Pisa to Cinque Terre Cycling Holiday

  • Category

    Cycle Touring
    Self Guided
  • Grade

    Moderate
  • Duration/s

    7 nights
  • Start / Finish

    Pisa / La Spezia
  • Distance

    146 miles/235 kms
  • Themes

    CoastalEbike
  • Accommodation

    Superior
  • Tour code

    014-107CIT
Price From £748

Overview

A scenic and diverse tour from Tuscany to Liguria. Stays in the beautiful and historic cities of Pisa, Lucca and La Spezia are separated by scenic bike rides that take in the sandy beaches of the Versilian coast, the Serchio river valley and the majestic peaks of the Apennine National Park. A hike along Liguria’s Cinque Terre coast is a fitting finale.

For sheer diversity and points of interest this tour takes a lot of beating. A night in the beautiful old town of Pisa is followed by an easy ride out through a serene national park to the Versilian coast. Golden sandy beaches accompany your journey up the coast to the charming seaside resort of Viareggio. The second day leads you up into the Apennine foothills and along a section of the ancient pilgrims route – the Via Francigena – to the beautiful Renaissance city of Lucca.

You then follow the course of the Serchio river up an ever-narrowing valley into the Apennines to the beautiful medieval village of Castelnuovo di Garfagnana. Winding flagstone streets, stone arches, tiny piazzas and stunning alpine scenery make this a memorable stop.

On the trail above Vernazza

On the trail above Vernazza

By now the legs are warmed up so it’s time to take on a memorable climb up into the majestic Appenine National Park. Near the summit you’ll pass the famous Carrara marble quarries before enjoying a 30 kilometre downhill run to the chic and fashionable resort of Forte dei Marmi. The next day you leave Tuscany behind and cross into Liguria, passing vineyards and small fishing villages on your way to the bustling port town of La Spezia.

The final day of the tour is extra special. A 25 minute train ride delivers you to Monterosso, the village at the western end of the Cinque Terre National Park. From here you begin a scenic hike back through the park following an undulating track that passes the other famous pastel coloured villages of Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. The whole route is 19kms but you can shorten it by catching the train between the villages.

This holiday is rated moderate. The first day is flat and relatively easy but you will encounter climbs on each of the other days. On day 5 you will climb 550 metres in 20 kilometres between Castelnuovo di Garfagnana and top of the Appenine National Park. If you are concerned about this then we recommend you consider hiring an e-bike as this will take the sting out of these climbs making the overall route more leisurely.

Itinerary & Map

This holiday is rated moderate. The first day is flat and relatively easy but you will encounter climbs on each of the other days. On day 5 you will climb 550 metres in 20 kilometres between Castelnuovo di Garfagnana and top of the Appenine National Park. If you are concerned about this then we recommend you consider hiring an e-bike as this will take the sting out of these climbs making the overall route more leisurely.

View larger map

Day 1: Arrival in Pisa

Leaning tower of Pisa

Leaning tower of Pisa

Make your way to your hotel in Pisa and check-in. In the evening there will be a welcome briefing and bike fitting (exact time TBC) but other than that the day is yours. Besides being home to the world’s most famous architectural blunder, Pisa also has one of Italy’s most elite universities and the student population lends the city a vibrancy and buzz that compliments the historic Romanesque buildings and Renaissance piazzas. Of course, it’s almost obligatory to take a look at the famous leaning tower and cathedral in the Piazza dei Miracoli but the real Pisa is to be found in the winding alleys and lungarni (riverside streets) of the beautiful old town.

Day 2: Pisa – Viareggio, 19 miles/30 kms

Viareggio

Viareggio

If you arrived late yesterday and didn’t have time to explore Pisa properly then there is plenty of time to do so this morning as today’s ride is relatively short and very flat. The bikes will also help you to get around the city more efficiently.

Today’s easy route leads you along a network of quiet paths through the ‘Macchia Luccese’ national park towards the coast. At the sea you turn north and cycle through pine forests with a long sandy beach to your left. It’s a good idea to pack you swim things in your pannier as, if it’s hot, you may be tempted to stop for a dip. Today’s destination is the charming seaside resort of Viareggio. Take a stroll along the beautiful Passeggiata, the boulevard beside the beach. Our tip is to have a drink or bite to eat in the beautiful and ornate Caffè Margherita, which has remained largely unchanged for 100 years.

Day 3: Viareggio – Lucca, 28 miles/45 kms

Lucca

Lucca

Today’s route leads you further up the coast for a while before turning inland and heading up into the hills. At the beautiful old Roman town of Camaiore you join the  ‘Via Francigena’, an ancient pilgrims’ route that connected France to Rome. The route follows the undulations of the Apuan foothills through small, medieval villages to the banks of the Serchio river. You then begin to follow a well-maintained cycle path that will eventually lead you into the centre of Lucca. If you fancy a bit more cycling you can follow the path around the Renaissance walls that encircle the historic city centre. After checking in to your hotel take a stroll through the narrow, cobbled streets or along the ramparts of the famous walls. Sooner or later you will come across the elliptical Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, a picturesque square that traces the shape of the second century Roman Amphitheater that once occupied the same space.

Day 4: Lucca – Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, 31 miles/ 50 kms

Castelnuovo di Garfagnana

Castelnuovo di Garfagnana

Today’s ride is a gentle ascent up the Serchio valley towards the impressive peaks of the Apennine Natural Park. The Serchio River will be your guide for the day as you head upstream through ever more impressive scenery. The ancient Ponte del Diavolo (Devil’s Bridge) is an amazing and beautiful feat of medieval engineering and well worth a photo stop just pass the charming village of Borgo a Mozzano. After cycling through a succession of sleepy Apennine villages you arrive in the medieval town of Castelnuovo di Garfagnana where you will stop for the night. Time appears to have stood still in this quaint little alpine town and you’ll enjoy exploring its narrow, winding, flagstoned streets, stone arches and small piazzas.

Day 5: Castelnuovo di Garfagnana – Forte dei Marmi area, 31 miles/50 kms

Apuane national park

Apennine Natural Park – Tuscany

Carb up at breakfast today as this ride is the most challenging of the week. It starts with a climb of 550 meters over 20 kilometres as you ascend into the Apennine Natural Park. The good news is that the scenery is jaw dropping with majestic tree-clad peaks lining the winding road. Near the highest point you will pass the quarries of the world-famous white Carrara marble. From here you enjoy more stunning alpine views on an exhilarating 30 kilometre descent to the coast.

Your destination today is the chic and fashionable seaside resort of Forte dei Marmi. Here you will find a fabulous beach and, after checking into your hotel, a dip in the Tyrrhenian sea may be just the ticket after your challenging ride.

Day 6: Forte dei Marmi area – La Spezia, 34 miles/55 kms

La Spezia

La Spezia

Today’s cycling route is longer than yesterday’s with a couple of climbs but not as challenging. You follow the Lungomare (coast road) north for a few kilometres before turning inland and climbing to the beautiful little town of Marre where we highly recommend you stop for a coffee and stroll around. Then you follow a lovely scenic lane through undulating Apennine foothills, past cascading vineyards back down towards the coast. At Marina di Carrara you leave Tuscany behind and enter Liguria. After passing through the charming fishing village of Bocca di Magra you follow an undulating coast road through quiet countryside. Intermittent sea views are breathtaking and the pastel-coloured houses of Lerici comfirm your arrival on the Ligurian coast. A few more kilometres of easy cycling deliver you to La Spezia, a historic port city, offering art, culture and great food. This will be your base for the next two nights as you explore nearby Cinque Terre. It also concludes the cycling itinerary as tomorrow is all about hiking!

Day 7: Hike along the Cinque Terre coast, 12 miles/19 kms

Vernazza - Cinque Terre

Vernazza – Cinque Terre

Today you will explore the world famous Cinque terre coast following a very scenic footpath through the national park, visiting each of the five colourful villages of Monterosso, Vernayya, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. To get to the start of this breathtaking coastal walk, you will take a 25 minute train ride (included) from La Spezia to Monterosso, the westernmost village. From there you begin to follow the well-marked coastal path from village to village, always with fabulous sea-views to your right. The full route from end to end is actually 19 kms long but you can shorten this by taking a train from/to any of the villages along the route – there are boat transportation options too. From Riomaggiore, the Cinque Terre Express takes you back to La Spezia in a just a few minutes.

Day 8: Departure

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

Dates & Prices

2020 Arrival Dates - scroll down for 2021 dates
Arrivals every Saturday from 04 April to 10 October

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2020 Prices - scroll down for 2021 prices
014-107CIT
Per person
04 Apr
to
24 Apr
25 Apr
to
29 May
30 May
to
04 Sep
05 Sep
to
25 Sep
26 Sep
to
10 Oct
Superior category
Double/twin £738 £788 £847 £788 £738          
Single £1082 £1131 £1191 £1131 £1082          
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Deposit per person £230

Price Includes

7 nights accommodation. See practical information
7 x Breakfast
Luggage transfer (Unlimited, max weight 20kg per piece)
Maps & route information
Welcome briefing
Train La Spezia - Monterosso, day 7
Train Riomaggiore - La Spezia, day 7
GPS route data
Local assistance

Price Excludes

Flights and transfers
Bike hire (see supplements)
Helmet (€35, payable locally)
Return transfer to Pisa (MUST be pre-booked,€65 per person, payable locally)
Tourist tax (approximately €2pppn, payable locally)

Supplements

Extra night Pisa, double/twin, superior (£64)
Extra night Pisa, single, superior (£97)
Extra night La Spezia, double/twin, superior (£83)
Extra night La Spezia, single, superior (£147)
Regular bike with pannier & lock. See practical information (£79)
Regular Plus bike with pannier & lock (£133)
Electric bike with pannier & lock (£195)
2021 Arrival Dates
Arrivals every Saturday from 27 March - 09 October

Scroll/swipe to see more

2021 Prices
014-107CIT
Per person
27 Mar
to
16 Apr
17 Apr
to
21 May
22 May
to
03 Sep
04 Sep
to
24 Sep
25 Sep
to
09 Oct
Superior category
Double/twin £748 £788 £857 £788 £748          
Single £1112 £1151 £1220 £1151 £1112          
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Deposit per person £220

Price Includes

7 nights accommodation. See practical information
7 x Breakfast
Luggage transfer (Unlimited, max weight 20kg per piece)
Maps & route information
Welcome briefing
GPS route data
Local assistance

Price Excludes

Flights and transfers
Bike hire (see supplements)
Helmet (€35, payable locally)
Return transfer to Pisa (MUST be pre-booked,€65 per person, payable locally)
Tourist tax (approximately €2pppn, payable locally)

Supplements

Extra night Pisa, double/twin, superior (£64)
Extra night Pisa, single, superior (£97)
Extra night La Spezia, double/twin, superior (£83)
Extra night La Spezia, single, superior (£147)
Regular bike with pannier & lock. See practical information (£79)
Regular Plus bike with pannier & lock (£133)
Electric bike with pannier & lock (£195)

Practical Information

Bikes

Regular bike

Regular bike

On this tour you can choose between a regular bike, a regular Plus bike or an e-bike.

Regular bikes provided are modern alloy framed models with 21 speeds. The bikes come equipped with pannier, lock and a repair kit with pump.

The regular Plus bike offers a step up in terms of components (hydraulic Magura brakes HS 11, Shimano Deore XT) and the frame provides a more sporty riding position. High quality, suntour suspension forks ensure a comfortable ride on these bikes. The bikes come equipped with pannier, lock and a repair kit with pump.

Regular plus bike

Regular plus bike

Electric bikes are also available.

We suggest you bring your own helmet for safety and hygiene reasons. Alternatively, helmets are available to buy (payable locally, €35). This must be advised at the time of booking.

 

Accommodation

Below you will find examples of the accommodations 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.

Superior: Good quality hotels and guesthouses

Pisa: Hotel Repubblica Marinara
Viareggio: Sina Hotel Astor
Lucca: Santori Luxury Home
Castelnuovo di Garfagnana: La Lanterna
Forte dei Marmi: Hotel Bencista
La Spezia: The Poet

Local taxes
Some hotels have started to charge a local/tourist tax. These taxes are not included in the sale price of the tour and must be paid directly by you at check-in or checkout at the hotels. This fee varies and is ever changing but as a guide, you may be asked to pay between €1-€4 per person per night

Getting There

Fly to Pisa, Florence or Genoa
Research flights from the UK here

Gallery