5 itineraries to discover Italy by bike

Those who enjoy the mountains will be stunned at the beauty of the Dolomites

Those who enjoy the mountains will be stunned at the beauty of the Dolomites

Slow down, shape up and take your time: traveling by bicycle can be a real treat and the best way to explore and get to know many areas of Italy. In the past few years all major cities and many smaller towns have embraced the two wheel philosophy and nowadays finding rental bikes -whether is for just an hour or for a few days- is easier than ever. For a list of rental bike places by region visit http://biciedintorni.org/ noleggio/index.php.
 
Bicycle itineraries dot the boot from North to South and from West to East, but there are some that are more scenic than others: L’Italo Americano has compiled a list of top excursions to discover Italy by bike - some easy, some more difficult, all incredibly beautiful.
 
From Genoa to Portoveneere: the Cinque terre by bike. A stunning trip that starts from Genoa, nowadays definitely worth a visit thanks to a recent restyling. From there take the funicular train to Casella, where the views of the Gulf and the inebriating scent of the trees in bloom will take your breath away. The first part of the journey is the most difficult, but the small villages surrounded by olive groves make it worth it. Stop in Cicagna and visit the Eco-museum dedicated to the ardesia slate, a local material used for many important buildings, including the stunning Basilica dei Fieschi in nearby Cogorno. The path continues through lush Val Graveglia, amid uninterrupted views of the Mediterrenean, before plunging down to Portovenere, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tour takes 5 to 7 days and can be made as part of a group by booking through http://www.ecologicotours.it/
 
From Alghero to Cagliari: biking through the West of Sardinia. Fall in love with the beauty and charm of Sardinia’s West Coast with this enchanting bicycle tour: get away from the crowds and get in touch with the real, authentic Sardinia. The panorama alternates between hilly landscapes, still mostly deserted, to the bluest of seas: in a little more than 250 miles you will get in touch with more than 4000 years of history, from the ancient nuragic civilization to the Aragonese domination, through the Punic and Roman eras. Nature too will leave you speechless: during the tour you will see rolling hills, white beaches, wetlands and lagoons, all beneath a cobalt blue sky. The tour takes seven night, eight days and can be booked through http://www.sardiniacycling.com/.
 
Sellaronda bike tour: discover the Dolomites on two wheels. Those who enjoy the mountains will be stunned at the beauty of the Dolomites with their pink-orange hued rocks and lush green forests. From Selva Val Gardena the tour takes you around the Gruppo Sella massif through an amazing tour that goes through four valleys and four mountain passes: Paso Gardena, Passo Campolongo, Passo Pordoi and Passo Sella. The tour is not for the fainted hearted, although is now possible to rent e-bikes for those who need a little help during the steepest ascents. But don’t worry: many gondolas are open in the summer and will let you bring your bike on board should you prefer to go downhill only. For more information on this epic tour: http://www.valgardena.it/en/hiking-biking/mountainbike-racing-bike/sella...
 
Anello del Trasimeno: Umbria by bike. Beautiful views of Lake Trasimeno and the surrounding hills make this circular 50 mile tour one of the most scenic in Italy. From Castiglione del Lago the route will take you through several quaint Umbrian fishermen villages such as Tuoro sul Trasimeno and Sant’Arcangelo, as well as seemingly never ending olive groves and vineyards. The castle of Montalera, a fortress built back in the 12th century and surrounded by old oak trees, is the highlight of the tour and a splendid spot to take a break from pedaling. For detailed information: http://www.bikeinumbria.it/
 
Naviglio della Martesana: the perfect escape from the city. Visiting Milano for Expo 2015? Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and take this short and easy bike tour that from Via Melchiorre Gioia in downtown Milano follows the Martesana canal, designed by Leonardo Da Vinci and opened in 1496, all the way to the countryside of Trezzo sull’Adda. The path is flat and easy to follow, making it very popular with those with children and there are plenty of places to stop and have a drink or bite to eat. For more information about the path and about bike rentals: http://www.piste-ciclabili.com/itinerari/207-milano-cassano-dadda-trezzo...

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