Biking in the Dolomites: An Easy, Scenic Ride from Italy to Austria

You’d never guess from looking at the photo below that any biking path in the Dolomite mountains in northern Italy could be easy. But the paved cycling route from San Candido, in the Sud Tyrol region of Italy, to Lienz, Austria, is 42km / 26mi of gentle downhill. It’s ideal for kids, rollerbladers, or anyone who wants to focus on the scenery and breathe fresh air – and maybe not get much exercise.


Mount Baranci Pier flickr


San Candido, Italy – Lienz, Austria

You’ll need about half a day for the whole trip, after you get to San Candido. If you need to, rent a bike in San Candido, then just follow the well-marked, well-maintained path. Take a break at one of the many playgrounds or small towns en route, or continue to the very pretty town of Lienz. Allow some time to explore the town before loading your bike on the train back to San Candido. 


Useful To Know…

  • The path is busiest on Sundays.   
  • Not recommended to ride in reverse because most of the bike traffic is heading the other direction. You’d be dodging a lot of people, some pedaling as fast as possible and assuming nobody’s coming in the opposite direction.

  

San candido to lienz



The Trains
  • San Candido is 2 hours by train from Bolzano, 3 hours from Trento, or 5 hours from Venice. 
  • Trains back to San Candido run about once an hour.
  • If you are traveling in a group of 4 people or more, it’s less expensive to buy a group pass (person + bike) on the train from Lienz to San Candido.

 

 

Sillian


What’s Nearby?
Add this bike ride to a week of hiking in the Dolomites out of Ortisei. Or, if you’re comfortable driving in Italy, add it to an itinerary around the Veneto countryside. Or add another couple days to the Italy Beyond the Obvious sample itinerary from Milan to Venice, but instead of heading down to Venice on Day 2, drive up to San Candido.



Photo of Monte Baranci, Dolomites, at sunrise by Pier/?
Photo of scenery along the bike path by Nico.P
Photo of the bike train by Guido Allibrante

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Posted by on Aug 14, 2009 in Cycling, Dolomites | 6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Lisa at Wanderlust Women
    August 16, 2009

    Buon giorno e buon Ferragosto. I now see the photo credit of that beautiful photo of the Dolomites. Just stunning.

    Reply
  2. Madeline
    August 16, 2009

    Thanks Lisa! Yeah the light on the Dolomites is amazing, isn’t it. I was excited when the photographer gave me permission to use that photo, I agree it’s stunning.

    Reply
  3. Alex
    October 18, 2010

    Great suggestion!! I am thinking of taking the ride and then going to Austria for a few days. do you know if this would be possible logistically? or would i somehow have to return the bike to the san candido rental place?

    Reply
  4. Madeline
    October 18, 2010

    Hi Alex, thanks for your comment. If you’d like to start your visit in Austria with Lienz, rent a bike in San Candido at the rental next to the train station. They have another rental store in Lienz where you can drop it off, so you don’t have to go back into Italy.
    Many people do this trip from a base near Bolzano or Ortisei, and if you did that – though it would be a bit of backtracking – you could take the train from Bolzano to Innsbruck, arguably one of the most beautiful train rides in Europe (okay I am biased but I’m not the only one who thinks so 🙂
    Do note that if you go, this is *not* a strenuous ride by any means. Perfect if you are traveling with a 5 year old for example. But the scenery is spectacular and don’t forget to keep your eye out for the Loacker (cookie) factory en route!

    Reply
  5. חופשות סקי
    October 30, 2011

    If you want to start the visit to Austria Lienz, rent a bike for rent San Candido near the train station.

    Reply
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