At Backroads, we’ve been leading guided bike tours in Italy for over three decades. Check out a few of our favorite routes and learn more about some of the best cycling destinations in the country.
1. Dolomites, Italian Alps
Location: Bolzano to Lienz
Cycling claim to fame: Giro d’Italia, Maratona dles Dolomites
Why we love the Dolomites: A UNESCO World Heritage site and year-round destination for outdoor sports enthusiasts.
With a combination of steep rides and stark limestone mountains, it’s no wonder the Dolomites have so often been featured in stages of the Giro d’Italia (Italy’s version of the Tour de France). The Trentino-Alto Adige region is also the scene of the grueling Maratona dles Dolomites, which attracts thousands of participants from across the world for a one-day race tracking seven mountain passes.
But it’s not just climbing in the Dolomites! On our Dolomites bike tour, you can also find mellow forested bike paths through wildflower-strewn valleys that lead to preserved medieval towns and classic Tyrolean rifugios – ideal spots to savor dolomiti specialties like goulash and polenta.
Location: Lecce to Bari
Cycling claim to fame: Ciclovia Adriatica (Adriatic Cycle Route)
Why we love Puglia: Off the beaten path from touristed regions, the heel of Italy’s boot draws you in with transfixing charm and genuine hospitality.
Bikers cruise along Puglia’s Adriatic Cycle Route, a relatively flat long-distance bike path that traces the sea along Italy’s southern peninsula. Also known as the Green Adriatic Corridor, this 800-mile bike path spans from Trieste in the northeast all the way down the coast to the southernmost tip of Puglia, passing whitewashed Baroque villages, silvery olive groves and plenty of irresistible gelato shops.
Prehistoric caves, homemade Pugliese dishes and winding country roads. Discover Italy’s best-kept secret on one of our Puglia bike tours.
*Want to give e-biking a try? Spin from Salento to Matera on our Easygoing Puglia e-bike tour.
3. Tuscany’s Chianti Classico Region
Location: Arezzo to Florence
Cycling claim to fame: Via Francigena
Why we love Chianti: World-renowned wine, rolling vineyards, medieval hilltop towns.
There's nothing quite like riding the twists and turns of Italy’s most famous vineyard-strewn countryside. Long-distance cyclists are among those drawn to the region’s Via Francigena, an ancient route that runs from England to Rome, but you don’t have to ride the full 1,000+ miles to appreciate its history. After a great day of cycling, sip Chianti Classico, sample Vernaccia and savor Vino Nobile di Montepulciano on the lands where these famed wines are cultivated.
On our Chianti Classico Tuscany bike tour, discover the World Heritage Val d’Orcia and towns Bagno Vignoni, Radda, San Gimignano and Siena, all maintaining their unique identities with preserved Renaissance architecture and medieval towers.
*Prefer a boost? E-bike through Chianti Classico on our Easygoing Tuscany e-bike tour.
4. Tuscan Countryside to Seaside Maremma
Location: Orvieto to the Silver Coast
Why we love the Tuscan coast: Ancient seaside towns, sandy beaches and freshly caught seafood are just a few of Southern Tuscany’s highlights.
Cyclists from around the world seek out Tuscany’s strade bianche (white roads), but keep riding and you’ll find even more to delight. Rural and rustic Tuscan landscapes lead to a quaint seaside stretch of hamlets. Pass shady cypress trees, oak forests and tidy vineyards that line the route to the coast. And there’s nothing like cooling off after a great day’s ride with a swim in the azure waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea (except maybe the Super Tuscan wines and farm-fresh cuisine).
Pedal from Toscana to Costa d’Argento on our Southern Tuscany bike tourSouthern Tuscany bike tour.
5. Parma to Verona
Location: Po River Valley to Lake Garda
Why we love Parma and Verona: Beyond being home to Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and the setting for Romeo and Juliet’s tragic love story, we can’t get enough of this region’s bucolic Northern Italian countryside.
Another must-ride stop on the Giro d’Italia’s route, these neighboring regions are full of grand palaces and walled historic cities. Not to mention that Shakespeare’s legacy lives on in Word-Heritage Sabbioneta, Mantua and Verona. Cycle peaceful roads along the Po River with stunning views of the Parman hills and sample mouthwatering tortelli alle erbette paired with locally produced Bardolino.
Uncover a cycling mecca and delicious food, wine and culture in Veneto and Emlia-Romagna on our Parma to Verona bike tour.
Location: Catania to Ragusa and Siracusa
Why we love Sicily: Once home to ancient Greek civilizations dating back to the 8th century BC, this enticing Mediterranean island enchants cyclists with its glistening turquoise waters and golden beaches.
Cultures converge on this small island off the southern coast of Italy where you’ll find centuries-old argiturismos, baroque architecture, ancient cave dwellings. Europe’s largest active volcano Mount Etna stands proudly in the distance and tempts riders to test their pedaling prowess and whirl past orchards and olive groves. Or savor la dolce vita, like the Sicilians do, and cycle slowly taking it all in.
Whether you’re amped to climb Etna or simply want to cruise to the nearest beach, our Sicily bike tour is sure to quench your thirst for adventure.
7. Umbria to Le Marche
Location: Arezzo to Assisi and Bologna
Why we love Umbria & Le Marche: Rides on curving mountainous roads in the Apennines and on back roads to Gubbio, an ancient stone village.
Two regions with epic cycling opportunities, Italy’s so-called Green Heart is lined with verdant cypress trees, bright red poppies and rolling vineyards. Journey across the Apennine mountains to meet the shimmering Adriatic Sea in Le Marche and visit Assisi, a World Heritage hill town and the birthplace of St. Francis. Pair hearty post-ride Italian meals with preserved medieval architecture and sunsets over the sea.
Join us in one of Italy’s lesser frequented, but equally as magnificent regions on our Umbria to Le Marche bike tour.
Location: Olbia, San Pantaleo and Porto Cervo
Why we love Sardinia: Some of Italy’s best riding awaits on this enchanting Mediterranean isle, including a legendary Giro d’Italia pass and plenty of tucked-away coves for a mid-day swim.
Rugged coastlines, secluded turquoise bays and sprawling olive groves. If you love Spain’s Mallorca, head to Sardinia to experience even more incredible island cycling. From winding seaside roads to high mountain passes, there’s something in Sardinia for every cyclist (and foodie, and nature-lover, and history buff...).
Bike to your heart’s content and experience the best of this mesmerizing Mediterranean island on our Sardinia bike tour.