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Following the course of the Drau from Toblach/Innichen via Lienz, Spittal, Villach, Ferlach, Völkermarkt to Maribor.
About 366 km long, well sign-posted and easy to cycle on for everyone, recognizable as the R1: the number one on the list of cycling tours is the Drau cycleway. You should allow for four days at least for this route simply because of the wealth of tourist attractions along the way.
From Toblach/Innichen – Sillian to Lienz (47 km)
From Innichen station you can first cycle to the source of the Drau in the Toblacher Feld before setting off along the Drau cycleway to Lienz. From Innichen station through the town to the hospital, the cycleway begins just after the bridge across the Drau. Passing through Vierschach, then up a gentle incline you soon reach the border. In Arnbach you take the federal road and then on to the Drau embankment. Through Sillian (short visit to the Goblin Park), past the castle at Heinfels, Abfaltersbach (Aigner spa), Tassenbach, Strassen, crssoing the Drau twice en route. After Strassen there is short uphill stretch and then a long drop down into Abfaltersbach. Through Mittewald, you cross a few mountain streams on your way to Thal (swimming baths) and then on to the Galitzen gorge. Just a short ride now to Lienz.
From Lienz to Spittal (66 km)
Just behind the Dolomites stadium the second stage of the Drau cycleway begins. To Tristach and then along an avenues towards Nikolsdorf. You pass Lavant (Roman town of Aguntum), alternating between the left and the right bank of the Drau, and cross the provincial border. The surface is now party gravel, partly tarmac and you go through Pirkach to reach Oberdrauburg. From the station to the main road and then off to your right and along the Drau embankment to Dellach. To your left is Irschen. You veer right in Dellach, cross the Drau and then left at the sports ground, going up and down until you get to Berg. There you turn right again and go through Amlach to Bruggen. You pass the sports field and stay close to the Drau with Steinfeld to your left; along a lovely stretch of the trail you go through Lind to Sachsenburg, then a short stint on the road, left to Möllbrücke, then past the station and under the freeway. The gravel trail now takes you past Schloss Drauhofen to the crossroads Lendorf/Teurnia. The main route turns right across the Drau, along the provincial road with a few minors inclines and through Rosenheim and Baldramsdorf to the station in Spittal.
From Spittal to Feistritz im Rosental (105 km)
Starting point for the third stage is the station in Spittal. You cross the rails and the Lieser bridge and continue to St Peter. Under the motorway and then beside it, passing Rothenthurn and on to the bridge at Mauthbrücken. From now on a gravel path takes you along the Drau embankment – you cross the bridge at the power station at Paternion and pass Feffernitz and Kellerberg to get to Tolplitsch.. Go over the bridge and past the power station at Ferlach and arrive in Villach with its thermal baths (break). Continue to St Magdalen, under the motorway to the Silbersee. Keeping on the embankment you pass Föderlach and the Rosegg power station before arriving at the Drau bridge at Rosegg. Up past the zoo to the main road, across the bridge at Frög and then downhill again to the Drau. The trail now climbs and drops and passes through smaller villages such as Dreilach and Längdorf; keep on the embankment to Maria Elend. Now you have a fairly long climb to the cycle bridge and then a long drop into St Oswald. A few minor inclines now, passing the Naturerlebnisdorf holiday home, along the embankment into Feistritz, finishing the stage at the station.
From Feistritz to Völkermarkt (38 km)
Take the embankment from Feistritz and soon you will see the Hollenburg castle. Passing the Ressnig bathing facility you leave the embankment at the Ferlach power station. On to a large trout breeder and soon you are in Glainach, where you rejoin the embankment. Cross the Margarethen bridge and head north to the power station at Annabrücke. From the power station head south again to Holzbrück and cross the Vellach, staying close to the Drau as far as Seidendorf. You cross the bridge and then the gravel trail for the last section with a few climbs, passing Neudenstein castle before you come to the Drau bridge at Völkermarkt. Here you either head up to your right to the Völkermarkt-Kühnsdorf station, or, if you are more of the sporting type, turn left and then right again behind Unarach and on up towards Watzelsdorf. Up and down, passing St Peter am Wallersberg, through Feifnitz and Bach you reach the federal road at Ruden. Stay on this main road for a bit and then cross country to your destination at the Eis-Ruden railway station. A visit to the Had’n region Jauntal and the village of Neuhaus is very worthwhile.
From Lavamünd to Maribor (95 km)
At Lavamünd you leave Austrian soil and head towards the Slovenian town of Maribor. On the right bank of the river you cycle past Dravograd, Vuzenica and Ruse until you reach Maribor after a ride of approximately 95 kilometres.
In South Tyrol and East Tyrol virtually all tarmac, in Carinthia partly gravel, partly tarmac. For the most part you cycle along the Drau embankment. With the exception of a few climbs in the Drau valley and in Rosental, the trail is mostly on level ground.
10 May 2012
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