It’s easy to think that an Alps cycling holiday has to be a cycling holiday in France.
But that’s not the case.
The Alps extend over 1,200 kilometres into many countries of Europe including Italy, Austria, Germany and Slovenia. They include many extraordinary places to ride, with stunning mountain scenery and famous climbs. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking the French Alps are the Alps, but that’s not true. The French Alps are great, but don’t ride there to the exclusion of other Alpine cycling gems!
In this article, we speak to Martin Baumann from Roadbike Holidays who knows a thing or two about cycling in the Alps. He was a guide in the Alps for many years before helping manage roadbike-holidays.com. Now he spends a lot of time visiting their network of partner cycling hotels in the Alps (and trying to squeeze in as much riding as possible while there!).
Read on to get inspiration for where to head for your cycling holiday in the Alps – and where to stay!
Introduction to cycling holidays in the Italian Alps
Italy is simply a bike-crazy country!
Become part of this passion and spend your bike trip soaking up the unique Mediterranean atmosphere. Enjoy pizza and pasta, bike the sea and the Alps in one day! Climb mountain giants in the Dolomites or ride flat routes near the sea. Italy’s most beautiful road bike regions unite these contrasts and spice it up with a dash of La dolce Vita.
South Tyrol scores with over 300 days of sunshine, the legendary Dolomite passes, excellent food and wine. The 3 Zinnen Dolomites (in English also known as “Three Peaks”) is a prominent mountain range in the Sesto Dolomites, in the UNESCO World Heritage Dolomites, on the border between the Italian provinces of Belluno in the south and South Tyrol in the north.
The hotspot Lago di Garda is the place to bike Trentino, while in Veneto in northern Italy the iconic climbs of Sellaronda and Marmolada make a cyclists’ pulse quicken.
Finally, it might not be the Alps, but a quick shout out for Emilia Romagna where you will find a perfect mixture of active road cycling and beach life on the Adriatic Sea. Ride spectacular roads in the footsteps of the pirate Il Cippo or embark on the Sogliano Tour. Likewise, in the Marche classics such as Monte Catria or Monte Carpegna awaits.
Where to stay in the Italian Alps (for cyclists)
Dolomitenstraβe 24, 39034 Toblach // +39 0474 970 100
The legendary three-star Superior Hotel Union is located in Dobbiaco at the foot of the 3 Zinnen Dolomites and has been run by the Comini family for three generations.
Enrico is the host and he is an enthusiastic cyclist who is available to assist his guests with perfect route planning – which is good, because the possibilities around Dobbiaco are almost unlimited.
The absolute climax of the 3 Zinnen UNESCO World Heritage Dolomites region are the numerous Dolomite passes that belong on every South Tyrol road bike bucket list. Alternatively there is the possibility to take a leisurely ride along one of the region’s beautiful bike paths, which pass very close to the hotel.
Road bike hire is also available directly at the hotel.
Hotel Melodia del Bosco
Str. Runcac, 8, I-39036 Badia BZ // +39 0471 839620
Klaus Irsara, owner of Hotel Melodia del Bosco, is a fantastic person to know when it comes to road biking or gravel biking in Alta Badia. He is an enthusiastic racer himself and knows the region like no other.
As such, it’s not surprising that his hotel is widely considered THE road bike hotel in the region. It’s got an unbeatable, quiet location on the edge of the forest in Badia, in the heart of the Dolomites, and Klaus and his certified guides offer fantastic guided road bike and mountain bike tours. The starting point for these is directly in front of the hotel and the destinations are the major climbs of the Dolomites such as Pederü in the Fanes-Senes-Braies Nature Park, Passo Furcia, Sellaronda or Passo Fedaia.
Once back at the hotel, guests can enjoy the wellness area with whirlpool, sauna, water beds and massages as well as access to delicious traditional Ladin, South Tyrolean, and vegetarian cuisine.
Hotel Gran Paradiso
Str. pre de vì, 11, 39036 st. kassian, Alta Badia, Dolomites // +39 0471 849424
The name says it all: the Gran Paradiso is indeed a paradise for road bikers and mountain lovers.
This four star hotel is located in San Cassiano, directly on the legendary Sellaronda and the Maratona dles Dolomites route (which leads over a total of eight Dolomite passes!). The hotel impresses with its quiet position at the foot of the Fanes-Sennes-Prags National Park and the breathtaking Dolomite mountain panorama.
Through the collaboration with the well-known trainer Giovanni Camorani, professional training is the order of the day while the Rotopress indoor bikes in the training centre intensify the program. The boss himself is available to guests.
Additional sports facilities are also on offer, such as a red sand tennis court, guided mountain bike tour loop rides and an outdoor swimming pool. The pool and the sky wellness area with its panoramic view, are particularly good places to recover after amazing rides. All this means that relaxation and enjoyment do not get forgotten on your Dolomites road bike vacation!
Introduction to cycling holidays in the Austrian Alps
Austria is a small country but its variety of landscapes, mountains and lakes is unique.
From east to west, a great road network guarantees pure pleasure for us road cyclists.
As Austria’s southernmost province, Carinthia has a lovely Mediterranean lifestyle and climate. The sunny south is the perfect location to combine bike and bathe in one of the many lakes. Just don’t miss the Nockalmstraße!
Lower Austria is the largest province and here you’ll find wide hilly landscapes, river valleys and moors while the Salzburger Land challenges with challenging climbs like the Glocknerstrasse.
Styria, the green heart of Austria, offers the perfect mix of lush meadows, rolling hills, challenging uphills, amazing views and outstanding wines. It’s gorgeous in the summer months.
Hill climbers find their Eldorado in the Tyrol. It is obvious why it’s a training location for professional teams. In Vorarlberg, the 4-country corner of Austria, the variety of riding is surprising: between Lake Constance and Arlberg, the small state offers the whole range from lake routes to peaks and passes. Stunning views are all around in this area of Austria.
You can read more about Austria in our guide to cycling Austria, here.
Where to stay in the Austrian Alps (for cyclists)
Hotel Das Walchsee Sportresort
Johannesstraße 1, 6344 Walchsee in Tirol // +43 5374 5331
Das Walchsee Sportresort is a great choice for wellness and spa facilities in the magnificent Kaiserwinkl region of the Tyrol.
The Walchsee Sportresort is close to the warmest lake in Tyrol, the Walchsee. The Resort’s Move & Relax motto and philosophy is evident throughout, especially with its 3,000m2 Move & Relax Area with its view of the stunning Walchsee lake.
Stefan and Daniel are the two bike guides here and they know the region like the back of their hand. Alpine rides and road cycling tours around Hohe Salve, Zahmen Kaiser and Wilder Kaiser await. There are around 200 km of cycling and 125 km of mountain biking trails of all degrees of difficulty from the front door. If you’re looking for a challenge, you’re guaranteed to find it on the Kitzsteinhorn: with a gradient of up to 22.3%, it’s the steepest “bike mountain” in Austria.
Hotel Bogner Hof
The Tannheimer Tal is considered one of the most beautiful high valleys in Europe and the Hotel Bogner Hof offers the ideal homebase for passionate road bikers to explore it.
The family-run hotel is located on quiet roads on the outskirts of the Alpine town of Tannheim, at the entrance to the Vilsalpsee nature reserve and thus in the midst of an almost kitschy picture-postcard idyll.
The owner, Hans Haider, has been an enthusiastic racing cyclist for 30 years and is also a trained guide and finisher of various top racing cycling events such as the 3-Länder-Giro and the Ötztaler Radmarathon.
The Tannheimer Tal offers 22 challenging road bike tours that guests can pick from, incorporating over 2,500 km. After the tours, there are plenty of opportunities for relaxation in the spacious wellness area of the Bogner Hof: in the brine and flower steam bath, in the Finnish sauna, in the herbal bath or simply in the panoramic relaxation room with a view of the beautiful Tyrolean mountains.
Introduction to cycling holidays in the German Alps
Road cycling is extremely popular in Germany and it has an excellent, well-developed road cycling network, top infrastructure and tons of riding.
In Germany’s largest state Bavaria, you can bike from the Allgäu Alps to Bavarian alpine pastures to neighbouring Tyrol. There are plenty of sights you won’t want to miss, such as the impressive Neuschwanstein Castle, the model of the Disney castle. The State Sachsen is also worth a trip.
The Saxon-Bohemian Ore Mountains (Erzgebirge) are an insider’s tip for racing cyclists with extensive forests, numerous moors, species-rich mountain meadows and the varied landscape relief. Here you can find (and climb) idyllic valleys as well as high altitude trails with spectacular views. One of the unforgettable highlights is a guided Stoneman Miriquidi Road Tour.
Where to stay in the German Alps (for cyclists)
Hotel Am Kurhaus
From Hotel Am Kurhaus in the Ore Mountains, you’ll find some of the country’s toughest climbs on a 290-kilometre must-ride tour. There’s also an all-around carefree wellness program
Burning muscles after a day’s riding can be soothed with herbal stamp massages and Shirodhara oil infusions at the authentic Ayurveda Centre. After the 4,900 metres of altitude on the Miriquidi Road – the legendary circular tour of the region – this top-class relaxation program is well deserved.
Guided road bike tours with the certified road bike guides Olaf, Mario and team promise a deep immersion into the region, including priceless insider knowledge. According to Beat Bünzli, managing director of the hotel and passionate cyclist, “the Erzgebirge is simply the most beautiful spot on earth in Germany!”
Those who want road bike friendly hospitality will find the perfect homebase at the Kaufmann roadbike hotel in Roßhaupten.
Between the Allgäu Alps and the hilly foothills of the Alps, there are challenging climbs to discover – for example in neighbouring Tyrol on the Hahntennjoch or the Gaichtpass, in the Tannheimer Tal or on the Arlberg. Those who prefer flat terrain can ride directly from the hotel on well-maintained bike paths and low-traffic side roads through the impressive mountain scenery of the Allgäu Alps – past the famous royal castles of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau.
For optimal recuperation after memorable road cycling through the Allgäu, there’s a spacious spa area including a 15-metre swimming pool with panoramic views. The 2,500 m² garden and the nearby Forggensee lake also assist with providing a perfect end to your fabulous, modern alpine room or suite.
Introduction to cycling holidays in the Slovenian Alps
Slovenia is still relatively unknown on the road cycling scene and something of an insider’s choice for an Alpine cycling holiday.
The small country is really quite special, original and untamed. It’s a really interesting alternative to more famous Alpine road cycling vacation hotspots. You’ll find little traffic on the roads and a great variety of cycling routes from climbs with fierce average gradients to more gentle routes; the untouched nature is also a pleasure to behold.
Cyclists that love to cross borders will find the Italian border and Austrian border in close proximity. There are also many varied off road-tours for those that like a bit of gravel.
The region around the famous city of Bled and Bled Lake is characterised by mountain ridges of the Julian Alps and the Karavanke and the stunning Triglav National Park. The Triglav circuit through Kranska Gora is one of the many scenic but demanding day cycle tours.
In the region of Brda you follow the turquoise river of Soca and the 280 km of cycling paths; in the upper Savinja Valley road cyclists find an iconic glacier valley, a volcano as well as unique panoramic roads.
Where to stay in the Slovenian Alps (for cyclists)
Kovego d.o.o., Čeplje 12, 3305 Vransko // +386 3 70 55 550
Welcome to Slovenia’s new bike hotel!
At Hotel Grof, host and road bike expert Matic awaits his road bike enthusiastic guests to show them the little-travelled roads in the Savinja Valley.
The breathtaking “Valley of the Green Gold” is considered one of the most beautiful Alpine valleys in Europe – and something of a secret tip within the Slovenian Alps. Varied tours lead past hop fields and waterfalls to the alpine passes of the region.
After a day in the saddle, it’s off to the wellness area at the Hotel Grof, where tired legs are made fit again in no time for the next tour. While your beloved racing bike is parked in the video-monitored racing bike garage, it’s time for you to head to the restaurant where you can choose between traditional home cooking, wonderful Italian oven pizza or healthy cycling menus.
Ribno Alpin Resort
Izletniška ulica 44, 4260 Bled // +386 4 578 31 00
There is plenty of room and space for individuality in Slovenia’s first “zero waste hotel” in the idyllic Upper Carniola village of Ribno, not far from Bled.
You can stay either in the family-run 3* superior Ribno Alpine Resort or in the unique Ribno Glamping Village, which wonderfully combines camping and glamour. In the comfortable tree houses and luxury wooden cottages between the spruce forest and the river Sava you are in close contact with nature, without having to give up a little luxury.
Star gazing from the hot tub of the forest terrace and cooling off in the natural bathing pond after the tour included. From the steps of the Ribno – which also serve as a daily bikers’ meeting point – you can set off on varied guided cycling tours with road bike guide Tadej through the Karavanke mountains and the Julian Alps.
Want to go on a cycling holiday in the Alps?
Cycling in the Alps is one of those experiences that makes road cyclists’ hearts beat a little bit faster: this incredible mountain range is the territory of the most imposing passes and legendary mountain roads. Here challenging rides make the calves burn and not only kilometres, but altitude metres are counted.
So why not vary things up and rather than just heading for Alpe d’Huez, Mont Ventoux or the Mont Blanc region, why not try a different cycling experience in a different area of the Alps? Why not make this the year you head to the Alps in Slovenia, Austria, Germany or Italy?!
(Want to know where you can fly to to access these destinations? Check this useful site)
A big thank you to Martin for sharing these hotels with us. They certainly sound like the kind of hotels we’d like to stay at!
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More about RoadBike Holidays’ cycling hotels in the Alps
If you’re looking for where to stay when cycling in the Alps, I'm confident that the hotels I’ve suggested here will ensure you have a fantastic time.
All the hotels are ones our team at RoadBike Holidays have personally checked and verified for their cycling credentials (here’s the list of things we check). We know how important it is to have a hotel that “gets cyclists” so if you stay at one of our hotels you’ll know that you’ll have as good a time off the bike as on the bike, with road bike experts around you, somewhere pure road bike passion is at home.
Roadbike Holidays is simply THE expert when it comes to top quality road bike vacations. The 31 carefully selected Roadbike Holidays hotels are in the most beautiful racing bike regions in Austria, Germany, Italy and Slovenia and specialised in road bike vacations.
Find out more about the hotels above and the rest of our road cycling specific hotels at roadbike-holidays.com.