Total tour distance: 350 miles
Daily tour distance: 50 miles
Difficulty: 100 / 100
Located in the far northern part of Italy, bordering Austria and Switzerland, this region is not only a mix of cultures but offers some of Italy’s most challenging and spectacular riding. Starting in Bolzano, the first few days explore the the dramatic scenery of the craggy peaked Dolomites. As you pass through small villages, you may hear German or Ladin (a local, ancient language) used as frequently as Italian. This region is also home to such famous passes as the Gardena, Sella and Pordoi. As the trip progresses, we’ll turn northwest, crossing back across the Alto Adige valley and continue on to the Italian Alps. Truly the home to incredible riding, it is no surprise that the Italian Alps are featured annually in Italy’s pro bike race, the Giro d’Italia. And if you thought the 21 switchbacks of Alpe d’Huez were a lot, how about trying the 48 switchbacks of the Passo dello Stelvio? The trip would also include rides featuring the Passo Gavia and Mortirolo. As for cuisine, think of your favorite Italian dishes mixed with a generous influence of Austrian meats, cheeses, strudel and of course beer!
BIKE TOUR HIGHLIGHTS
- Exploring the rich mix of cultures in this unique northern Italian region
- Counting out each of the Passo dello Stelvio’s 48 switchback
- The breathtaking views!
- Following the routes used by the pros during Italy’s greatest stage race
- Relaxing the the spa town of Merano
- Challenging cycling routes for avid cyclists
- 100% GPS routes (bike GPS provided for your use during trip).
- Four Star Accommodations
- Most Meals Included (breakfast every day, some lunches, and most dinners)
- Fully supported / guided tour with van and trip leader(s)
- No shuttling required to/from the ride. You can always ride door to door if you wish. Van support always an option too.
- Small groups (max 10) for a more personalized experience
- Maximum flexibility of when you travel. You pick the dates you'd like to go and we arrange it for you.
TOUR OVERVIEW AND DAILY ITINERARY
The Dolomites and Italian Alps are dramatic and breathtaking in mid-summer. Get ready for a grand and challenging cycling tour! We cover a bit larger geographic area on this tour than other In Situ trips. By encompassing the classic routes of the Dolomites as well as the Italian High Alps, our week includes three fantastic inns as we tackle the unforgettable cycling routes these two regions hold. We start our week in the lakeside town of Alleghe, spending our first three nights there while we ride the famous Dolomiti routes such as the Sella Ronda. From here we head westward, through Bolzano, spending two evenings in Merano as we prepare to conquer the 48 turns of the Stelvio Pass. But the climbing isn’t over yet! From our base in Bormio, we’ll ride the challenging and scenic Mortirolo and Gavia passes on the same day!
We’ll meet in Bolzano, the capital town of the South Tyrol and we’ll shuttle to our hotel located on the beautiful and idyllic lake of Alleghe. You’ll have time to get settled in to the hotel, assemble your bike, make any bike fit adjustments and then get briefed on today’s cycling route. Our first day’s route is a chance to stretch any travel weary legs, get to know one another and make sure everything on your bike feels perfect for the upcoming week. This evening you’ll join the group for a welcome cocktail before sitting down for the first of our many great meals together. Ride: approximately 30 km (18 miles).
Our first full day’s ride of the week starts with a regional classic: the Sella Ronda. Our cycling route will take us in a loop over 4 of the area’s best known climbs: the Passo Pordoi, Passo Sella, Passo Gardena and the Passo Campolongo. The route is punctuated with breathtaking vistas, challenging climbs and fabulous descents. Tonight’s meal will be together as a group. Ride: 100 km (62 miles) with 2500 m (8200 ft) of climbing.
While today’s route is slightly shorter, it’s sure to inspire and delight you just the same. We’ll head southward, gently cycling downhill before we tackle the Passo Duran, the first of our two significant climbs for the day. With an average grade of 7.7% over approximately 12 km (7.5 miles), this climb is sure to wake up your legs. For our next ascent we’ll cycle up the Forcella Staulanza. While roughly the same distance as the Passo Duran, the average grade is a bit lower so hopefully your legs will find it a bit easier as well. Once back in town, you’ll have some free time to explore, rest or perhaps get a massage. Dinner will be on your own at a restaurant of your choosing. Ride: 75 km (47 miles) with 1920 m (6300 feet) of climbing.
Ride westward! Today we’ll ride ourselves away from Lake Alleghe and over the passes of the Fedaia and the Costalunga before continuing through the town of Bolzano. Once west of Bolzano however the route is virtually flat, allowing us to spin casually to our hotel in Merano. For dinner tonight, we’ll dine together at the hotel. Ride: 116 km (72 miles) with 2042 m (6700 ft) of climbing.
You’ve put in some good miles thus far and more spectacular riding is yet to come. Your legs however may thank you for an easier day in the saddle. That’s why we’re calling today a rest day. You’ll have the option of taking the day off completely to explore the town of Merano and its famous thermal hot springs. For those of you who’d like to take an easy spin with us, there’s that on the agenda as well. We’ll keep it short, but just hard enough for a beneficial, active recovery day. You’ll be on your own for dinner tonight. Ride: 32 km (20 miles) with 365 m (1200 feet) of climbing.
Are you ready to ride your bike up one of the most famous routes in cycling? Awaiting you is the Passo Stelvio, whose 48 switchbacks twist and turn up the mountain to a height of 2758 meters (9048 feet) above sea level. But once over this beautiful beast of a climb, you’ll have nothing but fantastic descending to our next hotel in Bormio. Tonight, we’ll gather for dinner as a group. Ride: 95 km (59 miles) with 2530 m (8,300 feet) of climbing.
Two more monuments to Italian cycling lie in store for you today: the Mortirolo and the Gavia passes. Considering that you’ve already put in several challenging bike rides to get you to this point in the week, today’s route is no small feat. But cycling your way over both of these iconic climbs will make your trip that much more rewarding. First up, after riding gently downhill away from Bormio, is the classic side of the Mortirolo. Once over the top, we’ll descend into the adjacent river valley and begin our ascent of the Gavia. As this is your last climb of the bike tour, this may be your most challenging moment yet, but you can do it! At the top, join in a celebration with the other cyclists, before we ride back to Bormio. We’ll have a farewell dinner tonight, recapping all of the great moments of the week. Ride: 113 km (70 miles) with 3353 m (11,000 feet) of climbing.
We’ll have one last breakfast together before you’ll say “arrivederci” and then shuttle via private coach to Bolzano.
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