The best places to ride in 'the Boot'
All cycle experiences combined in one country
When it comes to cycling, Italy is one of the most versatile countries in Europe. These days the Giro D’Italia streams all the great landscapes and idyllic villages right into your living room. It shows you that Italy combines the best in terms of challenges and atmosphere in cycling. And of course Italian’s gastronomy is right up there together with the quality of riding as well.
If you are planning to do a cycling vacation to this country, first check out all the different places this country has to offer. We selected 8 for you. A mix of the highest mountains and seaside roads with the greatest views (not in a particular order).
1. Mountains | The Dolomites
Italian mountains await you in the Dolomites. If you are serious about road cycling in the mountains, you have to go to the there. For real mountain climbers it has to be an incredible feeling to ride over the most famous passes of Italy. The most incredible of them all are the Pordoi and Stelvio Pass. If you want to see it all you can go and ride from the East to the West of the Dolomites.
A ride from the East to the West of the Dolomites is quite challenging but contains beautiful views. In this route you ride mainly on quiet roads and there are three sections of traffic-free cycleways. It takes you through the heart of the mountains: the Sella Ronda. And you will meet four Italian regions: Friuli-Venezia Giulia, the Veneto, Trentino and Südtirol. A route for the cyclist who loves mountain roads and mountain views.
StormShieldThe weather in the mountains can change quickly
2. Lakeside | The Western Lakes
Where mountains and water meet. A stunning scenery of mountains with snow-capped tops and picturesque villages. That is how the western lakes of Italy can be described, especially around five of the most famous ones of them all: the Lago d’Orta, Lago di Mergozzo, Lago Maggiore, Lago di Lugano and Lago di Como.
This area offers something for everyone. Wide spread mountain paths and passes with countryside at the south and forests in the north of the region. It is an area where mountain bikers and race cyclist can get what they want. From flat cycle trails to complex routes further up in the mountains.
3. The North | Piemonte
The valleys of serenity lay in Piemonte. Here you ride over the World Heritage landscapes where peace and quietness seems to been born. From Torino there are 11 valleys to discover throughout the province which can all be accessed from one cycle path. If you're looking for great mountain scenery, unspoilt alpine villages, authentic Italian towns, then this area has it all.
Hills stretched as far as the eye can see, on which ancient fortifications, classical villages and castles are built. Gentle slopes with vineyards aligned in a geometric shape. You will ride through fantastic green valleys and the routes take you along all gastronomic delights of the Italian culture.
KeirinFor a perfect fit in the landscape
4. Seaside | Liguria
The Italian Riviera is known as Europe’s best seaside for cycling. Cycling in Italy is equal to discovering the cycling Riviera, a cycling paradise for mountain biking and road cycling all over the world. A cycle way in this region runs along the coastal railway line from the north most tip all the way to the south most tip and back.
Liguria is most popular with endurance cyclists and offers without a doubt rides with the best ocean views! Non-stop breath taking views on a path that’s easy to ride and where no cars are allowed. No need to train very hard because you can adjust the routes to every length. Just enjoy the ocean views while being sportive.
If you want to make this ride more challenging, try to ride the whole Ligurian coast. The 342k cycle tour takes you through the entire Italian Riviera. You will ride through the World Heritage sites of Genoa (Genova). And you will discover the Cinque Terre, where colorful villages cling to the coastline.
5. Right in the middle | Tuscany
To ride between sunflowers and wine fields you have to go to Tuscany. In this region your level doesn’t count when you step up your bicycle. You can easily make an endurance challenge in this part of the country but can also decide to find a recreational pace and enjoy the views.
Tuscany is known for its great iconic landscapes of gently rolling hills dipped in the soft morning mist which you can find on an early ride. Later on the day you find yourself cycling through golden wheat fields, silver olive groves and green vineyards on picturesque hillsides. And beside all the romantic tiny villages where you can stop for a lunch it is amazing to ride towards all the art cities of this region. Firenze, Siena, San Gimignano and Pienza give your vacation the cultural input.
6. Islands | Sicily
Riding the Sicilian coasts means, enjoying the amazing quiet roads and traditional fishing villages. But, also the rest of this isle is great to discover by bicycle and lays full of splendid sceneries. It has some quieter roads that are only used by local cyclists in this way you can avoid boring and more busy roads.
The island is full of highlights like the salt lagoons of Marsala, the sand dunes of the Tonnara, the village of Marzamemi and the dramatic Scala dei Turchi, one of Sicilian’s best beaches. On this island you will find great roads along the sea but you can also discover the dramatic mountain scenery of the Etna.
7. Islands | Sardinia
Cycling through the mixing landscapes in the Mediterranean paradise is what you do on the other island of Italy. It will be a challenge and is therefore more suitable for the more experienced cyclists. The coastline of the island is an amazing Mediterranean paradise and the inland is wild, rugged and mountainous. Routes on this island take you over spectacular coastal roads to historic sites and villages with murals.
The mountains in the north are perfect for the adventurous cyclist who want to explore and can take you even up to the national park of Maddalena. But most special are the Island’s coastlines which are incredible for a ride with a perfect view. On Sardinia you can cycle everywhere. On the East, the West and the North coast.
8. The South | Puglia
The heel of the boot is where the sun always shines. Do you want to be secured of a sunny trip? Try the south. With all the pretty white-washed towns and villages there is no shortage of great views and opportunities to shoot the best pictures. The dramatic coastlines are peaceful and complete your rides. Besides that, the food and drinks are explicit in this area of the country.
Photos by: Wikimedia Commons