The Brennerradroute cycleway Introduction

Published on:  | Last updated: 25 April 2018

Riding through Klausen

Riding through Klausen

At a glance

Distance

102 kms

Difficulty/​terrain

Easy. If you are heading north to south the route is predom­in­antly downhill with the occasional small climb.

Traffic

Almost entirely on traffic-free cycleways or quiet roads. However, there is a section, just before Franzensfeste Fortezza where the cycleway has been closed and you have to ride on the main road.

Surfaces

There are a couple of short sections of aggregate-surfaced cycleway north of Brixen, but otherwise the cycleway is entirely on asphalt.

Signs

Well signposted and easy to follow

Also known as …

This route is also known as the Eisacktal Radweg (because it follows the Eisack river). It forms part of the München-Venezia and Ciclopista del Sole cycle routes. Until relat­ively recently it was part of eurovelo 7, but seems to have now disap­peared from the maps of the eurovelo network.

The Neustadt in Sterzing (Vipiteno) with a statue of Johannes Nepomuk and the Zwölferturm

The Neustadt in Sterzing (Vipiteno) with a statue of Johannes Nepomuk and the Zwölferturm

Overview

The Brenner pass is the most important transport corridor between Italy and northern Europe. For cyclists, the cycleway is one of the main gateways into Italy and is a key link in the München-Venezia inter­na­tional cycle route.

The cycleway does a brilliant job of offering a tranquil and peaceful altern­ative. For long sections it follows the course of the old railway line to the Brenner — with the upgraded line rerouted through tunnels.

While it offers a very welcome altern­ative for inter­na­tional travellers, the cycleway is worth riding for its own sake. The main highlights are the towns of Sterzing (Vipiteno), Brixen (Bressanone), Klausen (Chiusa) and Bozen (Bolzano). The centres of these towns are some of the prettiest and most historic in the region.

Map and altitude profile

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map detail

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Distances
Brenner - Sterzing (Vipiteno) 22 kms
Sterzing (Vipiteno) - Fortezza Franzensfeste 23 kms
Fortezza Franzensfeste - Brixen (Bressanone) 10 kms
Brixen - Klausen (Chiusa) 13 kms
Klausen - Bozen (end - junction with the Etsch Radroute) 34 kms
The Brennerradroute  near Natz-Schabs (Naz-Sciaves)

The Brennerradroute near Natz-Schabs (Naz-Sciaves)

Options and variations

The Brennerradroute connects with three other important traffic-free cycleways:

  • you can continue south, following the Etsch (Adige) river as it continues on towards Trento, Rovereto, Verona and the Adriatic coast. You can also pick-up another cycleway that takes you to Torbole on the Lago di Garda
  • at Fortezza Franzensfeste you can turn east and pickup the Fahrradroute Pustertal (Pustertal cycleway) that continues to Innichen (San Candido) close to the border with Austria where it connects with the Drauradweg
  • at the junction with the Etschradroute (part of the Via Claudia Augusta), instead of continuing south, you can turn north and head towards Meran (Meran) and the Vinschgau (Val Venosta).
  • heading north you can ride to Innsbruck, but note that after Brenner you have to continue by road for several kilometres.
Cyclists and pedestrians on the Brennerradroute on the riverside in Brixen (Bressanone)

Cyclists and pedes­trians on the Brennerradroute on the riverside in Brixen (Bressanone)

Getting there … and getting back

Trains

The rail line through Brenner and Bozen is the main rail connection between Italy, Austria and southern Germany. Heading south to services run to Trento, Verona and Bologna. Three train companies operate services along the line:

  • Trenitalia offer bike-friendly regional services to Bologna (via Bozen, Trento, and Verona)
  • the SAD regional train company operates services north to Brenner and to Lienz in Austria
  • the Deutsche Bahn-ÖBB Eurocity services to Innsbruck and München in the north and Bozen, Trento, Bologna, Verona and Venezia to the south.

To travel on the Eurocity services you need to reserve a bike place (cost 10€) in advance, and so far as I know, you can't do this online. The DB-ÖBB service is the best option if you want to travel to Innsbruck or München, but the other companies' services may be a better choice for other destin­a­tions.

You can download the timetable for the DB-ÖBB EuroCity service DB-ÖBB Eurocity service 2018 timetable   and route map.

Planes

The closest airport is Innsbruck (Summer 2018 timetable ). München airport is also easy to get to —simply get off at München's Ostbahnhof and take the S-Bahn to the airport.

Heading south, the nearest airport is Verona, followed by Treviso, Venezia and Bologna.

Bridge over the Eisack (Isarco) near Atzwang (Campodazzo)

Bridge over the Eisack (Isarco) near Atzwang (Campodazzo)

Weather and when to go

April to June and September to October are the ideal months to ride this cycleway. You could also ride it in July and August, but bear in mind that at the height of summer the area around Bozen is often one of the hottest parts of Italy. The temper­atures aren't an issue on the higher sections (where the altitude is above say 1000 metres) but at lower altitudes you are likely to see temper­atures over 30ºC in mid afternoon — so think 'start early, finish early'.

Downloads

Maps to print out or view offline

 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

  •  Brennerradroute gps files
    (.zip file containing 3 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 .

Signs on the Brennerradroute near Franzensfeste (Fortezza). Route markers for the München-Venezia and Südtirol Radweg (Ciclovia Alto Adige) cycle routes

Signs on the Brennerradroute near Franzensfeste (Fortezza). Route markers for the München-Venezia and Südtirol Radweg (Ciclovia Alto Adige) cycle routes

More information

Places to stay

Hotels

Brixen (Bressanone) | Klausen (Chiusa) | Bozen (Bolzano)

Hostels

There are two hostels: the Jugendherberge Brixen and the Jugendherberge Bozen.

  Map:  Südtirol-hostels-map - show Südtirol hostels map in overlay    |    Südtirol-hostels-map - show map in new window   

Campsites

There are surpris­ingly few campsites in this part of the Südtirol, and because they are close to the autobahn, they can get very busy with camper­vanners making an overnight stop on their way south. Saturday nights can be partic­u­larly busy. Fortunately, campsites also tend to have an area for tents which means that you should be able to find somewhere to sleep.

There are five campsites along the cycleway, at Sterzing (Vipteno), Brixen (Bressanone), Klausen (Chiusa) and Bozen (Bolzano). For more inform­ation see the individual articles in this guide.

  Map:  Südtirol-campsites-map-show Südtirol campsites map in overlay    |    Südtirol-campsites-map - show map in new window   

Transport and services

Trains

The line between Brixen, Brenner to the north, and Bozen to the south, is served by three train companies:

  • Trenitalia regional services to Bologna (via Bozen, Trento, and Verona)
  • the SAD regional train company operates services to Bozen and Meran
  • the Deutsche Bahn-ÖBB Eurocity services to Innsbruck and München in the north and Bozen, Trento, Bologna, Verona and Venezia to the south.

You must have a bike ticket to travel on the Trenitalia and SAD services. The tickets for one company aren't valid on the others' services. To travel on the Eurocity services you need to reserve a bike place (cost 10€) in advance.

Bike shops

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

  Map:  Südtirol-bike-shops-map - show Südtirol bike shops map in overlay    |  Südtirol-bike-shops-map - show Südtirol bike shops map in new window   

Resources

Tourist information websites

Cycling-related websites

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.

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