden vorher reser­vieren! (Please reserve at least 24 hours in advance!). The services are run by private companies, mostly local taxi firms, and if they have no bookings they probably aren’t going to keep the driver hanging around. If you leave it to chance, you may arrive and find that they have given the driver the day off, or found them something else to do.

End points

In Italy the official route offers the choice of riding to Altino which is close to Venezia or of riding south via Verona to Ostiglia on the Po. You could also opt to turn off the route near Rovereto and head west to the Lago di Garda.

Continuing on …

You can, of course, continue on from the end of the tour. If you end at Quarto d’Altino you can follow the coastline north into Friuli-Venezia-Giulia and on from there to Trieste.

Alternatively you can head south, skirting round the laguna di Venezia to connect with the river Po cycleway. 

If you take the Verona-Ostiglia option you can connect with the Po cycleway - or altern­at­ively take the Bicitalia Ciclovia Tirrenica from Verona to Mantova, and on from there to Parma and then the Toscana coast.

Much of the cycleway south from Bozen coincides with the Ciclopista del Sole (eurovelo 7) cycle route. The two routes divide north of Verona, and the Ciclopista del Sole heads for Bardolino on the Lago di Garda - and from there it heads south to Mantova and on towards Rome and southern Italy.

Milestone on the Via Claudia near Roßhaupten

Reproduction milestone on the Via Claudia near Roßhaupten

When to go

In the hottest days of summer the Italian television news usually reports the hottest cities; Bozen and Meran often feature in the list with temper­atures in the upper 30s. If you have the choice then September is a better choice then July or August. Spring, when the apple trees are in blossom, would also be a good time.

Cyclists on the Vinschgau Radweg/Via Claudia near Kastelbell-Tschars (Castelbello-Ciardes)

Cyclists on the Vinschgau Radweg/Via Claudia near Kastelbell-Tschars (Castelbello-Ciardes)

Getting there and getting back

There are regular trains between München (Munich) and the Donauwörth. The S-Bahn line from Munich airport connects with the mainline train services at the München Hauptbahnhof and München Ostbahnhof stations (for more inform­ation see the airport’s website: Getting to and from the airport by train.

In Italy one branch of the Via Claudia ends close to Venezia Marco Polo airport, and it is also fairly easy to cycle from here to Treviso and the Treviso Antonio Canova airport. Verona airport is the most convenient for the other branch.

Returning by train or bus from Venezia

The most convenient option for returning from Venezia to München is the DB-ÖBB Eurocity service via Innsbruck. There are places for 16 bikes on each train This is the most direct train with the shortest journey time, however, there are only two depar­tures a day, arriving in München in the evening. There are earlier depar­tures from Verona, and you can take a regional train from Venezia to Verona. 

Another option would be to take an ÖBB Railjet or Intercitybus via Udine to Villach, and change trains there - journey times are a little longer but not by very much, so they are worth considering.

There are at least two companies offering coach transfers back from Venezia. The ones I know about are: Zion Reisen ( and Schmid Reisen (

Cyclists on the Vinschgau Radweg/Via Claudia near Kastelbell-Tschars (Castelbello-Ciardes)

Cyclists on the Vinschgau Radweg/Via Claudia near Kastelbell-Tschars (Castelbello-Ciardes)

More information

Places to stay

Hotels and B&Bs etc

There are lots of accom­mod­ation options along the route. See the individual sections of this guide for more information.


There aren’t a huge number of hostels on the route, but there’s a fair number. There’s more inform­ation in the individual sections of this guide.

  Hostels map:  VCA-FT-hostels-mapshow map in overlay    |  VCA-FT-hostels-map  show map in new window 


There are plenty of campsites along the central part of the route through Austria and Italy’s Südtirol, but the further south you go the fewer there are - although there are lots around Venezia.

  Campsites map:  VCA-FT-campsites-mapshow map in overlay    |  VCA-FT-campsites-map  show map in new window 

Transport and services

Storing bike bags and luggage in München

The München tourist office have published a useful page on the left luggage facil­ities at the München stations ( left-luggage) . There’s a similar page on the MVV website (München public transport). Both have maps to help you find the Gepäck-aufbe­wahrung (left-luggage offices) in the two stations.

The Hauptbahnhof looks like the best bet for long-term storage — offering storage for up to four weeks in the main office, as well as long-term locker hire. 

The München airport (flughafen) has left luggage offices (‘Service Center’) in both terminals. You can get further inform­ation, and download the price list, from the airport’s website: left-luggage.The price list gives the prices per day for storing bulky luggage and bikes, but doesn’t specify whether there is a maximum storage period.

Bike parking and luggage storage in Venezia

If you are planning to spend a few days in Venezia, the best option is to find accom­mod­ation in Mestre, or on one of the islands, that has somewhere to store your bike.

There’s a Bici Park (bike parking facility) near Mestre station bicycle park Mestre Venezia. From the pictures I’ve seen, the Mestre facility looks pretty secure, or at least it’s staffed, and the access is controlled. The cost is €0.5 per day. Note: you can’t leave bikes overnight — the Bici Park closes at 19:00 and all bikes must be removed by 19:30.

In Venezia itself, there is parking for 25 bikes beside the Autorimessa Comunale (municipal car-park) at Ponte della Libertà (entry to the right of the vehicles entrance). The operators emphasise that it is not guarded, or monitored by CCTV. 

For luggage storage, there’s a Deposito Bagagli (Left Luggage office) at Venezia Mestre station and also at Venezia Santa Lucia. Charges: (per item) €6 for the first 5 hours then €1 per hour for the next seven hours, and and €0.50 for every hour after the first twelve. For more inform­ation go to: depositi bagagli or Left-Luggage.

Trasbagagli is a private company offering luggage handling and storage services around the city (including at the airport and ferry terminal). I don’t know if they can store bikes (please let me know if you do know).


The route has its own dedicated website (de/it/en)with inform­ation about accom­mod­ation and points of interest along the route as well as shuttle services to take you to the top of the major passes. There’s also a very useful inter­active map 


You can download the shuttle timetables as pdfs from this page on the website: Shuttles über die Pässe. The page is in German, but you just need to look for the big PDF icon. The timetables are available individually or packaged together: Alle Pass-Shuttle inkl. Rückholbus.

The timetables are in German, English and Italian, and include the instruc­tions for booking a place by text message.

Note: the pdfs available from the website are dated 2018.

Tourist information sites

Regional tourist inform­ation sites for Germany and Austria:

Regional tourist inform­ation sites for Italy:

There are also many local sites — see the individual sections of the guide for more information.

Cycling websites

  • the official dedicated website for the route
  • Bayernnetz für Radler - Bavarian Network for Cyclists
  • ADFC Bett und Bike site listing bike-friendly accom­mod­ation in Germany —operated by the German cyclist’s associ­ation the ADFC (Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad Club)
  • Radtouren in Österreich overview of cycle touring routes in Austria
  • (de/en/fr/it) cycle routes through Switzerland
  • Innradweg the site for the Innradweg
  • site for the Danube cycleway through Oberösterreich (northern Austria)
  • site for the Danube cycleway through Niederösterreich (lower Austria)

Information about the shuttles

You can download the shuttle timetables as pdfs from this page on the website: Shuttles über die Pässe. The page is in German, but you just need to look for the big PDF icon. The timetables are available individually or packaged together: Alle Pass-Shuttle inkl. Rückholbus.

The timetables are in German, English and Italian, and include the instruc­tions for booking a place by text message.

Note: the pdfs available from the website are dated 2018.

Tour operators

It’s perfectly possible to ride the Via Claudia independ­ently: the route is well signposted, and online services such as make it really easy to book accom­mod­ation en route, but there are tour operators. These offer the option of a guided tour which means that you travel with a group, and ‘self-guided’ which mean that they organise your accom­mod­ation, transport your bags and provide backup in emergencies. The operators I know of are:


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.

A5 maps

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.

About the maps

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. (A4 and A5 are inter­na­tional paper sizes).

 sample map page.

Links open in new windows unless you ‘save as’ etc.

Show map download links for individual sections
Via Claudia in Germany and Austria: A4 maps
Via Claudia in Germany and Austria: A5 maps
Via Claudia in Italy: A4 maps
Via Claudia in Italy: A5 maps

GPS files

  •  Via Claudia In Germany and Austria: gps files
    (.zip file containing 4 track files and one file of waypoints)
  •  Via Claudia in Italy: gps files
    (.zip file containing 17 gpx track files plus waypoints)
  • 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 .

Cycleway between Bozen (Bolzano) and Trento part of the Ciclopista del Sole and Via Claudia Augusta

Cycleway between Bozen (Bolzano) and Trento part of the Ciclopista del Sole and Via Claudia Augusta

Articles in this series:

Via Claudia Augusta - Sankt Valentin auf der Haide

Via Claudia Augusta - Sankt Valentin auf der Haide

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.

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