Salzkammergut, Totes Gerbirge Bike Tour

It’s only been a few weeks since I was on my last multi-day bike trip on the Tauernradweg but with the weather being so good in Austria at the moment, and some free time on my hands, I can’t seem to resist the urge to get out on some mini adventures.

This trip was a relatively short one in comparison to my last one and was mostly unplanned. I woke up on Monday morning totally unprepared to set off cycling and camping. I figured if I was going to do a trip I should have prepared the night before and have got an early start, but here I was having a prolonged breakfast and trying to plan something fun for the day. By mid day I was restless. I checked the trains online and found one that would take me close to the mountains but it was leaving in two hours. This lit a fire under me and I packed all the gear I needed for and over-nighter and was sitting on the train to Bad Ischl two hours later.

By early evening I was in Bad Ischl and I directly started cycling towards the World Heritage town Hallstatt. This was only a 22km cycle but my plan was to get there, set up camp and have an early start for a longer ride the next day.

Creepy dolls on the way to Hallstatt

You don’t see too many Big Agnes tents around these parts!

Hallstätter waterfall

Hallstätter See (lake)

The next morning I was the first one up at the campsite and I probably woke up a lot of people with the rustling of my tent as I packed it. For breakfast I had left over risotto (without cheese of course) which I brought from home. Fuelled up, I was on the road by 6.30 am and enjoying the chilly morning air and the amazing sunrise over the Hallstätter See.

1st breakfast

The first 30km were pretty straight forward but gradually gaining in elevation and on a mix of gavel paths and roads. After another quick breakfast outside a super market in Bad Mitterndorf, I started up the road connecting to the Grundlsee. This was only a 15km stretch but would bring me to an elevation of 1170m. I was expecting it to be a tough climb but I was surprised when the path turned to a hiking trail close to the top. I was forced to walk through the narrow, winding and steep trail. I passed by a few hikers who didn’t comment but just stared blankly as I pushed my heavy touring bike up over the mountain.

Once on top and going down the other side, I was at least able to roll along some sections but I was clenching hard on the brakes, trying to avoid rocks and doing my best to stay in control. It took me the best part of an hour to cover 6kms. Reaching the Grundlsee I was able to ride on asphalt again which felt great after the rough and sometimes impossible terrain I had just left behind me.

2nd breakfast

Where the bike trial ended and the hiking trail began


The next 20km were really nice riding, back on asphalt over rolling hills with a quiet back road feel. I reached Blaa Alm and from there I had a 13km downhill ride along a world championship mountain bike trail. This was a bit challenging in places on my bike but extremely fun and extremely beautiful at the same time.

 I arrived in Bad Ischl after having cycled (and pushed) 85km. I had originally thought I might end the trip here and take the train home but as it so often is, I was having too much fun and wanted to continue on further. I had a lunch of dates, bananas, grapes and an apple in the park, filled up my water bottle, had a quick coffee at a café and headed off towards the Traunsee.

I have cycled this stretch between Bad Ischl and Gmunden before (but in the other direction) on the Salzkammergut Tour I did last year. I chose Gmunden as my destination so that I would have the chance to cycle the entire west shore of the Traunsee and enjoy the majestic views of the Traunstein on the opposite side.

Using a helicopter for road works

The Traunstein from Traunkirchen

I got to the train station in Gmunden and realised I had quite a long wait before I could get the next train back to Linz. I decided to backtrack to Altmünster (one stop before), where Jasmin was working for a week, and got the train from there. On my way I stopped by a supermarket for some snacks to eat on the way home. Once at the platform, I had 127km on the clock. I was quite happy with cycling this distance considering many of these kilometers were hard fought on hiking and mountain bike trails and that I had originally only planned to cycle 85km.

For the exact route I took, elevation profile and plenty of other stats and information, check out my Strava profile



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