Cycle ride around the Ossiacher See R2/R2a
A cycle ride around the Ossiacher See is great for the whole family. Only 29 km long with no considerable difference in altitude, it can be mastered even by younger children. Its most beautiful parts run through a moor nature reserve called Bleistätter Moor along the lake's south side. There are many opportunities to take a break on the way and you can stop at one of the lake's beaches or shorten the tour by boarding the MS "Ossiach" of the Ossiacher See Schifffahrt.
Lake Ossiacher See is Carinthia's third largest lake, with a length of 10.38 km, a width of 600-1540 meters and a depth of up to 52 meters. Flanked by the Gerlitzen in the north and by the Ossiacher Tauern in the south, the scenery is truly wonderful.
If you don't have a bike carrier on your car, you reach the lake either by bike - from Villach to the west bank of Lake Ossiacher See via St. Andrä, Landskron or via Lake Vassacher See, St. Ruprecht - or from Feldkirchen to the east bank of Lake Ossiacher See. Alternatively you can reach the lake by train - the railway line Villach-Feldkirchen runs along the lake's north side.
Coming from Villach the cycle path follows the north shore of Lake Ossiacher See, via Annenheim, Sattendorf, St. Urban, and Bodensdorf to Steindorf. This side of the lake is developed and with the path partly running parallel to the railway tracks one could wish for better views of the lake. There is one attraction really worth a short stop: the so-called Steinhaus at Steindorf.
This eye-catching building, made out of steel, glass and concrete, has been a bone of contention and was a topic of heated local discussion for more than three decades. The Steinhaus's creator, architect Günther Domenig (1934-2012) was born in Carinthia and taught at the University of Graz. He built the Steinhaus for personal use and thus realized his architectural ideas without any compromises. Domenig played with the theme of the surrounding mountain scenery, he piled up rooms like cliffs and he cut through the house like passages through a rock. Only finished in 2008, the Steinhaus is nowadays considered a key work of deconstructivist architecture.
At Steindorf you leave the R2 and follow the R2A to the lake's east bank, where the Bleistätter Moor is situated. The river Triebel, which is the main tributary of Lake Ossiacher See, flows through the moor, which has recently been renaturalized and flooded to improve the water quality of the lake. As a result, this part of the lake now has a picturesque landscape that is arguably the best part of the bike tour.
The tour then continues along the southern shore of Lake Ossiacher See, flanked by the Ossiacher Tauern, now with a really well-constructed cycle path, and allows many great views down to the lake. Ossiach is the next place where it is worth making a stop. For one reason, there is the former Ossiach Abbey, Carinthia's oldest monks' monastery, founded around the year 1000 AD which was an influential local player, a religious as well as an economic and political power until its suppression in 1783. My children, however, would heartily recommend Ossiach's beach, the Erlebnis-Schwimmbad, because of its water slide and the iceberg.
Via Ostriach and Heiligen Gestade you'll finally reach St. Andrä and the west bank of Lake Ossiacher See, where the lake's main drain, the Villacher Seebach, flows off to the Drau.
For information about the cycle path click here.
In the summer concerts are held in the Steinhaus.
The Ossiach Collegiate Church website is here (click on the Union Jack for a church guide in English).
Regarding the Ossiacher See Schifffahrt: please note that bikes are only allowed on the MS "Ossiach" - click here for further information.