- Waking up to beautiful views of the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak
- Cycling beside the vivid blue waters of the River Inn
- Absorbing the history of an ancient trade route by bike
- Exploring Merano – The Jewel of South Tyrol
- Winding your way through the lovely Vinschgau Valley
- A post-ride, tasty gelato on the shores of Lake Garda
This was my first Skedaddle trip and will be a very hard act to follow. Our two wonderful guides went to enormous effort to make sure that everything ran smoothly.
- Meals: Dinner
Following your arrival into Germany’s Munich Airport (MUC), we’ll transfer across the border to the Austrian village of Lermoos. The village is situated in a lovely meadow and offers a beautiful view of Germany’s highest peak Zugspitze (2692m/8832ft).
The transfer will take around 1.5 hours and we’ll spend our time in Lermoos preparing our bikes for the week ahead. Should time allow, we may even sneak in a quick leg stretch before our welcome drinks and evening meal, which we’ll take at the hotel. During the meal we’ll have an informal chat with our guides about the week to come.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 740m/2427ft.
Today’s ride, probably the toughest of the trip, is a wonderful introduction to the area and takes in Fernpass, the castle of Fernstein and Lake Schanz, one of the most beautiful and breathtaking Alpine lakes of the Außerfern region. This is our only real off road section of the trip, with the remaining time spent on cycle paths and quiet minor roads. The morning will be a varied affair of forest trails, undulating dirt roads and a short but tricky descent, before an easy off road stretch as we come into Nassereith. For those not familiar with off road riding, we will advise when it is best to walk with your bike for certain very short sections. Alternatively, this section may also be done entirely on road (although sometimes quite busy) and then we would all re-group at a café or bar.
A little further on and we’ll reach Imst an ancient little town beautifully situated on a terrace above the River Inn at the mouth of the Gurgl Valley. From here we’ll crisscross the ice blue River Inn over its many bridges, as we continue along the Via Claudia towards Landeck where we’ll stay for the evening.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 1,200m/3937ft.
We’ll continue once more through the Inn Valley with its meadows, fields of flowers and impressive mountains. Passing typical Austrian villages along the way, we’ll arrive at the famous Kajetansbrücke.
At Martina we’ll cross the Swiss border (don’t forget your passport today!), which is followed by another challenging climb. Once at the top however, we can just sit back, enjoy the mountain pastures before rolling down to Nauders (1400m/4593ft). Situated in the border triangle of Austria, Switzerland and Italy and surrounded by the Weisskugel it’s a lovely setting.
Time permitting, we’ll take a stroll through the quaint streets of this mountain town, taking in the atmosphere. It’s here that we’ll spend our final night in Austria.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
- Ascent: 260m/853ft.
Buon Giorno Italia. Following another hearty breakfast we’ll cycle up the last 108 metres to reach the Reschenpass (1508m/4947ft). Arriving in Italy, a breathtaking view will open up before us: the white peaks of Ortler (3905m/12811ft) and the blue Lake Reschen, an artificial lake with a capacity of 120 million cubic meters created by the Montecatini company (now Edison Energia) in 1940. Now, in winter, when the lake freezes, the tower of the main church is reachable by foot. Legend has it that during the winter one can still hear church bells ring.
Enjoying the landscape we’ll take a fast downhill into the Vinschgau Valley. Stretching from the Reschen Pass to Kastelbell/Tschars and bordering with Switzerland and Austria, it’s a beautiful valley of sparkling lush meadows, gigantic glaciers and glittering lakes. Our path heads now through apple plantations and from here we’ll see the castle Juval belonging to the famous Alpine climber Reinhold Messner.
Our final destination today is usually Lagundo, situated at the entrance of the Vinschgau Valley. This is a lovely place, with small lanes, historic buildings, typical Tyrolean Wine Taverns (Buschenschanken) and cafés with sun terraces just perfect for a post-ride drink and a spot of exploring! Alternatively, dependant on accommodation availability, tonight may be spent in one of the small villages nearby.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 600m/1968ft.
Our first port of call is the ‘Jewel of South Tyrol’ Merano (324m/1062ft). Merano is situated in a beautiful setting where the three valleys of Vinschgau, Etsch and Passier come together. This unusual geographical location where the town is sheltered to the north and east by high mountain ranges is the reason for its mild Mediterranean climate and enables a wide variety of colourful, Mediterranean and sub-tropical plants to thrive.
From here we’ll continue our way through more apple plantations and vineyards; taking in superb panoramic views, small villages with market squares and historical sites along the way. Before arriving at our destination, we’ll visit the small Roman chapel of St. Jakob in Kastelaz, in Tramin. The chapel houses the oldest Romanic frescos in this part of Italy and is well worth a few minutes of your time. This part of Italy is German speaking, with the famous Gewürtzraminer white and Kalterer See red wines originating here and you’ll be able to taste some of the local wines at dinner.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 250m/820ft.
You will have noticed the mountains have now become rougher on the side of the Etsch Valley as we continue towards Trento. With the terrain very easy going now and you well into your stride, we’ll cover the distance quickly and should arrive around lunchtime.
Positioned in a wide glacial valley, where the Fersina and Avisio rivers join the Adige (the second longest in Italy) and surrounded by mountains, including the Vigolana (2,150m/7053ft) and the Monte Bondone (2,181m/7155ft) Trento is spectacularly placed. This is a bustling city bursting with Italian flair, with gelaterias, cappuccino bars and trendy boutiques all ready to lure a few Euros from your grasp. With this in mind, the afternoon is yours to do as you please.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 1,200m/3937ft.
Our final challenge lies ahead in the form of a ‘cheeky climb’ to Candriai from where we’ll roll down into the Mediterranean Sarca Valley. From here on in the route is relatively flat as we switch between quiet lanes and cycle paths alongside the River Sarca as we eat up the distance.
Along the way we’ll enjoy a fantastic landscape including glimpses of our final destination Lake Garda (Lago di Garda). Mid afternoon and congratulations are in order. Over the last six days you’ll have covered around 385kms/239 miles from Austria to Italy (plus a few minutes in Switzerland).
Time to celebrate with a few bottles of the fizzy stuff and another delicious dinner at a local restaurant.
Designed to retrace the steps of the ancient Roman route across the Alps, most of the Via Claudia follows quiet cycle paths and country lanes. The paths run along Alpine valleys, alongside rivers and apple plantations.
There are three important passes to cross, which will require a bit more effort than the rest of the route. Fernpass, has some off-road forest tracks with moderate climbs.
The second is on the border between Switzerland, Austria and Italy, the challenge for the week: 800m/2624ft over 8km/5miles on a dirt road winding up and away into Austria.
The last pass is in Italy, but you can take the chairlift to gain the 500m/1640ft, from where there’s just another 100m/328ft to climb on tarmac, and then a descent towards Lake Garda.
Leisure Cycling Grade
Aspects of both our grade 3 and 4 trips
Suitable for the leisure cyclist who rides frequently, and who’s comfortable with some moderately challenging climbs
Some of the terrain may vary, potentially including sections of uneven or unpaved ground
Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!
For more information about our grading system click here.
Is this suitable for you?
Trips that are graded as a 3-4, will have aspects of both our grade 3 and 4 trips. These tours are suitable for those who keep themselves relatively fit and maybe enjoy an afternoon out on the bikes at the weekend. Your preference may be for flatter terrain, but you don’t mind tackling some hills, the occasional steep climb and some varying terrain (forest tracks, gravel paths etc.). It might be however that on some days the distances will be longer than a standard grade 3 trip, or some of the climbs may be quite challenging. You may also require some previous experience of tackling some uneven / unpaved ground to comfortably and safely ride certain sections of the route.
Cycling towards Lake Garda I felt a huge sense of achievement. It is genuinely hard to believe that I managed it and really enjoyed it at the same time. For me, none of it would have been possible without your company and your guides.
Dates & Prices
Are you keen to only travel with your family or friends? Struggling to find the right date? Well, we can organise a private departure for this tour and tailor aspects to suit your group's specific needs. Contact our friendly team and we'll help you turn your dream into reality.
A) Accommodation (shared twin / double en suite rooms) in 3* hotels and guesthouses
B) Meals as per the itinerary (B-Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
C) Full tour service, including Skedaddle guides
D) Unless stated, at least one leader qualified in first aid
E) Support vehicle and luggage transfers
F) Airport transfer on scheduled arrival day from Munich airport (MUC)
G) Airport transfer on scheduled departure day to Verona airport (VRN)
What's not Included
A) Bike rental (available if required)
B) Flights and charges for travelling with your bike (if applicable)
C) Travel insurance
D) Single room (available if required, on request)
E) Meals not stated in the itinerary
F) Personal clothing and equipment
G) Personal expenditure (souvenirs, bar bills, hotel facilities)
H) Entrance fees to museums and other attractions en route
I) Airport transfers on days other than the scheduled arrival/departure days
Customer Story: La Via Claudia
David recently discovered the stunning scenery of La Via Claudia...
La Via Claudia in motion
Watch a video from our latest competition winners.
Jane, USAI am now addicted to Skedaddle holidays!
Excellent cycling holiday, I loved every day! Excellent service from Skedaddle. The tour leader and other guides made the trip as wonderful as it was. Their attention to detail and kindness were felt by all on the trip.
Richard, ChinaAnother excellent holiday with Skedaddle...
Renato was simply outstanding – he remained cheerful in poor weather, flexible when road closure forced us on an alternate route, always organized. I’d credit him with taking a group of strangers and helping us become friends – lots of good Italian wine helped!
Assistant guides were outstanding – helped to keep the group together when we straggled a bit, but always did so cheerfully. Lots of humor kept the tired legs turning.The three guides were superb at turning out salads my grandmother would have loved – each with a little twist – well done for taste, creativity, and location.
Elizabeth, AustraliaGreat trip
Beautiful mountains, excellent guides, and very enjoyable group. Lunches were a treat. We were very well supported and looked after. Thanks to all, particularly Sergio and Christina.
Fiona, Hertfordshire, UKThe trip surpassed all my expectations
This was my first Skedaddle trip and will be a very hard act to follow. Two wonderful guides, Christina and Madeleine, went to enormous effort to make sure that everything ran smoothly, a great group of fellow cyclists, stunningly breathtaking scenery, challenging yet fun cycling and very comfortable accommodation – fantastic!
The trip surpassed all my expectations – it was fabulous. Can’t think of a single thing to criticise – fantastic! The food was delicious – there I was hoping to lose weight and instead I’ve put it on!! My favourite day was day three, and I loved the long downhill section on this day – the scenery and forest trails, smell of pine, wild flowers. I also liked day six – variety of the day from the steep climb to the downhill MTB track to the final bike track approach to Lake Garda.
I cannot praise Christina and Madeleine highly enough. They were kind, friendly, helpful, efficient, always smiling and simply lovely people, fantastic ambassadors for your company. They were both entertaining and very funny at times and very supportive on the long uphill stretches. The team at the office were helpful in reassuring me that i could manage the cycling, as I only booked with three weeks to go and Caitlin got back to me very quickly on a couple of queries that I had. I would wholeheartedly recommend Skedaddle to a friend.
'30 of the best cycling holidays', Sunday Telegraph (2017)As seen in the press...
The Via Claudia is and old Roman trade route and modern cycling trail between southern Germany and northern Italy – crossing the Alps at a manageable altitude of 4,921ft. Roman remains are a less important part of the trip than the changing landscapes, culture and cuisine, from the Austrian Alps to the orchards and vineyards of South Tirol and Lake Garda.
Stefania, Hertfordshire, UKExcellent...
Everyday was a favourite day and different, just as I was expecting.
Our guide was an excellent! Knowledgable, professional, funny, kind, helpful! Would love to have him again.
Clare, Cambridge, UKVery good
Every day was different and enjoyable in its own way so it is difficult to highlight a particular favourite. Some of the highlights included: Cycling through the apple orchards and vineyards, our time in Merano and the lovely hotel located above the town, cycling around Trento, lunch on the final day (not sure of the name of the lake) and the final evening at Lake Garda. This is very simplistic, there was so much to enjoy!
Chris, Cumbria, UKDifficult to see how they could be bettered!
My favourite day was day 3, Starting in a beautiful Austrian resort, after a splendid dinner, a comfortable room and a generous host, and after an hour and a half of steady cycling we were rewarded with a long long downhill coast into Italy – 50 miles had seemed intimidating but not when gravity was helping! The two guides were a delight – passionate about cycling, Italy and Italian coffee. Difficult to see how they could be bettered!
Italy's greatest cycling holidays, Telegraph (2018)As seen in the press...
Adam Ruck also recommends tackling the Via Claudia, an old Roman trade route and modern cycling trail between southern Germany and northern Italy, which crosses the Alps at a manageable altitude of 4,921ft. “Roman remains are a less important part of the trip than the changing landscapes, culture and cuisine, from the Austrian Alps to the orchards and vineyards of South Tirol and Lake Garda,” he says.
Our guides were both superb encouragers / cooks/ facilitators / bike menders / luggage organisers!!
Accommodation was as described – and excellent (overall) for what it was. The hotel outside Merano was especially lovely and the one outside Trento was worth the climb.