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Italy_The Italian Riviera, Mountains and Coast

Sunday 15 September to Sunday 29 September 2024

We ride on extremely quiet roads through the high mountains of the Italian Riviera, the coastal region of Liguria. The tour runs the entire length of Liguria from La Spezia to Ventimiglia, dropping to the coast twice to spend rest days at the seaside. The tour is fully supported, half board and stays mainly at 3* hotels. No of cycling days; 10. Average daily distance; 65kms. Average ascent; 1500m.

Number of days cycling: 10

Average daily distance: 66.0 km

Average daily ascent: 1495 m


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Sunday 15 September 2024; Nice.

Meet at hotel, overnight at Nice, time to prepare bikes.

  • No cycling
  • Accommodation: Hotel
  • Meals: (D)

Monday 16 September 2024; Nice to La Spezia

Transfer to La Spezia by train.

We transfer by train to La Spezia, which is the main navy port of Italy. The train passes through and stops at several of the Cinque Terre villages, they are tricky to access by road and we will struggle to cycle through them. If you wish you can break your journey and visit one of the villages

  • No cycling
  • Accommodation: Hotel
  • Meals: (B, D)

Tuesday 17 September 2023; La Spezia to Levanto

We ride along quiet roads to Levanto. The route drops to the coast at Monterosso al Mare, one of the Cinque Terre villages and then on to Levanto.

We move away from the coast before returning to Levanto. Levanto is a lovely Ligurian coastal town. There are no coastal routes that we can ride.



Map for Day 3

  • Cycling Distance: 60.0 km
  • Altitude Gain: 1500 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel
  • Meals: (B, D)

Wednesday 18 September 2024; Levanto to Varese Ligure

We follow the cycle path along the coast for a few miles, then head inland using tiny lanes to Varese Ligure in the heart of the Alpi Maritimi.

Varese Ligure is a lovely village in the Val de Vara with a famous circular piazza and medieval tower and bridge.



Map for Day 4

  • Cycling Distance: 50.0 km
  • Altitude Gain: 1500 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel
  • Meals: (B, D)

Thursday 19 September 2024; Varese Ligure to Centroanidra

The route goes through the hills to an Agriturismo, Centroanidra, nestling on the side of a mountain.

The route goes through the hills to an Agriturismo, Centroanidra, nestling on the side of a mountain. Centroanidra was set up by a small cooperative to use local foods. We may need to share rooms here as it is the only accommodation in the area. It is a long climb up but the food and views are stupendous.



Map for Day 5

  • Cycling Distance: 55.0 km
  • Altitude Gain: 1500 m
  • Accommodation: Agriturismo
  • Meals: (B, D)

Friday 20 September 2024; Centroanidra to Genoa

Leave the agriturismo, climb up over the 870m Passo della Forcella, then Passo della Scoglina, 940m. The we ride though the hills towards the coast and then descend into Genoa.

Leaving Centroanidra we immediately start climbing over the 900m pass. Great views, quiet roads.



Map for Day 6

  • Cycling Distance: 75.0 km
  • Altitude Gain: 1600 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel
  • Meals: (B, D)

Saturday 21 September 2024; Genoa

Free day to explore today

Genoa is the regional capital and has an illustrious history. During the medieval to Renaiscance periods it was a trading powerhouse. Visit the renaissance churches and palaces, the medieval lighthouse or simply wander the streets. You can take a boat trip to Portofino, a delightful Ligurian fishing village with limited road access.

  • No cycling
  • Accommodation: Hotel
  • Meals: (B, D)

Sunday 22 September 2024; Genoa to Campo Ligure

Genoa is a busy metropolis; we use as many cycle paths as possible to leave the city, but the roads for the first few miles will be busy. We then climb back up into the Alpi Maritimi to Campo Ligure.

Campo Ligure is a delightful small Ligurian town with a medieval bridge overlooked by a small castle.



Map for Day 8

  • Cycling Distance: 50.0 km
  • Altitude Gain: 1150 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel
  • Meals: (B, D)

Monday 23 September 2024; Campo Ligure to Sassello

Ride through the mountains to Sassello

Sassello is a stunning market town with a historic heart, well worth a wander around. The town is famous for its gastronomy. We will have time to wander and taste its specialities.



Map for Day 9

  • Cycling Distance: 60.0 km
  • Altitude Gain: 1500 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel
  • Meals: (B, D)

Tuesday 24 September 2024; Sassello to Finale Ligure

Cycle back to the coast at Finale Ligure.

We leave Sassello early to ride through the hills. The route takes us along the pretty Val Bormida, then we climb over the highest pass so far, 1000m Passo Melogno. In the afternoon we ride the lovely 1000m descent into Finalborgo the medieval walled town.



Map for Day 10

  • Cycling Distance: 90.0 km
  • Altitude Gain: 1700 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel
  • Meals: (B, D)

Wednesday 25 September 2024; Finale to Finale

Rest day to visit Finale Ligure and its surrounds

After the long day yesterday, today a much needed rest. Finale Ligure is an ancient Italian Borgo (town). There are two parts: the lovely 18th century port town with beaches, swimming is recommended, and the medieval walled town inland, Finalborgo. Above Finalborgo there are two castles and a pretty castle walk. Other options include: the nearby village of Varigotti which is the only village in the Riviera where the traditional houses are actually built on the beach. Cycle to Capo Noli where the main road runs along the cliff just above the Mediterranean. Cycle over the passes, ride though Le Manie a rugged plateau, or hire mountain bikes from the local shops for off road rides, Finale Ligure is a centre for off-roading in the area.

  • No cycling
  • Accommodation: Hotel
  • Meals: (B, D)

Thursday 26 September 2024; Finale Ligure to Ormea

We ride back into the Alpi Maritimi crossing several high passes.

In order to climb back over the mountain, we use one of the prettiest climbs in the area, Passo Toirano. We ride through the ancient village of Toirano on the way up then through a number of typical Ligurian villages nestling in the mountains to end up at a small hotel just beyond Ormea. It is a long day, but worth it as we ride through some stunning scenery.



Map for Day 12

  • Cycling Distance: 75.0 km
  • Altitude Gain: 1500 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel
  • Meals: (B, D)

Friday 27 September; Ormea to Molini di Triora

Another long route, but amazing roads and two good passes.

The route climbs steadily up from the hotel, we use the ancient Via del Sale, Salt route, over some tiny roads in the heart of the mountains and the highest pass of the tour, 1600m. There is a short cut that takes 30kms off the total, but I recommend the longer route. We end up in a pretty village by a mountain stream, Molini di Triora. The hotel is quite old, but it is the only accommodation till we get to the coast. The food is excellent.



Map for Day 13

  • Cycling Distance: 90.0 km
  • Altitude Gain: 2000 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel
  • Meals: (B, D)

Saturday 28 September 2024; Molini di Trora to Ventiliglia, then Nice.

We cycle to the coast at Ventimiglia, eat our final Italian icecream then take the train to Nice.

We climb over a high pass straight out of Molini di Triora. The roads are delightfully deserted and we pass several stunning hilltop villages. Then it is a long lovely descent to the coast and Ventimiglia. From there we take the short train ride to Nice and then cycle back to our hotel. Train included.



Map for Day 14

  • Cycling Distance: 55.0 km
  • Altitude Gain: 1000 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel
  • Meals: (B, D)

Sunday 29 September 2024; Nice to home

Breakfast in the hotel, then pack bikes up to return home.

  • No cycling
  • Accommodation: None
  • Meals: (B)

Sunday 15 September to Sunday 29 September 2024

Cost


Land Only - £2150

Payment Schedule


A deposit of £200 per person is payable to complete a booking, with the final balance of £1,950 per person to be paid by 06 July 2024.

Price includes:
  • 14 nights hotel accomodation and breakfast each day
  • Evening meal on 14 nights
  • Train from the station nearest the hotel, near Nice to La Spezia and from Ventimiglia to the station nearest the hotel
  • Luggage transfer and vehicle support
  • Bikexplore costs

Price does not include:
  • Travel to and from hotel near Nice
  • Any other travel, for example trips to the Cinque Terre or Portofino
  • Any entry fees
  • Lunch, café stops, drinks
  • Any other personal expenses
  • Travel insurance
  • Single supplement
  • Bike transport from England, bikes need to be taken to and from the tour leader's address, max 8 bikes
  • Travel Insurance

Cancellations


Written Notice Received: Cancellation Charge: Tour
Before Saturday 06 July 2024 £200 tour Deposit
After Saturday 06 July 2024 £2,150 tour costs

How to make a booking:


Please book via the online link

The Italian Riviera is a top tourist destination; it is as pretty as the French Riviera but has a completely different feel. Liguria is the name of the Italian region of the Riviera and has its own unique history. The culture and cuisine are typically Ligurian and also varies from the coast to the mountains.

There are a number of pretty coastal villages, some of which can be visited. The most famous are the Cinque Terre, which is a string of centuries old seaside villages clinging to the coastal cliffs. Near Genoa is Portofino, a charming fishing village with pastel-coloured houses, a beautiful harbour with crystal clear water and limited road access. Although these villages are not on our cycling route, you will be able to visit them during rest days.

Most of our tour will be in the beautiful remote mountains inland from the actual Riviera. The mountains are stunning, remote, and set with ancient villages and a strong cultural identity. The landscape offers rich contrasts and diverse flora and fauna. Expect spectacular views and quiet routes through them. The mountains are little visited as most people stay on the coast but the climbs and views are amazing.

Travel to the start and from the finish is not included in this holiday. Thus, it is very important that you note that neither your Tour Manager nor Bikexplore are responsible for you in any way until the appointed time at the designated meeting point. Should you fail to arrive at the appointed time for whatever reason, we will not be responsible for any additional expenses you may incur in order to meet up with the tour group. Before finalising travel arrangements, you should ensure that the tour is definitely going ahead. Should there be insufficient bookings or pandemic travel restrictions are re-imposed, we reserve the right to cancel the tour at any time. It is therefore recommended that you book fully flexible and refundable transport and accommodation or wait until you have been told the tour will go ahead. In the event of the tour being cancelled we will not be responsible for any losses incurred outside what you pay us. Nice is easy to access both by plane and by train. There are regular and cost-effective TGVs from Paris to Nice. www.raileurope.com

It will be possible to take some bikes from the UK to Nice in the van, but you will have to deliver your bike to the Tour Manager, and the charge is £100, there ia sa max of 8 bikes that can be carried.

Generally 3 star hotels, one Agriturismo and one 2 star hotel

Sharing rooms, single supplement of £250

A van will be acompanying us and supporting us

There are two rest days, both on the coast, one at Genoa and one at Finale Ligure.

The holiday is classified as grade 6 (energetic). This is due to the two longer days, otherwise most of the holiday would be classified as a 5.

The holiday is for 14 nights, of which 10 days are cycling and two rest days, one day travelling to the start.

This is a moving on holiday generally staying 1 night at each hotel. The roads are mostly extremely quiet and used by rural traffic and it is very hilly. Detailed route notes will be provided before the tour, along with GPX tracks for those who want them.

Most of each day will be spent cycling. People will be expected to ride at their own pace and often in loose groups, at around 10-14 mph on the flat, slower up hills, usually meeting up at cafe's for morning coffee and lunch breaks. It is expected that you may want to stop for photographs, look at the view or explore some local point of interest and this is okay. You are on holiday.

The nature of the holiday.

Most of the holiday will be 50 to 60km days, but there is a lot of climbing every day.

Rest Days;

There are two rest days mid tour. The first one is at Genoa and the second one is at Finale Ligure, both on the coast.

Roads used;

Mainly quiet roads, most roads have good tarmac, but some of the smaller ones will be a little rough. There will be a few busier connecting roads especially on the coast.

The area covered by the holiday;

Liguria, or the Italian Riviera, is a top tourist destination; it is as pretty as the French Riviera but has a completely different feel. Liguria is the name of the Italian region of the Riviera, the culture and cuisine are typically Ligurian but it does vary from the coast to the mountains.

There are a number of pretty coastal villages some of which can be visited. The most famous are the Cinque Terre, which is a string of centuries old seaside villages clinging to the coastal cliffs. Near Genoa is Portofino, a charming fishing village with pastel coloured houses, a beautiful harbour with crystal clear water and limited road access.

Most of our tour will be in the beautiful remote mountains inland from the actual Riviera. The mountains are stunning with ancient villages and a strong cultural identity. The landscape offers rich contrasts and diverse flora and fauna. Expect spectacular views and quiet routes through them. The mountains are little visited as most people stay on the coast, the climbs and views are amazing. before, or at the beginning of the holiday, and again at daily briefings

The weather is usually good in Italy in May, Liguria tends to have a very even climate. However, we will be riding in the mountains so you will need to bring appropriate clothing for adverse conditions. I do not expect bad weather as Liguria has one of the best climates in Italy, however, mountains are mountains.

A touring cycle, hybrid, tandem, recumbent or lightweight road bike would all be suitable for this holiday, since we will avoid tracks.

You should ensure your cycle is well maintained, paying particular attention to wheels, tyres and brakes.

A low bottom gear (eg. small chainring the same size or smaller than the largest cog on your rear wheel) is recommended; if unsure about gears, please talk to the Bikexplore Leader about them.

Mudguards are optional but demonstrate respect to those who are following you in wet weather.

Lights are recommended in case of arriving back late, there are some tunnels, especially on the cycle path on day 4. A bell is advised and bring a bike lock for security. Water bottles are required to ensure you are hydrated at all times.

You will be expected to carry sufficient spares and tools to deal with punctures and minor repairs, including two inner tubes, a spare gear cable, quick chain link and spare brake pads. There are some bike shops on the route, but they will mainly cater for MTBs, the area is popular amongst mountain bikers.

You are advised to use 28mm tyres, or larger, to suit the road surfaces. You will not need to carry luggage except in case of car breakdown or medical priority. A rack-top pack or bar bag will be useful for carrying wet weather gear, spare clothing needed for the day, camera, emergency rations and a map.

I recommend bringing a paper backup, useful too for an overview of the area. The Touring Club Italia map of Liguria is adequate and easily obtainable in the UK. However, in Italy you may be able to get the more detailed Euro Carte maps of Riviera di Ponente and Riviera di Levante.

GPX routes for each day will be provided in advance of the tour.

Please ensure that you are fit and healthy enough to cycle the distances (and ascents) planned for the tour. There are also some long and technical descents.

Italy is in Europe, but Britain is no longer in the EU. Your EHIC card is valid until its expiry date, but it cannot be renewed. Instead a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) has been introduced (see https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/healthcare-abroad/apply-for-a-free-uk-global-health-insurance-card-ghic/). However, at present Britain no longer has a reciprocal health agreement with Italy, though this might change before the start of the tour. Appropriate travel insurance is therefore essential; please check with your provider to ensure that they cover the revised conditions in Europe. Although most travel insurance policies do not cover cancellation due to pandemic restrictions, the money you pay to us for the holiday is fully protected until we depart.

I am a keen cyclist, trained cycle instructor, ride leader and mechanic, able to support members of the group who require it. I have led a number of tours for Cycle Tours and Holidays and Bikexplore, and I have toured extensively in Europe and further afield. As I speak Italian and have lived in Italy for a number of years, I know the area very well. I have stayed at length in Finale Ligure, one of the towns we visit. I have also recced the area in autumn 2022, this is the reason why the photos are all autumnal.

gregorywoodford@gmail.com

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