Day 1, Pallanza–Warm up ride
Ride: 22 miles/ 1,994 ft. Optional Climb: 2.5 miles/1,600 ft.
We’ll meet at the hotel at 9 a.m. for a brief orientation. We will take a nice warm up ride to loosen your legs and you will have the afternoon to relax at one of the many outdoor cafés. Enjoy the view from our lakeside hotel or stroll along the shoreline of Lago Maggiore. Welcome dinner together.
Pallanza, located on Lago Maggiore, is unmistakably Mediterranean in atmosphere with palms and oleanders lining the lakeside promenades. Pallanza is home to the famous botanical gardens of Villa Taranto, which has more than 20,000 species of plants.
Day 2, Tirano
Ride: 53-66 miles/2,500-4,161 ft.
We’ll ride along the shorelines of three of the most beautiful Italian lakes. Our ride begins with a short spin to where we’ll catch the ferry across Lago Maggiore. After the ferry, we’ll ride along the eastern shoreline and into Switzerland — please bring your passport.
We’ll follow the Lago Lugano shore, make a short climb and enjoy a wonderful descent to Lago Como, where we’ll catch another ferry to visit Varenna. Varenna is arguably the nicest village on Lago Como, shaded by pine and plane trees, and almost completely free of souvenir shops. Dinner together.
Extra Ride Option (13 miles/1,916 ft): Ride to the famous Madonna del Ghisalo chapel — a shrine devoted to cycling with mementos (jerseys and bikes) of the Giro d’Italia’s most famous riders. From Bellagio, it’s a very scenic climb (7 miles/1,661 ft.) on a beautiful mountain road with steep switchbacks.
Day 3, Bormio
Ride: 37-56 miles/3,150-9,150 ft.
Today’s ride is 75% downhill! We’ll begin the day by taking the red Swiss train (Trenino Rosso del Bernina). This is the steepest cog railway in Europe, which follows a stunning route through the mountains to St. Moritz.
We’ll disembark at Passo Bernina (7,638 ft.) and follow a three-mile descent into Italy via Passo Forcola di Livigno (7,595 f.t). We’ll descend nine miles into the valley through Livigno and climb two short cols: the Passo d’Eira (7,244 ft.) and stop for lunch at the café atop Passo Foscagno (7,516 ft.). After lunch, there’s a glorious 15 mile/3,491 ft. descent to Bormio. Dinner together.
Extra Ride Option (additional 19 miles/6,000 ft.): For those who want a challenging start to the day, they can climb Passo Bernia instead of riding the train.
Bormio, located at the base of Passo Stelvio, is a charming medieval village with cobblestone streets and 15th and 16th century frescoed palaces. The village hosted the 1985 World Alpine Ski Championships and is one of Europe’s largest summer skiing areas. Today, the village is a popular ski and spa destination where you can enjoy thermal baths, a massage or a spa treatment.
Day 4, Bormio – Loop Ride/Spa
Ride: 32-60 miles/4,563-10,413 ft.
Climb the famous Passo Gavia (16 miles/4,563 ft.) or Bormio 2000, both of which were included in the 2004 Giro d’Italia, or take an easy ride and explore some scenic mountain villages. Hike in the nearby alpine valleys, enjoy a spa treatment at the thermal baths near our hotel, or simply relax – the choice is yours! Dinner on your own.
Ride Option: 71 miles/10,413 ft. via Passo Mortirolo (7.5 miles/4,225 ft.) and Gavia (16 miles/4,563 ft.)
For those who want to begin the day with a challenge, they can climb Passo Mortirolo. This is considered Italy’s most difficult pass and one of the most difficult on any grand tour – with an average gradient of 10.5% and a max of 18%! After refueling at the top and enjoying a great descent, it’s onward to Passo Gavia (average gradient of 7.9% and a max of 16%). Both climbs were included in the 2004 and 2006 Giro.
Day 5, Kaltern
Ride Options: 62-81 miles/5,400-6,270 ft.
Today is the day you’ve been training for, the Passo Stelvio (12 miles/5,304 ft.) — one of the highest mountain passes in Europe and part of the 2005/2012 Giro d’Italia! We’ll enjoy a fantastic, winding descent (17 miles/5,993 ft.) to the valley floor and enter the Sud Tyrol, where German is the prominent language.
We’ll continue down the valley on bike paths along apple orchards and hillside castles, including Reinhold Meissner Castle. We’ll make our final easy climb of the day to Appiano, dotted with more than 40 castles and manor houses. The ride concludes a few miles later when we reach our hotel in Kaltern, a charming village on the famous wine road (Weinstraße) of the Alto Adige region. Dinner together.
Day 6, Kaltern – Loop Ride/Wine Tasting
Ride Options: Passo Mendola 20 miles/2,789 ft. or Rest Day
Many of us will want to “Taper” for the upcoming Maratona dles Dolomites. Relax by the hotel pool, or enjoy a walk or leisurely ride along the vineyards. If you still have the legs, take a ride up Passo Mendola and/or a loop ride on the wine road through apple orchards, vineyards and along the shores of Lago di Caldaro. If you’re interested, join us for wine tasting in the afternoon. Dinner together.
Day 7, Canazei
Ride: 43 miles/5,482 ft. (Option to Sag all/part of climb to rest for Maratona)
The ride begins leisurely on a bike path through forests, along the Adidge River and into the bustling center of Bolzano, a great place for a cappuccino or gelato. From Bolzano, the road enters a deep, narrow, red-colored gorge, known as “Mother Nature’s sore throat.” At the Passo di Costalunga, we’ll see the craggy peaks of Latemar on the right, and the rosy pinnacles of Rosengarten on the left. As we descend, we’ll pass beneath the spectacular eastern face of Rosengarten on our way to our inn. Dinner together.
Canazei, a classic European ski resort in winter, is full of hikers and cyclists in summer since it’s a perfect base for exploring the Dolomite region. From the village you can view Marmolada, Sella and Rosengarten peaks.
Day 8, Corvara – Maratona dles Dolomites
Ride Options: Choose from three Maratona courses
Today is the big day! We’ll participate in the Maratona dles Dolomites, one of the most popular cycling events in Europe that draws 9,000 cyclists. We’ll take on some of the classic climbs of the Giro d’Italia on car-free roads. The route includes the classic passes of Gardena, Sella, Campolongo, Pordoi and Giau. Choose from three courses:
- Short: 34 miles/5,785 feet of climbing
- Medium: 66 miles/10,042 feet of climbing
- Long: 86 miles/13,614 feet of climbing
You’ll earn a finisher certificate for the best ride of your life, as well as a complimentary Maratona cycling jersey. Enjoy access to all the racer-only benefits, including the huge post-event celebration. Post-race celebration dinner together.
Day 9, Cortina D’Ampezzo
Ride Options: 39 miles/5,243 ft. or a light recovery ride
Today’s ride begins with a ride to the foot of the famous Marmolada (10,968 ft.), the mightiest mountain in the Dolomites. We’ll tackle the seven-mile climb up Passo di Fedaia (9km/1,800 ft.), descend eight miles and make our final climb up Passo di Falzarego (19km/1,745 ft.). We’ll finish our ride with an enjoyable 10-mile descent to our hotel in Cortina D’Ampezzo. Dinner together.
Cortina D’Ampezzo lies at the intersection of two valleys and is surrounded by a ring of majestic mountains. Cortina enjoys the best location in the Dolomites and offers a variety of shops, biergartens, restaurants and gelatorias, not to mention the nightlife – there’s plenty to keep you busy in town!
Day 10, Cortina D’Ampezzo – Loop Ride/Spa
Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop: 25-33 miles/2,625-4,455 ft.
Relax, hike or ride today, it’s up to you! We’ll begin with a climb up the Passo Tre Croci and ride to Lago di Misurina, a shimmering, deep-blue lake surrounded by the jagged peaks of the Cristallo mountains. There’s an optional four-mile climb (1,830 ft, max 18%) to the base of the remarkable triple-peaked mountain, Tre Cime di Lavaredo, where we can enjoy a well-earned lunch at the top. Our loop continues mostly downhill through beautiful alpine scenery over the Passo Cimbanche and back to Cortina. Dinner on your own.
Day 11, Valdobbiadene
Ride Options: 47-81 miles/4,479 ft.
Our last day in the Dolomites will not disappoint, as we head all the way back to the Veneto lowlands. We’ll climb one of the lesser-traveled passes above Cortina, Passo di Giau (16km/3345 ft.), the last Dolomite col. We’ll reward ourselves at a café at the top and enjoy the best view of the Dolomites. After our break, there’s a breathtaking 11-mile/3,929-foot descent to the base of the imposing Monte Civetta, one of the most unusual and striking peaks of the Dolomites. We’ll continue down the valley and along the base of the foothills to Valdobbiadene. Dinner together.
Valdobbiadene is a small village nestled in the foothills and surrounded by vineyards. The village is the home of prosecco, one of Italy’s finest sparkling wines. We’ll stay at a wonderful B&B in the vineyards and enjoy local prosecco tasting.
Day 12, Castelfranco Veneto
Ride Options: 25-53 miles/1,000-5,500 ft.
On our last cycling day, we’ll enjoy a leisurely ride along the Monfumo region’s beautiful rolling hills to Asolo, a medieval hill town. We’ll have lunch in one of Asolo’s chic cafés and descend to the plains of Veneto, where we’ll ride along quiet farm roads to Castelfranco Veneto. Our comfortable four-star hotel is built into the clock tower of this 12th century walled town. Final celebration dinner tonight!
Mont Grappa Option: If you still have the legs, test yourself on a fabulous and challenging 15-mile climb (4,816 ft.). This classic climb is much more difficult than Mont Ventoux!
Day 13, Castelfranco Veneto – Tour Conclusion
Our tour ends after breakfast, ATG will provide one group transfer to the Venice Marco Polo airport which has frequent boat transfers to Venice which makes it easy if you want to extend your trip to visit Venice.