Published on: 22 April 2018 | Last updated: 26 December 2019
At a glance
Easy. The route is almost all downhill.
Entirely on traffic-free cycleways.
Entirely on tarmac-surfaced cycleways.
The cycleway connects with the Etschradroute (part of the Via Claudia Augusta) a little way south of Bozen (Bolzano).
Also known as …
This route is also known as the Eisacktal Radweg. It forms part of the Ciclopista del Sole ( eurovelo 7).
Map and altitude profile
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|Brixen - Klausen (Chiusa)||13 kms|
|Klausen - Bozen (end - junction with the Etsch Radroute)||34 kms|
Brixen to Klausen (Chiusa)
The cycleway follows the river out through the outskirts of Brixen, and continues to Klausen (Chiusa) 13 kilometres further on.
The route turns away from the river, and goes through the main street of Klausen, before returning to the riverside. Look out for a café beside the cycleway. You could continue alongside the riverside, but the centre of Klausen really is worth the short detour. You follow Klausen’s main street into the main square, with the brunnen (water fountain) where you turn left and return to the riverside.
The next section of cycleway is quite magical: riding accompanied by birdsong, and the sound of the river, with trees on both sides, it feels like you’re in the middle of the country. The railway line, the autobahn, and the main road are within a very short distance, and occasionally you can hear the sound of passing traffic.
In the footsteps of Albrecht Dürer
The cycleway follows the route once taken by Albrecht Dürer when he visited Italy. Along the way there’s an information panel showing a watercolour that Dürer painted showing the views from this stretch — except that the watercolour was a bit of a composite: further on there’s another information panel which notes the spot where he added a couple of mountaintops that weren’t visible from the original position
The cycleway brings you into Kollman. Look out for the Schloss Freiburg painted in a pink and cream chequerboard decoration. (It’s now a pension). There’s also a picnic area and playground here.
Coming out of the village, the cycleway runs beside the SS12 before it descends to a bridge over the river and continues on the other side. This stretch of the cycleway follows another section of the original railway line to Brenner, made redundant with the opening of a new tunnel in 2007.
A little further on, you cross over an old railway bridge, the Röthele Brücke (Ponte Röthele), that takes you back over the river. You then continue on the right bank of the Eisack, with the SS12 on your right and the autobahn on the other side of the river. Look out for the fabulous old wooden bridge on your left-hand side. A little further on, on the left-hand side, there is a café-restaurant: the Radstation Bios.
A short (180-metre) stretch of old railway tunnel brings you out underneath the feet of the motorway viaduct.
At Steg (Passo di Fiè) there is an attractive shady picnic area with water, and across the river, according to the sign a hundred metres away, is a gasthof.
This section on the old railway line is interrupted as the railway line comes out of the tunnel at Blumau (Prato all’Isarco). In compensation, there’s a hotel-restaurant (the Schlosshof) with a nice biergarten just on the cycleway. It resumes a little further on when the rail line goes into another tunnel.
The Kunst Radweg (Artistic Bike Path)
For the next 6 kilometres into (Kardaun) Cardano, there is an ‘artistic bike path’ with 12 sculptures along the route. radln - staunen - träumen - sich freuen (biking - marveling - dreaming - being happy) the sign says.
And on the subject of cheering things up, look out for Rudilandia, where somebody (presumably the eponymous Rudi) has taken over a scrap of wasteland between the road and cycleway and turned it into a little garden complete with a model railway. Sadly, when I pass by it was locked, and there were no trains running.
The cycleway then goes into a 500-metre long old railway tunnel.
If you look up, you can see the steep sides of the valley covered with vineyards.
Things get a lot more urban after you pass the autobahn toll gates. The cycleway threads its way underneath the various motorway and road viaducts before coming to an underpass that takes you under the main road and into the surprisingly quiet and peaceful centre of the village of Kardaun (Cornedo). Look out for the mural on the sides of the Rathaus. In the little square, there’s a charming water fountain depicting St Christopher. The Bistro Rathaus (Rathauscafe) opposite is a good place to stop for a drink or something to eat. It’s very popular with locals at lunchtime.
Kardaun to Bozen (Bolzano)
Coming out of Kardaun there’s a surprisingly peaceful cycleway running between the river on the one side, and vineyards on the other. If you have a moment, take a moment to look back, and in the far distance, you should be able to see the gleaming peaks of the Dolomites. This stretch is decorated with flags that are part of the Kunst Radweg (artistic cycleway) project. The artwork shows the world as seen by the children of the village. Look out for the flag depicting Scotland which seems to show what I think is the Loch Ness monster in the rain.
A little further on the Kunst Radweg comes to an end, and there is a sign welcoming you to Bozen (Bolzano) city of the bicycle.
Bozen: The City of the Bicycle
Bozen has one of the highest rates of cycling in Italy with over a quarter of people using bikes as their regular means of transport. The city has recently announced plans to spend almost a million euros on further improving its network of cycleways.
The route takes you through the city centre of the city of Bozen (Bolzano) passing the Gothic Cathedral, city theatre, the University and the Museion – the city’s elegant modern contemporary art gallery, followed by two curvy bridges, one for pedestrians and the other for cyclists.
After the bridges, the cycle route continues through a beautiful riverside park towards its endpoint at the junction with the Etschradroute part of the Via Claudia Augusta close to the point where the Eisack river flows into the Etsch (Adige) river.
Places to stay
There’s a hostel in Bozen: the Jugendherberge Bozen.
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.
A few kilometres further south is the Hotel Camping Gamp, a small friendly family-run campsite that is combined with a hotel. The restaurant is good value, and you can get breakfast there as well. For children, there’s a small petting zoo with Shetland ponies.
At Bozen there’s the Camping Moosbauer. The campsite is located among orchards and vineyards on the outskirts of town. It has a restaurant, shop and pool. I particularly like the way that the owners are trying to offer some insight into the history and culture of the Südtirol. In particular, there’s the ‘Learning Sanitary Block’ where you can read about the area while you clean your teeth, or read about the local wines while you do the washing up.
But, please note that the area for tents is tiny, and in high season there’s a big demand, and, as they say, themselves, it can at times be ‘squeezy’. The site does seem to try to squeeze everyone in, but they also say that they cannot guarantee space. They say that you can ring them in the morning and, depending upon demand, reserve a space for that evening. If you are planning to stay for three nights or more you can reserve a pitch of your own. If you are planning only to stop for the night, and not explore Bozen, then it may be worth looking at one of the campsites further south of the city.
The Camping Steiner, a few kilometres south of Bozen, offers more space, and as it’s a short bus or bike ride from the city, it’s also a good base for sightseeing.
Transport and services
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, and sadly 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.
- Klausen (Chiusa): Bikeplus
- Bozen (Bolzano): Alpina Cicli (Claudia Augusta Straße 23a, +39 0471 260 159 ) | Biciclette Fausto | ComfortBIKE | Sportler (Bozen) | Zagocicli | Zanolini
If you know of other bike shops, or you spot a mistake, please let me know.
Map: | show Südtirol bike shops map in overlay Südtirol-bike-shops-map - show Südtirol bike shops map in new window
Tourist information websites
- suedtirol.info: Valle Isarco Eisacktal
- brixen.org (de/it/en)
- Brennerradroute map and guide. Map with a useful guide to places to visit along the way (presumably also available from tourist offices)
- valleisarco.info: cycling
- suedtirol-rad.com - bike rentals in the region
- suedtirol.info: biking tours
- bolzanosurroundings.info: Cycling and Biking