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Espresso Tour of Italy's Highlands

25 Aug to 05 September 2025 

Batten down the hatches. You won't forget this experience for the rest of your life. Ride Holidays will make sure of that…

This Italian adventure is our 2nd longest running trip - behind TDF. Over the years we’ve tinkered with it. It’s now perfect in every way. The key is having 4 nights in both the Dolomites and the Italian Alps. This allows some insurance just in case we get the odd day of bad weather.   

Great hotels, fantastic riding, amazing restaurants and excellent coffee. A great balance between rest and exercise.

Non-riders (Team Macchiato) you are very welcome and will be well looked after. You will have a separate program and guide. UNESCO trains, vineyards, markets, ferries, funiculars, historic towns, thermal pools, lots of stairs and mountain scenery. They all await.

Cyclists are very welcome to join Team Mac on the odd day off. 

Ride Holidays cycle tours are achievable for anyone who rides a road bike, not just the serious cyclist. However, this particular trip is a good one to be fit for. It involves a lot of climbing. Yes road e-bikes are an option if you wish.

There are a couple of rides to choose from daily. All include the famous Italian mountains. We try and take the pressure off by giving you plenty of time and have plenty of support around you all times.

Thank you for joining us. We look forward to seeing you in Como.

Cycle Tour of Italy 2025 | Tour Details

Tour Inclusions


  • 11 nights' accommodation using quality 4* hotels
  • 3 nights - Lake Como (explore the whole lake district)
  • 4 nights - Italian Alps
  • 4 nights - Dolomites

Amazing Cycling

  • Tick off - Passo Stelvio (closed road), Gavia, Gaiu among others.
  • Ride the Sella Ronda Loop (the sexiest 50km loop on the planet)
  • Ride at your pace. No pressure
  • Multiple ride options daily

General Cycling Tour Details

  • 6 to 7 staff depending on final numbers
  • All breakfasts, 2 lunches and 9 dinners
  • Cold drinks, Electrolytes and cycling snacks
  • Some entry fees like the Piz Boè gondola and Trauttmansdorff Castle
  • Return Malpensa (MXP) Airport to Como transfers. (On first and last day)
  • Souvenir booklet itinerary included
  • Ride Holidays cycling jersey
  • GPS assistance & electronic maps
  • 10-week training program - designed for the hills
  • Quality Italian meals – this isn’t a weight loss program.
  • Specific non-riding program. You are very welcome and well catered for. The majority of your entry fees are included. That also includes tickets on the Berina Express.

The Tour Price Excludes

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

      The Tour Cost

      • $8450.00 NZD per person
      • $1800.00 NZD - Single room supplement

      Bike Hire Options

      • $1200.00 NZD (Road bike - Standard, Shimano 105 & Disc) (Scott Addict or Similar)
      • $1800.00 NZD (Road bike - Excellence, Shimano 105 Di2 & Disc) (Pinarello X3 or similar) Please note: Excellence Road bikes on request with limited stock.
      • $2000.00 NZD (Road e-bike, Shimano 105 Di2 & Disc) (Pinarello Nytro E5 or similar)

      Payment details..

      The initial deposit is $250.00. A 2nd deposit of $1250.00 is due in late August – 12 months from departure. Full payment is required 90 days prior to departure.

      We suggest that you have a comprehensive travel insurance in place when paying deposits as they are non-refundable.


        Cycle Tour of Italy 2025 | Tour Itinerary

        Day 1, Monday 25 August 

        Welcome to Italy, welcome to paradise

        We encourage you to arrive a day early if you can. This helps to recover from the long flight. We’ll book the extra accommodation and transfers for you.

        Most flights arrive in Milan - Malpensa (MXP) at about 7am. Our bus normally depart at 9.30am. Lake Como is only a short 40min 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 September, they'll be joined by a handful of Kiwis and Aussies.

        Check-in isn't until 2pm so that gives us plenty of time to potter around town. Your guides will help assemble your bikes. If you have hire 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 to make sure that you and your bike are working as they should.

        Team MAC – Today we will set our sights on exploring the beautiful villages of Lake Como by ferry, it’s the only way to go. We will head over to Como and hop on the Brunate funicular for a spot of lunch overlooking the lake. The views are simply breath-taking. If your super keen, then you can walk (hike) to the top and take the funicular back down after lunch. We’ve invited George Clooney to join us. Maybe he’ll invite us up to his place afterwards for a Nespresso. Thanks GC.

        Tonight, we'll crack open a few bottles Prosecco. Here's to you. Welcome to Italy.

        / Accommodation: Hotel Miralago - Cernobbio Lake Como
        / Meals Included: Welcome dinner

        Day 2, Tuesday 26 August 

        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, Maggiore, Lugano and of course Como. The plan for today is to see as much of those lakes as we possibly can. We'll have 2 ride options, espresso is 115km with 1300meters of climbing and Latte with 55km and 800meters. We certainly didn't say flat roads as this part of the world is pretty chunky. Be prepared for some climbing. Our first coffee stop will be in the small town Morcote, Switzerland followed by lunch along the route.

        There will be support vans in and around you today. When you’ve had enough all you need to do is put up your hand. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

        This afternoon we head back to Como and relax. It's the calm before the storm - tomorrow we have the traditional Lombardi climb up to Ghisallo before heading to the mountains. High altitude awaits.

        Tonight, we've picked a fantastic local restaurant. The owner is incredibly passionate. I dare you to tell him you don't like something. One thing is for sure - you won't lose any weight on this trip. Each year for the last 9 we’ve asked for one less dish.

        Team MAC – Katrina knows the area very well and has come up with a cunning plan. We will jump on the ferry and head to Bellagio. Talk to anyone about Lake Como and Bellagio will be on the top of their list. Nestled on the shores of the picturesque Lake Como in Northern Italy, Bellagio is a charming village that has captivated travellers for centuries with its stunning natural beauty, historic architecture, and a vibrant culture. We will start by immersing ourselves in the local culture by enjoying a hands-on cooking class followed by exploring some of the picturesque cobblestone streets and shops.

        / Accommodation: Hotel Miralago - Cernobbio Lake Como
        / Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

        Day 3, Wednesday 27 August

        Madonna del Ghisallo

        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 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 ride length today is only 50 km…. Not a lot, right? Now check out the altitude gain… 1,100m. Yes, now we have your attention. We will take the traditional Lombardi route up from Bellagio. It will be short and steep. We will have a vehicle on standby though for those wanting to ride less.

        Team MAC - We recommend that today you also visit Madonna del Ghisallo. However, after breakfast we will make a bee line to the famous Gardens of Villa Melzi. The Gardens are among the most beautiful of Europe, rising up the shores of Lake Como near Bellagio, harmoniously inserted into the hilly landscape between the two branches of the lake. Inside the Gardens stand the Villa, the Chapel and the Orange Greenhouse (or Orangérie), now a museum of great historical relevance. The Gardens of Villa Melzi d’Eril are a splendid expression of the Neoclassical style and have been declared a national monument.

        We have organised lunch at the Madonna del Ghisallo Museum so there’s no rush. We then hop in the vehicles for the short 3 hours to our home in the Italian Alps. In the winter, Bormio is famous for skiing. It was the site of the Alpine World Ski Championships in 1985 and 2005, and annually hosts the Alpine Ski World Cup. Lucky for us it’s summer but you can certainly appreciate the infrastructure while we ride around.

        You can feel the excitement as soon as you arrive at Bormio. Our hotel is fantastic - you simply need to see the bike room Eden to believe it.

        Tonight, we eat in one of the many restaurants in the heart of Bormio’s old town. A great way to finish the day.

        / Accommodation: Eden Hotel - Bormio
        / Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

        Day 4, Thursday 28 August 

        The Amazing Gavia

        The great thing about the Italian Highlands tour is we don’t have time restrictions. All our rides from Bormio are out and back. That allows for plenty of flexibility.

        After a leisurely breakfast, we will roll out for our first mountain pass of many. 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.

        The Gavia Pass is often on the route of the Giro d'Italia and is sometimes designated the Cima Coppi, the highest point of the race. On 5 June 1988, the race passed over the Gavia in a snowstorm, making for an epic stage won by Erik Breukink.

        Gavia is a must do. It's not an overly steep climb, however, it’s our first mountain at altitude so believe me, you will be challenged.

        If 50km out and back seems a little too short for the mountain goats among us, (weather dependent) we have plan B option that involves Mortirolo and Gavia from the Ponte di Legno side. Keep in mind this will be over 3000 meters of climbing.

        Both sides of the Gavia Pass present challenges, but the descent from Bormio is relatively easier, making the approach from Ponte di Legno (south) the classic route. Both sides of Passo di Gavia span 17 km with an average gradient of 8.1%. The last 5km on both sides have gradients between 10%.

        Team MAC – The summit of Gavia offers quite a few picturesque walks and the lake is simply stunning. Let’s join the cyclists this morning at the top before your afternoon of pampering. You head to the world-famous QC Terme Bagni Nuovi spa center. Starting with a light wellness lunch you can then relax in the infinity pool with panoramic view of the Alps. The large outdoor pools, saunas & waterfalls will make this afternoon wellness escape unforgettable.

        / Accommodation: Eden Hotel - Bormio
        / Meals Included: Breakfast (Lunch and Dinner are own arrangements)

        Day 5, Friday 29 August

        Switchbacks... More Switchbacks

        It's important to manage your legs carefully on trips like this. You simply don't want to get exhausted too early in the trip. Yesterday’s first real mountain climb will have tested you. Even for the mountain goats of the world.

        In 2017 we went looking for an easy ride and found Lago di Cancano. It's now on the must see, must ride list. The advantage is that it's only a 40km round trip. Although it does involve almost 1000m of climbing. The switchbacks near the top are actually eye watering. There's even a bit of gravel and to top it all off a fantastic cyclist’s café. Espresso anyone. Today is all about recovery. And wine. And coffee. Boom.

        Team MAC – today you’re in for a real treat. You head off to the gorgeous town of Tirano to experience the world heritage listed Bernina Express. The scenic red train crosses the Swiss Engadin Alps as it runs along the heritage listed Rhaetian Railway. The complete journey has 196 Bridge, 55 tunnels and reaches a staggering 2,253 meters above sea level. Make sure you have a fully charge phone or camera. You’re going to take plenty of photos. The Bernina Express is also open to cyclists that are looking for a day off the bike. (The approx. cost will be NZD$250.00 per person. We will need to book this in advance. Team Mac – your train ticket is included)   

        Ps, again for the mountain goats amongst us. There’s also the option of riding up to Bormio 2000 this afternoon. If you choose to do so, then you will be tested for drugs.   

        / Accommodation: Eden Hotel - Bormio
        / Meals Included: Breakfast (Lunch and Dinner are own arrangements)

        Day 6, Saturday 30 August

        Passo Dello Stelvio Bike Day!

        Each year this legendary mountain pass is closed to motorized traffic. Today, the road belongs to us! You will be joined by almost 12,000 other likeminded cyclists testing their legs on this mighty giant.

        The 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 from Bormio isn’t enough, then you can turn left and descend the Umbrail pass into Switzerland before looping back around to ascending the iconic 48 switchbacks on the other side.

        Random – I know, but make sure you listen out for marmots. Between them and the cows with bells it provides a beautiful soundtrack. Anything to side-track you from the climbing. You certainly won’t hear a car or motorbike today. Have Fun.

        Team MAC…. plenty of options on offer today, how about an 8-hour trek. Hmm, that sounds tiring. Again, a mixture of walking, eating and wine tasting.

        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. ** the pools are amazing however they're also the world's most expensive pools at a 60 euro entry fee. Ouch. Also, in Italy – long swimming shorts for boys are not accepted. Think speedos.

        / Accommodation: Eden Hotel - Bormio
        / Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

        Day 7, Sunday 31 August

        Arrivederci Alps, Ciao Dolomites (rest day)

        Transfer day - you will have ridden (weather depending) for 6 days in a row. Your legs (and bottom) will be chasing some time off. After breakfast we pack the vehicles and head off to Arabba. Our home in the Dolomites for the next four nights.

        It's about a 5-hour drive hotel to hotel however it is certainly far from boring. Stunning scenery, majestic lakes and snow-capped peaks surround you. In past years, we’ve left Bormio and driven over the Stelvio Pass. This tends to be a slow journey as 48 switchbacks can take some time to navigate for a 40-seat coach. So, we will simply go around via Switzerland using the Munt La Schera tunnel that connects the Engadin Valley with Lago di Livigno. Little known fact, there’s a good reason that Livigno is so popular with Italians. Dating back to the 16th century it has been recognised as a tax-free town.

        Our first stop is Merano - a gorgeous wine region and is considered a bridge between Northern Europe and Southern Europe due to the three spoken languages of Italian, German, and Ladin. Our lunch venue is none other than Trauttmansdorff Castle. We will have time to stretch the legs and explore some of the 12 hectares of stunning gardens before sitting down to a glass of Pinot and a 3-course lunch. This was a highlight in 2013. After lunch we jump back on the bus for the last leg of our transfer.  We'll arrive at the hotel late afternoon. Plenty of time to prepare for tomorrows ride.

        / Accommodation: Sporthotel - Arabba
        / Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

        Day 8, Monday 01 September

        Sella Ronda (the most beautiful 50km on the planet)

        Probably Italy's most famous cycling circuit and that's really saying something. The Sella Ronda Loop covers 51km and almost 1700m 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 5 hours. We will have a van close by today as the weather can turn nasty very quickly. There's no rush and we'll stop for lunch. Oh, make sure you try the hot chocolate at the top of Passo Sella.

        Team MAC – We suggest you join us in the van this morning as you simply need to also see the Sella Rhonda Loop. There are a few walks in the area and a spot of retail therapy in Corvara, so you certainly won’t be car bound. This afternoon lets join the cyclists at the top of Biz Boè for an Aperol spritz.

        Back in 2013, we took the whole group to the top of the giant granite rock we have just been riding around. Sitting at over 3000 meters above sea level, the Luna landscape is simply surreal. Offering stunning views of the Dolomites this is not to be missed. We will take the vans to the summit of Passo Pordoi, from there it’s a short gondola up to Piz Boè. Trust me, you won’t forget it! Approx cost is NZD$55.

        / Accommodation: Sporthotel - Arabba
        / Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

        Day 9, Tuesday 02 September

        Bonus day

        We always like to build in what we refer to as a weather insurance day.... And, today's the day. There are soooo many rides to choose from. Dean will gauge interest from the group on how far, fast and high you want to ride. One idea may be to simply pop over Campolonga in to Corvara for a spot of shopping. The van can meet you on the other side and bring you and all your shopping home. Another option is to ride the Valparola & Falzarego Pass. Today is flexible. Totally up to you.

        Team MAC - How about some culture? There are some fantastic museums and galleries in Bolzano which we suggest you visit. The Archaeology Museum is particularly famous – just ask Otzi the iceman. We’ll leave early to avoid the queues.

        The museum was specifically established in 1998 to house "Ötzi", a well-preserved natural mummy of a man from about 3300 BC (53 centuries ago). This is the world's oldest natural human mummy, a wet mummy, as opposed to mummies preserved by dry conditions in a desert environment.

        Converted from a 19th-century bank building, the museum covers the history and archaeology of the southern Alpine region from the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic (15,000 BC) up to 800 AD. In 2006, the museum hosted an exhibition on the mummies of the Chachapoyas culture.

        All in all, a great day of exploring.

        / Accommodation: Sporthotel - Arabba
        / Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

        Day 10, Wednesday 03 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.

        Team MAC - You’ll also meet the cyclists at the top of Giau. We plan to drive up via Passo Falzarego, stopping at Castello di Andraz. This museum was conceived to promote the knowledge of the local culture heritage. Later at the summit of Giau, we plan to walk one of the many trails and simply take in the magnificent views.    

        This afternoon we suggest you all hop on the local cable car and head up to one of the outstanding ski lodges for a quiet Prosecco. The views are certainly worth the small cost. Make sure you bring your camera. And jacket – it can get chilly at 2500m.

        / Accommodation: Sporthotel - Arabba
        / Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

        Day 11, Thursday 04 September

        We return to our Lake Como home!

        Goodbye mountains. Thank you for the entertainment.

        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. We will break up the drive with a short lunch stop and the popular town of Peschiera Del Garda (Lake Garda). Peschiera del Garda is one of the most beautiful small towns of the lake, with Unesco Heritage sites, canals, bridges, and Roman ruins.

        Late this afternoon we'll pack all the bikes as tomorrow we all head in different directions.

        Tonight, we've booked the iconic lake front restaurant (Lido) as it's our last dinner together. 

        It's been a fantastic 12 days. Let's recap on the highlights over a glass of bubbles and a fantastic dinner. Cheers to you!

        / Accommodation: Hotel Miralago - Cernobbio Lake Como
        / Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner

        Day 12, Friday 05 September

        Home Time

        After breakfast we all head in different directions. The shuttle to the airport will leave at 08:30am as the majority of flights depart just after midday.

        The other option is simply to stay put. Lake Como for an extra couple of days would be a perfect way of finish the holiday. You could keep the bikes assembled. You'll know your way around by now.

        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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