From Sleeping Beauty to Gravel Paradise

Gravel biking in the land of 1.000 hills

In the 70s and 80s a popular place for the summer retreat of the Viennese and Grazers, the Bucklige Welt fell into a slumber in the following years. Guests stayed away and the region threatened to lose its standing as a vacation destination – until some resourceful hoteliers focused on the ultimate USP of the region Bucklige Welt: The perfect gravel conditions! Roadbike expert and Gravel Guide Andreas Ottner reveals to us why the region is so well suited for graveling and which routes gravelbike enthusiasts should definitely not miss.

Guest rooms in every farmhouse, vacation guests on every corner and flourishing tourism: In the 80s, the Bucklige Welt was THE summer domicile for visitors from the cities nearby – like Vienna or Graz. Whether for the weekend or for several weeks at a time – the guests had come to stay. But then there was a sudden turnaround: due to a lack of leading businesses, the region did not manage to develop tourism and adapt to the modern desires and so the Bucklige Welt slowly fell into a Sleeping Beauty slumber that was to last for about 25 years. „There simply weren't any businesses that would have really accelerated," summarizes Andreas Ottner, head of the Hotel Krumbacherhof, explaining the region's former sluggishness. Fortunately, at the turn of the century, things got moving again: With the opening of Krumbach Castle and the new start-up of the Krumbacherhof, life came back to the region – and vacationers.

In the land of 1.000 hills

Especially among cycling enthusiasts, the Bucklige Welt is a popular vacation destination nowadays: while the usual racing bike regions such as Tyrol, Vorarlberg or Salzburg offer crisp climbs and a hunt for altitude meters, racing bike and gravel fans will find more gentle but still extensive tours in the region Bucklige Welt – it’s where cycling and enjoyment are perfectly combined.

„By no means you should underestimate our region," says Andreas, „The Bucklige Welt is not called 'The Land of a Thousand Hills' for nothing. In our hillside you're always moving up and down between 450 and 900 meters in altitude, adding up to quite a few kilometers and meters in altitude." Andreas loves to recommend e-bikes to his guests, on which the region can be explored quite well. With a little support extensive gourmet tours to the surrounding farmhouses and gourmet-farms, where guided tours and tastings can be made, are no problem. And even extensive tours – such as those to Lake Neusiedl with 110 kilometers – can be mastered more easily with an e-bike. „110 kilometers is really a long distance. That's why we also offer our guests a shuttle from – or around – the lake, so they don't have to cover the distance twice.”

A crisp detour into the Wechselland region

But not only rolling hills characterize the region, altitude hunters will also find what they're looking for. On a tour to neighboring Wechselland, road bikers quickly cover 85 kilometers and 1,700 meters in altitude. From Krumbach, the tour leads via Aspang and three crisp climbs to St. Corona am Wechsel and via Lichtenegg back to Krumbach. The gravel day tour to the Wechselland leads over 85 kilometers and 2,400 vertical meters to the Hochwechsel. The course leads over asphalt roads, through the terrain and over uphill and slowline stretches. „So it's all there, garnished with a super view!", Andreas tells enthusiastically. His special tip for preparing for this tour: check out a a day ticket in advence, because the route partly leads over the Wexl Trails, where a ticket is required.

Exploration tour through the Bucklige Welt

From Krumbach, there are no limits to the gravel experience! Literally because you are in the immediate vicinity of the three-state corner round here. The intersection with Burgenland and Styria can be found at Hochneukirchen, where the “Dreiländerstein” (the three countries stone) marks the borders between the two federal states. Definitely worth a visit! „You walk around the stone once and you've been to three federal states".

The general rule here is: Simply explore! „Here you’ll find many well strenuous, but moderate tours that lead over freight roads, little used and perfectly asphalted roads, forest paths and trails. That makes graveling especially casual round here," knows gravelbiker Andreas. He himself started graveling about six years ago – not directly on a newly purchased gravel bike, but just on his old road bike: „I simply turned off into the forest and rode cross-country one day. With us, you always have the opportunity to change the surface and go onto trails or unpaved paths."

Graveling has been a clearly noticeable topic in the Buckligen Welt for three years now. And it’s high demanded by the guests of the Krumbacherhof. Andreas is happy to be a guide for his guests and leads them along routes that they would probably never ever discovered on their own: „When I do guided tours, I simply know where I can turn off spontaneous onto unsigned paths: I know the people who own the freight roads personally, which makes the tours even more diverse".

Krumbach – not a child of sadness!

Andreas Ottner and his wife bought the Krumbacherhof back in 2004. The traditional Hotel was built in 1974, and have continuously renovated. „With the new business and as a start-up hotelier, cycling took a back seat for me. But after a few years – when things in the hotel were regulated – I had more time for cycling again. That's when the idea came to my mind, to combine my bike-passion with my work and to integrate the bike into the business. „The Krumbacherhof has now been a proud member of the Roadbike Holidays family since 2010 – combining road bike and gravel expertise with service, relaxation and enjoyment. „Twelve years ago, among road cyclists, only Wechsel or Rax were known – Krumbach nobody had on the radar. This changed a lot and today we are very pleased with our road cycling and gravel biking guests," grins the hotel boss.