italy/trentino/0017b4/image-g.jpg

From the Dolomites to Lake Garda Cycling

from $2,679.00

Offering a stunning yet dominant backdrop to the region is the UNESCO Dolomites, their jagged rock walls overlook the deep green meadows, acres of fragrant apple orchards and, further south, the lush vineyards of Trentino below.

  • Reviews 25 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Self-guided
  • Activity Level Easy plus
    4/8
All about the From the Dolomites to Lake Garda Cycling.

Boasting 300 days of sunshine a year, bright Trentino-Alto Adige is a timeless bilingual region at the crossroads of Italy and Austria.
As its double-barrelled name suggests, the region is made up of two areas: Trentino, in the south, is 98% Italian-speaking, whilst the mountainous terrain around Bolzano – known both as the Sudtirol (South Tyrol) and Alto Adige – has a unique mix of Italian and German landscapes, languages (German is the first language) and architecture. The architecture is that of the Austrian Tyrol: onion-domed churches stand in Alpine villages, where quaint wooden houses enjoy a mountain backdrop.
Offering a stunning yet dominant backdrop to the region is the UNESCO Dolomites, their jagged rock walls overlook the deep green meadows, acres of fragrant apple orchards and, further south, the lush vineyards of Trentino below.
Pedalling on well-maintained cycle tracks from your starting point in the mountain range in Sudtirol, you’ll head through the emerald Val Pusteria valley, passing three rivers (Rienza, Isarco and Adige) en route to Riva on the lemon-lined shores of Lake Garda – a lively town with a mix of sun-worshippers and activity-seekers.
Along the route you’ll stay in some wonderful towns. Distinctively Germanic, Dobbiaco, Brunico and Bressanone boast wooden buildings, beautiful squares and riverside settings. Bolzano is the turning point where Italy creeps upon you, its large piazzas, linked by porticoed streets, all shadowed by the mountains. Onwards into Trentino, and to the town of Trento where Italy arrives with a bang, the volume rises, as you wander within the old walls, admiring the mix of buildings from the 13th century castle, to Renaissance and Venetian piazzas and grand buildings.
The local food is a splendid blend of the Austro-Italian cultures, where you’ll easily find a traditional German beef pancake soup (Fladlesuppe) or a meat schnitzel being served alongside a sliced steak salad (tagliata), or apple strudel (apfelstrudel) next to panna cotta. Two staples of the region are pizza and cured meat, which are perfect washed down with a fruity red or fresh dry white wine or a beer. They seem to take the best food from both cultures, so large buffet breakfasts come with good fresh Italian coffee.
En route you’ll stay in 4 star hotels located in the centre of the towns – offering the chance to sample the local food in a simple pizzeria or even a high-end restaurant. The accommodation styles vary from quaint Tyrolean-style hotels to a relaxing spa hotel in Riva. Four have swimming pools.

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.
  • 9 nights accommodation, hotel-to-hotel in a mix of **** hotels
  • All buffet breakfasts
  • Management by your local Headwater-appointed agent
  • Route directions and maps
  • High quality bikes
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Arrival & departure transfers (available on request, inquire for supplement)
  • Room upgrades and extra nights at selected hotels (inquire for prices and details)
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)
  • E-Bike (available on request, inquire for supplement)

Highlights

  • Relaxed waterfront towns, cosmopolitan cities, traditional pastel-painted Alpine villages
  • Unique fusion of mountain and Mediterranean climates, lifestyles and cultures
  • Flower-filled meadows, sun-soaked vineyards, terraced fruit orchards
  • Imposing Tyrol castles and historic Renaissance palaces
  • Riva, ‘Pearl of Lake Garda’ – with optional extra nights available
  1. Day 1 Day 1: Arrive in Dobbiaco

    Perhaps have a stroll along the river before heading out for dinner.

  2. Day 2 Day 2: Dobbiaco to Brunico 36km/22.5mi

    Take some time to explore the beautiful church in Dobbiaco before setting off along the Val de Pusteria following the milky blue Rienza River, passing deep green meadows, whilst mountains loom above. You’ll admire a series of quaint Austrian-style towns, where there are plenty of opportunities to stop and have refreshments. Arriving in Brunico, take the time to walk up to its castle and enjoy wonderful views of the town.

  3. Day 3 Day 3: Brunico to Bressanone 45km/28.5mi

    Make your way to the head of the Val Pusteria today, continuing along the Rienza river, passing castles and lovely towns. You could wander around Chienes, with its Baroque church and the parish church with the best-preserved altar in the Tirol. Just before Rio Pusteria you’ll see the impressive ruins of the Chiesa di Rio Pusteria, and heading onwards, the biggest fort in Alto Adige, the Forte di Fortezza. Then it’s on a forested track to meet the Isarco River and into Bressanone, perhaps stopping at the Abbiaza di Novacella (or return on your day off).

  4. Day 4 Day 4: At Bressanone

    You could easily spend the day exploring the stunning town of Bressanone. Visit the 10th century cathedral, rebuilt in Baroque style in the 13th century, the Renaissance Bishop’s Palace, which houses several artworks, including a nativity scene with more than 5,000 figurines, and the interesting Pharmacy Museum. Or cycle back to visit the Abbiaza de Novacella or take a trip on the Plose cable car from nearby San Andrea.

  5. Day 5 Day 5: Bressanone to Bolzano 43km/27.5mi

    The Isarco River leads you out of Bressanone. The cycle tracks today hug the river, at times you are almost above the river, as you meander along the edge. Take time to stop in impressive Chiusa, the medieval town with narrow streets and little art and craft shops. Standing above the town is the impressive Castel Sabbiona. Enjoy the downhill ride as you criss-cross the river on perfect cycle tracks. At the exit of the village of Blumau, perhaps stop for lunch in their lovely beer garden before heading into Bolzano for your next two nights.

  6. Day 6 Day 6: At Bolzano

    Bolzano is a treat of a city to walk round; it was in 2014 voted as having the ’best quality of life in Italy’. It is where Italy really begins, despite still being in the German-speaking region, 75% of its inhabitants now speak Italian as first language. Aside from wandering around the city’s piazzas and porticoes, there are some interesting monuments and museums. The big attractions are the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, which houses a mummy of Otzi the Iceman, the Gothic cathedral, modern art museum, or the Dominican Church housing a series of 14th century gothic art. There are also three castles and a cable car that takes you out of the city to the small town of Ritten, where there are some nice walking routes. Alternatively, you can take the train to the spa town of Merano, and cycle back along the Adige River for 32km.

  7. Day 7 Day 7: Bolzano to Trento 66km/41mi

    The longest day of the holiday is a lovely flat ride following the Adige River, and the narrow Adige valley, passing beautiful cliffs as you cross into Trentino and out of German-speaking Italy. Apples turn to vines as you cycle alongside vineyards. Maybe take time to stop in Egna, once a Roman village, you can still see one of the old Roman houses and pass the old arcades in the old town. Follow the river through a lovely relaxed nature reserve before arriving in bustling Trento with its stunning architecture.

  8. Day 8 Day 8: At Trento

    Highlights today include the Piazza del Duomo where the magnificent late Baroque fountain is framed by the 12th century Romanesque-Gothic cathedral and the frescoed Museo Diocesano Tridentino, home to one of the most important ecclesiastical collections in the country. Don’t miss either the Castello del Buonconsiglio, residence of the Prince-Bishops of Trento between 13th to 18th century, and the Via Prepositura, where beautifully restored pastel buildings date back to the ancient Roman City.

  9. Day 9 Day 9: Trento to Riva del Garda 50km/31.25mi

    You’ll have a real sense of achievement today as you complete your final leg, with the option to visit Rovereto en route, down from the mountains to the shimmering waters of Lake Garda. Writers and artists, inspired by the wild beauty and vibrant Mediterranean-style colours, have been coming here for centuries, with Goethe calling it ’a marvel of nature, an enchanting place’.

  10. Day 10 Day 10: Leave Riva del Garda

    We take you to Rovereto for your train to Verona or onwards, or maybe spend a couple of extra nights relaxing on the lake.

c09tr_map
Where you stay
Hotel Santer
The Hotel Santer lies just south of the train station of Dobbiaco and just outside the new part of town. It sits just below the mountains and is an alpine style hotel offering large luxury rooms and a wellness Spa with indoor pool. The hotels restaurant offers Tyrolean specialities with much of the produce coming from the two farms owned by the hotel.
Hotel Adler
This award-winning, family-run hotel maintains the highest standards of South Tyrolean hospitality with a refined personal touch. The hotel itself combines the traditional with the modern and, following this ethos, the rooms and suites all have their own individual and sometimes eclectic style, and are all furnished to a very high standard. The hotel’s restaurant offers tasty Tyrolean fayre, Mediterranean dishes as well as international specialities. The hotel’s wellness centre includes relaxation rooms, an indoor swimming pool and sensory showers as well as a Finnish sauna, steam bath and vitarium (similar to the Finnish sauna but a lower temperature).
Hotel Corso
The hotel Corso is superbly located in the centre of lovely Brunico. Sitting on the main boulevard, the hotel is traditionally decorated with a lovely facade, the hotel dates back to more than 300 years. The rooms are large and airy with traditional decor. The hotel has it’s own restaurant and pizzeria, and offers a turkish bath and sauna with beautiful views of Brunico castle.
Hotel Krone
The Hotel Krone is located in the attractive pedestrian zone in the heart of Brixen. With wonderful views overlooking the Alpine Plose Ski and Hiking resort, the hotel also offers a rooftop wellness centre with spa for relaxation and treatment areas, sauna and a panoramic terrace. A great hotel for all sports enthusiasts, especially cyclists.
Park Hotel Luna Mondschein
The Park Hotel Luna Mondschein sits on the edge of Bolzano’s historical centre with the entrance, from a medieval street, opening up to a historical coutryard. The hotel dates back to the middle ages when it was referred to as the ‘Taverna Manschein’ making it one of the oldest inns in South Tyrol. Since 1789 it has been run and owned by the same family. The hotel manages to combine old and new perfectly, with the medieval courtyard making way for large modern rooms that have all the comforts. The rooms look out over the hotel’s large park and to the mountains in the distance, yet just a step outside the front door and you are back in the bustling city. The hotel offers a large buffet breakfast which, in good weather, can be taken in the garden. The hotel also has a restaurant, bar, a small fitness room and a small Spa area with steam bath and Finnish sauna.
Grand Hotel Trento
Close to Piazza Dante, the elegant and refined Grand Hotel Trento, is centrally located over the road from the public gardens and the train station beyond. The hotel offers spacious and comfortable rooms with excellent facilities including LCD TV, Wi-Fi, minibar and ensuite facilities (shower or bath). Each different floor of the hotel has its own colour scheme. There is a frescoed bar, a high quality restaurant offering a range of dishes using fresh, local produce and a wellness centre with a sauna and a range of treatments.
Hotel Astoria Park Spa Resort
The Hotel Astoria Park provides an oasis just 1km from the old town of Riva. The hotel boasts 15,000 square metres of park, which includes a large outdoor swimming pool. There is also a large Spa with a small indoor pool. For those who don’t want to venture into town for dinner, the hotel also has an a la carte restaurant. The rooms have been decorated in a contemporary style and are light and airy, many with mountain and park views. The hotel offers a large buffet breakfast with hot and cold dishes. In summer months this can be taken outside on the veranda.
Eating and Drinking

The geography has influenced the region’s cuisine, combining elements of Italian specialties with the colorful flavors of traditional Tyrolean dishes. The cuisine is first class – pasta dishes like Schlutzkrapfen: spinach ravioli topped with melted butter and parmesan cheese. Gerstesuppe mit gerauchertem Schweinefleisch is a delicious barley soup with smoked pork and dumplings. Other dishes include hearty ingredients designed for the mountains – Groestl is a warming dish of pan-fried onions, potatoes and pork, while Kartoffelnocken is a form of potato gnocchi. Typical desserts will probably feature delicious Gezogener Apfelstrudel (apple strudel), which comes sprinkled with sugar and laced with cream, and a range of Italian gelati (ice cream) is typical too.

Wine features heavily in this region as it is home to the appropriately named Südtiroler Weinstraße / La Strada del Vino (The Wine Road). This is a road that runs along the Adige Valley from the city of Bolzano for 70km, meandering through 15 municipalities.

Classification: Self-Guided
Activity Level: 2 (Leisurely/Moderate)
Average daily distance on move on days: 48km (30 miles).
No. of days cycling: 5
Terrain and route: The cycling on this holiday is gentle, taking you through vineyards and apple orchards, past mountains, lakes and castles. The majority of the cycling is along dedicated tarmac cycle paths, often alongside rivers. When necessary we have used the quietest possible lanes to link the towns and villages and have managed to stay away from major roads for most of the time.
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 may be others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. You are provided with route notes for each day, which begin with an overview of the walk and advice on lunch, followed by detailed instructions. The route notes contain a 24 hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the hotelier 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 01/10/2019
5/5

Mr Struthers

Wonderful flat cycling on asphalt cycle paths with great signposting. Hotels generally very good. Great mixture of cycling in pretty mountain valleys and later around a lake. A bit of the cycling was close to motorways but very distinct from them

Reviewed On 26/09/2019
4/5

Mr Belbeck

Cycling was mainly downhill, the few steep up hills could be walked in a few minutes. Most of the route was on excellent cycle tracks through beautiful scenery.

Reviewed On 20/09/2019
4/5

Mr Vogel

The trip is easy for the most part, and the areas and towns beautiful. But much of the route is next to major highways.

Reviewed On 10/09/2019
5/5

Mr Browne

This was our sixth Headwater holiday and was probably the most memorable. The mountain scenery from Dobbiaco to Lake Garda was stunning. The general trend of the cycling was downhill and did not pose too great a challenge. The only disappointing note was that the bicycles provided by the local agents , FunActiv were heavy and the gears were quite clunky. In our party of four , two of the bikes did not seem to have been particularly well maintained , although this di not really spoil our enjoyment. The hotels on the tour were all very good. We really enjoyed the local cuisine. We spent an extra couple of days in Lake Garda which were certainly well spent. We finished our trip with an extra couple of days in Verona which is a spectacular location and were fortunate enough to see the opera Aida in the roman arena which was quite excellent and a real experience.

Reviewed On 08/08/2019
5/5

Mrs Lisle

Excellent organisation from the Headwater team, it ran like clockwork. I wanted to make transfer alterations which included a different airport and a couple of train journeys and it was all done without fuss. A very professional company who I wouldn't hesitate to use again and would be delighted to recommend to others.

Our only problem was one of the bikes hired from Funactiv wasn't really up to scratch, the wheel bearings grinding from the second day. By the time we got to Bressanone, it was a real problem. Funactiv told us to go to a bike shop. We went to three and they all said it couldn't be fixed overnight. After telling Funactiv this, hours later a replacement bike was left at our hotel for my husband, only problem was it was a ladies frame and too small.

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