Medieval Burgenstadt Friesach, rare cars from the motoring world, fantastic mountain views, pilgrimage churches and mystical dances of death – that is what cycling in the Metnitztal valley is all about. This easy day-tour takes you and your bike from Friesach to Metnitz, through the predominantly rural Metnitztal valley, and back again to Friesach.
The route uses parts of the Carinthian provincial cycle path network. Additional signposts at key points will help you find your way!The sections in detail:
- Friesach railway station – Friesach (Grabenring/Bahnhofstraße junction)
- R7 “Friesacherweg” cycle path: Friesach – Friesach Engelsdorf
- R7E “Metnitzer Radweg” cycle path: Friesach Engelsdorf – Metnitz
- Outward and return
This tour starts from in front of the railway station in Burgenstadt Friesach. Leaving the station, turn right onto cycle path R7 “Friesacherweg” just prior to the moat, that is to say before the bridge over the moat that leads into the historic town centre. This is where the impressive castle will reveal itself, if it has not already done so. And by the way, you will find a visit to the oldest town in Carinthia a rewarding experience, with its Stadtmuseum am Petersberg (municipal museum) and its “Erlebnis Burgbau” (“Building a castle”) project. The cycle path is somewhat winding, but well signposted and it takes you northwards out of the town.
Shortly afterwards, outside the town, your route leaves the R7 “Friesacherweg” and follows cycle path R7E “Metnitzer Radweg”. Offering views in the direction of Dürnstein castle ruins, which are already in Styria, the cycle path runs alongside the road, across fields and meadows, as far as St. Salvator. There the Seppenbauer inn awaits you with good food and a car museum. It is here that the section of the route on designated cycle paths ends. From St. Salvator the tour takes you on a main road with light traffic, steadily but gently uphill into the valley interior. The valley is very rural and is characterised by meadows with grazing cattle, farms and wooded slopes. At the turn-off to Grades stay on the main road, which runs below Grades, almost like a gorge.
Then the valley becomes somewhat broader again and a view of Metnitz opens up, with the foothills of the Hirschstein (mountain) south of the Prankerhöhe (mountain in Styria) as a backdrop. In the distance Metnitz church already stands out, marking the destination of your tour. The designated route ends on the main road, at the turn-off for the town centre. But you may of course choose to cycle uphill to Metnitz main square. If you do so, be sure not to miss the mystical Dance of Death Museum, which is definitely worth a visit. Your return to Friesach retraces the same route.
Tip: if you have sufficient strength left in your legs, shortly before Metnitz on the way back you can turn off in the direction of Grades. This variant route takes you gently uphill but rewards you with a gorgeous view across the Metnitztal valley. There is also St. Wolfgang ob Grades pilgrimage church and some pleasant spots where you can take a break. In the centre of Grades, the bend to the left will bring you back onto the main road. Take particular care on the two hairpin bends – because the gradients are steep.
- Starting place: Friesach railway station
- Finish: Friesach railway station
- Distance: 35.9 km
- Altitude difference: 454 m
- Duration: 4 hrs 15 mins
- Degree of difficulty: medium