5 Reasons Your Next Road Cycling Trip Should Be Through Trentino
From stunning scenery and ancient cities to the climbs of the Giro d'Italia...
Trentino is a road cycling paradise, whether you’re tracing the route of the Giro d’Italia, one of the most famous bicycle races in the world, or enjoying a leisurely ride around the stunning surroundings.
The Italian region is renowned for its spectacular mountains, wide valleys, postcard-perfect lakes and incredible gastronomy. Climb on a bike and you can explore it all, leaving the world behind and breathing in the beauty or facing off against a gruelling climb that will test your every muscle.
If this sounds like your idea of heaven, then you're in the right price. We’ve put together an easily digestible guide to road cycling in the region that should help you picture your perfect trip, whatever your ability or fitness levels.
1. Test yourself on the legendary mountain roads
Every year the most famous cyclists in the world descend on Trentino to take on the Giro d'Italia, often ridden on the roads of the province.
Can you keep up on climbs capable of challenging Chris Froome and company? If you can, your reward is some of the most stunning scenery in Europe - so beautiful in fact, it's UNESCO protected.
The Salita Passo-Pordoi is a prime example of this, rising 800m from Canazei and offering up stunning views of the Sella massif and Sassolungo along the way – two of the most famous peaks in the Dolomite mountain range.
And the Salita Passo-Pordoi is just one of the 23 legendary climbs in Trentino.
The others range from the 6.4km, hour long burst from Campionissimi to Palù di Giovo to the four hour long Passo Manghen-Valsugana epic spanning 23km and climbing to 1857m.
2. Take a sight-seeing tour on 400km of paved cycles routes
It’s not all thigh-burning road climbs, don’t worry! There’s actually a 400km network of easy-riding, paved cycle paths to let everyone explore Trentino.
There are ten principal routes, each of which allows you to explore areas ranging from the famous wine-producing villages of the south to the picturesque Dolomite cliffs of the Val di Fiemme and Val di Fassa. There’s also plenty of information on the culture and history of the sights you’re passing on the routes along the way.
A tourist favourite is the 48km path between Alba di Canazei and Molina di Fiemme, which features various downhill sections, only climbs very occasionally and follows the Avisio River, famous for hosting the Marcialonga cross-country skiing event in winter.
3. Test yourself against cycling history and 3,000 other riders
Ever heard of Luxembourg cyclist Charly Gaul? Charly is a two-time Giro d’Italia champion and road cycling legend who specialised in climbs, earning him the nickname ‘Angel of the Mountains’.
He first won the Giro in 1956, racing up the iconic Salita Trento-Monte Bondone route in the freezing cold to take the title – and around 3000 cyclists now turn out every July to try and emulate his achievement.
‘The Legendary Charly Gaul’ route has become a constant in the Trentino road cycling calendar over the past decade, and if you think it’s tough while you’re out there, remember that you’re on a far slicker bike and in much better conditions than poor Charly faced in the 50s!
The full Gran Fondo race is 141km, though there’s a Medio Fondo race of 57km and a 24km time trial event as well.
4. Make your coffee break a gastronomic delight
Whether you're on the road or back in a comfy mountain hotel, cycling in Trentino will bring you into contact with some pretty special food and drink – and we’re not just talking about the beautiful Italian coffee.
Gourmet mountain huts are sprinkled around the province offering crackling fires, cool views, and local delights. Lake Garda is famous for its exquisite olive oil. Puzzone di Moena, Vezzena and Trentingrana DOP are all must-try cheeses in the region and the cured meats will have your mouth watering. The climate and environment are also tailor-made for producing organic fruit and vegetables so make sure to get natural and do some healthy eating while you’re there.
There are also a full six Michelin-star restaurants in Trentino serving in-season mountain food with a modern twist. Locanda Margon in Trento/Ravina has two Michelin stars and is not far from the home of the famous winemaker Ferrari. The Trentino locals have been making wine since 3000BC, so they’ve had a while to perfect that recipe too.
5. Rent an e-bike and ride from cities to scenery
Now we know that a lot of the above sounds like tough work – and gut wrenching climbs are certainly not for everyone, but no matter what your fitness level you can still explore Trentino as fully as anyone else. All you need to do is get yourself an e-bike!
E-bikes have become common sightings in most road cycling meccas in the past few years, and Trentino is no different. They still require you to put in a bit of work of course, but the helpful boost from a mounted motor is a great way to extend your exploration of the area around you.
As well as the mountains, Trentino also boasts some impressive towns and cities, most notably Trento with a population of 110,000. It’s the perfect starting point for those 400km of paved bicycle paths previously mentioned.
Trento has a stunning sense of place; like stepping back through history, and the beer halls and apple strudel are impossible to miss while you’re there!