April 2023

I am not sure if that is my memory or my expectations:, in any case, somehow warmer days don’t come and don’t come. And once upon a time at this time they already were here. May is a week ahead, and yet not once has the temperature exceeded the magic 20 degrees Celcius. The mountains are full of snow, the winds are cold and it takes a lot of self courage to go out for a longer ride However, since they don’t give 20, we take 15 and hit the road

The route planned for today is about 100 km – direction: Klagenfurt, or rather the park in its western part, adjacent to Lake Wörthersee. I’ve already described it earlier, so just a handful of info about the lake itself.

Autumn colors over Wörthersee

Wörthersee is the largest of all Carinthian lakes, with its area of almost 20 square kilometers, Stretching between Klagenfurt and Velden, the shoreline is 42 kilometers long. This glacial lake at is momentary 85m deep, while the average depth is about 40 meters. The name comes from the village of Maria Wörth, located on a peninsula off the lake’s southern shore. According to legend, the lake was created as a punishment for residents of a rich town who refused to respect the Easter fast – they were flooded with water from a magic barrel for doing so.

Maria Wörth

The punishment will work rather partially – today the Wörthersee area is a very popular vacation spot, and real estate prices in towns like Pörtschach or Velden are not inferior to those on the Riviera. It’s a great place for a summer vacation, plenty of water sports centers, mountain sports, biking – whatever you like. The water is warm in summer, 25-27 degrees, there are plenty of beaches and a rich gastronomic offer.

The number of routes f rom Villach to Klagenfurt is virtually unlimited. One can be flat, one can be mountainous, as one prefers. For today I chose one that was moderately+ hilly. The first hill started just after the exit, not too sharp, just in time for a warm-up. Then a longer descent and immediately another climb, this time with an average gradient of 9% for about a kilometer. After which I got definitively warm and it was possible to hide one layer of clothes. Hardly had I evened out my breathing another hill appeared and so on and so forth; the route had a dozen such climbs today; they were not long, but quite challenging in places.

I rode all the way on public roads, cars kindly avoided me, and it was also nice to see quite a few other cyclists, whether speeding on the highways (like me;) or leisurely cruising along the paths.

The route passes several lakes along the way, of the larger ones are Faaker See and Keutschacher See, each of course with its full infrastructure is an equally good choice for holiday tours. It’s picturesque, with the still snowy Karawanken range in the background, as seen in the title photo.

After reaching Wörthersee, I turned left to make up a few kilometers to reach the previously described Maria Wörth. The church on the peninsula looks nice, with a pier at the shore, you can comfortably recline and admire the landschafts.

After a moment’s rest for a snack bar, I returned to the route to Klagenfurt – this part of the route is less pleasant, as it is mostly shaded. Spring, as said, is coming slow, so the temperatures are such that it’s nicer with the sun than with the shade. So on the left we have a lake, on the right steeply sloping mountains, sometimes some smaller waterfalls, and sunshine behind them. Lots of guesthouses, hotels and grazing villas, though not as many as on the north side of the lake.

After 55 km I arrived at Europa Park in Klagenfurt. This huge green area is full of all sorts of attractions, enough to spend an interesting whole day here. You can play big chess, walk on a rope, play volleyball, ride a tyrolean or walk in the Japanese gardens. There’s a beach, there’s a ship harbor, Minimundus miniature world (I’ve been, cool, about 3h tour).

I was enchanted today by the spring flowerbeds, which are insanely fragrant.

Dragon is a symbol of Klagenfurt

It also got a lot more crowded here, and in general, if you like to go fast, I do not recommend pushing into the bike paths.
And going on the public road, although possible and safe, is not nice either – it’s a very busy route and full of cars and motorcycles. On the other hand, it’s a very nice route, the lake looks nice for several kilometers.

View from cycling route

The road between Klagenfurt and Velden is actually flat, a good time to calm my breathing, as a few more climbs will fall in at the end. It’s still April, so form still feels like spring, on the brakes and somewhere around 80km I could already feel the exhaustion.

Velden in summertime

Just before the end, it came to me once again to ride up the same 9% hill as at the beginning. It took me more than a minute longer, and the wheezing was certainly louder. Indeed, the pace was also dropping, and all that was left of the ambitious plan to average 25km/h was „I don’t give a damn”:)

I didn’t do a hundred, but it was still fun.

Maps taken from strava.com