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Northern Italy: Great Alps Bike Tour
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
- Distance279.6 miles
- Avg. Daily Distance62.1 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 2Bormio - Gavia Pass - Mortirolo Pass - Bormio
Our journey begins in Bormio, and our first destination is the Gavia Pass, which happens to be the least physically demanding pass we'll encounter throughout the week. This pass ranks among Europe's highest mountain passes and is renowned for its place in the iconic Giro d'Italia, where we've seen unforgettable scenes of exhausted cyclists battling the snow in past editions of the race.
Departing from Bormio, our route takes us towards Santa Caterina along a broad road featuring notable inclines. As we progress, the road narrows, presenting more challenging segments. This unique ride offers a mix of easy stretches, allowing us to savor the breathtaking scenery, and demanding sections with an average gradient of 5.4% and peaks at 15%. Once we conquer the climb and reach the summit, we'll don the provided protective gear before cautiously descending into the province of Brescia. Our journey leads us to Ponte di Legno, a renowned ski resort nestled in the picturesque Valle Camonica. This valley is famous for its ancient rock engravings, prehistoric relics that earned it the distinction of being Italy's first UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979, alongside prestigious sites like the Gardens of Versailles and the Egyptian Pyramids.
Continuing down the valley, we arrive at Monno, a crossroads connecting Valle Camonica and Valtellina. Here, we embark on another remarkable ascent: the Mortirolo Pass. Although this side of the pass is somewhat easier compared to the Valtellina side, it still presents a formidable challenge, especially after conquering the Gavia Pass earlier in the day.
Upon reaching the summit, we'll enjoy a thrilling downhill ride back to Bormio. Our first day concludes here as we load our road bikes onto the minibus and return to Bormio, where we'll relish an evening in great company, indulging in superb local cuisine and wine.
- 67.1 miles
- 10,433.1 ft
- Day 3Tirana - Bernina Pass - Forcola Pass - Livigno - Foscagno Pass - Bormio
After a hearty breakfast, we'll embark on a transfer to Tirano, where our ascent begins, offering an immediate challenge as we make our way to Lake Poschiavo. Here, we'll pause briefly to catch our breath before resuming our journey on two wheels. Despite the uphill battle and the shortness of breath, we can take comfort in the constant presence of the minibus by our side, ready to offer reassurance and any necessary support. This climb involves a substantial change in elevation, boasting an average gradient of 5.5% and reaching a maximum incline of 12%. However, the awe-inspiring landscapes and the magnificent views of the Bernina glaciers will serve as our motivation to conquer this pass with our road bikes.
This Swiss pass serves as a vital link between the Valtellina and Upper Engadine regions. Along the way, we'll be treated to breathtaking panoramas featuring the majestic Alpine peaks, including Pizzo Bernina (4049m), Pizzo Palù (3906m), and the imposing Morteratsch (3751m) with its sprawling glacier. Following this spectacular pass, we'll make our way to Livigno, a picturesque mountain village often referred to as "Little Tibet" and renowned for being a prestigious ski resort.
Our final push leads us to the Foscagno Pass, where we commence our descent back towards Bormio. As our reward for conquering these challenging passes, we can look forward to an abundant and delectable dinner, as always featuring the finest Valtellina products. Expect delights such as pizzoccheri, sciatt (despite the name, which translates to "toads" in the Valtellina dialect, these are savory croquettes filled with melted cheese), polenta taragna (crafted from a blend of cornmeal and buckwheat flour), and bresaola, all perfectly complemented by the flavors of local wines.
- 62.8 miles
- 9,442.3 ft
- Day 4Rest Day - Lake Cancano
Much like professional cyclists during major races, our cycling team recognizes the importance of a restorative day to recharge our energy.
Today's route is a gentle ascent towards the Lakes Cancano, a place of notable significance in the 2020 edition of the "Giro d'Italia."
Our journey unfolds along a serene road, affording us the opportunity to savor a one-of-a-kind landscape. This leisurely climb spans approximately two hours, leaving us with ample time in the afternoon to explore the remarkable ancient natural spa in Bormio. Here, we'll immerse ourselves in the enchanting world of spas and thermal centers, where the allure of unique landscapes harmoniously blends with the rejuvenation of body and mind.
- 19.9 miles
- 2,559.1 ft
- Day 5Mazzo di Valtellina - Passo Mortirolo - Aprica - Tirano - Bormio
Rejuvenated and brimming with energy following our delightful and tranquil day of rest, we gather after breakfast and board the minibus, destined for Mazzo, our starting point for today's adventure. The ascent we're embarking on is the quintessential challenge – the Valtellina side climb, spanning 12.5 kilometers with an elevation gain of nearly 1300 meters. This ascent boasts a steep yet consistent gradient, averaging 10% and peaking at 18%. These demanding characteristics render it one of Europe's most renowned and arduous climbs, particularly catapulted into fame when it was integrated into the Giro d'Italia route in 1990. Notably, in 1994, the legendary Marco Pantani made history here with a victorious stage, commemorated by a monument in his honor at the 8-kilometer mark on the Valtellina side in 2006.
The Passo del Mortirolo is indeed "the pass of all passes," where the Giro d'Italia witnesses its fiercest, most pivotal, and thrilling battles. Today, we too will seize the opportunity to conquer this challenging ascent, knowing that the minibus is at our side, ready to provide assistance if needed. Our return journey takes a different route, leading us through Trivigno before we reach the Aprica Pass. As a well-deserved reward after our formidable efforts, we can anticipate a delectable dinner, always featuring the finest local products and flavors.
- 62.8 miles
- 6,725.7 ft
- Day 6Stelvio Pass - Umbrail Pass
A hearty breakfast will fortify us for the grand finale of our epic journey, the ascent from Bormio to the Stelvio Pass. This climb boasts an average gradient of 7%, with peaks reaching 15%. Remarkably, it stands as the highest Italian pass accessible to motorized vehicles, serving as the link between the Valtellina region and Val Venosta in the province of Bolzano.
Our ascent unfolds along an awe-inspiring sequence of hairpin bends, weaving a captivating narrative through the beauty of nature. The grandeur and majesty of the Ortler, adorned with its vast glaciers, serve as the ultimate reward for our determination. Upon reaching the summit, we'll don warm clothing from our trusty minibus before descending to explore the Trentino side, spanning from Prato dello Stelvio to the fortified town of Glorenza, just a stone's throw from the Swiss border.
As we cross into Switzerland, yet another epic ascent awaits us: the Umbrail Pass. Following our triumph at the summit of this pass, we make our way back to Bormio, where a sumptuous dinner awaits, marking the culmination of an unforgettable week of adventure and achievement.
- 65.2 miles
- 10,170.6 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.