The Überetsch radroute The Kalterer See and the Südtirol wine country

Published on:  | Last updated: 12 September 2019

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Cyclist on the Südtirol Radweg in Kaltern (Caldaro)

Cyclist on the Südtirol Radweg in Kaltern (Caldaro)

Riding through vineyards near Kaltern (Caldaro)

Riding through vineyards near Kaltern (Caldaro)

Cyclists on the cycle route between Kaltern (Caldaro) and Auer (Ora)

Cyclists on the cycle route between Kaltern (Caldaro) and Auer (Ora)

The Kalterer See (Lago di Caldaro)

The Kalterer See (Lago di Caldaro)

Sign for the Radstation Frangart (Bicigrill Frangart) on the Südtirol Radweg near Sigmundskron (Ponte d'Adige)

Sign for the Radstation Frangart (Bicigrill Frangart) on the Südtirol Radweg near Sigmundskron (Ponte d'Adige)

The Südtirol wine country near Bozen (Bolzano)

The Südtirol wine country near Bozen (Bolzano)

Cyclist on the Südtirol Radweg near Sigmundskron (Ponte d'Adige)

Cyclist on the Südtirol Radweg near Sigmundskron (Ponte d'Adige)

Cyclist on the Südtirol Radweg near the Kalterer See (Lago di Caldaro)

Cyclist on the Südtirol Radweg near the Kalterer See (Lago di Caldaro)

The Südtirol Radweg near Sigmiundskron (Ponte d'Adige)

The Südtirol Radweg near Sigmiundskron (Ponte d'Adige)

This cycle route takes you through the wine country around Kaltern (Caldaro), before rejoining the main Etschradroute at Auer (Ora). This is a valley within a valley with the Kalterersee lake at its heart. The route provides a more inter­esting and more scenic altern­ative to the main Etschradroute beside the river. 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.

At a glance

Distance

20 kilometres

Difficulty/​terrain

Moderate. There is a shortish climb to Kaltern (Caldaro)

Traffic

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)

Surfaces

Asphalt-surfaced cycleways or roads throughout

Signposting

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.

Connections

This route connects with the Etschradroute (part of the Via Claudia Augusta).

Also known as …

The Italian name of the route is the Ciclabile dell'Oltradige.

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Distances
Bozen (Bolzano) - 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

Getting there

There are train stations at both the start, at Sigmundskron, and the end, near Auer. You could also very easily start in Bozen.

Variations

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.

A fourth option is to turn off the main Etschradroute at Algund, and follow the Via Claudia route as it takes you through Marlin (Marlengo), Lana, Nals (Nalles) and Andrian (Andriano). Just after Andrian, as the Via Claudia crosses over the river and rejoins the main route, turn right and head for Unterrain, and Sankt Paul, rejoining the cycleway near to Sankt Michael.

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 cafe — 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/​cafe) 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 cafe, 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, following the cycle route signs, go under the main road. You come out onto a backcountry lane 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 cafe). 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.

More information

Places to stay

Hotels etc

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:

Booking.com links

Kalterer See | Strada del Vino del Alto Adige | Valle dell'Adige | Bozen area
Caldaro | Auer-Ora | | Cortaccia
Egna | Bozen-Bolzano | |

Hostels

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.

Campsites

There are four campsites on or near the route:

  • the Camping Sankt Josef and the Camping Gretl am See at the Kalterersee. 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.
  • 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're consid­ering taking the Via Claudia variant via Marling, there are several campsites along the way:

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.

Transport and services

Bike shops

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/​cafe). 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 (kilometre):
  • Kurtatsch (kilometre): I'd recommend the Fischerhof restaurant in Breitbach — just down the hill from Kurtatsch.

Resources

Tourist information websites

Cycling-related websites

Information about the route

Information about cycling in the area

Places and attractions

Eppen Bergendreieck (Eppan Castle Triangle): eppan.com: Castle Triangle


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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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