Adige River to Lake Garda Cycling Holiday

The Adige River cycle path has to be one of the most enjoyable and scenic leisure-cycling routes in Europe. Starting from the head of the Resia Pass, close to the Austrian border, this idyllic cycle path follows the Adige River as it descends through stunning alpine landscapes past quaint mountain villages and historic towns to Lake Garda.

If you’re looking for carefree, easy cycling on quiet cycle paths through jaw-dropping scenery then look no further – the Adige River and Lake Garda Cycling Holiday really should be on your leisure cycling bucket list.

The above video was shot in June 2017 and depicts the sites and scenes from the route.

Read about this holiday in the Guardian

The route starts high in the Italian Alps at the head of the Resia/Reschen Pass and follows the Adige River as it descends along the stunning Venosta Valley. You’ll be cycling on a traffic free, tarmac cycle path. The going is easy, being predominantly downhill, allowing plenty of time to drink in the panoramic alpine vistas that unfold all around.

You’ll cycle past small villages and medieval towns, some of which originate from Roman times as this is the route of the Via Claudia Augusta, a trans-alpine path first opened in 46 AD. As you descend, the fruit orchards begin to give way to vineyards and the Adige turns from a tumbling mountain stream to a fully fledged river.

Shortly after the town of Trento you face the one, short, easy climb of the route – don’t worry it’s not that long and there’s no penalty for walking or taking a breather. Your efforts are rewarded with an exhilarating descent to the stunning northern shore of Lake Garda. You will spend the last night of your tour in one of the pretty lakeside towns on the northern shore, such as Riva, Torbole or Nago or in Arco in the northern end in an attractive setting.

The vast majority of this route is on tarmac cycle paths with some very short stretches on quiet roads. The route is predominantly downhill or level making it a good choice for families and anyone with a basic level of fitness.

Adige River to Lake Garda Cycling Holiday

The Adige River cycle path has to be one of the most enjoyable and scenic leisure-cycling routes in Europe. Starting from the head of the Resia Pass, close to the Austrian border, this idyllic cycle path follows the Adige River as it descends through stunning alpine landscapes past quaint mountain villages and historic towns to Lake Garda.

If you’re looking for carefree, easy cycling on quiet cycle paths through jaw-dropping scenery then look no further – the Adige River and Lake Garda Cycling Holiday really should be on your leisure cycling bucket list.

The above video was shot in June 2017 and depicts the sites and scenes from the route.

Read about this holiday in the Guardian

The route starts high in the Italian Alps at the head of the Resia/Reschen Pass and follows the Adige River as it descends along the stunning Venosta Valley. You’ll be cycling on a traffic free, tarmac cycle path. The going is easy, being predominantly downhill, allowing plenty of time to drink in the panoramic alpine vistas that unfold all around.

You’ll cycle past small villages and medieval towns, some of which originate from Roman times as this is the route of the Via Claudia Augusta, a trans-alpine path first opened in 46 AD. As you descend, the fruit orchards begin to give way to vineyards and the Adige turns from a tumbling mountain stream to a fully fledged river.

Shortly after the town of Trento you face the one, short, easy climb of the route – don’t worry it’s not that long and there’s no penalty for walking or taking a breather. Your efforts are rewarded with an exhilarating descent to the stunning northern shore of Lake Garda. You will spend the last night of your tour in one of the pretty lakeside towns on the northern shore, such as Riva, Torbole or Nago or in Arco in the northern end in an attractive setting.

The vast majority of this route is on tarmac cycle paths with some very short stretches on quiet roads. The route is predominantly downhill or level making it a good choice for families and anyone with a basic level of fitness.

Itinerary

Day 1 : Arrrive Bolzano

Your holiday begins in or near the alpine town of Bolzano. It’s the capital of the South Tyrol region and sits at the southern end of the Brenner Pass in the Italian Alps. There’s plenty to see and do here from taking a cable car up one of surrounding mountains for an alpine walk to visiting Bolzano’s most famous resident, ‘Ötzi’, a 5,000 year old neolithic iceman who’s well-preserved remains were discovered in a nearby glacier in 1991. The town consistently ranks highly in the most-popular-town-to live-in stakes thanks to its culture, restaurants, pleasant climate and alpine air. A wander through the bustling historic old town with its narrow cobbled streets is a must. Here you’ll find an excellent choice of restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets. Get a good night’s sleep to prepare yourself for your cycling adventure that starts in the morning.

Day 2 : Resia Pass – Silandro
31 miles/50 kms

After breakfast you are picked up and transferred by van with your bikes to the top of the Resia Pass at the end of the Venosta Valley. The scenic journey takes about 1 hour 45 minutes and you disembark in the village of Resia (1500m) which enjoys a stunning location at the northern end of Resia Lake, surrounded by picturesque alpine meadows and granite peaks. The lake is actually artificial and was created just after World War II immersing some local villages. Today’s ride really is special as you’ll be pedalling along the peaceful Adige Cycle Path beside the babbling Adige River, enjoying jaw-dropping alpine vistas all the way. Because you’ve started at the top of the pass, the cycling is predominantly downhill and in our opinion leisure cycling really doesn’t get much better than this. The gorgeous natural scenery is interrupted only by charming alpine villages such as Burgeis, Malles and Glorenza. All too soon, you arrive at your overnight stop in the pretty town of Silandro.

Day 3 : Silandro – Merano
25 miles/40 kms

After breakfast you rejoin the idyllic cycle path and continue on down the Venosta Valley beside the Adige River letting the impressive alpine scenery roll past. As well as being scenic, the Venosta Valley is also fertile and on today’s ride you’ll pass many fruit orchards - apricots, apples, strawberries and pears all thrive here. In the village of Laces you could lock the bikes up and take the cable car up to 1740m to the tiny village of San Martino Al Monte. Here you can enjoy fabulous views along the valley and admire one of the most beautiful pilgrimage churches of the South Tyrol. More easy riding beside the Adige River brings you to the town of Merano your home for the evening. Merano is a spa town and a visit to its centrally located thermal pool complex is highly recommended, particularly after a long day in the saddle.

Day 4 : Merano – Bolzano area
22 to 25 miles/35 to 40 kms

By now you’ll be getting into a pleasant rhythm and your legs will know what’s expected of them. More leisurely cycling along the Adige cycle path today as you descend the Upper Adige Valley to Bolzano (where your holiday began three days ago). The valley is wide and fertile and we recommend detouring from the cycle path to small alpine villages such as Nals and Andriano for an ice-cream or coffee break. Your trusty guide, The Adige River, finally delivers you to Bolzano where you’ll stop for the night. Take a stroll through the atmospheric old town along the narrow arcade-lined lanes or visit the Reinhold Messner Climbing Museum. If it’s hot you might opt for an afternoon at the open-air swimming pool.

Day 5 : Bolzano area – Trento
41 to 44 miles/65 to 70 kms

Today there are two route options to choose from. The easiest and most direct route leads you south along the lower Adige valley beside the river which is bigger now, swollen by its confluence with the Eisack River at Bolzano. The second, slightly longer option includes a couple of short climbs but the payoff is a ride through the stunning Caladaro Valley to Lake Caldaro. The lake is one of the warmest in the alps and just perfect for a swim if the weather is hot. The two routes converge in the Adige Valley near the town of Ora from where you continue your journey south. For centuries this wide fertile valley has been one of the primary north-south trading routes through the alps and the scenery is spectacular. Tiny, white alpine villages, perched on the green mountainsides on either side of the valley, are overlooked by towering granite peaks. The easy, level cycle path sticks resolutely to the valley floor leading you through the small pleasant villages of Ora, Egna and Salorno before arriving at Trento, today’s destination. Trento has a long and colourful history, thanks to its strategic position on one of the Alps’ main passes. Head for the picturesque medieval city centre to absorb the atmosphere and learn more.

Day 6 : Trento – Lake Garda
32 miles/50 kms

Leaving Trento, you continue down the valley to the village of Mori where you leave the Adige River and cycle up a ridge to escape the valley. This short climb is rewarded with a truly stunning panoramic view of the northern end of Lake Garda. An exhilarating freewheel delivers you to the picturesque lakeside village of Torbole and journey's end. The afternoon is yours to explore the beautiful lakeside towns of Riva and Torbole. Alternatively, you could relax on one of the lakeside beaches, drinking in the views and perhaps taking a dip in the crystal clear waters of the lake. You will spend the night in one of the charming towns on Lake Garda’s north shore or in nearby Arco.

Day 7 : Lake Garda - end of trip

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

Bikes

The Regular bikes provided are comfortable, modern alloy framed models with 27 speeds and gel saddles. These bikes come equipped with pannier, lock and a repair kit with pump.

Electric bikes are also available as are child bikes, child bikes with a follow-me tandem link to an adult bike, child trailers and child seats.

The smallest child bike frames are suitable for children between 120 and 135cm and in the event the child gets tired, can be connected via a clever bracket to one of the adult bikes (see image). These Follow-Me tandems must be requested at the time of booking.

Child seats are free of charge and can accommodate children, aged 1 to 5, weighing up to 22 kg. Please request yours at the time of booking.

Child trailers are suitable for infants up to 4 years of age (max weight 35kg) and are available to rent.

Theft and damage insurance is included with all bike rentals on this tour.

We suggest you bring your own helmet for safety and hygiene reasons. Alternatively, helmets are available for rent 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.

Bolzano: Hotel Chrys

Silandro: Pension Schweitzer

Merano: Hotel Gruberhof

Bolzano: Hotel Chrys

Trento: Grand Hotel Trento

Riva/ Nago-Torbole area: Hotel Villa Rosa

Getting there

Fly to Verona or Venice airport and then take the train to Bolzano. From Verona the train takes approximately 2 hours and from Venice approximately 3 hours. Fly back from Verona (Venice is also possible).

Research flights from the UK here.

Research trains in Italy here.

You can also take the train all the way from the UK – checkout this article in the Guardian.

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