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Up and down, into the curves. Past village squares, flower gardens, farms, bus stops, dairy cows and cats enjoying the 'Dolce Vita' on the stone walls – the road bike is the fastest way to forget the everyday.
If you believe that South Tyrol can only offer steep passes for racing cyclists, you have never been cycling in or around Hafling. The Tschögglberg round is a particularly popular tour with locals, the perfect way to finally test the calf muscles after the flat training runs of the beginning of the season. And in the autumn, when sunbeams and larch forests make bizarre shadow patterns on the asphalt, it is time to analyse your own performance at the hotel bar in the evening and chat with your companions about plans for the next day.
South Tyrol can boast a large network of roads that are perfect for biking. There are plentiful opportunities for avoiding the traffic: extensive cycle ways, and quiet side roads that often show the region at its finest, all await those taking a holiday with their road bike.
Cyclists have to share the area’s many internationally known Alpine passes with other road users. But here too the last few years have seen the development of a “bike culture”: car-free days are the best way to enjoy the most beautiful passes around Hafling: the Mendel, Gampen, Stilfser (Stelvio) and Jaufen Passes, to name just a few of the demanding tours possible.
The Hotel Mesnerwirt is a member of the Bikehotels South Tyrol group and offers professional advice and top quality service for those on two wheels. Available are a shuttle service, guided tours, insider tips and courses for beginners, as well as special skills courses to learn how to ride like a pro. The hotel director, Manfred, recently qualified as a racing bike guide – just like his father. Simply ask us!
A pass that has spawned myths and heroes. The journey from Meran up the Vinschgau Valley is ideal as a warm-up for the legs before starting the switchbacks that lead to the top of the pass and the border between South Tyrol and the Lombardy region. A possible variation for the descent is over the Umbrail Pass then via Glurns on the cycle path down through the Vinschgau and back to Meran. These classics can also be done in August on a specially car-free day.
The most popular stretch of the annual “Maratona dles Dolomites”, held in July, runs over 52 kilometres of road with a vertical climb of 1,780 metres. The route begins in Wolkenstein, then leads up to the Campolongo Pass. The highest point of the Sella Ronda is the Pordoi Pass at 2,239 metres: from there it is down to the Sella Pass, on to the Gardena Pass and back to Wolkenstein. Also in July is the “Sellaronda Bike Day”, with the tour off limits to motor vehicles from 10 am to 3 pm, and only cyclists allowed.
This round tour takes in some 60 km and 1,700 metres of ascent, with attractions including a visit to Meran, the villages of the Etsch Valley and perhaps tasting the world-famous white wine of Terlan, not to mention the enjoyably quiet mountain road to Mölten.