Edelweiss Epic
 


Edelweiss Epic

 

  
In a nutshell
 
 
Start
Finish

Countries
 
Stages
Rest days
 
Extra stages

Highlights
 

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Vienna, Austria
Geneva, Switzerland

Austria, Germany, Switzerland

22 stages
Salzburg, Innsbruck, St. Moritz,
Andermatt, Interlaken
2 optional loops in St. Moritz and Andermatt
 
Salzburg, Grossglockner Hochstrasse,
Krimmler Wasserfälle, Innsbruck,
Neuschwanstein, St. Moritz, Splügenpass,
Furkapass, Nufenenpass, Sustenpass,
Interlaken, Bern, Lake Geneva
 
Total distance
Average distance
Total climbing
Averiage climbing
 
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2.300 km
95 km
35.000 meters
1.500 meters
 
1440  miles
60 miles
115.000 feet
4.900 feet
 
Road condition


Period

 
Accommodation

Price
Discount

 
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90% paved
10% cycle route with natural surface

Tuesday June 11th, 2019
Sunday July 7th, 2019

Campsites and 10 hotel nights

€ 4.095,-
€ 200,- for early registration
 
Description

Have you heard of the TransAlp? It's a popular mountain bike race crossing the Alps from North to South. From Germany to Italy through Austria or Switzerland in just a week and a few hundred kilometres. It's a fabulous ride, but it's a pity to take a shortcut through such attractive countries.

A real TransAlp doesn't run North-South, it should run West-East, or the other way around to appreciate the diversity of the Alps and to enjoy the best of Austria and Switzerland. The journey really is the destination in this part of the world. Every day, another highlight.
Austria's imperial palaces and baroque churches formed the inspiring décor for the musical masterpieces of Mozart, Strauss and Schubert. It's for Bike-Dreams the setting for the start of their masterpiece: the "Edelweiss Epic".

We jump on the bike and waltz us a way through the Alps from East to West. A bicycle tour like a musical masterpiece. The road instructions form the sheet music and the elevation profiles dictate the rhythm. From low valleys with flower-freckled meadows to high Alpine passes. From slow gentle climbs along glaciers to fast breath-taking downhills. From tranquil little streams to deafening waterfalls. From graceful cathedrals in classical cities to tiny chapels on top of a mountain. From deeply carved canyons to large turquoise lakes. From straight roads between alpine pastures where cowbells chime to countless hairpins to reach the homeland of the Edelweiss.

What's a better place to start a tour like this than in Vienna, known as the City of Music. The rolling hills appear soon if we leave the grandeur of Austrian's capital behind. Quiet valleys, hidden passes, mountain lakes and charming villages bring us in four days to Salzburg, the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. A wonderful city full of baroque architecture that looks back on a long history as a metropolis of arts and culture, and where classical music wafts from open windows in quiet side streets.

We cycle to Bad Gastein known for its hot springs with miraculous healing properties. The resort has kept some of the charm of its 19th-century heyday, when Empress Elisabeth - better known as Sisi - came here to bathe and pen poetry.

We reach the mountain range of the Hohe Tauern. The National Park with the same name is Austria's outdoor wonderland and one of Europe's largest nature reserves which straddles Tyrol, Carinthia and Salzburgerland. We cross the range for the first time north-south by an eight kilometres long train tunnel. The second time is much more strenuous when we cycle up the Grossglockner Road. It's Austria's best road trip by far with waterfalls, lakes and phenomenal views of the glacier-capped peaks. We definitely reach Edelweiss altitude, especially when we make the short, but steep, side trip to the Edelweiss Spitze, with 2.571 metres the highest point of the tour.

The epic journey continues through Tyrol, a region where Alpine horns echo through the mountains and where the pure Alpine air makes you want to start yodelling. Your vocals will be drowned out by the splatter of the three-tier Krimmler Wasserfälle, with 380 metres Europe's highest waterfall. A rest day is planned in the capital of Tyrol, Innsbruck, where the late-medieval Altstadt, the grand Habsburg palace and the baroque cathedral are some of its attractions.

A relatively short and easy stage to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, just across the border into Germany. It gives you the option to take a cable car up to the Zugspitze, with 2.964 metres the highest peak of the country and a great lookout over Tyrol in Austria, the Bavarian Alps in Germany and Switzerland in the far distance.
We stay a day longer in Germany which is not without reason. We make halt in Füssen and the nearby castles of Ludwig II, Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau, which evokes childhood memories of magical fairytale destinations.

We zigzag in two stages through Austria, from Germany to Switzerland. Another country, but still the same Alps and a stunning collection of peaks, glaciers, pastures, waterfalls and lakes. Except... the mountains are higher and maybe even more impressive. Most of the passes which we cross are also higher. We cycle a dozen time up to 2.000 metres or (far) above.

We have planned "rest" days in St. Moritz, which has hosted the Winter Olympic twice, and in Andermatt, a town blessed with austere mountain appeal which was once an important staging post. It's up to you: to enjoy your rest these days OR to take the bicycle and tick off some famous passes like the Albula Pass, the Nufenen Pass, the Furka Pass and the legendary St. Gotthard Pass over the cobblestoned Via Tremola road with 37 tortuous twists.

We briefly visit Italy when we climb the south side of the wonderful Passo dello Spluga, a pass which has been used since Roman era and gains almost 2.000 metres in altitude.

You think that you can reach high altitudes by bicycle in Switzerland. But by train, you can get even a lot higher. This is especially true when we have a short stage planned to Interlaken, which is the gateway to the fabled Jungfrau region. You can catch a phenomenal train ride up to the Jungfraujoch, 3.454 metres towering in the Alpine sky. One of Switzerland's classic experiences.

We leave the pearly white peaks of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau and head in the direction of Bern. Time for some culture and city life after all this overdose of mountains and passes. Wandering through the Unesco World Heritage-listed medieval old town, with its provincial, laid-back air, is it hard to believe that Bern is the capital of Switzerland.

Three stages remain till the finish line. Still enough new impressions when we pass the glitz and glamour of Gstaad and take the cycling route on the northern shore of Europa's largest lake, Lac Léman, also known as Lake Geneva. We cycle through Montreux, a visitor-magnet for the rich, famous and everyone in-between, through terraced vineyards, and through Lausanne, home to a boisterous student population and the International Olympic Committee. At the end of the tour, is Geneva waiting. The city houses the headquarters of some 200-odd international organisations plus an overload of boutiques, restaurants, chocolatiers and luxury hotels. You'll find your well-deserved rest in one of them.

The tour starts at the beginning of the summer season. Hopefully we get beautiful sunny days, but keep in mind that the weather conditions can always be unsettled in the Alps. The circumstances can become heroic if you reach altitudes around or above 2.000 metres.

The 1st edition of the "Edelweiss Epic" starts Monday June 11th, 2019 in Vienna. The finish lies after almost 4 weeks, 24 stages, 2.300 kilometres and numerous climbs at the shores of Lake Geneva.

As written before : a bicycle tour like a musical masterpiece. A symphony of famous mountain passes and a wealth of culture in a setting of fabulous natural beauty. If Mozart would be among us, he probably wouldn't hesitate to join us.
  
The credo of Bike Dreams is : "Life is not the dreams you have, but the dreams you realize".