Inn River Cycle Path: from Maloja to Passau through the Alps
The Inn River Cycle Path is one of those routes for traveling by bike with your family, best friends or solo travelersThink about a pretty flat cycling itinerary surrounded by the Alps: an itinerary for everyone crossing from West to East a good part of the mountain territory between Switzerland, Austria, and Germany. It's not a utopia but real and it's called the Inn Cycle Path. The 520 km track connects Maloja and Passau, giving to every bicycle traveler the safety to ride on cycleways in a spectacular setting.
We personally cycled partially this itinerary of the Southern Tyrol province of Kufsteinerland, at the border with Germany. Still, we really appreciated the quality of its signs and services. Already in May, there were dozens of bicycle tourists on the Inn Cycle Path, and we were envious thinking about our beloved Italy, if only there were the same infrastructures in order to attract this amount of bicycle tourists!
Starting in Switzerland through Engadine
The Inn River Cycle Path is one of the longest and most complete European tracks, crossing three nations, starting from Engadine in Switzerland.
Its official starting point is Maloja, a few hundred kilometers over the namesake pass, at 1815 m. You leave the traffic to cycle on the right orographic side of Lake Sils on mixed terrain, partially asphalt and gravel. At the end of the lake, in Sils, you keep on the right side, opposite to the road, to ride along the second smaller alpine lake of the Engadine, Silvaplana Lake. At the end of it, you'll find the castle Crap da Sass.
After a few meters, you can decide whether to keep cycling on the East side of the valley or to cross a small bridge and go on the West side of the small lakes, continuing on their side.
In the twinkling of an eye you reach Sankt Moritz, known locality for a mundane life, but still splendidly nestled in the Swiss mountains. The Inn Cycle Path continues along the impetuous waters of the river Inn, passing the airport towards the valley floor. You gradually lose height, crossing the many little villages typically Swiss, with painted walls in Engadine style.
Gravel and asphalt alternate until Zernez. Here you could leave the Inn River to cycle the Mustair Valley (Val Monastero) ed enter in Italy from the Val Venosta Cycle Path, in Alto Adige, just after Resia Pass in the wonderful fortified village of Glorenza... but this is another journey!
You continue towards Lavin, where you find the toughest part of the Inn River Cycle Path: you will have to go beyond the picturesque village of Guarda, after a 300 m elevation gain, descend in Ardez and ascend again 200m before the descent to Scuol, the main city of this leg of the trip. From Scuol you keep pedaling on the river banks until Martina, the last Swill stronghold.
From here, you could come back to Italy through Nauders and the panoramic Resia Pass. This itinerary continues on the Inn banks, along the border between the Swiss canton of the Grisons and the Austrian Tyrol, which you enter after a few kilometers.
The Swiss leg of the Inn Cycle Path is about 110 km long, 50 of which are gravel. For further information, you can take a look at the Swiss official website dedicated to bicycle, veloland.myswitzerland.com
Through Austrian Tyrol
After crossing the Engadine, the Inn continues in Tyrol, and with it also the cycling itinerary along the river. The Austria leg of the Inn River Cycle Path is 230 km long and is very easy to cycle. It counts some hills, but still, it is suitable for kids too.
The first village you will meet is Pfunds, at the border, while just after, the main attraction of these first kilometers in Tyrol is the Siegmundsried Castle, dominating the village of Ried. The cycle path continues alternatively on the right and left banks of the Inn, until it reaches the village of Landeck, where the river catches the water of the Sanna, becoming bigger and bigger. Landeck too is dominated by a castle and some alpine peaks, but the landscape is already changing, leaving the place to a wider horizon. Passing Zams, and its famous canyon, you can reach the center of Imst, where you could continue on the Claudia Augusta way towards Füssen and Germany.
The river Inn continues towards the heart of Tyrol, passing the entrance of the Otztal to reach Stams, the location of a famous Cistercian monastery. The valley opens, and you'll reach the city of Telfs before entering the main city of the region, Innsbruck. After a mandatory stop in the city, the Inn Cycle path goes towards East, passing by the medieval village of Hall in Tirol and reaching Wattens. Jenbach is the entrance to the Zillertal on one side and to the Achensee on the other. This is also the direction to the Tyrol MTB Safari, a 780 km itinerary through his Austrian region which we followed partially.
Passing the Castle of Rotholz to then reach Kufstein, an amazing village on the valley floor dominated by a majestic fortress. In the Kufsteinerland region, the destination of another trip of ours in spring, a very popular road bike marathon is held, and surely there are many MTB trails on the peaks around here. The cycle path in this region meets the Mozart-Radweg which continues in Austria until Salzburg, city of the known composer. The Inn leaves the Alps and Austria, entering in Germany.
In this case too, in order to obtain more information about the 230 km of the Austrian leg of the Inn River Cycle Path take a look at the Austrian Tyrol website dedicated to the bicycle.
In Germany towards the Danube
Leaving Tyrol, the mountains at your back you'll enter Bavaria. Actually, for the first kilometers, it's the Inn itself acting border and you can choose to pedal in Austria or in Germany because on both banks runs the cycleway. Kiefersfelden, not far from Küfstein, is the first Bavarian village you'll meet, or you can reach Erl staying on the Austrian side. It doesn't matter on which side you'll pedal... sure thing is that you are getting far from the mountains and in Rosenheim, the first more important German city on the path, you'll be out of the alpine area. Not far East there's the wide basin of Chiemsee, with an island with one of the many Ludwig Castles. The Inn, on the other hand, sharply turned its course towards the North, towards the Danube.
30 km separate Rosenheim from another beautiful village, which has modeled its aspect on the river: Wasserburg am Inn. This German city, built on a wide bight of the river, deserves a visit to its old center. From here, the Inn Cycle Way follows the winding path of the river in a pretty flat territory, until Mühldorf am Inn, where you can stop to visit the old city. Slowly the river continues its path and before meeting the waters of the Danube in Passau, it crosses some pretty villages, like Simbach am Inn, Ering and Neuhaus am Inn.
Passau is one of the most known and frequented destinations for bicycle tourists in Europe, being the starting point of the busiest leg of the Danube River Cycle Path, from Passau to Vienna. Moreover, it is also a pretty city, born on three rivers (the Inn, the Danube, and the Ilz).
For all the information on the Bavarian leg of the Inn River Cycle Path, almost 190 km long, take a look at the German website www.bay-rad.de (German version only).
For further information about the Innradweg (the Inn Cycle Path) in general, you can take a look at the official website innradweg.com.
ENG - I'm from Piedmont and I'm 31 years old, I have been living and working in Lombardy for a few years. After a start without any competence in this field, I then approached the bicycle world more and more. Today I can call myself a bicycle traveller and videomaker who would never ever stop. Cyclo ergo sum, I cycle therefore I am. I ride my bike trying to understand why it is so beautiful, rich, therapeutic. And every time I try, I do not understand it. So I must leave again...
ITA - Ho 31 anni e sono piemontese, anche se da qualche anno vivo e lavoro in Lombardia. Dopo un inizio da totale inesperto in questo campo, mi sono avvicinato al mondo dei cicloviaggi e della bicicletta sempre più. Oggi posso definirmi "cicloviaggiatore", e assieme all'altra mia passione - il videomaking - non mi fermerei mai! Cyclo ergo sum, pedalo quindi sono, per cercare di capire perché andare in bici sia così bello, terapeutico, ricco... E ogni volta che provo a capirlo, non ce la faccio, e sono costretto a ripartire sui pedali!