Road Bike Travel
Legendary Giro d’Italia Climbs in the Dolomites – 7 Days
- Bicycle over breathtaking mountain passes, enjoying fabulous ascents alongside jagged Dolomitic peaks, and descents into beautiful lush valleys
- Explore many of the highlights of the Dolomites: ride the famous Sellaronda, over the Pordoi, Sella, Gardena, and Valparola passes
- Conquer the Passo Stelvia – 48 switchbacks and almost 1,800 meters (6,000') elevation gain!
- Climb the legendary Passo Gavia, the Cima Coppi of the 2008 Giro d'Italia
- Experience three cultures – Italian, German, and Ladin – with the many traditions that make this region so unique
Do you enjoy the challenge of steep cycling ascents? Crave altitude? And enjoy the rush of breathtaking scenery racing by as you accelerate down off the mountain? The incredible geography of the Dolomites provides just this: a high density of mountain passes within a relatively small area, affording steep ascents and descents on rural roads without traffic.
It’s no wonder then that the Dolomites also host part of one of the toughest cycling races – the Giro d’Italia. The Giro d'Italia (Tour of Italy in English) is an annual multiple stage bicycle race primarily held in Italy, while also occasionally passing through nearby countries. Along with the Tour de France and Vuelta a España, the Giro makes up cycling's prestigious, three week-long Grand Tours. And on this incredible itinerary, you have the opportunity to cycle over many of the same passes that have made – and broken – champions of past Giro d’Italia races.
(Note: This itinerary follows routes taken in past Giro d'Italia races, but does NOT follow a live Giro d’Italia race, which takes place each May. To watch the 2016 Giro, check out our Giro d’Italia 2016 Dolomite Stages: Watch and Ride Trip,May 18-26, 2016 and watch the Giro, live and in person, experiencing the rush of wind as Giro riders whiz past!)
For dramatic scenery, smooth roads and incredible food and drink, the Dolomites are hard to beat. This week-long trip combines the perfect mixture of spectacular riding, food, and culture, with immaculate towns and glorious mountain passes. Plus, riding over legendary climbs that past Giro d’Italia racers have competed on!
Cycling is one of the best ways to explore the Dolomites – to grasp its scale and see it change around every corner. You’ll taste the excitement of being completely surrounded by a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as you cycle some of the most famous – and most challenging – climbs in all of Italy... Stelvio... Gavia ... Mortirolo... Pordoi... Fedaia... Sella... Duran... Giau... Valparola... and more! With passes from 1,000 to 1,500 to 2,000 meters, all the way up to 2,757 meters (9,045') – Stelvio, the second highest pass in all the Alps! – these are climbs with numbers that road bikers dream of!
Day by Day
Join us for a week biking the best climbs in the Dolomites! Ride famous high mountain passes of the Italian Alps featured in past Giro d'Italia races – Stelvio, Gavia, Pordoi and more!
Day 1 ~ Arrive in Alta Badia, Dolomites
Arrive in Alta Badia on your own (private transfer available on request) and check into your hotel. Located in a large valley surrounded all around by the gorgeous peaks of the Dolomites, Alta Badia is truly the “heart of the Dolomites.” Geographically in the South Tyrol (Südtirol), this area was part of Austria prior to the First World War. Here you’ll find unique mountain scenery with villages rich in natural beauties and ancient traditions, witness the simple everyday life of the local people (the “Ladini”), as well as the customs and traditions of the ancient Ladin culture.
D… Hotel in Alta Badia (3-Star)
Day 2 ~ Sellaronda
In the morning, you will meet your Dolomite Mountains biking guide for a trip briefing and equipment check.
From here, bike the famous Sellaronda, the classic Dolomites cycling route that circumnavigates the Sella Massif! This route leads you over four major passes – three of which are higher than 2,000 meters (6,600'), and each of which has been included in a past Giro d’Italia stage – as you cycle clockwise around this incredible mountain.
Several of the passes of the Sellaronda has been the Cima Coppi of a past Giro d’Italia race. Cima Coppi is the title given to the highest peak of the course each year, so the Cima Coppi elevation and pass changes from year to year, depending on the altitude profile of the Giro d'Italia. This categorization was first introduced for the 1965 Giro d'Italia, in honor of the late Fausto Coppi who won five editions of the Giro d'Italia and three mountain classification titles during his career.
(Bicycle 67km / 41.6 miles, 1,849m / 6,066' elevation change.)
Want more of a challenge?
Add Passo Giau (2,236m / 7,336') via Colle Santa Lucia – an average 9.1% grade! – and Passo Falzarego (2,109m / 6,919'). Both climbs which have made regular appearances in the Giro d’Italia, with Giau being the Cima Coppi in both 1973 and 2011. (Bicycle 138km / 85.7 miles, 4,230m / 13,877' elevation change.)
B,D… Hotel in Alta Badia (3-Star)
Day 3 ~ Alta Badia to Bolzano
From Corvara ascend Passo Campolongo, Passo Fedaia (2,057m / 6,748'), and Passo Costalunga (1,753m / 5,751'), and finally descend to the city of Bolzano / Bozen. (Bicycle 111km / 68miles, 2,561m / 8,402' elevation change.)
Bozen/Bolzano (240m / 787') is the capital city of the province of South Tyrol (Südtirol in German and Ladin, Sudtirolo in Italian, and also known by its Italian name Alto Adige). Green surroundings and lovely mountains frame the urban area of Bolzano: the space of the town is closely interwoven with that of nature. Here you will find a lovely mixture of cultural displays, open-air markets, restaurants, and high-end shops.
But Bolzano’s biggest attraction is Ötzi, a mummy discovered by chance in 1991 after spending the previous 5,300 years frozen in mountain ice. Most intriguingly, he was murdered. You can see Ötzi in his fridge, kept at 21F (-6C), at the Museum of Archaeology, alongside a thrillingly vast quantity of artifacts found with him, from bear-fur hat to bow and arrows, and fascinating footage of the police, not realizing how old he was, extracting his body. The chance to come face to face with a man who lived some 500 years before the building of the Pyramids makes the journey to Bolzano worthwhile on its own.
Dinner at local beer stube (restaurant) in Bolzano.
B,D… Hotel in Bolzano (3-Star)
Day 4 ~ Bolzano to Glorenz, via the Mendola & Palade Passes
From Bolzano, climb the Passo della Mendola (1,362m / 4,468') and Passo delle Palade/Gampenjoch (1,518m / 4,980'). (Bicycle 133km / 83miles, 2,499m / 8,200' elevation change.)
The Mendola was included in the Giro in 1990, 1996, 1997, 2000, and 2004, while the Palade has repeatedly been included, as it allows a direct connection between the Alto Adige and several passes which you will ride on this trip: Gavia and Stelvio.
Overnight in Glurns/Glorenza, the smallest city in the southern Alps. Rich in historic jewels, it often surprises its visitors with its charm – Glorenza has never grown beyond its original walls. Today there are fewer than 900 inhabitants, enabling the city to preserve its historic character as a medieval town. It is considered an architectural jewel, with a circular wall, three city towers, and a series of fortified towers surround the charming alleys and corners, plus 16th town houses and the arcades lend special atmosphere. No wonder that Glorenza has repeatedly been chosen as a film set!
B,D… Hotel in Glorenza (3-Star)
Day 5 ~ Stelvio Pass to Bormio
From Glorenz today you’ll cycle southwest to Bormio, and cycle over the Stelvio Pass, the Giro’s most legendary climb. Its 80+ hairpin turns, 48 of them on the northern side where you’ll be climbing, are numbered with stones, and present a challenge to cyclist and motorists alike! Your descent winds down 35 of the tightest hairpins; viewed from below it resembles a single strand of spaghetti dropped from the sky...
(Bicycle 53km / 33 miles, 1,859m / 6,100' elevation change.)
In 1953 the Giro first climbed the Stelvio, which has been repeated in four subsequent courses (1994, 2005, 2012, 2014). At 2,757 meters (9,045'), it is the second highest pass in the Alps, just 13 meters (43') below France's Col de l'Iseran (2,770m / 9,088'), and is the highest point ever reached by the Giro.
Bormio has literally been a tourist hot spot for centuries, with guests flocking to its thermal hot springs since the time of the Romans. A perfect way to soak away the ache of the Stelvio!
B,D… Hotel in Bormio (3-Star)
Day 6 ~ Bormio – Passo di Gavia
Ride Passo del Mortirolo (1,852m / 6,076') and the challenging Passo di Gavia (2,621m / 8,599'). This ginal pass is one of the highest and most beautiful passes of the Alps, dividing the Italian provinces of Sondrio to the north and the Brescia to the south. It has been included in the Giro 9 times, 7 as the Cima Coppi z- a perfect way to wrap up your legendary Giro d’Italia climbing adventure! (Bicycle 112km / 70miles, 3,093m / 10,150' elevation change.)
Final dinner at restaurant in Bormio with great local food and ambiance.
B,D… Hotel in Bormio (3-Star)
Day 7 ~ Depart
Breakfast and departure on your own (private transfer available upon request).
Trip itinerary may vary based on weather conditions, fitness levels and abilities of participants, and/or the recommendations of your guide.
(Note: This itinerary follows routes taken in past Giro d'Italia races, but does NOT follow a live Giro d’Italia race, which takes place each May. To watch the 2017 Giro, check out our Giro d’Italia 2017 Dolomite Stages: Watch and Ride Trip,May 23-27, 2017 and watch the Giro, live and in person, experiencing the rush of wind as Giro riders whiz past!)
EXTEND YOUR ADVENTURE!
You've come all this way, why not stay a little longer? Dolomite Mountains offers fantastic extensions that you can enjoy before or after your trip in the Dolomites. Explore Venice, Verona, Lake Garda, Florence, or Milan, or any of the many other magical places found throughout Italy. There's no more perfect way to recover from jet lag upon arrival, or delay your return to reality at the end of your trip!