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Bicycle Tours — Italy

Taste of Italy, Emilia-Romagna Culinary Cycling

Classic Self-Guided - Bologna to Parma - 8 day

A traveler favorite among our Classic tours line-up, you'll ride through Italy's premier pasta (and foodie) region, where you can delight on extraordinary local dishes made according to tradition. Every day of pedaling can take you on unique experiences and behind-the-scenes visits, like a family-run parmesan cheese producer or a historical balsamic vinegar mill and cellar. You will also cycle to ancient castles and picturesque medieval towns, marvelous cities and world heritage UNESCO sites, and countryside scenery that reminds of nearby Tuscany (but without the crowds!). Not just about the food, but also a rich history, art, culture and tradition conspire 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 wonderfully located hotel in Bologna, enjoy the views of the old town from the 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, he city has a long tradition of studies, arts, and gastronomy. Speaking of 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 your 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. Optional dinner tonight at a local trattoria.

    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

    Modena to Castelvetro loop ride

    Highlights: Explore Modena; optional loop ride on the hills

    Take time to explore Modena today by climbing up the bell tower or visiting the Palace of the Duchy. Alternatively, enjoy a ride to the foothills of the Apennines along quiet roads and bicycle lanes. Visit the picturesque town of Castelvetro with its fortified historical center and balsamic vinegar production. If you are a car fan, Modena is the home of Ferrari and other historical brands so there are museums and exhibitions you can indulge in!

    Daily distance: 60 km (37 miles)
    Elevation gain: +374 m (1227ft)

    Accommodation: Hotel Canalgrande, or similar.

  • Day 4

    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 (720ft)

    Accommodation: Agriturismo La Razza, or similar.

  • Day 5

    Reggio Emilia loop ride on the hills

    Highlights: Canossa Castle ruins or city of Reggio Emilia

    ead for the hills today on a ride to Canossa Castle ruins, where the Holy Roman Empire Emperor Henry 5th had to show penance to the Pope, waiting in the snow barefoot at the gate of Matilda's castle for three days before Matilda, countess of Canossa, convinced the Pope to open. Alternatively, for a shorter loop ride follow the bike path to Reggio Emilia for a visit of this bustling, pretty town.

    Short option: 22 km (12 miles) with +102 m (330 ft) elevation gain.
    Long option: 57km (35 miles) with +801 m (2650 ft) elevation gain.

    Accommodation: Agriturismo La Razza, or similar.

  • Day 6

    Reggio Emilia to Parma

    Highlights: Parma cured ham and parmesan cheese

    You'll start the morning with a visit of the parmesan factory at your Agriturismo. Paolo the friendly owner and manager of the La Razza establishment will guide you through a truly wonderful experience, learning why Parmiggiano-Reggiano is known as "the king of cheeses". 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: 65 km (40 miles)
    Elevation gain: +305 m (1000ft) for the longer ride option

    Accommodation: Hotel Button, or similar.

  • Day 7

    Torrechiara Castle loop ride

    Highlights: Lovely ride in the hills near Parma and the castle of Torrechiara and lunch with a view; explore Parma

    Get ready for your last day of bicycling amidst ancient castles and local traditions! Today's ride will loop to the breathtaking Torrechiara Castle. Dominating the Val Parma, the castle was constructed between 1448 and 1460, devised as an instrument of defense as well as a distinguished home for the count and his lover. This area is famous for its cured prosciutto and local salame—taste them in this historic setting!

    Daily distance: 48 km (30 miles)
    Elevation gain: +240 m (755 ft)

    Accommodation: Hotel Button, or similar.

  • Day 8

    Tour ends in Parma - arrivederci!

    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!


    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 7 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; GPS device with pre-loaded navigation routes (one for every two cyclists); access to smartphone app with tracks and digital roadbook; printed roadbook with detailed daily information, maps and more; 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.

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: 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, €155 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: (please inquire for price and availability)

- Cooking class available in Bologna: €80 per person. 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 cook 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. Min 2 participants - supplement of €25 for solo travelers.

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Navigation and roadbook:
On our CLASSIC self-guided tours, detailed tour information and route navigation tracks are provided through a GPS device (one included for every two cyclists), a smartphone application, as well as a printed roadbook with thorough daily descriptions and maps. Our "digital roadbook" is delivered to tour participants via the Ride With GPS app, accessed on a smartphone - daily maps, elevation profiles, routes 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; or rely completely on the detailed roadbook that we will print for you and deliver at tour start

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?.
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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.


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: itbs4006
Countries Italy
Begin/End Bologna / Parma
Arrive/Depart How to get there and away:
In and out of Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport (BLQ)

Starting point: Hotel Touring- Via De' Mattuiani, 1/2 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 Button– Borgo della Salina, 7 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 Touring: €40 (1-3 pax) | €50 (4-6 pax)
- Parma Hotel Button - 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.

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 275-325 km (170-200 miles)
Daily Distance 20-62 km (12-38 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 The map published below shows the daily rides for this tour. Each color represents a daily ride - click on each ride for detailed information. For days in which we offer more than one ride option, one optional ride will show in a darker color, while the other shows in a lighter color.

This map is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide navigation directions. We provide our self-guided tour customers the exact navigation routes via the Ride With GPS app, after the tour has been booked and before the tour departure date. If you have any questions, please contact us!

Terms Terms & Conditions
Dates Prices Single Supplement
Dates Available March 1 to October 31, 2022

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.

Per person price based on double occupancy; minimum 2 participants per departures; 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.

Please inquire about possible discounts when joining one of the following 2022 confirmed departures (pending hotel availability):
May 21
June 5, 13, 16, 19
July 17
September 3, 11

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: €120
Premium Titanium road or hybrid: €160
E-bike (hybrid with straight handlebar): €240
Tandem: €280 (priced per bike, for 2 cyclists)
Tag-along or kid trailer: €80

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

High-Season supplement (May-June, September and early October): Hotels and/or bikes may be subject to availability, and a supplemental fee of €100 per person may be applied on new departure dates.

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Don't have 8 days? Our shorter version of this tour still offers great cycling and all the highlights: Taste of Italy 5-day self-guided tour.
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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 €1045 per person

Single Supplement €290 fee for private, double room

€505 solo traveler fee (only one person on departure)
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