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Travel story Adige Cycle Path for families

Joscha and his family cycle along the Adige
Cyclists on the cycle path surrounded by greenery

In pouring rain, we made our way by car to the hotel at Lake Reschen, arriving amidst gentle hail showers and a temperature of 2.5 degrees Celsius. "If only we had packed our ski gear," we thought to ourselves! We had anticipated somewhat milder weather... However, situated at nearly 1,500 meters above sea level, Lake Reschen typically offers cooler temperatures regardless of the season. Hence, our advice: always pack a bit warmer for the initial leg of the Adige Cycle path for families!

Cyclists on the cycle path surrounded by greenery

Cycling stage from Lake Resia to Glurns

Taking it easy at the hotel on our first day due to the less-than-ideal weather forecast for Resia: a maximum temperature of 6 degrees and light rain, at least in the morning anyway. As a result, our family cycle tour doesn't kick off until after lunch. Bundled up in layers (rocking the "onion look") and fully geared up, we hop on our bikes heading towards the shores of Lake Resia, towing the Follow-me tandem attachment and a child trailer for our four-year-old daughter Sophia. Cycling along the west side of the lake on the beautifully developed cycle path, blissfully devoid of traffic, we're treated to a constant view of the sunken church tower of Graun, rising from the water on the opposite shore.

Our route takes us past serene grazing cows and mountain pastures, over the dam wall to St. Valentin, and onward to Lake Haidersee with its natural wonders. From here, it's a noticeable downhill journey, with temperatures warming up and occasional rays of sunshine piercing through the clouds. This prompts our daughter to ditch the pushchair and hop onto the Follow-me attachment. We glide downhill through the charming village of Burgeis, passing by enchanting castles and monasteries, until we finally reach our destination for the day, Glurns. Situated right at the Adige cycle path, we wander through the narrow alleys of this picturesque town, completely encased by city walls and fortified towers, on a brief stroll before dinner, which includes exploring the city walls and enjoying a charming playground. By early evening, we've worked up quite an appetite, leading us to stop at the traditional "Grüner Baum" to savor some South Tyrolean delicacies like spinach spaetzle and Tyrolean Schlupfkrapfen.

Church view in the village

Downhill from Glurns to Schlanders

The morning is crisp but invigorating, with sunshine, clear blue skies, and breathtaking mountain vistas, making today's journey much more enjoyable. Departing from the village of Glurns along the Adige River dam, we leisurely pedal down the valley. After a few kilometers, we take a brief detour to Schluderns to admire the imposing Churburg Castle, towering majestically above the village. Following a quick photo stop, we return to the Adige River and continue our journey downstream. Our first longer break is at the fishponds before Prad, where we take in the awe-inspiring panorama of the surrounding snow-capped mountains, including the mighty Ortler massif. Arriving in Prad around lunchtime, we pause for a meal, with Sophia gleefully exploring another playground while we adults bask in the sunshine. Even Sophia joins us at the table, delighting in the delicious pizza!

Refreshed and refueled, the scenery changes as we cycle for kilometers through the renowned apple orchards of South Tyrol. We seize the opportunity to sample freshly picked apples at a stand, indulging in a sweet and healthy dessert. Continuing along the untamed Adige River, we eventually reach our overnight destination of Schlanders. After checking into our accommodation, we treat ourselves to delectable ice cream at Gelateria Ortler, enjoying it in the sunny city park where Sophia discovers yet another playground.

Following our ice cream indulgence, we explore the small town on foot and stumble upon a signpost for the "Sun Promenade," an irresistible temptation. This path leads us over the city rooftops to the renowned "Waalwege" irrigation channels etched into the slopes above the valley. We conclude the day with a delightful dinner featuring local delicacies.

Lush apple orchard with red apples

In the sunshine from Schlanders to Naturns

After indulging in a hearty and delicious breakfast, we gear up our bikes and set off back towards the Adige River and its accompanying cycle path. The sun is beaming down, and with ample time on our hands for this relatively short leg of the journey, it doesn't take long for us to stumble upon the first children's playground, allowing Sophia to expend some energy. The pattern repeats itself with each passing village, each offering its own playground. In the midst of it all, we relish the scenic route along the Adige, weaving through apple orchards where diligent workers are busy with the harvest, flanked by mountains on either side, dotted with mountain farms, cable cars, and quaint villages dominated by towering church spires. A cycle tour in South Tyrol is very idyllic and simply beautiful!

Upon reaching Naturns, we spot a playground conveniently located right by the Adige and naturally, we can't resist making a pit stop. Once we reach our hotel, we take in the panoramic view of the surrounding mountains from the terrace, observing the Naturns gondola lift making its ascents and descents. Our attention is drawn to a small hut with parasols nearby. After consulting the internet, we learn that it's the "Schwalbennest" snack station, nestled about a 30-minute walk from the town center amidst the vineyards. With some energy still left from the day's ride, we decide to make the trek.

In the waning rays of the evening sun, we indulge in snacks, cake, and traditional Austrian Kaiserschmarrn perched high above the village, soaking in the magnificent view of the Adige Valley. It's a fitting end to our day of cycling, capped off with this memorable highlight.

Green landscape around Hochnaturns Castle

Pleasant temperatures between Naturno and Merano

As our cycling journey progresses, the morning temperatures grow increasingly pleasant. We trace the path of the Adige River until we reach the "Trauttmansdorffer Thronsessel" viewpoint just before Algund, where we make our first brief stop. Following a delightful descent along the winding cycle trail, we pause at a newly established recreation center, where Sophia gleefully explores the playground before we resume our journey towards Merano. Since the leg from Naturns to Merano is relatively short, we had previously discussed extending our tour to the Passeier Valley. The route gradually ascends alongside the glistening blue mountain stream, flanked by towering peaks on either side. After a refreshing break in the town center, we head back towards Merano. We make a brief detour to the fish reservoir before effortlessly pedaling our way back to the spa town, where we spend the night in its oldest hotel. Before dinner, we even take a dip in the indoor pool. Exhausted yet content after indulging in a delicious pizza, we eagerly retire to bed.

View of the river Adige and the town of Merano

Through apple orchards to our destination Bozen

After a delightful breakfast and a few rides up and down in the hotel's antique lift (which, being over a century old, fascinated Sophia with its bench and the chance to operate the doors herself), we bid farewell to the spa town on the River Passer. Following a scenic cycle path through the outskirts and apple orchards, we eventually reconnect with the Adige cycle path, tracing it for a stretch before taking a detour to Lana. In Lana, a brief visit to the Schnatterbeck altar, a magnificent Gothic high altar, is a must.

Continuing through endless apple orchards from one village to the next, we always find the opportunity to pause at a café or gelateria, a common sight in nearly every village in this region. After a light lunch in Nals, we pedal the final kilometers along the Adige toward Bozen. Meandering through the city's streets, we reach our hotel, marking the end of our family cycling adventure. Following an eventful tour, we savor our last dinner in Bozen's old town, indulging in South Tyrolean specialties, and decide that this certainly won't be our final visit to this stunning part of Italy. Arrivederci and see you soon!

Bridge in Merano
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