Parma to Bologna Cycling Holiday

  • Category

    Cycle Touring
    Self Guided
  • Grade

    Leisurely to Moderate
  • Duration/s

    7 nights
  • Start / Finish

    Parma / Bologna
  • Distance

    220 miles/354 kms
  • Themes

    EbikeGastronomicWine Lovers
  • Accommodation

    Comfort to Superior
  • Tour code

    043-106CIT
Price From £847

Overview

Foodie cycling heaven. A leisurely 7 night cycling holiday through Emilia Romagna from Parma, via Modena, to Bologna. Visit the charming cities and delightful countryside that have given the world Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, Parma Ham, Balsamic Vinegar and Lambrusco wine.

There can be few corners of the globe that can boast such an esteemed list of Protected Designation of Origin products as Emilia Romagna in Northern Italy. If you are looking for a cycling holiday where you can enjoy sublime gastronomy, relaxed, rural cycling and wonderful historic towns and cities then this route from Parma, via Modena to Bologna will take some beating.

Cycling in Emilia Romagna

Cycling in Emilia Romagna

The first two nights are spent in the historic city of Parma from where you will enjoy a circular ride into the surrounding countryside. Along the route you will learn more about Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and have the opportunity to stop for a tasting session.

You then move on to Reggio Emilia, via a scenic rural route that takes in Torrechiara Castle as well as a “Prosciuttifico” where you can taste another of the region’s famous products – Parma Ham. You’ll enjoy your night in Reggio Emilia admiring the beautiful buildings and narrow lanes of delightful old town.

From there it’s on to the Renaissance town of Carpi and then through the Lambrusco Vineyards to the graceful town of Modena where you will stay for two nights. The following day, during a very scenic circular ride into the surrounding countryside you’ll sample the region’s famous Balsamic Vinegar and enjoy visiting pretty small towns such as Castelvetro.

The final stop is Bologna, with its historic galleries, romantic towers and maze-like cobbled streets – a fitting finale to a totally enchanting cycling holiday.

You’ll be covering around 60km per day on quiet lanes. The going is mostly level although you will encounter some gentle climbs every now and then.

Itinerary & Map

You’ll be covering around 60km per day on quiet lanes. The going is mostly level although you will encounter some gentle climbs every now and then.

View larger map

Day 1: Arrive Parma

Parma

Parma

Arrive in Parma and settle into your hotel. The city is quite compact and the historic centre is easy to explore on foot. Lose yourself in the narrow cobbled streets and sooner or later you’ll come across Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi, the place to see and be seen in Parma. Enjoy a coffee or something stronger at one of the many cafes whilst soaking up the atmosphere. In the evening sip an aperitivo at one of the street cafes on the picturesque Strada Farini before finding somewhere to eat in the historic old town. Of course any meal here really should include the renowned local specialities of Prosciutto di Parma and Parmigiano-Reggiano, two local products protected by the strict denomination of origin rules.

Day 2: Parma – Soragna – Fontanellato – Parma, 35 or 44 miles/ 57 or 70 km

Parmigiano Reggiano

Parmigiano Reggiano

Your first day’s ride is an enjoyable and scenic circular route out into the countryside to the west of Parma. Shortly after leaving the city you’ll pass the Cistercian Abbey on the outskirts of Paradigna and from here you enjoy relaxed cycling along quiet country lanes to the village of San Secondo Parmense. Here you can visit a “caseificio”, or cheese factory where  Parmigiano Reggiano has been produced the same way for eight centuries. Your visit of course includes a tasting and an opportunity to purchase some of the famous product. In nearby Soragna you may also wish to stop and visit the the Parmigiano Reggiano Museum, the Nicola dell’Abate’s frescoes and English garden of Meli Lupi Rocca. More easy cycling across open countryside brings you to the town of Fontanellato with its impressive fortress of San Vitale, complete with moat. You then return to Parma where you’ll enjoy an evening meal in a typical trattoria – included in your package.

 

Day 3: Parma – Langhirano – Reggio Emilia,46 miles/ 74 km

Torrechiara Castle

Torrechiara Castle

Today’s ride leads you south into the Parma Hills where the famous Parma Ham is produced. The meat’s salty, fragrant aroma stems from particular local climatic conditions in which it is dried and cured. These include the cool mountain air flowing from the Cisa range mixed with the scent of local pine forests and Versilia chestnuts. In the town of Langhirano you can visit a “prosciutto” to learn more about the production of this world famous delicacy. At the entrance to the valley you can also stop and admire the well- preserved Torrechiara Castle which dates back to 1460. You then enjoy easy cycling along quiet rural lanes to the hamlet of Montechiarugola with its imposing castle standing guard over the Enza River. Across the river you reach the small medieval town of Montecchio and after a few more kilometers of pleasant cycling you reach the town of Reggio Emilia, your home for the night. Stroll or cycle through the narrow streets of the beautiful old town admiring the many wonderful buildings.

Day 4: Reggio Emilia – Carpi – Modena, 35 miles/57km

Piazza Grande - Modena

Piazza Grande – Modena

You’ll be cycling through the countryside of the Po Valley today. The Po River is Italy’s longest river and runs west to east from the Alps to the Adriatic Sea. After admiring the medieval fortified town of Corregio a pleasant cycle among the vineyards of Lambrusco di Santa Croce DOP brings you to the town of Carpi. This Renaissance town features some breathtaking architecture and a wonderful central square which is teh third largest town square in Italy. On the square you will find the Pio Palace, once the home of the Pio Lords and now housing a number of interesting museums. The final section of today’s ride leads you south past more vineyards and sumptuous villas to the town of Modena, famous of course for its superb balsamic vinegar. Check into your hotel, where you’ll spend the next two nights, and then take a stroll or cycle through the historic centre. Admire the stunning cathedral and take a seat at one of outdoor cafes on the Piazza Grande, a beautiful square at the heart of the town. Tonight your evening meal is provided in a local trattoria – this is included in your package.

Day 5: Modena – Vignola – Castelvetro – Modena, 40 miles/65 km

Castelvetro

Castelvetro

You’ll be spending a second night in Modena tonight so in theory you could have a day off and just wander around the city soaking up the atmosphere if you like. We’d urge you not to miss today’s ride however as the scenery is quite breathtaking and you’ll miss seeing some beautiful little places. You first follow the route of a historic a railway line to the town of Spilamberto where you can visit an “acetaia” where authentic Balsamic Vinegar is produced. A little further south in the charming little town of Vignole we recommend you sample the local Barozzi Cake made with Gollini pastry which we think is heaven on a plate! You should also visit the nearby fortress for some wonderful views across the surrounding countryside. The route then leads you along quiet lanes through vineyards to the gorgeous town of Castelvetro where you can visit a Lambrusco winery for a tasting session. Finally, the route leads you back to Modena for another night in the historic city.

Day 6: Modena – Nonantola – Bologna, 43 miles/68 km

Cycling in Emilia Romagna

Quiet lanes and cycle paths

A pleasant riverside cycle path leads you out of the city to the small town of Nonantola where you can visit an abbey that dates back to the 12 century. You are following an old pilgrims’ route today and you’ll pass many Romanesque churches and villas along the way. You’ll also have many options to stop and taste authentic Balsamic Vinegar along the route too. After passing the through the charming old town of San Giovanni in Persiceto with its lovely old square and circular streets you’ll follow the Navile cycle path to the city of Bologna where you will spend the next two nights. The city is of course famous for creating the internationally revered “Bolognese” sauce and locals still insist their original version remains unsurpassed. Judge for yourself as tonight you are invited to dine in a typical fattoria – included in your package.

Day 7: Bologna, 13 miles/20km

Bologna

Bologna

Your final route is quite short and designed to showcase the beautiful city of Bologna. In the afternoon you can explore the city on foot, taking in the beautiful arcades, piazzas and  towers of this delightful old city. When you’ve had enough walking there are plenty of inviting cafes restaurants and bars to choose from. Why not toast completing your Emilia Romagna cycling adventure with a glass of Sangiovese wine, perhaps accompanied by a slice of mortadella cheese?

Day 8: Departure

After breakfast it’s time to head for home or your next adventure.

Dates & Prices

2019 Arrival Dates
Arrivals every Sunday from 03 March to 30 October excluding July & August

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2019 Prices
043-106CIT
Per person
03 Mar
to
30 Jun
01 Sep
to
30 Oct
 
Comfort category
Double/twin £847 £847                
Single £1064 £1064                
Superior category
Double/twin £1155 £1155                
Single £1736 £1736                
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Deposit per person £125

Price Includes

7 nights accommodation. See practical information
7 x Breakfast, 3 x Dinner days 2, 4, & 6
Luggage transport
Maps & route information
Welcome briefing
Local assistance

Price Excludes

Flights and transfers
Bike hire (see supplements).
Helmet (€15, MUST be booked in advance, payable locally)
E-bike credit card deposit €400 on arrival
Tourist tax (approximately €2-3 pppn payable locally)

Supplements

Extra night Parma, double/twin, comfort (£47)
Extra night Parma, single, comfort (£87)
Extra night Parma, double/twin, superior (£59)
Extra night Parma, single, superior (£114)
Extra night Bologna, double/twin, comfort (£55)
Extra night Bologna, single, comfort (£91)
Extra night Bologna, double/twin, superior (£109)
Extra night Bologna, single, superior (£191)
Bike with pannier & lock. See practical information (£81)
Electric bike with pannier & lock (£202)

Practical Information

Bikes

The hybrid unisex bike used on this tour.

The hybrid unisex bike used on this tour.

The bikes provided on this tour are modern alloy framed hybrid models with 24 speeds and comfortable saddle with upright riding position.

The bikes also come equipped with rear pannier, lock (per room) and repair kit. Plus one handlebar bag per couple.

An example of the e-bike used on this tour.

An example of the e-bike used on this tour.

Electric bikes are also available. Please note: A €400 credit card deposit will be requested on arrival as a ‘guarantee’ only. This will be returned when you return the bike in good condition. 

We suggest you bring your own helmet for safety and hygiene reasons. Alternatively helmets are available for rent, to be prebooked, €15 payable locally.

Accommodation

Below you will find examples of the types of accommodation typically used on this tour. Please note that the hotels we book for you may differ slightly from those described but they will certainly be of a similar standard.

Comfort: Comfortable hotels, inns and guesthouses.

Parma: Hotel Ibis Style Toscanini
Reggio Emilia: Albergo Reggio
Modena: Hotel Europa
Bologna: Hotel Accademia

Superior: Good quality hotels and guesthouses.

Parma: Hotel Mercure Stendhal
Reggio Emilia: Albergo Posta
Modena: Hotel Best Western Milano Palace
Bologna: Hotel Commercianti

Getting There

Fly to Parma or Bologna airports preferably although Milan is also a good option offering good rail links to Parma and Bologna (journey time 1hr 10 minutes).

 

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