Awe-inspiring mountain profiles and landscapes accompany us on this cycling tour through the heart of Austria. Marvel as the placid, tranquil river Enns becomes a roaring, thrashing torrent in the Gesäuse National Park, as if straining angrily against the narrowness of the valley. While the first section of the route is characterised by high alpine mountain scenery, the second focuses on the ever-calmer river Enns. As in any good literary work: after the tumultuous climax comes the gentle conclusion – through an enchanting landscape of romantic little towns, orchards and meadows until finally reaching our destination where we can choose to pick up the River Danube Cycle Trail that takes us to Linz.
A few highlights of the River Enns Cycle Trail in a nutshell: the start, at a little over 1,000 m above sea level at the foot of the Lower Tauern in Flachauwinkl. The stunning mountains, such as the Dachstein, and the innumerable bathing lakes, such as Lake Putterer. The historic towns of Radstadt and Schladming, among others, with their lively sporting attractions. The imposing Grimming, Europe’s highest freestanding mountain, and, at its feet, Trautenfels Castle with its wonderful exhibitions on culture and nature. A few kilometres further, Admont Abbey at the entrance to the Gesäuse National Park, boasting the largest monastery library in the world. And of course the old market town of Steyr, and Enns, Austria’s oldest town. Flowing between the two towns, the river Enns forms a natural border between Upper Austria and Lower Austria.
Detailed arrival information can be found here.
The day stages described below are merely suggestions. You will see that so much beauty simply cannot be planned down to the last minute, and we will also give you a couple of tips here and there about possible detours ‒ these sights are certainly worth seeing and experiencing too. One more thing: the sheer variety offered by our cycling trip requires a certain “flexibility”. A bathing costume is just as important for the numerous bathing lakes as sturdy footwear is for a hike in the Schladminger Tauern mountains or one of the national parks, for example.
There are many roads that lead to Rome, or in this case Enns. Here, we’d like to give you an overview of the tour along the river Enns; we recommend at least six days to complete it. Many a guest has decided to stay awhile at one of the guesthouses in a particularly romantic spot, and postponed their tour for the next day. Because on holiday we’re not always bolting off; instead, we have selected one of the most beautiful ways to experience Austria in the form of the River Enns Cycle Trail. And it requires keeping your eyes open, a moderate level of fitness, and, most of all, time. Important note: Put together, the individual stages add up to a few more kilometres than the original trail length, as we have included the return journeys to the respective town centres/accommodation in each stage.
On the first stage from Flachauwinkl to Schladming, we are accompanied by the mighty Dachstein on the left and the Lower Tauern on the right. The landscape is breathtaking. Rugged mountains, rushing water, entrancing valleys. Tip: Before starting in Flachauwinkl, we will head into the valley to visit the wonderfully situated Prechtlhütte on the Marbachalm. To the north, above the Marbachalm, springs the river Enns. The journey time from our start in Flachauwinkl is a little over half an hour. After enjoying this beautiful alpine pasture and having topped up our energy levels, we start our tour along the river Enns. The early part of our tour is certainly something to look forward to, traversing a realm of mountains and water, even if the Enns initially works its way through the hard rock rather inconspicuously here.
The next day, we take the stage from Schladming to Irdning past the Hauser Kaibling ski resort, the eastern entry point to the Schladming 4-Mountain Ski Area beloved by all winter sports fans. Here we cycle in sight of the Grimming, Europe’s highest freestanding mountain, through sleepy little towns and villages such as Pruggern and Öblarn. We are greeted at our destination by Trautenfels Castle, also known as the gateway to the Salzkammergut region. From Irdning to Admont, the Enns Valley widens. On this stage, we pay a visit to the small town of Liezen, which is also the capital of Austria’s largest district (in geographic size) and therefore larger than the federal state of Vorarlberg. Beyond Liezen, the Gesäuse National Park quickly rises to meet us. Behind Admont, which boasts a famous Benedictine Monastery and the world’s largest monastery library, the Enns makes its majestic breakthrough: the Enns Valley Alps yield to the mighty pressure of the water, giving it free rein through the Gesäuse National Park. The mighty thunder of the Enns and its rolling waters is our constant companion the following day.
On the stage from Admont to Weyer/Kastenreith, we have a journey from national park to national park ahead of us ‒ from the Gesäuse to the Kalkalpen (Limestone Alps). Some sections on this stage unfortunately run along the road; they are very challenging, and particularly unsuitable for families, as the traffic can be very heavy on certain days. To avoid these, it is possible to use a bike shuttle service: up to five bikes can be transported on all ÖBB Postbus courses on lines 910 and 912 ‒ look for the bike symbol or the signage “Fahrradmitnahme begrenzt möglich” (“Bicycle transport available but limited”). For more information or to make a booking, please call +43 810 222 333 (open daily from 6 am to 10 pm). Another option is to arrange transport with Taxi Thalhuber; more information is available by calling +43 3637 212. If we cycle through the Gesäuse, there is a detour we might wish to consider: at Hieflau it is possible to pick up the Iron Road to Eisenerz, with its impressive Erzberg. At Hieflau, the Enns also changes direction: until now we have been cycling from west to east, but now we head north up towards the Danube.
We have now arrived in Upper Austria! On this stage from Weyer/Kastenreith to Steyr, the high alpine landscape now begins to soften into a tranquil, densely forested area. The craggy cliffs become scarcer; forest now dominates our view, particularly in the Reichraminger Hintergebirge mountains. Our tip for bypassing the Eisenbundesstraße road: We take the short-cut via the Hintergebirge Cycle Trail R9 through the Reichraminger Hintergebirge mountains. This trail runs along the former Waldbahn forest railway line, through old rock tunnels and along a crystalline mountain stream, from Altenmarkt via Unterlaussa and the Biwakplatz Weißwasser campground to Reichraming, before finally reaching the charming little historic town of Steyr. It is possible to make the return journey via the Steyr Valley Cycle Trail, along the Steyr river to Klaus an der Pyhrnbahn or Hinterstoder. From here, you can turn back to Styria after a short train ride to Selzthal/Liezen, one of our interim stops on the third stage. From this train station, we are just a comfortable train ride away from Radstadt and Schladming.
The Enns has increased in volume now that the river Steyr flows into it, and now sweeps through a broad, heavily used plain on the stage from Steyr to Enns. At this point it forms the border between the two federal states of Upper Austria and Lower Austria. Our last, beautiful highlight: the historic town of Enns. It is just a short stretch to the ferry across the Danube to Mauthausen, where we can take the River Danuybe Cycle Trail upstream to Linz. Once in Linz, European Capital of Culture 2009, we head back to Schladming or Radstadt/Flachau by train via Salzburg and Bichofshofen.
Those who are planning to cover around 100 km per day should consider the stage towns of Irdning and St. Gallen, before pedalling on to Enns on the final day.
If you are using a racing bike, here are a couple of tips: most of the route is asphalted. As some sections pass through natural conservation areas, they may not be asphalted, but rather laid with thick gravel ‒ please find out more from the elevation profile of the Enns Valley Cycle Trail.
Between Admont and Weyer, a couple of sections of the trail run along the road. For this reason, bike shuttle services are offered here on PostBus lines 910 and 912; Thalhuber taxis offer a similar service ‒ more information is available under "Further info and links".
The Summer Card in the Schladming-Dachstein region offers free admission to over 100 amazing experiences when you spend even just one night at a participating business: this means free transport and admission for mountain railways, swimming pools & lakes, buses & road charges, family & recreational attractions, and cultural sights & museums between Schladming and Admont.
Detailed information about arriving by ÖBB (Austrian Federal Railways) can be found at www.oebb.at, or on the Verbundlinie Steiermark website www.busbahnbim.at
if opting to return by the alternative route from Steyr via the Steyr Valley Cycle Trail and the Phyrn Railway. The route for the Steyr Valley Cycle Trail can be found here; ÖBB timetable information can be found here. In this case, you will cycle from Steyr to Klaus an der Phyrnbahn, and then take the train to Selzthal and Schladming/Radstadt, or even continue on to Salzburg/Munich.
With Verbundlinie’s BusBahnBim route planner app, planning your journey has never been easier: simply enter towns and/or addresses, stop names or points of interest to check all bus, train and tram connections in Austria. The app is available free of charge for smartphones (Android, iOS) – on Google Play and in the App Store.
Parking is available in Flachauwinkl at the valley station of the mountain railway ; more detailed information can be obtained at the Flachau Tourist Office,
Tel. +43 6457 2214
Tel. +43 316 4003
If you would like to hire a tour operator, simply book with Steiermark Touristik, the official travel agency of Steiermark Tourismus:
Tel. +43 316 4003450, www.steiermark-touristik.com
Returning from Enns to Radstadt/Flachau
The Steiermark Touren app, available free of charge on Google Play and the App Store (Android, iOS), offers detailed first-hand information:
brief facts (length, duration, difficulty, ascent and descent/elevation gain, ratings), map, route descriptions, altimeter, compass, peak finder, navigation along the tour. You can also create your own personal lists of favourite tours and sites, store tours and destinations offline, use social media channels, and much more.