up and down mountains by bike...
A wonderful bike path 
along Salzach and Inn rivers  
from Krimml (Osterreich) 
to Passau (Germany)
the map
Detailed map available
  The cycle path of Tauerns takes its name from the Austrian mountains here placed and winds along Salzach and Inn rivers valleys starting from Krimml waterfalls. It goes through the nice city of Salzburg till to arrive to Passau (Germany), where joins the Danube path.
We covered the itinerary of about 400 km in one week (AUGUST 1999) and we spent a lot of time to visit little villages and other interesting places.
We found some help to organize the travel by Austrian Tourist Office (handbooks in Italian language) and we utilised the green Italian Touring Club guide.

Here you will find a short "tale" about our travel: some useful advice and some  photos of the beautiful summer holiday.

Ivan and Laura
 FIRST STAGE: From Krimml to Neukirchen (20km)

We decided to carry our bikes by car, even if in Austria it is possible to rent bikes in the start railway station and to deliver them in another station. We parked the car next to the Hallein railway station, which is about in the middle of the whole itinerary. Then we took the train with bikes and after about three hours and half  we arrived to Krimml  railway station.
YES! Railway station, because from railway station to the path start, next to the waterfalls, there is a distance of about four kilometers along a rising road! We could not give up going toward difficulty (we are, you know, flat road people...). So we went up... and then down, I don't know why... (waterfalls?!). Downhill is wonderful, it is clear! The path goes through the Salzach valley among snowy mountains (Dreiherrnspitze) with a nice alpine landscape and above all cool. We are cycling on secondary country roads among sweet houses and woods. No busy cars, no smog, some wandering cows eating grass, some "gasthof" with the little flag "Zimmerfrei"  to show free rooms where you can spend your silent night. We go across little villages with wodden houses, the sawmills smell of just cut trunks, along the streets craftmen shops attract us with carved faces  and sculpts. We decide to stop at Neukirchen.

Hohe Tauern park
SECOND STAGE: From Neukirchen to Zell am See (72km)

At morning starting the valley is in full sunshine. The sweet smell of cut wood continues to follow us during the tour. We meet animals, cows, sheeps and something unusual !   First stop at Bamberg, where we visit the old church. Every garden is decorated by charming flowers and sculpts of wood. After some hours we arrive at Mittersill, nice town with nice supermarket! Here we go to the local "FELBERTURM" museum, High Tauern park museum, in which anything is in exposition. Old crafts, coins, ski, animals of the national park. Outdoor we find also an old railway carriage and firemen  trucks  of the beginning of century.
We continue the path along the valley meeting lots of bikers, young and old ones, adults and children. On right side we can admire the impressive glaciers of Grossglockner, the highest mountain of Austria. We quietly arrive in the little village of Kaprun, with the ancient castle. Then we draw near Zell am See, on the lake, nice little town but chaotic. Here we find a good hotel for the night.In the afternoon we met a Konditorei and we profitted by it: cakes  are beautiful and attractive.

THIRD STAGE: From Zell am See to Bischofshofen (68km)
The day starts with the Zeller lake   tour in a wonderful early sunshine. The east side of the lake is surrouded by a road without cycle path, but the panorama you can see is actually very nice. The glacier shows its whole magnitude. Next to Taxenbach we meet two nice...friends (From Germany), Otto and Helma, who started with us at Krimml: a stop at one of the many "trinkwasser" is right to talk in English about cycling experiences and goals. And then for the whole day we go up-and-down-hill. Two waterfalls to admire and a very hard slope after Lend which makes us tired, veeery tired!
An arrow not very visible shows us the direction of  Lichtenstein Klamm, the waterfalls . Following our instinct (but above all the Touring Club guide...) we arrive at the impressive waterfalls, in a gorge  wide only few meters and dug by the river water during thousand years. Do not miss this show! From here we continue along the path which flat follows the Salzach river, with gravel. St. Johann is an interesting town, its cathedral deserves a...slope! We stop our day at Bischofshofen. Today we went through a landscape with mountains and Salzach gorges, along country roads we shared with other bike people and ... cows!  The stage was positive. In the evening rainy weather after the sunshine.

FORTH STAGE: From Bischofshofen to Hallein (44km)
Starting after having repaired the bike, the goal is the small village of Werfen and its castle  on a rock spur in th middle of Salzach valley. We park our bikes and catch the bus for Eisriesenwelt, ice caves till to 1600 m in the mountains. Cable car, some hundred meters on feet and then we arrive to the entrance of the mountain (0 °C temperature, cover your body!) and we admire the show   of water/ice that during periodical thaws forms wonderful figures and sculpts. After about 4 hours we come back to bikes and meet again our German friends who will meet again every day along the path towards Passau... No stop at Hohenwerfen castle, we prefer to continue. We know that a new slope is waiting for us, next to Pass Lueg (on feet, maybe...). We dream up a fresh TRINKWASSER ... 

After efforts, the path is easier, it rises over little hills beside the river: valleys are larger and mountains are sweeter. Next stop to Hallein, where we left the car. hohensalzburg by night
Here we can sleep, but for the evening the plan is a tour till to Salzburg by car. Some photo: the city is crowded of tourists for the music festival. The ancient palaces of the old part keep the charm of this romantic city, Mozart's homeland. The Salzach river  gives it a solemnty shade. 

FIFTH STAGE: From Hallein to Tittmoning (60km)
We spend the morning in the salt mines  of Durrnberg, Salzbergwerk: the visit is interesting, very amusing are the clothes supplied at the entrance; the miners train carries us along the caves and we can utilise the slides!
We arrive in Salzburg at 2 p.m. (by bike...) and we meet again German friends . This time we exchange the addresses and ask some information about "weissbier" taste.  After the city, we go along the river through trees and country: the path is flat, linear and... monotonous! Every now and then some signs show us where we can have meal and sleep. Now we can cycle fast. The terrain is mixed: some gravel, but our bikes are trained! Some stops to konditorei to get energy: the cake with whipped cream and strawberries is wonderful. The small villages we meet along the path are used to bikers: many hotels and houses have "welcome" flags  hung up at the windows. The river is the boundary between Austria and Germany. We decide to stop at Tittmoning, in German land.

SIXTH STAGE: From Tittmoning to Braunau (60km)
The day starts with a hard slope (the last one!). Then the path goes through a fresh and wet wood, then open countries with up-and-down hills. This is the last piece of Salzach, first that it flows into Inn: here we find swamps and wet zones. We leave Austria and visit, in Germany, the small medieval village of Burghausen    with the fortress along the whole hill. After a visit to the seven courtyards  of the castle, we continue the path along the right side of Salzach. Probably we missed the right way before the fortress, but the German path too is well signed, even if the road surface is not so good. Some kilometers, some small country villages, two times across the Inn and we are in Austria.
The weather is too hot today: we decide to stop at Braunau am Inn  (here Hitler was born) at the "bier feast", in the centre. A visit to the town, two beers before sleeping. 

SEVENTH STAGE: From Braunau to Passau (70km)

The start is from Braunau, in the market where the "bier feast" took place. The goal is Passau, the last city of Tauern cycle path. After about 15 km we meet for the last time our German friends and together we go along the road and the Inn. The river  here is very large. We can see wet zones and swamps: herons and ducks find here their ideal home. The landscape is very relaxing: quietness is broken only by some bikers like us coming from opposite direction.
Across small and interesting towns like Obernberg and Scharding  we continue our path, with old squares, multicolour houses and medieval gates.
At the end, we see again the buildings of Passau, the three rivers city, we visited exactly one year ago. When we enter the city we are a little excited, the weather is cloudy, some rain drop comes from the sky.
After a compulsory visit to the Rathaus and the cathedral (with photo  ...) and its big organ, we start the Danube cycle path towards Wien, but this is another story.

Passau, the second time by bike !