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EPIC CORSICA

Arrival location visual:
Livello difficoltà visual:
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Sistemazione-guidato: 7 nights at a three-star hotel.
Sistemazione-SG: N/A
Sistemazione-Supp: N/A
Pasti-SG: N/A
Pasti-guidato: All breakfasts.
Pasti-Supp: N/A
Livello di supporto-SG: N/A
Livello di supporto-guidato: Guiding; van assistance; detailed briefing; luggage transfer; mobile workshop; group transfers from Catania airport to Syracuse and from Taormina to Catania airport; bars, gels and electrolytes available on purchase; 10% discount on bike rentals.
Livello di supporto-Supp: N/A
Non incluso-guidato: Flight tickets; extras in hotel, etc. Drinks during the dinner; city tax (if any); travel insurance; individual arrival and departure transfer; bike rental.
Non incluso-SG: N/A
Non incluso-Supp: N/A
Su richiesta-guidato: Individual transfer from and to Figari airport; supplement for single accommodation € 550 p.p.; bike rental.
Su richiesta-SG: N/A
Su richiesta-Supp: N/A
Tour end visual:
Total distance visual:
Total elevation visual:
Accommodation visual:
Days riding visual:
Meals visual:
Days/nights visual:
Airport city flying in: Figari airport
Airport city flying out: Figari airport
Pick-up location: Porto Vecchio
Drop off location: Porto Vecchio
Pick-up time: 14:00
Drop off time: 10:00
Tour name: Epic Corsica
Accommodation: 7 nights at a three-star hotel
Days/nights: 8/7
Meals: All breakfasts.
Tour code: EPC-2024
Type: Scheduled
Days of riding: 6
Price guided: 2669
Price self guided: N/A
Price supported: On request
Difficulty level: Challenge
Total distance: 614
Total elevation: 13460
Duration days: 8
Departure location: Porto Vecchio
Arrival location: Porto Vecchio
Event date-begins: 2024-06-01
Event date-ends: 2024-06-08
Event teaser: Corsica is the third largest Med island after Sicily and Sardinia and what we judge a very special environment for cycling: in a small scale, it features a great environmental variety.

ALL THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THIS CYCLING PARADISE

But what has made us enthusiasts about riding there, are the amazing mountains that make you change from Med environment to Alps in the space of half of a stage.

Two thirds of the whole territory are mountains. Plus, nearly half of the island is National Park: Parc naturel régional de Corse. This, and the very low population density, characterize the inland, making for glorious mountain rides.

As tour designers and tour leaders we believe that the relevant daily elevation gains produce some specific consequences when it comes to design a tour: first, if you'd like to explore a significant part of the island you cannot reasonably offer tours with less than challenging level; second, to include all the top spots the trip will feature necessarily long stages, and average elevation gains typical of the Alps.

We're describing a pretty hilly cycling context, we know, but believe us when we say that what you'll see and experience here worth the effort and the additional training to get ready for it! The tour is shaped like a ring, starting and finishing in Porto Vecchio. Along this ring we'll do the most famous Corsican climbs such as the 30km long Aiguilles de Bavella, the spectacular and wild Cold de Siu, but also Col de Verde, the impressively long (40km!) Colle Vergio, Col du Sorba and so many top spots that would make this introduction text way too long....LONGER THAN A CORSICAN LONG CLIMB!

ITINERARY

  • 1 ARRIVAL DAY

    Arrival at Figari airport and transfer to Porto Vecchio. Accommodation and dinner at three-star hotel.

  • 2 FROM PORTO VECCHIO TO ZONZA

    86 km | 2,100m | 2,100m | 5,00h

    Col di Bavella is one of the most famous climbs in Corsica, and for sure one of the most dramatic roads in the Mediterranean. And it's main course on this day. It's a 31km climb - interrupted by a few kilometers down in the middle. The climb starts in Solenzara, and is easy in the beginning. Then the incline increases progressively, with some 15% section in the latter 9km. Before the top, many little cafes and restaurants are in perfect position to enjoy some good local food or a cappuccino, with the stunning views given by the Bavella peaks. Zonza, our destination and a very neat and pretty mountain town, is close.


    Accommodation: 3-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast 

  • 3 FROM ZONZA TO CORTE

    123 km | 2,700m | 2,100m | 6h

    Every tour has got a queen stage, and that's the one of Epic Corsica. It's not all matter of distance of elevation, but of how you've put together those meters up at the end of the day. Two major climbs today. One is Col de Verde, 28km but with a pretty gentle - 3% - average incline. The second is Col du Sorba, about 10km, but nearly 7%. Col du Sorba is one third Col de Verde, in terms of distance, but a wrong effort management can turn it into a never ending climb. From the top, possibly one of the most beautiful views we had on our cycle tours (and for this reason chosen as main photo on top of the page). Past Col du Sorba, the way to hotel is relatively easy, and we can enjoy a lovely dinner in what we believe is the nicest and most authentic town in the island: Corte. 


    Accommodation: 3-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast 

  • 4 FROM CORTE TO PORTO

    107 km | 2,600m | 2,100m | 6h

    We like those rides that mix up a lot of different ingredients, like short and long climbs, but also quick downhills and super long winding descents. Or mountains and sea as only the Mediterranean islands can grant. This stage is like that: it surprises us with sudden change of environment and it challenges our road riders' skills. Out of the hotel we take a great opportunity: riding up the famous Restonica gorge, enjoying a coffee with (stunning) view, then beginning our journey back to coastline. A short up will takes us on top of Col d'Ominanda and after a few kilometers down a thrilling panoramic downhill, past Castirla, we approach the longest climb of the whole trip: Col de Vergio. The tallest pass in Corsica at 1500m. But - most importantly - it's a 40km climb. As you can expect, it can't be a steep climb, otherwise it'd mean climbing a kind of Corsican Mount Everest. It's instead sub 4% all the time, with just the last hairpins near the top representing the most challenging part of the climb and of the whole ride. The descent is awesome, with a section onto one of the oldest roads in Corsica, deep inside a red granite gorge, with a lovely view of the sea in front of us. All the way down lays Porto, where we'll spend the night at a three-star hotel.


    Accommodation: 3-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast 

  • 5 FROM PORTO TO AJACCIO (PORTICCIO)

    102 km | 1,960m | 2,100m | 5h

    Sixth day on a lovely island and not a proper coastline ride yet? Well it's time for that. Left the hotel, we head south towards the largest town in Corsica - Ajaccio - and right after a few kilometers up, we ride amid Le Calanches of Piana, an unmissable natural monument: and sure we won't miss this ride! It's a 11km climb before Piana, but believe us when we say it's worth every single drop of sweat. Put in the pocket our smartphones after a ton of photos and selfies, we keep riding south and get closer to the coastline. From Cargese forward is a continuous up and down with shorter or longer climbs. We won't get into Ajaccio, as despite it's not a metropolis, the traffic is amazing and the riding not pleasant. We'll head instead right outside Ajaccio, on the small Porticcio beach.


    Accommodation: 3-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast 

  • 6 FROM AJACCIO (PORTICCIO) TO SARTENE

    113 km | 2,600m | 2,039m | 6h

    From Ajaccio we head south towards the touristic resort of Propriano. We enjoy the typical inner Corsica, a bit out of the mainstream locations, across small and lazy mountain villages. We ride past mainly long and progressive climbs. As we approach Propriano, we head east and face the biggest challenge of day: Cole de Siu. It isn't super steep, neither one of the classical super long Corsican climbs, but it's got a quite grainy and slow asphalt. The red-granite cliffs all around as well as the awesome view from the top makes you understand why we think Col de Siu is a must-ride. Sartene, our destination, is not far from there.


    Accommodation: 3-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast | Dinner

  • 7 FROM SARTENE TO PORTO VECCHIO

    83 km | 1,520m | 2,089m | 4,30h

    The last and easiest stage of the trip. And the news is that it doesn't feature any of the most known Corsican cols. And yet we've included something very special! At the end of a stage with many shorter climbs, we eventually find another top road: the thrilling descent from Col de l'Ospedale: 18 winding kilometers with stunning views on the Porto Vecchio gulf and on the eastern coast of the island.

    THERE'S NO BETTER WAY TO SAY GOODBYE - OR AU REVOIR - TO CORSICA.


    Accommodation: 3-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast |

  • 8 FAREWELL AND DEPARTURE DAY

    Transfer to Figari airport and end of services.


Arrival details

Departure details

Your Journey on a map

TOUR ROUTE

  • 41.749626,9.171887

    mapcenter

  • 41.809544,9.212935

    Bavella

  • 42.2283,9.0315

    Col de la Restonica

  • 41.591369,9.278311

    Porto Vecchio

  • 41.749626,9.171887

    Zonza

  • 41.90807,9.130011999999999

    Zicavo

  • 42.309409,9.149022

    Corte

  • 41.8895,8.8007

    Ajaccio (Porticcio)

  • 42.265967,8.705924

    Porto Ota

  • 41.621822,8.97472

    Sartène

Services

Accommodation

Handpicked hotels

Your stay, part of the tale

Enjoy our personally selected range of authentic Corsican accommodation. 

Corsican hotels reflect the unique atmosphere of the island quite well, offering visitors plenty of choices. Along the island's coastlines, there are many hotels with breathtaking views of the sea; meanwhile, in the heart of the island, there are more rural hotels that provide a more authentic and tranquil experience, immersed in Corsican nature and culture.

Food

Eat like locals

Immerse yourself in the region's culture

Corsica, offers a variety of typical dishes that reflect the influences of Mediterranean and Corsican cuisine.

In Corsican cuisine, marinated anchovies explode with Mediterranean flavors, while Corsican lamb embodies the island's authenticity with its tender meat and aromatic herb perfumes. Corsican cured meats such as Figatellu, Lonzu, and Prisuttu are appreciated for their quality and unique flavor, making Corsica a gastronomic paradise.

Bike rental

Our best picks for this tour

As we have one of the largest and best bike fleets in Italy, we are proud to give our guests the freedom to choose the bike that suits them best.

  • Pinarello F5 - 105 di2

    Ride in Italy on an exclusive Italian bike

    GO TO CATALOG

  • Scott Addict RC40

    Scott Addict RC40

    Light, fast, and ready to turn heads.

    GO TO CATALOG

  • Scott Addict 30

    Designed from the ground up with those longer days in mind.

    GO TO CATALOG

Things You Won't Miss
  • Col de la Bavella

  • From the sea to the mountains, Corsican landscapes

  • The magnificent Corsican coast.

Ride Highlights:
Col de la Bavella

The Col de Bavella is a mountain pass at an altitude of 1,218 meters on the French island of Corsica. The mountain pass connects Solenzara on the east coast of the island with Zonza in the Alta Rocca.

The col is the most southerly of the four great Corsican mountain passes that cross the main ridge of the island. The pass forms an important connection between the southwest of the island and the northeast.

Tour price

And inclusions

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THIS TOUR IS AVAILABLE AS A GUIDED GROUP TOUR ON SELECTED DATES. it's also available as PRIVATE, SELF-GUIDED AND SUPPORTED ON ANY DATE DURING THE CYCLING SEASON.

Guided group tour

Guided group tour


Inclusions & details

Self guided tour

Self guided tour


Inclusions & details

Supported tour

Supported tour

Anytime Apr to Oct


Inclusions & details

Let's plan your next trip!

Useful Information

Tips & Resources

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Travel arrangements

The best airport for arrivals is Figari airport(FSC): from there we arrange the group transfer. Other options are possible, and we can help you select the best one.

Please contact us for more information.

Food & Drinks during stages

During the rides we plan at least one longer food stop in the middle of the stage plus one or more coffee stops. In the assistance van we have bars, gels and water.

Necessary Gear

Our guests will get a pre tour info kit that gives useful suggestions on how to enjoy our trips in full. Here is a quick selection that might be useful at this stage.

  • We suggest renting a bike with us. But feel free to bring your own bike. Just consider bringing along a selection of model specific spare parts (ie. derailleur hangers). 

  • The hotels have in some occasion a bike room, bikes are anyway always stored in a safe way. We have a mobile workshop with tools and spare parts.
  • Bring along a wide selection of clothes, including some full arm jackets, raincoat, leg and arm warmers: there are a lot of mountains where the weather is never completely predictable.
More Journeys

Similar Trips

[arrow-up]

Epic Sardinia Classic

Tour name: Epic Sardinia Classic
Tour code: E-CL24
Price guided: -
Price self guided: 999
Price supported: 1499
Difficulty level: Challenge
Total distance: 621.3
Total elevation: 10,964
Duration days: 8
Departure location: Chia
Arrival location: Santa Maria Navarrese
Event teaser: A six-stage tour that combines some of the most challenging and rewarding roads in Sardinia

The focus of Epic Sardinia is on putting together only the nicest, wildest most special roads: those we love most.

Epic Sardinia consists of six stages with elevation profiles and routes that highlight all of the capabilities and abilities of a dedicated cyclist. Make no mistake. It’s designed to maximize cycling enthusiasts’ expectations of what top-of-the-line cycling is all about. But when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Epic Sardinia was designed with no regard to commercial aspects. The only focus was on putting together only the nicest, wildest most special roads: those we love most. The result was... Epic. And despite not commercially oriented, Epic Sardinia has become a commercial success too. Epic Sardinia takes place in an incredible natural setting featuring long stretches, tough climbs, short and quick ascents, flat roads and false flats as well as long winding descents. The 2022 edition starts in Chia and finishes at the beautiful beach at Santa Maria Navarrese. At its end you’ll have ridden along the world famous Sardinian western coast and up and down in the glorious Gennargentu, the highest mountain range on Sardinia. Epic Sardinia is a fully assisted stage tour: our support vehicles escort all of the stages, with drinks, bars and gels and, of course, water. Mechanical assistance and spare wheels are guaranteed from the very first to the last kilometer of each stage. The only difference from a Pro-Tour race is that Epic Sardinia is not a race. There are coffee and food planned stops and there's always the possibility of jumping in the van to shorten a ride, if needed. And as a little extra, a photographer follows the group taking shots of the cyclists and of the memorable views that’ll prove you accomplished the tour. Ride at the pace that best suits you! Epic Sardinia is a challenging event, but it's not a race. Some ride quicker than others, some slower. Guides will be a constant reference for each small group: none is left alone. But we pride to get the group always safely at the day’s destination together. Is there a group especially for women? No, but women represent about half of the riders. Female guides follow the groups as well. Our focus, however, is to have all of the riders finishing the main climbs and the stages together regardless of the group they’re in. That's what we call the comradery that contributes to the magic of cycling! And that's why the Epic is so – Epic.
The Journey Begins Here

TOUR STOPS AND TOPS

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  • 39.6666,9.1064

    mapcenter

  • 38.9049,8.88117

    Chia

  • 39.4422,8.41033

    Portixeddu

  • 39.6935,9.25034

    Orroli

  • 39.9612,9.46463

    Villanova Strisaili

  • 40.1188,9.25197

    Fonni

  • 39.217,9.11285

    Cagliari

Things You Don't Want to Miss
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Ride Highlights:
ROUTE SS125

On our last day, and on the last descent, we stop right in the middle to enjoy a stop in Orgosolo and grab a cappuccino among the world famous mural paintings that are visited by thousand visitors every year. The last climb of the day is not too far: it's the famous SS125. Our climb begins out Dorgali and in about 20km will take us atop Genna Silana Pass, stage KOM is the 2017 Giro d'Italia.

THE MENTION IS NOT CASUAL: HAVING 150 PRO RIDERS RIDDEN THAT CLIMB, FURTHERMORE ON A DAY WITH SUPER STRONG TAILWIND, MAKES ANY ATTEMPT TO BREAK A RECORD - FOR THE PLEASURE OF YOUR STRAVA FOLLOWERS - A MASSIVE NON SENSE.

Our tour designer Giovanni Lamieri

TRIP program

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  • DAY 1: ARRIVAL DAY

    Arrival at Cagliari airport and transfer to Chia. Accommodation and dinner at three-star hotel and welcome dinner.

  • DAY 2: RIDE CHIA TO PORTIXEDDU
    123.1km | 1,547m | 1,541m | 5h

    Big news! This year the start of the Epic Sardinia is in Chia, one of the most beautiful seaside locations in the southwest of the island. The south of Sardinia doesn’t feature high mountains or a great mountain range, but that doesn't mean that cycling is easy or without long climbs.

    Experienced cyclists know that multiple medium or short hills can be much more painful that a couple of long climbs. Well, on this stage we have everything, so we can compare. After a flat and false flat start, we have have an up and down section along the amazing south west coast road.

    The stage is split into two parts, each one featuring a special coastline segment: you'll understand why many think these are some of the best coastal roads in the world.

    The first and only long climb of the day starts just after we pass Gonnesa. It's a famous stretch, that can be difficult to ride without stoping. It is not just the grade, but also the spectacular views that beckon you to take a break.

    We wouldn't rate this stage as tough. There are many little climbs but they are often short and rarely steep. But as pro riders say, “it's not the course that makes for a hard ride, it's the riders.” So keep calm, Epic Sardinia is only at the beginning! Overnight in a hotel in Portixeddu, with an amazing traditional dinner.

  • DAY 3: RIDE PORTIXEDDU TO ORROLI
    109.1km | 1,952m | 1,462m | 5h

    From west coast we ride into central Sardinia, crossing more than half the width of the island before reaching Orroli. Along the way the views, landscape and kind of cycling (pretty much everything) changes slowly but decidedly.

    We start the day with a long and winding climb. Each bend in the road seems purpose built for enjoying the sea from above. An unforgettable way to start another Epic day.

    From there we start a long stretch across grain fields in the flats of central western Sardinia, before the second part of the stage, that is made up of rolling hills and short climbs up to the old village of Orroli. Accommodation and dinner are in an Albergo diffuso. The location is very typical and the meals are some of the best traditional food you can get in Sardinia.

  • DAY 4: RIDE ORROLI TO VILLANOVA STRISAILI
    87.1km | 1,996m | 1,639m | 5h

    This third stage survives the big changes introduced in this newest Epic Sardinia – there’s no point in throwing out a winner! From Orroli we ride towards and across the wildest Sardinian region, called Barbagia.

    We ride towards the north and after a spectacular and winding descent we get to the lowest point of the ride: the Lower Flumendosa lake. From here we begin the longest climb of the day with the view of the lake on our right side. After a small flat section, we face the second proper climb of the day: seven kilometrs, but with an easy gradient.

    With the majority of the climbing behind us we get to enjoy a real gem among the Sardinian roads: the old SS389 that winds along the eastern aspect of Gennargentu mountain range. It's a very remote and wild segment, there aren't many roads like it in Europe. Every time we ride it, we experience the true privilege of being cyclist, as we can take our time and enjoy all the beauty and freedom that our sport can grant. All good things must come to an end, luckly the end of this wonderful road is close to the 4 star hotel in Villagrande Strisaili.

  • DAY 5: RIDE VILLANOVA STRISAILI TO FONNI
    92.9km | 2,139m | 1,892m | 5h

    After years running a cycling tour operation we've ridden all over the island. So when asked the inevitable question, "Where is the nicest Sardinian climb?" you can trust our answer, the Talana climb. And after today you will be able to tell us what you think.

    To enjoy every single hairpin we need to go all the way down, nearly to sea level. In fact the ascent, that tops at 1100m on Monte Genziana, starts very low, at only 15m ASL. From there it's about 17km up, the first five km is a nice gradual warm up for when the climb appears like a wall in front of us, leaving a 'mere 12km', with average gradient being 6.9%: a piece of cake, and the only 'Hors Catégorie' climb on the island, for those who are more into the pro cycling stats. 

    We suggest you dont go for a KOM, as the stage doesn't end at top, in fact we are just past halfway and there is one other long climb. However the road up to the Correboi pass: 10km at 3.6% grade, is practically a leg loosener compared to Talana. 

    The top of Correboi pass - 1246m - is really spectacular as it's like a terrace with a view on both the east and the west. It's also close to our destination in the town of Fonni.

  • DAY 6: RIDE FONNI LOOP
    99.8 | 1,987m | 1,990m | 5h

    We'll see how the Gennargentu can be sweet, offering low inclines for most of the ride. But we'll also see that it can be bloody hard, if you don't respect the last climb to the Bruncu Spina col, to conquer the highest road on the island. We start from the Agriturismo near Fonni at 1100 m above sea level for an anticlockwise loop. After a long descent, we come to the first two climbs of the day, neither of which are particularly long or steep.

    The longest climb of the whole tour begins right before Tonara and continues all the way up to the intersection at Tascusì pass (1250m). This is a second category climb and is nearly 23 km long, with an average incline of 3%. Don't worry as we plan a stop in the middle, at Tonara, to enjoy a coffee and some blocks of the world famous Torrone of which this town is proudly a renowned maker. Leaving Tonara with the pockets full of Torrone, we're ready to complete the climb up to the pass. From there, we can enjoy a short descent before the last challenge: the final climb up to the 1560m of Monte Bruncu Spina, where the ski facilities are located. No time (nor weather) for skiing, we ride down back to where we started the day. After a glorious ride, we’ll spend another night at the same hotel in Fonni.

  • DAY 7: RIDE FONNI TO SANTA MARIA NAVARRESE
    119.1km | 1,626m | 2,750m | 5,30h

    Back to the Sea could be the title of the sixth stage. For those who think that this will be easy, well, it’s not. During this stage we’ll experience some of the most fascinating and known hills. Leaving Fonni we ride downwards towards the eastern coast. 

    In the middle of the descent we will enjoy a stop in Orgosolo and grab a cappuccino among the world famous mural paintings that are visited by thousand visitors every year. 

    The last climb of the tour is not far. It begins after the town of Dorgali and in about 20km will take us atop Genna Silana Pass. Unfortunatly for KOM hunters the Strava KOM was set durring a stage of the 2017 Giro d'Italia. 

    Mentioning is not just a joke: as on that day in 2017 it wasn't just 150 of the best pro riders racing up this climb, but there was also a massive tailwind. This makes any attempt to break the record - for the pleasure of your Strava followers - almost certain to end in failure.

    All levity aside, after reaching the top at your own pace you will be rewarded with a lunch stop right in front of the Gorropu gorge, the deepest canyon in Europe. While your legs maybe happy to know all the climbing is over we hope your heads and hearts will disagree as this means the end of the tour is near. We have one last fun and long descent  before we get to our destination: the lovely resort of Santa Maria Navarrese. We’ll overnight at a three-star hotel near the beach.

  • DAY 8: FAREWELL AND DEPARTURE DAY.

    Group transfer to Cagliari airport and end of services.

Tour price

And support levels

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Guided group tour

What's included

  • Accommodation

    6 nights at 3-star | 1 night at 4-star

  • Meals

    Four dinners; all breakfasts; quick lunch during stages: water, hydrolytes, fruit, pies, sandwiches.

  • Support level

    Guiding; mechanical assistance during the stages; epic's commemorative t-shirt; mobile workshop; spares bike, bars, gels and electrolytes available on purchase; group transfers from/to Cagliari airport; 10% discount on bike rentals.

  • Not included

    Flight tickets; extras in hotel, etc; drinks during the dinner; city tax (if any); travel insurance; individual arrival and departure transfer; bike rental.

  • On request

    Individual arrival transfer from Cagliari airport to hotel in Chia € 70 p.p.; individual departure transfer from Santa Maria Navarrese to Cagliari airport € 250 p.p.; supplement for single accommodation € 240 p.p.; bike rental.

Self Guided tour

What's included

  • Accommodation

    6 nights at 3-star | 1 night at 4-star

  • Meals

    Four dinners; all breakfasts.

  • Support level

    Detailed briefing. Access to SardiniaCycling App with all the information regarding your tour, the itinerary, points of interest as well as all the documentation for your trip. Telephone assistance during your stay. 10% discount on bike rentals.

  • Not included

    Flight tickets; extras in hotel, etc; drinks during the dinner; city tax (if any); travel insurance; arrival and departure transfer; bike rental; luggage transport.

  • On request

    Arrival transfer from Cagliari airport to Chia € 70 p.p.; departure transfer from Santa Maria Navarrese to Cagliari airport € 250 p.p.; supplement for single accommodation € 240 p.p.; bike rental; luggage transport (€ 650 + 10 per pax).

Supported tour

What's included

  • Accommodation

    6 nights at 3-star | 1 night at 4-star

  • Meals

    Four dinners; all breakfasts; quick lunch during stages: water, hydrolytes, fruit, pies, sandwiches.

  • Support level

    Guiding; van assistance; mobile workshop; spare bike, bars, gels and electrolytes available on purchase; group transfers from/to Alghero airport; 10% discount on bike rentals.Detailed briefing. Access to SardiniaCycling App with all the information regarding your tour, the itinerary, points of interest as well as all the documentation for your trip. Van assistance; mobile workshop; spare bike, bars, gels and electrolytes available on purchase. Group transfer from/to Cagliari airport. Luggage transport. 10% discount on bike rentals.

  • Not included

    Flight tickets; extras in hotel, etc; drinks during the dinner; city tax (if any); travel insurance; individual arrival and departure transfer; bike rental.

  • On request

    Individual arrival transfer from Cagliari airport to hotel in Chia € 70 p.p.; individual departure transfer from Santa Maria Navarrese to Cagliari airport € 250 p.p.; supplement for single accommodation € 240 p.p.; bike rental.

Useful Information

Tips & Resources

[arrow-up]

Travel arrangements

The best airport for arrivals is Cagliari airport (CAG): from there we arrange the group transfer to Chia. Other options are possible and we can help you select the best one.

Food & Drinks during stages

During the rides we plan at least one longer food stop in the middle of the stage plus one or more coffee stops. In the assistence van we have bars, gels and water.

Necessary Gear

Our guests will get a pre tour info kit that gives useful suggestions on how to enjoy our trips in full. Here is a quick selection that might be useful at this stage.

  • We suggest renting a Canyon bike with us. But feel free to bring your own bike. Just consider bringing along a selection of model specific spare parts (ie. derailleur hangers). 

  • The hotels have a room for the bikes, and we will have a selection of tools to perform basic maintenance.

  • Bring along a wide selection of clothes, including some full arm jackets, rain coat, leg and arm warmers: there are a lot of hilly areas where the weather is never completely predictable.

More Journeys

Similar Trips

[arrow-up]

Epic Sicily 2024

Arrival location visual:
Livello difficoltà visual:
Start location visual:
Sistemazione-guidato: 7 nights at a four-star hotel; 1 night at a 3-star hotel.
Sistemazione-SG: N/A
Sistemazione-Supp: 7 nights at a four-star hotel; 1 night at a 3-star hotel.
Pasti-SG: N/A
Pasti-guidato: All breakfasts; 3 dinners.
Pasti-Supp: All breakfasts; 3 dinners.
Livello di supporto-SG: N/A
Livello di supporto-guidato: Guiding; van assistance; detailed briefing; luggage transfer; mobile workshop; group transfers from Catania airport to Syracuse and from Taormina to Catania airport; bars, gels and electrolytes available on purchase; 10% discount on bike rentals.
Livello di supporto-Supp: Van assistance; detailed briefing; luggage transfer; mobile workshop; group transfers from Catania airport to Syracuse and from Taormina to Catania airport; bars, gels and electrolytes available on purchase; 10% discount on bike rentals.
Non incluso-guidato: Flight tickets; extras in hotel, etc. Drinks during the dinner; city tax (if any); travel insurance; individual arrival and departure transfer; bike rental.
Non incluso-SG: N/A
Non incluso-Supp: Flight tickets; extras in hotel, etc. Drinks during the dinner; city tax (if any); travel insurance; individual arrival and departure transfer; bike rental.
Su richiesta-guidato: Individual transfer from and to Catania airport (EUR 75,00 p.p. - minimum 2 pax); supplement for single accommodation € 320 p.p.; bike rental.
Su richiesta-SG: N/A
Su richiesta-Supp: Individual transfer from and to Catania airport (EUR 75,00 p.p. - minimum 2 pax); supplement for single accommodation € 320 p.p.; bike rental.
Tour end visual:
Total distance visual:
Total elevation visual:
Accommodation visual:
Days riding visual:
Meals visual:
Days/nights visual:
Airport city flying in: Catania airport
Airport city flying out: Catania airport
Pick-up location: Syracuse
Drop off location: Taormina
Pick-up time: 14:00
Drop off time: 10:00
Tour name: Epic Sicily 2024
Accommodation: 7 nights at a four-star hotel; one night at a 3-star hotel.
Days/nights: 9/8
Meals: All breakfasts; 3 dinners.
Tour code: EPSIC-24
Type: Scheduled
Days of riding: 7
Price guided: 2699
Price self guided: N/A
Price supported: 2299
Difficulty level: Challenge
Total distance: 691
Total elevation: 12,246
Duration days: 9
Departure location: Syracuse
Arrival location: Taormina
Event date-begins: 2024-10-05
Event date-ends: 2024-10-13
Event teaser: A blend of culture, history, food, and nature... The best of Sicily in a few days!

A fusion of challenging cycling and cultural immersion

The concept of Epic Sicily, much like the other 'Epic Series' trips from ICT, revolves around the seamless integration of two seemingly disparate elements: demanding cycling on one hand and immersive sightseeing and cultural exploration on the other. Achieving the perfect balance between these two components is no easy feat and demands a profound connection to the local geography and culture.

Epic Sicily offers a fulfilling experience for dedicated cyclists who relish the challenge of long climbs with panoramic views, such as the ascent of the Pantalica Nature Reserve, the leg up to Centuripe, and the undulating roads of the Nebrodi mountains. The ascent of Mount Etna, Europe's most active volcano, adds an extra layer of excitement to the adventure. Yet, this journey is not exclusive to cycling enthusiasts; it also caters to those who wish to engage with Sicilian culture and its rich history.

Destinations like Syracuse, Ortigia, Noto, Piazza Armerina, and Taormina encapsulate millennia of history that, to fully articulate their significance, would require more than just a brief mention.

Epic Sicily also entails the pursuit of charming, intimate, family-run accommodations that not only provide a comfortable stay but also infuse a special warmth into the overall experience.

By the trip's conclusion, participants are likely to agree that the fusion of challenging cycling and cultural immersion is not only possible but also enhances the overall journey. Epic Sicily stands as a testament to the notion that physical adventure and cultural exploration can coexist harmoniously, creating a well-rounded and memorable biking tour.

ITINERARY

  • 1 ARRIVAL DAY

    Arrival at Catania airport and transfer to Syracuse. Accommodation, bike-fitting. Overnight at four-star hotel.

  • 2 FROM SYRACUSE TO NOTO

    101.7 km | 1,681m | 1,578m | 5,30h

    After spending the night in the beautiful Syracuse, the first day of this tour begins… EPIC. The initial 10 kilometers will involve passing through Syracuse and the surrounding towns. After passing Belvedere, we'll commence our day amidst nature. An initial ascent of about 7 kilometers will take us into the Pantalica Nature Reserve and the Anapo Valley.

    Pantalica, known for its extraordinary network of rock-cut tombs (some dating back 3000 years), is an ancient archaeological site nestled in the Anapo Valley. The valley itself is a natural wonder, adorned with lush vegetation and rugged cliffs touched by the Anapo River.

    The road continues to ascend amidst wild meadows and occasional pastures, and at kilometer 46, we begin a winding descent towards the small towns of Cassaro and Ferla, much like the spectacular stage of the 2018 Giro d'Italia (Catania-Caltagirone, won by Tim Wellens), before continuing with a series of ups and downs towards our hotel in Noto, renowned for its splendid Baroque architecture, which granted it UNESCO World Heritage status.


    Accommodation: 4-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast 

  • 3 FROM NOTO TO RAGUSA

    107.9 km | 1,874m | 1,515m | 5,30h

    Left Noto behind us, We'll immediately face the long ascent through the ancient Valley of Noto. The typical dry stone walls of the area, lush green pastures, and intense meadows will accompany us for 25 kilometers. Upon reaching Palazzolo Acreide, we'll continue along SS 124, passing through the charming medieval village of Vizzini. 

    Our cycling journey through the Iblei Mountains continues towards Monterosso Almo, an ancient rural village nestled among the mountains. At the Chiaramonte Gulfi junction, we'll face the last challenge of the day—a climb of about 8 kilometers amidst vast meadows and pastures. After reaching the summit, our descent towards Ragusa, where we'll spend the night, begin.

    Ragusa captures a captivating fusion of history and modernity. Divided between Ragusa Ibla, known for its Baroque architecture, and Ragusa Superiore, the contemporary area, it boasts a rich cultural and architectural legacy. Surrounding the city, thanks to its position offering a unique view, are picturesque rolling hills and vineyards.


    Accommodation: 4-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast 

  • 4 FROM RAGUSA TO PIAZZA ARMERINA

    118.6 km | 2,004m | 1,754m | 6h

    Today's stage will be, in terms of distance and elevation, the toughest of the entire tour. Our adventure begins with a climb from Balata di Modica, an agricultural area that offers unforgettable colors during certain times of the year. The vast natural landscape alternates between vineyards, olive groves, farms, and wild fields.

    Upon reaching the village of Giarratana, we'll embark on a 10-kilometer ascent that will lead us, via a panoramic road, to Buccheri, a village visited the previous day. From there, we'll traverse a series of ups and downs through natural parks and towns like Grammichele and Caltagirone (renowned for its ceramics and the Santa Maria del Monte staircase).

    When we are at 18 km left, we'll face the final challenge of the day: a climb that will take us to Piazza Armerina. The ascent isn't overly difficult, with slopes rarely exceeding 5%.

    Piazza Armerina boasts a rich historic center with Baroque architecture, narrow winding streets, and picturesque squares steeped in history. Our hotel is located right in front of the Cathedral, overlooking the city.


    Accommodation: 3-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast 

  • 5 FROM PIAZZA ARMERINA TO REGALBUTO

    89.5 km | 1,354m | 1,557m | 4,20h

    After yesterday's challenge, today brings the easiest stage of the week. Our journey through the Sicilian hinterland continues, gradually leading us towards the northern part of the island.

    As we set off, we head towards Aidone and from there, via a scenic road, begin our descent towards the Valley of Dittaino. The initial sixty kilometers of the route will be quite fast, and amid fields and pastures, we'll easily reach the town of Catenanuova.

    After a cappuccino break, the challenge of the day begins: a 12-kilometer climb, albeit with moderate slopes, up to the village of Centuripe, a charming hamlet overlooking the Etna. 

    We're still in the province of Enna, but the majesty of the volcano is starting to reveal itself. Our hotel isn't far from here: its pool and its Michelin-starred restaurant awaits us.


    Accommodation: 4-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast 

  • 6 FROM REGALBUTO TO CESARO'

    71.7 km | 2,037m | 1,039m | 4,50h

    Today's stage isn't long, but it involves significant elevation gain. After the initial twenty kilometers across the plains around Lake Pozzillo, we begin ascending towards Gagliano Castelferrato, a small village nestled among vineyards, olive groves, and pastures.

    We'll ride all the way along the SP 34 to the ancient village of Troina, a historic town boasting remnants of Greek, Roman, and medieval influences. Here, we stand at the entrance to the Nebrodi Natural Park.

    Our day continues with a long but gentle ascent of thirty kilometers towards the heart of the Nebrodi. The surrounding landscape begins to shift as vast meadows give way to wooded areas, and Mount Etna reemerges as a prominent backdrop.

    Cesarò marks the final village before our hotel, which is 15 kilometers away. We recommend stopping at one of the welcoming bars in town to replenish your energy before the final climb towards the Pass of Portella Femmina Morta, where our stage will conclude.


    Accommodation: 4-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast | Dinner

  • 7 FROM CESARO' TO CASTIGLIONE DI SICILIA

    115.4 km | 1,520m | 2,466m | 6h

    The first part of the stage is quite easy, and We'll descend towards the Tyrrhenian coast for about thirty kilometers. After a stretch along the coast, we reach the small village of Rocca di Capri Leone. From here, the long ascent through the Nebrodi mountains begins—a 35-kilometer climb with an average slope of 4%.

    The initial part of the ascent alternates between woodland and small villages characterized by narrow streets and scenic balconies. As we ascend, the landscape changes. After passing through Floresta, the highest municipality in Sicily, the woodland gives way to green hills, wind turbines, and rocky formations. We are at over 1200 meters above sea level, and thanks to the brisk temperature, it might feel like we're in a valley in northern Italy.

    However, this sensation won't last long because as soon as we start the long descent, Mount Etna, her majesty, will reappear on the horizon as we head down towards Randazzo, a charming medieval village nestled at the foot of the volcano.

    The surrounding area is highly renowned for its wines, and it's precisely from here that our journey along the Etna wine route will commence, leading us to our hotel owned by a renowned Sicilian winery where we'll have the pleasure of tasting their products.


    Accommodation: 4-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast | Dinner | Wine tasting

  • 8 FROM CASTIGLIONE DI SICILIA TO TAORMINA

    86 km | 1,776m | 2,321m | 5h

    The last stage of our Epic tour couldn't end in any other way than with an epic challenge!

    It's time to face the Europe's tallest active volcano by its Northern slope towards the 1850 meters of Piano Provenzana.

    Shortly after starting, we begin the ascent towards one of Italy's most beautiful villages, Castiglione di Sicilia. Upon reaching the mountain village of Linguaglossa at the fifteenth kilometer, the official climb of Mount Etna starts: 18 kilometers with an average incline of 6%, which might seem manageable, but the real challenge awaits towards the end.

    The first part of the ascent will be inside the Ragabo Pine Forest, a larch pine forest that will make us feel like we're in the Alps. While climbing, the forested terrain transitions to volcanic rocks, and at the 15th kilometer of the ascent, the most arduous stretch begins. The final three kilometers towards Piano Provenzana feature steep inclines reaching up to 18%; however, reaching the peak will reward us with breathtaking beauty.

    As our week draws to an end, the remaining 40 kilometers along the Ionian coast present no significant challenges. Ending such a splendid tour couldn't be more fitting than concluding in one of Sicily's most beautiful cities: Taormina.


    Accommodation: 4-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast 

  • 9 FAREWELL AND DEPARTURE DAY

    Transfer to Catania airport and end of services.


Arrival details

Departure details

Your Journey on a map

TOUR ROUTE

  • 37.5099321,14.262851

    mapcenter

  • 37.798196,15.036639

    Northern Etna

  • 37.116111,14.820278

    Hybleian Mounts

  • 37.0754739,15.2865861

    Syracuse

  • 36.8924433,15.0651945

    Noto

  • 36.9269273,14.7255129

    Ragusa

  • 37.385768,14.3706714

    Piazza Armerina

  • 37.6500078,14.6402566

    Regalbuto

  • 37.8438175,14.7132493

    Cesarò

  • 37.8809416,15.124028

    Castiglione di Sicilia

  • 37.8516366,15.2853127

    Taormina

Services

Accommodation

Handpicked hotels

Your stay, part of the tale

Enjoy our personally selected range of authentic Sicilian accommodation. From staying in architecturally restored masserie with a ‘window’ overlooking ancient sites, beautiful seaside villas with views over turquoise seas, historic locanda’s in the quiet countryside where family run farms are still producing wine and olive oil, this diverse experience brings together the beauty of ancient, historic Sicily with the rustic, modern and sometimes edgy Sicily.

Food

Eat like locals

Immerse yourself in the region's culture

Sicilian cuisine is a vibrant mosaic of flavors reflecting the island's rich history. Indulge in the robust taste of arancini, crispy rice balls filled with savory delights. Experience the zest of pasta alla Norma, marrying eggplant, tomato, and ricotta salata. Delight in the sweet, creamy goodness of cannoli, a divine pastry showcasing ricotta and chocolate. And savor the freshness of caponata, a tangy-sweet medley of eggplant, tomatoes, and olives, epitomizing Sicily's culinary prowess.

Bike rental

Our best picks for this tour

As we have one of the largest and best bike fleets in Italy, we are proud to give our guests the freedom to choose the bike that suits them best.

  • Pinarello F5 - 105 di2

    Ride in Italy on an exclusive Italian bike

    GO TO CATALOG

  • Scott Addict RC40

    Scott Addict RC40

    Light, fast, and ready to turn heads.

    GO TO CATALOG

  • Scott Addict 30

    Designed from the ground up with those longer days in mind.

    GO TO CATALOG

Things You Won't Miss
  • Arial picture of Centuripe

  • Among the olive groves

  • Challenging the Volcano

Ride Highlights:
Centuripe, a small “giant”.

Centuripe, perched atop a mountain in the heart of Sicily, is a city rich in history and charm. Its ancient roots date back to pre-Roman times, evident in its archaeological treasures and the narrow winding streets that make up the town center.

Thanks to its proximity to Mount Etna and the various uphill routes connecting the town to the surrounding valleys, Centuripe has become a training ground for professional cyclists who choose the highest active volcano in Europe for their retreats.

"To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is not to have seen Italy at all, for Sicily is the clue to everything."

Goethe

Tour price

And inclusions

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THIS TOUR IS AVAILABLE AS A GUIDED GROUP TOUR ON SELECTED DATES. it's also available as PRIVATE, SELF-GUIDED AND SUPPORTED ON ANY DATE DURING THE CYCLING SEASON.

Guided group tour

Guided group tour


Inclusions & details

Self guided tour

Self guided tour


Inclusions & details

Supported tour

Supported tour

Anytime Apr to Oct


Inclusions & details

Let's plan your next trip!

Useful Information

Tips & Resources

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Travel arrangements

The best airport to land is Catania (CTA).

Group transfer is scheduled to depart from Catania airport at 2 p.m. Similarly, for the return journey, the group transfer is arranged to depart from Taormina at 10 a.m.

For alternative requirements, we can assist in arranging private transfers (that will be quoted separately) or suggest the most cost-effective transport solution.

Please contact us for more information.

Food & Drinks during stages

For those participating in a guided or in a supported tour, during the rides, we plan at least one longer food stop in the middle of the stage plus one or more coffee stops. In the assistance van we have bars, gels and water.

Those riding for the self-guided tour can rely on our road book and maps that show the suggested bars or restaurants.

Necessary Gear

Our guests will get a pre tour info kit that gives useful suggestions on how to enjoy our trips in full. Here is a quick selection that might be useful at this stage.

  • We suggest renting a bike with us. But feel free to bring your own bike. Just consider bringing along a selection of model specific spare parts (ie. derailleur hangers). 

  • The hotels have in some occasion a bike room, bikes are anyway always stored in a safe way. We have a mobile workshop with tools and spare parts.
  • Bring along a wide selection of clothes, including some full arm jackets, raincoat, leg and arm warmers: there are a lot of mountains where the weather is never completely predictable.
More Journeys

Similar Trips

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Epic Tuscany

Tour name: Epic Tuscany
Tour code: EPT-23
Type: Scheduled
Price guided: 1899
Price self guided: 1149
Price supported: 1589
Difficulty level: Challenge
Total distance: 669
Total elevation: 11900
Duration days: 8
Departure location: Lucca
Arrival location: Montalcino
Event date-begins: 2023-05-22
Event date-ends: 2023-05-29
Event teaser: Put yourself to the test, riding along the most spectacular paved and gravel roads in Tuscany!

Date 1

A 6-stage challenge through the picturesque landscapes and medieval villages of Tuscany

 

Epic Tuscany is a 8-day cycling trip that will allow you to discover one of Italy's most desirable and coveted cycling areas. There's more: this challenging cycle tour will take you back to the roots of our sport and test your cycling skills on the endless ups and downs of the Tuscan countryside, as well as ride the famous gravel roads where our sport was born more than one hundred years ago and that have made this region a must for every avid cyclist. The routes will be as winding as they are spectacular, strenuous but exciting, dotted with cypress trees, olive groves, ruined Tuscan farmhouses, vineyards and dense wooded areas. Following our philosophy, we decided to leave logistics aside and design the bicycle trip we had always dreamed of taking. And as bike lovers, we couldn't help but include in this tour all the best places that make this trip an unforgettable adventure: Lucca, Siena, the Chianti area and the entire Val d'Orcia with its many medieval villages.

The famous Tuscan countryside presents a dreamy landscape, ideal to discover by bicycle. You will ride from north to south Tuscany, mainly on country roads that will bewitch your heart. And because it is a shame to leave after only one day each of the special places you'll visit, you'll stay two nights in all locations: this makes your trip less hectic and will allow you to better discover what this land has to offer.

Epic Tuscany is a challenging bike tour: no doubt about it. But it is not a race: everyone makes their own pace and no one rides alone. The medieval villages, moreover, offer excellent opportunities for a cappuccino stop and regroup. And at the end of the day cyclists like to reward themselves with a delicious dinner: Tuscan cuisine is second to none and it will make the job!

The Journey Begins Here

TOUR STOPS AND TOPS

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  • 43.31880899999999,11.3307574

    mapcenter

  • 43.8429197,10.5026977

    Lucca

  • 43.31880899999999,11.3307574

    Siena

  • 43.0551015,11.4890032

    Montalcino

  • 42.88769,11.6239051

    Monte Amiata

  • 42.7185068,12.1107446

    Orvieto

  • 43.3901353,11.2233863

    Monteriggioni

Things You Don't Want to Miss
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  • Be confident
    there's always a decent cappuccino stop along the way

  • Climb after climb
    you end up on a art town eveyday

  • Gravel roads are so good
    that sometimes are better than asphalt

Ride Highlights:
Crete Senesi

This is a very famous and characteristic area south of Siena. The Crete Senesi are literally the "clays of Siena," also known as 'mattaione': the characteristic gray coloring of the soil gives the landscape an appearance often described as lunar. Italian cyclists know what it's like to ride through the Crete Senesi: lonely oaks, rows of cypress trees, isolated farms atop the heights, expanses of forest and rainwater lakes in the valleys. But most of all, endless hills at 5-6 percent that will rack up quite a bit of daily elevation gain by the end of the day.

"A unique work of art, unparalleled in our Western world - one complete animal, with head, heart, arteries, legs, of which the almost intact skeleton remains, deposited on three hills."

Bernard Barenson

Trip program

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  • DAY 1: ARRIVAL DAY

    Arrival at Pisa airport/Florence airport, transfer to Lucca, check-in at 3-star hotel.

    Opening dinner in Lucca.
  • DAY 2: Welcome to Tuscany: Lucca loop

    105km | 2,140m | 2,140m | 5h

    A ride around Lucca is a perfect introduction to Tuscany. We ride northwards towards the ancient village of Fiano, from where we can see the Tyrrhenian Sea. The road continues to climb to the Passo Sella, located right in the middle of the Apuan Alps Regional Park. After a well-deserved descent we will stop in Fornoli for a light lunch before tackling the second climb of the day up to the Passo del Trebbio. From there on we will descend towards Lucca and experience the famous "mangia e bevi" of this area - an Italian cycling expression. The last kilometres will run along the Serchio river before entering the majestic walls of Lucca.


    Accommodation: 3-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast | Dinner

  • DAY 3: From Lucca to Siena

    137km | 1,650 | 1,340m | 5,30h

    This morning we head south to our second destination of the trip: the wonderful Siena. We'll ride along the Via Francigena. We will first pass through the town of San Miniato, world-famous for its wine and white truffles, before tackling the climb to San Gimignano. In this medieval jewel, world famous for its many medieval towers, we will enjoy a traditional Italian picnic before heading into the land of the 'strade bianche', the so called white roads: gravel roads anywhere else! Be prepared to eat some dust as you ride along some of most spectacular dirt roads Tuscany has to offer. We will pass through Colle val D'Elsa and the fortified village of Monteriggioni before arriving in the city of the Palio: Siena.


    Accommodation: 3-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast | Dinner

  • DAY 4: Siena Loop

    104km | 1,880 | 1,540m | 5,30h

    Today's ride takes us around the famous wine region of Tuscany: Chianti. As soon as we leave Siena heading east, the terrain becomes more hilly and we soon pass through the vineyards of San Giovese. The route becomes more spectacular as we pass through some of the medieval villages 'in Chianti', once belonging to the Lega del Chianti: an alliance of fortified villages that protected Florence. Now they protect the quality of the local wine and form an association called the Chianti Classico Wine Consortium: they protect quality wine, the kind of wars we can be proud of. Among these heroic villages Gaiole, Radda and Castellina are charming little towns perched on the hills of this area. The road to reach them is challenging, but the atmosphere and uniqueness of these villages is rewarding. One of the highlights of the day is the descent to Castellina. On the way back to Siena we will have the chance to visit the village of Monteriggioni with its unique medieval walls.


    Accommodation: 3-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast | Dinner

  • DAY 5: From Siena to Montalcino

    113km | 1,990 | 1,780 | 5h

    From Siena we will cycle south into the Val d'Orcia, through oak woods that open onto the surprising scenery of vast wheat fields. We will cycle surrounded by the famous clay hills, also known as the Crete Senesi, before arriving in Asciano. Once in Asciano, we head towards Chiusure, where we stop for a quick visit to the Abbey of Monte Oliveto, to admire the frescoes depicting the death of St Benedict, painted by Luca Signorelli. The route then turns east towards Trequanda and Montisi, before tackling the ramp to Montepulciano, where we will have a quick lunch. In the afternoon we return to the valley of the Orcia river passing two UNESCO heritage sites, the town of Pienza and the medieval village of San Quirico d'Orcia. Our destination for the night is Montalcino.


    Accommodation: 3-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast | Dinner

  • DAY 6: Montalcino loop

    102km | 2,670 | 2,670 | 5,30h

    The queen of the Val d'Orcia awaits us: today is the day dedicated to Monte Amiata. Did we mention that a recurring feature of Tuscany is the many short climbs that follow one another endlessly? OK, let's forget about that for a moment, because today is real mountain! From Montalcino we will head south to the Passo del Lume Spento. Along the way we will encounter a few ups and downs to warm up our legs before arriving at Castel del Piano, where we will begin the 14 km climb (7% average) that will take us to the top of this former volcano. During the climb we will have time to appreciate the incredible variety of vegetation that covers this mountain, from the olive groves at the bottom to the beech forest in the central section to the chestnut trees that cover the summit. After reaching the summit at 1738 m a.s.l. and enjoying a rest to regain our energy we will descend along the northern slope toward Seggiano and Castelnuovo dell'Abate before returning to Montalcino.


    Accommodation: 3-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast | Dinner

  • DAY 7: From Montalcino to Orvieto

    108km | 1,570 | 1,120 | 5h

    In one stage we touch on three Italian regions. We leave Montalcino heading south through the beautiful scenery of the Val d'Orcia, before tackling the climb to Celle sul Rigo where we will stop for a delicious Tuscan picnic lunch. In the afternoon we will skirt the Monte Rufeno nature reserve, where the oak forests begin to fade into Mediterranean scrub. It is time to leave Tuscany and enter Lazio before arriving at the town of Acquapendente, one of the most important stops on the Via Francigena. The last segment of the route enters another wonderful Italian region, Umbria, with a pleasant descent to Orvieto, our last destination of the day and a very important city for its cultural and architectural heritage from the Middle Ages.


    Accommodation: 3-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast | Dinner

  • DAY 8: FAREWELL AND DEPARTURE DAY.

    Transfer to Florence airport and end of services.

Tour price

And support levels

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Guided group tour

Small group minimum 6 riders | Private groups, any size on requested dates

What's included

  • Accommodation

    5 nights at 4-star | 1 night at 3-star | 1 night in Agriturismo

  • Meals

    All breakfasts.

  • Support level

    Guiding; van assistance; mobile workshop; spare bike, bars, gels and electrolytes available on purchase; group transfers from/to Milano Malpensa/Turin airport; 10% discount on bike rentals. Luggage transport.

  • Not included

    Flight tickets; extras in hotel, etc. Drinks during the dinner; city tax (if any); travel insurance; individual arrival and departure transfer; bike rental.
  • On request

    Individual arrival transfer from/to Milano Malpensa/Turin € 399 p.p. (min 2 pax); supplement for single accommodation € 300 p.p.; bike rental.

Self Guided tour

What's included

  • Accommodation

    5 nights at 4-star | 1 night at 3-star | 1 night in Agriturismo

  • Meals

    All breakfasts.

  • Support level

    Detailed briefing. GPX files. Telephone assistance during your stay. 10% discount on bike rentals.

  • Not included

    Flight tickets; extras in hotel, etc; drinks during the dinner; city tax (if any); travel insurance; arrival and departure transfer; bike rental; luggage transport.

  • On request

    Individual arrival transfer from/to Milano Malpensa/Turin € 399 p.p. (min 2 pax); supplement for single accommodation € 300 p.p.; bike rental. Luggage transport: € 540 + 10 per pax.

Supported tour

ON REQUEST: FROM MAY TO OCTOBER

Small group minimum 6 riders | Private groups, any size on requested dates

What's included

  • Accommodation

    5 nights at 4-star | 1 night at 3-star | 1 night in Agriturismo

  • Meals

    All breakfasts.

  • Support level

    Detailed briefing. Access to SardiniaCycling App with all the information regarding your tour, the itinerary, points of interest as well as all the documentation for your trip. Van assistance; mobile workshop; spare bike, bars, gels and electrolytes available on purchase. Group transfers from/to Milano Malpensa/Turin airport; 10% discount on bike rentals. Luggage transport.

  • Not included

    Flight tickets; extras in hotel, etc. Drinks during the dinner; city tax (if any); travel insurance; individual arrival and departure transfer; bike rental.
  • On request

    Individual arrival transfer from/to Milano Malpensa/Turin € 399 p.p. (min 2 pax); supplement for single accommodation € 300 p.p.; bike rental.

Useful Information

Tips & Resources

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Travel arrangements

The best airport for arrivals is Pisa (PSA) : from there we arrange the group transfer. Other options, the best is Florence (FLR), are possible and we can help you select the best one.

Food & Drinks during stages

During the rides we plan at least one longer pic-nic stop in the middle of the stage plus one or more coffee stops. In the assistence van we have bars, gels and water.

Necessary Gear

Our guests will get a pre tour info kit that gives useful suggestions on how to enjoy our trips in full. Here is a quick selection that might be useful at this stage.

  • We suggest renting a Canyon bike with us. But feel free to bring your own bike. Just consider bringing along a selection of model specific spare parts (ie. derailleur hangers). 

  • The hotels have a room for the bikes, and we will have a selection of tools to perform basic maintenance.

  • Bring along a wide selection of clothes, including some full arm jackets, rain coat, leg and arm warmers, overshoes: the environment is hills or mountains and bad weather is never completely predictable.

More Journeys

Similar Trips

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Lake Como Old Mules'Paths

Arrival location visual:
Livello difficoltà visual:
Start location visual:
Sistemazione-guidato: 2 nights 4-star hotel, 5 nights in 3-star hotel
Sistemazione-SG: 2 nights in 4-star hotel, 5 nights in 3-star hotel
Sistemazione-Supp: 2 nights in 4-star hotel, 5 nights in 3-star hotel
Pasti-SG: All breakfasts, 4 dinners, 1 lunch
Pasti-guidato: All breakfasts, 5 dinners, 1 lunch
Pasti-Supp: All breakfasts, 5 dinners, 1 lunch
Livello di supporto-SG: Support level: detailed briefing, telephone assistance;
Livello di supporto-guidato: Guiding, detailed briefing and van assistance, luggage transportation;
Livello di supporto-Supp: Detailed briefing and van assistance, luggage transportation;
Non incluso-guidato: Flights tickets, extras in hotel, drinks during the dinner, city tax (if any), travel insurance, arrival and departure transfer, bike rental, luggage transport.
Non incluso-SG: Flights tickets, extras in hotel, drinks during the dinner, city tax (if any), travel insurance, arrival and departure transfer, bike rental, luggage transport.
Non incluso-Supp: Flights tickets, extras in hotel, drinks during the dinner, city tax (if any), travel insurance, arrival and departure transfer, bike rental
Su richiesta-guidato: Bike rental, group transfer on arrival/departure of the travel
Su richiesta-SG: Bike rental, luggage transfer
Su richiesta-Supp: Bike rental, group transfer on arrival/departure of the travel
Tour end visual:
Total distance visual:
Total elevation visual:
Accommodation visual:
Days riding visual:
Meals visual:
Days/nights visual:
Airport city flying in: Milano Mxp / Bergamo
Airport city flying out: Milano Mxp / Bergamo
Pick-up location: Bergamo
Drop off location: Como
Pick-up time: 14:00
Drop off time: 10:00
Tour name: Lake Como on the Mules' Paths
Accommodation: 2 nights at four-star; 5 nights at three-star
Days/nights: 8/7
Meals: All breakfasts; 5 dinners
Tour code: BTLGGS-24
Days of riding: 7
Price guided: 2499
Price self guided: 1299
Price supported: 1999
Difficulty level: Challenge
Total distance: 514.2
Total elevation: 12,999
Duration days: 8
Departure location: Bergamo
Arrival location: Como
Event date-begins: 2024-05-04
Event date-ends: 2024-05-11
Event teaser: Ride on the hidden and less-traveled side of Lake Como, exploring the old smugglers' routes and give your biking trip a unique and adventurous dimension.

A Biking Tour Along Como Lake on the Old Bootleggers' Paths

There was a time, in the aftermath of the Second World War and spanning about 50 years, when the border between Italy and Switzerland saw the passage of individuals we might now refer to as mules.

These guys were not trafficking drugs; rather, they were clandestinely transporting money and goods belonging to affluent families and entrepreneurs into Switzerland — a fiscal paradise with an impenetrable bank secrecy. Referred to as "spalloni," meaning big-shouldered men, they earned this nickname by bearing the weight of both illegal goods and the associated risks on their shoulders.

Today, with such activities long ceased, they have transformed into romanticized figures who were not only well-acquainted with their mountainous surroundings but also the keepers of secret paths linking Lombardy and Switzerland.

In the spirit of the spalloni, we invite you to join us on a challenging biking tour along the clandestine and less-traveled roads encircling both sides of Lake Como—both the Italian and the Swiss. We have curated a cycling experience that embraces the lesser-known, spectacular, and tranquil routes, steering clear of the mass tourism that inundates the lake's shores from spring to autumn. However, to completely bypass the alluring towns along Lake Como would be a missed opportunity. Thus, we strike a balance by visiting some of the iconic locales that have gained international fame among the jet set: Bellagio, Varenna, and Como. These gems are adorned with charming streets, historic architecture, and waterfront promenades, each possessing a distinctive character and offering a blend of culture, history, and beauty.

Our journey combines the thrill of cycling along the secluded Spalloni routes with the excitement of exploring some of the most renowned luxury destinations. And fear not, we have no intentions of engaging in anything illegal—rest assured!

ITINERARY

  • 1 ARRIVAL DAY - WARM UP RIDE

    Arrival in Bergamo and Hotel in city center. Accommodation, bike-fitting. Let’s test the bikes with a short ride in the outskirts of Bergamo. 40/45 kms riding the roads ridden at Giro d’Italia or Giro di Lombardia when the finish line is in town. Aftet the warm-up welcome dinner in Trattoria Ambrosio, one of the those special restaurant in town.

    Accommodation: 4-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast | Dinner at Trattoria

  • 2 BERGAMO - SERINA

    71.6km | 1,839m | 1,319m | 4,30h

    Our first day of intense riding looks like a captivating journey through the scenic landscapes and historical sites of Bergamo. The blend of urban charm, picturesque countryside, and the repurposed railway path offers a unique and enchanting experience for cyclists. The old railway line, now transformed into a bike path, not only provides a vehicle-free environment, winding its way through the landscape, the route meanders through ancient stone tunnels, remnants of a bygone era dating back to the early 1900s. The journey goes on through Val Taleggio, known for its famous creamy cheese production, gives a glimpse of what’s next on a cultural and gastronomic dimension to the ride. The verdant valley with alpine features, complete with cow bells and green meadows, paints a picturesque scene. The rolling road through woods and meadows, punctuated by some gentle climbs, promises a varied and dynamic cycling experience. The stop at an old Osteria for a well-deserved lunch further adds to the charm, providing an opportunity to refuel and appreciate the local cuisine. The final 9 km climb to Dossena, a remote small town with a history dating back to Roman times, adds a sense of adventure and discovery to your ride. The mention of ancient mines and iron excavation hints at the rich historical significance of the area. Overall, your first day sets the stage for an exciting and challenging ride, blending natural beauty, historical allure, and the thrill of conquering climbs. It's a journey that not only tests your cycling prowess but also allows you to appreciate the cultural and historical richness of the region. .


    Accommodation: 3-Star Hotel

    Meals: Breakfast | Dinner

  • 3 SERINA - COLICO

    99,7km | 2,031m | 2,731m | 5,45h

    The second day of the journey is the longest stage, covering 100 km and taking us to the highest point, nearly reaching the 2000 meters of the historic Passo San Marco. This ascent is one of the many hidden gems of this trip. We start from the hotel, and there are 5 kilometers of uphill to retrace the final part of stage 1, returning to Dossena before descending to San Pellegrino (yes, the one famous for its mineral water). We resume on the secure and scenic cycle path along the old railway. We proceed through picturesque galleries and spectacular canyons along the Brembo River, ascending the waters up to Olmo, where the 20 km climb to Passo San Marco begins. It's an old road built in the 17th century to facilitate the trade of goods between the Republic of Venice and the Swiss cantons. Following in the footsteps of those ancient trade routes, we tackle this fascinating alpine-style ascent with very challenging gradients and 15 hairpin turns, marked by signs placed along the roadside. At the summit, we reach an altitude of 1990 meters, and if the ascent is long, the descent is even more thrilling: 26 endless kilometers descending towards the ancient imperial city of Morbegno. We reach the Adda River, which flows into Lake Como. All we have to do is follow the safe and peaceful cycle path along the river, descending gently to Colico, where we will finally rest by the lakeside .

    .


    Accommodation: 3-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast | Dinner

  • 4 COLICO LOOP

    90,2km | 2,419m | 2432m | 5,20h

    This stage holds a special place in my heart. We kick off from Colico, heading south for a flat 10 km before embarking on the extensive and undulating ascent of Valvarrone: a rugged 18 km stretch with challenging terrain. Cycling into the valley, we'll traverse a couple of ancient mountain villages, encountering scarcely anyone along the way. Upon reaching the summit, a rapid downhill awaits before tackling the 9 steep kilometers leading to one of the highlights of the journey: Passo Esine Lario. This pass treats us to a breathtaking 360° panorama overlooking the lake from the top. One of my favorite aspects is the exceptionally long descent to Varenna: a thrilling 18 km descent that feels like a direct plunge into the lake. Once upon a time, Varenna was a small fishing village characterized by old houses painted in picturesque pastel colors. Now, it stands as one of the most sought-after tourist destinations on the lake, thanks to its elegant hotels and numerous cafes. The village is so small that the best way to visit is by arriving in the center via ferry, and of course, by bike, enjoying the splendid view of the long descent from the hills down to the waterfront. There is no better place to stop for a coffee and savor what life by the lake could have been like until just a few years ago. After coffee, there are only 18 kilometers of a wonderful lakeside road that takes us back to our hotel.


    Accommodation: 3-Star Hotel

    Meals: Breakfast | Dinner

  • 5 COLICO - SAN FEDELE INTELVI

    88,2km | 2,315m | 1,802m | 5,05h

    Today's stage is 90 km long with over 2300 meters of elevation gain, and if we carefully examine the altitude profile, things get even more serious: the first 40 kilometers are mostly flat. From Colico to Menaggio, we'll be cycling along the lakeshore, covering 40 fast kilometers where we can enjoy open spaces and be amazed by how the alpine peaks rise from the blue waters to over 3000 meters of the nearby summits that touch the azure skies. These initial 40 kilometers are not too complicated and end in Menaggio; from there, we begin to climb. First, there are easy 5 kilometers on another cycle path converted from an old railway line that connected Lugano in Switzerland with Lake Como, and then another 10 kilometers that are more challenging, leading us to make a loop through the semi-abandoned villages of the mysterious Val Cavargna, which during the smuggling era was one of the most active centers in illegal activities. After completing the Cavargna, we'll descend rapidly to Porlezza on Lake Ceresio, the last town before the Swiss border. We will pedal eastward, skirting for a few kilometers until Osteno, this other border lake, a small jewel where the wooded slopes of the mountains are reflected on the water's surface. From the small village of Osteno, we will climb steadily for 10 kilometers, with some peaks in double digits, up to San Fedele Intelvi, where the end of this stage awaits us.

    .


    Accommodation: 3-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast | Dinner at Osteria

  • 6 SAN FEDELE - BELLAGIO

    87.9km | 1,837m | 2,412m | 5,10h

    Val Intelvi is indeed one of those places that appears to have experienced a brief encounter with tourism, leaving behind a tranquil and picturesque valley nestled between the mountains and lakes, serving as the boundary between Switzerland and Italy. The well-maintained and nearly traffic-free roads contribute to the serene ambiance of the region. These mountains, while now offering a peaceful landscape, were once the stage for intense illegal activities carried out by smugglers. With limited opportunities for regular employment, smuggling became a livelihood necessity for some.

    Before bidding farewell to the valley, the route takes a climactic ascent to Sighignola at the Balcone d'Italia viewpoint. This 5.3-kilometer climb is rewarded with a breathtaking 360-degree panoramic view over Lake Lugano and the Swiss Alps. The stunning scenery from this vantage point leaves a lasting impression. Descending back to Lanzo, the path meanders from the valley toward Lake Como. Another easy end with a smooth descent before returning to the road that skirts the lake, the famous and majestic Strada Regina. Winding through what were once fishing villages, it overlooks the lake and opulent villas. In Menaggio a picturesque ferry-boat awaits to carry us to Bellagio: it’s a ride on the blue waters and permits us to enjoys a different sight of the Lago di Como.


    Accommodation: 3-Star Hotel

    Meals: Breakfast  

  • 7 BELLAGIO - COMO

    74,7km | 2,305m | 2,370m | 5,10h

    From our hotel in the charming Bellagio, we begin our route on the historic and iconic route of perhaps the two most famous climbs in the history of the Giro di Lombardia: Ghisallo and the infamous Muro di Sormano. Ghisallo is a 12 km climb divided into two sectors. In fact, at kilometer 8.7, the road descends for a kilometer before ascending again with very harsh hairpins. At the summit, you'll find the old chapel. The devotion that arose from cyclists and enthusiasts towards their patroness sparked a competition to bring offerings and memorabilia to the small church. Soon, it was filled with various votive objects, torches, banners, trophies, and bicycles. Today, the church is a pilgrimage destination for many believers and numerous cycling enthusiasts who come to pay homage from all over the world. Next to the old chapel, there is another mythical place in our sport: The Cycling Museum, one of the most unique and iconic spots. There is just one spot in the world where you can see bicycles that have been used by Bartali, Coppi, and Merckx in their Tour de France victories, the special bike used by Moser for his game-changer hour record, and several maglie rosa, maillot jaune, and rainbow jerseys. After the break here comes the ascent of the Muro di Sormano and its 2.8 kilometers at an 18% gradient. It's a fitting way to bid farewell – you will remember us, or at least your legs will feel the pain for a long time. A tricky and very twisty descent back on the shore of the lake and another 20 km rolling back to Como, but our pain is not over yet. As this is the Grand Final our final battle is on the brutal Brunate Climb before ending our ride and our journey in Como city center.


    Accommodation: 4-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast

  • 8 FAREWELL AND DEPARTURE DAY

    Last Breakfast with a view to the marvellous sight in front of us: you will embrace all the mountain peaks, the green valleys and blue water which have been the backfround the our cycling journey.

    Drop of the bikes and farewell to next time.


Arrival details

Departure details

Your Journey on a map

TOUR ROUTE

  • 45.9020,9.4000

    mapcenter

  • 45.902364,9.4939124

    Culmine San Pietro

  • 46.0051468,9.3210015

    Passo Agueglio

  • 45.9250295,9.2653927

    Ghisallo

  • 45.9682545,8.9933987

    Sighignola - Balcone d'Italia

  • 45.8829268,9.229526

    Muro di Sormano

  • 45.7931,9.7928

    Ganda

  • 45.80866349999999,9.6354992

    Sant'Antonio

  • 46.0782573,9.334716700000001

    Val Varrone

  • 46.0470734,9.623031

    Passo San Marco

  • 45.7065011,9.6585153

    Città Alta Bergamo

  • 45.9847,9.2615

    Bellagio

  • 46.0217068,9.2388285

    Menaggio

  • 46.1312923,9.3671931

    Colico

  • 45.6982642,9.6772698

    Bergamo

  • 45.8080597,9.0851765

    Como

Services

Accommodation

Handpicked hotels

Your stay, part of the tale

Our itineraries around Como Lake go deeper, avoiding the crowds and scoping out off-the-beaten-path places that allow travelers to fully immerse themselves in the beauty and culture of the region. In the main towns, Bergamo, at the beginning, and Como, at the end, it was easy to find some 4-star; while our route is deliberating making stopovers in small towns to permit our guests to stay and see a different side of Lago di Como, at the these destinations we found some cozy 3-stas hotels.

Food

Eat Pasta Ride Fasta

Immerse yourself in the region's culture

While Lombardy is predominantly recognized as Milan, a global hub for finance and fashion, the region, in truth, has deep-rooted agricultural origins.

Northern Lombardy boasts some of the highest European mountains, shaping a distinctive mountain economy. Hard mountain work requires hard eating: simple yet flavorful recipes with a high caloric content. Poor recipes, but rich taste.

One wonderful example is Pizzoccheri: a traditional flat buckwheat pasta cooked with potatoes, cabbage, and layered with cheese and garlic-infused butter. And what about Risotto and Polenta? Once working class food, nowadays a delicacy. Lombardy is also renowned for its cheeses, such as Gorgonzola and Taleggio, which find their way into many dishes. 

Indulging in rich dishes on our active trip is guilt-free, justified by the effort we put into every pedal stroke.

Bike rental

Our best picks for this tour

As we have one of the largest and best bike fleets in Italy, we are proud to give our guests the freedom to choose the bike that suits them best.

  • Pinarello F5 - 105 di2

    Ride in Italy on an exclusive Italian bike

    GO TO CATALOG

  • Scott Addict RC40

    Scott Addict RC40

    Light, fast, and ready to turn heads.

    GO TO CATALOG

  • Scott Addict 30

    Designed from the ground up with those longer days in mind.

    GO TO CATALOG

  • Canyon Pathlite:on

    Do it all E-Bike for leisure and exploration.

    GO TO CATALOG

Things You Won't Miss
  • Giro di Lombardia

    Il Lombardia

    The Classic of dead leaves

  • PASSO AGUEGLIO

    PASSO AGUEGLIO

    This pass treats us to a breathtaking 360° panorama overlooking the lake from the top

  • Passo San Marco

  • Bellagio, the jet set's retreat

    No, it's not in Las Vegas, but along Como lake!

  • Varenna

    Varenna

    Postcard from Como lake

  • A different side of Lago di Como

    Enjoy a less glamorous and quieter Como Lake

  • Ghisallo Cycling museum

    Ghisallo Cycling museum

    All about bikes and great cyclists in the history,
    in one spot

  • valvarrone

    rugged 18 km stretch with challenging terrain

  • BERGAMO

Ride Highlights:
Il Giro di Lombardia

Milan Sanremo, Tour de Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Liege and Il Lombardia. This is our favorite nursery rhyme. Il Lombardia is one of the five Monument Classics, “The Fallen Leaves Classic” since it happens in Fall. For us it is the hardest of the classics, with its almost 4000 metres climbing. This is the classic for a true climbing lover, those we call 'salitomani' (roughly 'climbing addicted'). The Classic race alternates between starting and finishing in Como and Bergamo.

Tour price

And inclusions

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THIS TOUR IS AVAILABLE AS A GUIDED GROUP TOUR ON SELECTED DATES. it's also available as PRIVATE, SELF-GUIDED AND SUPPORTED ON ANY DATE DURING THE CYCLING SEASON.

Guided group tour

Guided group tour


Inclusions & details

Self guided tour

Self guided tour

Anytime Apr to Sept


Inclusions & details

Supported tour

Supported tour

Anytime Apr to Sept


Inclusions & details

Let's plan your next trip!

Useful Information

Tips & Resources

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Travel arrangements

Travelers on guided, self-guided, or supported trips have to independently reach Bergamo. Landing in Bergamo would be the best choice, as it is a well connected hub with several daily flights to and from the major airports all over Europe/UK. The hotel in town is reachable by bus or taxi in about 15 minutes.

Milan Malpensa (Mxp) and Milano Linate Airports are also good choices for arrivals and departure. Both airports are well connected to Bergamo and Como with regional trains.

Should you like a more comfortable way to reach Bergamo or travel back to your arrival airport, we can anyway arrange private transfers to/from beginning/end of the cycling travel.

The journey concludes in Como, the town is connected to Bergamo and Milano via regional trains and the trip takes 30 minutes.

Food & Drinks during stages

Lake Como  is among the major tourist destinations in North of Italy.

The hospitality of the people is renowned. Along the routes, you pass through lively small villages where it's easy to find a bar, whether for a coffee or a more complete lunch.

Along the journey, there are plenty of opportunities to recharge e-bike batteries in case of an emergency.

Necessary Gear

Our guests will get a pre tour info kit that gives useful suggestions on how to enjoy our trips in full. Here is a quick selection that might be useful at this stage.

  • We suggest renting a bike with us. But feel free to bring your own bike. Just consider bringing along a selection of model specific spare parts (ie. derailleur hangers). 

  • Some of the hotels have a room for the bikes, or, in any case, room to accommodate the bikes overnight. 

  • Bring along a wide selection of clothes, including some full arm jackets, rain coat, leg and arm warmers, overshoes: it's the Alps and the weather is never completely predictable.

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On the roads of Giro d'Italia in Sicily

Arrival location visual:
Livello difficoltà visual:
Start location visual:
Sistemazione-guidato: 6 nights at a four-star hotel.
Sistemazione-SG: 6 nights at a four-star hotel.
Sistemazione-Supp: 6 nights at a four-star hotel.
Pasti-SG: All breakfasts.
Pasti-guidato: All breakfasts.
Pasti-Supp: All breakfasts.
Livello di supporto-SG: Detailed briefing and interactive Road-Book; telephone assistance during your stay; 10% discount on bike rentals.
Livello di supporto-guidato: Guiding; van assistance; detailed briefing; mobile workshop; group transfers from and to Catania airport; bars, gels and electrolytes available on purchase; 10% discount on bike rentals.
Livello di supporto-Supp: Van assistance; detailed briefing; mobile workshop; group transfers from and to Catania airport; bars, gels and electrolytes available on purchase; 10% discount on bike rentals.
Non incluso-guidato: Flight tickets; extras in hotel, etc. Drinks during the dinner; city tax (if any); travel insurance; individual arrival and departure transfer; bike rental.
Non incluso-SG: Flight tickets; extras in hotel, etc. Drinks during the dinner; city tax (if any); travel insurance; individual arrival and departure transfer; bike rental.
Non incluso-Supp: Flight tickets; extras in hotel, etc. Drinks during the dinner; city tax (if any); travel insurance; individual arrival and departure transfer; bike rental.
Su richiesta-guidato: Individual transfer from and to Catania airport (EUR 75,00 p.p. - minimum 2 pax); supplement for single accommodation € 320 p.p.; bike rental.
Su richiesta-SG: Individual transfer from and to Catania airport (EUR 75,00 p.p. - minimum 2 pax); supplement for single accommodation € 320 p.p.; bike rental.
Su richiesta-Supp: Individual transfer from and to Catania airport (EUR 75,00 p.p. - minimum 2 pax); supplement for single accommodation € 320 p.p.; bike rental.
Tour end visual:
Total distance visual:
Total elevation visual:
Accommodation visual:
Days riding visual:
Meals visual:
Days/nights visual:
Airport city flying in: Catania airport
Airport city flying out: Catania airport
Pick-up location: Taormina
Drop off location: Taormina
Pick-up time: 13:00
Drop off time: 11:00
Tour name: On the roads of Giro d'Italia in Sicily
Accommodation: 6 nights at four-star;
Days/nights: 7/6
Meals: All breakfasts.
Tour code: RGISC-24
Type: Scheduled
Days of riding: 5
Price guided: 2199
Price self guided: 1399
Price supported: 1899
Difficulty level: Challenge
Total distance: 485
Total elevation: 9,584
Duration days: 7
Departure location: Taormina
Arrival location: Taormina
Event date-begins: 2024-06-08
Event date-ends: 2024-06-15
Event teaser: Giro d'Italia and Sicily: an old love story. Let's bike on the best of giro roads.

An exploratory fixed base cycling vacation on Sicily.

The island has hosted - in 100+ years history - many great stages of Giro d'Italia, the most beautiful race on the World Tour.

Sicily's offered Giro a perfect location: varied race conditions, riding among incredible natural settings and stunning historical towns and sites.

Sicilian roads proved to be perfect for Giro and they're for sure perfect for us cycling lovers who wish to enjoy great cycling in a typically Mediterranean setting. That's why we’ve designed a riding week based on a fixed location, and selected as base one of the most beautiful towns on the eastern Sicilian coast: Taormina.

This is the trip for riders who don’t dislike beautiful historical towns, great food traditions and neither the easy logistics provided by our bike center close at hand.

Our rides reproduce the same varied cycling conditions of the professional race, with unpredictably different riding days, featuring coastline, rolling hills inland, medium distance to super long climbs. And, yes, we'll go up to the 1910m of Etna volcano (a 3000m tall mountain), where the paved road surrenders to black lava rock! During this week we will face the volcano many times: we will ride till the 1800m of Piano Provenzana, on the Northern Etna’s side like Alberto Contador did in the 9th stage of Giro d'Italia won in 2011; ride up the southern side up to the 2000m of Rifugio Sapienza, as Esteban Chaves did (we’ll be maybe slower, who knows?) in his stage victory in 2018.

But that's not all: we'll ride up to the 1125m of Portella Mandrazzi's pass which every year is included as KOM or at Giro d'Italia and ride back to Taormina among the Etna's vineyards and along the famous Taormina coastline.

The focus of this trip is enjoy riding challenging stages that include the best roads selection from the Giro d'Italia race course along the years, making us bring back home only the best cycling rides the Etna's area can offer.

ITINERARY

  • 1 ARRIVAL DAY

    Arrival at Catania airport and transfer to Taormina. Accommodation, bike-fitting. Overnight at four-star hotel.

  • 2 THE GODFATHER LOOP

    68 km | 1,607m | 1,607m | 3,30h

    It’s a mix of coastline and hills inland on this first cycling day in Sicily: our week begins with a beautiful stage with medium distance climbs, the longest being 12 km long. From Letojanni, we'll climb up the Sanctuary of the Madonna dell’Aiuto at 1000m ASL through the Agrò Valley, nearly the top of Mount Kalfa. From there, the stage explores - across narrow and quiet countryside roads - a very spectacular and lush area. Is there a place where we can stop to grab a cappuccino? Of course there is, and it’s the famous and lovely Bar Vitelli in Savoca, straight from Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘The Godfather’ movie. From there, a thrilling and winding descent will take us again to the coastline, on the way back to the hotel.


    Accommodation: 4-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast 

  • 3 NORTHERN ETNA

    94 km | 2,151m | 2,151m | 5,30h

    After an early start, we ride up the 1800m ASL of Piano Provenzana, stage finish of Giro d'Italia 2020.

    The main climb up there is 18 km long and alternates consistent sections around 5% and steeper stretches, with the last 3 km climb to Piano Provenzana being the hardest part of the ride: slopes are above 10%. We'll wait to see who'll cross victorious the line, and also wait for the bunch to finish the stage, then we will ride down to Fornazzo and then back to our hotel.


    Accommodation: 4-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast 

  • 4 PORTELLA MANDRAZZI'S PASS

    102.5 km | 1,786m | 1,786m | 5h

    Today we'll ride up to the 1125m ASL of Portella Mandrazzi’s pass, KOM of 6th Giro stage 2020, through the Alcantara's Valley. After Linguaglossa and Castiglione di Sicilia, We'll reach Francavilla to Sicilia, where we'll start our climb to the Portella Mandrazzi's pass.

    Amazing landscapes all around, with the majestic volcano in the background. Giro d’Italia faced Portella Mandrazzi pass twice: in 1999 in the stage Catania-Messina, won by the Dutch sprint specialist Jeroen Blijlevens and in 2003 in the Messina: Catania, won by Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi.

    Reached the top, we will descend to Giardini Naxos and then back to Taormina. And who knows, maybe will do a sprint finish too!


    Accommodation: 4-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast 

  • 5 SOUTHERN ETNA

    125.8 km | 2,656m | 2,656m | 6,20h

    We'll face the southern side of Etna through the villages spread across the Etna belt such as Vena, Presa, Milo, Fornazzo and Zafferana Etnea. In Zafferana, we'll take a stop in one of the awesome local pastry shops to refuel before the challenging second part of the stage, up to the Sapienza refuge, at 1910m above sea level. To get there, we’ll climb for 17 km, with some very steep walls in the first two km and at 2 km from the top.

    The climb is Llong and demanding, but the unbelievable views are worth the effort.

    After a stop for a quick lunch at the Sapienza refuge, we’ll start our way back to the hotel, descending from Nicolosi. Up and down till Zafferana and then all the way down to the coastline.


    Accommodation: 4-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast 

  • 6 ETNA’S VINEYARDS

    95.3 km | 1,384m | 1,384m | 4,20h

    From Linguaglossa we’ll ride along the Quota Mille road, on the northern Etna slopes, and then down to Randazzo, a small village built with black lava stone and consequently known as “black city”. All around, many vineyards tell us about the noted wine production from this fertile area. And right through the vineyards we’ll reach the Alcantara's Valley, famous for the noted gorges, a basalt canyon created by watercourses and lava flow. A continuous up and down will bring us back to the hotel.


    Accommodation: 4-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast 

  • 7 FAREWELL AND DEPARTURE DAY

    Transfer to Catania airport and end of services.


Arrival details

Departure details

Your Journey on a map

TOUR ROUTE

  • 37.8597,15.3012

    mapcenter

  • 37.9316665,15.2671039

    Kalfa Mount

  • 37.798196,15.036639

    Northern Etna

  • 37.70051249999999,14.9985029

    Southern Etna

  • 37.9743482,15.1410919

    Portella Mandrazzi's Pass

  • 37.8516366,15.2853127

    Taormina

Services

Accommodation

Handpicked hotels

Your stay, part of the tale

We chose a hotel in Taormina for a straightforward reason: the majority of the hotels are situated on a picturesque rock, providing unparalleled views of the sea.

A stone's throw away lies the city's historic center, featuring a captivating promenade adorned with charming shops, bars, and restaurants. It's the perfect setting for a multi-day stay, offering a plethora of entertaining attractions and opportunities to savor the exquisite local cuisine and wines.

Notable highlights include breathtaking churches, the ancient Greek theater of Taormina, and the enchanting Castelmola castle.

Food

  • Daniele Fragale Foto

    Pasta alla Norma

  • Ristorante La Botte Taormina

    Seafood in Taormina

  • Arancini

    Arancini

  • Granita and Brioche

Eat like locals

Immerse yourself in the region's culture

The Taormina region boasts a diverse culinary scene, ranging from traditional to modern cuisine, with a nod to the simplicity of street food.

A standout in Sicilian gastronomy is undoubtedly seafood, and in the Messina province, a beloved dish is swordfish, often presented as a skewer generously stuffed with breadcrumbs.

For pasta enthusiasts, the irresistible "pasta alla norma" is a must-try. This delectable handmade pasta is adorned with slices of fried eggplant, accompanied by grated ricotta salata cheese and fresh basil.

For a satisfying post-ride refuel, indulge in Sicily's crowned street food king: arancini. These Sicilian fried rice balls are filled with rich ragù or sauce.

Meals in this Italian region are known for their abundance, so we recommend a unique breakfast experience for those who conquer the hearty dinners—a typical eastern Sicilian breakfast featuring granita (flavored ice) and a brioche.

Bike rental

Our best picks for this tour

As we have one of the largest and best bike fleets in Italy, we are proud to give our guests the freedom to choose the bike that suits them best.

  • Pinarello F5 - 105 di2

    Ride in Italy on an exclusive Italian bike

    GO TO CATALOG

  • Scott Addict RC40

    Scott Addict RC40

    Light, fast, and ready to turn heads.

    GO TO CATALOG

  • Scott Addict 30

    Designed from the ground up with those longer days in mind.

    GO TO CATALOG

Things You Won't Miss
  • A 2000m top...
    with seaview

    Why don't put our flag on it?

  • The hairpin turns of Savoca's climb

    For those wondering if Sicily is desertic

  • If they are good for pro riders...

    They'll be good for us too

Ride Highlights:
Etna's Volcano

Etna is a constant presence for those who visit the eastern part of Sicily: wherever you go, Etna is in the background, being nearly 3000 m tall. It's huge. Daunting and attracting at the same time. Do you really think you can win the temptation to climbing up its nearly 2000 m altitude? Etna is the tallest active volcano in Europe, another reason to put our flag on it, isn't t? Don't risk missing it, you know you will regret!

Tour price

And inclusions

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THIS TOUR IS AVAILABLE AS A GUIDED GROUP TOUR ON SELECTED DATES. it's also available as PRIVATE, SELF-GUIDED AND SUPPORTED ON ANY DATE DURING THE CYCLING SEASON.

Guided group tour

Guided group tour


Inclusions & details

Self guided tour

Self guided tour

Anytime March to Oct


Inclusions & details

Supported tour

Supported tour

Anytime March to Oct


Inclusions & details

Let's plan your next trip!

Useful Information

Tips & Resources

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Travel arrangements

The best airport to land is Catania (CTA).

For those participating in a guided or in a supported tour, a group transfer is scheduled to depart from Catania airport at 2 p.m. Similarly, for the return journey, a group transfer is arranged to depart from Taormina at 10 a.m.

For alternative requirements, we can assist in arranging private transfers (that will be quoted separately) or suggest the most cost effective transport solution.

Travelers on  self-guided trips have to independently reach Taormina. 

The Catania airport and Taormina are well-connected by both railway and bus services. However, if you prefer a most comfortable and faster solution, we can assist in arranging a transfer that suits your needs best (the transfer will be quoted separately).

Please contact us for more information.

Food & Drinks during stages

For those participating in a guided or in a supported tour, during the rides, we plan at least one longer food stop in the middle of the stage plus one or more coffee stops. In the assistance van we have bars, gels and water.

Those riding for the self-guided tour can rely on our road book and maps that show the suggested bars or restaurants.

Necessary Gear

Our guests will get a pre tour info kit that gives useful suggestions on how to enjoy our trips in full. Here is a quick selection that might be useful at this stage.

  • We suggest renting a bike with us. But feel free to bring your own bike. Just consider bringing along a selection of model specific spare parts (ie. derailleur hangers). 

  • The hotels have in some occasion a bike room, bikes are anyway always stored in a safe way. We have a mobile workshop with tools and spare parts.

  • Bring along a wide selection of clothes, including some full arm jackets, raincoat, leg and arm warmers: there are a lot of mountains where the weather is never completely predictable.

More Journeys

Similar Trips

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On the roads of Giro d'Italia in the Alps

Tour name: On the roads of Giro d'Italia in the Alps
Tour code: ORGDIA-24
Type: Scheduled
Price guided: 1999
Price self guided: -
Price supported: -
Difficulty level: Challenge
Total distance: 520
Total elevation: 14,000
Duration days: 7
Departure location: Bormio
Arrival location: Bormio
Event date-begins: 2024-07-19
Event date-ends: 2024-07-25
Event teaser: Bormio is ideal to ride some of the most iconic and sometimes intimidating climbs in the world, like the famous 48 hairpins up Stelvio, the wild and beautiful Gavia Pass as well as the famous Mortirolo Pass.

Date 1

A ROAD CYCLING WEEK IN THE ALPS IN CONJUNCTION WITH GIRO D'ITALIA

 

What about a road cycling week in Bormio, in the hearth of the Italian Alps? It's a real paradise for us road riders and a week there sounds amazing, right? Bormio is ideal to ride some of the most iconic and sometimes intimidating climbs in the world, like the famous 48 hairpins up Stelvio, the wild and beautiful Gavia Pass as well as the famous Mortirolo Pass. As a living monument to cycling, the mountains around Bormio, pile up more names every season.

Names of active cyclists are next to legendary ones. Names like - in the modern history of Tour and Giro - Fausto Coppi, Charly Gaul, Gino Bartali, Louison Bobet, Felice Gimondi, Raymond Poulidor, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Greg LeMond, Miguel Indurain, Marco Pantani, Alberto Contador, Vincenzo Nibali, Chris Froome.

Those climbs are in the legend of cycling and putting our flags on top of them sounds just great. What if we add to this already awesome plan the opportunity to watch the Giro action on top of Mortirolo? Could we ask more than this? Well, maybe a visit to a Pro-Tour - Canyon sponsored - team? Yes, this cycling week is not just a training camp, but a once in a lifetime cycling experience. Detailed briefings, constant contact with our skilled guides, planned food stops, perfect Canyon rental bikes make for a safe and enjoyable daily riding. Choice of hotel and stops is made with care and with deep knowledge of the places.

Now it's clear why we talk about the Ultimate Alps Experience!

The Journey Begins Here

TOUR STOPS AND TOPS

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  • 46.4663571,10.3704671

    mapcenter

  • 46.52936020000001,10.453207

    Stelvio Pass

  • 46.5418677,10.2690843

    Laghi di Cancano

  • 46.495,10.209

    Passo del Foscagno

  • 46.3434911,10.4846264

    Passo Gavia

  • 46.4663571,10.3704671

    Bormio

Things You Don't Want to Miss
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  • What paradise looks like...
    on a dry day

  • Vincenzo Nibali
    A Sicilian beating the cold

  • Giro d'Italia 1968
    Merckx wins the stage and wears the Pink Jersey

Ride Highlights:
Stelvio Pass

Stelvio pass is in the cycling myth since 1953, after a 34 years old Fausto Coppi, was able to grab his last Giro d’Italia, dropping the GC leader, the Swiss Hugo Koblet, in a legendary day. Stelvio was a dirt road at that time, and bikes were not as sophisticated and lightweight as now. Romantic cycling, as they call it.

"I’M STILL THAT EIGHT-YEAR-OLD KID WHO RODE UP THE STELVIO. I’M STILL THAT KID IN MY LEGS, IN MY HEAD AND IN MY HEART".

Former Pro and Giro winner IVAN BASSO

Trip program

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  • DAY 1: ARRIVAL DAY

    Arrival at Milan airport and transfer to Bormio, Italian Alps. Accommodation and dinner at four-star hotel.

  • DAY 2: RIDE TO PASSO MORTIROLO THEN PONTE DI LEGNO AND PASSO GAVIA

    114.5km | 3,245m | 3,245m | 5,30h

    Passo Gavia, the final and main climb of the day, is a very challenging climb: first of all because it’s quite long, about 17 kms, then because it gets very high. Thin air at altitude (2600m ASL) is no joke, no way to be really prepared for that. So, better saving legs when possible. For this reason, we take our time going up. We climb up Gavia starting from Ponte di Legno, like in occasion the 97th Giro d’Italia (2014), won by the Colombian Nairo Quintana of Movistar Team. Accommodation and dinner at hotel in Bormio.


    Accommodation: 4-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast | Dinner

  • DAY 3: THE TWO SIDES OF STELVIO PASS

    101km | 3,417m | 3,417m | 5,30h

    Stelvio pass is in the cycling myth since 1953, after a 34 years old Fausto Coppi, was able to grab his last Giro d’Italia, dropping the GC leader, the Swiss Hugo Koblet, in a legendary day. Stelvio climb was on a dirt road at that time, and bikes were not as sophisticated and lightweight as now. Romantic - or heroic - cycling, as they call it. There’s big debate among cyclists on which side of Stelvio is the nicest: Lombardy side, from Bormio or Trentino side, from Prato allo Stelvio. We don’t want to influence your opinion, so we give you the opportunity to make your own idea. We ride up from Bormio, go all the way down across Switzerland, and up again from Prato allo Stelvio, enjoying all the famous 48 hairpins up top. This stage can be shortened by van up to Umbrail pass. That way it'd be 80km and 2200m elevation gain.


    Accommodation: 4-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast | Dinner

  • DAY 4: RIDE UP APRICA PASS THEN MORTIROLO FROM THE MONNO SIDE

    60km | 1,925m | 1,925m | 4,30h

    A day dedicated to watch Giro from the sidelines of one of Europe's hardest climbs: Mortirolo pass. This must-do HC climb is world famous as is very challenging and steep. It’s been included in the Giro in 1990 and it became famous for the legendary stage of 1994 Giro when a very young Marco Pantani dropped his majesty Miguel Indurain, showing the world a new star was born. A monument to the famous Italian climber is at km 8. We get there after a long way down from Bormio to Tirano, then we climb up the Aprica pass so to face Mortirolo from the Monno side. Nearly on top of the climb, we take a break at the rifugio, then we select a good spot to watch the riders.


    Accommodation: 4-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast | Dinner

  • DAY 5: RIDE TO CANCANO LAKES

    30km | 1,000m | 1,000m | 2,50h

    We take a recovery day and do a shorter ride to explore the lovely mountains closer to Bormio. Why don’t going for a lovely ride up Cancano lakes? Short but gorgeous, it gives us the time to take an afternoon stroll in town and watch the end of Giro's stage.


    Accommodation: 4-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast | Dinner

  • DAY 6: LIVIGNO AND STELVIO'S SWISS SIDE

    108km | 3,100m | 3,100m | 5,30h

    Can a climb up Stelvio propose three totally different and yet amazing routes? To discover it, we'll cross Foscagno Pass, west of Bormio, an reach the tallest Italian village, the lovely Livigno. From there, we coast the Livigno lake and change... Country. Yes, half of today's ride involve Switzerland. Right 76km after the start, we get to Mustair - or Santa Maria as we Italians call it - and start our third climb up Stelvio Pass. Normally the question among riders is 'which of the two Stelvio sides do you like best?'. Well you'll be one of the few cyclists that can choose among the three ways up. After a cappuccino and some local pies, we descend to Bormio and celebrate a glorious week of cycling in the Alps!


    Accommodation: 4-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast | Dinner

  • DAY 7: FAREWELL AND DEPARTURE DAY.

    Transfer to Milan airport and end of services.

Tour price

And support levels

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Guided group tour

What's included

  • Accommodation

    6 nights at 4-stars

  • Meals

    6 dinners; all breakfasts.
  • Support level

    Guiding; van assistance; mobile workshop; spare bike, bars, gels and electrolytes available on purchase; luggage transport; Group transfers from/to Malpensa/Bergamo Milano airport; 10% discount on bike rental.
  • Not included

    Flight tickets; extras in hotel, etc. Drinks during the dinner; city tax (if any); travel insurance; individual arrival and departure transfer; bike rental.
  • On request

    Individual arrival transfer from Milano Malpensa/Bergamo airport to Bormio €200/€220 p.p.; individual departure transfer from Bormio to Milano Malpensa/Bergamo airport €200/€220 p.p.; supplement for single room accommodation €270 p.p.; 10% discount on bike rentals.

Self Guided tour

What's included

  • Accommodation

    6 nights at 4-stars

  • Meals

    6 dinners; all breakfasts.
  • Support level

    Detailed briefing. GPX files. Telephone assistance during your stay. 10% discount on bike rentals.
  • Not included

    Flight tickets; extras in hotel, etc. Drinks during the dinner; city tax (if any); travel insurance; arrival and departure transfer; bike rental. Luggage transfer.
  • On request

    Arrival transfer from Milano Malpensa/Bergamo airport to Bormio €200/€220 p.p.; departure transfer from Bormio to Milano Malpensa/Bergamo airport €200/€220 p.p.; supplement for single room accommodation €270 p.p.; 10% discount on bike rentals. Luggage transfer: included in the transfer price (if you book it).

Supported tour

What's included

  • Accommodation

    6 nights at 4-stars

  • Meals

    6 dinners; all breakfasts.
  • Support level

    Van assistance; mobile workshop; spare bike, bars, gels and electrolytes available on purchase. GPX files. Luggage transport. Group transfers from/to Malpensa/Bergamo Milano airport; 10% discount on bike rentals.
  • Not included

    Flight tickets; extras in hotel, etc. Drinks during the dinner; city tax (if any); travel insurance; individual arrival and departure transfer; bike rental.
  • On request

    Individual arrival transfer from Milano Malpensa/Bergamo airport to Bormio €200/€220 p.p.; individual departure transfer from Bormio to Milano Malpensa/Bergamo airport €200/€220 p.p.; supplement for single room accommodation €270 p.p.; 10% discount on bike rentals.

Let's plan your next trip!

Useful Information

Tips & Resources

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Travel arrangements

Best airport to land is Milano Malpensa (MXP): from there we arrange the group transfer. Other options are possible and we can help selecting the best one.

Food & Drinks during stages

During the rides we plan at least one longer food stops in the middle of the stage plus one or more coffee stops. In the assistence van we use to bring along bars, gels and water.

Necessary Gear

Our guests are getting a pre tour info kit that gives useful suggestions on all the the arrangements to enjoy our trips in full. Here a quick selection that might be useful at this stage.

  • We suggest renting a Canyon bike with us. But feel free to bring your own bike. Just consider bringing along a selection of model specific spare parts (ie. derailleur hangers). 

  • The hotels have a room for the bikes, and we will have a selection of tools to perform basic maintenance.

  • Bring along a wide selection of clothes, including some full arm jackets, rain coat, leg and arm warmers, overshoes: it's the Alps and the weather is never completely predictable.

More Journeys

Similar Trips

[arrow-up]

On the roads of Tour de France

Tour name: On the roads of Tour de France
Tour code: RTDF-24
Type: Scheduled
Price guided: 2389
Price self guided: -
Price supported: -
Difficulty level: Challenge
Total distance: 524
Total elevation: 14,244
Duration days: 9
Departure location: CERVINIA
Arrival location: SAMPEYRE
Event date-begins: 2024-07-06
Event date-ends: 2024-07-14
Event teaser: A week of road cycling in the Alps in conjunction with the Tour de France.

Date 1

A WEEK OF ROAD CYCLING IN THE ALPS IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE TOUR DE FRANCE

 

Le Tour de France climaxes between the second and third week of race, usually in the Alps or the Pyrenees. The reason is clear: riders begin to fatigue right as the most challenging mountains enter the mix, bringing with them some of the highest ridable passes in Europe - often above 2500m. The Tour de France Alpine stages make for famous days, many featuring famous battles. Some of these battlefields lay in Italy while most are in France, naturally. 

We've designed this guided group tour to follow a dream loop that includes the best climbs around the French-Italian border, starting in the northwestern Italian region of Piedmont, crossing into the French region called Haute Alps, and riding back to Italy through Savoy and Valle d'Aosta region.

The tour is fully guided and assisted with quality accommodations. This week of cycling can take place while the Tour de France is also in the Alps, giving us the chance for a wonderful experience: visiting a Canyon sponsored World Tour team and breathing the magic atmosphere of the race on its resting day.

The Journey Begins Here

TOUR STOPS AND TOPS

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  • 45.4447,7.7344

    mapcenter

  • 44.568,7.45778

    Piasco

  • 44.6839,6.97957

    Colle dell'Agnello

  • 44.7666,6.73886

    Arvieux

  • 45.0351,6.4050

    Col du Lautaret

  • 45.0461,6.30594

    La Grave

  • 45.0696,6.4107

    Col du Galibier

  • 45.2571,6.27138

    La Toussuire

  • 45.4098,6.34842

    Col de la Madeleine

  • 45.6758,6.39259

    Albertville

  • 45.6913,6.6907

    Cormet de Roselend

  • 45.6168,6.76867

    Bourg Saint Maurice

  • 45.6804,6.88394

    Piccolo San Bernardo

  • 45.7371,7.31966

    Aosta

  • 45.9356,7.63044

    Cervinia

Things You Don't Want to Miss
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  • What paradise looks like...
    on a dry day

  • Marco Pantani
    flattening out the Galibier in 1998 Tour

  • The days can also be
    less good

Ride Highlights:
Galibier, 1998 A.D.

July 27, 1998. It was raining the day the Tour had to face the Galibier, making the climb that much more difficult, especially for a cyclist who did not love the wet. Pantani that year had already taken away great satisfaction, winning the Giro d'Italia. Initially he had no intention of participating in the Tour, but he made a promise to Luciano Pezzi (director of the Mercatone Uno team) who died in June 1998, in between the end of the Giro and the beginning of the Tour. He promised to go and try to win the most important stage race. For the Italians, there was an added desire for revenge on French soil after the defeat on penalties at the World Cup in the quarter finals against France, their all-time rival. Marco kept his promise.

"I have lost a formidable teacher, a man of those that you don't find so easily in the world of cycling. Luciano Pezzi, who believed in me, who bet on me when I was in a hospital bed, has gone. I have a great desire to take the yellow jersey and say: "Old friend, here, it's for you that I conquered it". I'm going to the Tour to continue to be Pantani."

Marco Pantani

TRIP program

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  • DAY 1: ARRIVAL DAY

    Arrival at Turin airport (TRN) and transfer to Sampeyre (Piedmont). Accommodation and dinner at four-star hotel.

  • DAY 2: CROSS THE COLLE DELL'AGNELLO PASS TO ARVIEUX

    60.8KM | 2,067M | 1,493M | 4,30H

    Colle dell'Agnello may not have the same name recognition as other climbs on the tour. It is recognized as one the most beautiful mountain passes in the alps and is surely one of those challenges a dedicated cyclist should take on. It is one of the passes that connect Italy and France, two special countries for us cyclists. Reaching an elevation of 2744m in approximately 50km, with 2178m of elevation gain. You may ask if it is so special, why is it not as famous as other climbs on the itinerary? Easy: it is not located in a very touristic part of Italy. Easing into the trip with this lesser known pass gives us the chance to experience a beautiful mountain without the obstacle of expectations, leaving only the joys of exploration and discovery on two wheels. The Tour de France has featured it twice throughout its history. Most recently during the 18th stage of the 2011 Tour. The stage from Pinerolo to Galibier Serre-Chevalier made for  a seriously epic race day, won by Andy Schleck while more than half the peloton, 89 out of 168 riders, didn't make it to the finish within the time limit and were then readmitted by the jury. On that day the menu included the Colle dell'Agnello as a starter, then Izoard as the first course, and eventually Galibier as  the second course. Our stage will be less gluttonous, coming in much shorter and ending in Arvieux, France. We save Izoard for the next day. Accommodation at hotel.

  • DAY 3: Col de L'izoard and Lautaret

    67.7KM | 1,697M | 1,775M | 4,30H

     The second stage of our tour includes two very famous climbs of the French Haute Alps: Col de l'Izoard and Col du Lautaret. Each has featured in more than 30 Tours, but the latter generally isn't rated for the King of the Mountain competition. The day starts with the Col de l'Izoard, a Hors Categorie climb, however, we will only be doing the last 10km of the southern approach, omitting the first 20km of the climb that the professionals normally do. This stretch is the hardest part of the whole climb with an average incline of more than 7% leading all the way up to 2340m. The first section winds up through the forest for most of the climb then with just over 2km left the trees disappear and the iconic moonscape takes over, welcome to the Casse Désert.
     This pass brings to mind the great champion Louis (Louison) Bobet (you can read more in the 'Resources') , who sealed his first TdF win here on the Izoard, by dropping Switzerland’s Ferdi Kübler in 1954.
     After a long descent to Briancon, we'll head north to Serre Chevalier and start the second climb. Col du Lautaret is long, over 20km but has a gentle incline. Once on top, we ride down to La Grave where dinner and a comfortable three star hotel await us.
  • DAY 4: RIDE UP LAUTARET, THEN ALL THE WAY TO TOP OF GALIBIER

    76.5KM | 1,968M | 2,300M | 4,30H

    In our option the most beautiful alpine climbs are those high altitude passes where the road is the only sign of development. They challenge the cyclists in many ways; they are often long and steep, the air thins as you get closer to the top, and the isolation you feel being surrounded by nature can make your thoughts the biggest challenge of all. These points have made these mountains famous in the pro races; those that win under these circumstances must be top athletes. Galibier and it's 2635m is one of the best examples of these climbs and during the TdF of 1998, Marco Pantani rose to challenge. He was 3 minutes behind Jan Ulrich in the GC and had to try something, so he launched a legendary attack on Galibier. On a very cold and rainy day, he put 9 minutes between him and the German champion, becoming the new yellow jersey holder and sealing the GC. His race style made French tifosi(fans) and press extatic and everyone watching the stage will remember that day forever. Our stage will be less long but still legendary. We start the day with the nearly 20km Galibier climb. After that we'll head down to Saint Michel de Maurienne, down the Col du Telegraf, and eventually to the destination at La Tossuire, where we stay overnight at a three star hotel.

  • DAY 5: RIDE UP COL DE LA MADELEINE AND FINISH AT ALBERTVILLE

    85.3KM | 1,798M | 2,422M | 5,00H

    Today features yet another classic climb, the Col de la Madeleine from the southern approach from Saint Martin sur la Chambre. After starting the day with a nice descent we arrive at the base of the climb. From here it is 20km up with a consistent gradient of over 7%, and final elevation gain of 1550m. It's easy for anyone into cycling to understand how Col de la Madeleine can break up a stage. And if we look back at the list of riders that were first to top during the Tour, we see some of the best riders of their era. Recently we have 2020: Richard Carapaz; 2018: Julian Alaphilippe; and 2013: Pierre Rolland. This climb has played an important role in the history of the race, but we aren't racing, so we might be much more interested in the fact that La Madeleine is recognized as one of the most beautiful climbs there is. If despite the beauty, you want to try and capture the King of the Mountain you have some work ahead of you. The young French rider Valentin Madouas holds the current Strava KOM, with a time of 58:34 averaging 19.2kph and more than 380w for nearly an hour. Regardless of how fast you tackle this tough climb, a quick break at the top with the spectacular views will be your reward. Your legs will be happy to know that it's all downhill from here, a long descent leads to the destination: the famous Alpine resort of Albertville where we comfortably stay overnight in a four-star hotel.

  • DAY 6: COL DU PRé and CORMET DE ROSELEND

    69.4KM | 2,127M | 1,622M | 4,30H

    Tour or not, the climb up the Cormet de Roselend is a must ride. It sits on the Savoy region and despite not among the legendary climbs (those that can break up a race) and belonging instead to the lesser known ones, is among the favorite of a lot of riders because of the beauty of the scenery. We consider the little town of Beaufort the classical start of the climb. The climb is split into two parts: the first col is the Col du Pré: 13km at 8%. Cresting the summit of the Col du Pré is very exciting but it also fetures stunning views and turquoise water of Lac de Roselend. We'll ride along the dam and enjoy the amazing scenery before the last bit of climb up to the summit of the Cormet du Roselend: 6 more km at 6% grade starting right from the edge of the lake. Some 20km more and we'll be at Bourg San Maurice, where we'll comfortably stay overnight in a three-star hotel.
  • DAY 7: BACK TO ITALY: Piccolo San Bernardo and finish at Aosta

    91KM | 2,201M | 2,451M | 5,30H

    Petit San Bernard is the name of the climb of the day and it's a monster climb: 30km long with an average grade of 4%. It begins right out of Bourg San Maurice and the end of the climb is also the border between France and Italy. That's a glorious way to be back to Italy. The mountain pass is rather high, at nearly 2,200m and also spectacular. After a first segment that features hairpins among the trees, right after La Rosière - a small Alpine resort that comes in the right position to take a coffee stop - the scenery changes to open spaces and views of the sourrounding crests. You might be curious to know if the Tour have ever passed through here. Yes, of course. First time - and the time we like to recall - was in 1949 and the first man on top was Gino Bartali. To tell who Bartali meant to cycling and to history would need a dedicated website, but we like to find here a connection that makes us remind a champion and a good man. After the pass we ride all the way down the Piccolo San Bernardo (since it's Italy now) and finish the stage in the capital town of Valle d'Aosta: Aosta. Accomodation at a four-star hotel.
  • DAY 8: Aosta to Cervino/Matterhorn

    67.6KM | 2,408M | 990M | 5,30H

    Valle d'Aosta is famous for being a beautiful valley surrounded by some of the tallest mountains in Europe. Mountains that are very popular for some super known ski resorts, just like Cervinia. And the valley roads feature lovely castles from the middle age that make for an enchanted place where riding. The enchantment of the valley road goes from Aosta to Chambave, where we take the climb up to Cervinia. Then it's matter of going up. We'll find two long climbs: the first up Col du Panthaleon (16km at 7.3%) and the final climb up Cervinia (19km at 5.5%). The last climb of the day, and of the whole trip, is really special. Sure, it's the last climb of the last day, but you'll see how umbelievable view is the Matterhorn in front of you for ages and that looks like you never get there. Are we maybe slow? Yes sure, but it's also the mountain that is an impressive, giant peak with its 4478m ASL. We touch base in the lovely Cervinia, have lunch and go to the hotel where we will celebrate the end of an amazing trip. Accommodation at a four-star hotel.

  • DAY 9: FAREWELL AND DEPARTURE DAY.

    Transfer to Turin airport and end of services.

Tour price

And support levels

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Guided group tour

What's included

  • Accommodation

    2 nights at 4-star | 6 nights at 3-star

  • Meals

    Four dinners; all breakfasts.
  • Support level

    Guiding; van assistance; mobile workshop; spare bike, bars, gels and electrolytes available on purchase; group transfers from/to Torino airport; 10% discount on bike rentals.
  • Not included

    Flight tickets; extras in hotel, etc. Drinks during the dinner; city tax (if any); travel insurance; individual arrival and departure transfer; bike rental.
  • On request

    Individual arrival transfer from Torino airport to Sampeyre 190 euro p.p.; Individual transfer from Aosta to Torino airport 180 euro p.p; single room accomodation 350 euro p.p.; bike rental.

Self Guided tour

What's included

  • Accommodation

    2 nights at 4-star | 6 nights at 3-star

  • Meals

    Four dinners; all breakfasts.
  • Support level

    Detailed briefing. GPX files. Telephone assistance during your stay. 10% discount on bike rentals.
  • Not included

    Flight tickets; extras in hotel, etc. Drinks during the dinner; city tax (if any); travel insurance; individual arrival and departure transfer; bike rental.
  • On request

    Individual arrival transfer from Torino airport to Sampeyre 190 euro p.p.; Individual transfer from Aosta to Torino airport 180 euro p.p; single room accomodation 350 euro p.p.; bike rental.

Supported tour

What's included

  • Accommodation

    2 nights at 4-star | 6 nights at 3-star

  • Meals

    Four dinners; all breakfasts.
  • Support level

    Van assistance; mobile workshop; spare bike, bars, gels and electrolytes available on purchase; group transfers from/to Torino airport; 10% discount on bike rentals.
  • Not included

    Flight tickets; extras in hotel, etc. Drinks during the dinner; city tax (if any); travel insurance; individual arrival and departure transfer; bike rental.
  • On request

    Individual arrival transfer from Torino airport to Sampeyre 190 euro p.p.; Individual transfer from Aosta to Torino airport 180 euro p.p; single room accomodation 350 euro p.p.; bike rental.
Useful Information

Tips & Resources

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Travel arrangements

The best airport for arrivals is Turin-Casselle (TRN): from there we arrange the group transfer. Other options are possible and we can help you select the best one.

Food & Drinks during stages

During the rides we plan at least one longer food stop in the middle of the stage plus one or more coffee stops. In the assistence van we have bars, gels and water.

Necessary Gear

Our guests will get a pre tour info kit that gives useful suggestions on how to enjoy our trips in full. Here is a quick selection that might be useful at this stage.

  • We suggest renting a Canyon bike with us. But feel free to bring your own bike. Just consider bringing along a selection of model specific spare parts (ie. derailleur hangers). 

  • The hotels have a room for the bikes, and we will have a selection of tools to perform basic maintenance.

  • Bring along a wide selection of clothes, including some full arm jackets, rain coat, leg and arm warmers, overshoes: it's the Alps and the weather is never completely predictable.

More Journeys

Similar Trips

[arrow-up]

Orobie Alps: a gem waiting to be discovered

Arrival location visual:
Livello difficoltà visual:
Start location visual:
Sistemazione-SG: 3 nights at 4-star Hotel; 2 nights at 3-star hotel;
Pasti-SG: all breakfasts, one dinner
Livello di supporto-SG: road-book; detailed briefing; telephone assistance; 10% discount on bike rental;
Non incluso-SG: flights tickets, extras in hotel, drinks during the dinner, city tax (if any), travel insurance, arrival and departure transfer, bike rental;
Su richiesta-SG: bike rental, arrival/departure transfer, luggage delivery
Tour end visual:
Total distance visual:
Total elevation visual:
Accommodation visual:
Days riding visual:
Meals visual:
Days/nights visual:
Airport city flying in: Milano Mxp / Bergamo
Airport city flying out: Milano Mxp / Bergamo
Pick-up location: Bergamo
Drop off location: Bergamo
Pick-up time: 12:00
Drop off time: 19:00
Tour name: Orobie Alps: a gem waiting to be discovered
Accommodation: 3 nights at 4-star Hotel; 2 nights at 3-star hotel;
Days/nights: 6/5
Meals: All breakfasts; one dinner
Tour code: GOD-24
Days of riding: 4
Price self guided: from 899,00
Difficulty level: Challenging
Total distance: 369.2
Total elevation: 8,275
Duration days: 5
Departure location: Bergamo
Arrival location: Bergamo
Event teaser: Explore the off-the-beaten track roads through the mountains surrounding Bergamo

An epic short break journey through the Alps

Few tread the paths of the Orobie Alps, cradled between Lombardia's urban sprawl and the towering Alps. Yet, for us Bergamo natives, these peaks hold a cherished significance. They're our playground, where we first learned to pedal and where we now roam daily on our bikes.

We Bergamaschi are forged by centuries of toil. We're artisans at heart, crafting everything from fine cheeses to sturdy iron beams. Our hands are calloused from hard work, our spirits humble. Unlike our flashy neighbors in Milan, the city of fashion, ostentation and commerce, we prefer the quiet pride of craftsmanship. And how does this philosophy translate to a biking trip? Simple: it's a journey designed with Bergamaschi sensibilities. Practical, authentic, and focused on the breathtaking vistas of the Orobie Alps—scenery we've kept close to our chests, away from the tourist spotlight.

In an era where only a handful of cycling destinations draw attention, we've fashioned a route—a loop—that winds through our beloved mountains. We're confident that our thoughtful itinerary, paired with Bergamo's convenient connectivity to major European cities, will transform you into an honorary Bergamasco.

Our proposed four-stage trip spans 80 to 100 kilometers each, each stage featuring a single, monumental ascent: Passo San Marco, Mortirolo, Passo del Vivione, and the awe-inspiring Strada Verde. Except for the renowned Mortirolo, these climbs epitomize Bergamo's ethos—functional, enjoyable, and blissfully off the beaten path.

While our journey veers away from tourist hubs, fear not—we've handpicked four cozy overnight accommodations, each bike-friendly and surrounded by small restaurants serving delectable local specialties. Upon your return, immerse yourself in Bergamo's lively ambiance, where an array of restaurants and bars eagerly await to toast your epic alpine adventure

This self-guided travel is a 4 stages ride running clockwise from Bergamo, heading north to the ancient imperial town of Morbegno through the majestic Passo San Marco; second stage is heading east to Aprica and you will climb the infamous Mortirolo (that’s the only “commercial compromise" we have added). But what an addiction with its sharpening slopes!

Third Stage is another die-hard ride going through the 25 steady km to the Passo del Vivione; today stage is finishing to the hidden jem of Lago Moro, which is a little alpine water renowned for its stunning natural beauty, surrounded by rugged mountain peaks and lush forests. The lake's crystal-clear waters are fed by mountain streams and are often used for swimming and recreational activities during the warmer months!.

Laste Stage 4 is a breath-taking ride going from Lago Moro, Lago Iseo, up to the verdant and uncontaminated Strade Verde (the green road), by far the best climb in our region, with it narrow and twisty road snaking up from the shore on the Lake to the 1075 meters of San Fermo and finally a long descent awaiting before riding your way back to Bergamo with its spectacular finish in the medieval old town uphill: the magic of Boccola and 15th century walls will be your finishing line.

ITINERARY

  • 1 WELCOME TO BERGAMO

    Arrival at Milan airport (MXP) or Milan Bergamo, transfer to accommodation and bike-fitting, .

    Accommodation: 4-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast | 

  • 2 BERGAMO - MORBEGNO

    93.9km | 2,269m | 2,219m | 5,30h

    .

    First day of the journey is almost a 100km ride, with a 2200 in elevation, taking the route to the highest point, nearly reaching the 2000 meters of the historic Passo San Marco. This ascent is one of the many hidden gems of this trip. On the way out of Bergamo the route follows a secure and scenic cycle path along the old railway proceeding through picturesque galleries and spectacular canyons along the Brembo River, ascending the waters up to Olmo, where the 20 km climb to Passo San Marco begins. The old railway line, now transformed into a bike path, not only provides a vehicle-free environment but also takes you through ancient stone tunnels, adding a touch of history to your ride The road up to Passo San Marco it's an old road built in the 17th century to facilitate the trade of goods between the Republic of Venice and the Swiss cantons. Following in the footsteps of those ancient trade routes, you tackle this fascinating alpine-style ascent with very challenging gradients and 15 hairpin turns, marked by signs placed along the roadside. At the summit, you reach an altitude of 1990 meters, and if the ascent is long, the descent is even more thrilling: 26 endless kilometers descending towards the ancient imperial city of Morbegno


    Accommodation: 4-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast

  • 3 MORBEGNO - EDOLO

    105,3km | 2,010m | 1,631m | 4,45h

    Good-bye to Morbegno and ride north-east towards the Alps. First part of the stage it’s on a very nice cycle lane which follows the Adda river. We are in Valtellina.

    The cycle lane along the Adda river goes on for 40 km up to Mazzo in Valtellina, that is exactly where the world famous killer climb named Mortitolo: 12 km at over 10% on a narrow and twisty road. We take the Mortirolo from Mazzo: the classical climb made famous by Pantani during the 1994 Giro d'Italia. The Italian audience didn't know either Pantani or Mortirolo. Since that day Pantani and that climb broke into the Italian cycling imaginary: everybody wanted to be Marco and everybody wanted to climb that road. At the top of the pass, climbing is not over as instead of going down to the other side the route keeps on rolling to Trivigno, which is another unknown side of Mortirolo and finally down to Edolo for the last 20 km downhill.


    Accommodation: 3-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast

  • 4 EDOLO - LAGO MORO

    77,2km | 2,291m | 2402m | 4,20h

    Nestled amidst the majestic mountains of northern Italy lies the picturesque village of Edolo, a tranquil haven just a stone's throw away from renowned ski resorts like Aprica and Ponte di Legno.

    Surrounded by mountains, it should come as no surprise that the departure is immediately uphill. We leave Edolo by ascending a small and winding side road that climbs for 7 km along the mountainside to the small village of Lorico. We continue along the slope through the woods, thus avoiding the main road at the bottom of the valley until Forno Allione.

    There you are at the start of Passo Vivione, one of the lesser-known and wild passes. It is a 20 km climb, the road is narrow, winding, and always winding through forests and pine trees, not very suitable for motorized traffic. It is one of our favorite climbs: you will hardly run into another human being until the pass! The great thing is that from the pass to the finish, it's practically all downhill! If it's a beautiful day, a dip in the cool waters of the Lago Moro is mandatory.


    Accommodation: 3-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast | Dinner

  • 5 LAGO MORO - BERGAMO

    97,2km | 2,393m | 2,592m | 5,50h

    From the shores of Lake Moro, the road ascends for a stretch and then extends halfway up the slope: the view is spectacular, practically a terrace overlooking the valley, and there, in the distance, you'll catch a glimpse of Lake Iseo. Once at the small village of San Vigilio, a very fast descent begins. It's 9 km where you'll lose 700 meters in altitude: a wide road, long straight sections: hold onto your bike because if you let it go, you can reach speeds of up to 80 km/h.

    After finishing the descent, in just a few kilometers, you'll reach Lovere, a beautiful urban center where Lake Iseo begins: I recommend a short stop for coffee or continuing along the road carved into the rock that runs alongside the lake until Riva di Solto: there's another beautiful lakeside bar there: coffee on the terrace, let yourself be kissed by the sun under the spires of Mount Guglielmo that descend straight into the lake.

    After a break, another 15 kilometers of road along the coast, always facing the lake, and then begins the spectacular ascent of the Green Road that takes you up to 1075 meters to San Fermo. The climb is divided into two: the first part is 8 kilometers winding along the lake with a 180-degree panorama where with just one glance, you embrace the entire lake from south to north. Once you reach Parzanica, you descend for a few kilometers and there begins the wildest part: it was an old mountain road with a dirt surface: it has been asphalted in recent years to allow connection and to create a pass back towards Bergamo. It's a fantastic road, called the Green Road, winding through meadows and pastures, resembling alpine meadows, and it feels like being in Switzerland, with the lake gradually moving away, going up to San Fermo, a mountain village.

    From there another pretty fast and steep descent to the valley and then the last 20 km back to Bergamo with finishing uphill to Città Alta, the medieval old town.

    .


    Accommodation: 4-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast | 

  • 6 FAREWELL AND DEPARTURE DAY

    Last Breakfast with a view to the marvellous sight in front of us Bergamo Alta, the old town, As evening descends, the cobbled streets of Città Alta come alive with the bustle of tourists and locals seeking the conviviality of bars and restaurants.

    Drop of the bikes and farewell to next time.


Arrival details

Departure details

Your Journey on a map

TOUR ROUTE

  • 45.9311,9.6487

    mapcenter

  • 45.902364,9.4939124

    Culmine San Pietro

  • 46.2479261,10.2983079

    Mortirolo

  • 45.7424778,9.9421284

    Ganda

  • 45.80866349999999,9.6354992

    Sant'Antonio

  • 46.0379,10.2029

    Passo Vivione

  • 46.0470734,9.623031

    Passo San Marco

  • 45.7065011,9.6585153

    Città Alta Bergamo

  • 45.8087899,10.0673543

    Lovere

  • 46.1804266,10.3298933

    Edolo

  • 46.1312923,9.3671931

    Colico

  • 45.6982642,9.6772698

    Bergamo

  • 46.1355055,9.5660745

    Como

Services

Accommodation

Handpicked hotels

Your stay, part of the tale

This journey minimizes commercial compromises, focusing instead on prioritizing cycling aspects over logistical considerations. Our sole motivation has been to enable you to ride along four beautiful routes and tackle the most challenging climbs, ensuring an enjoyable cycling experience. While some of the locations may not be traditional tourist destinations, we have secured accommodations that are cyclist-friendly and cater to our specific needs.

Food

Eat like locals

Immerse yourself in the region's culture

While Lombardy is predominantly recognized for Milan, a global hub for finance and fashion, the region, in truth, has deep-rooted agricultural origins.

Northern Lombardy boasts some of the highest European mountains, shaping a distinctive mountain economy. In these rugged terrains, the culinary tradition aligns with the demands of mountain work—offering simple yet flavorful recipes with a high caloric content to fuel the demands of the challenging environment.

 One wonderful example are Pizzoccheri: a traditional flat buckwheat pasta cooked with potatoes, cabbage, and layered with cheese and garlic-infused butter. And what about Risotto and Polenta? Once working class food, nowadays a delicacy. Lombardy is also renowned for its cheeses, such as Gorgonzola and Taleggio, which find their way into many dishes. 

Indulging in rich dishes on our active trip is guilt-free, justified by the effort we put into every pedal stroke.

Bike rental

Our best picks for this tour

As we have one of the largest and best bike fleets in Italy, we are proud to give our guests the freedom to choose the bike that suits them best.

  • Pinarello F5 - 105 di2

    Ride in Italy on an exclusive Italian bike

    GO TO CATALOG

  • Scott Addict RC40

    Scott Addict RC40

    Light, fast, and ready to turn heads.

    GO TO CATALOG

  • Scott Addict 30

    Designed from the ground up with those longer days in mind.

    GO TO CATALOG

Things You Won't Miss
  • Mortirolo

    Mortirolo

    The legendary brutal climb: 12 km at 10.5%

  • Passo del Vivione

    25 km of pleasure and an hidden gem you have never heard about

  • Lago Iseo

    Coastal road and cliffs on the lovely mountain lake

  • Ghisallo Cycling museum

    LAGO MORO

    hidden gem nestled among the mountains

  • Valtellina

    A majestic alpine valley with cycling oriented facilities

Ride Highlights:
Passo del Mortirolo

This brutal Mortirolo is conquered from Mazzo: the climb made famous by Pantani, the last Italian hero, who attacked and broke away for the first time on the hairpins of this mountain. It was the 1994 Giro d'Italia and The Italian audience didn't know either Pantani or Mortirolo. Since that day Pantani and that climb broke into the Italian cycling imaginary: everybody wanted to be Marco and everybody wanted to climb that road.

Tour price

And inclusions

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THIS TOUR IS AVAILABLE AS A GUIDED GROUP TOUR ON SELECTED DATES. it's also available as PRIVATE, SELF-GUIDED AND SUPPORTED ON ANY DATE DURING THE CYCLING SEASON.

Guided group tour

Guided group tour


This trip is available only as a self guided or supported tour. It can be organized as a private guided tour: contact us.
Self guided tour

Self guided tour

Anytime May to Sept


Inclusions & details

Supported tour

Supported tour

Anytime May to Sept


Inclusions & details

Let's plan your next trip!

Useful Information

Tips & Resources

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Travel arrangements

The Great Orobie Loop kicks off in Bergamo and arrives in Bergamo, so we suggest, guess what, to get to Bergamo. Airport in Bergamo (often referred to as Milan Bergamo airport) is a hub well connected with several flights a day with major airports all over Europe/UK.

Milan Malpensa (Mxp) and Milano Linate Airports are also optimal choices for arrivals and departures. Both airports are well connected to Bergamo with regional trains. We can anyway arrange private transfers to/from the airports.

Food & Drinks during stages

The routes of the four stages are crossing a number of villages but each of the four long climbs are pretty isolated and in the wild. Which is an asset of this trip. But this involves that depending on the days or hours of the day, bars and restaurants might be closed.

We suggest to plan food stops in advance or make sure your food and drinks supply is sufficient. All the major climbs are pretty long, average climbing time dwells 1h45 to 2h15: better one more stop before than running short of food/drinks during the ascent.

Necessary Gear

Our guests will get a pre tour info kit that gives useful suggestions on how to enjoy our trips in full. Here is a quick selection that might be useful at this stage.

  • We suggest renting a bike with us. But feel free to bring your own bike. Just consider bringing along a selection of model specific spare parts (ie. derailleur hangers). 

  • The hotels have a room for the bikes, and we will have a selection of tools to perform basic maintenance.

  • Bring along a wide selection of clothes, including some full arm jackets, rain coat, leg and arm warmers, overshoes: it's the Alps and the weather is never completely predictable.

More Journeys

Similar Trips

[arrow-up]

Sicily Circle Tour

Arrival location visual:
Livello difficoltà visual:
Start location visual:
Sistemazione-guidato: 6 nights at a four-star; 2 nights at a three-star
Sistemazione-SG: 6 nights at a four-star; 2 nights at a three-star
Sistemazione-Supp: 6 nights at a four-star; 2 nights at a three-star
Pasti-SG: All breakfasts; 2 dinners.
Pasti-guidato: All breakfasts; 2 dinners.
Pasti-Supp: All breakfasts; 2 dinners.
Livello di supporto-SG: Detailed briefing and interactive Road-Book; telephone assistance during your stay; 10% discount on bike rentals.
Livello di supporto-guidato: Guiding; van assistance; detailed briefing; luggage transfer; mobile workshop; group transfers from Catania airport airport; bars, gels and electrolytes available on purchase; 10% discount on bike rentals.
Livello di supporto-Supp: Van assistance; detailed briefing luggage transfer; mobile workshop; group transfers from Catania airport airport; bars, gels and electrolytes available on purchase; 10% discount on bike rentals.
Non incluso-guidato: Flight tickets; extras in hotel, etc. Drinks during the dinner; city tax (if any); travel insurance; individual arrival and departure transfer; bike rental.
Non incluso-SG: Flight tickets; extras in hotel, etc. Drinks during the dinner; city tax (if any); travel insurance; individual arrival and departure transfer; bike rental.
Non incluso-Supp: Flight tickets; extras in hotel, etc. Drinks during the dinner; city tax (if any); travel insurance; individual arrival and departure transfer; bike rental.
Su richiesta-guidato: Individual transfer from/to Catania airport(75,00 euro p.p. - min 2 pax); supplement for single accommodation € 320 p.p.; bike rental.
Su richiesta-SG: Individual transfer from/to Catania airport(75,00 euro p.p. - min 2 pax); supplement for single accommodation € 320 p.p.; bike rental. Luggage transfer (EUR 450 p.p minimum 2 pax)
Su richiesta-Supp: Individual transfer from/to Catania airport (75,00 euro p.p. - min 2 pax); supplement for single accommodation € 320 p.p.; bike rental.
Tour end visual:
Total distance visual:
Total elevation visual:
Accommodation visual:
Days riding visual:
Meals visual:
Days/nights visual:
Airport city flying in: Catania airport
Airport city flying out: Catania airport
Pick-up location: Taormina
Drop off location: Taormina
Pick-up time: 14:00
Drop off time: 12:00
Tour name: Sicily CircleTour
Accommodation: 6 nights four-star; 2 nights three-star
Days/nights: 9/8
Meals: All breakfasts; 2 dinners.
Tour code: SCT-24
Type: Scheduled
Days of riding: 7
Price guided: 2599
Price self guided: 1369
Price supported: 2199
Difficulty level: Challenge
Total distance: 551.3
Total elevation: 9731
Duration days: 8
Departure location: Taormina
Arrival location: Taormina
Event date-begins: 2024-05-25
Event date-ends: 2024-06-01
Event date-begins-2: 2024-09-21
Event date-ends-2: 2024-09-28
Event teaser: Sicily Circle Tour: From the Tyrrhenian Sea to the Ionian Sea, passing through some of Sicily's most significant beauties.

From Taormina to Cefalù...and back!

Creating an authentic experience, combining well-designed tours with clever logistics, is akin to achieving the holy grail of biking trips. Often, compromises are made, and beautiful sights are left unexplored to ensure logistical feasibility. However, our approach is different. We don't consider a trip design complete until it's so meticulously planned that we would embark on the journey ourselves the very next day.

The Sicily's Circle tour is a testament to this meticulous approach. Comprising seven stages, it not only encompasses historically rich towns like Taormina but also ventures into Sicily's most breathtaking natural parks, linking two of the three surrounding seas: the Ionian Sea and the Tyrrhenian Sea. The ride introduces exciting challenges, notably the journey across Etna National Park, providing a unique cycling experience atop Europe's tallest active volcano.

Venturing into the unexpected, Sicily reveals its lush side while crossing Madonie National Park, characterized by diverse biodiversity and captivating medieval villages. Similarly, exploring Nebrodi National Park unveils vast forests, diverse wildlife, and panoramic vistas extending to the sea.

Our emphasis on clever logistics ensures flexibility for travelers. Whether you land in Palermo or Catania, you can seamlessly embark on this self-guided trip. The distances, views, hotels, and towns visited will remain consistent, offering a well-rounded and hassle-free biking adventure.

ITINERARY

  • 1 ARRIVAL DAY

    Arrival at Catania (or Palermo) airport and transfer to Taormina (or Cefalù). Accommodation and bike fitting at four-star hotel.

  • 2 GODFATHER'S LOOP

    62 km | 1,332m | 1,332m | 3,30h

    It’s a mix of coastline and hills inland on this first cycling day in Sicily: our week begins with a beautiful stage with medium distance climbs, the longest being 12 km long. From Letojanni, we'll climb up the Sanctuary of the Madonna dell’Aiuto at 1000m ASL through the Agrò Valley, nearly the top of Mount Kalfa. From there, the stage explores - across narrow and quiet countryside roads - a very spectacular and lush area. Is there a place where we can stop to grab a cappuccino? Of course there is, and it’s the famous and lovely Bar Vitelli in Savoca, straight from Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘The Godfather’ movie. From there, a thrilling and winding descent will take us again to the coastline, on the way back to the hotel.


    Accommodation: 4-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast | 

  • 3 FROM TAORMINA TO RANDAZZO (QUOTA MILLE)

    82.3 km | 2,327m | 1,440m | 4,30h

    Today's stage will be unforgettable... we'll take on Europe's tallest active volcano! After an initial stretch along the coast, we'll begin our long ascent towards the summit on the north side of Mount Etna. Starting from Fiumefreddo di Sicilia, we'll climb along the switchbacks of Presa and Vena. In recent years, this climb has been featured in both the Giro d'Italia and the Giro di Sicilia.

    Once we reach Fornazzo, after a short break, we'll face the official ascent of Etna: the first switchbacks are quite challenging, but as we cover more kilometers, the climb becomes easier, and the surroundings will resemble a lunar landscape.

    Upon reaching the junction for Piano Provenzana, perhaps the toughest challenge of the day begins: the road starts to ascend with gradients almost always above 10%, winding its way amid the cooled basalt of the lava flow, leading over three kilometers to the 1,805-meter plateau of Piano Provenzana, the most frequented ski resort in the Etna area.

    After a well-deserved rest, a long descent through the Ragabo pine forest begins, and as we reach the outskirts of Linguaglossa, we'll take the road to "Quota Mille," where amidst continuous ups and downs, we'll arrive at our hotel for a well-deserved beer.


    Accommodation: 4-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast | Dinner

  • 4 FROM RANDAZZO (QUOTA MILLE) TO PETRALIA SOPRANA

    124.7 km | 2,192m | 1,963m | 6,30h

    Today, you'll feel like you're not in Sicily. The stage ahead, in fact, will be a continuous up and down between 600 and 1200 meters in elevation, covering the 124 kilometers separating Randazzo from Petralia Soprana, ensuring an enjoyable ride.

    Today's route is the only one connecting the three natural parks and will alternate between charming small villages and endless meadows. Shortly after leaving Randazzo, we'll begin the first climb towards Cesarò, the gateway to the Nebrodi Park. The climb boasts an average slope of 4%, which won't pose an immediate challenge.

    The continuous up and down will continue for most of the day, leading us through the towns of Troina, Cerami, Nicosia, and Sperlinga. After Sperlinga, a long but manageable ascent towards the Madonie Park begins.

    Once we reach the magnificent village of Gangi, only 10 kilometers will remain to our hotel in the small town of Petralia Soprana, a picturesque hillside town characterized by winding medieval streets adorned with stone houses and flower-filled balconies, offering panoramic views of the surrounding valleys. Rich in history, it showcases a cultural heritage through its ancient churches, such as the imposing Mother Church of Santa Maria and the Norman Tower.


    Accommodation: 3-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast 

  • 5 FROM PETRALIA SOPRANA TO CEFALU'

    67.8 km | 1,191m | 2,317m | 3h

    After yesterday's effort, today will feel like a walk in the park. Only 67 kilometers separate us from Cefalù. The first part of the stage will take place within the Madonie Park. We'll ascend to 1600 meters at Piano Battaglia, where the woodland scenery will undoubtedly steal the show. The nature here is truly spectacular!

    Following Piano Battaglia, we'll start a long descent towards Isnello. Even here, the landscape won't change much; trees and rocks will accompany us for many kilometers.

    From Isnello to Gratteri, it will be an ascent, five kilometers at an average gradient of 5%. After the summit, the landscape transforms, leaving forests and mountains behind, revealing the coastline. An exhilarating and long descent will lead us all the way to Cefalù.

    Cefalù is a picturesque coastal town. Its narrow cobblestone streets lead to charming squares where local life thrives amidst quaint cafés and artisanal shops. The golden sandy beach offers a serene escape, framed by the imposing Rocca di Cefalù, a rocky promontory overlooking the azure Mediterranean Sea.


    Accommodation: 3-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast | 

  • 6 FROM CEFALU' TO CAPO D'ORLANDO

    79 km | 465m | 464m | 3h

    Today will be the easiest stage of the tour, a splendid ride along the rugged coast from Cefalù to Capo d'Orlando. The day on the bike will pass swiftly, crossing small seaside villages like Finale, Castel di Tusa, Santo Stefano di Camastra (renowned for its ceramics), and Sant'Agata di Militello. Similar to Cefalù, here too, you'll have the chance to enjoy the Tyrrhenian coast's sea.


    Accommodation: 4-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast | Dinner

  • 7 FROM CAPO D'ORLANDO TO CASTIGLIONE DI SICILIA

    77.2 km | 1,501m | 932m | 4h

    Today's stage takes us towards the mountains of the Nebrodi Park. It will be an ascent from kilometer zero, and although not particularly challenging, it will be a long climb.

    We start with the sea always in the background, but as soon as we reach the town of "Naso," the hills first and then the mountains will dominate the landscape.

    Wooded panoramas will alternate with a few small villages like Castell'Umberto or Ucria, both towns we recommend for a stop, not only for the beauty of the villages but also for the friendliness and warmth of their inhabitants.

    The long climb is now surrounded by vast meadows, and pay attention along the way; you might make an intriguing sighting: the black pig of the Nebrodi, the absolute protagonist of the park. The end of the ascent is marked by arriving in the town of Floresta, the highest municipality in Sicily. 

    After passing Floresta, we'll begin a long descent towards Randazzo. Subsequently, we'll head towards the Etna vineyards road until we reach Verzella, a small hamlet of Castiglione di Sicilia. Here, our hotel is nestled within one of Sicily's renowned wineries, where a Wine Tasting experience is also planned.


    Accommodation: 4-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast | Dinner | Wine tasting

  • 8 FROM CASTIGLIONE DI SICILIA TO TAORMINA

    58.3 km | 723m | 1,097m | 3h

    The shortest stage of the Sicily Circle is face two different parts: the first will take us through the vineyards of Mount Etna, where volcanic soil and viticulture have come together to create uniquely flavored wines.

    The second part, will lead us towards Taormina, passing through the Alcantara's Valley. Nestled on the stunning cliffs overlooking the Ionian Sea, Taormina is a Sicilian gem renowned for its breathtaking views and rich history.

    Left the hotel, our ride starts with a short uphill towards one of the most beautiful villages in the area, Castiglione di Sicilia, overlooking all the vineyards in the valley from above. The road continues with a gentle ascent all the way to Passopisciaro, a small village that lends its name to the famous production of Etna wines. 

    From here, the long descent towards the coast begins. We'll pass through small rural villages such as Moio Alcantara and Francavilla di Sicilia before reaching renowned seaside resorts like Giardini Naxos and Isola Bella in Taormina.


    Accommodation: 4-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast 

  • 9 FAREWELL AND DEPARTURE DAY

    Transfer to Catania or Palermo airport and end of services.


Arrival details

Departure details

Your Journey on a map

TOUR ROUTE

  • 37.8438175,14.7132493

    mapcenter

  • 46.5189,12.0084

    Passo Falzarego

  • 37.798196,15.036639

    Etna Nord (Piano Provenzana)

  • 37.9290063,14.6779267

    Nebrodi Mounts

  • 37.8834255,14.0166884

    Madonie Mounts

  • 37.8516366,15.2853127

    Taormina

  • 37.8558,14.9684

    Randazzo Quota mille

  • 37.7863529,14.1349852

    Petralia Soprana

  • 38.0337046,14.0174436

    Cefalù

  • 38.1585238,14.742693

    Capo d'Orlando

  • 37.8837219,15.0692584

    Castiglione di Sicilia (Verzella)

Services

Accommodation

  • Hotel Quota Mille

Handpicked hotels

Your stay, part of the tale

Enjoy our personally selected range of authentic Sicilian accommodation. From staying in architecturally restored masserie with a ‘window’ overlooking ancient sites, beautiful seaside villas with views over turquoise seas, historic locanda’s in the quiet countryside where family run farms are still producing wine and olive oil, this diverse experience brings together the beauty of ancient, historic Sicily with the rustic, modern and sometimes edgy Sicily.

Food

Eat like locals

Immerse yourself in the region's culture

Each region offers a unique palette of flavors steeped in Sicilian tradition.

Cefalù, perched on Sicily's northern coast, presents a bounty of seafood delights like pasta con le sarde (pasta with sardines) and fresh catches grilled to perfection. Taormina, known for its picturesque setting, offers a blend of Sicilian and Mediterranean cuisines—dishes include pasta alla norma and involtini di pesce spada (swordfish rolls). In the Madonie mountains, hearty fare like robust soups, pecorino cheese, and succulent porchetta (roast pork) take the spotlight. Moving to Nebrodi, rustic specialties prevail, such as capretto alla ghiotta (stewed goat) and black truffle-infused delicacies, showcasing the region's culinary richness and authenticity.

Bike rental

Our best picks for this tour

As we have one of the largest and best bike fleets in Italy, we are proud to give our guests the freedom to choose the bike that suits them best.

  • Pinarello F5 - 105 di2

    Ride in Italy on an exclusive Italian bike

    GO TO CATALOG

  • Scott Addict RC40

    Scott Addict RC40

    Light, fast, and ready to turn heads.

    GO TO CATALOG

  • Scott Addict 30

    Designed from the ground up with those longer days in mind.

    GO TO CATALOG

Things You Won't Miss
  • In the heart of the Nebrodi Mountains

  • The coastline between Cefalù and Capo d'Orlando

  • Climbing the volcano

Ride Highlights:
The Nebrodi Park

The Nebrodi Park, nestled in northeastern Sicily, stands as the largest natural reserve on the island, boasting breathtaking landscapes, lush forests, and diverse ecosystems. Spanning over 85,000 hectares, it encompasses a stunning array of flora and fauna, including rare species like the Sicilian fir and the Nebrodian black pig. The park offers an outdoor haven for nature enthusiasts with hiking trails, picturesque lakes, and charming villages, preserving Sicily's rich biodiversity and cultural heritage. With its scenic beauty and ecological significance, the Nebrodi Park stands as a captivating destination for adventurers and nature lovers alike.

“The lovliest region of Italy: a stunning orgy of colors, scents, and lights…a great delight”

Sigmund Freud

Tour price

And inclusions

[arrow-up]

THIS TOUR IS AVAILABLE AS A GUIDED GROUP TOUR ON SELECTED DATES. it's also available as PRIVATE, SELF-GUIDED AND SUPPORTED ON ANY DATE DURING THE CYCLING SEASON.

Guided group tour

Guided group tour


Inclusions & details

Self guided tour

Self guided tour

Anytime May to Sept


Inclusions & details

Supported tour

Supported tour

Anytime May to Sept


Inclusions & details

Let's plan your next trip!

Useful Information

Tips & Resources

[arrow-up]

Travel arrangements

The best airport to land is Catania (CTA).

For those participating in a guided or in a supported tour, a group transfer is scheduled to depart from Catania airport at 2 p.m. Similarly, for the return journey, a group transfer is arranged to depart from Taormina at 10 a.m.

For alternative requirements, we can assist in arranging private transfers (that will be quoted separately) or suggest the most cost-effective transport solution.

Travelers on self-guided trips have to independently reach Taormina. The Catania airport and Taormina are well-connected by both railway and bus services. 

However, if you prefer a most comfortable and faster solution, we can assist in arranging a transfer that suits your needs best (the transfer will be quoted separately).

Please contact us for more information.

Food & Drinks during stages

For those participating in a guided or in a supported tour, during the rides, we plan at least one longer food stop in the middle of the stage plus one or more coffee stops. In the assistance van we have bars, gels and water.

Those riding for the self-guided tour can rely on our road book and maps that show the suggested bars or restaurants.

Necessary Gear

Our guests will get a pre tour info kit that gives useful suggestions on how to enjoy our trips in full. Here is a quick selection that might be useful at this stage.

  • We suggest renting a bike with us. But feel free to bring your own bike. Just consider bringing along a selection of model specific spare parts (ie. derailleur hangers). 

  • The hotels have in some occasion a bike room, bikes are anyway always stored safely. We have a mobile workshop with tools and spare parts.

  • Bring along a wide selection of clothes, including some full arm jackets, raincoat, leg and arm warmers: there are a lot of mountains where the weather is never completely predictable.

More Journeys

Similar Trips

[arrow-up]

Spectacular Climbs of the Dolomites

Arrival location visual:
Livello difficoltà visual:
Start location visual:
Sistemazione-guidato: 7 nights in 3-star hotel
Sistemazione-SG: 7 nights in 3-star hotel
Sistemazione-Supp: 7 nights in 3-star hotel
Pasti-SG: all breakfasts, all dinners
Pasti-guidato: all breakfasts, all dinners
Pasti-Supp: all breakfasts, all dinners
Livello di supporto-SG: support level: detailed briefing, telephone assistance;
Livello di supporto-guidato: guiding, van assistance, detailed briefing, luggage transfer, mobile workshor, bars and gels available on purchase, 10% discount on bike rental
Livello di supporto-Supp: detailed briefing and van assistance, luggage transportation;
Non incluso-guidato: not included: flights tickets, extras in hotel, drinks during the dinner, city tax (if any), travel insurance, bike rental
Non incluso-SG: not included: flights tickets, extras in hotel, drinks during the dinner, city tax (if any), travel insurance, arrival and departure transfer, bike rental, luggage transport, arrival/departure transfers;
Non incluso-Supp: not included: flights tickets, extras in hotel, drinks during the dinner, city tax (if any), travel insurance, arrival and departure transfer, bike rental
Su richiesta-guidato: group transfer on arrival/departure of the travel (350€), bike rental
Su richiesta-SG: bike rental, luggage transfer (350€)
Su richiesta-Supp: bike rental, group transfer on arrival/departure of the travel (350€)
Tour end visual:
Total distance visual:
Total elevation visual:
Accommodation visual:
Days riding visual:
Meals visual:
Days/nights visual:
Airport city flying in: Venezia
Airport city flying out: Venezia
Pick-up location: Cortina bus station
Drop off location: Brixen train station
Pick-up time: 15:00
Drop off time: 10:00
Tour name: Spectacular Climbs of the Dolomites
Accommodation: 7 nights in 3-star hotel
Days/nights: 8/7
Meals: All breakfasts; all dinners
Tour code: SCD-24
Type: Scheduled
Days of riding: 6
Price guided: 2899
Price self guided: 1499
Price supported: 1899
Difficulty level: Challenge
Total distance: 444.6
Total elevation: 12,526
Duration days: 8
Departure location: Cortina
Arrival location: Brixen
Event date-begins: 2024-07-04
Event date-ends: 2024-07-11
Event date-begins-2: 2024-09-07
Event date-ends-2: 2024-09-14
Event teaser: Enjoy a cycling holiday without compromises in the Dolomites: you can say you have tackled the most iconic and famous climbs in the Dolomites.

The ultimate Dolomites experience

Embark on the ultimate Dolomites cycling adventure meticulously crafted by cycling enthusiasts for those seeking an uncompromising cycling vacation. Our challenge category tour prioritizes the riding experience over logistics, delivering the Dolomites just the way we, as avid cyclists, would want to experience them.

Diverging from the conventional approach, we eschew fixed bases and rigid itineraries. Instead, we've seamlessly blended these two concepts, ensuring you conquer all the iconic mountain passes while indulging in stays at exceptionally comfortable hotels.

By the end of this tour, you'll proudly declare that you've conquered the most legendary and renowned climbs in the Dolomites, making this journey a cycling experience like no other.

ITINERARY

  • 1 ARRIVAL DAY

    Meeting at Cortina, trasnfer to hotel. Accommodation, bike-fitting and warm-up, and dinner at three-star hotel.

  • 2 CORTINA LOOP

    70.6km | 1,919m | 1,919m | 4,30h

    The first stage has been designed to make it clear from the beginning the going of following, intense, days. We leave Cortina heading east in an anti-clockwise (contra relogio in the Ladin language) route to the first climb of our week: Passo Tre Croci, named after a legend about a mother and her 2 children who died on Passo while trying to reach Cortina in search of a job. Passo Tre Croci has been part of the Giro d'Italia route in 1966. It’s a 8.1km climb with average incline of 7.1% up to top. After it, we enjoy a short downhill to one of the most photographed spots in the region: the lake of Misurina, located at 1754m ASL. After a refreshment stop on the lake's shoreline, we face the main dish of the day: the climb up the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. It's a challenging 7km climb but the last 4 are those you'll remember most as the average incline is a tad below 12%. You will want Merckx's legs up here: Eddy won in 1968, on a snowy stage, and wore the Maglia Rosa: Tappa e Maglia (stage and Jersey in one shot) as RAI commentators use to say! Funnily, most every time a Giro stage finished up Tre Cime, there was a snow storm that made the stage epic. For sure as nice to watch as painful to ride. Once on top, we have a long way down to Cortina and, next, one last climb to the hotel: five kilometers to get us ready for a well deserved food break.


    Accommodation: 3-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast | After ride break | Dinner

  • 3 PASSO GIAU AND PASSO FALZAREGO

    56,8km | 1,930m | 1,931m | 3,45h

    The going is getting tough within the second stage: it's a short stage with two climbs, we take on the Falzarego pass as a starter an then the menù offers a real beast: Passo Giau. Falzarego is a smooth climb going up for 16.4 km averaging 5.6% incline. Good for warming up. Giau is a Hors Catégorie climb, one of those rare uphill that can change the whole course of a stage race. It's, in fact, a 10.2 km and 9.1% gradient ascent, ending at 2236m ASL. Certainly one of those trophies that a dedicated cyclist should take home! Once on top, we enjoy the awesome views and the lovely mountain hut and take a break for a well earned cappuccino and snacks. It's going to be for sure a cappuccino with a view: a 360-degrees picture that includes the twin peaks of Nuvolau and Averau, both above 2600 meters. We can take our time up there, and sip our cappuccino without rush: from the Pass is a 12km downhill road up to the hotel.


    Accommodation: 3-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast| Dinner

  • 4 RIDE UP PASSO FEDAIA AND FALZAREGO

    58,2km | 1,743m | 1,827m | 3,30h

    Ready, Steady, off we go for a second time over Passo Falzarego. Now we know the consistent and smooth slopes and - just like the day before - this is only a foreplay before what we have to ride on this day: the Infamous Passo Fedaia. Fedaia is one of those iconic climbs of the Dolomites either for the steepness of the road and the beauty of landscapes we are surrounded by. Ascent is 12.8km long at 8% gradient. But what makes this climb so hard is its straight part - right in the middle - known as Malga Ciapela, a section almost three kilometers long, averaging 12% incline, but with many meters at 15%. Malga Ciapela is a nightmare among Italian amateurs cyclists and since last Giro d'Italia for Carapaz too: that's exactly where the Australian Jay Hindely dropped the at-the-time race leader Richard Carapaz to go get the Maglia Rosa Jersey and become the first Aussie to win the Giro. Up the Passo there is a 2km flat section with a lovely road coasting an alpine lake, before getting to a cozy restaurant: climb is over and for us it's time to make stop, take a rest, get a drink and let the colors of the sky reflected by the surface of the waters be joy to our eyes. Once our break is over, we just have a short downhill to Canazei, our second base in the Dolomites, where we will get a warm welcome by the three-star hotel with our privileged location to see the alpenglow sunset.


    Accommodation: 3-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast | Dinner

  • 5 THE SELLARONDA CLASSIC

    64.6km | 2,065m | 2,066m | 3,50h

    Today we have the famous Sellaronda classic loop. Can you dream of anything better than this ride? The circular route, amidst fascinating natural landscapes, leads through some of the most attractive roads and well-known Dolomite passes and you know what's best of it: it's a 64k ride with no flat: you go up, or you go down. There are no other ways and that's exactly what the Italian amateur loves about it. You get your bike, you go out, you take on the Pordoi (2239 meters asl), then you take on the Campolongo (1875mts asl), then you take on the Gardena (2121mts asl) and finally you take on the Sella (2240mts asl). 4 Dolomites passes in a relatively short ride. Passo Pordoi is strictlyy twisted the history of the Corsa Rosa. Fausto Coppi, the Campionissimo as he was named, maybe the greatest of all Italian sportsmen, was first for 6 different times on the Pordoi and on 4 occasion he went on to win the Giro. Campolongo is the shortest with its 4k averaging 7.4% incline, leading us to the 1800 metres of the pass of the same name; Once at the top we are on the gateway to the enchanting Alta Badia, one of the most remote Dolomite valleys, far removed from cultural changes. In Alta Badia the sky is bluer, the grass is greener and the peaks are monumental. We descend to the bottom of the valley and from there we attack the 9 km of the Gardena Pass. The 9 km climb is the longest of the day, but it will be gentle and steady because the scenery that accompanies us is the best any cyclist can dream of: sweeping sights of the most majestic Dolomite mountains, including the marvelous Sassolungo, one of the most famous peaks in Alta Badia. After a short, fast descent, the last difficulty of the day attacks. Only 5.4 km separate us from the Sella Pass where we can finally refresh ourselves at the pass bar, coffee and cappuccinos await us while we can look up 3150 metres and see the Mountain that gives its name to the pass: according to many it is a real rock castle, according to others it is a large and majestic island reaching for the sky. The descent will be fast to Canazei while our mind will be intent on trying to catch some still images and take them with us to the finish line. We will hardly see so much beauty in the few kilometres of the Sellaronda.


    Accommodation: 3-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast | Dinner

  • 6 PASSO ROLLE, PASSO SAN PELLEGRINO, PASSO VALLES

    100,7km | 2,393m | 2,393m | 5,50h

    Usually at Grand Tour races after a short stage there's a long one and here we go with first 100k stage. We leave our HQ to ahead south and the beginning is fast and slightly downhill up to old village of Predazzo whose origins date back to the 1035. From there we have the first climb on the day and it will be our longest ascent: the road goes up for 20.5k up to the 1935 meters over the Passo Rolle. We can split this climb in two section: the first is about 10k to the Alpine Lake of Paneveggio where slopes flatten a bit following the shore of the lake, afterwards it is another 9k to Passo Rolle. This second split is steeper with inclines peaking the 10%. If the punchy climb erodes our legs our eyes will be paid back by the stunning view of another iconic dolomites peak: the Pale di San Martino. After a short break in San Martino di Castrozza we head back on a 9k downhill to get again on our route. The descent is fast and soon we have another climb to Passo Valles, 6k at 8.2% gradient. At the top we are another time over the 2000 meters asl and again time to take some pictures. This is pure Dolomite riding: cycling here means never resigning yourself to the idea that after a descent a climb awaits us immediately. And it's just like that after the downhill from to Passo Valles. After the descent from the pass we cross the climb that connects Cencenighe to San Pellegrino. As soon as the road begins to raise, we immediately have 2 km with gradients of over 12%. After that the remaining 4km are 'easier' with an average gradient of 8%. Over the pass the sight of lovely church will not be a mirage but a sign that for today climbing is over. Ahead, only one long downhill left up to Moena and after that we hit back home following same road we rode in the morning. Another day has gone and anything will be nicer then coming back to our HQ in Canazei. Just like a real Pro after the queen stage relaxing and staying in the wellness area is a suitable moment to think back at what we have achieved in our day out: 3 mountain peaks and almost 2400 meters up: Giro D'Italia is often easier then this!


    Accommodation: 3-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast | Dinner

  • 7 PASSO DELLE ERBE, PASSO SELLA E GARDENA

    94.8km | 2,493m | 3,380m | 5,30h

    Here we are at the last stage, but don't think the climbing fest is over. As keen cyclists we can never get enough of scenic roads and endless climbs. Just like at the Giro where the last stages are always the most treacherous, on the last day we have set aside another 95km, three passes, but above all the maximum elevation gain: today we are climbing 2500 metres. As soon as we leave hotel we go up the 11.7km uphill to Passo Sella from the south road. Once there, it’s up and down to Passo Gardena. What we get after the pass it’s a nice 26km downhill through Alta Badia valley before we take on the very nice Passo delle Erbe climb, a beauty that a lot of time is neglected for mere logistic reasons. It's for those in the know. Even the Giro only rode 3 times up to this majestic climb. The American Andrew Hampsten was the first at the Passo delle Erbe KOM on the 13th stage at the 1993 Giro d'Italia. We are still in the Dolomites and exactly like the name of pass itself evokes, the landscapes and nature are pretty different: it’s a green and wooded area as it’s all grass and flowers all around with less rocks all around. We couldn't figure out no better spot while sipping our last cappuccinos: The pass is beautifully set between the gentle pastures of Luson to the north and the meadows of Pütia, with the steep walls of the mountain to the south. From here we have access to one of the most precious natural environments in the Dolomites. Before heading towards the beautiful and pleasant town of Bressanone there is only the twisted and narrow 26 km long descent: yet another hidden beauty unknown to most, in fact the road plunges down into the valley following the canyon carved out by the Isarco river, which accompanies us to the last destination of the tour.


    Accommodation: 3-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast | Dinner

  • 6 FAREWELL AND DEPARTURE DAY

    Last Breakfast, drop pf the bikes, transfer to Brixen Train Station and end of services.


Arrival details

Departure details

Your Journey on a map

TOUR ROUTE

  • 46.6098,11.9421

    mapcenter

  • 46.5189,12.0084

    Passo Falzarego

  • 46.4535,11.8882

    Passo Fedaia

  • 46.5568,12.2019

    Passo tre Croci

  • 46.4825,12.0535

    Giau pass

  • 46.5439,12.1280

    Cortina

  • 46.6125,12.2937

    Tre Cime di Lavaredo

  • 46.4763,11.7713

    Canazei

  • 46.4876,11.8123

    Passo Pordoi

  • 46.5343,11.7726

    Passo Sella

  • 46.5498,11.8083

    Passo Gardena

  • 46.6617,11.7945

    Passo delle Erbe

  • 46.7111,11.6592

    Bressanone // Brixen

Services

Accommodation

Handpicked hotels

Your stay, part of the tale

 

The chosen hotels are typical structures with historical charm, and the positioning of these fascinating hotels will allow you to experience a true local and Dolomite atmosphere thanks to the splendid views of the surrounding mountains. Argentina Hotel has a favorable position completely surrounded by greenery. The historic Cristallo Hotel in Canazei is a beautiful bike-friendly facility with a spa and pool, very convenient for our bike rides. The Tyril Plose will enchant you with its breathtaking panorama overlooking the Adige Valley.

Food

Eat like locals

Immerse yourself in the region's culture

Eating local in the Dolomites is more than a meal; it's a connection to the pristine alpine landscapes that surround you. From the fertile valleys to the towering peaks, every bite tells a story of the land, reflecting the pure and natural flavors of the region.

Discover the rich tapestry of Dolomite culture through its food. Local dishes are a testament to centuries-old traditions, passed down through generations. Each recipe is a living history, blending flavors that have stood the test of time, creating a unique and authentic culinary experience.

Bike rental

Our best picks for this tour

As we have one of the largest and best bike fleets in Italy, we are proud to give our guests the freedom to choose the bike that suits them best.

  • Pinarello F5 - 105 di2

    Ride in Italy on an exclusive Italian bike

    GO TO CATALOG

  • Scott Addict RC40

    Scott Addict RC40

    Light, fast, and ready to turn heads.

    GO TO CATALOG

  • Scott Addict 30

    Designed from the ground up with those longer days in mind.

    GO TO CATALOG

Things You Won't Miss
  • What paradise looks like...
    on a dry day

  • Vincenzo Nibali
    A Sicilian beating the cold

  • Giro d'Italia 1968
    Merckx wins the stage and wears the Pink Jersey

Ride Highlights:
Rifugio Auronzo, 2013 A.D.

Giro d'Italia 2013. It was May 25, but it felt like the middle of winter, amid snow, rain and gusts of wind. Resisting the temptation to manage the now certain success, Vincenzo stretched out with three kilometers to go, on terrible gradients, quickly getting rid of the very few who could initially hold his wheel. He advanced like a spectre in the blizzard and won alone, while the others spit their souls out for placings. He had managed to turn a comfortable triumph into a piece of great cycling. The next day, in Brescia, he celebrated the first of his two Giro d'Italia victories. Far away, in the GC, Ryder Hesjedal, who won the 2012 Giro, Michele Scarponi, Cadel Evans, Rigoberto Uran. And the most awaited, the team Sky flag bearer Sir Bradley Wiggins.

"I have always hated this climb: it always leaves you breathless, because you have no reference, I hate it and today I don't think I have changed my mind!"

Vincenzo Nibali, after his victory up Tre Cime

Tour price

And inclusions

[arrow-up]

THIS TOUR IS AVAILABLE AS A GUIDED GROUP TOUR ON SELECTED DATES. it's also available as PRIVATE, SELF-GUIDED AND SUPPORTED ON ANY DATE DURING THE CYCLING SEASON.

Guided group tour

Guided group tour


Inclusions & details

Self guided tour

Self guided tour

Anytime May to Sept


Inclusions & details

Supported tour

Supported tour

Anytime May to Sept


Inclusions & details

Let's plan your next trip!

Useful Information

Tips & Resources

[arrow-up]

Travel arrangements

The best airport for arrivals is Venezia Airport: .

Guests travelling on guided, self guided or supported trips, can individually reach Cortina: from Venice Airport on the Cortina Shuttle. From Milano Malpensa Airport: MXP express train to Milan Central Station (runs every 20'), train from Milan Central Station to Venezia Mestre FS, Cortina Express from Venezia Mestre to Cortina.

For any other request about reaching Cortina with public transport please don't hesitate to get in touch with us.

Other options (Bergamo, Verona) are possible and we can help you select the best one and arrange a private transfer

Food & Drinks during stages

On guided tours during the rides we plan at least one longer food stop in the middle of the stage plus one or more coffee stops. In the assistence van we have bars, gels and water.

For Riders on self-guided and supported tours: Dolomites are among the major tourist destinations, with an unparalleled level and quality of touristic facilities and services. Along the routes, you cross so many small villages or passes where it's easy to find bars and restaurants where to get just a coffee or a more complete lunch. Along the journey, there are plenty of opportunities to recharge batteries (yours and bikes') in case of an emergency.

Necessary Gear

Our guests will get a pre tour info kit that gives useful suggestions on how to enjoy our trips in full. Here is a quick selection that might be useful at this stage.

  • We suggest renting a bike with us. But feel free to bring your own bike. Just consider bringing along a selection of model specific spare parts (ie. derailleur hangers). 

  • The hotels have a room for the bikes, and we will have a selection of tools to perform basic maintenance.

  • Bring along a wide selection of clothes, including some full arm jackets, rain coat, leg and arm warmers, overshoes: it's the Alps and the weather is never completely predictable.

More Journeys

Similar Trips

[arrow-up]

The North Sardinia Circle Tour

Arrival location visual:
Livello difficoltà visual:
Start location visual:
Sistemazione-guidato: 6 nights at 4-star | 2 nights at 3-star
Sistemazione-SG: 6 nights at 4-star | 2 nights at 3-star
Sistemazione-Supp: 6 nights at 4-star | 2 nights at 3-star
Pasti-SG: Three dinners; all breakfasts.
Pasti-guidato: Three dinners; all breakfasts.
Pasti-Supp: Three dinners; all breakfasts.
Livello di supporto-SG: Detailed briefing. Access to SardiniaCycling App with all the information regarding your tour, the itinerary, points of interest as well as all the documentation for your trip. Telephone assistance during your stay. 10% discount on bike rentals.
Livello di supporto-guidato: Guiding; van assistance; mobile workshop; spare bike, bars, gels and electrolytes available on purchase; group transfers from/to Olbia airport; luggage transport; 10% discount on bike rentals.
Livello di supporto-Supp: Detailed briefing. Access to SardiniaCycling App with all the information regarding your tour, the itinerary, points of interest as well as all the documentation for your trip. Van assistance; mobile workshop; spare bike, bars, gels and electrolytes available on purchase. Group transfer from/to Olbia airport. Luggage transport. 10% discount on bike rentals.
Non incluso-guidato: Flight tickets; extras in hotel, etc. Drinks during the dinner; city tax (if any); travel insurance; individual arrival and departure transfer; bike rental.
Non incluso-SG: Flight tickets; extras in hotel, etc; drinks during the dinner; city tax (if any); travel insurance; arrival and departure transfer; bike rental; luggage transport.
Non incluso-Supp: Flight tickets; extras in hotel, etc; drinks during the dinner; city tax (if any); travel insurance; arrival and departure transfer; bike rental.
Su richiesta-guidato: Individual arrival transfer from Olbia airport to Arzachena € 80 p.p.; individual departure transfer from Olbia to Olbia airport € 30 p.p.; supplement for single accommodation € 340 p.p.; bike rental.
Su richiesta-SG: Arrival transfer from Olbia airport to Arzachena € 80 p.p.; departure transfer from Olbia to Olbia airport € 30 p.p.; supplement for single accommodation € 340 p.p.; bike rental; luggage transport (€ 799 + 10 per pax).
Su richiesta-Supp: Arrival transfer from Olbia airport to Arzachena € 80 p.p.; departure transfer from Olbia to Olbia airport € 30 p.p.; supplement for single accommodation € 340 p.p.; bike rental; luggage transport (€ 799 + 10 per pax).
Tour end visual:
Total distance visual:
Total elevation visual:
Accommodation visual:
Days riding visual:
Meals visual:
Days/nights visual:
Airport city flying in: Olbia
Airport city flying out: Olbia
Pick-up location: Olbia
Drop off location: Olbia
Pick-up time: 12:00
Drop off time: 12:00
Tour name: The North Sardinia Circle Tour
Accommodation: 6 nights at 4-star | 2 nights at 3-star
Days/nights: 9/8
Meals: Three dinners; all breakfasts.
Tour code: TNSCT-24
Type: Scheduled
Days of riding: 7
Price guided: 1929
Price self guided: 1029
Price supported: 1599
Difficulty level: Challenge
Total distance: 790
Total elevation: 12,864
Duration days: 9
Departure location: Olbia
Arrival location: Olbia
Event date-begins: 2024-04-26
Event date-ends: 2024-05-04
Event teaser: A road biking tour that includes all the highlights of north Sardinia in one loop.

All the highlights of north Sardinia in a biking tour.

Join us on an exhilarating biking adventure around the mesmerizing northern end of Sardinia. Beginning in the vibrant town of Olbia, your journey takes you on a thrilling counterclockwise expedition that promises an immersive exploration of the island's diverse landscapes and rich cultural tapestry.

From Olbia, set your wheels in motion towards the picturesque town of Castelsardo, passing through the charming village of Aggius. As you pedal along, the stunning coastal vistas and the rustic charm of the countryside will accompany your every turn. Continuing your

voyage, the route leads westward to the historic marvel of Alghero, offering a delightful blend of medieval heritage and coastal beauty.

Traverse the captivating landscapes as you make your way to Santu Lussurgiu, a tranquil haven that exudes Sardinia's authentic essence, passing through the enchanting town of Bosa. The journey then ventures inland towards Fonni, a mountainous gem that treats you to panoramic views and a taste of the island's rugged, untamed beauty. Regaining the embrace of the eastern coast, the path winds its way to the seaside allure of Cala Gonone, where the azure waters greet you.

The expedition isn't just about the coastal splendor; it delves back into the mountains with a stage to Bitti, to enjoy the last bit of typical inner Sardian hospitality before heading back to where the circle of your adventure completes, encompassing the northern tip of Sardinia. Throughout this 'challenge' level trip, the journey is complemented by exceptional accommodations and delectable meals, offering a blend of comfort and culinary delight to complement your cycling escapade.

Each day of your biking adventure will unravel the island's diverse tapestry, from the seaside panoramas to the mountainous vistas, complemented by the warmth of Sardinian hospitality and the sumptuous flavors of its cuisine. Get ready to pedal through history, nature and culture, embracing the thrill of the journey and the joy of exploration. Pay attention, this trip has a very smart design: for the self guided or private trips, it's in fact possible to make the trip start either from Olbia or Alghero. Or to make a custom and shorter version from Alghero to Olbia, for example.

ITINERARY

  • 1 ARRIVAL DAY

    Arrival in Olbia, transfer to accommodation in Arzachena. Dinner at a four star hotel.

  • 2 FROM ARZACHENA TO CASTELDARDO

    102.6km | 1,741m | 1,745m | 4,30h

    From Costa Smeralda, riding along the hills of northern Sardinia, and passing through the famous landscapes of the Aggius valley, you come to the medieval town of Castelsardo. This is a very well preserved historical city, thanks to the fact that it’s perched atop a promontory high above the sea that has protected it from attacks and destruction over the centuries. Today, Castelsardo is a well-known tourist destination with all the services imaginable available for you. There’s a marina and beautiful beaches and small inlets perfect for a pleasant summer holiday. But rituals and traditions such as the famous Festa di Lunissanti mark the everyday life of the town, characterized by the industrious work of basket-weavers, fishermen, and farmers. You’ll love it! Accommodation in a four-star hotel.


    Accommodation: 4-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast

  • 3 FROM CASTELSARDO TO ALGHERO

    102.3km | 736m | 728m | 4h

    Alghero is another medieval town, and an extremely interesting one. And that's your destination today. This time you ride westwards on the beautiful coastal road very close to the beautiful and outstretched beaches of the Asinara Gulf. Some kilometers after Porto Torres, the main industrial settlement in the north, you change direction and ride southwards. Before arriving in Alghero, you can take in the magical views offered by the Argentiera and the Porto Conte Regional Park as well as enjoy Capo Caccia, a protected the marine area. This is a stage with a lot to see! Accommodation in a four star hotel.


    Accommodation: 4-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast

  • 4 FROM ALGHERO TO SANTU LUSSURGIU

    84.6m | 1,960m | 1,457m | 5h

    On this stage, you’ll experience the special connection between the coastline and mountains in Sardinia. You start from Alghero and ride south to Bosa on one of the most renowned coastal roads on Sardinia. The medieval village here is one of the best preserved on the island. And it’s worth visiting. Enjoy an unforgettable ride through the narrow streets and stop for a quick meal in the heart of this old town. It's simply special. Bosa is the place where you leave the sea behind you. A long climb into the inner mountains of western Sardinia takes you to the historical city of Santu Lussurgiu. A Sardinian traditional dinner awaits us. Accommodation and dinner in a three star hotel.


    Accommodation: 3-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast | Dinner

  • 5 FROM SANTU LUSSURGIU TO FONNI

    97.7km | 1,969m | 1,494m | 4h

    This is a real mountain stage. It takes you up to the highest mountain village in Sardinia. After 30 km, you enter the wildest area of Sardinia, called Barbagia. This region is considered the heart of the island, for thousands of years it is here Sardinians took refuge from the invasions of other mediterranean cultures, and an area where tradition and true Sardinian pride live on. You can almost breathe it and you shouldn’t miss it. Here, you ride through very small villages such as Neoneli, famous for the Neoneli’s tenors. This is a male quartet which sings the so called 'Su cantu a tenòre', a style of polyphonic folk singing characteristic of the Barbagia region and today it's a proud member of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. The more you climb, the deeper you get into Sardinian tradition. For instance, you pass through Tonara, a village famous for the production of delicious Torrone nougat. Sardinian nougat is known and loved by many for its delicious taste and top-quality natural ingredients. Fortunately, you will need some extra calories at this stage of the trip. From Tonara we climb up Tascusì pass topping out at 1250m. Your legs will get a well earned respite on the descent before the last hill on the way to Fonni, where we overnight. Accommodation in a three star hotel.


    Accommodation: 3-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast

  • 6 FROM FONNI TO CALA GONONE

    95.3km | 1,531m | 2,505m | 4,50h

    Leaving Fonni, we ride southwards and soon we climb over Correboi pass (1250m) and head down a long descent on a quiet and panoramic road that will take us briefly out of the Barbagia region. As we approach to the very wild Ogliastra mountains we bend decidedly towards the coastline and after a lovely up and down section, we take another super long and winding descent with a spectacular view of the southeastern coastline. It is impossible to go quick here: every hairpin calls for a photo! The small town of Talana is a good opportunity for a coffee stop before we turn left and ride towards the SS125, the ancient and iconic road that once was the only connection between south and northeast. Now we have quicker roads to do the job, and the SS125 is a cyclists paradise. You'll discover why. At the end of another long descent on the SS125, we find our destination: the tourist resort of Cala Gonone. Time to take a swim! Accommodation in a four-star hotel.


    Accommodation: 4-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast

  • 7 FROM CALA GONONE TO BITTI

    65.7km | 1,485m | 879m | 4h

    There's a spectacular way to get out of the Cala Gonone cove, however, as in life, the best things seldom come easy. We need to climb up a steep old road carved into the white limestone. After this tuff start your legs will get some time to recover. We will cross the SS125 again on our way to Galtellì. A stop here is like looking back in time. Galtellì has been awarded the Touring Club Italiano’s orange flag rating for excellence. The streets of the old town centre, its traditions and sensations helped inspire Nobel Prize winning author Grazia Deledda when she wrote her book Canne al Vento. Quite soon after Galtellì we encounter the main climb of the day before passing through two typical Sardinian villages Lula and Orani. Shortly after Orani we will reach the daily destination: Bitti. Dinner and overnight at a four-star hotel.


    Accommodation: 4-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast | Dinner

  • 8 FROM BITTI TO OLBIA

    117.3km | 1,567m | 2,168m | 5h

    Hopefully your smartphone's memory card still has some space left, as today will give you plenty of great photo opportunities. You ride to the north to close the Circle. Right from the beginning the scenery is gorgeous: you'll ride along the very large limestone and extraordinarily white range of Monte Albo. Many of the peaks of the limestone bastion are over a thousand metres high; Mediterranean scrub is all around and evergreen. After a long descent, you'll find the valley of the Torpè lake. Contained within a the Tepilora Regional Nature Park: almost eight thousand hectares of unspoilt forests, trails, springs, rivers and ‘dunes’. After some more hilly roads the final descent, of this challenging and unforgettable tour, brings you to Olbia. Overnight at a four-star hotel.


    Accommodation: 4-star hotel

    Meals: Breakfast

  • 9 FAREWELL AND DEPARTURE DAY

    Transfer to Olbia Costa Smeralda airport and end of services.


Arrival details

Departure details

Your Journey on a map

TOUR ROUTE

  • 40.7121,9.3480

    mapcenter

  • 41.0780118,9.3901541

    ARZACHENA

  • 40.913692,8.708592

    CASTELSARDO

  • 40.5579517,8.319294900000001

    ALGHERO

  • 40.1422486,8.657025299999999

    SANTU LUSSURGIU

  • 40.1209402,9.2541494

    FONNI

  • 40.2803536,9.6271755

    CALA GONONE

  • 40.48052879999999,9.388730299999999

    BITTI

  • 40.92357639999999,9.4964429

    OLBIA

Services

Accommodation

Handpicked hotels

Your stay, part of the tale

Enjoy our personally selected range of authentic Sardinian accommodation. We propose you to stay in ancient restored villas with in the medieval town, beautiful seaside hotels with views over turquoise seas, farmhouses in the quiet countryside where families are still producing cheese and fresh pasta. This diverse experience brings together the beauty of ancient, historic Sardinia, the rustic side of the island and the contemporary and more tourism-influenced offering.

Food

Eat like locals

Immerse yourself in the region's culture

Indulging in local cuisine in Sardinia transcends mere sustenance; it forges a profound connection to the ancient roots of this land. If food serves as a narrative of a region, Sardinian cuisine eloquently speaks of its deep ties to sheep farming and agriculture, contrary to the common misconception that it predominantly revolves around fishing.

Sardinia showcases an array of pasta varieties, delectable ravioli, and a pervasive presence of cheeses spanning various stages of aging. Meat was once reserved for special occasions but has now become a staple, with renowned meat dishes available at any time.

Whether traversing the east, west coasts, inland areas, or the southern and northern regions, each locale offers distinct culinary experiences. Embarking on a biking tour provides an opportunity to blend cycling with the exploration of these culinary treasures. The indulgence may add some extra calories, but the following day offers a chance to burn them off.

Bike rental

Our best picks for this tour

As we have one of the largest and best bike fleets in Italy, we are proud to give our guests the freedom to choose the bike that suits them best.

  • Pinarello F5 - 105 di2

    Ride in Italy on an exclusive Italian bike

    GO TO CATALOG

  • Scott Addict RC40

    Scott Addict RC40

    Light, fast, and ready to turn heads.

    GO TO CATALOG

  • Scott Addict 30

    Designed from the ground up with those longer days in mind.

    GO TO CATALOG

Things You Won't Miss
  • Gennargentu
    A quiet paradise for us cyclists...

  • Alghero
    a Catalan town in Sardinia

  • West coast
    along the unmissable coastline roads

Traversing Gennargentu:
A trip in space and time.

The Gennargentu massif, a majestic mountain range situated in the heart of Sardinia, Italy, captivates the imagination with its rugged beauty and rich ecological tapestry. Towering over the landscape, the Gennargentu massif is the highest mountain range on the island, forming a formidable backbone that spans approximately 25 kilometers from north to south.

The Gennargentu massif is not only a geographical landmark but also a repository of Sardinia's cultural and historical heritage. Ancient shepherding traditions endure in the mountain villages, and festivals celebrating local folklore and craftsmanship breathe life into the region.

Tour price

And inclusions

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THIS TOUR IS AVAILABLE AS A GUIDED GROUP TOUR ON SELECTED DATES. it's also available as PRIVATE, SELF-GUIDED AND SUPPORTED ON ANY DATE DURING THE CYCLING SEASON.

Guided group tour

Guided group tour


Inclusions & details

Self guided tour

Self guided tour

Anytime May to Sept


Inclusions & details

Supported tour

Self guided tour

Anytime May to Sept


Inclusions & details

Let's plan your next trip!

Useful Information

Tips & Resources

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Travel arrangements

We suggest the following arrival an departure locations and the earlier flights will help us arranging transfers or other services like bike rental formalities, bike fitting and all services that are provided individually.

Sardinia Cycling arranges group transfers from and to the closest airport for the trip: Olbia. Individual transfers can be also planned and the cost might depend from the departure or arrival location, from the transfer time and it can also be influenced by the presence of bulky luggage, like a bike case.

Other transport option is public transport. About this last opportunity, we suggest you using Google Maps and select 'public transport' from and to your selected destination. In any case, we're ready to help you selecting the quicker, smoother and most cost effective solution.

Food & Drinks during stages

During the rides on a guided trip we plan at least one longer food stop in the middle of the stage plus one or more coffee stops. In the assistance van we have bars, gels and water. 

On a self guided trip there are chances to find in the villages mostly bars or small markets where get fresh water, drinks or sandwiches. Possible stops are marked in our maps so to help you planning your day.

Necessary Gear

Our guests will get a pre tour info kit that gives useful suggestions on how to enjoy our trips in full. Here is a quick selection that might be useful at this stage.

  • We suggest renting a bike with us. But feel free to bring your own bike. Just consider bringing along a selection of model specific spare parts (ie. derailleur hangers). 

  • The hotels have a room for the bikes, and we will have a selection of tools to perform basic maintenance.

  • Bring along a wide selection of clothes, including some full arm jackets, rain coat, leg and arm warmers, overshoes: it's the Alps and the weather is never completely predictable.

More Journeys

Similar Trips

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Tour of the legendary climbs of the Alps

Tour name: Tour of the legendary climbs of the Alps
Tour code: TLA-24
Type: Scheduled
Price guided: 4249
Price self guided: -
Price supported: -
Difficulty level: Challenge
Total distance: 909,3 km
Total elevation: 25,475 m
Duration days: 12
Departure location: Bedoin
Arrival location: Bormio
Event date-begins: 2024-07-20
Event date-ends: 2024-07-31
Event teaser: A week of road cycling in the Alps in conjunction with the Tour de France

Date 1

A 10-STAGE BIKING TOUR ON THE GREATEST ALPINE CLIMBS OF GIRO D’ITALIA AND TOUR DE FRANCE

 

There are places that we know for their great challenges in the world of sports. Among them are those that take place in the Italian and French Alps. The Alps have provided fame or infamy for cyclists over the past hundred years during the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia, two of the most important stage cycling competitions in the world. Cycling fans write the names of their favorite champions on the asphalt, while the champions write the history of our sport. The names of these Alpine mountain passes might be daunting to some. 

In Italy, they are Stelvio, Mortirolo, Gavia, Colle delle Finestre. And how about Lautaret, Izoard, Galibier, Alpe d’Huez and Mont Ventoux in France. So, putting our flags on top of these passes can provide the biggest prize and a lifetime memory for us dedicated riders. As a living monument to cycling, these mountains pile up more names every season. Names of active cyclists who have won the Tour and Giro are next to legendary ones. Who can forget names like Fausto Coppi, Charly Gaul, Gino Bartali, Louison Bobet, Felice Gimondi, Raymond Poulidor, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Greg LeMond, Miguel Indurain, Marco Pantani, Alberto Contador, Vincenzo Nibali, Chris Froome.

These hall-of-fame names explain why Alps are on the bucket list of committed cyclists from around the world. These are dream roads and dream mountains. And, dreams can become true. Should you be afraid of cycling these challenges? Do you need Froome’s legs to enjoy these special places? Not really, because that’s not the intent of this tour. Will these mountains take you out of your comfort zone? You can be sure they will! But we’re committed to taking you safely and comfortably out of this zone, so you will get only the best out of this tour. This is not a tour for fanatics and it requires a medium fitness level. Detailed briefings, constant contact with our skilled guides, planned food stops are just part of what we have in store for you. Otherwise, our van will always be available for whatever kind of help you may need. Perfect Canyon rental bikes will make for a safe and enjoyable daily riding. The choice of hotels and restaurants has been made with care.

The Journey Begins Here

TOUR STOPS AND TOPS

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  • 44.6839,6.97957

    Colle dell'Agnello

  • 45.0351,6.4050

    Col du Lautaret

  • 45.0461,6.30594

    La Grave

  • 45.0696,6.4107

    Col du Galibier

  • 46.4663571,10.3704671

    Bormio

  • 46.5418677,10.2690843

    Lago di Cancano

  • 46.52936020000001,10.453207

    Stelvio Pass

  • 46.495,10.209

    Foscagno Pass

  • 46.3434911,10.4846264

    Gavia Pass

  • 45.0268822,6.8583903

    Sauze d'Oulx

  • 45.0666667,7.05

    Colle delle Finestre

  • 44.9578505,6.879086099999999

    Sestriere

  • 44.81973199999999,6.734978

    Col de l'Izoard

  • 45.0906281,6.0649402

    L'Alpe d'Huez

  • 44.124008,5.1803739

    Bedoin

  • 44.1740851,5.2786797

    Mont Ventoux

  • 43.296482,5.36978

    Marseille

Things You Don't Want to Miss
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  • Last 2km to top

  • Fausto Coppi
    climbing up Stelvio

  • The Swiss side

Ride Highlights:
Stelvio Pass

Stelvio pass is in the cycling myth since 1953, after a 34 years old Fausto Coppi, was able to grab his last Giro d’Italia, dropping the GC leader, the Swiss Hugo Koblet, in a legendary day. Stelvio was a dirt road at that time, and bikes were not as sophisticated and lightweight as now. Romantic cycling, as they call it.

“i’m still that eight-year-old kid who rode up the stelvio. I’m still that kid in my legs, in my head and in my heart.”

Ivan Basso

TRIP program

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  • DAY 1: ARRIVAL DAY

    Arrival at Milan airport and transfer to Bormio, Italian Alps. Accommodation and dinner at four-star hotel.

  • DAY 2: RIDE TO PASSO MORTIROLO (THROUGH GROSIO) THEN PONTE DI LEGNO AND PASSO GAVIA.

    114.5KM | 3,245M | 3,245M | 5,30H

    Passo Gavia, the final and main climb of the day is very challenging. First, because it is quite long, about 17 km, and because it is 2600m above sea level, where the air is thin. Thin air is no joke, and there is no way to prepare for it. So, to save our legs for this challenge, we will tackle the Mortirolo from its ‘easier’ side, from the little town of Grosio. Then we will climb up to Passo Gavia starting from Ponte di Legno, just like during the 97th Giro d’Italia in 2014, won by the Colombian Nairo Quintana of Movistar Team. Accommodation and dinner at hotel.

  • DAY 3: THE TWO SIDES OF STELVIO PASS

    101KM | 3,417M | 3,417M | 5,30H

    Stelvio pass is in the cycling myth since 1953, after a 34 years old Fausto Coppi, was able to grab his last Giro d’Italia, dropping the GC leader, the Swiss Hugo Koblet, in a legendary day. Stelvio climb was on a dirt road at that time, and bikes were not as sophisticated and lightweight as now. Romantic - or heroic - cycling, as they call it.

    There’s big debate among cyclists on which side of Stelvio is the nicest: Lombardy side, from Bormio or Trentino side, from Prato allo Stelvio. We don’t want to influence your opinion, so we give you the opportunity to make your own idea. We ride up from Bormio, go all the way down across Switzerland, and up again from Prato allo Stelvio, enjoying all the famous 48 hairpins up top.

    This stage can be shortened by van up to Umbrail pass. That way it'd be 80km and 2200m elevation gain.

  • DAY 4: RIDE UP APRICA PASS THEN MORTIROLO FROM THE MONNO SIDE

    123KM | 3,023M | 3,023M | 5,30H

    A day dedicated to watch Giro from the sidelines of one of Europe's hardest climbs: Mortirolo pass. This must-do HC climb is world famous as is very challenging and steep. It’s been included in the Giro in 1990 and it became famous for the legendary stage of 1994 Giro when a very young Marco Pantani dropped his majesty Miguel Indurain, showing the world a new star was born. A monument to the famous Italian climber is at km 8. We get there after a long way down from Bormio to Tirano, then we climb up the Aprica pass so to face Mortirolo from the Monno side. Nearly on top of the climb, we take a break at the rifugio, then we select a good spot to watch the riders.

  • DAY 5: RIDE TO CANCANO LAKES

    30KM | 1,000M | 1,000M | 2,30H

    This is our last day in Bormio. We have a long transfer on this day, but we will still want to enjoy some quality riding. Why not go for a lovely ride up to the Cancano lakes? Short but gorgeous, it gives us the time to take a shower, have a light lunch and move to Oulx, Piedmont, about 400km away. Accommodation and dinner at three-star hotel in Sauze d’Oulx.

  • DAY 6: COLLE DELLE FINESTRE AND SESTRIERE LOOP

    99KM | 2,890M | 2,890M | 5,30H

    “Returning to the way it was then” could be the subtitle of this stage. Yes, because history from the heroic age of cycling has been written on dirt roads, and races are now recovering this tradition by using bits of mountain roads still not asphalted such as the iconic last 8km of Colle delle Finestre. The first of this new old fashioned – stage - was the Savigliano to Sestriere stage of Giro 2005 that featured two ascents up Sestriere and finally Colle delle Finestre. It was a blast watching riders climbing up in a cloud of dust, and it told worldwide race organizers that bringing cycling back to the way it was then is worth the risk. Only the big climbers have completed this climb. But do you remember Chris Froome’s legendary attack from the very beginning of this climb, taking him to victory of both the stage and Giro 2018. It brought modern cycling 50 years back in time. Well, we need to go there, right? Stage start and finish are at Sauze d’Oulx. Accommodation and dinner in an excellent three-star hotel.
  • DAY 7: COL D’IZOARD AND COL DEL LAUTARET

    126KM | 2,762M | 2,482M | 5,30H

    We will make a quick transfer beyond the French border and start our ride in Briancon. It’s the door to another bucket list climb, the Col de l’Izoard. Coppi, Bobet, Bartali, Bahamontes, Pantani and many other famous cyclists had glorious days, flying over the last climb’s hairpins, known for its lunar aspect. We will ride all the way up to 2361m over sea level. At 2200m we will enjoy a meal at the Refuge Napoleon, and then we will cycle down to cross Briancon and ride the Col del Lautaret, Serre Chevalier side. After this very long climb with gentle gradients, we will enjoy the lovely downhill to our hotel, in the little village of La Grave. Accommodation and dinner in an excellent three-star hotel.Accommodation and dinner in an excellent three-star hotel.
  • DAY 8: COL DEL LAUTARET AND COL DU GALIBIER

    2,352M | 2,352M | 5,30H

    These mountains have two rideable sides, and both sides are fantastic. We will start with the Lautaret. At 2058m, it is not among the tallest mountains, but it is the door to Galibier, one of the highest tops of this tour, at 2645m, and very often the highest mountain climbed during the Tour de France. Tour de France has done Galibier 59 times so far, and, as usual on such high passes, any year is a new page in a history book. To understand this better, two monuments have been left here by the French. One is to Henri Desgranges, founder of Tour de France, the other is to Marco Pantani, who made French enthusiasts fall in love with him because of his racing style. It’s a place we cannot miss. And we won’t. We will leave La Grave and ride up Col de Lautaret and Col du Galibier then down to Valloire, have a lunch stop and then back to La Grave and have dinner at hotel.

  • DAY 9: ALPE D'HUEZ LOOP

    77KM | 2,546M | 2,546M | 5,30H

    Alpe d'Huez is the climb of the Tour de France par excellence. You might think this is because it is a very high mountain. But it is not. It is 'just' 1885m above sea level. But the consistently challenging gradient of around 8% in a 14 km stretch puts cyclists – even pro riders – to the test. This is especially true since this ride comes after so many elevation meters gained during the week. We will get there by cycling down from La Grave to Le Burg d’Oisans. From there, suddenly we will start going up immediately on a steep slope. We are sure not to break the sub 37 minutes’ record set by Marco Pantani in 1995. And for sure neither Pantani, nor the pro cyclists who raced there next, could have enjoyed a well-deserved beer at top of the mountain, as we’ certainly will do. That is one of the privileges of being slow riders. From the narrow mountain roads we'll make our way back to La Grave, where we'll have dinner and stay overnight for the last night.

  • DAY 10: GORGE DE LA NESQUE

    67.4M | 1,293M | 1,293M | 3,30H

    We move to the lovely French region called Provence to enjoy the last two days of this amazing tour. It’s a long way in the van from Alpe d’Huez to Bedoin. We will have the time for a light lunch at the hotel and go for a short but awesome ride through the natural monument called Gorge de la Nesque. Slight gradients, wild countryside and spectacular views are the stuff that make the best appetizer for us who like to taste a lovely dinner accompanied by a local red wine. Accommodation and dinner in a four-star hotel in Bedoin.

  • DAY 11: MONT VENTOUX LOOP

    56KM | 1,800M | 1,800M | 4,00H

    Is there a better way than climbing Mont Ventoux to put an end to a cycling adventure like this? We don’t think so. Mont Ventoux is another myth of cycling. Like Alpe d’Huez, it is not among the tallest mountains. Nonetheless, cyclists remember this huge mountain with its white cap caused by the total lack of vegetation on its limestone slopes that pops up from the hills of Provence, We know what you are thinking? Will the view be the same as I’ve seen on the TV, while watching the Tour? Yes, it will. During the last 4 km, you’ll find yourself immersed in the same unusual, desert-like, dazzling white top, with the television tower that marks the finish line. This will be your last stage, and, even though the climb is very long – 15km, at an average gradient of 7.7%. Your legs will be very tired, but you won’t want the ride and this amazing tour to end. We will stop at the refuge at the top to enjoy a lunch with view. Then we will enjoy the very long and quick descent to Bedoin. Accommodation and dinner in a four-star hotel in Bedoin.

  • DAY 12: FAREWELL AND DEPARTURE DAY.

    Transfer to Marseille airport and end of services.

Tour price

And support levels

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Guided group tour

What's included

  • Accommodation

    4 nights at 4-star | 7 nights at 3-star

  • Meals

    Ten dinners; all breakfasts.
  • Support level

    Guiding; van assistance; mobile workshop; spare bike, bars, gels and electrolytes available on purchase; group transfer from Milano Malpensa airport; group transfer to Marseille airport; 10% discount on bike rentals.
  • Not included

    Flight tickets; extras in hotel, etc. Drinks during the dinner; city tax (if any); travel insurance; individual arrival and departure transfer; bike rental.
  • On request

    Individual arrival transfer from Milano Malpensa airport to Bormio 300 euro p.p.; individual transfer to Marseille airport to Milano Malpensa airport 490 euro p.p. ; supplement for single accommodation € 550 euro p.p.; bike rental.

Self Guided tour

What's included

  • Accommodation

    4 nights at 4-star | 7 nights at 3-star

  • Meals

    Ten dinners; all breakfasts.
  • Support level

    Detailed briefing. GPX files. Telephone assistance during your stay. 10% discount on bike rentals.
  • Not included

    Flight tickets; extras in hotel, etc. Drinks during the dinner; city tax (if any); travel insurance; individual arrival and departure transfer; bike rental.
  • On request

    Individual arrival transfer from Milano Malpensa airport to Bormio 300 euro p.p.; individual transfer to Marseille airport to Milano Malpensa airport 490 euro p.p. ; supplement for single accommodation € 550 euro p.p.; bike rental.

Supported tour

What's included

  • Accommodation

    4 nights at 4-star | 7 nights at 3-star

  • Meals

    Ten dinners; all breakfasts.
  • Support level

    Van assistance; mobile workshop; spare bike, bars, gels and electrolytes available on purchase; group transfer from Milano Malpensa airport; group transfer to Marseille airport; 10% discount on bike rentals.
  • Not included

    Flight tickets; extras in hotel, etc. Drinks during the dinner; city tax (if any); travel insurance; individual arrival and departure transfer; bike rental.
  • On request

    Individual arrival transfer from Milano Malpensa airport to Bormio 300 euro p.p.; individual transfer to Marseille airport to Milano Malpensa airport 490 euro p.p. ; supplement for single accommodation € 550 euro p.p.; bike rental.
Useful Information

Tips & Resources

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Travel arrangements

Best airport to land is Milano Malpensa (MXP): from there we arrange the group transfer. Other options are possible and we can help selecting the best one. The group departure transfer goes to Marseille airport. We're available to study different arrangements.

Food & Drinks during stages

During the rides we plan at least one longer food stops in the middle of the stage plus one or more coffee stops. In the assistence van we use to bring along bars, gels and water.

Necessary Gear

Our guests are getting a pre tour info kit that gives useful suggestions on all the the arrangements to enjoy our trips in full. Here a quick selection that might be useful at this stage.

  • We suggest renting a Canyon bike with us. But feel free to take your own bike. Just consider bringing along a selection of model specific spare parts.

  • The hotel has got a bike room, workshop with tools and bike cleaning facilities.

  • Bring along a wide selection of clothes, including some full arm jackets, rain coat, leg and arm warmers, overshoes: it's the Alps and the weather is never completely predictable.

More Journeys

Similar Trips

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