Cycling in the Dolomites, Italy
A road cycling holiday to the Dolomites and Italian Alps and now established as a Skedaddle road cycling classic!! Huge castles, vineyards and dramatic mountain peaks mark the far north of Italy as a genuinely special riding destination.
from £1310 (based on two people sharing)
Greentraveller's Travel Advice: Minimize the environmental impact of your trip, by avoiding the hassle of airports in favour of relaxing and scenic rail journeys through French countryside. Another added bonus that the train has over the plane: it's much easier to transport your own bike for use on this spectacular cycling tour.
>> For full details, see: Train from London to Milan
>> See also: Our Guide to Taking Bikes on Trains in Europe
Details of Cycling Holiday in the Dolomites
Huge castles, vineyards and dramatic mountain peaks mark the far north of Italy as a genuinely special riding destination. To the north are the High Alps of Austria, to the west the Swiss Alps and to the east the Italian Alps and Dolomites.
It’s here that the Giro d’Italia showcases some of the most challenging and thrilling mountain riding in the world of professional cycling.
These are some of Europe’s most dramatic mountains and they’re also where we’re staging our brand new mountain challenge. The tour takes in the most spectacular of these mountains and, of course, their legendary climbs.
Starting our week close to the tranquil shores of Lake Como we begin, relatively gently, by riding along the shores of the lake. Stepping things up a little we then scale the Ghisallo, visiting the famous hilltop cyclists shrine along the way.
During the course of the next few days things get progressively tougher as we head deep into the mountains. An early highlight includes climbing the Mortirolo, a climb described by Lance Armstrong as “the toughest in the world” and the site of an impressive memorial statue to Italian hero Marco Pantani.
As we make our way towards Trento we take in many more of the Alps classic climbs including the Gavia and the legendary Stelvio, which at 2758 meters is one of the highest alpine passes in Europe.. As we head into the Dolomites, you will be contending with Passo Sella, Falcade and Rolle surrounded by the majestic Dolomite peaks. The grand finale is the climb of Monte Grappa and a never ending descent into Bassano where this classic tour comes to a celebratory end!
Day 1 - Arrival
Following arrival at Milan Bergamo Airport (Orio al Serio) Saddle Skedaddle will transfer by minibus (approx 1.5 hours) to Como where you'll spend your first evening. Como is a stunning town nestled between the mountains and the mighty Lago di Como, an evening strolling around a dining here is not to be missed.
Day 2 - Como - Morbegno Approx 90 kms
The narrow lakeside road out of Como is quite spectacular, and is a great start to our journey. Along the way you take undulating roads, passing through small villages and great scenery before you start the 8 kilometre climb to the Madonna di Ghisallo, made famous as the decisive climb in the Giro di Lombardia. Ghisallo is the patron saint of cyclists and you take time out at the summit to visit the famous cyclist's shrine and museum at the top of the pass. Next you descend back to the lake shore where you board a ferry for a quick transfer. Riding along the lake and then Valtellina, you make our way your hotel in Morbegno where will spend the evening at a local restaurant.
Day 3 Morbegno – Ponte di Legno – Passo del Tonale Approx 100 kms
Following a relaxed cappuccino you ride from our hotel and along the valley in the direction of Tirano from where you commence your ascent of the Mortirolo, one of the most famous (possibly infamous!) climbs in the world. This is a mountain once described by Lance Armstrong as "the toughest in the world". The climb is long and very steep, with many-a-hairpin bend along the way. Before reaching the summit you'll spend some time admiring the impressive monument erected in honour of Italian hero and Giro winner Marco Pantani. Next stop, and where you will finish the day is Ponte di Legno, a nice town bellow the Tonale Pass. Here you have the option of extending your epic ride of the Italian passes and ride to the top, an extra 10 km.
Day 4 – Ponte di Legno - Prato dello Stelvio Approx 90kms
A day which takes in 2 legendary mountain passes firstly the Gavia which is followed by the world-famous Stelvio - one of the higher mountain pass in Europe with its 48 hairpin bends, the day may be short – but with two of the toughest climbs in Italy under your belt you’ll certainly be feeling it in your legs. You descend the Stelvio via those 48 bends and settle for the evening in the villlage of Prato dello Stelvio where you can look back at the highlights of the day over another carbo filling dinner.
Day 5 - Bolzano – Canazei Short Option 45 km - Long Option 110 kms
The morning begins as you load up the bikes and make a transfer just on the other side of Bolzano (approx 1 hour ½ ). After setting up the bikes you head off in the direction of Pozza di Fazza along a very scenic route. Your first Passo for the day is Passo Costalunga, where you can admire the breathtaking Dolomites of Cartinaccio. Arriving in Canzei, you have the option to ride 3 of the 4 great classic passes of the Dolomites and Giro: Passo Sella, Passo Gardena and Passo Pardoi!! Surrounding you all the way, huge great grey and orange rock faces and pillars. For those who want to make it a shorter day, plenty of cafes in town to sit and watch other cyclists go by! You stop for the night near Canazei in a typical alpine hotel.
Day 6 – Canazei - San Martino Approx 85 kms
With more challenging mountains to tackle today you’ll make an early start. Ultimately you're heading for San Martino but along the way you’ll take in a couple of real classics: Passo di Fedaia, just below the famous Marmolada peak and glacier, the highest of the Dolomitic ranges and definitely not to be missed! On to Falcade and a long and winding climb over Passo di Valles and Passo di Rolle. Today’s ride takes you through the Brenta, some of the most iconic and most spectacular scenery in Europe. Your hotel is in St Martino where you will dine out to sample the local cuisine.
Day 7 - San Martino - Bassano del Grappa Approx 115km
A great and epic ride to complete our own “Giro”. Descending, firstly to Imer and then straight into hills to avoid the tunnels on the main roads. You drop down to Zorzoi. From here you climb over the Croce d’Aune, a pass made famous by Tullio Campagnolo, and one which features in many great races (there is a memorial to Campagnolo at the summit and the climb has a groupset is named after). Descending to Pedavena, you then ride over Mt Grappa, a place that “made Italy” during the First World War. A long, thrilling and seemingly never-ending descent into Bassano del Grappa, a perfect place to finish and celebrate our trip… why not, with some local Grappa? You deserve it!
Day 8 - Departure
Saddle Skedaddle provides everything except a bike (unless you've opted to hire one) personal equipment and clothing. If you are taking your own bike it should preferably be a road bike or, alternatively, a mountain bike fitted with slick tyres.
Although you will be taking things at a relatively leisurely pace the route is obvioulsy very hilly. Guides recommend that you use either a triple chainset or a 27 bottom sprocket to ease the climbing. Please contact the operator if you are unsure whether your bike will be suitable.
It is imperative that your bike is in good mechanical order. If you are not mechanically minded, Saddle Skedaddle advise you to take your bike to a local bicycle dealer for a service. The guide(s) will of course be taking a full tool kit and a selection of spares, which they will provide should the need arise but please be sure to carry your own basic tool kit, pump, spare tube, and any specific spare parts you may require for your bike - especially unusual spokes.
Your route through the Italian Alps and Dolomites will take you through occasional tunnels, some of which are not particularly well lit. Guides suggest therefore that riders bring a set of "backup" style LED lights for use on those occasions.
What the price doesn't include
A) Personal clothing and equipment.
B) Evening meals
C) Alcoholic drinks.
D) Travel insurance (if required, £28)
E) Bar bills, telephone calls, souvenirs, etc.
F) Bike hire (if required)
What price includes
- 7 night's en-suite hotel accommodation
- 75% meals provided
- place to place with luggage transfer
- 6 days cycling
- Full tour service including guides and support vehicles
- Transfers to / from train station
Plan your journey by train
A hotel in Como
Transfer to meeting point:
Operator collects guests from station
How to get there:
Train from London to Como (via Milan)
Plan your journey by train
A hotel in Bassano del Grappa.
Transfer to finish point:
Operator drops guests off at station
We will transfer to Milan the following morning for return trains.
How to get back:
Train from Milan to London