Published on: 12 September 2019 | Last updated: 27 February 2020
The Überetsch cycleway takes you through the wine country around Kaltern (Caldaro). This is a valley within a valley with the Kalterersee lake at its heart. The first part of the route uses the beautiful Überetsch cycleway that follows the course of the old Überetscher railway line. The rail line once linked Bozen (Bolzano) with the Mendelbahn funicular railway that climbs to the Mendel pass. The route provides a more interesting and more scenic alternative to the main Etschradroute beside the river. After Kaltern, you rejoin the main Etschradroute at Auer (Ora), or you can continue, following the Weinstraße (wine road) to Tramin (Termeno).
At a glance
Moderate. There is a shortish climb to Kaltern (Caldaro)
Most of the route is on traffic-free cycleways, however there is a section of a couple of kilometres on a busier landesstraße (local roads)
Asphalt-surfaced cycleways or roads throughout
Generally well signposted, but there are confusing signs near Sigismundkron (Ponte d’Adige)
Options and variants
You can ride this route in either direction.
The variant starts at Sigismundkron, but you could easily start at Bozen (Bolzano). You could also follow the road to Tramin and Kurtatsch before rejoining the main room.
Connects with the Etschradroute .
Also known as …
The Italian name of the route is the Ciclabile dell’Oltradige.
Map and altitude profile
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|Bozen (Bolzano) to Kalterer See (Lago di Caldaro)||16 kms plus distance to the centre of Bozen|
|Sigmundskron (Ponte d’Adige) to Sankt Michael (San Michele)||7 kms|
|Sankt Michael to Kaltern (Caldaro)||4 kms|
|Kaltern to the Kalterersee (Lago di Caldaro)||5 kms|
|Kalterersee to Etschradroute near Auer (Ora)||9 kms|
There are train stations at both the start, at Sigmundskron, and the end, near Auer. You could also very easily start in Bozen.
You could continue, following the course of the old railway line, to the Mendelbahn station. The cycleway is more disconnected than the section between Sigmundskron and Kaltern, but it’s still easy to follow. You can take bikes on the Mendelbahn, although there isn’t a huge amount of space, and use it as a way to avoid the big climb from Kaltern to the Mendelpass.
There’s an alternative route that lets you avoid Kaltern if you really want to.
The radweg doesn’t take you to the lake itself but instead takes you above the eastern shore. The road on the western shore is busy, although the local authority has built a cycleway on the lakeshore. If you want to visit the lakeside, I suggest following the route from Kaltern, and then once you have crossed under the main road, pick up one of the country lanes through the vineyards to Sankt Josef am See (San Giuseppe al Lago).
After the lake, instead of rejoining the main route near Auer, you could head for Tramin (Termeno). The village is famous both for a church with some unique medieval frescos and also as the place that gave its name to the Gewürztraminer grape. You can then continue to Kurtatsch (Cortaccia) before descending and rejoin the main route. This option involves taking the LS19 (SP19) Weinstraße for most of the way to Kurtatsch. While the road was relatively quiet, I wouldn’t recommend this variant if you are nervous in traffic.
In more detail
Sigmundskron to Kaltern
If you arrive at Sigmundskron on the cycleway, you come to a junction with the road. The signs indicate that you should go right, and over the road bridge. My advice would be to ignore them and go left (sign for the Radstation Wiesl). Take the next right, and then right again. The road takes you past the radstation, and then over a level crossing and onto the old rail bridge at the start of the route. On the other side of the river, you’ll see the Schloss Sigmundskron (Castel Firmiano) on the heights above you.
The main radroute (on the left) follows the left bank of the Etsch (looking in the direction the river flows). Cross over the river, and follow the cycleway, with the castle on your left-hand side.
As the cycleway climbs, the view opens up over the Etsch (Adige) valley, with vineyards and fruit tree plantations for miles and miles in one direction and in the other, the city of both Bozen (Bolzano). You go through a couple of old rail tunnels and past the Radstation Frangart bike café — about 1.7 kilometres from the bridge.
After the radstation the vineyards gives way to woodland. You continue through the trees for three and a bit kilometres before coming out beside the main SS42. The cycleway runs beside the road for the best part of the next 2.5 kilometres before leaving it behind. If you’ve come via Sankt Michael, there’s an underpass under the main road that brings you out onto the cycleway. You could, of course, use the underpass for a side-trip to the village.
The final stretch of cycleway into Kaltern takes you past the Montiggler Wald nature reserve, and if you don’t mind a short climb, the two lakes (the Großer Montiggler See and the Kleiner Montiggler See look like a very tempting detour).
This stretch of cycle path is like a linear park, with several play and picnic areas along the way, before you come to an old steam engine which marks the end of the main cycleway.
The cycleway comes out beside the main road. Continue straight on without joining the main road. This road takes you past the Kaltern Kellerei and its recently-opened vinothek. There’s also a nice bäckerei (bakery/café) a little further on if you prefer. You continue past the bäckerei, and then past the old station (now a cinema) and come out onto the main road beside a ‘Winecenter’ that also belongs to the Kaltern Kellerei. From here you head left and then continue, following Bahnhofstraße as it bears right and heads into the centre of Kaltern. The centre of Kaltern is mainly traffic-free, but bikes are exempt. Continue on, as Bahnhofstraße becomes Andreas Hofer Straße, and into the Marktplatz.
Kaltern is probably pretty much unknown among English-speaking travellers, but it’s a popular destination for German-speakers — as you walk through the tranquil, pretty, centre, you can understand why.
You could avoid Kaltern (Caldaro). Just after you pass the steam engine and the café, make a sharp right (sign for Auer/Ora). A lane runs a short distance beside the main road, before bearing right, and going under the old railway line. There’s a brief stretch through woodland before you come to a junction where you turn right and head through vineyards heading downhill towards the lake. The route is signed and marked with the blue Südtirol Radweg waymarkers. It takes you to the east of the lake to Klughammer (Campi al Lago). If you want to go to the lake itself, you’ll need to bear off to the right on one of the lanes through the vineyard.
Kaltern to Auer (Ora)
Continuing from the main square, when you get to the little square at the end of Goldgaße you need to bear left, heading downhill. This road (Trutsch) comes out onto the Europastraße where you turn left. At the end of Europastraße, you come to a roundabout: go round the roundabout and then, almost before you’ve gone all the way round, turn off to the right and go under the main road, following the cycle route signs.
You come out onto a backcountry lane that takes you through vineyards. From here you are following the Kaltern-Auer cycle route through the heart of the wine country around the Kalterersee (Lago di Caldaro).
On the southern side of the lake, there’s a large area of reeds and wetlands that is now a nature reserve. When you come to a junction after the lake, you have a couple of options: if you want to go Tramin (Termeno), turn right, otherwise turn left. This road takes you past some sort of military base, before coming out onto the main landstraße (the LS127). Turn left. The road passes Viktor’s Imbiss (bike café). Cross the bridge and then turn left and join the main radroute a short distance further on as it runs beside the road. If you want to go into Auer, you can either continue on the LS127 or turn left onto the LS62 and then take the next right onto a quiet lane that takes you almost all of the way into the centre of Auer.
Variant via Tramin
If you’ve opted for Tramin at the junction near the Kalterersee, a very straight road brings you to a junction. Turn left, onto a main road and then almost immediately after turn left again, following the brown cycle route signs for Tramin, onto another landstraße. This road is the LS164 Weinstraße (Strada del Vino).
The weinstraße takes you into Tramin almost 3 kilometres further on. You pass yet another kellerei (the Cantina Tramin) as you approach the village. You may well have heard of Gewürtztraminer — the name of the grape and wine comes from the name of the village. The kellerei has a tasting room with panoramic views over the vineyards.
To get to the centre of Tramin turn right at the next junction (Dr Josef Noldin Straße). As you head uphill, you should see, on the hill in front of you a church. This is the church of Sant Jakob in Kastelaz. The church is famous for its unique frescos. Dating back to about 1220 these are some of the oldest frescos in the German-speaking world.
If you’re in a hurry, you could stick with the main landstraße.
From Tramin you could descend back down into the valley floor and rejoin the main radroute on the other side of the river (and the autobahn). Head for the station (bahnhof) and then take the road that leads into Neumarkt (Egna). However, it’s worth sticking with the weinstraße as far as Kurtatsch (Cortaccia) an enjoyable 3-kilometre cruise on the valley side. A more challenging, but very scenic, alternative would be to take the Andreas Hofer Straße to Rungg and then the Runggnerweg to Kurtatsch.
When you get to Kurtatsch turn left and head downhill. At the bottom of the hill, bear right, following the LS166 as it heads for the station, crossing the rail line. Once over the rail line, the road bears right and comes to a junction where you turn left, and go under the cross over the autobahn and over the river.
Places to stay
The Kaltern wine country area is a very popular tourist destination: there’s lots of accommodation but a lot of demand, so it’s probably worth booking ahead. And in the main tourist season, don’t expect it to be cheap.
All of the main tourist information websites have accommodation search facilities:
- suedtirol.info: accommodation
- kaltern.com: accommodation
- bolzanosurroundings.info: accommodation
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.
There are a couple of hostels within easy reach of this cycleway: the Jugendherberge Bozen, the Jugendhaus Dr Josef Noldin in Salurn. There’s also the Haus Castelfeder between Auer and Montan. You can reach it using the Fleimstalbahn cycleway — but note that the cycleway is surfaced with compacted aggregate, and it’s a bit tricky to find the starting point.
There are four campsites on or near the route: at the Kalterersee there are the Camping Sankt Josef and the Camping Gretl am See. When I stayed at the Camping Sankt Josef, the main area of the campsite – for campers and caravans was crammed, but fortunately, there is an area devoted to tents around two sides of the site, so there was enough space. At 13€ it was good value.
There’s a new site (the Camping Montiggl) on the road to the Montiggler See. The pictures on the website suggest that it’s mainly oriented to camper vans, but there are tents in one of the pictures. The website also talks about pitches with grass as well as gravel. It might well be worth a try.
At Auer the Hotel Markushof also runs a campsite with an area for tents. A little way further south (near Kurtatsch) is the Camping Obstgarten. I’ve stayed here a couple of times, although technically, on the owners’ lawn rather than the site itself (it’s a small site and popular).
If you want somewhere as a base for sightseeing in Bozen probably the best bet is the Camping Steiner in Leifers. There’s another campsite closer to Bozen (the Camping Moosbauer) but it only has a small area for tents, and things can get very ‘squeezy’, as the site’s website says.
Places to eat and drink
- Sigmundskron (kilometre 0): Radstation Wiesl (weekends only)
- Frangart (kilometre 1.6): Radstation Frangart (Bicigril Frangarto)
- Sankt Michael (kilometre 6): the cycleway emerges from an underpass just in front of the Kellerei Sankt Michael which has a shop with a vinothek where it looks like you could buy a glass of wine. Alternatively, on the other side of the main ring road, there’s the Bahnhofbar in the old station. If you want to go into the centre of Sankt Michael, it’s best to keep on for another kilometre and then pick up the cycleway that takes you under the main road and on towards the centre of the village
- Kaltern (kilometre 10): at the end of the main section of cycleway there’s a small snack bar, and then a little further on, the Kaltern Kellerei with its recently-opened vinothek. There’s also a nice bäckerei (bakery/café). There are lots of places to eat and drink in the centre of the village, around the Marktplatz, about a kilometre further on
- Auer (kilometre 20): Viktor’s Imbiss bar-restaurant is on the road just before you cross over the river and rejoin the main Etschradroute. The centre of Auer is a kilometre or so further on.
- Tramin: there are several bars and restaurants in the village, including the Café Goldener Löwe and Café-Bistro S’Piatzl in the main Rathausplatz (Piazza Municipio)
- Kurtatsch: I’d recommend the Fischerhof restaurant in Breitbach — just down the hill from Kurtatsch.
- Bozen (Bolzano): Alpina Cicli (Via Claudia Augusta 23a) | Biciclette Fausto | Cicli Marchetti | ComfortBIKE | Sportler (Bozen) | Zagocicli | Zanolini
- Leifers (Laives): Neri Diego (Via Galizia 1) Unterkofler P (159 Via John F Kennedy)
- Eppan: Sanvit Bike & Fitness
Neumarkt-Egna: Mich Roberto (Largo Municipio 45)
There are several stations close to the route. The nearest are Sigmundskron (Ponte d’Adige) and Auer (Ora).
You can also take bikes on the Mendelbahn rack railway from Kaltern to the Mendelpass (Passo della Mendola), saving a big climb. Note that there is only limited space for bikes.
Tourist information websites
Information about the route
Information about cycling in the area
Places and attractions
- bolzanosurroundings.info: South Tyrolean Wine Road
- kaltern.com: Wein & Rad entlang der Weinstraße (de only)
Eppen Bergendreieck (Eppan Castle Triangle): eppan.com: Castle Triangle