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Travel story St. Moritz – Innsbruck

River Cycle Path with a difference

The best way to report both about a holiday and a region is having experienced everything up close in person. Hence a tour survey is perfect for it. With this in mind I contemplated which tour I would absolutely like to learn more about… together with my husband I chose the tour St. Moritz to Innsbruck, the first section of the Inn-river-cycle path.

So, at the start of June it was time for us to pack our suitcases!

Day 1: Arrival at St. Moritz

We started early in the morning leaving from our home near Salzburg headed towards Innsbruck, where we have parked our car in the ‘Landhaus’-car park. Peter, our stage manager, picked us up from the hotel together with several other guests and helped us loading the bikes and luggage. After that we were on our way to St. Moritz. During the coach ride we already had partly the opportunity to check out our cycle route. Also Peter informed us immediately about the region!

Once we had arrived in St. Moritz, straight away we seized the lovely sunny weather for a stroll. Initially for a bit through St. Moritz and then a short circular tour along Lake St. Moritz. We booked half board for the entire tour, which meant that for dinner this evening we got to immediately enjoy the first regional delicacies. Especially delicious was the ‘Bündner’-Barley Soup.

Day 2: Circular Tour near St. Moritz

Weather conditions were awesome, so we enjoyed cycling under a brilliant blue sky headed inland. At the Maloja-pass in the Swiss Engadin-region is the location of the source of the river Inn and occurs rather as a little stream than a river.
There are already four lakes between St. Moritz and Maloja with well-developed cycle paths along them, partly asphalted and partly covered in gravel. We only had to cycle for a short section on the main road shortly before Maloja.
Once we had arrived in Maloja we fancied a short walk, so we left our bikes there and embarked on a short walk to the Torre Belvedere.

Torre Belvedere near Maloja

En route we took a few photos and also had a go at the company-owned GoPro-camera. We did manage to take a few great videos!
Afterwards we walked back the same way towards St. Moritz and along the way we stopped for lunch in a small restaurant and enjoyed a focaccia.
The crystal clear lakes with their stunning turquoise colour due to the high mineral content were a great diversion to walk barefoot through the water. The water was lovely and refreshing, however freezing since the lakes and the river Inn are both fed by the fresh snowmelt from the surrounding mountains.
Once back at our hotel in St. Moritz we took a relaxing break and after dinner we played a few rounds of billards in the hotel

Lake near St. Moritz

Day 3: St. Moritz - Zernez

After a lovely breakfast we finished packing our suitcases and made sure we deposited them at reception before 9am.
Back on our bikes we left St. Moritz and were on our way to Zernez. The Inn-cycle path is signposted really well, which meant we hardly used any maps, you simply follow the red-brown cycle path-signs. Near Celerina we quickly visited the church San Gian, which curiously is missing the roof, a short visit only because a few minutes later the mass for the First Holy Communion was about to start there.
Today our route continued on undulating terrain leading us along the ‘young’ river Inn. In parts, not directly along the river though, which you would expect from a river-cycling path, but also on the slope next to it, so the river then was located a few metres in altitude below.

Church of San Gian in Celerina

In the route-book we found several tips where to have our lunch break, since we started early though we decided to have a late lunch. In Schanf we realised we are now quite hungry…unfortunately the village was completely dead, and although it was a Sunday there was nobody to be found. Then we came across an elderly woman. When we asked her where everybody was, she told us about an Oldtimer-festival nearby where everyone gathered today. That sounded great! So immediately we cycled to the festival. When we arrived there, we saw plenty of oldtimer-tractors exhibited, a local band played and there were traditional dishes to sample. We mingled straight away and enjoyed spicy meat skewers, we also had the chance to have a chat with some of the Swiss people there – although the dialect was not always easy to understand!

Then we continued our cycle tour through wonderfully unspoilt forests and meadows. When we arrived in Zernez our luggage was already waiting for us, so we were able to refresh ourselves straight away. Then we enjoyed our half-board set-menu in the outdoor dining area of the hotel, the finale was an ice-cream sundae, which we thoroughly enjoyed together with the last rays of sunshine for the day.

Cyclist in front of vintage tractor in Schanf

Day 4: Zernez - Scuol

Yesterday we had to master already a few metres in altitude and today it meant pedalling hard once again. In the morning we stocked up with fruit, drinks and sun screen at the nearby supermarket. Originally the start of today’s route would have been on level terrain – however just for today there was a diversion on the cycle path due to road works, leading us onto a rather challenging route along the edge of the valley, which added a few more kilometres to cycle. Luckily our extra efforts were rewarded with fabulous views!

Before reaching the artist’s village Guarda there are a few long ascents to be overcome. Once you arrive there you hear time and again about the ‘Schellen-Ursli’, a childrens story which was also made into a film and is set there. In Guarda houses are artistically painted and there are also opportunities to purchase some handicraft items. After Guarda there are only a few more ascents left and then you get to look forward to a descent with a length of approx. 8 km to Scuol! In the evening we could definitely feel our calf-muscles, so we only went for a short walk in Scuol and spent the rest of the time in the hotel. A swim in the hotel pool and a glass of wine with dinner were very welcome.

Cyclist with a view of Guarda

Day 5: Scuol – Prutz

After a hearty breakfast we found ourselves back in the saddle. You leave Scuol via a bridge from where you get to enjoy a great view onto the town as well as the river Inn, which now occurs noticeably wider! The route continues on asphalted level terrain leaving Switzerland and after that it is ‘Welcome to Austria’! In the Swiss section of the route the river Inn is still very pristine and meanders through the scenery in a wild-romantic fashion. Shortly before Austria the river then swells considerably, which means it can already be used for generating electricity. Hence near Martina a new water power station is currently under construction. Prerequisite for the build is also to develop a brand-new cycling path! Since it was not finished when we were cycling there, we had to cycle for a bit on the A-road. A short section of the route also leads through a galleria and a short tunnel. But this is quickly behind you and after this you nearly find yourself in Austria!

View at Scuol

En route we did a short detour to the border fortress ‘Altfinstermünz’ and after that all we had to do is follow the Austrian green Inn-cycle path signs! Via Pfunds and Ried (there is a lake where you can relax for a bit if the weather is sunny) you finally reach Prutz along relatively level terrain.

In the hotel we had a very warm welcome from our hosts Edith and Michael. We made good use of the laundry service there straight away, since it was offered to us and had our cycle clothes laundered for just a few euros – the next morning we received them back clean and dry, ready for the next stage of the tour!

Altfinstermünz border fortress

Day 6: Prutz - Imst

In Switzerland the cycle path often led us high above and along the river Inn with a view into the valley. Now the route mainly runs near the river.
Leisurely we cycled on today’s route to Imst. Since our hotel was located in Oberimst, we had to master a few more metres in altitude at last. Since we already arrived around noon we were faster than our luggage transfer this time. We forgot to pack a change of clothes (which is always advisable) in our saddlebags, so we took a stroll through Imst in our cycling outfits. Directly in Imst there is the Rose Garden-ravine, a fascinating nature spectacle which is definitely worth a visit!

After our walking tour our luggage had also arrived in the hotel and so we had a shower and then enjoyed the spa area of the hotel. It was so relaxing that we actually fell asleep in the chill-out room and nearly missed dinner!


Day 7: Imst - Innsbruck

We enjoyed our breakfast on the hotel terrace and with it a great view onto the Corpus Christi church parade. Societies for traditional costumes and the brass orchestra were all dressed to the occasion and marched in this festive procession accompanied by music to the church. We did a lot of cycling and already the final stage with the Day Finish in Innsbruck awaited!

All week long we had beautiful sunny weather which was a joy, but today the route was missing trees providing us with shade and so we could really feel the heat! There are also a few things to visit along this part of the tour, we however felt like cycling straight all the way to Innsbruck. We only took a longer break at lunch time. Since it was a bank holiday the restaurant we had a break in was quite busy, and we had to wait for quite a long time for our meals in our spot in the shade in the pub garden. After covering an astonishing 275 km cycling distance, we finally reached our Day Finish Innsbruck.

Inn surrounded by forest and rocks

Day 8: Journey Home

Innsbruck’s special attraction is of course the ‘Goldenes Dachl’. On the square in front of it there are always plenty of people and lots of hustle and bustle. We seized our final day and took a stroll through Innsbruck. We came across a street artist, who was really talented. Spontaneously in honour of the end of our tour we had our portraits taken. A lovely souvenir of our sensational cycling tour!

Many hours spent on our bikes breathing in the clean mountain air, marvelling at fantastic views, enjoying amazing hotels and many culinary specialities. We really did enjoy this holiday very much!

Portrait painter
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