Carinthia is the Austrian region adjacent to Friuli and therefore is easily reachable even for a day trip, such as this route which touches upon the Faaker See and the city of Villach.
Point of departure is the new train station of Tarvisio-Boscoverde which since 2001 has replaced Tarvisio Centrale; there are passenger trains from Udine, which unfortunately during the week are rare altogether, but on Sundays provide at least some, albeit limited service. During the summer these trains are literally filled with bikes; one hopes that Trenitalia will provide more dedicated and larger bike cars as on the Valsugana trains.
After getting off the train go down and through the sottopassaggio [underpass] and come out on the far side of the tracks at a small piazzale where a bike path cuts across the back; going to the right would take you to Slovenia; by taking the one to the left you backtrack for a few meters and then find a turn to the right which takes you over an old railroad bridge of the Tarvisio-Lubiana train which now has become part of the bike path; the bridge crosses over a spectacular gorge which unfortunately is barely visible through the closely-spaced metal cables of the bridge; shortly after you come to the new bike path, which follows along the roadbed of the former Pontebbana railroad; turn right and you will reach the former train station of Tarvisio Centrale, which now is abandoned.
After a few kilometers the bike path leaves (for now?) the roadbed of the former railroad and climbs to the village of Coccau; the road continues with several climbs up to a steep descent which takes you to the piazzale of the former custom house where you enter Austrian territory; from here, a bike path to Arnoldstein was completed in 2010, which for the most part runs adjacent to the federal road (Bundesstrasse) no. 3 the “Vienna-Tarvisio”. The route is easy and in constant descent.
Shorly after Arnoldstein a fork to the right takes you to the village of Riegersdorf and then following a signed bicycle route, more or less, and with many climbs you reach successively the villages of St. Leonhard, Korpitsch, St. Job, Susalitsch and Gödersdorf, where you rejoin the federal road towards the Faaker See.
Ride on the bike lane next to the road for a couple of kilometers [one mile, to be exact RB] and then take the road to the left, which after crossing over the railroad tracks leads to a section of unpaved bike path to Faak am See, and where you arrive at the lake; from here take the road for Egg am Faaker See that runs all around the lake. On the left side there is a bike lane that in summer and on Sundays can be crowded with pedestrians.
From Egg take the road to Villach which offers broad views from the north of the lake and the mountains. Upon arriving at Drobollach you leave the lake and come to a downhill bike path that takes you, in a few kilometers, to Maria Gail, a suburb of Villach. Here you cross the bridge over the river Gail, and enter the city of Villach, from where you reach the Drava.
From Villach you could turn back to Tarvisio taking the federal road, heavy with traffic and with a narrow bike lane, or take the longer and irregular radwanderweg along the river Gail, but which eventually joins the federal road, as well.
Once you are back in Arnoldstein you retrace the route towards Tarvisio and for the train station of Tarvisio Boscoverde.
Unfortunately there is no EC [EuroCity] train available from Villach to Venice that carries bikes; the Italian railway after having spent billions to construct the new Pontebbana railroad doesn’t seem interested in a direct connection between Carinthia and Venice; the Austrian railway did establish a direct connection between Venice and Klagenfurt, but seemingly undermined by Trenitalia and (*)RFI, …by bus! Which obviously do not carry bikes.
Latest visit: 2010-08-01