Italy is one of the world’s most beautiful countries, making it an ideal destination for cycling. Your cycling adventure in Italy will take you through scenic country roads past picturesque medieval villages and stunning vineyards. The best part about exploring Italy on a bike is you can travel at your own pace and take a break anytime you want. Here’s a list of the road cycling hotspots in Italy you should know about.
Puglia has been a world-renowned destination for cycling for many years, and it’s easy to see why. It has diverse landscapes with flat and partly hilly roads taking you to rocky cliffs alternating with crags and long sandy coasts. Indeed, Puglia offers everything that every adventurous cyclist seeks.
Some of the best spots for cycling in Puglia are the roads connecting the picturesque towns of Lecce, Matera, Martina Franca, and Ostuni. Lecce is a charming Baroque city famous for its gorgeous monuments and buildings. For those who come to explore Salento on a bike, Lecce is a great starting and end point. Meanwhile, Matera is a lovely city perched on a rocky outcrop, famous for its cave dwellings converted into shops, cafes and hotels.
Martina Franca is a delightful small town in the Puglia region and an ideal stopping point for your cycling holiday. Expect to pedal slightly uphill along the hill of San Martino when exploring Martina Franca. Park your bike and wander on foot along the picturesque winding alleys of the old quarter. Your final stop is Ostuni, a lovely city home to a beautiful, whitewashed old town featuring Gothic, Romanesque and Byzantine architecture. It’s worth spending a night or two in the city, giving you plenty of time to explore its attractions.
When it comes to road cycling holidays in Italy, Tuscany often tops the list. Cycling in this stunning region is like no other. You will pedal through picturesque cycling routes, past movie-worthy hamlets and incredibly scenic vineyards. With so many beautiful places to cycle in Tuscany, it’s no wonder it’s considered the perfect place to bike in Italy.
Tuscany has something to offer for all levels of cyclists. Beginners or those who want to bike at a leisurely pace can explore many small towns, like Lucca, a charming city known for its well-preserved Renaissance walls. What’s great about cycling in Lucca is that cars are banned in the historic city centre, allowing you to bike safely. You can cycle around the town’s medieval walls, which should take about an hour. Of course, feel free to stop whenever you please.
The more advanced cyclists can venture further outside of the town. Head towards Apuane Mountains, where terrains feature steep valleys and hills and some challenging routes well-suited for mountain bikers. Crete Senesi, which lies south of Tuscany, offers cycling trails ideal for all levels of cyclists.
Sardinia is more suitable for the more advanced cyclists and those looking for some challenges. Home to splendid beaches and incredible historical, cultural and natural heritage, Sardinia is one of the most beautiful places in Italy to explore on a bike.
While Sardinia’s coastline is a popular route for many cyclists, the interior parts of the island are also a delight to explore, with its wild, rugged, and mountainous terrains. The mountains along the north are more suitable for adventurous cyclists looking for thrilling adventures.
The island’s northeast region, home to Costa Smeralda, is a popular spot for cyclists. It attracts many tourists during summer for its gorgeous beaches. If you are up for thrilling adventures, consider taking the Big Loop, a trail that cycles around the island. It should take around 14 days to conquer and starts and ends in Cagliari. The journey will take you through charming cities like Muravera, Cannigione, Alghero, and Pula, where you can stop to spend the night.
Whether you prefer to cycle along Sardinia’s picturesque coast or take up more challenging trails along the wild and mountainous interior of the island, Sardinia will make your cycling holiday in Italy unforgettable.
Sicily’s hilly and mountainous landscapes offer the perfect setting for an adventurous cycling holiday in Italy. Some of the best places to cycle in Sicily are along the coastal towns of Trappeto, Alcamo Marina, Castellammare del Golfo, and Balestrate.
The route from Trapani to Syracuse, taking you to some of the island’s most beautiful spots, is a great route to consider. From Trapani, make your way to Agrigento and pass by the Acropolis of Selinunte or through Segesta. If you prefer to cycle by the coast, take the road that follows the coastline of Trapani and Marsala, where you will be treated to the breathtaking views of calm sea water beautifully reflecting the blue Sicilian sky.
When planning your cycling holiday in Italy, don’t forget to book your accommodations if you plan to tackle multi-day cycling routes. Thankfully, there are some luxury rental villas in Sicily that offer the perfect place to relax and unwind as you cycle around the region.
5. Lake Garda
The magnificent Lake Garda offers the most stunning backdrop for a cycling holiday in Italy. Surrounded by the views of snow-capped mountains and home to picturesque lakeside towns, not to mention the deep and sparkling lake, Lake Garda is one of Italy’s most beautiful places to explore on a bike.
Lake Garda offers something for all kinds of cyclists. Perched between the Alps and Dolomite Mountain ranges, it boasts diverse scenery, from the beautiful countryside in the south to the pine-clad cliffs in the north. You will find various flat cycling trails surrounding the lake, perfect for beginners. But those who prefer to bike in the more complex paths can head further towards the mountains.
Mountain cyclists may want to conquer the spectacular Dolomites Mountain range overlooking the majestic views of the lake. Follow the Dolomites cycle route, which includes passing a long stretch of path in Lake Garda, before descending on the old Strada del Ponale.