- Cycling through stunning mountain scenery
- Climbing the iconic Mortirolo, Passo Gavia and Passo Stelvio of Giro d’Italia fame
- Enjoying post-ride relaxation in typical chalet-style mountain hotels
- Re-charging your energy levels every evening with tasty local fayre
- Testing your legs and endurance on the final Monte Grappa climb
- Enjoying an aperitif in the lively towns of San Pellegrino Terme, Bormio and Bassano del Grappa
I have done several continental cycling tour holidays and this trip set a whole new standard!
Following your arrival in Bergamo we will transfer you to the spa town of San Pellegrino Terme where we will spend our first evening. Once a grand thermal centre, San Pellegrino is still a lively town and sits nestled in a narrow valley in the midst of the soaring mountains.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 2,400 Metres Approx.
We leave San Pellegrino Terme via an old railway line, now converted into a designated cycle path, and head up the valley to Piazza Brembana where we begin to ascend Passo San Marco. A 25km climb reaching almost 2,000m above sea level, this little-known pass is not to be sniffed at. We’ll enjoy a well-deserved lunch at the summit after which a deserved 25km descent takes us down to Morbegno in the Valtellina valley where we spend the rest of the day pedalling along a series of quiet secondary roads and well-surfaced cycle paths until we reach our destination in the town of Tirano.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 3,300 Metres Approx.
Leaving Tirano we have a gentle 10km to warm up before we arrive at an inconspicuous right hand turn which marks the beginning of the infamous Mortirolo. The challenging climb, with its 4 sections of 18% and average gradient of 11%, certainly lives up to its reputation. 8kms into the climb we pass the famous monument honouring Italian hero and Giro winner Marco Pantani who famously launched a blistering attacked here and went on to take a stage victory during the 1994 race.
Once we’ve caught our breath at the summit we’ll descend before taking the valley road to Ponte di Legno where the seemingly never-ending and fantastically-scenic slopes of the Gavia await us. A final sweeping descent takes us down to the mountain town of Bormio which will be our home tonight.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 3,500 Metres Approx.
Today is, by far, our longest day as we ride into the Dolomites region. With 3,500m of climbing however, it cannot be considered merely as a transition stage and we start the day with what is possibly the most famous of all of Italy’s classic climbs.
Peaking at 2,758m above seal level, Passo dello Stelvio is one of highest mountain passes in Europe and is known around the world for its 48, impressively-engineered, tight hairpin bends. We descend the mountain via those bends into the Adige Valley and push on along the river towards Bolzano in the province of Trentino.
The stage finishes in style with successive ascents of Passo Palade and the Passo della Mendola, both of which featured in the Giros of recent years. At 1,500m and 1,300m they may seem like mere bumps by comparison to what has preceded, however at the end of such a day they certainly pack a punch!
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 2,800 Metres Approx.
Today we will head into the very heart of the Dolomites via roads less-travelled and a series of lesser-known climbs. The climbs are, nevertheless, outstandingly beautiful and serve as a very fitting overture to what lays in wait for us during the next couple of days.
Passo Nigra (1,688m) is our first challenge which we must tackle before rolling gently upwards and then gently downhill to Passo Costalungo. The downward trend continues as we head further down into the Val di Fassa and then onwards to the town of Canazei, a community dominated by the towering vertical cliff faces of the enormous Sella Massif.
The final challenge of the day begins in Canazei as we ascend to the summit of Passo Pordoi (2,239m) after which we cruise down to Arabba where we will be staying for the next two nights.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 2,400 Metres Approx.
Our exploration of the roads around the Sella Massif is possibly one of the most spectacular loop rides in the world. The circular route boasts an impressive roll-call of classic climbs including Passo Pordoi (2,239m) which we take on from the opposite direction to yesterday, Passo Sella (2,240m) and Passo Gardena (2,121m).
On reaching the town of Corvara in Badia those of us who have had enough climbing can head directly back to Arabba for an afternoon of relaxation, while others may choose to continue and conquer Passo Valparola (2,168m) and Passo Falzarego (2,109m) before calling it a day.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 2,000 Metres Approx.
As we bid farewell to Arabba, we start the day with a welcome 32km of mainly downhill riding after which a sharp change in direction announces the start of our first test of the day, the challenging 20km climb through dense forest to Passo di Valles.
From here the road drops away swiftly for 8km until we reach the start the Passo di Rolle. As we climb we pass through the Brenta region where we are treated to some of the Europe’s most spectacular scenery.
Half way into the exhilarating descent from the summit of the Rolle we pass through the mountain resort town of San Martino di Castrozza, nestled below the towering craggy peaks of the magnificent Pale di San Martino. Descending further we finally reach our hotel in the delightfully scenic town of Siror.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 2,700 Metres Approx.
We’ve reached the final stage of our own mini Giro and it’s another epic ride featuring two more classic and historic mountains. The first is Croce d’Aune, the start of which is in the town of Zorzoi that we reach after approximately 20km of mainly downhill riding. This somewhat unassuming little climb is hugely significant to cyclists worldwide as it is here that Tullio Campagnolo, founder of the revered component manufacturing company, is reputed to have come up with the idea of the quick release skewer while attempting, and apparently failing, to remove the rear wheel from his bicycle.
A monument to the legendary inventor commemorates the occasion and five decades later, after Tullio himself had passed away, the Campagnolo Company named a groupset after the mountain.
We descend via another series of hairpin bends to Pedavena from where we launch our final mountain assault. Monte Grappa, considered by historians to be the place where ‘Italy was made‘, is the site of an historic battle ground that saw significant action during both World Wars. At the summit we’ll pass the second monument of the day, this one, more poignantly than the first commemorates, and holds the remains of some 12,615 soldiers, the identities of which more than 10,000 are unknown.
Whilst we may feel a little reflective as we pass over the summit we can allow the beauty of the landscape to lift our spirits as we embark on a breath-taking final 20km descent which eventually delivers us to our final destination. The beautiful Roman town of Bassano del Grappa sits on the banks of the Brenta River and is the perfect place to finish a remarkable journey and perhaps celebrate with a shot or two of the local grappa.
The riding takes us into the fantastic regions of Italian Northern Alps and Dolomites, engaging in long winding climbs followed by long descents, often with a long series of switchbacks. The Grappa will challenge you to the longest climb, taking us 30km to reach the top. Gradients vary throughout the trip, but you will encounter 8-12% gradients in some sections.
The most difficult climb is the Mortirolo, which will test you on a regular basis with sections up to 18%. The road is generally very good both in terms of tarmac quality and width and heavy traffic is only usually encountered in the proximity of towns, and on the most iconic climbs. On some days there are sections on cycle paths to avoid the unpleasant and busy roads along the valley bottoms. The choice of the type of gearing is mainly linked to your fitness level and your personal preferences, taking into account that this tour is a grade 4-5.
Road Cycling Grade
A challenging ride with a level of difficulty somewhere between Grades 4 & 5
Not quite as tough as our most challenging tours, but will feature long distances upwards of 100 km per day
Includes a number of tough climbs
Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!
For more information about our grading system click here.
Is this suitable for you?
You’re an experienced cyclist and have ridden in the high mountains on numerous occasions. You’re keen to push your boundaries a bit further. You’re well-equipped with all the gear necessary to keep yourself warm and safe in the mountains in all conditions, a self-sufficient rider who likes to get on and ride with minimum fuss and faffing. Your riding experience is the most important aspect of your trip. You live to ride, love to climb and the prospect of consecutive days of long distances and/or multiple extended or high-altitude ascents fills you with joy. You’re a very competent descender, but you understand the risks of road riding and always ride with your own safety, and that of your companions, at the forefront of your mind. You’re already fit and you’re prepared to work hard to stay in shape in order to get the best possible experience out of your holiday.
The cycling was everything I expected and more. Superb scenery, challenging climbs, and fantastic descents.
Dates & Prices
Are you keen to only travel with your family or friends? Struggling to find the right date? Well, we can organise a private departure for this tour and tailor aspects to suit your group's specific needs. Contact our friendly team and we'll help you turn your dream into reality.
A) Accommodation (shared twin / double en-suite rooms)
B) Meals as per the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
C) Full tour service, including Skedaddle guides
D) Unless stated, at least one leader qualified in First Aid
E) Support vehicle and luggage transfers
F) Airport transfer on scheduled arrival day from Milan Bergamo airport (BGY)
G) Airport transfer on scheduled departure day to Venice Marco Polo airport (VCE)
What's not Included
A) Bike rental (available if required)
B) Flights and charges for travelling with your bike (if applicable)
C) Meals not stated in the itinerary
D) Single room (available if required)
E) Travel insurance
F) Personal clothing and equipment
G) Personal expenditure (souvenirs, bar bills, hotel facilities etc)
H) Entrance fees to museums and other attractions en route
I) Airport transfers on days other than the scheduled arrival / departure days
Why we love Italy!
Here's 7 things you'll only understand if you've cycled in Italy...
Guide Profile: Naomi Lindfield
Meet Naomi, our Head Honcho of Skedaddle Italia!
Why We Love Climbing Mountains
What makes it special? The companionship, the scenery, the challenge?
Simon Mottram, Founder of Rapha (Telegraph 2016)As seen in the press...
If you’ve never ridden a bike through the high mountains of northern Italy, first hauling yourself up and over a passo (start with Valparola and make your way over Fedaia and Gardena for outstanding views) and then enjoying the sweet reward of a sweeping descent through the forest, you’re missing a big section in your cycling palmares.
David, UKThis trip set a whole new standard...
I have done several continental cycling tour holidays. This trip set a whole new standard. The cycling was amazing and despite some poor weather in places both Massimo and Danillo kept us well stocked and supported. This is the first time that we have had native guides and as such the experience was massively improved. They knew the areas, people and were able to assist with any query.
Ultimately, the value for money came from the fact that Massimo and Danillo worked really hard to make sure we were happy. They made this trip and it would be that reason alone I would be recommending Skedaddle over other companies.
All food was superb – especially the wonderful lunches made by Massimo and Danilo, I’ve never had such good salads and cycling food!
Tim, FranceBravo Italiano
Having an Italian leader really enhanced the holiday and Massimo is excellent at his job. He was able to strike the perfect balance and along with Nicola made our holiday a fantastic experience.
Bryan, BerkshireExcellent in every way...
Can’t fault it – excellent in every way. All the hotels were of a very high standard, new fittings, clean, good locations. One of them even had a 5 x Tour de France winner installed for us to have photos with. The ride on the Saturday before the official start (we arrived a day early) was awesome – Ghisallo, church and museum, Muro di Sormano, fantastic descent to Lake Como and then a spin around the lake. After that… um, they were all good. Stella Ronda day stands out though, mainly for the last descent.
Anne, LondonBeautiful place for cycling...
Very good! Really, really enjoyed the week away. Beautiful place to go cycling. I can’t say enough good things about Massimo – he was encouraging, thoughtful, showed great attention to detail and was tremendous fun!
Michelle, South AfricaProfessional Skedaddle team from the beginning to the end...
From selection of hotels, local route knowledge to transfers, every aspect of our holiday was taken care of. I cannot thank Massimo, Luca and Nicola enough for the outstanding support during our holiday. It was a pleasure to ride and socialise with such an outstanding crew focused on absolute service excellence. I was really impressed by 3 of the hotels we stayed in. They were way above my expectations, really roomy and very comfortable.
I have done a number of bike trips and now with Skedaddle….they put together a great trip which I think is very good value.
Ian, ReadingI love Skedaddle holidays...
The days Mortirolo & Stella Ronda were equally challenging and stunning and are exactly why I love Skedaddle holidays.
Anthony, BasingstokeBreathtaking views and tender loving care...
Massimo really looked after us all very well and tended to all of our needs. Massimo is an excellent people person and helped bond the group together, making for an excellent tour experience. Luca was very helpful to all and acted as joint tour leader, he is an excellent bike mechanic as well, a very nice guy. Nicola drove the van and tended to all of our food and water requests, he also took some excellent photographs.
Guy, BerkshireFirst class guides and awesome cycling...
The guides put loads of effort into the lunches and the results were excellent – healthy, filling and tasty. Massimo was very organised and put in a huge amount of effort on every front. The cycling was everything I expected and more. Superb scenery, challenging climbs, and fantastic descents. The Passo gavia was the perfect climb in terms of gradient, views, weather and all round experience.