Next year, the region will play host to the 2018 Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Road World Championship. Taking place from 22-30 September 2018, the Tirol will provide 12 spectacular and challenging routes for cyclists, all finishing in Innsbruck, the beautiful capital of Tirol.
But it’s not all about the need for speed. Whether you’re training for an event, trying to get fit for the summer or simply after an active holiday as a couple or with the family, the magnificent mountains, enchanting lakes and vibrant towns in the Austrian Tirol are a wonderful place to start.
Here are five top destinations perfect for a holiday on two wheels...
St. Anton am Arlberg
With 200 km of trails on offer, there’s something for every type of mountain biker in St. Anton am Arlberg. From easy-going paths surrounded by lush meadows and shady woods, to challenging tracks with steep climbs and exhilarating descents.
Starting at the Nasserein gondola station, the Stanzertal Valley Route covers 26.1 km and offers an easy route for beginners, while the Verwall Lake tour, from the village park, continues for 17.3 km including 600 vertical metres. But it’s not all about the mountain biking; St. Anton offers a selection of routes for road cycling too. Pedal the 98.4 km around the sparkling and scenic shores of Lake Constance, reaching heights of 1,791 metres, or cycle the strenuous Silvretta Tour, a 148.2 km journey with 2,608 metres of uphill.
Known as the capital of the Alps, the beautiful, bustling city of Innsbruck is a perfect base for a cycling holiday. This year, Bikepark Innsbruck will play host to the Crankworx Mountain Bike Festival from 21-25 June 2017, drawing pros and enthusiasts to its colourful streets for a series of thrilling events.
Outside the hub, there are multiple routes available, from the Nordkette Single Trail, a 3.6 km route considered to be one of Europe’s steepest and most difficult descents, to the easier Muttereralm Single Trail, a five kilometre route with panoramic views over Innsbruck. Beginners, or those wanting to brush up on their skills, can organise an introductory course with an experienced guide.
The action-packed Zillertal Valley is an ideal destination for a two-wheeled escape. On 30 June 2017, the three-day Zillertal Bike Challenge promises spectacular climbs and hair-raising descents surrounded by jaw-dropping panoramas.
Open to all keen mountain bikers, the race will finish on the Hintertux Glacier at 2,700 m. Alternatively, non-competitive cyclists can sign up for a slightly more leisurely bike safari. If it’s views you’re after, then the 10th stage can be a good place to start. Beginning in Mayrhofen, this 70 km long route crosses Zillertal Valley on its way to Achensee Lake with the help of three gondolas. Although there are many photo opportunities, make sure you capture Achensee Lake: surrounded by lofty peaks it continues to enchant even the most experienced traveller.
Kitzbüheler Alps St. Johann in Tirol
Situated in the Leukental Valley, St. Johann is ideally located for exploring the eastern end of Tirol. For centuries, it has been a bustling, wealthy trade hub, and today is the region’s beating heart. Leave the centre and explore the 800 km of cycling trails on offer, passing through undulating pastures, over rocky mountains and down sweeping valleys.
Make the most of the new, single trail which begins at the Harschbichl Top Station. From here, weave down the 7 km path back to the town. The first part of it is very challenging, and the whole route has an altitude difference of 900 metres and a gradient of 13 %. For a more leisurely excursion e-bikes are availble: the Kitzbüheler Alps is the biggest e-bike region in Austria, with 43 rental stations.
Zugspitz Arena is famed for its diverse bike trails and cycle paths. An excellent way to exlore is to sign up to one of the 100+ mountain-bike tours on offer. Take in three glittering lakes (Mittersee, Blindsee and Weißensee) on the 3 Seen Tour, which winds through forest paths for 11.2 km and offers magnificent vistas of the Zugspitze Mountain. Although there is 513 m of ascent, there are no major climbs, making it ideal for all levels of cyclists.
The more experienced can check out the Muthenauer Meadow Tour, an intense 19 km trail ascending and descending more than 1,000 metres. If this seems a little daunting, the Zugspitz Arena also has a selection of special offers for beginners plus professional coaches on hand to offer the latest tips on technique.
For more great cycling routes and other activities in the Tirol go to visittirol.co.uk