TOURING BY MOTORBIKE
Abruzzo ......Sky & Sea
7 days & 6 nights
There is an incredible variety of landscapes in Abruzzo. Beaches, cities of art, mountains: nothing is missing. The route presented in this programme explores the most particular mountain landscape that can be found in the Apennines: the “little Tibet” of Campo Imperatore, from where the trip to reach the Adriatic coast begins.
Type of soil:
Paved roads or cycle paths
Inclusive of beautiful 4-star accommodation and one super meal per day.
5 Unesco world heritage sites on our itinerary: Milan, Rhaetian Railway in the Albula/Bernina, The Dolomites, Mantua, Verona
The technical difficulties of this tour for expert riders will be widely compensated by great emotions for the amazing sceneries and the pleasure of riding on exhilarating biker's roads. With over 30 passes en route, legendary names such as Gavia, Bernina, Falzarego, Tonale, Sella, Pordoi, Giau … and about 15 lakes: Maggiore, Como, Garda, Reschen, and more…
Day 1: Meeting in Milan (Milano)
We meet up in the afternoon at our hotel in Milan and pick up the rental bikes. We all meet up before dinner and get to know each other via a welcome aperitif and a short but important briefing, the time to explain a few simple rules for organizing and synchronizing things, thus ensuring that everyone has a safe holiday that is unforgettable for all the right reasons. Overnight in 4-star hotel in Milan; included meals: D.
Day 2: 200 km
The tour begins and, with it, our ramble through Europe’s highest and most extensive mountain range, with its sweeping, majestic landscapes: the Alps! Its highest peaks have one foot in Italy and the other in France, leader of the pack being Mont Blanc. First, we head for Piedmont to visit the Sacred Mountain of Varallo and lunch, a succulent “elephant’s ear” (that’s a breaded cutlet). Suitably fed and watered, we’re ready for some exhilarating views, and the roads up to the village of Orta San Giulio on Lake Orta will not disappoint. We press on over the Mottarone (for a 360° panorama over three lakes) and spend the night on the shore of Lake Maggiore. Dine where you please. Overnight in a 4-star hotel on Lake Maggiore; included meals: B, L.
Day 3: 160 km
We rumble on from Lake Maggiore to Lake Como, with a detour into Switzerland to skirt Lake Lugano before returning to the spectacular mountains of Lombardy. We hop across on the ferry to save time and then motor along the lakeside before tackling the mountains that will see us cross the Swiss border. Then it’s back into Italy to visit Como and the marvellous Villa Balbianello. We end the day at the tip of the lake. Overnight in a 4-star hotel on Lake Como; included meals: B, D.
Day 4: 230 km
Today we are bound for Bormio, in Valtellina, at the foot of the world-renowned Stelvio Pass. As usual, we take the scenic route – the motorcyclist's code of honour! – along the Lecco branch of Lake Como to reach Bormio from the north via San Moritz in Switzerland, scaling heights of approx 2000m. We chug onto the picturesque duty-free town of Livigno, a shopping paradise, and finally to our hotel in Bormio, where we’ll spend two nights. Overnight in a 4-star hotel in Bormio; included meals: B, D.
Day 5: 150 km
Today’s ride packs a bunch of highlights into just 150km. First up is the mouthwatering Stelvio Pass, the highest road pass in Europe at 2758 m, with its breathtaking views and hair-raising hairpins: 40 on the way up, 48 on the way down. We skirt the Austrian border at Lake Reschen, with its famous submerged bell tower, before crossing into Switzerland and girding our loins for another “succulent” pass. That takes us back into Italy, where we lunch in a lakeside refuge. Suitably nourished, we return to the hotel: to wind down in style, we heartily recommend a visit to the Bagni Vecchi, the lovely old Roman thermal baths, hewn from the rock looking down on the town and its valley. Dine where you please. Overnight in 4-star hotel in Bormio; included meals: B, L.
Day 6: 190 km
Leaving Lombardy behind, we embark on a route lined with stupendous scenery and sumptuous mountain passes, bound for the Trentino-Alto Adige region, the Dolomites, and the famous and lovely ski resort of Ortisei. Our route takes in the stunning Gavia Pass, a firm favorite amongst riders as much for its beauty as for its technical demands, with some pretty tight hairpin bends to look forward to. Now there’s a challenge to relish! Overnight in 4-star hotel in area Ortisei; included meals: B, D.
Day 7: 0 km
After our exploits over the last few days, today is all about relaxing and giving the bikes a rest. Putting your feet up and enjoying the comforts of our hotel sounds like a good plan, but if you fancy something a little more active, here are some ideas:
Walk the peaks to savour the dreamy Dolomites in all their beauty (with various routes from the challenging vie ferrate, climbing 600m in 3 hours, to the soft option of a chairlift)
Take a helicopter ride for a bird’s eye view of the magnificent mountain scenery that has earned UNESCO World Heritage status
Rent a bicycle and explore under your own steam (unguided)
Enjoy a fun adventure course up rock faces and in the treetops
Staff is on hand to organise whatever you’d like to do with your day. Overnight in a 4-star hotel in Ortisei; included meals: B. No main meal is included to leave you completely free on this rest day.
Day 8: 185 km
Today it’s your camera that will be taking the strain. The Sella and Marmolada massifs await us in the heart of the mountains; if you had only one day in the Dolomites, you’d want it to be this. The scenery here is quite unlike the western ranges, and our touring will be rewarded with a succession of the most gorgeous landscapes that the Dolomites have to offer. After a lakeside coffee break, we conclude the day by rolling into another mountain gem, the famous ski resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo. Overnight in 4-star hotel in the area of Cortina d’Ampezzo; included meals: B, D.
Day 9: 200 km
On this tour, every day is spectacular: a feast for the eyes meets pure motoring pleasure. On today’s ride, we discover a rather special part of the Dolomites, exploring the beauty and history of one of their most legendary landscapes. We will be visiting two old border towns and their castles, enjoying a traditional lunch in a refuge by one of the area’s most delightful lakes, and admiring the ultimate symbol of the Dolomites: the Tre cime di Lavaredo (the three peaks of Lavaredo). Simply breathtaking! Dine where you please. Overnight in a 4-star hotel in the area of Cortina d’Ampezzo; included meals: B, L.
Day 10: 200 km
Today we weave our way along curvaceous roads and gorgeous passes to the gentler side of the Dolomites in the Trentino “lowlands” (relatively speaking). This ride is every bit as magnificent as the previous days, as we explore the charming city of Trento with its delightful old centre and the magnificent Buonconsiglio Castle. For dinner, we eat together in an elegant traditional restaurant in the old quarter. Overnight in a 4-star hotel in Trento; included meals: B, D.
Day 11: 190 km
Our last night at large will be beside a lake again. But before that, an endless feast of twists and turns await along a road clawed from the rock by the Austro-Hungarian soldiers during World War I, via one of the most impressive fortifications in the Trentino region. Then we power into the Veneto, arriving in the splendid Renaissance city of Verona (another UNESCO gem) for a look around its famous Roman arena followed by Juliet’s house of Shakespearean fame. Our final destination for today is Lake Garda – Sirmione, to be exact. This beautiful Roman town with the Grottoes of Catullus and its thermal springs lies at the tip of a finger of land pointing into the lake. We lunch on some traditional Veneto food and dinner along the lake is included too. Overnight in 4-star hotel on Lake Garda; included meals: B, L, D.
Day 12: 200 km
On the road back to Milan, we stop to visit marvellous Mantova and its Palazzo Tè, the mannerist masterpiece built as Marquis Federico II Gonzaga’s pleasure palace. We have one last stop to make, in Cremona, the city of Stradivari and world hub of violin making. There is a fine museum and the world’s most famous school of lutherie that dates back centuries which is part of the UNESCO heritage. Finally, we roll back into Milan and check into our original hotel. After taking the hire bikes back a lavish dinner provides a fitting end to our adventure together. Overnight in 4-star hotel in Milan; included meals: B, D.
Day 13: Farewell in Milan
We say our goodbyes after breakfast, leaving you free to go home or explore further the magic of Italy on your own. Included meals: B.