Cycling the Alpine Valleys of Italy - Sud Tyrol, Lake Garda and Verona
Home to some of the country's best bike paths and backroads, discover North Italy traversing verdant valleys beneath Alpine peaks and mountain glaciers, and exploring charming small towns and vibrant historic cities. The tour begins close to the Austrian border, deep in the heart of the Sud Tyrol - here the Via Claudia Augusta made its way to the Italian peninsula through the Venosta Valley, historically the most important crossroads between north and south. You’ll glide down towards the Trentino region through fascinating cities like Merano and Bolzano, eventually crossing wine country as the climate becomes more Mediterranean near enchanting Lake Garda and its colorful waterfront towns – here you’ll have the chance to navigate the length of one of the grand Italian lakes (with bikes on hand!). The tour ends in lovely Verona – spend a couple of additional days here exploring this beautiful art city, or continue south along the Veneto towards majestic Venice, cappinig a grand Italian holiday.
This low-difficulty itinerary also offers more challenging rides easily reachable from the main route, to epic mountain climbs and passes. This is a great tour for couples, friends or families of mixed cycling abilities (and even for kids!) blending the culturally unique Austro-Italian north with everything that can be expected from an Italian bike tour – great food, cycling and scenery combine in this highlight-packed itinerary.
Tour begins in Silandro
Highlights: Welcome to Silandro in the Sud Tyrol
Arrive in Silandro and meet us for a bike fitting and tour briefing. We'll go over the tour in detail, show you how to use your gps and navigation tools, and answer all your questions, getting you ready for the adventure ahead. In the heart of the Val Venosta along the Via Claudia Augusta, Silandro is considered a "market town" in this region dotted with farms, fruit orchards and pastures. A tidy and pretty town, surrounded by breathtaking mountain scenery, it provides an excellent starting point for a bike tour, where you'll be able to stroll the streets and watch the locals go by in the afternoon.
Daily Distance: after fitting your bike, you are free to test the bike cycling the distance of your choice
Cycling the Val Venosta
Highlights: Alpine valley scenery; Tyrolean villages
Today you'll start cycling gently up the valley, northwest towards the Austrian border and heading to Glorenza (Glurns), known for its pretty town centre and the imposing fortified walls encircling the old town. On the way, visit the small town of Lasa and its marble quarries (of such a high quality that's it's been mined since Roman times), with the Churburg Castle in sight. If you’d like to add some cycling, you can continue up valley to nearby Malles (or more, if desired) with more spectacular cycling, mostly on paved bike paths and with one small climb on the way
Daily Distance: Round trip to Glorenza is 50km (31 miles) with 385ms cumulative gain (1200 ft).
For additional mileage and more challenging cycling today, we recommend catching the train in Silandro (very easy to board for cyclists) going north to Malles, where the train line ends (purchase the Trentino Card which includes all train transport, funiculars and other options.) Then continue cycling up-valley as far you’d like towards the Resia Pass on the Austrian border; on the way, you'll see the amazing underwater church (its spires jut out of a beautiful lake). From the lake, it’s 43 km back to Silandro with 160m elevation gain and 960m elevation loss, most on a paved bike path.
Cycling Silandro to Merano
Highlights: Lovely bike paths; Merano
Today’s ride is very gentle, mostly downhill and allowing cyclists to take it easy and enjoy the beautiful scenery. En route, stop to admire the Castelbello castle perched on a rocky cliff, and beer lovers will want to stop at the wonderful Forst brewery just before Merano. Situated in the basin of the Val Venosta, this vibrant small city has a Mediterranean feel - a mild climate allows for palm trees, grapevines and even olive trees to flourish here. Plenty of sightseeing to do here, and our hotel has a great location on the riverfront strand, with outdoor café and restaurant.
Daily Distance: 37km (23 miles) with 120 ms cumulative gain (400 ft), mostly on bike paths following a valley nestled between the Alps.
For additional mileage and challenging cycling today, climb to Castel Tyrol from Merano (about 8 km up valley, with 300m cumulative gain), or continue even further northeast towards the Austrian border
Cycling Merano to Caldaro
Highlights: Bolzano; Caldaro Wine Region
You'll cycle over yet another wonderful bike path through this river valley nestled in the Alps, with rolling hills and three short climbs. A slightly longer route detours into the city of Bolzano, and the option to visit the now famous Archeological Museum of Bolzano, where Ötzi the Iceman is exhibited. As provincial capital of the Sud Tyrol, Bolzano is both a modern and traditional city, and has been an important regional hub since medieval times. It also became an important tourist center since the Habsurbgs started coming here in the 18th century.
Caldaro (Kaltern in German) is among the prettiest villages in the region, set in the heart of the namesake wine valley (the Caldaro Wine Route winds through here). The main attraction here is beautiful Lake Caldaro, famous for its gentle Mediterranean climate and surrounded by vineyards and fruit orchards. Consider visiting a winery or schedule a tasting and dinner at a wine estate this evening!
Daily Distance: Including the detour to Bolzano, total 50km (31 miles), with 350m cumulative gain (1100 ft).
For additional cycling, there’s the option to bike a few more miles and take a funicular up to a spectacular plateau above the valley, biking along winding and narrow roads practically free of car traffic. Return to the valley north of Bolzano and then have time to visit the town and continue pedaling through the beautiful Caldaro wine region.
Cycling Caldaro To Trento
Highlights: Caldaro Lake; Trento
Continue cycling mostly over bike paths today, joining the Adige River bike paths, one of the most famous paths in Italy. On the way, you can stop at the lovely small town of Mezzocorona and get a glimpse of the Castel Gottardo. Entering the beautiful city of Trento, you can enjoy sightseeing and city strolling as well as great restaurants in the heart of the Austrian region of Italy. A rich cultural center, Trento boasts a fascinating history and has the monuments and castles, palaces covered with frescoes, and stately promenades to prove it.
Daily Distance: 64km (40 miles), with 250m cumulative gain (820 feet). For more cycling today, take the funicular from Caldaro (with your bikes) up to Passo Mendola, from here pedaling the beautiful Val di Non, followed by a fun descent to Trento from the mountains.
Cycling Trento to Riva del Garda
Highlights: The Sarca Valley and Arco; Riva del Garda and lake Garda
A shuttle this morning takes you and your bicycle to Cadine, up above Trento where you’ll begin a stunning ride through the Sarca Valley, winding through the Arco area and its dramatic peaks (world-famous among climbers), eventually reaching Riva del Garda, on the northern shore of the majestic Garda Lake. Also known as the pearl of Lake Garda, Riva is a picturesque city that offers a great base from which to explore this naturally blessed region and its Mediterranean micro-climate. Having left behind the German region of Italy, you'll want to explore and find that perfect restaurant or trattoria along a pretty alley or on a beautiful piazza.
Daily distance: 41km (26 miles), with 250m cumulative gain (800 feet)
By boat across Lake Garda to Verona
Highlights: Lake Garda; Sirmione and Peschiera del Garda; Verona
A wonderful way to experience Lake Garda today, you'll get on a ferry boat from the boat dock at Riva (with your bikes at hand) for a lovely 4-hour cruise crossing the stretch of Lake Garda. The views of the bright blue and magenta waters, surrounded by mountains and lush forests in this Mediterranean clime, is a real delight. The boat lands in the peninsula of Sirmione on the south shore of the lake, with a very picturesque old town center and the impressive ruins (and views) of a Roman villa that are worth visiting (also making for a great lunch stop). From here, you'll cycle to Peschiera del Garda, another beautiful fortified medieval town on the south shore of the lake. After visiting Peschiera, you can board the train to Verona (approx. 20 min train ride), or cycle an additional 33km (20 miles) through vineyards and fruit farms over gentle rolling hills to the grand city of Verona.
Daily distance: 26km (17 miles) from Sirmione to Peschiera; if continuing to Verona, a total of 59km (37 miles) with 210m cumulative gain (690 feet)
After breakfast, explore lovely Verona, home of an amazingly preserved Roman amphitheater and the famous setting for Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
Extras available upon request
|Begin/End||Silandro (Schlanders) / Verona|
|Arrive/Depart||Venice, Verona or Treviso airports in Italy; Innsbruck in Austria (and train to Silandro) / Venice, Verona or other, depending on your final travel plans.
Once you book your tour, we will send you detailed arrival and departure information to help you plan your travels.
|Total Distance||approx. 335 km (209 miles), plus optional rides almost every day (see itinerary for details)|
|Daily Distance||34-82 km (21-51 miles), plus optional mileage|
|Notes||Difficulty Description: this tour is rated a 1 out of 3 if cycling the base rides every day; If doing the challenging additional rides every day, this tour is rated 3 out of 3.|
|Terms||Terms & Conditions|
|Dates||Dates available: from April 1st to October 31st, 2019
Listed price is with a minimum of 4 participants on a departure - for confirmed departure dates at the listed price, please contact us.
Suggested start day - Sundays
*starting on other days, if available, may incur an additional fee
A high-season surcharge of €50 per person applies in July and August
September departures: A supplemental fee of € 150 per person will be charged on all new September departures (this fee will not apply to customers joining an existing departure date – please confirm available dates by contacting us, or use the Request Space form below)
A 5% group discount will apply to the standard tour price with 4 or more participants in a departure
|Prices||starting from EUR 1175 per person *
Bike rental rates
*with 2-3 participants in departure - EUR 1275 per pers
|Single Supplement||EUR 230 per person in single room
EUR 350 in double room for single use
|Next Step||Request space on this Bicycle Tour »|
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