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Louisa & Tobi Bike Touring through beautiful Austria

Austria

Last updated: January 2024

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Key Facts Cycling

  • 22 days in the country, from 30/06/2021 to 22/07/2021

  • 638 km / 396 mi cycled

  • 13 cycling days

  • Overnight stays: 

    • Wildcamping: 5

    • Other free camping (villages, etc.): 1

    • Paid campsites: 0

    • Hosts: 3

    • Paid accommodation (some gifts): 13

    • Other (bus, ferries, etc.): 0

  • The Route: Salzburg - Bad Reichenhall (Germany) - Fieberbrunn - Zell am See - Sankt Johann im Pongau - Schladming - Liezen - Bruck an der Mur - Graz - Ragnitz - Spielfeld Border Crossing

  • Our Cycling Highlights: Enns Bike Path & Mur Bike Path

Louisa & Tobi's Bike Route through Austria

Key Facts Country

  • Official name: Republic of Austria (Republik Österreich)

  • Population (2023): 9,106,126 

  • Capital: Vienna (Wien)

  • Official language: German

  • Currency: Euro

  • Dialing code: +43

  • Area: 83.878 km² / 32.385 mi²

  • Bordering countries: Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland & Liechtenstein

  • Right-hand traffic

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Enns Bike Path (R7)

Louisa Bike Touring Austria along the Enns Bike Path
The sign for the Enns Bike Path in Austria
  • Part of Austria’s extensive network of long-distance bike paths

  • As the name suggests, the path follows the Enns river

  • Total distance: 263 km / 163 mi from Flachauwinkl to Enns

  • We cycled only a part from Altenmarkt im Pongau to Liezen

  • The path mostly consists of nicely paved bike lanes, just some small parts go along actual roads

  • The landscape along the way is beautiful: Mountains, lakes, forests & rivers

  • To stay on the bike path, you can just follow the signs for the R7

Mur Bike Path (R2)

Louisa & Tobi Cooking on the Road in Austria
Louisa cycling the Lamingtal Bike Path to the Green Lake in Austria
  • Also a long-distance cycle path, following the Mur river

  • Total distance: 453 km / 281 mi from Muhr im Lungau to Legrad (Croatia)

  • We joined the bike path in Bruck an der Mur and followed it all the way to Spielfeld at the Austrian/Slovenian border

  • From Bruck an der Mur you can also follow the Lamingtal Bike Path (R41) towards the famous Green Lake (~25 km / 15 mi) - we did this as a day trip

  • The path also mostly consists of smooth bike lanes, allowing you to fully enjoy the beautiful views around you

  • Goes through Graz, the capital of the province Styria (Steiermark)

    • Graz is a really nice city, it’s worth staying one or two nights!

  • Just follow the signs for R2 to stay on the path

Camping & Accommodation

  • Wild camping is regulated differently in every province in Austria

  • Exception: Camping in forests is prohibited in all of Austria, if you don’t have a designated permit

  • We cycled through the provinces of Salzburg & Styria

    • Salzburg: Wild camping is not generally prohibited, but there are some regulations (click the link below to find out more)

    • Styria: No specific rules for wild camping, meaning it is neither expressly allowed nor prohibited

    • In both provinces it was still hard to find good spots due to many forests, fields and populated areas

    • Sometimes we also asked farmers if we could sleep on or next to their fields

  • Read more about the regulations in the nine provinces here

  • Austria offers several kinds of accommodation, the average price is around 50 EUR / USD per night

  • As is the case everywhere, prices depend on the season, day of the week, time of booking and of course the type of accommodation

Infrastructure

  • Austria has a really good (cycling) infrastructure

  • As mentioned above, the country offers an extensive network of long-distance bike paths

  • Every bike path has a number (e.g. R2) and you can just follow the signs to stay on the paths

  • The cities (e.g. Graz or Salzburg) offer many bike lanes 

  • Austria’s public transport is also very good, the local services in the cities as well as the train system throughout the whole country

  • With the national railway company ÖBB you can take your bike on the train

    • Regional trains: If it’s not too full, you can just take your bike, no reservation necessary

    • Long-distance trains: You have to reserve your bike beforehand (3 EUR / ~3.30 USD)

  • The tap water is potable throughout the country, as is standard in the European Union

Spare Part Availability

  • Not every village or town has a bike shop, but as Austria is not that big, the next city with a bike shop will never be too far away

  • Just search for the closest bike shop on Google Maps

  • You should find anything from basic to high-end spare parts

Sim Card & Internet

  • If you have a sim card from any other EU-country, you don’t need to buy a local card, as you have free data roaming in the whole European Union

  • Biggest network providers in Austria:

    • A1

    • Magenta

    • Drei

  • With A1 we had good connection almost everywhere

  • To buy a sim card, you have to officially register with your ID/passport at a designated store

Climate & Weather

  • As Austria is located in central Europe, it’s in a transition zone between atlantic & continental climate

  • Generally the climate is moderate with four distinct seasons:

    • Spring (March - May)

    • Summer (June - August)

    • Autumn (September - November)

    • Winter (December - February)

  • In winter it can get really cold, with lots of snow (especially in the mountains)

  • Rainfall is normal throughout every season, but summer typically is wetter than winter

  • The week before we started our bicycle journey (June 2021), the temperatures reached 40°C / 104°F, but then dropped after heavy thunderstorms to around 15°C / 59°F within a day

  • So we started in heavy rain and cool temperatures, but after a few days it got warmer (20-25°C / 68-77°F) and stopped raining

  • These rapid weather changes are actually quite typical, in Austria as well as southern Germany

Border Crossings & Schengen Visa

  • Austria is a member of the European Union and the Schengen Area

    • An Area without internal borders

    • Currently consists of 27 countries

    • Whether or not you need a Schengen Visa depends on your nationality

    • Learn more about the Schengen Area and the visa regulations here

  • As all of Austria’s bordering countries also belong to the Schengen Area, there are normally no controls when crossing into a neighboring country

  • On our first day we cycled through a tiny part of Germany, crossing the German/Austrian border twice in one day without more than a sign telling us we are changing countries

  • Austria to Slovenia (July 2021): 

    • Border Crossing Spielfeld/Šentilj on the road 67

    • Free passage, no border controls

Safety

  • Austria is a country with a low crime rate, but as everywhere, watch out for pickpockets in public areas

  • We never had any safety issues while cycling

  • Still, we always tried to be invisible when wild camping

  • Drivers can be impatient, but luckily we were able to stay on bike paths or quiet back roads most of the time

  • Emergency numbers: 

    • General European emergency number: 112

    • Police: 133

    • Ambulance: 144

    • Fire department: 122

Cash & Expenses

  • Exchange rate Jan. 2024: 1 USD = 0.92 EUR

  • In most shops you can pay with card

  • But it’s best to still always carry some cash with you

  • ATMs (Geldautomaten) can be found in every town or city, just search for them on Google Maps

Tourism

  • Austria offers numerous tourist attractions, picturesque old towns as well as magnificent landscapes

  • In the Austrian Alps you will find several different hiking & biking trails and cozy huts to spend the night

  • In winter you can go skiing in the Alps

  • As mentioned above, Austria has great long-distance bike paths on which you can explore the whole country

  • Salzburg

    • A really nice city with castles, a beautiful old town and lots of history

    • The birthplace of Mozart

    • Tobi lived here for a few years

    • Good & affordable public transport to get around

    • Good cycling infrastructure in & around the city

  • Liechtensteinklamm

    • One of the longest & deepest gorges in the Alps

    • It’s beautiful and very impressive, but was also rather crowded when we visited

    • We went there without the bikes, taking a car from St. Johann im Pongau (~6 km / 4 mi)

  • You can find many more impressive gorges in Austria (Schlucht/Klamm in German)

  • Most gorges are closed during the winter months though, due to security reasons

  • Graz

    • Also a cool, vivid city

    • We stayed here for a few days in July 2021 and really enjoyed it

  • If you are cycling in Austria, you should definitely consider going to the capitol Vienna

  • Also consider exploring some neighboring countries (e.g. by train)

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