Carinthia, Austria’s southernmost province, offers attractive terrain for road cyclists. The mild climate on the southern side of the Alps makes extensive tours possible as early as the spring month of March and the season usually lasts until November. There is also plenty of diversity in the routes, the distinctive mountain and lake landscape in the Alps-Adriatic region bordering on Italy and Slovenia makes it possible. The sunny south has countless beautiful tours waiting for racing cyclists. These lead along roads with little traffic, through wonderful natural countryside, from the proud summits of the Hohe Tauern National Park to the gentle hills of the Nockberge Mountains and in the broad valleys with their warm bathing lakes of pure, potable water reaching up to 28 degrees. Carinthia has routes for road cyclists of all ability levels and varied terrain. Hours of relatively flat roads past the beautiful lakes is just as possible as a tour on Austria’s highest pass, the Grossglockner High Alpine Road. The mild climate, the hearty Carinthian Alps-Adriatic cuisine, as well as excursions across the borders into Italy and Slovenia, provide for many pleasant tours and magical moments.
The Grossglockner High Alpine Road is doubtlessly one of the most beautiful alpine roads in Europe. The tour leads from Döllach in the Möll Valley, gently up to Heiligenblut, the famous mountaineer village. From there you reach the core zone of the Hohe Tauern National Park directly, past the well-known Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe heights and as a reward at the Hochtor (2,576 m) you will have unique views of the highest mountain in Austria, the Grossglockner (3,798 m). A further highlight is a trip to the Nockalm Road, which is already open from May. It is a classic among the Carinthian mountain roads and leads over fantastic alpine meadows to the heart of the Biosphere Park. Another insider tip is the Carnic Dolomite Road. It leads from Carinthia to Italy and back on two wonderful passes through the Carnic Alps. Special geological features, historical relics and small linguistic enclaves accompany the racing cyclists in the Italian region of La Carnia. A further enjoyable tour, which can already be discovered in the warm spring months, is the sunny Villach Alpine Road on the mighty panoramic mountain, the Dobratsch. The view from the lookout plateau reaches across the whole province. With over 2,000 m altitude the Dobratsch is a worthwhile goal and delicious meals at the Rosstrattenstüberl or the Aichingerhütte will refill your energy levels.
Through three countries in one day, that is triple pleasure: in cultural, scenic and culinary terms. The famous "Drei Länder Tour" or 3-Country Tour starts at any point of your choice around Villach and follows quiet roads to the Italian border. At Tarvisio you turn into a picturesque side valley, which leads to the idyllic Lago del Predil (Lake Predil) and the steep curves of the Predil Pass. Once at the top, you are already in Slovenia and the Triglav National Park. Here you should stop briefly and contemplate the fantastic mountain scenery. The route leads on into the famous Soča Valley, and to one of the most beautiful, turquoise-coloured rivers in Europe of the same name. The ascent to the Vrsič Pass is rewarded with a wonderful view back to the Trenta Valley, before the brisk downhill ride towards Kranjska Gora. The last ascent is over the Wurzen Pass and after some wonderful hours in the saddle you return to Carinthia. Whilst on this tour you shouldn’t pay too much attention to the time, because if you cycle too fast through this imposing landscape, you are sure to miss the wonderful unique countryside. It is better to enjoy the moment and let the Alps-Adriatic region have its effect on you. In Tarvisio you will be treated to prosciutto and cappuccino or in the famous World Cup village of Kranjska Gora to “gibanica”, a traditional puff pastry cake. In Carinthia you can then enjoy the imaginative creations of the Carinthian Alps-Adriatic cuisine as a pleasurable end to the day on one of the many lakeside terraces.
One highlight is the "5-Seen-Rundfahrt" or 5 Lake Circuit. Along lakes Wörthersee, Ossiacher See, Afritzer See, Brennsee and Millstätter See you can enjoy the diverse landscape of the south.
If you prefer rewarding ascents, then try an excursion to Carinthia’s sunniest viewing terrace, Diex, a pretty little village with an average of 2,000 hours of sun a year. For the demanding ascent you will be rewarded with views of the Jaun Valley and Lavant Valley, the Karawanken Mountains, Steiner Alps and the Petzen mountain. Another pearl of the south are the gentle leisure routes in the extensive Lavant Valley, which is also affectionately known as the “fruit store of Carinthia”. With its 1,000-year-old fruit and wine history, the valley is known for its culinary pleasures and the numerous cider and wine-growers offer pleasant resting places. From here you can reach Styria or Slovenia on wonderful routes.