View through the trees to Lake Wörthersee
Illuminated Ruin Finkenstein
Cyclists splashing in a lake

Carinthian Waterways

From Lienz to Villach.

Lots of sun, water and marvellous cycling paths await in Austria’s most southern state, in Carinthia. Initially the river Drau is your meadering companion. You cycle past languorous villages, the route is lined with mountain panoramas catching your eye. During the second part of this cycling holiday Carinthia’s crystal-clear and marvellously warm lakes invite you with their gentle lakesides to embark on a few additional loops: Lake Faaker See, Lake Ossiacher See, Lake Klopeiner See – each of them has their own ‚character‘. And naturally on top of that the ‚carneval town‘ Villach and then Klagenfurt, the so-called ‚Rose of Lake Wörthersee‘, are all part of the itinerary and want to properly be explored. Look forward to the country roads warming your hearts and plenty of opportunities during your cycling tours to take short breaks and plunge into the cool water and be refreshed and invigorated after.

Medium
Medium
  • 10 Days / 9 Nights
  • Self-guided tour
Christine Pölzleitner
Christine Pölzleitner
+43 6219 7444 137 Contact

Itinerary

Arrival in Lienz in East-Tyrol situated at the confluence of the rivers Isel and Drau. With a total of two thousand sunshine hours annually it is Austria’s sunniest holiday region. The breathtaking panorama onto the Alps and the Lienz-Dolomites will excite you.

A train ride takes you comfortably together with your bikes from Lienz to Toblach, located shortly before the Italian border. The river Drau is still a young river in this section, babbling and breaking her way through the narrow Pustertal-valley. Defiant fortresses, castles and palaces rise majestically above the valley and herald desires of the once rich and powerful. Modest Romanesque chapels, Gothic and Baroque churches, crucifixes and piety columns invite for a short break. Over a long distance the rugged, bizarre rockfaces of the Lienz-Dolomites tower over the landscape and hence turn today’s stage into an unforgettable experience. Day Finish again in Lienz.

From Lienz, the confluence of the rivers Isel and Drau, you again follow the river Drau now appearing in a shade of gray, by the locals called ‚glacier milk‘, which is due to very fine rock particles coming from the gigantic rocks. Along ancient Roman trade routes – past ruins, castles, little churches and wayside crosses – you cycle through the picturesque Oberdrautal-valley. En route you pass pretty villages such as Pirkach, Oberdrauburg and the first market town on Carinthian soil, Dellach.

Today you cycle mostly along the river Drau through the marvellous Carinthian farmland featuring forests, fields, old farm houses and little hamlets. Cosy wine taverns, called ‚Buschenschenken‘await with proper farm food and invite you to take a break. Past time-honoured farm houses decorated with flowers the well-developed Drau cycle path takes you to Spittal an der Drau. The centre of Spittal features a main square, which you might call ‚cute‘ and a particularly beautiful palace, which is considered one of the most impressive Renaissance building with the clearest style in all of Central Europe and is called ‚Porcia‘ named after the previous owners.

Today you cycle through the ‚Cultural Promenade of Upper Corinthia‘. You leave the area of Spital along the river Drau and immerse yourself into an ancient cultural scenery, meadows and forests and idyllic wetland- areas. Past Kellerberg palace always along the river Drau you reach Villach. The heart of Villach features the pretty old part of town with its Italian flair and the cosy pubs and restaurants. The Drau-metropolis presents itself to visitors adequately as vivacious and oozing southern flair. Part of the character of the town is definitely the river Drau, meandering through Villach just like a blue ribbon.

Initially you cycle for a few kilometres along the Drau-cycle path headed East. The route continues through unspoilt Carinthian farmland. Your next destination is the bussling town of Velden on Lake Wörthersee. The clear, turquoise-blue water of Lake Wörthersees and the hussle and bussle invite you to a break in the ‚celebrity ‘-town. Through a charming scenery with rolling hills you reach the ‚Keutschach Seental‘. Sometimes it is a languorous wayside cross, sometimes it is a farm house decorated with flowers that catches your eye. The wide valley, the soft rolling hills and wooded mountains, four lovely lakes and in the distance: mountains. Even the close-by sunny South can be felt.

Lake Hafnersee, Lake Keutschacher See, Lake Baßgeigensee and Lake Rauschelesee are grouped around the resort Keutschach. The ‚Lend ‘-canal, situated at the eastern shores of Lake Wörthersee, leads you into the state capital of Carinthia, to Klagenfurt.

As an alternative (approx. 40 km) to the ‚Keutschacher Seental‘-region you can also embark on the option along the northern shores of Lake Wörthersee leading via Velden, Pörtschach and Krumpendorf to Klagenfurt.

Klagenfurt – "the Rose of Lake Wörthersee" – captivates with its enchanting old part of town. Built by Italian architects in the 16/17th century, it has kept its southern flair over centuries. As legend has it the home of a dragon (Lindwurm), today features winding alleyways, romantic archade courts churches and town houses to explore.

After such a big dose of culture you continue by bike. Past Ebenthal featuring a palace and past Grafenstein palace you reach the Völkermarkter-reservoir. Now it is only a short distance before you reach the warmest lake of the state, Lake Klopeiner See. The shores of Lake Klopeiner See are very inviting: the surroundins are mostly wooded and from the hilltops you see flashes of white little churches, in the South the Karawanken-mountain chain rises and above it all you see the sun in the (usually) blue sky. Now there is only enough time for a refreshing swim in the lake. 

You cross the river Drau for a final time and cycle across the scenery with its soft rolling hills towards Maria Saal. Soon you focus will be on the mighty twin-towers of Carinthia’s impressive fortress church Maria Saal. The cycle path leads you past Carinthia’s ‚Herzogsstuhl‘; it has been there for more than two thousand years now and is literally the belly button of the Carinthian world. As far as the eye can see the history-charged area called Kärntner Zollfeld expands in front of you.

Hochosterwitz Castle (detour to the castle approx. an extra 15 km): It is truly astonishing what first nature and then later people have created there. In the middle of the field there is a chalk-monolith with a height of 150 metres with steep rockfaces on all sides and this was used and developed into an unpregnable fortress. Numerous castles and palaces in the surroundings remind us of the former significance of the onetime state capital St. Veit.

For centuries St. Veit has been the seat of the Carinthian bishops. The city wall, the medieval main square, the oppulent Rainassance houses, beautiful archade courts, Herzogsburg-castle and many monuments still testify of this period even today. You head west and cycle along the river Glan to Glanegg. Already visible from afar is Glanegg castle ruin, towering here over and above the valley. Lake Maltschacher See with its idyllic location embedded in a gentle hillscape entices you for a welcome cool-off.

Feldkirchen is surrounded by wooded hills, romantic palaces and venerable ruins. The cycle path along the river Glan leads you directly to Lake Ossiacher See and back again to Villach.

Tour character

The Drau-cycle path mostly leads you along the riverbanks on well-maintained paths, sometimes also on side roads with very little traffic. The cycle path around the lakes are also signposted well, lead on flat terrain and are suitable for everyone.

Prices and events

All data for 2020 at a glance
Season 1
May 1, 2020 - Jun 4, 2020
Sep 4, 2020 - Oct 2, 2020
Arrival Friday
Season 2
Jun 5, 2020 - Sep 3, 2020
Arrival Friday
Carinthian Waterways, AT-KARLV-10X
Base price
Surcharge single room
799.00
239.00
859.00
239.00
Season 1
May 1, 2020 - Jun 4, 2020
Sep 4, 2020 - Oct 2, 2020
Season 2
Jun 5, 2020 - Sep 3, 2020
Lienz
Extra night p.p. dbl/bb
Extra night sgl/bb
Villach
Extra night p.p. dbl/bb
Extra night sgl/bb
69.00
94.00
65.00
100.00
69.00
94.00
65.00
100.00
Price
21-gear unisex incl. rental bike insurance
21-gear gents incl. rental bike insurance
7-gear incl. rental bike insurance
7-gear gents incl. rental bike insurance
rental bike PLUS incl. rental bike insurance
Electric bike incl. rental bike insurance
85,00
85,00
85,00
85,00
139,00
189,00

Services and infos

Included:

  • Accommodation as already mentioned
  • Breakfast buffet
  • Welcome briefing (German, English)
  • Luggage transfer between the hotels
  • EUROBIKE developed route
  • Detailed travel documents 1x per room (German, English, with route maps, route description, local attractions, important telephone numbers)
  • 1 train ride Lienz – Toblach incl. Rad
  • GPS-data is available
  • Service hotline

Optional:

  • Return transfer by minibus to Lienz every Sunday morning, costs EUR 65 per person incl. your bike, to be paid for in advance, reservation is necessary
  • Bike rental, including rental bike insurance

Arrival / Parking / Departure:

  • Lienz or Villach train station.
  • Good train connection between Villach and Lienz.
  • Hotel underground parking spaces in Lienz approx. EUR 8 per day, no reservation possible, public parking spaces near the hotel approx. EUR 13 per week, parking spaces free of charge near the edge of town.

Things to note:

  • Tourist tax, if due, is not included in the price!
  • Further important information according to the package travel law and additional information about your bike and boat trip can be found here!
Christine Pölzleitner
"I will help you with the planning of your holidays with advice and action"
Christine Pölzleitner, Customer Service
Robi on the bike

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