Expedition: Cycling the Rhine to the Adriatic

Expedition: Cycling the Rhine to the Adriatic

Our cross-Alpine Expedition begins in Strasbourg, in France’s Alsace region, and continues through France, Germany, Austria, finally reaching Venice after 1000 km (650 miles) of extraordinary cycling! You will explore the Alsace region (in France and Germany), enjoying vineyard-covered hills and important Germanic cities, crossing the Rhine River and then reaching the spring of the mighty Danube river before arriving in Lake Constance which borders three nations (Austria, Germany, Switzerland). Low hills and river valleys in Germany prepare you for your entrance into the Alps. You’ll spend a rest day in Innsbruck, Austria’s capital state of Tyrol, before crossing Brenner Pass, one of the lowest passes in the Alps, ending with a delightful glide down and into northern Italy. Now you're ready to tackle some of the iconic routes in bicycle racing history in Italy’s breathtaking Dolomites, including the famous Sella Ronda Circuit! We'll exit the mountains and enter the world-famous Prosecco wine region of Italy which will preface our arrival to the Veneto region. 

Expedition tours are designed for experienced riders looking to challenge themselves. You can read more about how they differ from a regular ExperiencePlus! tour here.

Tour Dates & Prices

Date
Price
Private Room Fee
Note
Jun 27-Jul 14, 2021
USD$7495
USD$750
 
Jul 3-20, 2022
TBA
TBA
Book Now and Save $200, per person.

* We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the private room charge. This charge will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available it will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.

Tour Style: Expedition Book This Trip Now Hold-A-Space/Questions Request Custom Date Download Itinerary Tour Map
  • Trip At-A-Glance
  • Tour Summary
  • Daily Itinerary
  • Travel Information
  • Map
  • Reviews
  • Similar Tours
Trip At-A-Glance

Trip At-A-Glance

  • Length / 18 Days
  • Total Distance / 981km (610 miles)
  • Avg. Distance / 73km (45 miles) per riding day
  • Tour Level & Tour Style / 4.0 Expedition
  • Countries / France, Italy, Austria, Germany
  • Begin/End / Strasbourg/Treviso 
  • Price / From TBA
Tour Summary

Tour Summary

  • Highlights
    German Allgäu region and German/French Alsace region; Alsatian wines like Gewürztraminer; Famed European cities - Strasbourg, Freiburg, Colmar, Constance (or Konstanz), Innsbruck, Cortina, Treviso; Danube and Rhine river sightings; Pedaling along border areas of Lake Constance, through Italian/Austrian Tyrol region; The Alps; Brenner Pass, Sella Ronda circuit and Passo Falzarego; Dolomites (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

    Keep in Mind: We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.

    There is limited air conditioning in hotels as it is usually not needed; this is an Expedition level tour so van support can be limited during the day.

    Learn more about what is included and what to expect on your Expedition tour at the Expedition Tour Style page.

  • Includes
    18 days, 17 nights accommodation, meals as noted in itinerary, Prosecco wine tasting, bilingual tour leaders, van support

    Learn more about what is included and what to expect on your Expedition tour at the Expedition Tour Style page.
  • Arrive / Depart
    Strasbourg (SXB) / Venice (VCE)
  • Overall Tour Level
    4.0 difficulty level 4.0
  • Daily Ride Summary

    Day

    Distance/Gain
    mi/ftkm/m

    Terrain

    Day Level

    Notes

    1
    Test ride
    2
    85km / 580m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 3.0
    3
    63km / 377m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.5
    4
    63km / 1167m
    Mountainous
    difficulty level 4.5
    5
    93km / 514m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 3.0
    6
    Rest day
    7
    85km / 1067m
    Very hilly
    difficulty level 4.5
    8
    84km / 1026m
    Hilly
    difficulty level 4.5
    9
    94km / 1310m
    Mountainous
    difficulty level 5.0
    10
    Rest day
    11
    61km / 1200m
    Mountainous
    difficulty level 4.5
    12
    90km / 1785m
    Very hilly
    difficulty level 5.0
    13
    53km / 1687m
    Mountainous
    difficulty level 5.0
    14
    37km / 877m
    Mountainous
    difficulty level 4.0
    15
    Rest day
    16
    121km / 980m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 4.0
    17
    61km / 427m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 2.5
    18
    Last day

Terrain Legend

Gentle Gentle

Rolling hills Rolling hills

Hilly Hilly

Very hilly Very hilly

Mountainous Mountainous

Daily Itinerary
Download Itinerary

DAY 1: Arrive in Strasbourg, France

Highlights: Strasbourg, Notre Dame de Strasbourg Cathedral, little Venice of the north

Come early to visit the wonderful city of Strasbourg set in one of the most historic border regions of Europe. Part French, part German, part European, come see what this city is all about! Highlights include the Notre Dame de Strasbourg Cathedral, construction first began in 1015 AD, this is one of France's most famous architectural masterpieces.  You will soon discover that Strasbourg is full of architectural gems as well as quaint quarters such as “La Petite France,” often called the little Venice of the north with its canals, revolving bridges, and typical Alsatian-style buildings. We'll meet this afternoon for a bike fitting. Tonight we'll toast the start of our extraordinary journey together with a special dinner.

DAY 2: Strasbourg to Riquewhir

Highlights: Alsace

Alsace is arguably the most unique region of France. As a place that has changed hands 5 times between France and Germany over the last 150 years, it is now a cultural crossroads where French finesse meets German gusto. We dive into in the heart of the region today, exploring its festive villages tucked among vineyards, Renaissance house facades, expansive views across the Rhine River Valley, and the Haut Koenigsbourg castle. Take some time to visit the castle and then explore any number of the sixteen villages of the local consortium on the way to our hotel in the center of Riquewihr.

  • Distance: 85km (53mi)
  • Gain: 580m (1902ft)
  • Terrain: Rolling hills
  • Day Level: difficulty level 3.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 3: Riquewhir to Freiburg, Germany

Highlights: Colmar, beautiful city of Freiburg, cross the Rhine River

Our first stop today is Colmar, which has been a famous market and wine center since the 13th century. After a coffee in town, enjoy the descent into the vast Rhine valley, where you’ll cycle along the mighty river eventually crossing and climbing a small hill that leads you up to our destination: Freiburg. Arguably one of Germany's most beautiful cities, Freibrug’s colorful houses and impressive cathedral will captivate. It isn't all about history here as the city is also characterized by its shopping district! As you wander, you’ll notice the old "Bächle" an unusual system of gutters that run throughout its center. These were once used to provide water to fight fires and feed livestock. Diverted from the Dreisam River, they are constantly flowing, and act as a natural form of air conditioning to cool the city! 

  • Distance: 63km (39mi)
  • Gain: 377m (1237ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 1.5
  • Meals: Breakfast

DAY 4: Freiburg to Donauschingen

Highlights: The Black Forest, Titisee Glacial Lake, Source of the Danube

We leave the Alsace region to traverse the Black Forest, pedaling across its forests, hills, rivers and by one of its most important lakes. Titisee, is glacial lake and a paradise for summer holiday makers. Continue pedaling to reach the other side of the Black Forest where the confluence of the Brigach and Breg Rivers form one of Europe's largest rivers, the Danube. 

  • Distance: 63km (39mi)
  • Gain: 1167m (3828ft)
  • Terrain: Mountainous
  • Day Level: difficulty level 4.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 5: Donauschingen to Lake Constance

Highlights: Danube and Rhine Rivers, Switzerland, Lake Constance/Bodensee

We’ll see the Danube River a few times this morning as we cycle out of the Black Forest with a delightful descent into the Bodensee (or Lake Constance in English). We'll join the Rhine River and catch part of the Eurovelo 15 route and cycle upstream to reach Lake Constance, one of Germany’s most famous bicycle destinations. Lake Constance is at the crossroads of three countries: Switzerland, Germany, and Austria (in fact we’ll cycle through Switzerland for a few miles to reach our destination!). 

  • Distance: 93km (58mi)
  • Gain: 514m (1686ft)
  • Terrain: Rolling hills
  • Day Level: difficulty level 3.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 6: Rest day in Constance

Highlights: Relax or visit Meersburg or Schaffausen waterfall

Measuring 64 km (40 miles) in length and 12 km (@8 miles) at its widest point, Lake Constance and is the third largest lake in Central Europe. Explore the town of Constance today, or you can take a boat ride and visit Meersburg's castle and Fortress Museum. Continue your cruise on a ferry till Friedrichshafen and visit the Zeppelin Blimp Museum. Alternatively, you can also take a train ride to the famed Schaffausen waterfalls along the Rhine River. If you want to get some cycling in today you can take the train one way and pedal back. Whatever you decide be sure to take it easy because tomorrow we head for the hills!

  • Meals: Breakfast

DAY 7: Constance to Allgäu Region

Highlights: Ferry, Constance cycle path, Lindau, Bavaria, the Allgäu hills

A short ferry ride takes us across to the east side of the lake where we’ll catch the famous Lake Constance Cycle to reach the pretty lakeside town of Lindau. Enjoy a bite to eat here before you leave the lake to head into the hills of the Swabian Allgäu geographical region. We are in pre-alpine land here, in the southern most tip of Bavaria, and this area is especially famous for its alpine cows and picturesque meadows. We’ll see plenty of both on the way to the small town where we’ll spend the night! 

  • Distance: 85km (53mi)
  • Gain: 1067m (3500ft)
  • Terrain: Very hilly
  • Day Level: difficulty level 4.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 8: Oberstaufen to Elmen, Austria

Highlights: Alpine valleys, scenic mountain climbs, Tyrol, Lech River

You’ll warm up this morning on a flat ride cycling through the Groβer Valley before beginning a climb that brings you into Austria and a wonderful descent into Austrian Tyrol. Stunning mountain scenery surrounds us as we reach the Lech River Valley where we will spend the night in the small hamlet of Elmen.

  • Distance: 84km (52mi)
  • Gain: 1026m (3365ft)
  • Terrain: Hilly
  • Day Level: difficulty level 4.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 9: Elmen to Innsbruck

Highlights: River valleys, climbing Hahntennjochpass, Innsbruck

We are deep into the Alps now, the first 20 km (12 miles) of our ride will take us through small alpine villages as we climb through the Bschlabs Valley to the top of Hahntennjoch Pass. Enjoy an awesome descent to the Inn River which we'll follow through picturesque mountain valleys all the way to Innsbruck, the capital of the Tyrol region.

  • Distance: 94km (58mi)
  • Gain: 1310m (4297ft)
  • Terrain: Mountainous
  • Day Level: difficulty level 5.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 10: Innsbruck – rest day

Highlights: Medieval city center, museums, beer gardens, relax

The capital of Tyrol offers a late medieval city center and is perfectly situated for those hoping to explore the spectacular landscapes and intriguing history of the Alps. Take the day to explore this amazing city, visit the Golden Roof Museum, the Imperial Palace, sit in a beer garden or take the funicular and cable car into the mountains. 

  • Meals: Breakfast

DAY 11: Innsbruck to Vipiteno, Italy

Highlights: Brenner Pass, Italy

Leave Austria today by climbing over the Brenner Pass which is one of the most important passes in Europe connecting Austria and Italy (it is also the lowest pass at 1,370 meters or 4,495 feet). We’ll use a bike path at the top of the pass and glide down into Italy, entering our last country of the trip! The small town of Vipiteno was first built as a military encampment and then became a vital trading post throughout the centuries.

  • Distance: 61km (38mi)
  • Gain: 1200m (3936ft)
  • Terrain: Mountainous
  • Day Level: difficulty level 4.5
  • Meals: Breakfast

DAY 12: Vipiteno to Corvara

Highlights: Fortezza military fortress, Alta Val Badia, Val Pusteria

Our first day of cycling in Italy starts out gently, passing first by the 19th century imposing “Fortezza” –a massive military fortress built in the 1830's to protect Brenner Pass.  Then, we'll veer east toward Brunico through the Val Pusteria. Get ready to dive deep into the heart of the Dolomites as you cycle up into the Val Badia where Ladino, a local language that has controversial origins - is it a mixture of Latin and tribal dialects? Experts disagree, but it remains the first language of locals and is not readily understood by Italian speakers. Corvara is packed with cyclists from all over the world drawn by the opportunity to conquer the famous Sella Ronda.

  • Distance: 90km (56mi)
  • Gain: 1785m (5855ft)
  • Terrain: Very hilly
  • Day Level: difficulty level 5.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 13: Sella Ronda

Highlights: The famous Sella Ronda

This morning you have the opportunity to pedal the classic Sella Massif on the Dolomite High Road. This 53 km (33 miles) loop features 6,500 feet of climbing over 4 famous passes (Gardena, Sella, Pordoi and Campolongo) and has been a regular feature of the Giro d'Italia. This has to be one of the most spectacular rides anywhere in the world so you are in for a treat!

  • Distance: 53km (33mi)
  • Gain: 1687m (5533ft)
  • Terrain: Mountainous
  • Day Level: difficulty level 5.0
  • Meals: Breakfast

DAY 14: Corvara to Cortina

Highlights: Passo Falzarego, Cortina d’Ampezzo 

Today's ride is short but has an awesome climb over another pass made famous by the Giro d'Italia, Passo Falzarego. Once at the top of the pass we highly recommend taking the cable car up the mountain for 360 degree views, and a tasty lunch in the rifugio (mountain hut). From the pass, a long gliding downhill takes you into the Dolomites' most famous and historic mountain resort, Cortina d'Ampezzo! Stroll through downtown with its shops and vibrant holidaying scene. Known in the winter as one of the premier skiing destinations for the aristocratic European crowd, in the summer this region becomes a destination for all types of travelers. 

  • Distance: 37km (23mi)
  • Gain: 877m (2877ft)
  • Terrain: Mountainous
  • Day Level: difficulty level 4.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 15: Cortina Rest Day

Highlights: Loop ride in the Dolomites, optional walk in the mountains

Explore Cortina today, take on more famous passes like Passo Giau, or the nearby lakes with a ride up to Lake Misurina. Those who prefer a day off the bike have plenty of options, sit on the patio, go shopping, take a cable car up into the mountains for a hike, or to enjoy another spectacular view. 

  • Meals: Breakfast

DAY 16: Cortina to Cison Valmarino

Highlights: Cadore Valley, downhill, Prosecco vineyards

Enjoy 75-miles almost all of which is downhill! We will leave the mountains via a rails to trails path through the Cadore valley. Meet one of northern Italy’s largest rivers, the Boite, and follow it downstream, exiting the towering mountains to reach softer hills and wine growing areas. Raise your glass with a toast of Prosecco tonight as we are in the heart of the vineyards that produce this bubbly! To help ensure that you do we'll have a wine tasting at our charming hotel.

  • Distance: 121km (75mi)
  • Gain: 980m (3214ft)
  • Terrain: Rolling hills
  • Day Level: difficulty level 4.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 17: Treviso 

Highlights: Venetian villas, Treviso, celebratory dinner 

Our final day of riding begins on tiny roads through vineyards, that give way as we round Montello hill where farms and small towns dominate as we approach Treviso, our final destination. Treviso is a charming city which is greatly overshadowed by its nearby lagoon neighbor, Venice, despite its wonderful old town center with arcade walkways and canals as well as plenty of historic sights to visit. We’ll have a celebratory dinner tonight and toast our adventure traversing the Alps! 

  • Distance: 61km (38mi)
  • Gain: 427m (1401ft)
  • Terrain: Rolling hills
  • Day Level: difficulty level 2.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 18: Farewell 

Highlights: Treviso city, Venice, other Venetian sites to visit 

The tour ends after breakfast. Enjoy this special city or continue your travels!

  • Meals: Breakfast
Travel Information

Travel Information

Day 1: Arrival Information

Arrive in Strasbourg, France

Meeting time 2 p.m. - on Day 1, meet your fellow cyclists and Tour Leaders at the Day 1 Hotel specified on the itinerary.

Note:

As you are planning, remember that the hotels listed in our itineraries are our primary hotels and are - in rare cases - subject to change. Before you make arrangements, check with us if your tour departure is guaranteed. If your tour departure is out further than 6 months, please also check with us as there might be slight changes to the itinerary.

The below information will help you plan your arrival. For more tips or other routes, you might like Rome2Rio. The fare and timing information listed below is approximate.

We recommend flying into the Strasbourg Airport (SCB). Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) is a 2.5-3.5 hour train ride away.

From Strasbourg Airport to the Day 1 Hotel:

  • Taxi (30 min/EUR 30-40)

Or public transportation:

  1. Airport Shuttle to the Strasbourg Gare (9 min/EUR 2.5)
  2. Tram to Longstross-Grand'Rue (6 min/EUR 2) or taxi (5 min/EUR 12-17)

Look up French train schedules and book tickets, if necessary, SNCF.com or Trainline.eu. Questions? See our information on taking trains in Europe here or ask us.  

Day 18: Departure Information

Farewell 

Your trip ends on the final day after breakfast. 

The below information will help you plan your departure. For more tips or other routes, you might like Rome2Rio.

You can fly out of Treviso Airport (TSF), or Venice Marco Polo (VCE)

Flying out of VCE

  1. Taxi from the ending hotel to the Treviso train station (10 min/EUR 10)
  2. Train from Treviso Centrale to Venezia Mestre train station (18-40 min, depending on connection/fares vary, no pre-purchase necessary)
  3. Airport Shuttle Bus from Venezia Mestre to the Venice Airport (20 min/EUR 8)

or

  • Taxi all the way from Treviso to the Venice Airport (40 min/EUR 80)

From Treviso, you will also have frequent train connections to Venice, Padova, Bologna, Milan, and Rome, via Venezia Mestre.

Look up Italian train schedules at Trenitalia.com or Trainline.eu. Questions? See our information on taking trains in Europe here or ask us.

Keep in Mind

We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.

There is limited air conditioning in hotels as it is usually not needed; this is an Expedition level tour so van support can be limited during the day.

Learn more about what is included and what to expect on your Expedition tour at the Expedition Tour Style page.

Pre-Trip Planning Checklist

To Do Today!

3–6 Months Prior to Departure

  • Reserve your flights after you know you have a confirmed tour departure. Please check with our office if you do not know if your trip is confirmed. As you make your plans refer to the Getting To and Away sent to you in your booking confirmation email it provides meeting times and the starting and ending hotels and shuttle information when applicable.
  • Book your pre and post-tour hotel nights. Please refer to the Getting To and Away sheet you received in your Reservation Confirmation Email.
  • 12 weeks before your tour begin your training program www.experienceplus.com/training.
  • Final payment is due 90 days prior to the tour start. Please refer to your Deposit Payment Invoice and the Final Payment Reminder e-mail you have received for detailed instructions.

6 Weeks–2 Weeks Prior to Departure

Day of Your Flight

Get as much sleep on the plane as you can. Pack your Getting To and Away information and one day of cycling gear in your carry-on. See you soon!

What to Expect on Tour

Expedition Tour Style

Learn more about what is included and what to expect on your Expedition tour at the Expedition page.

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Map

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