Cycling Tours and Holidays | Tour of Italy

Espresso Tour of Italy’s Highlands

08 to 18 September 2018

RIDE Holidays invites you to experience the very best cycling that Italy has to offer. Italy is cycling. Cycling is Italy. No other country has had such an impact on the sport we love. The history books are full of names like Marco Pantini, Fausto Coppi, Giovanni Pinarello and Edoardo Bianchi. The roads are magnificent, the climbs are bigger, the locals love lycra and to top it all off…. the food and wine cannot be matched. At the end of your cycling day you will stay in comfortable hotels in some of the most picturesque villages and indulge in the best Italian food and wine on offer! Non riders (the Macchiato’s) will be well looked after - vineyards, markets, historic towns and mountain scenery. They all await.

Baton down the hatches. You won’t forget this experience for the rest of your life. RIDE Holidays will make sure of that

Tour of Italy - Bike Tour

Itinerary | Cycle Tour of Italy

Day 1, Saturday 08 September

Welcome to Italy, welcome to paradise

You may want to arrive early. Have a quick look at our joining hotel and you’ll understand why. Hotel Miralago is lake edge. The view is stunning.

With an espresso in hand, our RIDE Holidays team will be waiting for you after clearing customs. Lake Como is only a short drive away. It’s without doubt one of Italy’s most beautiful lakes. The rich and famous live here – oh, and for a few short days in August, they’ll be joined by a handful of Kiwis and Aussies. Today is all about settling in to your lakeside accommodation. I can assure you that you will be comfortable. Your guides will help assemble your bikes. If you have hired bikes then we’ll make sure you’re comfortable before we head out for a short 30km pedal. All we want to do is get the legs moving. They will be tired after such a long flight. Macchiato’s – there are a few options. You simply may feel like soaking up the views. How about a nice glass of red wine, we are on holiday after all. Tonight we dine at a handpicked restaurant. Let’s start off in style.

Accommodation: Lake Como (Hotel Miralago)
Meals Included: Welcome dinner

Day 2, Sunday 09 September

First big day on the bike

Life is short and there is a lot to see. This region is made up of three beautiful lakes, Maggoire, Lugano and of course Como. The plan for today is to see as much of those lakes as we possibly can. We’ll cover about 100km on smooth roads. We certainly didn’t say flat roads as this part of the world is pretty chunky. Be prepared for some climbing. Our plan is start early to avoid the heat. This will allow some swimming time later on in the afternoon. Lunch will be near Luino. Which is where the Macchiato group will meet us after exploring some of the wonderful lakeside towns. This afternoon we head back to Como and relax. It’s the calm before the storm – tomorrow we are off to the mountains. High altitude awaits.

Accommodation: Lake Como (Hotel Miralago)
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 3, Monday 10 September

Madonna del Ghisallo

Heard of a small col called Stelvio? It sends a shiver down the spine. And tomorrow is the day so let’s not thrash the legs today. Today is more spiritual than physical. We leave our Como sanctuary and cycle 50km to Madonna del Ghisallo – the Patron Saint of Cycling. Officially recognised by the Pope himself, this small building attracts thousands of cyclists each year. It’s serves as a museum, church and most importantly a shrine to local cyclists who have paid the highest sacrifice for the sport we love. One particularly notable artefact is the crumpled bicycle that Fabio Casartelli, a native of the region, rode on the day that he died in a crash in the Tour de France.

The two rides are similar in length. 35km vs 50km. Doesn’t sound like a lot. Now check out the altitude gain… 900m vs 1600m. Yes, now we have your attention. It will be short, it will be steep. Team Macchiato -we recommend that you also visit Madonna del Ghisallo. However, we also suggest that you visit Carlotta in Tremezzina. This beautiful villa was built at the end of XVII century and is now home to a magnificent botanic garden as well as an art museum, spanning 70000 square meters.

Accommodation: Bormio, Eden Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 4, Tuesday 11 September

Passo Dello Stelvio – enough said

The mighty Stelvio is only 13 metres away from being the highest pass in the Alps. The lungs and legs will burn, especially when you’re nearing the top which sits at 2757m above sea level. That’s 500m higher than anywhere in Australia. There are 48 bends which also gives you 48 opportunities to stop and take photos. Please remember that it isn’t a race. You will be joined by cyclists from all around the world. You’ll make friends with the Spanish, Germans and Dutch. You won’t meet any Italians as they’re all too fast. If 25km of climbing isn’t enough then weather dependent, you can pop down the other side and ride Stelvio twice. That would make it 50km of climbing for the day. Those who choose to do this will be drug tested this evening. That’s if you’re awake. Macchiato’s don’t get off easy as today we’ve penciled in a local 3 hour guided walk. Tonight we suggest you take advantage of the thermal pools that Bormio is famous for. Time to give back to your legs. Or as Jens would say – Shut up legs.

Accommodation: Bormio, Eden Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 5, Wednesday 12 September

Swiss Army knives

Today is really designed around the non-riders. You cyclists will simply have to fit in. Switzerland anyone? St Moritz is simply one of the most stunning resort towns in Europe. It really is for the rich and famous – you’ll fit right in. Our suggestion is that we take the bikes and ride the hills (mountains) surrounding St Moritz. Be prepared for perfectly manicured Swiss countryside and the sound of perfectly fat Swiss cows bells. The plan will be 4 to 5 hours. May as well work up an appetite. Team Macchiato will then have plenty of time to walk around town. Maybe a spot or two of shopping. Go on, get out the credit cards – bikes are expensive… this is your opportunity to take revenge.

Accommodation: Bormio, Eden Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 6, Thursday 13 September

Last day in the Alps

For those who didn’t invest in the Grappa (even the name is kind of scary), we will roll out the door just after breakfast. Our target for today is Lago Bianco The White Lake. When one generally talks about lakes, one has images of nice flat surrounds and beautiful green fields fields. Hmmmmmm, not this lake I’m afraid. It sits at the top of a small false flat. Known as Passo Gavia. For the record – Gavia and Grappa are not a good combination. It’s like putting Donald Trump in a room with the password for nuclear weapons (oh, we’ve done that already haven’t we).

Team Macchiato – our plan for today is to be flexible. You may like to simply hang out and spend some time in Bormio. Or Jacinta will take you on a nice walk. She was in this area in May so will have a nice route ready for you to conquer. Or, there’s always the option of you following us up to the White Lake.

Tonight - Three words: One Star Michelin. Yes, we eat well. Good times.

Accommodation: Bormio, Eden Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 7, Friday 14 September

Arrivederci Alps, Ciao Dolomites

It’s totally up to you however today would be a good idea to leave the bike alone. You will have ridden (weather depending) for 6 days in a row. Your legs (and bottom) will be chasing some time off.

For those who are really keen on a ride then we’ll pop out for a short little coffee ride before packing all the vehicles and head off to Arabba. Our home in the Dolomites for the next three nights.

It’s about a 5 hour drive however it is certainly far from boring. Stunning scenery and snow-capped peaks surround you. Our plan is to stop near Bolzano and take advantage of one of the many wineries that make this region famous.

Dinner is on us. Actually, it’s on you, as you're cooking. We’ve booked a local Italian cooking class for dinner. We’ll start preparing late afternoon (over another glass of wine) so that we can have a reasonably early dinner. Culinary masterpieces, tailored to your personal taste. If you don’t like it… complain to the chef. Nite nite.

Accommodation: Arabba, Sporthotel
Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 8, Saturday 15 September

D-day for the climbers

Look out for the likes of Alberto Contador, Peter Rattray, and Bradley Wiggins to shine. Probably Italy’s most famous cycling circuit and that’s really saying something. The Sella Ronda Loop covers 100km and almost 3000m of climbing. Incorporating 4 famous mountain passes - Passo Gardena, Passo Campolongo, Passo Pordoi and Passo Sella. All are over 2000m with the highest being 2239m above sea level. The legs will be tested however make sure you take plenty of photos. This part of the world is stunning. It’s even a protected UESCO World Heritage area. You’ll be in the saddle for anywhere up to 7 hours. We will have a van close by today as the weather can turn nasty very quickly. Macchiatos – following cyclists in a van can be deathly boring however today is the day to do just that. Firstly – the cyclists will need your encouragement. And secondly – you really need to see the scenery to believe it. This afternoon we recommend checking out the Funivia Renon cable car. Connecting Bolzano to Renon over 4541 meters of picture perfect terrain. Not for the faint of heart, the Funivia Renon has you soaring 900 meters above the ground.Tonight we’ve booked a local restaurant. It will be early to bed for some.

Accommodation: Arabba, Sporthotel
Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 9, Sunday 16 September

Close your eyes

Take a deep breath and just pretend for a moment that you’re the owner of a certain pink jersey. It’s the last stage of the Giro and you’re a born climber. What would you choose as your last preferred mountain climb? There’s only one answer – Passo Giau. 2236m above sea level and a regular Giro stage. Strava will tell you that the fastest time up Giau is a shade over 34minutes for the 10km at 9%. Don’t think about that on the way up. It will only make things worse. We will build Giau in to 100km of cycling that will include other legendary Giro passes. Let’s make today a good one. It’s your final full day in the high mountains. Macchiato group - how about some culture? There’s a few fantastic museums and galleries in Bolzano which we suggest you visit. The Archaeology museum is particularly famous – just ask Otzi the iceman.

Accommodation: Arabba, Sporthotel
Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner


Day 10, Monday 17 September

Last day in the mountains

Goodbye mountains. Thank you for the entertainment.

As you can see – we don’t have any rides planned for today. That doesn’t mean we won’t ride. If we do then it will be back in Como. In fact – heading up Bisbino again wouldn’t be a silly idea. Your fitness will have improved out of site. 

Our drive is just under 6 hours. History shows though that by this stage in the trip you’ll be looking forward to the rest. Late this afternoon we’ll pack all the bikes. Tomorrow we all head in different directions.

We’ve booked a lake front restaurant as it’s our last dinner together. It’s been a fantastic 10 days. Let’s recap on the highlights.

Accommodation: Lake Como (Hotel Miralago)
Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 11, Tuesday 18 September

After breakfast the team will help you dismantle the bikes. Most of the flights depart Milan at midday so often it’s an early start. The airport is a 90min drive away. Thank you for travelling with RIDE Holidays. We look forward to seeing you again in the near future.

Safe travels home

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Overview

Our 11 Day Cycle Tour & Holiday

  • 3 nights – Lake Como (explore the whole lake district)
  • 4 nights – Dolomites
  • 3 nights – Italian Alps
  • Tick off – Passo Stelvio, Gavia, Gaiu.
  • Attack the Sella Ronda Loop
  • Ride at your pace. No pressure
  • 4 star hotels
  • Quality Italian meals (inc cooking school)
  • Non-riders (Macchiato) itinerary

Tour Inclusions

  • 10 nights' accommodation using quality 4* hotels
  • All breakfast and 7 dinners
  • Cold drinks from the van
  • 4 to 5 staff depending on final numbers
  • Tips included for all staff as well as meals included in the itinerary
  • Airport to airport private transport
  • Souvenir booklet, itinerary included
  • RIDE Holidays cycling jersey
  • Multiple ride options daily
  • GPS assistance & physical maps

The Price Excludes

  • Airfares and extra accommodation
  • Travel Insurance - compulsory!
  • Meals, alcohol not indicated in itinerary

Tour Cost (per person - New Zealand Dollars)

$6,990.00 NZD per person
$1,400.00 NZD - Single room supplement
$650.00 NZD - Bike hire

The initial deposit for the 2018 trip ($750) is 100% refundable. Up until 01 September 2017. Which is when you will be required to pay an additional $1250.00. From then all deposits become non-refundable. 




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