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Cycle Europe - serving bicycle travellers since 1972

Bicycle Tours — Italy

Taste of Italy, Emilia-Romagna Culinary Cycling

Classic Self-Guided - Bologna to Parma - 5 days

The 5-day version of a traveler favorite! You'll ride through Italy's premier pasta (and foodie) region, and delight on extraordinary local dishes made according to tradition. Every day of pedaling takes you on unique experiences and behind-the-scenes visits, like a family-run parmesan cheese producer or a historical balsamic vinegar mill and cellar. Cycle through picturesque medieval towns, elegant cities and world heritage UNESCO sites, and countryside scenery that reminds of nearby Tuscany (but without the crowds!). Not just about the food, Emilia-Romagna offers its rich history, art, culture and traditions, all conspiring to make this an unforgettable tour!

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  • Day 1

    Bologna welcome

    Highlights: The Red City and its marvelous porticoes and alleways

    Check in to the centrally located hotel in Bologna, enjoy the views of the old town from the charming rooftop terrace, and get yourself situated. Bologna today is Emilia-Romagna's administrative capital and, arguably, its culinary capital too. Home to the oldest continually operating university in the world, the city boasts its rich history and long tradition in the arts and gastronomy. Bologna gave birth to the 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!

    After meeting our staff at the starting hotel for a tour briefing and bike fitting (normally in the early afternoon), you are ready to go! We recommend getting out to explore this afternoon and check out our suggested dinner locations!

    Accommodation: Hotel Touring, or similar.

  • Day 2

    Bologna to Modena

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

    Leave Bologna on its city bike paths and next to the one-of-a-kind porticoes, 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: 63 km (39 miles)
    Elevation gain: +212 m (695 ft)

    Accommodation: Hotel Canalgrande, or similar.

  • Day 3

    Cycle to Reggio Emilia

    Highlights: Modena's covered street market, Balsamic vinegar, charming Reggio, optional farm stay

    Before heading out of Modena on your 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 Acetaia Cavalli estate, where the family has been producing the highest quality balsamic for over a hundred years.
    Continue on an easy ride along lovely back roads to the evening's destination, the charming city of Reggio Emilia. Optionally, you may choose to stay in an "agriturismo" outside the city - this country house hotel shows off its working farm, parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar production, vineyards and winery, and more, within a wonderful natural setting (please note, on certain nights the farm restaurant is closed; Reggio Emilia is the closest option for a restaurant dinner, a 20min taxi drive away).

    Daily distance: 56 km (34 miles)
    Elevation gain: +233 m (765ft)

    Accommodation: Hotel Posta , or similar.

  • Day 4

    Reggio Emilia to Parma

    Highlights: Parma cured ham and parmesan cheese

    You'll start the morning with a guided visit of a parmesan cheese factory on the road to Parma. This wonderful experience, in which you'll learn why Parmiggiano-Reggiano is known as "the king of cheeses”, is one of the tour highlights.

    With your senses awakened, you are ready for today's destination - yet another place 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, stately 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. No place better to do this than from a table in a piazza!

    Daily distance: 63 km (39 miles)
    Elevation gain: +291 m (955 ft)

    Accommodation: Hotel Button, or similar.

  • Day 5

    Tour ends in Parma - Arrivederci amici!

    Highlights: World Heritage Site of Parma

    Your cycling tour ends in Parma. Enjoy this lovely city in the morning - with your newly refined palate, hit the shop or market and take some recipes home to try in your own kitchen! If you have the time, we recommend visiting nearby Torrechiara Castle.

    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 3- and 4-star hotels and B&Bs of similar quality
All breakfasts
Bike fitting and briefing in English by our professional staff at tour start
Access to smartphone app with tracks and digital roadbook
Luggage transfers
Guided visit of artisanal parmesan factory
Guided visit and tasting at family-run balsamic vinegar mill

Not Included:
Travel to and from the tour start and end
Bicycle rental (see Prices tab)
Entrance to museums or other activities not indicated as included
City hotel tax (2 to 5 euro per night per person, to be paid locally by traveler)
Any meals or beverages not indicated as included
Any type of insurance (medical, trip cancellation and interruption, baggage, bike rental)

Solo Traveler and Private Group departures available: please inquire.

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

Extra nights: If you'd like to add nights before or after the tour, please inquire - we will be happy to provide a quote and add the nights to your tour package.

Extra meals & activities: (please inquire for price and availability)

Cooking classes available in various tour locations! Organized by Le Cesarine, experts in Italian culinary experiences. You will be hosted by a local at their home - your "Cesarina" - in a class that lasts about three hours, during which you will help the Cesarina prepare three courses. In the fourth 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.


Navigation and roadbook
On our self-guided tours, detailed tour information and route navigation tracks are provided through the free smartphone app Ride With GPS - our "digital roadbook" - which includes daily routes, maps, elevation profiles, and ride descriptions; schedules and hotel itinerary; cultural and sightseeing information, visit suggestions; emergency numbers and more, all stored in one organized, easy to use app. Downloading the app content also allows for offline mode navigation. Participants can also upload the routes to their own GPS device, and even print the detailed route notes before leaving home

On our self-guided tours, GPS device rental, as well as a printed roadbook, are available at an optional extra fee:
  • GPS device rental: €50
  • Printed roadbook: €45 (second copy of printed roadbook €15)

  • For more information on our navigation options, as well as the smartphone app, please read our blog: What's it like to navigate on our self-guided tours?.


    Luggage transfers are included in your package.
    The luggage is normally collected from 9.30am at the reception of the hotel and is delivered at the following hotel by 3pm. 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.

    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.

    Tour code: itbs4128
    Countries Italy
    Begin/End Bologna / Parma
    Arrive/Depart Starting point: Hotel Touring- Via De' Mattuiani, 1/2 Bologna
    We recommend flying into Bologna Aeroporto G.Marconi (BLQ).
    - Marconi Express is the new monorail that connects the Bologna airport and train station. The trip is 7 minutes long and it runs every 7 minutes approximately.
    - Alternatively, you can choose to take a taxi from Bologna Airport to your hotel in the center

    The meeting time for our self-guided tours is typically set between 2pm and 4pm. We recommend travelers plan accordingly allowing plenty of time to arrive at the determined meeting place. Please note a late fee may be applied for late arrivals - please see our terms page for details

    Ending point: Hotel Button – Borgo della Salina, 7 Parma
    You can fly out from Bologna (BLQ), which is connected to Parma by train.
    - The hotel is located about 1 km from the train station. Take a 5-minute taxi ride to the train station or take a bus (ask at the hotel front desk for help). There are several direct trains connecting Parma and Bologna and the ride takes about an hour, the cost varies depending on the type of train
    - From Bologna Centrale train station to the airport, you can catch the Marconi Express or a taxi (see “Starting point” for more info)

    Private airport transfers available: if you prefer to be driven from airport to hotel in a private vehicle transfer, please inquire for cost - we will be happy to include this service in your tour package

    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 is available at the airport.

    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.)
    Total Distance 156 km (97 miles)
    Daily Distance 52 km (32 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
    Terms Terms & Conditions
    Dates Prices Single Supplement
    Dates This tour is available between March 1 and October 31

    * 2024 price, per person, based on double occupancy; minimum 2 participants per departure.

    Starts every Sunday. Other start days available by request (extra fee applies). Please note that starting on certain days of the week will make some visits (such as museums or tastings) impossible.

    Solo traveler departures are also available (only one person on the departure), with a supplemental fee of €495. This fee also includes the cost of the single / double room supplement, as well as a GPS unit with the pre-loaded routes.

    Group Discounts are available for 4 or more participants booking together on the same departure! Please inquire for details through our contact form below.

    For more ways to save, see our Discounts and Promotions page (hint - consider coming in the low-season!)


    High-Season surcharge (May, June, September and early October): a €100 per person surcharge is applied on high-season departures. If joining an existing, confirmed departure date, the fee may be waived - please inquire.

    2024 Confirmed departure dates:
    coming soon!


    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: €80
    Premium Titanium road or hybrid: €105
    E-bike (hybrid with straight handlebar): €160
    Tandem: €185 (priced 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.


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


    Additional useful information:

    • Do you have any questions about how our bike tours work? Check out our FAQs page!

    • Curious about the difference between our Casual and Classic self-guided tours? Check out our introduction blog on Casual Self-Guided Tours.

    • We offer various tools for navigation - this page details what it's like to navigate on our self-guided tours.

    • If the self-guided formula isn't right for you, check out this blog introducing the differences between Guided and Self-Guided Tours.
    Prices €995 per person * Single Supplement €190 (in double room for single use)
    Next Step Request space on this Bicycle Tour »
    • We were a little nervous about navigating our way through the countryside and cities alone. We were alone with no others on our tour so staying on route was totally up to us. After doing the trip, we can say with good confidence that anyone should be able to manage this well, so don't let that worry you if you are considering a self guided tour.

      Nick C.

    • We were a little nervous about navigating our way through the countryside and cities alone. We were alone with no others on our tour so staying on route was totally up to us. After doing the trip, we can say with good confidence that anyone should be able to manage this well, so don't let that worry you if you are considering a self guided tour.

      Nick C.

    • 10 out of 10: Great trip, thank you! Look forward to riding with you again soon.

      James M., USA, 2022