Family Cycling Vacation: Discovering the Charms of South Tyrol

By We Love Cycling

Nestled in the heart of the Alps, South Tyrol, or Alto Adige, is a picturesque region that blends the beauty of Italy with the alpine charm of Austria. Known for its stunning landscapes, from snow-capped peaks to lush valleys, South Tyrol is an ideal destination for a family cycling vacation. Let’s explore some of the best cycling routes this region has to offer, suitable for families with children of various ages.

Bolzano to Lake Caldaro (Kalterer See) (25 km)

Lake Caldaro
A path to Caldaro Lake © Profimedia

Suitable for: Children aged 6 and above

Starting in the historic city of Bolzano, this scenic route guides you through vineyards and apple orchards to the warmest lake in the Alps, Lake Caldaro. The path is mostly flat and well-paved, making it perfect for younger children. Along the way, families can indulge in the panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and enjoy a refreshing swim or a picnic by the lake. This 25 km journey offers a delightful mix of natural beauty and cultural exploration, with opportunities to taste the region’s famous wines and apples.

Merano to Val Passiria (Passeiertal) (20 km)

Walk around the spa town of Merano © Profimedia

Suitable for: Children aged 8 and above

This enchanting route takes you from the spa town of Merano, with its Mediterranean flair, into the heart of the Alpine Val Passiria. Cycling along the Passer River, the 20 km trail is filled with captivating sights, from medieval castles to quaint villages. The path is relatively easy, with some gentle ascents, making it suitable for children aged 8 and above. It’s an ideal way to experience the diversity of South Tyrol’s landscapes and the rich history embedded in its valleys.

Bressanone to Brunico (Pusterbike Path) (30 km)

Puster Valley
The Puster Valley (Val Pusteria) © Profimedia

Suitable for: Children aged 10 and above

Linking the towns of Bressanone (Brixen) and Brunico (Bruneck), this route is part of the larger Pusterbike path that stretches across the Puster Valley. This 30 km segment offers a smooth ride through one of South Tyrol’s most enchanting valleys, with the Dolomites providing a stunning backdrop. The route is dotted with playgrounds, making it perfect for rest stops where children can play. This journey is best suited for families with older children, ready to experience a mix of culture, history, and nature.

Vipiteno to Brenner Pass (Ciclabile della Valle Isarco) (25 km)

Beautiful views near Vipiteno © Profimedia

Suitable for: Children aged 6 and above

This family-friendly route starts in the medieval town of Vipiteno (Sterzing) and gently climbs towards the Brenner Pass, the border between Italy and Austria. At 25 km, it’s a manageable distance for younger riders, with a steady but gentle ascent. The path runs alongside the Isarco River, offering splendid views of the surrounding mountains and an insight into the region’s ancient trade routes. It’s a journey through history, nature, and the unique cultural blend that defines South Tyrol.

Dobbiaco to Lienz (Ciclabile della Drava) (44 km)

Drau River
Ride along the Drau river © Profimedia

Suitable for: Families with teens

This spectacular cross-border route takes you from Dobbiaco (Toblach) in Italy to Lienz in Austria, following the Drau River. The 44 km path is mostly downhill and incredibly scenic, making it an exhilarating ride for families with teenagers. It offers a unique opportunity to experience the natural beauty and cultural diversity of two regions. The trail passes through forests, meadows, and small towns, with plenty of spots for rest and refreshments.

Bonus adventure: Sellaronda Bike Day

Enjoy a great day around the Sella Massif. © Profimedia

For a truly memorable experience, participate in the Sellaronda Bike Day, an event where roads around the Sella Massif are closed to motor vehicles, allowing cyclists free reign. This challenging but rewarding 58 km loop takes you around some of the most majestic peaks of the Dolomites, through four mountain passes. It’s an event suitable for families with older children or teenagers who are comfortable with more strenuous rides. The panoramic views and the sense of accomplishment make this a standout adventure in South Tyrol.

South Tyrol offers a unique blend of Italian and Austrian cultures, set against the backdrop of the breathtaking Alps. Its well-maintained cycling paths, rich cultural heritage, and stunning natural beauty make it an ideal destination for a family cycling vacation. Whether you’re meandering through valleys, exploring historic towns, or conquering mountain passes, South Tyrol promises an unforgettable adventure for the whole family.