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Cycling the Wine Trails of Umbria

from $2,379.00

This 8-night holiday combines gentle pedaling through olive groves, sunflower fields and vineyards with time in gorgeous historic towns and sun-drenched villages. Highlights include medieval Bevagna, Etruscan Perugia, picture-postcard Spello and ancient Assisi.

  • Reviews 59 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Self-guided
  • Activity Level Moderate
    5/8
All about the Cycling the Wine Trails of Umbria.

Few places can stir emotions quite as intensely as Umbria. To visit here is to embark on a journey into a timeless world of sun-drenched landscapes, ancient hill villages and some of the friendliest people we’ve ever met.
This 8-night self-guided cycling holiday combines scenic pedalling through olive groves, sunflower fields, vineyards and apricot orchards with the chance to explore some of the most fascinating towns and historic villages in the country. You’ll freewheel along the stately Roman Via degli Ulivi and follow in the footsteps of emperors at the sacred springs of Campello sul Clitunno.
Highlights include the lovely hilltop wine village of Montefalco, ‘the balcony of Umbria’, and the fascinating historic city of Spoleto crammed with exciting Roman remains including Emperor Vespasian’s mother’s house, baths and mosaics. Of course, no trip here would be complete without spending time in magical Assisi. Be sure to visit St Francis’ Basilica with its beautifully ornate frescoes, and his peaceful forest retreat on Monte Subasio where he’d stroll and preach to the birds.
The hotels we’ve selected for this holiday are pretty special too, ranging from a stunningly restored ancient hamlet, set in its own manicured gardens, to a panoramic 4-star hotel in Spello with its own spa and one of the most prestigious wine cellars we’ve ever stumbled upon!

 

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • 8 nights accommodations
  • All breakfasts and 6 dinners
  • All luggage transfers
  • Services of your local Headwater Representative
  • GPS Route directions and maps
  • RideWithGPS navigation app
  • Local bike rental
  • RidePlus route options (more challenging routes)
What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Arrival & departure transfers (available on request, inquire for supplement)
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)
  • Room upgrades and extra nights at selected hotels (inquire for prices and details)
  • E-Bike (available on request, inquire for supplement)
  • RidePlus road bike (inquire for supplement)

Highlights

  • Enjoy totally unspoiled cycling through Italian countryside
  • Visit medieval Montefalco, Spello and Assisi
  • Relax in friendly, high quality hotels, most with swimming pools
  1. Day 1 Day 1 Arrive at Spello

    Arrive in picturesque Spello in time for dinner in your hotel’s atmospheric restaurant. (Staying at La Bastiglia Hotel, Half Board)

  2. Day 2 Day 2 Spello to Spoleto 50km/31.5mi

    Today is level cycling most of the way along the Teverone Valley with some of the best views of the week. We strongly recommend the short uphill detour to Trevi, a beautiful hilltop village dating back to Roman times and capital of the Umbrian olive oil industry. Finally, travel Into Spoleto where our hotel is situated in the centre of town. (Staying at Hotel Charleston. Breakfast only)

  3. Day 3 Day 3 At Spoleto

    The fascinating historic city of Spoleto, apart from being a great art city, Spoleto has buildings seemingly reflecting every major architectural style in history, including a Roman arch, a C10 church, a C12 Duomo and an 80m high, C14 aqueduct. The castle here is a former prison and now houses an impressive art museum. For lunch, you’ll find lots of lovely cobbled squares filled with traditional trattorie. (Staying at Hotel Charleston. Breakfast only)

  4. Day 4 Day 4 Spoleto to Marcellano 44km/27.5mi

    The wines of Montefalco are known throughout the world, in particular the fine red, Sagrantino. There is a climb up to the old village itself, ’the Balcony of Umbria’, but you are well rewarded with wine-tasting, magnificent views and beautiful mediaeval streets. Continue from here past lush green fields, poppies and buttercups before your last climb up to the mediaeval village of Marcellano. Your 4-star hotel is set within its own lovely gardens, in a hilltop location, with fabulous panoramic views across the entire valley. (Staying at Grand Relais Laurenti, Half Board)

  5. Day 5 Day 5 At Marcellano

    It’s tempting to spend the day relaxing by the pool in the hotel’s tranquil grounds, but it would be a shame to miss the Roman walled town of Bevagna (10 mins by taxi; or you can cycle) – Umbria’s hidden gem. Visit the C13 Gothic Palazzo dei Consoli, the golden mediaeval theatre, or the C2 Roman temple and baths that include a spectacular lobster mosaic. Alternatively, you can opt for a circular cycle to Ceralto Castle. (Staying at Grand Relais Laurenti, Half Board)

  6. Day 6 Day 6 Marcellano to Torgiano 42km/26.5mi

    It’s picture-perfect views all the way this morning as you arrive at the impossibly photogenic, mediaeval village of Gualdo Cattaneo with its imposing C15 castle and C13 crypt. There’s a downhill whizz before gentle, flat cycling across the plain and a final short ascent into the old wine town of Torgiano, famous for its Lungarotti cellars. (Staying at Hotel Al Grappolo d’Oro. Breakfast at hotel, evening meal at a local restaurant)

  7. Day 7 Day 7 At Torgiano

    There is a dedicated wine and olive oil museum – with tastings – in Torgiano’s pretty centro storico. Alternatively it’s a short bus or taxi ride (approx 15 mins) to the university town of Perugia, famous for one of Italy’s finest art collections and home to the renowned Baci chocolates. For the more energetic we provide route notes for an optional cycle ride to the local capital of painted ceramics, Deruta. (Staying at Hotel Al Grappolo d’Oro. Breakfast at hotel, evening meal at a local restaurant)

  8. Day 8 Day 8 Torgiano to Spello 43km/27mi

    Your last day’s cycling takes you along the ’Wine and Art Road’ to Brufa (with lovely views of Perugia and Assisi) and on through the Chiascio Valley, along country lanes passing sunflower fields, ochre-coloured farmhouses and redolent meadows of wild apricots and figs. There’s time to visit spectacular Assisi – the beautiful Piazza del Comune, the C13 Giotto frescoes and of course, the UNESCO-recognised St Francis’ Basilica – before cycling on along the lovely traffic-free Via degli Ulivi and through olive groves back to Spello. (Staying at La Bastiglia Hotel, Half Board)

  9. Day 9 Day 9 Leave Spello
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Where you stay
Albergo La Bastiglia Hotel
The La Bastiglia Hotel boasts a beautiful setting at the foot of Mount Subasio, the enchanted mountain of Saint Francis. Originally an ancient mill the hotel has been lovingly restored and transformed into an unforgettable place to stay. There are 33 rooms divided into three categories, many overlooking the typical Umbrian landscape of cypress trees and olive groves. The restaurant serves a mix of ancient recipes and modern creations using the freshest ingredients. On display inside the hotel there is a collection of ceramics, antique furniture and important paintings from the private collection of Schifano and Norberto.
Hotel Charleston
Completely renovated in 2011, Hotel Charleston is set in a 17th-century building in Spoleto’s historical centre, next to the Modern and Contemporary Arts Museum. Its elegant, individually-decorated rooms feature a modern design. Wi-Fi is free in all public areas. Rooms are individually decorated, and come with exposed wooden beams on the ceilings. Each is equipped with a minibar, and a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. A buffet breakfast is available each morning, and is served out on the terrace in warm weather.
Grand Relais Laurenti
Just outside the walls of the pretty hilltop village of Marcellano lies the supremely welcoming Grand Relais Laurenti, where nothing seems to be too much trouble. A recently restored former convent (formerly known as the Palazzo Gradoli), parts of the hotel date to as far back as 1516. Opened in 2006, the owner Laurenti Torrello spent thirteen years restoring the premises in order to ensure that all work was done to a suitably high standard. The well put together rooms have a distinctly cosy feel to them and retain original features such as the wooden beams on the ceilings. In addition to the hotel, the Grand Relais Laurenti owns 90 hectares of the surrounding land which is used by their own farm to raise livestock such as cattle and lamb to supply the restaurant with meat. They also produce their own olive oil from their own olive groves and pride themselves on their ability to source only the finest ingredients (such as truffles and porcini mushrooms) from the surrounding area. The restaurant itself has two chefs who provide a mixture of traditional regional food and more elaborate international fare.
Hotel Al Grappolo d’Oro
Situated in the centre of the mediaeval town of Torgiano is Al Grappolo d’Oro (The Golden Bunch of grapes), a recently restored 19C residence. The hotel has 15 rooms, each individually decorated in a modern style with warm colours and furnished to a high standard, offering a cosy, welcoming stay. The art filled reception/lounge area gives the hotel character from the start but features such as the pool in the garden to the rear and the downstairs bar (along with the well-stocked breakfast buffet) mean that despite the B+B nature of the hotel, there is still the possibility to spend time relaxing here during the day. The owner Antonello Rossi also owns the wonderfully traditional Italian restaurant ‘Siro’, which lies around 300 metres away from the hotel and where evening meals will be taken.
Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and 6 dinners included.

Umbria represents Italian home cooking at its best and the region’s cuisine reflects its landlocked location. The distinctive taste of the region’s olive oil and black and white truffles flavor many of the dishes. The origins of many of the dishes derive from thrift, for example, bruschetta comes from toasting stale bread, covering it with olive oil and rubbing it with garlic. Similarly, crostini are thin slices of toast with a smear of pate, usually made from chicken liver, anchovies and capers. Cooked and cured meats also have a fantastic reputation in the region. You will get to try many of these famous and delicious antipasti, which will then be followed by a ‘primo’ (a first course). In Umbria this is usually a pasta dish oozing with flavor. Wild asparagus is popular in the spring and truffles feature more strongly in autumn. Secondi (second course) will then follow, the Umbrian preference is for grilled meats. Rapidly grilled spatchcocked rabbit and guinea fowl remain favorites. Desserts do not feature strongly on the Umbrian menu, cheese is often the post dinner preference and you will find the option to dip them in oil or honey.

Meal times are usually later throughout the day (08:00-10:00 for breakfast; 13:30-15:30 for lunch; 20:00-22:00 for dinner).

Wine also has a strong history in this region. It has been produced in Umbria since Etruscan times, when vines were first planted. Possibly the most unusual wine of the region is the Vernaccia di Cannara, a desert wine which is unlike any other as it is red.

Cycling Conditions

Classification: Self-Guided
Activity Level: 3 (Moderate)
Average daily distance on move on days: 45km (28 miles).
No. of days cycling: 7 (including 3 optional rides)
Terrain and route: The suggested cycling mainly follows quiet tarmac roads with a few sections on dirt roads. The terrain is mainly undulating but the distances are kept relatively short to give you lots of time to enjoy the scenery.
Vehicle Support: This is a self-guided trip for those who prefer to cycle independently, but with our assistance to take out the stress of the logistics and planning. We arrange your accommodations, provide you with a map and route notes so that you can cycle at your own pace, while your bags are transported from one hotel to the next. A representative will be there to meet you, make sure the bikes are all set up and will be on call throughout the trip should you need.

It is important that you are happy reading maps and following route notes, we make these as accurate as possible and they are regularly checked. Where possible we stick to cycle tracks and quiet roads to make the journeys as pleasant as possible, however, on occasion we have to use busier routes.

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There maybe others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The route notes contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the local representative is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 09/10/2019
5/5

Mr Pryor

An excellent combination of cycling culture and Italian cuisine. The routes are well chosen with good views and interesting places to visit each day. The layers of history and architecture in the hill towns and churches is astonishing. You can see 5 epochs of architecture in an hour. The backdrop of the Appennines in the distance and cycling through olive groves and vineyards in warm weather (20 - 25 deg in mid Sep - one afternoon of rain only). was a pleasure. And we ate and drank extremely well. The choice and richness of food and the Sagrantino grape are a revelation to first timers to Umbria.

Reviewed On 07/10/2019
5/5

Morgan

Lovely landscapes and comfortable accommodation. Hotels in great locations and Umbrian people are very welcoming. E-bike is a real bonus/must for less active/experienced riders, but care also needed in handling these bikes, as they offer significant power when the battery is activated. Overall this is a beautiful itinerary on immaculately prepared bikes supported by very helpful and responsive local reps.

Reviewed On 04/10/2019
5/5

Mrs Wade

A memorable experience. Visiting the lovely hilltop villages made so pleasurable with e bikes

Reviewed On 30/09/2019
5/5

Mr Sharland

Great experience - fantastic routes aimed at those who don’t necessarily want to cycle that much! Great selection of hotels - some locations are incredibly quiet - or might be accurately described as “dead” . Marcellano is an odd town to stay in for two nights - there is literally nothing to do there - we were the only guests in the hotel and the whole experience was a little odd.

Torgiano is slightly more lively but the hotel and restaurant staff are incredibly snooty.

We loved the cycling and some days wished we could have ridden further and for longer.

Our final day was the highlight we loved climbing into Assisi and really would have liked to have spent at least one night there. The ride from Assisi back to Spello was an absolute joy.



We would have liked to have received more information on points of interest along the cycle route . We would also have liked a physical route guide/map to accompany the GPS.

Reviewed On 27/09/2019
5/5

Mrs O'Hare

This ride was our thirteenth so we obviously love the concept and Headwater as we come all the way from Australia. The countryside was spectacular and we enjoyed perfect warm weather for the whole eight days. The routes would be very challenging without ebikes, especially in the heat. (on one cycling day a battery misfunction occurred which meant pushing for the remaining 14 kilometres - certainly a challenge). This was the first time we had used Ride with GPS, which was brilliant when it worked; however on the first day of riding we were not conversant with the program and became lost twice. It was very difficult to find our way back on track; however such is the adventure and excitement of a self-guided ride! It was also often very difficult to hear the directions as some parts of the routes had quite a bit of traffic, and the sun shining on the phone screen meant that the route could not be easily followed. Clear written notes would have been very helpful to help sort out exactly where we had gone wrong. The written notes that we had downloaded were confusing to say the least. Ride with GPS needs to be improved and tailored to give more detail. It is not at all helpful to have instructions using the Imperial system of miles etc, when the bikes and the country use the metric system.

The accommodation and food and service was good, although the Hotel Charleston in Spoleto was a little bit shabby, but was well-located. All in all I thoroughly recommend this ride.

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