5+1 tips to organize a bicycle tour in Italy
Italy is a country everyone must visit at least once in their life and one of the most exciting activities you can do while traveling around Italy is a bicycle tour.
But how can you decide on the number of days, where, when, and with whom?
This short guide will help you understand how to choose the perfect bike experience according to your needs.
1) How much time do you have?
Before you start planning your adventure, decide how many days you want to dedicate to your bicycle experience.
One day/Half day
Ideally, this experience works well for those travelers who like to add an easy complementary activity to their holiday and still have the opportunity to explore a territory in a alternative way. This doesn’t required specific training and you don’t need to worry about what apparel to bring with you. The riding distance is minimum and it will give a glimpse of the area due to the short time at your disposal.
Decide if you want to hire a guide to enrich your experience and to learn about the culture of the territory you are visiting.
Two or Three days
If you want to have a more complete experience, then you should plan to dedicate at least 2 or 3 days to the bicycle.
Try to choose an area that is easy to reach with a short transfer (by bus or train maybe). This solution works well if you want to explore specific and limited territories to truly experience the area.
This solution doesn’t require you to bring specific biking apparel (just a bike jersey and pants if you feel the need to).
One week or more
This is the best solution for those who like to experience a true bike experience, to cover large areas with the opportunity to profoundly explore the territory and the culture.
Of course, you should consider doing some light training before to start this type of holiday.
If you like to travel by yourself or with your partner in autonomy just renting a bike with gps/map (excluding your luggage) is a great solution.
You can stop whenever you want, take detours and not have to worry about sticking to a schedule.
2) Time of the year
Traveling in Italy with the bicycle is doable almost all year around, even in the winter season (with some exceptions). The disparate geography of the country offers different opportunities depending on what we are looking for.
Italian Spring (March/May)
A beautiful season full of colors where it is possible to ride almost everywhere, preferably in the hilly areas or near the coast, as it could be too early to ride in the mountains over a certain altitude (like in the Dolomites).
Spring is considered to be the very beginning of the touristic season, so remember to book your tour in advance. During these months, you’ll be able to enjoy nice weather and long days.
Italian Summer (June/August)
Indeed the summer is the most favourite period, but due to the hot temperature, it’s better to consider where to travel. Try to focus on mountain and hilly areas as they are the best places because of the fresh air and shady areas.
Unfortunately, high season also means mass tourism. Try to book your tour in advance and choose a rural area if you want to avoid traffic and to have a genuine experience.
Italian Fall (September/November)
What a great time pedaling along the vineyards during the grape harvest, when the leaves change their colors and the air is fresh!
Autumn is the heart of wine season and for this reason it is a special period in Italy. During these months you can enjoy typical festivals and, of course, assist to the wine harvest and production.
If you decide to travel in the middle-late fall season, be aware of the possibility of rain and temperature drops.
Italian Winter (December/February)
Due to the extension of the Italian territory, the winter limits bike tours to areas such as the south of Italy (Sicily, Sardinia, and Puglia) as well as the Tyrrhenian coast. But keep in mind that during these months, temperatures are low and the days are shorter.
3) Athletic skills
As we mentioned on this post, the decision to select a tour is contingent on the athletic skills you have. It may vary during the year but, generally speaking, fitness conditions improves in the summer and in the fall, so if you decide to travel in spring, it is better to pick a tour that is not too challenging for your ability.
The length of the rides plus elevation gain are not the only factors that determine the difficulty of a bicycle tour, a ring trip (lodging in one single hotel and riding loops ) is typically easier compared to an itinerant trip.
4) Solo rider, small group or big group?
Should you travel alone or with a friend/partner? And what if you would like to do a group experience? Those decisions are not easy to make, let’s find out pros and cons of each solution.
Solo riders usually have more of an adventurous spirit, they like to challenge themselves to have a full experience during a tour while choosing a trip that fits their skill level. An advantage of solo riders is the possibility of deciding when and where to travel and the level and pace to take. It may be more expensive than traveling with partners or friends. In this case, it could be a good idea to hire a local guide who can help the solo rider discover the hidden gems of the territory and help fix problems if they occur.
Traveling in couple, with friends or colleagues amplifies the beauty of the trip.
It’s great to share the same experiences and memories with your buddies.
The hard part is finding a compromise as to when and where to organize the vacation and to find a solution that could fit different skill levels.
Plan in advance and contact a local bike tour operator is the best choice to better understand your options.
Joining a larger cycling group, comprised of old friends or new people, will give you the chance to share the fun, the fatigue, the emotions and in general, all the epic moments that will make this experience something that you’ll share for the rest of your life.
However, in order to have a great experience, everything should to be organized in advance with the help of a local tour operator. A bike-tour expert will be able to suggest different places and different solutions according to the needs of the group – from which place to stay, to the length of the tour, to the territory to the extra-bike experiences. When the smallest of details is planned, you can just relax and enjoy the experience with your friends.
Traveling nowadays is much more easier and accessible than in the past, and there are many different options and budgets. Mainly, it depends on the service and quality you are looking for, and the type of lodging and the activities you’d like to be included in your tour.
If your goal is to do a bike-experience and yet save some money, then the best solution is a self-guided tour. This kind of tour will give you the chance to organize almost everything by yourself, from the hotel to the extra-bike experiences. You’ll have the chance to explore the territory independently and safely by using the provided GPS (remember to always ask for one!). In this case, local guides and van support are usually excluded while there will be always a local contact ready to assist you in case of emergency.
Some cultural activities are generally included with this budget (wine tasting, visit to historic monuments, etc), along with some assistance, good hotels and restaurants and a local guide. This solution is best for travelers who want to have a great experience for a reasonable price.
Top hotels, top restaurants, some of the finest cultural activities (like cooking classes, wine tastings with the producers, truffle hunting lessons and tasting, etc) a dedicated local guide, 24h hours of assistance and high quality bikes. This is the experience that everybody should do at least once in their life. Forget about work and enjoy the best parts on Italy on two wheels.
(5+1) Group of people with different skill level
If you are a skilled rider and you’d like to share the tour experience with your less skilled partner or friends, it’s better to decide on an area that can offer different characteristics.
A good variety of roads will suit any kind of ability and the opportunity to experience cultural activities are usually the things you should consider in general.
It’s great to have the chance to ride extra miles while your traveling companions decides to take it easy or enjoy a different activity like wine tasting or a cultural walk and then rejoin you later for Happy Hour or dinner.
In this case, a good solution to your bike-experience is to rent an eBike.
E-bikes are easy to ride and with a powerful electric engine that transform the most challenging climbs to an enjoyable ride. E-bikes are the perfect alternative if you (or your friends) want to enjoy the bike-experience without too much effort.
Solo rider or with friends, super skilled or just beginner, in summer or winter, there will always be a way to enjoy a bicycle tour in Italy exactly as you dream it.
The most important thing is to find the right combination of factors and, in order to do this, it is fundamental to get in touch with a trusted local tour provider that will be able to guide you in organizing the perfect experience.
If you want a free consultation just click HERE and start dreaming about your next adventure in Italy.