A trail overlooking the sea, a panoramic climb with lake view or a ride along the lakeside? Whatever your idea of adventure is, Italy is the perfect destination for all cycling enthusiasts, especially in summer. Almost all regions can boast beautiful coasts and lakes and some of the most enchanting landscapes in the world, capable of guaranteeing unforgettable moments to anyone who decides to explore them by bike. In this section, we have come up with some cycle routes to help you discover amazing destinations around Italy’s most beautiful lakes and seas, always on your bike.
Crossed by the Ciclovia Adriatica, a famous cycle path which cuts through the entire country from Trieste to Santa Maria di Leuca, Apulia is one of the less known regions in Italy among cyclists. This quality makes it even more attractive to those who are looking for a real adventure and want to ride on less popular roads to explore the unknown. If you are brave enough, here you will discover a real paradise for cycle tourists. This land is made up of picturesque villages following one after another along the coast (some of the most renowned include Vieste and Peschici) and charming countryside with its characteristic white trulli that create a beautiful contrast with the typical bright colours of the southern Italian scrub.
When you think of the sea in Tuscany, you think of Versilia. This narrow strip of land has everything you want from a holiday in Italy: sea, great food and cities of art. The most famous symbol of the “dolce vita” in Versilia is Viareggio, one of the most beautiful seaside resorts in Tuscany. Besides its spectacular beaches, here you can have exciting cycling adventures exploring the Apuan Alps for great fun on demanding ascents with difficult gradients – both for road bikes and mountain bikes. From the hills on a clear day, you can see the sea, Porto Venere and even Corsica. A little further to the south, there is Val di Cornia. It features beautiful hills and clinging promontories such as the Rocca Populonia of Piombino, an Etruscan site surrounded by pine forests on one side and by the blue sea on the other.
A narrow strip of land between the sea and the mountains, Liguria is the ideal destination for those looking for an authentic Italian holiday in uncrowded places. Forget the sandy beaches and picture yourself on a cliff overlooking the sea. No crowded seafront resorts, but breathtaking roads climbing up into the wilderness. Every stretch of land in the Ligurian countryside offers a real experience and will give you memories to cherish forever. There are two must-see places: Finale Ligure, if you love free-riding and downhill rides, and Sanremo, if road cycling is your passion. Our advice: explore inland Liguria to discover a region made up of enchanting villages with centuries-old traditions. And if you want some tips about local delicacies, you should try the typical Ligurian flat bread and a glass of Rossese di Dolceacqua.
The Island of Elba is a popular destination among mountain-biking enthusiasts as it hosts a stage of the Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships. It also offers stunning sea, unspoilt nature and hundreds of kilometres of breathtaking off-road routes. In summer, you can enjoy exciting adventures on your MTB as well as pleasant beach life, going for a ride in the early hours of the day and then relaxing in the shade of a beach parasol when the sun gets stronger. Capoliveri, Mount Calamita and Capo Fonza are some of the many trails that the island of the Tuscan Archipelago offers to enduro and free-riding enthusiasts.
THE ADRIATIC RIVIERA
Its long beaches, the excellent cuisine and the typical Italian hospitality have made the Adriatic Riviera famous all over the world – even among cycling enthusiasts. Between a piadina and fried seafood, a game of beach tennis and some relaxation under a beach parasol, this area of Italy also offers the opportunity to enjoy great cycling adventures. You only need to move inland to discover beautiful trails and enchanting villages. It is no coincidence that the first Gran Fondo races were held in this area: the ideal destination for racing bike enthusiasts! A must-see area is the “upper” Italian Adriatic and in particular Bibione, an area between the sea and magical lagoons.
Stretching between Lombardy, Piedmont and Switzerland, Lake Maggiore has always been one of the most popular destination among cyclists – and also for the most famous European poets in the past. The surrounding mountains protect the area from northerly winds, making the climate of the area perfect for cycling all year round: mild during the winter months and cool in the summer. The climbs of the Mottarone will offer an exciting challenge to those who prefer racing bikes but also spectacular panoramic roads winding along the shores of the lake. Those looking for off-road trails will have the opportunity to ride on exciting routes in the hills surrounding the lake.
Como does not mean just luxury villas and old villages on the shores of the lake. The area is also quite extensive in routes that have made the history of Italian cycling, including the famous Wall of Sormano, the Giro di Lombardia and the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Ghisallo. If you are looking for an exciting off-road experience, you will find many different trails in the hills surrounding the lake with breathtaking views of its still blue waters. Do not miss the descent from Mount Tremezzo down to the shores of the lake.
Olive groves, rolling hills and sandy beaches. And of course cycle paths both on road and off-road. Lake Garda is ideal for those who love cycling and want a holiday to increase their physical and mental well-being. Mount Baldo is definitely the real highlight among the racing bike routes in the area, so much so that it has been nicknamed the “Piccolo Stelvio”. The Lessini Mountains instead are a real paradise for fat bike enthusiasts, while the moraine hills south of the lake offer the ideal terrain for exhilarating gravel bike rides.
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