I’ll be honest, I never expected a cycle touring holiday would be my thing. I’ve heard people brag about their cycling holidays before and how they fitted everything they needed for the week into a small panier. I have never been any good at travelling light at the best of times, and especially on holiday, I like to take my variety of outfits and any other items, just in case! So a good thing about Freewheel Holidays – I didn’t have to travel light!
Each day we just had to leave our bags downstairs in the hotel and the tour company would transfer the bags to the next destination. So here we were – on a cycle touring holiday with all the outfits I could possibly want.
Our holiday started with an evening in Bolzano which was beautiful. We were greeted with amazing weather so went for a swim in the hotel pool and then took a cable car up the mountain in the evening to enjoy the views. We were also presented with the maps and guide books for our trip, ready to get started the following morning.
Day 1 – Resia Pass to Silandro – 46km
On Sunday morning we met at 8am for our transfer up to the Resia Pass. We travelled in a mini bus which also carried our bikes up to an altitude of over 1500m where we would start our ride. This was a self-guided tour so we were completely free to go at our own pace and stop whenever we wanted to. I had already studied the guide book the night before and circled some areas on the map I fancied seeing.
After the heat last night in Bolzano it felt a little chilly up at this altitude but we soon descended back into the warmth. We followed the bike path alongside the reservoir as we quickly descended down and took a couple of detours away from the route to see some of the sights.
We stopped in Lasa which was a beautiful village famous for its marble and had lunch in a café just off the bike path. The bike path I found amazing in its self, a smooth completely traffic free dedicated cycling lane, something coming from the UK we rarely get the pleasure of!
Day 2 – Silandro to Merano – 38km
This was my favourite day of the holiday due to the breath-taking scenery. I took lots of photos but they still don’t do it justice! We stopped in Laces and locked our bikes up to take the cable car up to San Martino al Monte. I am a little scared of heights and cable cars terrify me so it is saying something about how spectacular the views were for me to say the cable car journey was so worth it!
The day finished with a descent into Merano where our hotel had a pool so that is where I spent most of the afternoon (I don’t do cycling tan lines).
Day 3 – Merano to Bolzano – 35km
For today’s ride we covered the distance fairly quickly as I was keen to spend more time in Bolzano. It is such a beautiful town with so many little streets to discover. This part of Italy still has a very strong Austrian influence so we ate out at a traditional Austrian style restaurant and enjoyed a selection of dumplings which were divine!
Day 4 – Bolzano to Trento – 75km
The first half of the holiday had been classified as easy and the second half was classified as moderate hence the increased distance today and also a bit of uphill! We began by taking the bike path out of Bolzano which is an incredible example of cycling infrastructure – a true cycling super highway to take us out of town but completely separate from the traffic, before heading for a climb. This was still all on the bike path and if we hadn’t fancied the climb we could have remained on the original bike path to head south along the river. We then descended to the beautiful Lake Caldaro before re-joining the bike path and heading south towards Trento.
I’d definitely worked up an appetite today and enjoyed the best meal of the holiday tonight in Trento. Dan and I shared a starter of Parma ham and melon, followed by a pasta course and then a pizza!
Day 5 – Trento to Lake Garda – 50km
Today we headed south out of Trento on the bike path and down to Lake Garda. There was one more climb today before we descended down into Riva del Garda. We stopped here for lunch and got changed before our ferry ride down the full length of Lake Garda to our final destination of Peschiera del Garda. This was a long trip – but I was glad for a break from the bike and the opportunity to take lots of photos of the gorgeous towns along the shores of the lake.
Day 6 – Peschiera del Garda to Verona – 40km
The final day of our tour took us on a scenic route to Verona using a combination of bike paths and quiet roads. We took minimal stops on this ride as I was keen to maximise our time in Verona and I was so glad I did!
Verona was beautiful with a stunning amphitheatre in the centre built in 30 AD. If you do decide to take this trip, make sure you check if there are any events on here as the amphitheatre is still in use with regular performances. We also saw the famous Juliet balcony and many other spectacular buildings and enjoyed one last Italian meal out.
We had a fabulous trip and travelling by bike was such a good way to see so much more of the area than I ever would have seen by simply travelling to one hotel or resort. We ate some amazing food and met some lovely people. The hassle was totally taken out of the trip by booking through Freewheel Holidays and having the support there on the ground every day. Overall we rode just over 300km (including a few detours off the route to explore further) and it was a journey never to be forgotten!
I’m already planning where I fancy exploring next!