The Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France have been regular visitors to northern Italy over the years, but whether you’re a seasoned road cyclist or are just looking to take in the scenery on the seat of a bicycle, you won’t have trouble finding the route that matches your needs.
Between the Alps and the Dolomites, northern Italy is able to boast not only some of the most spectacular views in Europe, but also some of the most unique roads and the best cycle paths you’ll see anywhere in the world – and of course, being Italy, the gastronomy is right up there with the quality of the riding as well.
We’ve teamed up with Green & Blue, a new initiative set up to promote adventure sports in the region, to shine a spotlight on some of the best road cycling routes in Northern Italy.
1) Tackle Il Colle Del Gran San Bernardo, Valle D’Aosta
The Aosta Valley is the smallest region in Northern Italy, but it’s also one of the most beautiful. The dramatic landscape offers huge mountains, enormous valleys and all the outdoor greenery you could ask for.
40 percent of the Valle d’Aosta is mountainous terrain, so prepare for some serious climbing if you bring your road bike. This is another region which is no stranger to the Giro d’Italia, and the Tour de France has passed through here as well.
The 22km cycle and walking path joining Sarre and Fenis is great for those you don’t quite fancy themselves as the next Chris Froome, and there are plenty of routes on the valley floor that take you through the landscape and pass gastronomical wonders on the way.
If you are up for a challenge though, the Martigny to Bourg-Saint-Maurice route, through Gran San Bernardo Hill from 2,474m to Piccolo San Bernardo at 2,188 m, requires some serious endurance skills, but not only do you get a lot of downhill for you efforts, the views you get while you’re on them will absolutely blow you away.
2) Cycling From Dolci Terre To Langhe, Piemonte
The Langhe Roero and Monferrato UNESCO-certified landscapes of Piemonte are the epitome of serenity and peace. You’ll find yourself riding up and over rolling hills, through gorgeous valleys and, should you choose, taking on thigh-burning climbs.
From Torino there are 11 valleys through the province which can all be accessed from one cycle path. The Crown of Delights by Bike is a radial system of over 90km, with 7 historic trails, connecting Torino to the outstanding complex of the Royal Residences UNESCO World Heritage since 1997. A pedestrian bike trail boasting some beautiful tranquility around the capital city. This route will take you past an array of ancient fortifications and stunning villages filled with gastronomic delights.
The Biella area hosts a real paradise for enthusiasts of bike and outdoor at the Oasi Zegna, with hundreds of trails and itineraries. In the South Piemonte, the Dolci Terre to Langhe route runs from Acqui Terme to Mombaruzzo, home to the sweet, crunchy “amaretto”. If you are looking to get a bit further, you’ll reach Nizza Monferrato, where you can sample some of the best savory Barbera wine the world over, and then ride on to Canelli through beautiful green trails.