Want to try something new? Lienz is a great location for cycling without any compromises. These are the reasons why you should go:
- Lienz offers unrivaled climbs starting within a 10km distance, whereby the Grossglockner (Hochtor) leads you to a summit of 2504m! And don’t forget all the monstrous climbs closeby: Faschingalm, the Dolomiten Hütte, Zettersfeld and the Hochsteinhütte! If it’s not enough; Monte Zoncolan is within cycling distance…!
- The price level within the Lienz-region is very moderate, big plus compared to Italy and Switzerland!
- The Lienz region provides for a great opportunity to go off the beaten track to a less crowded -but stunning- region with serious climbing challenges!
East Tirol is not a well-known cycling region (at least not to us), therefore we were very surprised by the monstrous climbs that are within cycling distance of Lienz. Some of the hardest climbs in Europe are located in this small traditional Austrian region. Add to that the possibility to climb the Grossglockner and the views from the Dolomiten Hütte and you have a perfect location for a cycling holiday. Only downside of the region is that there are limited possibilities to cycle real loops. So it is up the hill and down the same way you came.
Lienz itself is quite large and has some decent restaurants, supermarkets and two cycling shops for any repairs necessary. The pre-selected accommodations are located in quit areas. Price levels are really moderate and therefore a good alternative for the more popular cycling destinations.
We have included a few cycling routes including our favorite!
Lienz – Hochtor – Bruck a/d Grossglocknerstrasse – Hochtor – Lienz
Who does not know the Grossglocker! Starting from Lienz the road snakes up 38 kilometers. The road until Rojach is for the most part almost flat (1 gradient) with a slightly stepper part in the beginning and after 10 kilometers. Until Rojach you should have any problems. If so, make sure to turn around at this point in time!!
After Rojach it gets a lot steeper. The next 18 kilometers consist of winding roads with more than 10% gradient. After 9 kilometers the road heads down for 2 kilometers which gives you some well-earned rest. The final kilometers are the hardest given the high altitude. At the top of the mountain enjoy a nice hearty lunch.
Head down towards Bruck a/d Grossglocknerstrasse. There is a small surprise about 4 kilometers after you start your descend. For this reason you can also decide to head down first and stop for lunch in Bruck which has plenty of restaurants. Afterwards head up again from the other side.
From Bruck the road takes 34 kilometers up to Hochtor. But don’t be fooled this side has 6 kilometers more of real climbing to do. After 28 kilometers there is a small descend. On top of Hochtor get a coke and then start you 38km descend (apart from the small climb after a few kilometers). As the valley opens up it offers magnificent views.
Lienz – Faschingalm – Lienz – Dolomiten Hütte – Lienz
Starting from the center of Lienz follow the signs that lead you towards Gaimberg and next follow the signs to Faschingalm. This is a really nasty climb. With very steep parts in the beginning which do not seem to end. For six kilometers the average incline is 12.4%! On top of the Faschingalm you can either take a drink or head down the same road you came. When going down, mind the gullies in the road. They can feel really nasty.
Back down in Lienz head towards Lavant and at some point in time head right towards the Dolomiten Hütte. If you thought the Faschingalm was heavy then you are in for a treat. The Dolomiten Hütte is not long but has an average of 12.6% with no parts where you can rest. Steepest part is 18%……
The road ends at the Dolomiten Hütte. A place located on an outcropping. It offers really crazy views and is the perfect place to chill on warm summers day especially after the hard bike ride. Enjoy!!
After you have chilled long enough head back down towards Lienz.
- Lienz – Hochwurtenspeicher – Oscheniksee – Lienz
Ok now for a real epic climb! This climb takes you first to the Oscheniksee and then after lunch to the Hochwurtenspeicher (we have saved the best for last). Both climbs end around 2400 meters. The climb to Oscheniksee is regarded as one of the hardest climbs in the Alps. The climb up the Mölltaler Gletscherstrasse to Hochwurtenspeicher is only slightly easier.
Before starting your day make sure you pack enough food and bring sufficient water / energy drink. Start you day in Lienz and follow the road to Winklern (same road as the road to Hochtor). Then turn right towards Flattach. Before Flattach turn left towards the Mölltaler Gletscher. This is were it start to become steep. Just after Innerfragant (at 1172m) there is an unmarked small asphalt road going off into the woods (you really have to look for it not to miss it!). This is the road to the dam of the Oscheniksee. His is partly a private road and therefore very quit. There may be a lot of debris on the road as well so be careful especially on your way down. The road to the Oscheniksee is constantly very very very steep, mostly around 13-15%. This climb is a real killer! Luckily there is a shorter flatter (10% plus) section higher up.
On to do no wait too long as there is no rest station. Head down the way you came and when you reach the junction were you turned towards the Oscheniksee, follow the road up again towards the Mölltaler Gletscher. Shortly thereafter you can stop for lunch at the Alpenhotel Badmeister.
After having lunch continue the Mölltaler road. This road is a barred for motorized vehicles, but you can continue your way on slightly wider roads than those to the Oscheniksee. Eventually you come to a tunnel and on the other side there the road descends slightly. Now comes a very steep section (15%) on a narrow road passing through 2 galleries. This is where you think you almost made it seeing the “Mölltaler Mittelstation”. You already guessed it: there is still some more climbing to do!! But fear not the hardest part is behind you! Continue the last section towards the Weisssee and then a little above the Hochwurtenspeicher. There the asphalt road ends after another short descent and you can see a very steep gravel track winding its way up to Duisburger Hütte. We recommend not to go up with your road bike.
When heading down back towards Lienz mind the gullies! Try to jump over them but make sure that your hands are on the breaks as you quickly gain speed!