Where culture and cycling meet
Produced in Partnership with SalzburgerLand
Saalfelden Leogang. You pack away the bread and cheese, take one last glimpse at the grey, chiselled peaks in the distance, and turn your attention to your bike. One last swig of water; clip in your helmet and release the brakes. Slowly at first, the bike rolls forward and then gradually picks up speed along the singletrack. The sun flickers through the trees, tyres speed over roots, and then the trail opens up again to reveal the granite rock faces and Alpine meadows that dominate the views around Saalfelden Leogang.
ON YOUR BIKE
Saalfelden Leogang, high in the Austrian Alps of SalzburgerLand, is a hugely popular ski resort throughout the winter, but it’s at least as famous as a destination for cyclists. And no wonder. There are numerous mountain bike routes across the region and one of the world’s best bike parks. Road cyclists head to the area to battle the mountain passes and test their mettle against the steep downhills.
The EPIC Bikepark Leogang is an ever-growing network of downhill runs dedicated to mountain biking. Lifts and conveyor belts take bikers of all levels to beautiful spots across the mountain and drop them down flowing trails. Experts relish the jumps and steep drops, while beginners of all ages learn skills on the lower slopes. Unsurprisingly, the bikepark also hosts some of the most prestigious mountain biking events anywhere – often combining them with the mountain biking festivals it holds over the summer.
To visit Saalfelden Leogang with only cycling in mind would do it an injustice. Hikers can explore 400km of routes high in the mountains, perhaps stopping in the huts that dot the area. One of the highlights is a hike up the Spielberghorn, maybe timing it to pause at the Lindlalm for a hearty lunch of bread, meat and Knödel. Another unique experience is to walk to Birnbachgletscher, one of the lowest glaciers in Central Europe. The trails can also be linked with trails across SalzburgerLand.
Families will find plenty of kid-friendly biking routes in the mountains and at BikePark Leogang, but also many other activities – including Flying Fox XXL, a head-first steel rope slide that is 1,600m long (one of the longest in the world). You’ll be flying through the air, 140m above the ground, with potential top speeds of 130km/h.
REST AND RELAXATION
After all the adrenaline, Saalfelden Leogang has a wealth of places to relax. The food in its mountain huts and cosy inns brings the best of regional produce to the table; cheeses, charcuterie, fresh vegetables, and perhaps a cleansing shot of schnapps to calm the nerves.
Slow walks can be taken up to the Hermitage. Many people walk high in the mountains and talk to the hermit about the things on their mind. But perhaps the most relaxing experience is the Sense Park at the middle station of the cable car, a snow-making reservoir precipitously placed among the mountains. You’ll find little walks, natural splash pools for children, and sun loungers for a nap.
Sport may dominate the imagination when people think of Saalfelden Leogang, but Austrians recognise it as much for its cultural offering. The centrepiece of the year is the internationally renowned Jazzfestival Saalfelden. Since 1978, this festival has grown in reputation and attracts jazz greats from across the globe. The 2018 festival saw 42 concerts across 10 venues and 5 stages. In 2019, between August 22nd-25th, Jazzfestival Saalfelden will be celebrating its 40th anniversary with four days of contemporary and experimental music. Alongside the jazz, visitors can enjoy a diverse programme of events for all ages all year long.
TOP FIVE BIKE TRAILS
1/ Steinberg Line by FOX
This brand new line, officially opening summer 2019, descends around 10km from the Steinbergbahn (cable car station) at Kleiner Asitz down to the Stienbergbahn in Leogang.
2/ Schwarzleo Trail
The natural, 1.8km hand-built trail meanders through a beautiful mixed forest down to the eponymous Schwarzleotal. You can expect several technical switchbacks and long, flowing passages – all with a great view of the Leogang Steinberge and the Schwarzleobach.
3/ Forsthof Trail
Also new for 2019, 2km of thrilling singletrack starts from Forsthofalm and finishes in the valley
4/ Big-5 Challenge
The Big-5 Challenge links together five cable cars and five mountains around Saalbach Hinterglemm and Leogang. Enthusiastic mountain bikers aim to complete all five in one day. Could you?
5/ Matzalm-Trail Tour
This is one of the best singletrack trails in the whole area, loaded with rooty passages and technical bends.
Photography: Saalfelden Leogang Touristik // Klemens König // Matzalm // Tom Bause // Lolin
SAALFELDEN LEOGANG FACTS
Closest airports: Salzburg: 70km (1h) // Innsbruck: 135km (2h)
Closest train station: Saalfelden train station: direct service from Salzburg (1h 45min), direct service from Innsbruck (1h 45min), one transfer from Munich (2h
30min) // Leogang train station: direct service from Salzburg (1h 50min), one transfer from Innsbruck (1h 40min), one transfer from Munich (2h 20min)
Kilometres of hiking routes: 400
Kilometres of bike trails: 5 trails cover 35km of single track plus there’s a brand new 5000m2 pump track created on the grounds of the Dirt Jump Line
Number of open lifts: 2
Number of huts: 17
Number of hotels: 800