Published on: 19 January 2017 | Last updated: 13 January 2020
At a glance
355 kilometres (Ostiglia option) or 387 kilometres (Quarto d’Altino/Venezia option)
Easy but there are more challenging options if you want them.
The northern part of the route is almost entirely on traffic-free cycleways. On the southern parts of the route it mainly uses quiet roads.
Predominantly on surfaced roads or cycleways
Finding your way
The signposting is generally excellent but note that some of the variants aren’t signposted, and once beyond Verona and Feltre signposting tends to be very patchy.
The Via Claudia crosses the Italian-Austrian border near Nauders and follows the Adige (Etsch) river as it heads towards Verona and then the Adriatic.
The route takes you through the Südtirol, and Trentino into the Veneto —each region with its own history and identity. The Trentino and Südtirol are two of Italy’s most distinctive areas. The Südtirol is overwhelmingly German-speaking while the Trentino is predominantly Italian-speaking.
The Italian section includes some of Europe’s premier traffic-free cycleways. These bike paths are a bit like the cycling equivalent of motorways and the only disadvantage is that it’s all too easy to zoom through and miss the riches along the way.
The scenery along this stretch of the route is gorgeous. On one side of the broad river valley you have the great mountains of Lombardia and the Brenta Dolomites, and on the other the Dolomites.
Verona and Venezia are the best-known city destinations along the way, but some of the less well-known towns are great places to visit. My pick of the places you haven’t heard of but are worth your time would be: Glurns (Glorenza), Bozen (Bolzano), Trento and Feltre.
The Via Claudia in Italy: Overview map
Options and connections
The official route has two main options - one goes via Feltre to Altino near Venezia, and the other via Verona to Ostiglia (the former was one of the main ports on the Adriatic, and the other an important port on the Po river). They’re both good options. The first option has the obvious attraction of Venezia but there is a tricky climb from Trento —although you can avoid it by taking the shuttle or the train. The second option offers a relaxed cruise to Verona, but to be honest after Verona it’s not especially interesting.
The position is complicated by the fact that the official route as you see it on the viaclaudia.org website (viaclaudia.org: interactive map), and on OpenStreetMap maps differs from the route as it exists on the ground. For example, at Algund (Lagundo) north of Meran (Merano) the official route leaves the river and detours through the wine country via Marling. It’s a nice route, but as far as the Südtirol region, and the signposting, is concerned the route continues to follow the river on towards Meran and Bozen.
In this guide I have presented all of the variants so that you can choose between them. The other main variant is at Borgo Valsugana where the official route climbs to Castello Tesino and goes from there to the Croce d’Aune. The original route also offered the option of continuing along the Valsugana cycleway to Tezze and then on from there to Feltre. This option is still signposted and still perfectly viable.
As cycle routes go, the Via Claudia is well connected, so there are lots of options if you want to include it in a longer journey. It connects with two of Italy’s main international cycle routes: the Ciclopista del Sole (eurovelo 7) and with the Ciclovia del Po (eurovelo 8) which runs east-west across the country.
The Ciclopista del Sole continues south from Trento to the Lago di Garda, and then Mantova. From Mantova you can continue to Bologna and then Firenze and Rome. You could also turn left at Bozen and then follow the PusterBike cycleway to Toblach (Dobbiaco). At Toblach you can then head south into the heart of the Dolomites on the Ciclabile delle Dolomiti or pick up the Drauradweg through Austria (see also: italy-cycling-guide.info: Through Austria along the River Drau from Toblach to Tarvisio).
The Via Claudia connects with the Ciclovia del Po/eurovelo 8 at Ostiglia on the Po, and on the Adriatic coast north of Venezia. You could follow the coastline north into Friuli-Venezia-Giulia and on from there along the coast of Slovenija and Hrvatska (Croatia). Or you could head south, island-hopping along the eastern side of the Venetian lagoon (see italy-cycling-guide.info: Islands and lagoons of the Adriatic Coast)
|Via Claudia Augusta: Feltre-Treviso-Venezia option|
|Reschensee to Bozen (Bolzano)||113kms|
|Bozen to Trento||60kms|
|Trento to Feltre||106 kms|
|Feltre to Treviso||81 kms|
|Feltre to Treviso (via Passo di Praderadego)||108 kms|
|Treviso to Altino||32 kms|
|Via Claudia Augusta: Verona-Ostiglia option|
|Reschensee to Bozen (Bolzano)||113 kms|
|Bozen to Trento||60 kms|
|Trento to Verona||99 kms|
|Verona to Ostiglia||81 kms|
Places to stay
There are quite a lot of hostels on the Südtirol section of the route, but fewer as you get further south. There are loads of backpacker hostels in Venezia but the ban on bikes in Venezia itself probably rules these out.
There are lots of campsites along the northern part of the route, but the further south you go the fewer there are. There are fewer sites after Trento. On the Verona variant, there are only a couple of sites on the route itself before Verona (and one relatively close), but you have the option of a detour to the Lago di Garda. After Verona, there’s only one site — at Villafranca di Verona. On the Feltre-Treviso variant, there are no campsites after Feltre until you get to Venezia.
Transport and services
Please see the main overview article for information about getting back from the end of your tour.
You could of course just do the Italian section of the Via Claudia. If you are planning to travel by train to the start of the Italian section please bear in mind that the popularity of the Vinschgau Radweg means that there are restrictions on the carriage of bikes at certain times between Meran and Mals (Malles) —the nearest station to the start of the route.
The Via Claudia Augusta is unusual in that there are 6 shuttle bus services provided to support the route. Four of these are on the Trento-Quarto d’Altino branch of the Italian section:
- Trento - Civezzano - Pergine
- Castelnuovo - Bieno - Castello Tesino
- Ponte Oltra - Sovramonte - Croce D‘Aune
- Mel - Castello di Zumelle - Praderadego
I would definitely consider the shuttle from Trento (you could also catch the train). The initial stretch out of Trento is on a fairly steep and narrow road. I’ve ridden it a couple of times, and the drivers have always been considerate, but even so, you may find it a little stressful. The route out of Trento is one of the least satisfactory parts of the whole route and I would be tempted to avoid it.
There’s more information on the shuttles in the Transport and Services sections of this guide. Please note that there’s a system for booking places on the shuttles by text message. You are advised to book at least 24 hours ahead; just turning is probably not a good idea.
General tourist information
The Südtirol, Trentino and Veneto have excellent regional tourist information websites and these are the ideal starting points for planning your trip. The links are:
- suedtirol.info (de/it/en/nl/cz/pl)
- visittrentino.info (it/de/fr/en/nl/cz/pl/sk/ru)
- veneto.eu (it/de/fr/en/es/pt)
There are also plenty of local tourist information sites: these are listed in the detailed articles.
The route has its own dedicated website viaclaudia.org (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 are plenty of sites giving more information about cycling in the areas along the route. These are listed in the individual articles.
Information about the shuttles
You can download the shuttle timetables as pdfs from this page on the viaclaudia.org website: viaclaudia.org: 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.
Articles in this series
- The Via Claudia in Germany and Austria: Overview
- Via Claudia Part 1: Donauwörth to Landsberg Am Lech
- Via Claudia Part 2: Landsberg am Lech to Füssen
- Via Claudia Part 3: Füssen to Imst
- Via Claudia Part 4: Along the valley of the Inn
- The Via Claudia in Italy: Overview
- Via Claudia Part 5: The Vinschgau
- Via Claudia Part 6: Algund to Trento
- Via Claudia Part 7: Trento to the Lago di Caldonazzo
- Via Claudia 8: San Cristoforo al Lago to Feltre via the Valsugana
- Via Claudia Part 9: the Valsugana cycleway to Bassano del Grappa
- Via Claudia Part 10: San Cristoforo al Lago to Feltre via the Passo Croce d’Aune
- Via Claudia Part 11: Feltre to Treviso
- Via Claudia Part 12: Treviso to Altino (and Venezia)
- Via Claudia Part 13: Trento to Verona and Ostiglia