Styrian Wine Country Cycling Tour
Always there with you: plenty of culinary and cultural attractions as well as attractions simply worth seeing due to their natural beauty, which invite you to an enjoyable stopover. So how long it takes you to complete the tour is not just a matter of fitness, but rather of taste and views.
The leading role is played by apples, Hirschbirne pears, wine and pumpkins as well as chocolate, vinegar and cheese makers and wineries, castles, palaces and intact old towns as well as river valleys, meadows and wonderfully relaxing thermal springs.
The stages in detail
Stage 4: From Graz to St. Ruprecht an der Raab (42.8 km). The good news first: When you have completed this first climb, you will be rewarded with beautiful views and will already have the worst behind you. From Gleisdorf and entering into the eastern Styrian Roman Wine Road you can then already be moderately introduced to the guiding topic of wine.
Stage 5: St. Ruprecht an der Raab to Hartberg (54.1 km). This is the most rewarding stage. It runs through the largest apple-growing area in Austria - past the Haus des Apfels [Apple House] - and into the home to the Hirschbirne pear, the nature park Pöllauer Valley. You get additional incentive from the wild waters of the Feistritz, which you can race to the Lake Stubenberg. After so much open space, the 6,500 population village of Hartberg seems like a true metropolis.
Stage 6: Hartberg to Thermal Spa Loipersdorf (54.5 km). You can properly enjoy some culinary delights on this route. Entering into the thermal springs region, spicy Vulcano ham, Zotter handmade chocolate, wine matured on volcanic soil and pumpkin seed oil make sure you cover your calorie needs. It's 453 metres up to St. Magdalena's and then steadily downhill and also past a few Styrian flagship thermal springs where you may of course stay longer than just one night.
Stage 7: Thermal Springs Loipersdorf and Bad Radkersburg (58.6 km). This is the longest stage. And with its short climbs and descents, it is also quite challenging in sections. Speaking of challenging: Even discerning palates get their money's worth here – numerous wine taverns, inns and wine bars invite you to stop, rest and refresh. The now half-tired body not only needs the latter because it contains vitamins, trace elements and minerals, but also as a base for the domestic Traminer wine here.
Stage 8: Bad Radkersburg to Leibnitz (51.8 km). The first half of this stage goes along the Mur or the border with Slovenia - and through the Gosdorfer Murauen, the largest meadow area of Styria, which is also a "Natura 2000 Europe protected area". After Spielfeld the stage continues northwest towards Leibnitz. Caution: Before arriving here, one of the numerous wineries and wine taverns could be pertinently taken out of the schedule!
Stage 1: Leibnitz to Deutschlandsberg (52.6 km). You also cannot escape the wine on this stage either. The Seggau Castle, whose episcopal wine cellar is one of the oldest and largest in Europe, and the winegrowing school Silberberg, the elite school for the Austrian wine culture since 1895, border the Sulmsee. If you do not stop at either of the places, you either are not interested in wine at all or are still hungover from the previous day. If the latter is the case: it too will pass. At the latest if before riding north before Fresing you take an off-route detour to Kitzeck, the highest wine-growing area in Europe. You will feel it in your calves and your head will be clear again.
Stage 2: From Deutschlandsberg to Lieboch (41.4 km). And that's that. Now, you can take a well-deserved break from wine - and switch to Schilcher! That's a joke of course, because Schilcher, formerly also called rapid pearl, has experienced a great quality development in recent years. The official and only main of Styrian rosé is Deutschlandsberg. From here the route follows the Schilcher wine road through Bad Gams into the official and only Schilcher capital, Stainz, and from there continues north to Lieboch. Theoretically, this stage could be completed in just three and a half hours. However, in practice and after enjoying the aforementioned Schilcher, it may take even longer. Especially if you like hunting museums. There is one in Stainz that is even exciting for non-hunters.
Stage 3: From Lieboch to Graz (48.3 km). Just before the finish line is the highest point of the entire Styrian Wine Country Tour: after Hitzendorf it is 682 metres uphill - which feels like 6820 metres for those who already have the whole tour weighing on their legs. Luckily you either head directly into the Lärchegg Schmölzer wine tavern or downhill towards Gratwein (not quite accurate, as right before Gratwein the route goes back uphill briefly, but this is hardly worth mentioning). And in Graz you can then let your soul and the legs dangle anyway - finally without pedals!
PS: these route descriptions could have a deterrent effect on inexperienced cyclists. For you, here are a few comforting words: the "Styrian Wine Country Cycling Tour" can be done not only as a whole, but also in individual stages. Say you try stage 5 in April once, then indulge in the wine and once you are fit again in one or two weeks and you are willing, sometime in May you do stage 7 and so on. Along the route, more than 30 train stations make it possible to return to the starting point relatively quickly. So, don't worry. Everything will be fine! J
Two important pieces of information
First: all the stages are continuously and uniformly signposted. These tours can of course also be found on the Styrian tour app (for Android and iOS) with all of the details.
Secondly: Pre-set holiday packages are available for 10-day, 8-day and 5-day trips