Austria's Alps offer some of Europe's best skiing in winter months...and they offer some of its best cycling in the summer.
Our Community Manager Kate was 10 years old when her dad, who loved cycling, decided to take her family on a two week summer trip around the Austrian lakes.
For fourteen days they cycled, went for cooling dips in the lakes after lunch, kayaked, dry slope tobogganed, took cable cars up mountains to take in the views, played ping-pong and stayed in lovely Austrian towns and farming villages. It is Kate's favourite bike trip in Europe.
Beautiful lake and mountain scenery, swimming
Tarmac roads and gravel paths
When to go
Why is it Europe's best?
|Clear mountain air, open countryside and quiet roads
This route is a loop starting in Salzburg - a beautiful Austrian city on the German border with plenty to do, see and eat. Kate and her family had a couple of days here before setting off and saw Mozart's birthplace, headed up to the 11th century Hohensalzburg Castle, and tried Sacher Torte at its Sacher Hotel home.
Fuelled up with Wiener Schnitzel and Almdudler, they set off around the lakes. The great thing about the lakes is that they all have towns on their shores, so you can really visit them in any order and know that you will have somewhere to stay. Kate and her family did a clockwise loop from Wonfgangsee to Bad Ischl, Hallstatt, Bad Aussee, Ebensee, Attersee and Mondsee. You've got it - 'see' is German for lake!
Going to Austria in the middle of summer was the perfect time to ride this route. It did rain a few times, but the weather was largely warm enough to make a cooling afternoon dip in the alpine lakes an attraction.
Kate and her twin brother Tom rented an inflatable boat at Mondsee and tried to make it across the lake. Their attempt was great fun but ultimately unsuccessful...no thanks to Tom's efforts!
The cycling itself was great. The roads were largely quiet and, where the road skirted a lake, very flat. Between the lakes, the roads were undulating with gradual climbs at points that were enough to challenge every member of the family. The route itself was nothing that two 10 year-olds couldn't manage and there were plenty of opportunities for side trips over lunch or on rest days to challenge more experienced riders. At times the challenge was just a stretch too far but getting rider and bike to the top of the climb (even at a push) meant a few kilometres of thrilling downhill riding.
The jewel in the crown of Austria's lake towns must surely be the village of Hallstatt. The 16th century village is so beautiful that has earned itself the accolades of being both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and having a replica built of it in China.
An unbeatable bike trip! The scenery is up there with the best and the route can be easily adapted depending on the time at hand and the experience of the riders. Fantastisch.
Kate has shared this trip as part of our Ultimate Trip 2018 competition. We're on the hunt for Europe's best bike trips and there is still time to enter (closes 5th Feb 2018 23:59 GMT). It could be long or short, faraway or nearby...if you think that it is special, tell us about it!