Make your way to Bolzano. The nearest airports are Innsbruck and Verona, but Bergamo, Treviso, Venice and Munich are approx. 4 hours by train. Bolzano is the capital of the South Tyrol, with its pretty network of winding alleys and upmarket shops to explore. The world-famous Museum of Archaeology with the ‘Otzi’ Iceman and the Reinhold Messner Mountain Museum at nearby Sigmundskron Castle make Bolzano a city of mountaineering history and culture. **
Today you will ride mainly along the Adige River, through orchards and vineyards and passing through the villages of Ora, Egna and Salomo. The dam pathways lead onward to Trento, set in a wide glacial valley guarded by the peaks of the Dolomites. There is the possibility of taking the train at several points to shorten this stage.
As you pedal along the Adige, you reach Rovereto and Mori, which is famous for its quality wines. From here you cycle westwards to Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy. After a short ascent, a refreshing descent will follow and lead you to the picturesque towns of Torbole and Riva. The ferry cruise will take you to the southern part of Lake Garda. Depending on the availability tonight your accommodation will either be in Peschiera or Desenzano; both pleasant Italian towns on the shore of the lake. (Please note that the ferry service across Lake Garda is a seasonal service and schedules are generally released quite late. If the ferry is not running, or cancelled due to adverse weather/strikes etc. then we will organise a van transfer to your next hotel).
Today your ride is mainly on quiet roads and cycle paths as you make your way to the legendary city of Verona. Located on the Adige River, Verona is arguably the most beautiful city in Veneto. Verona is easily discoverable on foot, taking in the famous sites such as the Roman arena, the Basilica San Zeno and of course, Juliet's house and the famous balcony!
At first the route today is flat, and then you head through the Monti Berici; a hilly region just south of Vicenza, with wonderfully panoramic views of the local vineyards and then Vicenza. On your route there are plenty of places to stop and admire the view, and have a break from the climbs! The old city centre of Vicenza is characterized by the beautiful private palaces and public buildings designed by Andrea Palladio, the famous 16th Century architect known all over the world. Today's route can be shortened by taking the train or there is a slightly flatter route for those who would prefer to avoid any major climbs.
After enjoying an ice-cream at arguably the best ice-cream parlour in Vicenza, cycling out of the city you come across the beautiful Palladian Villa Rotonda. Stop to enjoy the incredible architecture, and then head back on your bike along the Bacchiglione River. The route continues to the fascinating city of Padova with its famous Giotto's Chapel and one of the biggest squares in Europe; 'Prato della Valle'.
The cycling continues along the flat Veneto region. You will ride along the Brenta Canal, overlooked by the countryside villas of the ancient Venetian nobility (Villa Pisani, Malcontenta, Villa Widmann) until you reach Mestre, Venice's mainland. We choose to stay in Mestre as the logistics of cycling into Venice are incredibly difficult; the road connecting Venice and the mainland can be very busy and cycling is certainly not recommended. Getting to Venice from Mestre is simple; buses are every 15 mins and take approximately 15 mins. If you would prefer to stay in central Venice this can be arranged for an additional supplement.
End your trip in Mestre (Venice). If you have time, Mestre (Venice) is an excellent place to spend a couple of days enjoying the delights of this world famous city; take a gondola ride along the Grand Canal, marvel at Venetian art through the ages and relax with a gelato (or two!) **
* 7 nights 2 and 3-star hotels, with an option to upgrade * 6 days cycling with luggage transfer between hotels * 95% tarmac, 5% gravel tracks * Mainly quiet roads and cycle paths * Possibility to take the train to make the route shorter on days 2 and 5 * Self-guided holiday. Min age 8 yrs
All breakfasts are included on this trip. For breakfast you can expect a continental style buffet including cold meats, eggs, cheese, breads, pastries, jam, tea and coffee. For lunch and dinner, you will find an abundance of cheap and hearty Italian food available from local restaurants and cafes. You will always find a good 'menu del giorno' in the restaurants and cafes in towns and cities, these tend to feature a number of antipasti/starters, followed by a pizza or pasta dish, and a local dessert. There are also plenty of supermarkets to stock up on picnic items, an excellent way to enjoy lunches on a self-guided trip.
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