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Norway - Two-thousand kilometers by bicycle, from Trondheim to Europe's northern-most point, the North Cape. Tunnels, camping, grocery shopping, ferries and other information.

Ruhr Valley Cycle Route - A 250-kilometer route down the Ruhr Valley to the Rhine


Across the Brenner Pass


Cycling routes from Innsbruck to the Brenner Pass (Italian border) and into South Tyrol. View Brenner Bicycle Routes in a larger map

Brenner Pass and South Tyrol Links

Cycle Paths in South Tyrol shows network of cycling trails and paths from Brennero to Bolzano, Merano, and other destinations

ÖBB Austrian Railroad
 

Brenner Pass - Across the Alps by Bicycle (June 2010)

Cycle Trail on old railroad south of the Brenner Pass
Brenner Pass Bicycle Trail on an abandoned railroad right-of-way a few kilometers south of the pass. A gentle 1 - 2 percent grade for the final 12 kilometers up the Italian side of the pass. In June, 2010, this path was still under construction but entirely rideable.

From Innsbruck to Vipiteno: A bicycle ride across the Brenner Pass

The Brenner Pass offers touring cyclists a relatively quick and painless route across the main ridge of the Alps. The pass (1370 meters above sea level) on the Austrian-Italian border is the lowest between the two countries and the busiest, with an important rail line, a major Autobahn and the older main road, which also carries a lot of traffic. For cyclists, the climb from either direction has only short steep sections and most of it can be done on dedicated bike trails, farm and forest tracks, and secondary roads. However, the busy old main road is unavoidable for a 5.5-kilometer section between Steinach am Brenner (Austria) and the pass itself.

Innsbruck to Igls

Innsbruck lies on the Inn River and is mostly flat, but foothills and mountains rise sharply from the edges of the city. From downtown, follow signs to Igls or locate the Igler Strasse, which climbs out of the valley east of the Olympic ski-jump. The climb to Igls is short but steep, gaining about 280 meters in 3.3 kilometers. Traffic on Igler Strasse between Innsbruck and Igls can be busy.

Igls to Mühlbach/Matrei am Brenner

Between Igls and Patsch, an asphalt hiking/cycling trail through meadows and pastures offers a pleasant alternative to the road that connects the villages. Entering Igls, turn right on Fernkreuzweg, ride through a small residential neighborhood and past the Sonnenhof Pension and then onto an asphalt lane through the pastures towards Patsch. Bear left at the fork a few hundred meters after leaving Igls.

Bike path between Igls and Patsch
Heading south from Igls, Austria, toward the Brenner Pass. This pedestrian/bike trail connects Igls and Patsch. The mountain is the "Serles" (2718 m).

Arriving in Patsch, turn left, ride about 400 meters uphill on a secondary road, and then turn right onto Römer Strasse. This quiet 2-lane road stays mostly between 1000 and 1100 meters elevation as it proceeds up the valley through several villages and hamlets. From Pfons it drops back down to 950 meters in Mühlbach.

Mühlbach/Matrei am Brenner to Steinach

The bikeline Tirol Ost Unterland map published by Esterbauer Verlag suggests a route that avoids the Bundesstrasse as far as Steinach. I have not ridden this route, but the map indicates a number of climbs (one to almost 1400 meters) and descents. We decided to take the train from Matrei to the top of the pass because the Esterbauer route looks difficult to follow and because we would still be forced to take the very busy Bundesstrasse for the final 5 km up to the pass. This train runs every hour and offers a fast and attractive alternative.

Brenner Pass to Brennero (Gossensass)

When we made this ride in June, 2010, a brand-new bicycle trail from the top of the Brenner Pass into South Tyrol was under construction and nearing completion.

New bike path just south of the Brenner Pass
June 2010: Brand new bike path nearing completion just below the Brenner Pass heading into Italy. In the distance, a few hundred meters of as-yet unpaved path is visible.

The paved cycling lane did not yet have its final smooth layer of asphalt and no signs had been put up yet, but work was in progress. From just below the pass, this bike path at first runs parallel to the main road. But after a short distance, it leaves the road and follows an abandoned railway line along the western slope of the valley for about 12 kilometers.

Brennero and Autobahn from the Brenner Pass Bicycle Path
Looking down on the town of Brennero (Gossensass) from the bike trail coming down from the Brenner Pass

West of the town of Brennero (Gossensass) the trail leaves the rail line and returns into the main valley and proceeds to Vipiteno (Sterzing). Because it follows a railroad, the grade is a very gentle only 1 to 2 percent.

Vipiteno (Sterzing) to Bressone (Brixen)

South of Vipiteno, the Eisacktal Cycle Route leads into an extensive network of well-built bike paths through South Tyrol. These trails are well marked and easy to follow and lead to destinations as far away as Lake Garda, Merano and Innichen in the Pustertal.