Visiting Villabassa in the Italian Dolomites a few months ago, it was suggested that I try cycling to Lienz in Austria. Not having cycled for many years, I was filled with trepidation at the idea of cycling 45 kms, but was persuaded to give it a go.
Alighting onto the station platform in San Candido, my companion and I immediately spotted Papin Sport with what looked like thousands of bicycles parked outside: from City Bikes to Mountain Bikes to Trekking Bikes to accessories such as canvas dog carriages on wheels.
The hire of the bicycles was €16.00 each, plus a fee of €5.00 to have them transported back to San Candido. (And you have to show your ID).
The cycling path through the beautiful countryside was no problem at all, even for me. It was warm and sunny most of the time, but quite cool in the forests where the sunshine could not penetrate.
Adding to the fun, we overtook – and were overtaken by – many of the little dog carriages, which meant that the trip to Lienz was regularly punctuated by sounds of excited whining noises.
Passing Heinfels Castle we paused for a breather.
We then continued towards Lienz until we spotted a bar, directly on the cycling path, where we stopped for a welcome lunch of bratwurst, chips and ice-cold beer.
Arriving at Lienz, after just a few hours, we headed for the railway station, where we dropped off our bikes.
They were promptly loaded onto a trailer for transporting back to San Candido by road, while we boarded the train back to Villabassa.
A 45km cycle sounds like a lot, but honestly there were small children and people of all ages on this trip. I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves the great outdoors and it’s the perfect way to see the beautiful countryside of the South Tyrol.