Necessity is the mother of invention – on a detour to Val Pusteria

Wife, son and grandmother are on a short break in Sankt Lorenzen in the Hotel Maria Saal and my wife’s suggestion to spend a night and combine this with a half-day tour in the Puster Valley sounds tempting. Why not, Pustertal and the surrounding area I have not visited for a long time and an appealing route can be found with certainty.

On the road from Laion towards Val Funes in the Dolomites

Thus, the decision was made and I type a short message to my wife: “Darling, I’m coming – take the bike, do a tour and then relax. Yeaah!!”

I sit in front of the laptop and start the GPX-planning, but how was this again with the traffic this weekend? It’s the end of August and the term ‘black-weekend’ is circulating in traffic reports. Sounds like traffic jam totally – so something like last year, after the honeymoon, where we needed from Innsbruck to Kaltern over seven hours – by car. Shit, I want to go cycling to Val Pusteria.

Or is it? Huh, I want cycling and want to Val Pusteria and do not know how to get there because of announced traffic congestion? Open your laptop, open, plan your track to go there – actually quite simple.

A must have picture – also part of the Giro d’Italia heritage

I plunged into paths, roads, altitudes, turns and somehow chose the direct as the crow flies line from Caldaro to Maria Saal. Here is my GPX file for navigation. The route takes me over the Brenner bike path to Waidbruck, then follows an ascent to Lajen and to a hitherto unknown ruins of the Therme Froi up to Kampidell in Val Funes. It follows the climb to the famous Würzjoch/Passo Erbe followed by a crisp descent to Val Badia. Via a side street towards Brunico, the route then ends directly at the Hotel Maria Saal above Sankt Lorenzen.

Wow – I did not expect that. There was hardly any traffic on the entire route. The slightly unstable weather forecast had certainly contributed to the fact that hardly any cars and motorcycles (especially on the pass road to the Würzjoch) were on the way just for a panorama tour. Only a handful of guests and locals were motivated to be in the mountains on this gray Saturday. For me the better, because I enjoyed every pedal kick.


Taking habits (use the car to go to the spot) off sometimes, consider cycling more often also as a mobility solutions, and a supposed traffic black-out can ultimately become a perfect inspiration for a new route. This was my realization after the first sip of beer on the cozy terrace in the hotel. And what luck, because only now the forecasted rain sets in.

Tour suitable for gravel bikes, trekking bikes, eBikes MTB light (after Lajen short offroad passage). Length of the route 107 km, climbing meters 2,450 m

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