Cycling Tirol: Best Cycling Climbs in Austrian Alps

The Austrian Alps are often overshadowed by other European cycling destinations, yet they boast numerous advantages. One major perk is Austria’s compact size, making distances between places manageable for multi-stop trips. With a diverse range of landscapes to explore, embarking on such journeys is not only feasible but highly recommended.

Landscape Details

Austria offers diverse cycling experiences, from flat routes near Vienna to challenging mountain climbs in the west. Tirol, renowned for its scenic roads and steep ascents, hosted the 2018 UCI Road World Championships. With its varied terrain and stunning scenery, Tirol is an ideal destination for cycling holidays. Explore its extensive network of quiet back roads and on-road routes using our route planner. Below are five must-try road bike rides for ambitious cyclists seeking mountain adventures.

Climate overview

The Austrian Alps region enjoys a moderate climate, with daytime temperatures ranging from 1 °C (34 °F) in January to 21 °C (70 °F) in July. Nighttime temperatures vary from -7 °C (19 °F) in January to 10 °C (50 °F) in July. The climate varies across the region, with higher humidity in the west due to prevailing westerly winds, resulting in around 40 inches (1,000 mm) of annual rainfall. Eastern areas have a more continental climate with less precipitation. 

In the lowlands and eastern hills, temperatures range from about 30 °F (−1 °C) in January to around 68 °F (20 °C) in July. At higher elevations, temperatures range from approximately 12 °F (−11 °C) in January to about 36 °F (2 °C) in July, with significant snow cover.

Top 5 Routes in the Region

Innsbruck – Kühtai

Distance: 110 km with 1,720m elevation gain

Kühtai is renowned in Tyrol’s road biking circuit, featuring in events like the Tour of Austria and serving as the opening climb for the Ötztal Bike Marathon. The 110km route from Innsbruck to Ötztal Valley, up Kühtai and back down to Innsbruck, offers stunning views of the Ötztal and Stubai Alps, passing through charming villages with dining options. 

Starting in Innsbruck, cyclists follow the Inn Cycle Path westward, facing potential wind challenges in the flat stretch to Telfs. Crossing the Inn, they continue on B171, passing through Rietz, Stams, and Silz, before entering Ötztal Valley. 

From Ötztal-Bahnhof, the climb begins, with a challenging 10km ascent to Ochsengarten, reaching gradients of 18%. The route then leads to Kühtai at 2,020m, offering refreshments amid its alpine serenity. The descent through Sellraintal Valley is exhilarating, with steep sections and sweeping corners, descending 1,400 vertical meters back to Kematen. Finally, riders return to Innsbruck via fields, meadows, and the Inn Cycle Path.

Tirol Road biking in Tirol | Innsbruck – Kühtai Ride

Lake Tour

Distance: 95 km with 800 m elevation gain

Start your journey at the Tourism Information Office in Tannheim heading east. Turn left at the Grän/Haldensee intersection onto Road L261, descending through Engetal and onward to Pfronten. Upon entering Pfronten, turn left onto the main street towards Pfronten-Ried. At the intersection, turn left, then right towards Füssen after a 90-degree left curve. At the traffic circle, take the right and continue until Weißensee. Turn left at the village’s end, passing through Schwarzenbach and Hopferried to Hopferau, then onward to Hopfen am See and Osterreinen. 

Follow the same road to Roßhaupten, keeping right along Forggensee lake shore to Bayerniederhofen. Turn right onto the bike trail in town, proceeding past Bannwaldsee through Mühlberg and Waltenhofen towards Schwangau. Before the Lechbrücke, turn right towards Vils and Pfronten. Upon reaching Pfronten-Steinach, turn right uphill towards Tannheim Valley through Engetal on Road L261. At the Grän/Haldensee intersection, turn right back to Tannheim and your starting point.

Agnes H Forggensee from Lechbruck

The Ötztal Glacier Road

Distance: 31 km with 1,550 m elevation gain

The Ötztal Glacier Road, spanning 13.5 kilometers with a 10.5% average gradient, leads to Austria’s highest accessible road point at 2,830 meters. Built in 1972, it’s a tough climb from Sölden through Rettenbachtal Valley to the glacier ski resorts in Ötztal Valley. After passing through the Rosi-Mittermeier-Tunnel, cyclists reach the Rettenbachferner and Tiefenbachferner glaciers. The ascent to Sölden requires strong calf muscles or low gears, with a relentless 13% gradient most of the way. Descending is straightforward, offering clear visibility back to Sölden.

Bike the World Ötztal Glacier Road – Highest Road in the Alps (Austria) – Indoor Cycling Training

Zillertal High Road

Distance: 34 km with 1,590 m elevation gain

The Zillertal High Road in Tirol’s Zillertal Valley offers road bike enthusiasts a challenging yet rewarding ride with its long, steep climbs and stunning views of the Tux and Zillertal Alps. Starting in Hippach and ending near the Jausenstation Melchboden hut, cyclists enjoy breathtaking vistas along the way. With five access points, including Hippach and Ried, reaching the highest point at 2,010 meters near the Melchboden snack bar is just the midpoint. Passing through Hochzillertal ski area at around 1,900 meters, riders can take a break before descending to Kaltenbach and Ried.

BicycleBeyond Cycling The Zillertaler Höhenstraße One spectacular High Alpine Road, Rennrad-Touren im Zillertal

Rattenberg Ride: Giro Region 31

Distance: 118 km with 2,500 m elevation gain

Nestled between the Kitzbühel Alps and Rofan Mountains, Alpbachtal offers diverse landscapes for road biking, with the “Giro Region 31” being a standout route. Starting in Rattenberg, site of the 2018 UCI Road World Championships, this challenging triple loop showcases Tirol’s quiet and scenic roads. Each loop, totaling 117 kilometers and 2,500 vertical meters, highlights cultural and historical gems. The first loop traverses the picturesque village of Alpbach, followed by a journey along Brandenberger Ache river in Brandenbergtal Valley for the second loop, and a visit to the serene Reintaler Seen lakes for the third loop.

Beginning at Notburga-Brunnen fountain in Rattenberg, riders head west on the B171 main road towards Brixlegg, then onto L5 to Reith im Alpbachtal, starting the first climb to Alpbach. After a rewarding descent, riders tackle the short but steep ascent to Kerschbaumersattel, enjoying panoramic views before descending into Zillertal Valley. 

Continuing towards the Inn Valley, cyclists pass historical landmarks before reaching Brixlegg again. For those extending the journey, a picturesque ride along Brandenberger Ache river leads to Brandenberg, followed by a descent to Mariatal bei Kramsach and a scenic route past Reintaler Seen lakes to Mariastein. After a final climb, the route descends to Baumgarten, Angath, and ends with a relaxing 16-kilometer stretch along the Inn Cycle Path back to Rattenberg.

Alpbachtal Rennradtouren im Alpbachtal Seenland, Tirol

Bike-friendly hotels in Tirol, Austrian Alps

KRONE eat drink stay: Hotel group for cyclists, Via Fienili 4 · I-39042 Bressanone · South Tyrol link | instagram

Steineggerhof: Bühlweg 14 – I-39053 Steinegg link | instagram

Hotel Magdalena: Dog and Bike friendly hotel, Grossriedstraße 23, A-6273 Ried im Zillertal link | instagram

Food Stops

Strudel-Cafe Kröll: Hofgasse 6 – Altstadt, Innsbruck, Austria link | facebook

Cafe Konditorei Hacker: Südtirolerstraße 46, Rattenberg 6240 link | instagram

Bike rentals

Crazy Bikez: Stafflerstraße 25, Innsbruck, Austria 6020 link | instagram

Bikerei 701: Kirchfeld 1, Reith Im Alpbachtal, Tirol, Austria 6235 link | instagram

Planning an adventure and need a tailored cycling or hiking guide? Reach out to us on Instagram, and we’ll be happy to assist you.

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