The eastern Ligurian Riviera is a pure Mediterranean jewel: a sequence of little coves and capes leaning towards the crystal blue sea. From the the highlands of Genoa to Cinque Terre this superpanoramic bicycle trip will leave you breathless, while the delicate cuisine of the Italian Riviera would seduce your palate. With plenty of ascents and descents the ride is a challenging experience, yet a rewarding one for those who really love cycling.
Antola natural park
La Colla pass
Ardesia bicycle trail
Baia del Silenzio gulf
Ciclabile Maremonti bike path
Mussels and Linguine al Pesto
The scenic Sanctuary Road
The challenging climbs
The Ligurian Appennine
Start/End: Ronco Scrivia/Riomaggiore
When: On Request from March to November
Cost: 860€ per person
Level of difficulty: demanding
Lenght: 4 days/3 nights
Distance/Elevation Gain: 160 km/2500 metres
Terrain: minor roads, bike paths
Accommodation: small hotels, chalets
Meals: restaurants and trattoria
Note: in case of bad weather the tour might be cancelled
4 days/3 nights
160 km/2500 metres gain
Start/End: Ronco Scrivia/Riomaggiore
Day 1: we start from Ronco Scrivia, following the road along the river shores which gently rises towards the upper Scrivia valley for 30km. Now the road becomes steeper, we’re in fact climbing the Genoan Appennine which protects the region from the northern winds and gives Liguria it’s renown mild climate. We reach the pass at the height of 900 metres above sea level: the view is amazing from here, the Antola Valley is a truly remote highland, just the green of the mountains and the blue sea in the distance.
The descent crosses the valley, we stop to refill the bottles from a natural water source in the tiny village of Lumarzo, hometown of Natalina Garaventa, Frank Sinatra’s mum, whose house is still in place. We’re closed to the end of today’s ride, just a few km more downhill to finally reach the small town on the hills where we will stay overnight.
DISTANCE: 53 km
ELEVATION: 690 mt
Day 2: the day opens with a good new: a cyclepath begins just out off the town, and it stretches for a long way towards the valley almost to the coast. We’ll have to face some detours due to interruptions caused by landslides, and the terrain is sometimes a bit rough, but it’s nice to pedal for so many kilometres in a protected path out of the motor traffic. The area was a place of slate caves until recent times, and the cycle path surface is made of smoothed layers of rock, pretty unique!
We reach the Lavagna creek and follow the river banks, we’re not far away from the Mediterranean coast: palm trees, olive trees, oleanders and the colourful bouganville on the side of the road will escort us until the seaside town of Chiavari, where we stop for a rest and enjoy the first bath of the tour.
We proceed along the seacoast to the next stage, Sestri Levante, the “city of two seas” due to its beautiful position on a bay surrounded by the waters. From Sestri we do not have many chances, either we take the busy Aurelia road or a secondary road, few miles longer and with a 4km steep ascent but with less traffic: we choose the second option, and if the climb is too steep for us, we’ll get of the bike and push it, no problem. We get round the cape and descend towards Moneglia, our final point of today’s ride. Tonight we’ll be staying in a small family run hotel and dine at their restaurant, mum cooking and dad serving, a true Italian dinner!
DISTANCE: 54 km
ELEVATION: 560 mt
Day 3: early wake up this morning, it will be a long and tough day along the gorgeous Ligurian highlands! We move to the port where the ferry awaits us to take a mini-cruise across the Moneglia bay. It will be a pleasant detour, watching the Ligurian coast from the sea is always a great experience (p.s. since the ferry only runs in Summer and has a few available places for bicycles, it may be we have to take the train). Off the boat in Deiva we begin cycling towards the inlands across Deiva forest until we take the road down to the seaside village of Framura and the amazing Ciclabile Maremonti bike path: built on the old railway dug into the mountain cliffs, to our opinion it is the most amazing bike path of North Italy, offering incredible views over the wild Mediterranean coast. The dream ends in Levanto, but magics are not over yet: we climb now the road leading to the 600 metres high Soviore abbey, where the scenic Sanctuary route starts. A wavy road just above Cinque Terre, following the side of the mountains with unparalleled sights over the world renown villages of Manarola, Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso: probably one of the most scenic roads ever. We will ride it all until Monterosso, the last town of Cinque Terre, one the pearls of Italy, where we stay for the night.
ELEVATION: 1200 mt
Day 4: today you will be free to explore Cinque Terre on your own. You can take the shuttle train that stops in every town, or enjoy one of the boat tours organised by the local companies. Or reach the stunning Portovenere and the untamed island of Palmaria, to take a bath in its clear waters and a trek across the wild mediterranean nature.
Costs may vary depending on the travel period and number of participants. The figures shown are therefore approximate based on average.
PRICE 860€ PER PERSON INCLUDES:
– three night stays in 3*** hotel or b&b, double room accommodation with breakfast
– three 3-course gourmet dinners drinks excluded
– three light lunches drinks excluded
– transfers during the tour (train or boat)
– touring bicycle+helmet
– luggage transport
– taxes, entrances, fees
Additional services such as support van, private transfer to/from the start/end of the tour, electric-assisted bicycle, licensed tour guide, shall be quoted upon request.
The tour will be escorted by an english speaking volunteer local expert: he is not a licenced tour guide but a trustworthy companion, fine connoisseur of the places, culture and oenogastronomy. He will join for free, if the clients enjoyed the tour they can tip him at the end.