Exploring Italy by bike is quickly becoming as fundamental to the objectives of two-wheeled traditionalists as the customary explorations of France. From the beautiful coasts of Puglia to the scented vineyards of Tuscany, there is something for everyone to get excited about. Winter and early spring also offer a great opportunity to explore destinations better known for their summer beach resorts and crowded tourist sites. With fewer people and temperatures more favourable for an active break, beating the summer crowds means you get a more authentic experience of the local towns and villages.
Climb volcanoes and push your limits in Sicily
This challenging trip through east Sicily ends with a difficult ride around the infamous Mount Etna. You’ll begin on the coast in Syracuse then head inland passing through the baroque gems of Syracuse, Noto, Modica, Ragusa, and Palazzolo Acreide with their numerous baroque Palazzi and churches. Your destination on this self-guided cycle tour designed for the road cyclist is the Mount Etna regional park where you shall ride the full circumference of the volcano. At 3,329 m of elevation, the volcano is active and often you shall be greeted with smoke billowing out of its crater. Accept this challenge and be rewarded by Europe’s highest volcano and the most active in the world!
Distance: 600+km (6 days cycling)
Relax and be pampered in Puglia
If you want to treat yourself to something more relaxed, try this laidback bike tour in Puglia, one of the richest places in the world for the variety of its backgrounds, hilly villages, food, and tradition. Kilometres of coastline are the setting for old olive groves, ravines, Trulli, Saracen towers, and old historic villages. Nature plays a big role in this tour, where you can discover a bounty of colours and flavours all year long. You’ll also be treated to luxury accommodations, a fully catered meal plan, and technical assistance throughout.
Distance: 240 km (5 days cycling)
Price: € 1860 (All-inclusive)
Discover the best of Tuscany: Pisa to Florence
For those looking for something a bit easier on the budget, you can discover quintessential Tuscany on two wheels while checking a couple major landmarks off your bucket list. From the world-famous city of Pisa and its iconic tower, you pedal through the Tuscan landscape, past scented vineyards and verdant olive groves towards Florence: the birthplace of the Renaissance and city of timeless beauty.
Distance: 170mk (5 days cycling)
Price: From € 535
One for the gourmands
For those who enjoy the pleasure of good eating after a solid day of riding, embark on this culinary mountain bike tour journey. Passing through valleys and over gentle hills, you will bike amidst vineyards and olive groves, past grazing sheep, goats and horses, to waterfalls, natural reserves, ancient sites and remote villages most tourists never see. In this incredible landscape, you will taste typical products such as honey, olive oil, cheeses – like “cazzimperio”, exquisite creamy goat cheese to be enjoyed on toasted bread – mutton and lamb that, once dried, is called M’cisca.
The relaxed pace of your daily itinerary will also be just enough to justify sampling all the delectable desserts this region has to offer. Together with a glass of fragolino, a liqueur made from wild strawberries, it will be the perfect end to your day.
Distance: 160km (4 days cycling)
Escape to Sardinia
Great for riding all year round, Sardinia is one of the Mediterranean’s best-kept cycling secrets. Riders looking for somewhere a bit different for winter sunshine can head to the south-west corner for quieter cycling amid scenery of vineyards and olive groves, beautiful wooded valleys and dramatically beautiful coasts. Sardinia offers breathtaking views and is scantily populated, leaving you free to discover the open roads. On this trip, you will spend a week biking all around rugged Landscape of the island: on the west coast, (Alghero and Bosa), to Medieval villages and Roman towns, such as Santu Lussurgiu, then down to Oristano, rich in history.
Level: Moderate to challenging (options available)