10 incredible underrated climbs

Road biking is a sport which gives the enthusiast immense enjoyment. Every push down on the pedal builds speed and gives you even more freedom. Your bike can take you to faraway places in a short time or you can reach peaks which will give you goosebumps when reading the technical features on the map. If you are reading this article, you already know what to expect!

We have chosen 10 killer climbs that you have to ride at least once in your lifetime. Climbs which are not as famous as the popular ones however, after a few pedal strokes you will soon realise how good they are.


San Boldo and Monte Grappa


Distance Highest point Ascent
San Boldo 6,3 km 666 m slm 431 m
Monte Grappa 25,2 km 1.769 m slm 1.528 m


Both located in the Belluno Prealps – San Boldo pass and Monte Grappa – they are iconic climbs. The first, also known as the Road of 100 days as it was built in exactly 100 days and connects the province of Trento to Belluno. The summit can be reached via 2 sides (Trichiana and Tovena): we recommend the Tovena side as it is located on the Wine and Prosecco trail and features a series of 18 hairpin bends.

The second ascent is Monte Grappa, there are 10 different routes to reach it. These different ascents are called “the ascents of life”. We recommend the Romano d’Ezzelino one with over 20 km uphill.

What can we say: no pain, no gain!

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Italy Bike Territory – Lake Maggiore


Distance Highest point Ascent
Mottarone 11.56 km 538 m a.s.l 1,428 m


Mottarone is a real must for all passionate cyclists and not just on Lake Maggiore. We recommend the Armeno side, which is the most challenging: just under 12 km with an ascent of 1400m. The average gradient is not so high but the constant snags, especially at the beginning can be misleading even for the most experienced cyclists.

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Torri di Fraele

Italy Bike Territory – Bormio


Distance Highest point Ascent
Torri di Fraele 13.56 km 1,944 m a.s.l 743 m


With the giants Stelvio and Gavia in the background, you tackle the ascent from Cancano which takes you up to Torri di Fraele. It was built for military purposes but, today, it is pure enjoyment for cyclists from all over the world. Leaving Bormio behind Stelvio, you reach Premadio, and you only have to look up and you will see what awaits you: just under 14 km of climbing at an average gradient of 7%.

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Mendola, Plan de Corones and San Pellegrino

Italy Bike Territory – Dolomites


Distance Highest point Ascent
Mendola 15.0 km 1,363 m a.s.l 963 m
Plan de Corones 5.2 km 2,238 m a.s.l 510 m
San Pellegrino 11.7 km 1,918 m a.s.l 740 m


Three very different climbs in the Dolomites in terms of distance, altitude and elevation gain. The Mendola in Val di Non (Trentino) has 17 hairpin bends which cut right through the mountain up to Lake Caldaro. The route is not too challenging with gentle gradients. Every year – on the last Saturday of September – it is closed to traffic to let the cyclists have fun. It could be the perfect opportunity for a holiday at the end of summer.

If you are looking for something more demanding and completely challenging, we recommend you choose Plan de Corones: there are few inaccessible climbs like this one around the world. The road from the Furcia pass to Plan de Corones has been built using a special Eco-friendly mixture of gravel and cement. The climb is just 5 km, but do not worry, these are killer gradients, the road climbs up to 24% in the last few kilometres.

And last but not least, the San Pellegrino pass. In front of the Pordoi and Sella, the pass may not seem very high, but the constant changes of the gradients are immediately felt and the pedals no longer turn like on the gentle stretches of the valley. The long straight sections are the main features of this ascent while the bends are just an illusion.

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Campo Imperatore and Blockhaus

Italy Bike Territory – Abruzzo


Distance Highest point Ascent
Campo Imperatore 22 km 1,687 m a.s.l 1,697 m
Blockhaus 37.8 km 2,129 m a.s.l 1,472 m


If the kilometres are not long enough for you, here you will be satisfied. Campo Imperatore and the Blockhaus are two constant, but very long climbs. The straight sections are endless and you do not even feel the road starting to climb. It is just a feeling, of course, as in both cases, the ascent is challenging. In some sections the slopes also reach double-digit gradients.

Small interesting facts: it is on the Blockhaus that the cannibal Eddy Merckx – lets everyone know that the climbs do not scare him.

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Monte Carpegna

Italy Bike Territory – Adriatic Coast


Distance Highest point Ascent
Monte Carpegna 6 km 1,367 m a.s.l 627 m


Marco Pantani’s climb – the climber coming from the sea – Cesenatico – prepared his victories for the grand Tours on these slopes. The climb is 6 km from the centre of the town of Carpegna with an average gradient of 10%, the last two kilometres are the steepest at around 12%: this one is called Cippo.

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