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Biking Tours Italy: The Great Alps
It takes a special cyclist to throw themselves full throttle into riding the famous passes of the Giro d’Italia in the Alps. You have the golden opportunity to be precisely that rider and pedal on this spectacular journey through the mountains, climb incredible ascents and challenge yourself to reach quite literally the greatest heights.
- CategoryRoad Cycling
- TypeFully Guided
- Duration7 days
- Culture LevelAdventurous
- Skill Level3 - Intermediate
- Activity Level5 - Tough
- Elevation5 - Tough
- Distance227.4 miles
- Avg. Daily Distance45.4 miles
- Day 1Arriving fresh and ready for action in the Valtellina
Today you will be welcomed by the staff and get acquainted with your tour companions.
The mood will be feverish as you prepare, fit your bikes, and run through a briefing on what to expect on this ride through the Alps. Afterwards settle down for a scrumptious local dinner together and enjoy the region’s finest wines. A mountain restaurant is the idyllic spot for this.
- Day 2Gearing up for the Gavia Pass and a careful descent
The fresh mountain air in Bormio is more accustomed to hosting the Ski World Cup, but this week it is your home and the beginning of your pedaling odyssey.
Tackle the Gavia Pass today; despite being one of the highest mountain passes in Europe, this will be the least demanding ride of the week. Be prepared for a battle; this epic climb is one of the highlights from the Giro d’Italia, with countless images of cyclists beating the snow. At all times a support vehicle will assist if necessary and it will also be on hand as you reach the top, so you can quickly put on some warm and protective clothing. This climb has an average gradient of 5.4% with matching views of the Alps.
Descending on your bicycle down the mountain you will head to the province of Brescia, which also boasts the breath-taking Valle Camonica. This valley became the first ever UNESCO World Heritage Site in Italy thanks to its prehistoric remains and rock carvings.
After this stop continue down the valley before concluding the ride in Trentino. Exhausted but happy, it’s time to pack the bikes onto the minibus and head back to Bormio to enjoy dinner and some fine wine.
- 39.8 miles
- 4,265.1 ft
- Day 3New horizons on the Swiss pass
Today is all about the passes, climbing, spectacular scenery and scrumptious food.
After devouring breakfast, you’ll head to Tirano to board the bike and begin the first climb to Lake Poschiavo. The climb is demanding but throughout all the climbs you’ll have the trusty minibus following along. The difference in altitude on this climb will certainly push your limits but the fantastic sights of the Bernina glaciers will fill you with much needed strength to push on.
A big highlight today is the Swiss pass which connects the Valtellina and Upper Engadine. After completing this behemoth it’s time to get changed and rev up for an exhilarating descent that will take you flying into St. Moritz.
On this descent the Alpine peaks of Pizzo Bernina, Pizzo Palù, and the Morteratsch lie beautifully in front of you, creating a landscape that has to be seen to be believed. After reaching St. Moritz you will continue on to the Maloja Pass before swapping your two tires for the minibus to drive the rest of the way to the hotel. A delicious dinner awaits, rich in its use of local produce, washed down with the finest wines from the region.
- 65.2 miles
- 6,161.4 ft
- Day 4Lake Como provides some respite for weary legs
Even professional cyclists require a bit of downtime in between taking on such big and challenging rides. Today is a gentle ride that will enable you to recover some energy and explore the fantastic Lake Como.
After enjoying breakfast everyone heads off in the minibus for the lower Valtellina. Cycling around Lake Como is breezy and fun as you pedal towards Menaggio before swapping for a boat to reach Varenna. Back on the bikes you can drift happily towards the hotel to relax some more.
- 46.6 miles
- Day 5Following the tracks of legends on Europe’s toughest ascent
Feeling refreshed after a day of gazing at Lake Como and gliding around on flat roads, it is back to tackling some beasts of climbs.
Following a hearty breakfast you will load up onto the minibus to Mazzo where the ride begins today. Today is a real challenge as you prepare to take on one of the most popular and difficult ascents in Europe.
Stretching for 12.5km (8 mi) with a height difference of 1300m (4265 ft) this climb is not for the faint hearted, with a gradient averaging 10% and peaking at 18%. Your legs are not going to forget this one. This climb is renowned for its part in the Giro d’Italia route; included more than a dozen times since 1990, this pass is where the great Marco Pantani broke free to win the stage in 1994.
As you pump your legs up the mountain you will quickly understand why Passo del Mortirole is known as ‘the pass of all passes’. Attack with confidence; the minibus is always on hand, but you won't need it to make it to the top. Once the ascent is complete you will return via a far more comfortable route through Trivigno to reach the Aprica Pass. Awaiting you back at the hotel is another fine local dinner that is well deserved.
- 28 miles
- 4,258.5 ft
- Day 6Gazing upon the mighty Ortler on your last day of riding
You have made it to the final day of riding and boy is it a humdinger for you. Today includes the last of this epic series of climbs; you will head up from Bormio to the Stelvio Pass. Connecting the Valtellina with Val Venosta, this is the highest Italian pass that allows vehicles to drive it. But it is definitely one to be savored more on two-wheels with sweat dripping down.
Sweeping views and gorgeous nature line the way as you whizz round hairpin bends and push your limits. As you climb, the jaw-dropping view of the Ortler mountain range, with its extensive glaciers, looms into sight. Swapping into warm clothing you can take the time for some photographs before heading downhill. With the icy wind rushing past you will visit the Trentino side of the mountains before pedaling to the fortified town of Glorenza. Here it is time to pack away the bikes one final time and salute an incredible feat as you jump in the minibus and head to Bormio for dinner.
- 33.6 miles
- 5,062.3 ft
- Day 7The end of a majestic journey
One last breakfast as a team will afford another chance to chat happily before it is time to move on with this epic journey through the Alps living on in your memory.