The River Mur Cycle Trail is considered among aficionados to be one of the most beautiful riverside cycling routes in Alps thanks to the sheer variety of its scenery. It starts in the Hohe Tauern National Park and accompanies the Mur to its mouth in Croatia. In the north, mountains, alpine pastures and lakes provide variety; the south is dominated by corn fields and the oil pumpkins that are so typical of the area, as well as vast floodplains where the vineyards are not too far off. Scattered in between are cities such as Graz, culinary capital of Austria and European Capital of Culture 2003, which boasts UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the old town and Eggenberg Castle.
On this cycling tour, the Mur ‒ the largest river in Austria after the Danube ‒ will lead us from the colossal mountains at its source in the Hohe Tauern to the hot springs and vineyards of the south. We will jump into cool lakes and explore one of Europe’s most stunning gorges, the Bärenschützklamm. We will enjoy delicious snacks comprising regional products and maybe a glass or two of fine wine. We will get to know the mining town of Leoben and historic market towns of particular cultural and architectural renown, such as Bruck an der Mur and Bad Radkersburg with their charming old towns.
We will of course pay a visit to Graz, city of culture and culinary pleasures, and experience its Mediterranean ambience. Romantic hillsides clad with vineyards a little off the beaten track will inspire us to climb them. Pumpkin fields, apple orchards and pumpkin seed oil mills will show us that apples, wine and pumpkins aren’t just food in Styria, but pure gourmet indulgence and cultural heritage combined.
In short: We are about to embark on one of the most spectacular bike trips that a person can experience. A trip that will live long in the memory for its breadth and variety.
Detailed arrival information can be found here.
The daily stages described below are merely suggestions, as so much beauty cannot be planned down to the last minute. Some of the stage descriptions may offer tips about possible detours, but these sights are certainly well worth seeing and experiencing. Every couple of kilometres you will come across an establishment offering delicious culinary specialities, giving you the opportunity to get to know these hosts for what they are: ambassadors for Styria. Another important note: Put together, the number of kilometres for each stage adds up to more than the length of the entire route, as we have included the return journeys to the respective town centres/accommodation providers in each stage.
The first stage from the Sticklerhütte to St. Michael im Lungau is intended to get you in the spirit. Before following the course of the Mur downstream, we should take some time to hike from the Sticklerhütte hut to the source of the Mur in the Hohe Tauern National Park. Walking time from the Sticklerhütte to the source of the Mur is around 1.5 hours. The scenery here is wonderful, with brightly blooming meadows and alpine grassland. Depending on the weather and the time of year, up to 5,000 litres per second of crystal-clear spring water flows from beneath the Brunnwand every day (where the Mur originates). From the Sticklerhütte, we initially follow a gravel road and then fly downhill to Muhr im Lungau on asphalt. Those who would like to cover a few more kilometres can go on to St. Michael im Lungau, which has excellent facilities geared towards cyclists travelling along the Mur. The next section takes us on the stage from St. Michael im Lungau to Murau; heading firstly to Tamsweg with its historical market square and pilgrimage church of St. Leonhard. Wood in all its forms dominates this part of the trip ‒ our tip: visit the St. Ruprecht Museum of Wood on the left bank of the Mur, easily accessible across a bridge. Our destination for this stage is the peaceful Murau, a medieval brewing town that boasts a beer museum, Obermurau Castle and a beautifully designed centre.
In the first section of our stage from Murau to Judenburg, as we pass through the narrow Mur Valley at the foot of the Lower Tauern, we will be accompanied by the Mur Valley Railway. This runs from Tamsweg to Unzmarkt and is particularly popular among cyclists. At Frauenburg, we are greeted by the fabled ruins of Frauenburg castle, built as a rocky hillside fortress in the 13th century by the minstrel Ulrich von Liechtenstein. There is also plenty to see in the Märchenwald (fairy tale forest), as well as in the town of Judenburg: climb Austria’s highest city tower, which houses one of the most state-of-the-art planetariums in Europe. On the stage from Judenburg to Leoben, we cross through the region of Zirbenland with its small towns of Zeltweg and Knittelfeld. There is time for a stop at the Red Bull Ring, which offers many attractions for young and old, or a visit to the Aqualux Therme spa for some well-deserved relaxation. In the old industrial towns and sites, attempts to address the pains of the past in the form of architecture have clearly borne fruit: well-maintained old towns, buzzing pedestrian zones and interesting museums await us, as they do in our destination for this stage, Leoben. The latter’s wealth of attractions include Göss Abbey, Göss Brewery and Gösseum museum, the Kunsthalle Leoben and the town’s main square, which is affectionately known as Austria’s biggest “Schanigarten” (pavement cafe).
After feasting on culture and culinary delights in Leoben, we set off on the long stage from Leoben to Graz. This stage travels through the ever-narrowing Mur Valley via the old town of Bruck an der Mur, with its Schlossberg, and the town of Frohnleiten, which enjoys a decidedly romantic location. Pure nature is our companion along the way: old farmhouses, orchards, towering cliff walls. Rabenstein Castle, the Lurgrotte caves and Stübing Open Air Museum are just some of the highlights on this section. Tip: the right bank of the Mur via Gratwein is now the preferred way to get to Graz from Stübing. Once in Graz, home of UNESCO World Heritage sites Eggenberg Castle and its old town, it’s almost imperative to climb up the clock tower at the Schlossberg and gaze out over the “red roofs of Graz” into the Mur Valley and beyond. And after that... whether you seek culinary highlights or cultural treasures, Graz and its Mediterranean-style flair is waiting to be discovered. Tips for tours of discovery through Graz can be found here.
On the stage from Graz to Leibnitz, the wine capital of South Styria, we start off through the Grazer Feld Plain to Wildon, with its ruined castle and a beautifully situated bathing lake. At Gralla, we leave the River Mur Cycle Trail and turn right to get to Leibnitz. At Leibnitz, Seggau Castle supplies a good dose of culture, impressing visitors with its prince’s apartments and a wonderful portrait gallery. Not to mention a wine cellar over 300 years old to tickle the taste buds. Our tip: It is well worth taking a detour to the Sulm Valley to experience the vineyard-clad hillsides and wine taverns dotted around Lake Sulm and the Silbergerg Winegrowing Academy! Water of every kind is to be found on the stage from Leibnitz to Bad Radkersburg: the Mur as our guideline, Lake Röck to bathe in, Peterquelle mineral water to drink, and the Parktherme Bad Radkersburg to rest our weary legs. Heading further south-east away from Leibnitz, the Mur soon forms a border between Austria and Slovenia. In Mureck, cyclists along the Mur can expect to encounter an old ship mill with stone grinders and a guesthouse with a beautiful terrace right by the river. In Bad Radkersburg, we quickly realize that the town has much more to offer than just a spa: its historic old town, for one thing, with a jumble of architectural styles that blend seamlessly together, and an unbeatable cycling network that encompasses vineyards and pumpkin seed oil farms. It’s not hard to find an excuse to extend your holiday here.
The final stage, which should be divided into two days as it covers just over 100 km, takes us across the national border to Slovenia and continues until the Mur flows into Legrad in Croatia. The route runs along both sides of the Mur, offering you the chance to undertake a round trip from and to Bad Radkersburg. Due to its scenic charms and the way the route runs, we recommend the right-hand bank.
Those planning to cover around 100 km per day are advised to visit the stage towns of Murau, Bruck an der Mur and Leibnitz, before pedalling on to Bad Radkersburg on the final day, where the Parktherme spa offers a well-earned chance to relax.
If you would like to use a racing bike, here are a couple of tips: in Austria, over 300 km of the 357 km route is asphalted. From the Sticklerhütte towards Muhr im Lungau, the first few kilometres are not suitable for racing bikes; nor is the section through the Murauen Biosphere Park on the border between Austria and Slovenia. As Bad Radkersburg is also a popular destination among racing bike cyclists, you will find a number of lonely municipal roads between Spielfeld and Bad Radkersburg that are ideal for racing bikes. It is best to visit TV Region Bad Radkersburg for information on touring this section. However, from time to time the odd section is surfaced with thick gravel ‒ details can be obtained from the elevation profile of the River Mur Cycle Trail.
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
The historical Mur Valley Railway is a special attraction on the Tamsweg-Unzmarkt section: more information about timetables and taking your bike on regular services as well as free transport for your bike on the steam trains can be found here.
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.
Free parking is available in St. Michael im Lungau and Muhr im Lungau !
Please visit www.murradweg.com
for an overview of partners, or the "Murradweg" brochure which you can order free at Steiermark Tourismus.
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,
Returning from Bad Radkersburg to St. Michael im Lungau
St. Michael im Lungau
tel. +43 6477 8111
Please register in advance. More information at: Bacher Travelling www.murradtour.info
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.