The Best Cycling Holidays in Italy

Italy’s major bike race, the Giro d’Italia, kicks off today, with riders weaving through some of the country’s most beautiful scenery. In the spirit of the big race, we’ve looked at some of the best places to bike in Italy. From full-on cycling holidays for experienced mountain bikers to a gentle ride from your hotel, here are the best destinations to explore on two wheels.

 

Tuscany

When you think of cycling in Italy, chances are you picture Tuscany. The region was made for it; from its rich, castle-strewn countryside and famous vineyards, to its picturesque towns and cities. Easily Italy’s favourite cycling destination, areas like Crete Senesi attract cyclists of all experience levels to see its unique lunar landscapes. Serious cyclists should visit the Lucca region, flanked by the Apuane Mountains and characterised by steep hills and valleys.

 

Where to stay

Castel Monastero

Castel Monastero is the ideal hotel for cycling holidays in Tuscany. It’s in the heart of the Chianti wine region, wrapped in rolling hills and forest. The hotel offers guided cycling tours that can be personalised according to your fitness and how much time you have, from a relaxing half-day ride to longer excursions around the region.

 

Tuscany Countryside perfect for Cycling in Italy

 

Puglia

This sunny south-western region is something of a cyclist’s dream – beautiful weather, quiet roads and breathtaking scenery. It tends to be a little quieter than Tuscany, and is a wonderful wine region, so cycling tours of vineyards are popular. There’s a beautiful rugged coastline as well as lots of little villages to visit along the way. Puglia has a good mix of hilly and flat landscapes, so it’s suitable for different levels of cyclists – although the south tends to be a little flatter.

 

Where to stay

Borgo Egnazia

Borgo Egnazia sits on the beautiful Apulian coastline, surrounded by olive groves and backed by beautiful countryside. The hotel recommends exploring the region on two wheels; you can rent bikes and head off on your own or book a guide. They will even arrange a picnic to take with you; perfect for rounding off a morning of cycling.

 

lake garda bike

 

Lake Garda

It’s no surprise that Italy’s great lakes make the list. One of the most ruggedly beautiful parts of the country, the lake sits close to the Alps surrounded by mountains and valleys, all threaded with trails offering spectacular views across the lake. It’s not all about mountain biking, though; the Lake Garda region has plenty of flat cycle paths winding around the lake, the River Mincio and popular destinations like Garda and Bardolino.

 

Where to stay

Relais Corte Cavalli

Relais Corte Cavalli is within easy reach of some of Lake Garda’s most famous cycling paths, including a path from Peschiera to Mantua that winds its way along the beautiful River Mincio – around 40 kilometres. The hotel provides bikes for free, as well as storage for your own. Cycling is a great way to get from the hotel to the centre of Peschiera, as well as to the lake itself.

 

lake garda

 

Sardinia

Just off Italy’s south-west coast, Sardinia is a rocky, mountainous island circled by a coast of cliffs overhanging pristine beaches. Throw in a gorgeous climate, and you’ve got a cyclist’s heaven. The mountain trails can be tough, so Sardinia is a good option for experienced cyclists looking for a challenge. The north of the island is famous for is dense cork forests, limestone mountains and castles, while the south-west corner is where you’ll find the best beaches, vineyards and olive groves.

 

Where to stay

Hotel Su Gologone

This hotel is a fantastic base for getting out and about in Sardinia. Cycling excursions range from guided mountain biking outings to simply hiring a bike and exploring yourself – through forests, canyons, ancient shepherd’s paths or along the beach. The hotel provides all necessary equipment, and even a workshop to get you feeling confident before you head out.

 

Sardinia

 

Liguria

The Italian Riviera’s incredible scenery and sunny weather makes it a fantastic destination for cycling. From Liguria out to the Molini province is filled with mountain biking trails going across country and down to the coast. One of the most popular places for bike rides in Liguria is the Cycling Riviera, a new cycle way that follows an old railway line along the coast. Smooth and traffic-free, the path tucks in close to the coastline with spectacular sea views the whole way.

 

Where to stay

Hotel Arc En Ciel

Perched on Liguria’s sun-kissed coast, Hotel Arc En Ciel is perfect for keen or casual cyclists. Bike hire is free, and you can get around easily on two wheels. Take a gentle ride along the beautiful waterfront and Diano Bay, or take a guided mountain bike excursion out into the countryside. They even include a packed lunch.

 

cycling Lake Garda

 

Citalia cycling holidays

Read to hit the saddle? We offer three ready-made cycling itineraries designed to help you experience Italy the slow way. You’ll explore off-the-beaten-track towns and villages, stop for food and wine tastings and have time in world-famous cities. Choose from a Florence to Rome tour, or round trips in Piedmont or Tuscany.

 

Have you ever been cycling in Italy? Where did you visit?