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Cycle Europe - serving bicycle travellers since 1972

Bicycle Tours — Italy

Discover Emilia-Romagna, the Gastronomic Heart of Italy

Casual self-guided - Bologna to Parma - 5 day

A short-holiday option of our just-updated cycling adventure through Italy's renowned foodie region! Wonderful riding through pretty countryside and farms, picturesque towns and great cities. This region offers amazing scenery and a number of UNESCO world heritage sites, renowned food and drink, art and history, and the legendary friendliness of its locals.

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  • Day 1

    Arrive in Bologna

    Highlights: Bologna! UNESCO World Heritage porticoes and culinary traditions

    Arrive in Bologna, Emilia Romagna's administrative capital and, arguably, its culinary capital too. Home to the oldest continually operating university in the world, Bologna has a long tradition of studies, arts, and gastronomy. Speaking of gastronomy, Bologna gave birth to mortadella, vulgarly distorted abroad as "bologna," although the fresh, artisanal mortadella has nothing to do with processed ham! Make sure you put this culinary delight on your 'must try' list! Lots to see and explore in this beautiful city. Come early and book a genuine cooking class at a renowned cooking school or enjoy dinner at a local trattoria!

    Accommodation: Il Guercino Boutique Hotel or similar

  • Day 2

    Ride to Modena

    Highlights: Rails-to-trails bike paths, Bazzano, World Heritage Site of historic Modena

    Leave Bologna on its city bike paths to get to the first hills where great views reward you after a short climb. A rails-to-trails bike path leads you out to the fortress town of Bazzano, before heading to Modena. Don't forget to visit the historic town center of this city with the marble covered cathedral and its Ghirlandina bell tower.

    Daily distance: 55 km (34 miles)
    Elevation gain: +450 m (1475 ft)

    Accommodation: Il Fonticolo B&B, or similar.

  • Day 3

    Cycle the Reggio Emilia countryside

    Highlights: Modena's covered street market, Balsamic vinegar, stay in an agriturismo

    Before heading out of Modena on you bike, we suggest a visit of the local covered market that has been selling local products since the Middle Ages: fruits and vegetables, but also gourmet selections of Lambrusco wine, Amaretti cookies, truffles, cheese and Prosciutto, and of course traditional balsamic vinegar. With your senses alight by the sounds, sights and smells, you will visit the lovely Acetaia Cavalli estate, where the family has been producing the highest quality balsamic for over a hundred years.
    An easy ride today will lead you along back roads to tonight’s very special stay - an agriturismo country house hotel with a working farm, parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar production, vineyards and winery, and more, within a wonderful natural setting.

    Daily distance: 47 km (29 miles)
    Elevation gain: +219 m (136ft)

    Accommodation: Agriturismo La Razza or similar

  • Day 4

    Bike to Parma

    Highlights: Parma cured ham and parmesan cheese

    Your destination today is a city where your taste buds will not be disappointed, Parma! Famous for its culinary traditions, the arts also flourished outside of the kitchen in this lovely city: Parmigianino, Correggio, and Giuseppe Verdi are some of its most famous citizens, and their influence are present to this day. The city is still an important cultural and artistic center. Explore and enjoy the historic center, and delight your palate with Parma's signature cured ham (prosciutto crudo) and Parmesan cheese, eaten as an aperitivo or sprinkled on homemade pasta dishes.

    Daily distance: 54 km (34 miles)
    Elevation gain: +256 m (839ft) for the longer ride option

    Accommodation: Hotel Brenta, or similar.

  • Day 5

    Tour ends in Parma

    Highlights: World Heritage Site of Parma

    Your cycling tour ends in Parma. Now with a refined palate, shop well and take some recipes home to try in your own kitchen!

    PLEASE NOTE : The final itinerary, including hotels and/or activities described here, are subject to changes according to availability. City hotel taxes are not included.

Includes Includes: 4 nights in 2-,3- and 4-star hotels and B&Bs of similar quality; all breakfasts; access to smartphone app with preloaded tracks and digital "roadbook"; luggage transfers.

Half-board option available: €125 per person

Not Included: Travel to and from the tour start and end; bicycle rental (see Prices tab); GPS device; entrance to museums or other activities; city hotel tax (€2 to 5 per night per person, to be paid locally by traveler); Any meals or beverages not indicated as included.

Solo Traveler and Private Group departures available - please inquire. If you are looking for a shorter version of this tour, see our 5-day option in our website.

Lodging Upgrade: Room upgrades are possible in some hotels - please inquire for prices and availability

Extra nights: Please inquire about adding nights along the itinerary or before/after the tour. Rates for extra nights as follows

In Bologna:
Hotel Touring (4-star central location) - rates per person: €85 in shared double classic room, €100 in shared double gold room; €145 in classic double room for single use, €145 in gold double room for single use
Hotel Regina (3-star central location) - rates per person: €60 in shared double room, €105 in double room for single use.
Hotel Guercino (charming B&B outside city center) - rates per person: €44 in shared double room, €80 in double room for single use

In Parma:
Hotel Button(3-star central location) - rates per person: €70 in shared double room; €115 in single room
Hotel Brenta (3-star central location) - rates per person: €50 in shared double room; €100 in double room for single use.

Extra meals & activities:

- Balsamic Vinegar Producer Visit (Day 3 or Day 4) €5 per person

- Parmesan Cheese maker visit on day 5: €10 per person (closed Saturdays and Sundays)

- Cooking class available in Bologna (includes tasting meal at the end) €80 per person
(min 2 participants / supplement of €25 for solo travelers)

The Cooking class is run by Le Cesarine, a company that organizes culinary experiences at local people’s houses. Your class will last about 3 hours, during which you will help the Cesarina cook prepare 3 courses. In the 4th and final hour, you will enjoy the meal (lunch or dinner) which you prepared during the class. Water and one bottle of house wine for every 3 people are included.

PLEASE NOTE : The final itinerary, including hotels and/or activities described here, are subject to changes according to availability. City hotel taxes are not included.
Countries Italy
Begin/End Bologna / Parma
Arrive/Depart In and out of Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport (BLQ)

How to get there and away:

Starting point: Hotel Il Guercino - Via L. Serra 7, Bologna
- We recommend flying into Bologna Aeroporto G.Marconi.
- Take a shuttle bus connecting Aeroporto Marconi to the city center and Bologna Main Train Station or take a 10-minute taxi ride from Bologna Airport to your hotel.

Ending point: Hotel Brenta – G.B. Borghesi 12, Parma
- You can fly out from Bologna, which is connected to Parma by train. - From the train station in Bologna to the airport, you can catch a shuttle bus or a taxi (see “Starting point” for more info).

Private airport transfers (subject to change depending on flight time and delays):
- Bologna airport – Bologna hotel Guercino: €40 (1-3 pax) | €50 (4-6 pax)
- Parma - Bologna airport: €160 (1-3 pax) | €180 (4-6 pax)

Long-term Parking
- If you choose to drive to Bologna and leave your car parked there (taking a direct return train Parma at tour end) a private, secure parking lot costs €17 - €21 per day.
Total Distance 168 km (104 miles)
Daily Distance 52-62 km (32-39 miles)

Difficulty description: Perfect for cyclists who prefer shorter distances and mostly flat riding. Some loop days into the lower hills, with some short climbs. Bike paths along rivers or rails-to-trails, and quiet country roads. Some of the bike paths are on hard packed dirt roads or levees.
Rating 101
Notes Tour code: itbs3981
Navigation and roadbook:
Detailed daily information and route navigation are provided through a smartphone application. Our app allows you to download the information into your device, where you can access them even in offline mode. Hotel itinerary, daily ride descriptions, cultural information, visit suggestions, elevation profiles, and emergency numbers are all stored in one organized place. Downloading maps and routes also allows you to navigate in offline mode. If you prefer, you can download the routes into your GPS device and print the detailed route notes before leaving home and use them on tour.
For more information visit RideWithGPS Experiences.

GPS devices with pre-loaded routes are also available for rent - please inquire.


Luggage transfers are included in your package.
The luggage is normally collected from 09.00 at the reception of the hotel and is delivered at the following hotel by 15.30. Every piece of luggage must be marked with a visible luggage tag. Please make sure yours have correct tags. If your luggage is not ready by the time the driver comes to collect it, you may have to pay a local taxi for the service.

Please consider that the luggage is not insured during the transport. You need to have your own insurance. Do not leave valuables or fragile items in your luggage.
Normally, the luggage transport service cannot be used by participants to skip the cycling stage. In case you need help to skip the cycling stage, please contact our emergency number and we will arrange it for you.
Terms Terms & Conditions
Dates Prices Single Supplement
Dates Available March 1 to October 31, 2021

Starts every Friday

Per person price based on double occupancy with 2 participants per departure minimum; Single rooms and Solo Traveler departures available - see supplemental fees on the right.

Group Discounts for 6 or more participants booking together on the same departure! Please inquire for details through our contact form below.


Want a deeper dive into this wonderful region? Our longer version of this tour includes two-night stays and rides into picturesque medieval towns: Discover Emilia-Romagna 8-day tour.


Bike Rental options:
We offer quality bikes in different styles, all great options for this bike tour. Our bikes are maintained and delivered in optimal working condition.

The prices below are per bike for the duration of the tour, including delivery to starting point in Bologna and collection from ending point in Parma.

Bike rental rates
Aluminum hybrid: €65
Premium Titanium road or hybrid: €100
E-bike (hybrid with straight handlebar): €150
Tandem: €175 (price per bike, for 2 cyclists)
Tag-along or kid trailer: €50

For detailed specs and photos of our bikes, see our website - Bike Rentals Italy.

High-Season notes (May, September and early October):
Hotels: may be subject to availability, and a hotel supplemental fee may be applied.
Bike Availability: our premium (titanium-frame) bikes are also subject to availability.

Prices €475 per person
Single Supplement €85 fee for private, double room

€395 solo traveler fee (only one person on departure)
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