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Italy is a lot more than Rome or Florence. If missing the crowds and an authentic Italian experience are your top priorities, then this self-guided cycling tour along the Via Claudia Augusta should be your top pick. Most of this 8-day journey will be along this 2,000-year-old road that was once an important Roman trade route—but today, it’s everything a cyclist could wish for. You’ll wake up to views of snow-capped Alps, explore the city of Romeo and Juliet, pedal through apple orchards and vineyards, and discover bustling Italian towns full of gelaterias and cocktail bars. With this self-guided adventure, you’ll make your week worry-free, allowing you to move at your own pace, forget about the logistics, and just enjoy the trip.

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  • Beginner-friendly adventure

    The focus isn’t on hardcore cycling, it’s on leisurely exploring bucolic Italian landscapes and charming towns

  • Terrific blend of nature and towns

    One day you’re riding past a half-submerged bell tower on a lake, the other you’re in front of a Roman amphitheatre from 30 AD

  • The best cuisine in the world

    Food is a good enough reason to come to Italy—make sure to try local specialties and delicious wines

Itinerary

Mostly going along the Via Claudia Augusta and its quiet cycling roads, you’ll have 8 days of exploring Italy’s pristine nature and cute towns. This is a self-guided cycling journey, meaning that all your worries will be minimized—lodgings, breakfasts, bike rentals, all routes and maps, luggage transfers, everything’s taken care of. The main thing about this trip is that you enjoy the journey at your own pace and with your own people. Ready to ride under the Italin sun?

  • Following your arrival into Verona airport (VRN), we’ll transfer you to Verona, where you can settle into your accommodation. The afternoon is dedicated to meeting Elisa and her team, who will fit you to your rental bikes and chat to you about the week of cycling ahead. You’ll then have your evening free to enjoy Verona, a UNESCO World Heritage City.

    Accommodation: Three-star hotel or guesthouse

     

    Verona view of the city in Italy
  • Following an early breakfast, you’ll set off for the transfer to Lake Resia (around 3.5 hours), not far from the Austrian border. Here you will be dropped off at the piercingly blue Lake Reschen, surrounded by stunning views and peaks of Ortler at 3,905 m (12,811 ft). Now, when the lake freezes in winter, the tower of the main church is accessible by foot.

    Enjoying the landscape you’ll take a fast downhill into the Vinschgau Valley—bordering Switzerland and Austria, it’s a beautiful valley of sparkling lush meadows, gigantic glaciers, and glittering lakes. Via Claudia route takes you via the charming village of Glorenza and Prato allo Stelvio, right to the foot of the famous Stelvio. Your final destination today is Silandro. A stunning location with small lanes, historic buildings, typical Tyrolean Wine Taverns (Buschenschanken), and cafes with sun terraces, just perfect for a post ride tipple.

    Meals: Breakfast
    Accommodation: Three-star hotel or guesthouse
    Distance: 29 miles / 47 km
    Elevation gain: 660 ft / 200 m

    Bikes on Reschensee in Italy
  • Setting off from Silandro, you will rejoin the cycle path, heading now through apple plantations which supply many European markets. The cycle path will then follow the River Adige and with a gradual downhill, it’s time to sit back and relax in the saddle! From the valley, you’ll be able to see the Juval castle, which belongs to the famous Alpine climber Reinhold Messner.

    Your last port of call today is the Jewel of South Tyrol, Merano at 324 m (1,062 ft). Merano is situated in a beautiful setting where the three valleys of Vinschgau, Etsch and Passier come together. This unusual geographical location where the town is sheltered to the north and east by high mountain ranges is the reason for its mild Mediterranean climate and enables a wide variety of colorful Mediterranean and subtropical plants to thrive.

    Meals: Breakfast
    Accommodation: Three-star hotel or guesthouse
    Distance: 22 miles / 35 km
    Elevation gain: 330 ft / 100 m

    Merano in South Tyrol
  • Get back on the cycle path and then head off onto small country roads, riding through more apple plantations and vineyards, taking in superb panoramic views, small villages with market squares, and historical sites along the way. Today you’ll tackle your first real climb, as you leave the Adige riverside near Bolzano and you gradually climb on a cycle path towards San Paolo and San Michele, small Tyrolean-style villages located on the terraced vineyard area of La Strada del Vino.

    Before arriving at today’s destination, you can visit the small Roman chapel of St. Jakob in Kastelaz, in Tramin; the chapel houses the oldest Romanesque frescoes in this part of Italy and is well worth a few minutes of your time. This part of Italy is German speaking, with the famous Gewürztraminer white wine originating here. Time to relax and recharge the batteries!

    Meals: Breakfast
    Accommodation: Three-star hotel or guesthouse
    Distance: 29 miles / 50 km
    Elevation gain: 1,970 ft / 600 m

    Apple orchards in Tyrol
  • Today you’ll notice the mountains surrounding you have become rougher on the side of the Etsch Valley. With the terrain very easy going now as you continue towards Trento and follow the River Adige, and with you well in your stride, you’ll cover the distance with ease.

    Positioned in a wide glacial valley, where the Fersina and Avisio rivers join the Adige (the second longest in Italy) and surrounded by mountains, including the Vigolana (2,150 m / 7,053 ft) and the Monte Bondone (2,181 m / 7,155f t), Trento is spectacularly located. This is a bustling city bursting with Italian flair, with gelaterias, cappuccino bars, and trendy boutiques. You’ll have the afternoon to explore Trento and its picturesque backstreets.

    Meals: Breakfast
    Accommodation: Three-star hotel or guesthouse
    Distance: 37 miles / 60 km
    Elevation gain: 660 ft / 200 m

    Trento town in Italy
  • You’ll continue your journey south following the Adige cycle path through the valley of plantations. Stopping in Rovereto (with plenty of time for a gelato!), you’ll continue on, heading south and following the Adige river once again. Along the way, you’ll enjoy fantastic limestone landscapes towering high towards Mount Baldo. Your destination for today is a homely agriturismo offering a warm welcome, cheering you on, on the last leg of your journey to Verona.

    Meals: Breakfast
    Accommodation: Three-star guesthouse
    Distance: 35 miles / 60 km
    Elevation gain: 820 ft / 250 m

    Two cyclists on meadows of the Alps
  • You’ll start today’s ride cycling south along the cycle path and, as you get closer to the Valpolicella region and the southern side of Lake Garda, the valley will narrow, mountain cliffs roaring vertically above you. A cheeky climb and descent into Rivoli Veronese will be a farewell to the mountains as the route goes to the lower plains of the Veronese, leading you into Bussolengo. This is an ideal stop for a rest before the last section into Verona.

    You’ll have time to enjoy a stroll through this remarkable Renaissance city (the city of Romeo and Juliet), recently named as a World Heritage Site. Verona has delighted painters, poets, and travelers for centuries, and you’ll certainly be charmed as well. The city is a work of art in itself: a fascinating crossroad of historical periods and cultures (both classical and Germanic), a blend of both Nordic and Mediterranean influences. After settling into the hotel, you’ll have the evening to explore Verona and try out one of the many quality restaurants in town.

    Meals: Breakfast
    Accommodation: Three-star hotel
    Distance: 29 miles / 50 km
    Elevation gain: 1,150 ft / 350 m

    Alpine valley and cyclists going downhill
  • Time to say goodbye and head to Verona Airport for flights home. The transfer will take around 20 minutes. If you would like a slightly longer trip, you could consider adding a stop over in Riva Del Garda, on the shores of Lake Garda. Please note that in this case, there will be a cost of an extra day’s bike rental for both a standard or electric bike. Please let us know if you’d like to take this option! Alternatively, if you wish to extend your trip to 12 days you can extend your ride all the way to Venice and Chioggia by joining up onto the Lake Garda to Venice trip. Please contact us for further details!

    Meals: Breakfast

    Riva del Garda in Italy
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Meet your guide

Saddle Skedaddle
5.00
Saddle Skedaddle
Saddle Skedaddle was founded by a couple of MTB pros (Paul and Andrew) while trapped in a snowstorm during their year-long biking adventure in Chile. They believe travel should move you and that there’s no better way to see a place properly—its people, culture, and natural wonders—than by bike. Saddle Skedaddle currently runs tours in 36 destinations, offering adventure junkies incredible places to tour on two wheels.
5.00 (1 reviews)
Donald (source: Guide’s website)

The distances and terrain were just about right and allowed us time to explore each town at the end of the day’s cycling. Merano in particular is a beautiful town and having this at the end of a short day was a good idea as we could explore it properly. The trip from Silandro to Merano was probably our favourite day. Lovely cycle paths through apple plantation’s and forests and then beside the River Adige. At the end of the whole journey we actually became quite attached to the River, given we had ridden beside it for almost the whole trip. Overall this was a thoroughly enjoyable trip and I would highly recommended.

Things to know

  • A self-guided tour is an independent exploration without a formal guide leading the way. Instead of being part of a group with a tour leader, you will navigate the tour yourself, using resources provided by the operator, such as maps, guidebooks, audio guides, or digital apps.

    By going on this Via Claudia Augusta self-guided cycling tour, you’ll have lots of things arranged for you, making your cycling experience a lot less stressful and a lot more enjoyable:

      • accommodation at 3-star hotels and guesthouses (upgrade to a mix of 3 and 4-star hotels and guesthouses possible)
      • all breakfasts
      • airport transfers
      • app for information and navigation
      • luggage transfers
      • local representative for a welcome meeting

    After you get transferred to Verona and once you’ve talked to a local representative, the self-guided tour starts! Keep in mind that your guides offer support along the way should you need anything.

  • What you get on this adventure:

      • 8-day self-guided Via Claudia Augusta cycling tour
      • Accommodation for 7 nights in 3-star hotels and guesthouses (in shared twin or double ensuite rooms)
      • Breakfasts
      • Local representative (with bike delivery and welcome meeting)
      • Access to the navigation app for holiday information and navigation
      • Luggage transfers
      • Transfer on Day 2 from Verona to Lake Resia
      • Airport transfers
        • Transfer on scheduled arrival day from Verona Airport (VRN)
        • Transfer on scheduled departure day to Verona Airport (VRN)

    What’s not included:

      • Transportation to Italy
      • Bikes (rental available at an additional cost)
      • Single supplement (available at an additional cost)
      • Meals not listed in the itinerary
      • Personal clothing and equipment
      • Personal expenditure (souvenirs, bar bills, hotel facilities, etc.)
      • Entrance fees to museums and other attractions enroute
      • Guide gratuities — optional
      • Travel and medical insurance — optional
  • Fitness and experience
    This Via Claudia Augusta self-guided bike tour is beginner-friendly! If you can cover daily distances between 15-30 miles (24-48 km), you’re good to go. More day-by-day information is found in the itinerary. In general, most of the riding will be along flat roads, though there will be some undulations and the odd cheeky challenge. If you’re a semi-regular rider (maybe commuting to work or doing some leisure rides on the weekends), look no further.

    Terrain and roads

      • The route itself was designed to trace the steps of the ancient Roman route across the Alps, so most of the Via Claudia follow quiet, mixed-use cycle paths (both cyclists and pedestrians) and country lanes.
      • The route will take you along Alpine valleys, with daily climbs averaging around 300m (990 ft), with a downward bias overall as you follow rivers towards the sea.
        Only around 15% of the route sees you sharing the road with low levels of traffic, with some busier roads as you enter the towns of Merano, Trento, and Verona.
      • A hybrid bike is recommended for this tour, but a gravel or e-bike would also be suitable. If you’re looking for a boost up some of the cheekier climbs, an e-bike would be a great option! They also come in handy on hotter days, making the rides less strenuous.
  • Here’s what you’ll need:

      • Bike — available to rent
      • Helmet — available to rent
      • Comfortable, season-appropriate riding or athletic clothing, preferably moisture wicking or synthetic material
      • Padded shorts
      • Peaked helmet
      • Sneakers or sport shoes
      • Breathable outside layer or jacket
      • Sunglasses
      • Plenty of water, water bottle or hydration bladder
      • Daypack with snacks
      • Biking gloves are optional but recommended
      • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)

    Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.

  • Indeed you can! If you don’t own a suitable bike or would prefer to skip the hassle of bringing your own bike to Italy for this Via Claudia Augusta self-guided cycling tour, your guiding company offers bike rental. Rental bikes will be provided with a pannier rack and 1 bag, a tool kit, a spare inner tube, a bike lock, a bike pump, and a phone mount.

    You’ve got two bike options:

      • Hybrid/touring bikes (Velo de Ville or equivalent) — depending on the size needed, the bikes may have a cross bar, or have a step through frame (usually the smaller models). If a smaller frame is required, occasionally a mountain bike with semi-slick tyres adapted for road use may also be provided.
      • E-bikes (Fathom E+ bikes or Stance E+2 or equivalent)

    Helmets can be provided on request, let us know upon booking.

  • The strong Germanic influence on the region is expressed in Tyrol-style housing and accommodation, from the murals on the facade of the building to the wooden balconies and interior design.

    The majority of our accommodation (shared twin, double or family rooms) will usually be ensuite in 3-star hotels or guesthouses.

    Please note that some hotels do not have twin rooms with separate beds available. They usually provide 1 bed frame with two mattresses and separate duvets and sheets. Please bear this in mind if traveling alone and opting to share a twin room with another solo traveler. Single supplement is also available at an additional cost.

    There is an upgrade option available, meaning that you would stay in a mixture of both 3 and 4-star hotels and guesthouses.

  • Group sizes and pricing

    • For this Via Claudia Augusta self-guided cycling tour, the maximum group size is generally set to 15 participants.
    • It takes a minimum of 2 people for this self-guided tour to operate.

    Via Claudia Augusta self-guided cycling tours can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

    Min. age requirements

      • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
      • Children as young as 10 are able to go on trips with a legal guardian. They may be able to participate on a case-by-case basis.

    If your group has riders under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

  • To get to your Via Claudia Augusta cycling tour, you first have to reach Verona Airport (VRN). That’s where your guide’s representative will meet you and take you to Verona to your accommodation for the night.

  • We highly recommend that you cover all your bases with both emergency medical and travel insurance.

    With medical insurance, if you have an accident or medical emergency on or off the mountain, you’ll avoid paying out of pocket for costly expenses. This covers everything from hospital treatments to emergency air transportation and more. Travel insurance covers canceled flights, natural disasters and other scenarios that may interrupt your travel plans.

    We also expect you to respect local regulations and take measures to protect yourselves, your guides, and the communities you’re traveling to. If you need assistance selecting the right insurance for your group, let us know and we will be happy to help!

  • A non-refundable $250 deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. The remaining amount is paid 2 months (60 days) prior to departure. Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the cancellation policy stated below applies.

      • If the Client cancels the Booking anytime prior to sixty (60) calendar days in advance of the trip contemplated by the booking, the Client will forfeit the deposit.
      • For cancellations thirty (30) to sixty (60) calendar days in advance, Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of fifty percent (50%) of the trip price.
      • If you cancel your booking less than thirty (30) calendar days prior to the departure date, Client is not entitled to any refund.

    If you need to cancel the trip, please contact us in writing. If you wish to transfer a booking to another person, please write to us at least seven (7) days before your trip. Administration charges may arise.

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