Cycling Emilia-Romagna’s Culinary Wonders
Guided group tour - Parma to Bologna - 7 days
Long known as Italy’s premier culinary capital, Emilia-Romagna delights in every way!! On this cycling tour from Parma to Bologna, you will taste extraordinary traditional dishes and the wonderful local wine, visit Parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar makers learning their time-tested methods; sample artisanal gelato; wonder at ancient castles and UNESCO sites; and even have the chance to see the Ferrari museum and factory near the famous car maker’s hometown of Modena. Two-night stays in elegant Parma and quaint Castelvetro di Modena will let you slow down and savor the region, as the locals do. Food, art, culture and tradition all come together to make this an unforgettable holiday to be experienced from the seat of your bike!
Arrival in Parma
Highlights: Bike fit and welcome dinner
Considered among the culinary capitals of Italy, Parma is also known as one of Italy’s art cities: Parmigianino, Correggio, and Giuseppe Verdi are among its lustrous citizens. We suggest an afternoon stroll through the city center, where Parma’s rich history is still evident (the historic center has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site); or do as the locals do, finding a piazza table where you can delight your palate with Parma’s famous cured ham (prosciutto crudo) and Parmesan cheese, enjoyed with an aperitivo. After our bike fitting, our local guides will host a welcome dinner where you will meet your cycling companions.
Daily distance today: optional test ride.
Accommodation: Hotel Button, or similar.
Loop ride into the hills to Torrechiara Castle
Highlights: Torrechiara Castle
On your first cycling day, you will ride over delightful rolling hills amidst ancient castles and local tradition. Our goal is the Torrechiara Castle, a breath-taking structure dominating the Val Parma – it was constructed between 1448 and 1460, as an instrument of defense as well as a distinguished home for the count and his lover. The area is today famous for its cured prosciutto ham and salame, and we recommend stopping for a taste at lunchtime. After a downhill return to Parma, our tour leaders will suggest a restaurant for dinner, and activities for your last evening in this lovely city.
Daily distance: 49 km (30 miles) with + 242 m (794 ft) elevation gain.
Accommodation: Hotel Button, or similar
Ride to Reggio-Emilia countryside
Highlights: Agriturismo country estate
Heading out of Parma today, we’ll cycle over back roads and bike paths, through farm land and small villages, towards Reggio-Emilia, in the heart of Parmesan country. After visiting the regional capital (and possibly the farmer's market when open!), we'll arrive at tonight's destination, an agriturismo - a working farm and estate - which will surely be another trip highlight. Plenty of time to relax and enjoy thevisit here. The agriturismo also houses a parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar factory, among other wonderful surprises.
Daily distance: 53 km (33 miles) with + 300 m (985 ft) elevation gain.
Accomodation: Agriturimo La Razza, or similar.
Bike to Maranello - the home of Ferrari – and Castelvetro di Modena
Highlights: Visit parmesan cheese maker, Ferrari Museum
We’ll get an early start this morning to visit the artistry of a working Parmesan cheese maker. The proud Consorzio will explain the intricacies of this poignant but delicate cheese on our guided tour of the small factory (ending with a tasting, of course). With our senses alight, we’ll continue cycling en route to Maranello, home of the factory and testing track of the fabled Ferrari sports cars, as well as the Ferrari Museum (visit is optional). Today’s ride ends in the delightful medieval hilltop town of Castelvetro di Modena, our base for the next two nights. We suggest a stroll among the locals over lovely cobbled lanes and alleys this evening, and dinner near the piazza where you’ll enjoy the view of the surrounding countryside below you and the Apennine mountain chain in the distance. You might also consider an optional visit to the balsamic vinegar acetaia – or mill - where another traditional culinary mystery will be unveiled. You will learn how leftovers from grapes are transformed into the sweet, rich vinegar that can sometimes cost hundreds of dollars.
Daily distance: 46 km (28 mi) with + 470 m (1540 ft) elevation gain.
Accommodation: Hotel Guerro, or similar.
Loop ride to Modena
We’ll glide down on our bikes as we begin an optional loop ride to Modena, another wonderful historic art city – and UNESCO World Heritage Site - where we will have time to explore its historical town center, the magnificent Duomo and the Ghirlandina medieval tower. We suggest a visit of the famous covered outdoor market, and time for a gelato stop as well! Modena is also the birthplace of Dino and Enzo Ferrari, founders of the namesake brand, as well as Luciano Pavarotti, the legendary tenor. After our exploration of Modena, we’ll ride back to Castelvetro in the afternoon for another night in town.
Daily distance: 49 km (30 mi), with + 300 ms (480 ft) elevation gain
Accommodation: Hotel Guerro, or similar.
Ride to Bologna
Highlights: Cooking class dinner
Our last ride today is lovely, cycling by small farms and Lambrusco vineyards, always near the foothills of the Apennines. Bologna awaits – the capital of Emilia-Romagna is an important Italian city with a rich history and a fascinating medieval center. Our tour ends with a bang in the red city (as Italians call it) - we’ll meet with a Bologna local who will share their secrets and passion for cooking, while we prepare a traditional meal we’ll eat together on our celebratory good-bye dinner.
Daily distance: 52 km (33 mi), with 220 ms (721 ft) elevation gain
Meals: Cooking class dinner
Accommodation: Hotel Il Guercino, or similar.
Tour ends in Bologna
Bologna is a great place to spend another night or two, or to use as a base for further exploration. For those returning home today, we will assist you in arranging your transportation to the nearby Bologna airport.
6 nights lodging in 3- and 4-star accommodations
2 dinners with local wine
Parmesan cheese factory visit and tasting
Quality hybrid touring bike (titanium bike and e-bike upgrade options available)
Our exceptional local tour leaders
Bike fitting and welcome meeting at tour start
Support van and driver on most days
Reservation and travel assistance (our pre-travel documentation will help you prepare for the bike tour, including arrival and departure details, and much more)
Access to smartphone app with routes and digital roadbook (with detailed tour information)
Airfare or travel to and from the tour start and end
Entrance to museums or other activities not indicated as included
Any meals or beverages not indicated as included
Tour leader gratuities.
Private rooms available upon request: please inquire.
Private and Custom groups: if you are interested in customizing this itinerary, hotels or tour package inclusions, please contact us - we are experts at personalizing our tours and services, and can tailor-build the bike tour of your dreams!
PLEASE NOTE : The final itinerary, including hotels and/or activities described here, are subject to changes according to availability.
Tour code: itbg3878
|Begin/End||Parma / Bologna|
|Arrive/Depart||How to get there and away:
Bologna Airport (BLQ)
Starting point: Hotel Button - Borgo Salina, 4, Parma
- We recommend flying into Bologna Aeroporto G.Marconi.
- Marconi Express is the shuttle connecting Aeroporto Marconi (BLQ) to city center and Bologna Main Train Station (Bologna Stazione Centrale). Tickets cost € 11
- A taxi from Bologna Marconi Airport (BLQ) to Bologna Main Train Station (Bologna Stazione Centrale) costs about € 25/30
- There are several direct trains connecting Bologna and Parma. The ride takes about an hour and costs between € 8 and € 22 depending on the type of train
- The hotel is located about 3 km from the train station. Take a 15-minute taxi ride for about € 15 or take a bus from the train station to “Piazza Garibaldi municipio” stop (bus 8) and walk 200 meters to Borgo Salina
- A private transfer from Bologna Airport to your hotel in Parma costs about € 170
Ending point: Hotel Il Guercino – Via Luigi Serra, 7 40129 Bologna
- we recommend flying out from Bologna
- To get to Bologna main train station (Bologna Centrale) you can walk 5 minutes (your hotel is 400m from the train station)
- From the Bologna Train Station you can get the Marconi Express, a shuttle connecting the city center and Bologna Main Train Station (Bologna Stazione Centrale) wit the Aeroporto Marconi (BLQ). Tickets cost € 11
- A taxi from Bologna Main Train Station (Bologna Stazione Centrale) to Bologna Marconi Airport (BLQ) costs about € 25/30
- see “Starting point” for transportation info
Final arrival and departure instructions along with other detailed pre-travel documents, will be e-mailed prior to your travel, with information specific to your departure (including the actual hotels used on your tour dates, which may vary from the hotels listed above.)
* the hotels and prices listed above are for reference only and are subject to change (based on availability and seasonality)
|Total Distance||251 km (156 miles)|
|Daily Distance||50 km (31 miles)|
|Notes||A great tour for novice cyclists in terms of daily distance and terrain type. Bike handling skills are necessary when negotiating bike paths (usually in or near cities and towns). Also ideal for experienced cyclists who desire shorter days on the bike and plenty of time to enjoy the destination, food and activities. We will ride 44-55 km (27-35 mi) per day, over flat to rolling terrain, on paved backroads and bike paths with little vehicle traffic. On some short stretches we share the roads with cars. Experienced cyclists who want longer, optional rides at the end of the programmed ride will have these available (please inquire ahead).
|Terms||Terms & Conditions|
This tour is available for private groups - contact us with your planned travel dates, and we will create your private departure.
2023 calendar dates will be posted soon - If you are interested in joining an existing group departure date, please contact us for details.
To inquire about a private or custom tour date, or inquire about calendar departures, please use our guided tour inquiry form
*2023 price, per person, based on double occupancy; minimum 6 participants per departure.
High-Season surcharge (May and June; September and early October): a €100 per person surcharge is applied.
Bike Upgrade Options:
For detailed descriptions and photos of our bicycles, as well as tandem, children's, and more bike options, please click here
Additional useful information:
• Check out our FAQs page for all the details on how our bike tours work!
• Our guided tours include an expert local tour leader, as well as van support. We also include access to our smartphone app and GPS tracks for navigation - this page details what it's like to navigate on our tours.
• If you are curious about the self-guided tour formula, this blog explains the differences between Guided and Self-Guided Tours.
Are you interested in a departure, or do you have questions? We are happy to help! Please inquire through our contact form, below.
|Prices||€1765 per person||Single Supplement||€195 (in double room for single use)|
|Next Step||Request space on this Bicycle Tour »|
10 out of 10: I would be very happy to recommend this trip, even with all the roundabouts, to anyone except a biking nut (cyclopath). Sara was also very generous with her time and knowledge.
Charles C., USA, 2021
10 out of 10: Perfect for those who want a 360o experience on the italian culture!!! Great rides in flat paths and amazing landscape. A real taste of Italy with great cooking class and stops for gelato, acetaia and cheese making visit. High quality bikes, appropriate for the riding.
Sandra P., Brazil, 2019