Italy offers many fun outdoor experiences, but mountain biking tops the list. There's no better way to soak in the countryside, encounter locals, and admire the scenery. In fact, cycling tourism has become so popular here that many tour companies offer mountain biking day tours and multi-day excursions. Some tours can even be tailored to include your other interests such as food, wine, architecture, or art. Whether you're a beginner looking for a relaxed itinerary with lots of stops at local cafes or an experienced biker who wants to pump up your adrenaline, the following regions get rave reviews for excellent bike conditions and culture. Here are recommendations for the best places to mountain bike in Italy.
Highly regarded as the top destination for mountain biking in Italy, the Lake Garda area is home to towering peaks, blue green water, beaches, and small villages. Trails here wind bike visitors past sandy beaches and up rocky mountain trails. There are even special events hosted here such as the Garda Bike Festival, which attracts thousands of mountain bike enthusiasts from around the world. For advanced riders, the Tremalzo itinerary offers a scenic 56 km ride at an elevation of 2270 km. There are steep passes, drops, and scenic switchbacks, but the trail ends at a lovely Italian lakeside resort. The itinerary goes from Lake Garda to Passo Rocchetta to Lake Ledo and finally Resort Riva del Garda.
Tuscany is a popular destinations for its mountain villages, food, and wine culture. It is also a mecca for mountain bikers who revel in the green hills, thick forests, and distant views of the sea. Appropriate for all skill levels, Tuscany offers flat gentle landscape for beginners but rugged adventurous trails for experienced riders. For both, there are plenty of unpaved paths to commune with nature. Popular bike itineraries take visitors from the Tyrrhenian Coast to the Appennine Mountains, and there are day rides and multi-day rides available. The Tuscany Truffle Trail is a one day bike trail popular among riders of all skill levels and is perfect for family outings. The trail leads bikers through medieval villages, lush forests, and pastures.
Sicily is an ideal mountain biking destination. This Mediterranean island features trails at a range of elevations with plenty of ocean vistas to promise a memorable heart thumping ride. In particular, the Uccidera di Rueta region of Sicily attracts adventure mountain bikers looking for a thrill. It is situated near Mt Etna and the town of Motta. Unlike the green rolling pastures of other regions, this area offers rocky stark terrain and mountain scenery. A popular biking itinerary here takes riders along a 20 km path at an elevation of 914m. The reward at the end of the trail is the Castle of Motta. It is a great destination to meet like-minded adrenaline junkies, and services such as hotels, bike shops, and cafes are available. There are also opportunities to join a riding group or tour and let local tour operators handle small details of your trip.
Trentino Alto Adige is located in Northern Italy and is a distinctly different from other regions because of its proximity to Austria. Visitors here come for the fresh alpine mountain air, waterfalls, ski resorts, and snow capped peaks. The region is also one of the fastest growing biking destinations in Europe. In fact, it attracts so many visitors that local government has launched a campaign to make it a cycling tourist destination. They have established special protected trails and paths for bikers only that guide you along unpolluted passes, up mountainsides, and around lakes. Nearby are the Stelvio National Park and the stunning Dolomites. This region is the perfect place to combine cycling with hiking.
Piedmont offers cycling tourists great opportunities to experience castles and Roman ruins, ancient relics, local vegetation, mountains, and an abundance of fine dining and wine. It is also home to Torino, the location of the 2006 winter Olympics. Piedmont attracts cyclists of all ages and activity levels including children and seniors. It's possible to bike on your own or choose from the many bike, food, and culture tours. Several operators offer bike trips that introduce the rustic natural beauty of the region as well as its medieval villages like Asti, Vercelli, Cuneo, and Biella. The Vercelli path is for cyclists who want to experience farmlands and the Lame del Sesia nature park. The Cuneo trip is perfect for cyclists who want hills, mountains, and ancient architecture.