With the Dolomites as your splendid background, ride through ancient towns until you reach the unique watery world of Venice.
Highly recommend getting to Bolzano early so you have time to spend a day visiting the Italian Alps. The Dolomite Highway is awe-inspiring.
The bike trails were great. Mostly paved, and when they weren't, the majority were well packed. The tour route goes through picturesque countryside. The daily destinations are beautiful and historical.
The tour includes a 5+ hour ferry ride on Lake Garda. It is a gorgeous ride with the ferry zigzagging down the 35 mile length of the lake. Feels like you are in a National Geographic special. A couple of other recommended "must do's" - visit the Scrovegni Chapel in Padova and take in an opera at the Roman Arena in Verona.
Girolibero was our tour company. They provide great tour book of entire area and towns on route. However, they give it to you (along with bikes) the morning that the tour starts which allows little or no time to really utilize the great information. It would be much better if they provided a month earlier so you have time to research in advance. Should also provide bikes the prior evening so you can get up and leave earlier in the morning.
Some of the directions along the route could have been marked better. We followed other tour companies' markers more often because Girolibero's were fewer and far between. The bikes were excellent. In great shape and mechanically solid with smooth shifting.
We paid for the upgraded hotels. However, a few of them were in sketchy areas; like near train stations.
I don't mean to sound negative. Overall, it was a great trip and very glad we did it. Only offering suggestions to make the tour even better for future riders.
This was such a great way to see the country. We loved the whole experience.
Wonderful itinerary, average biking
Great towns, but not enough time to see them. The biking scenery was ok. Really poor cue sheets in English.
Responses from Biketours.com
Thank you for your review. We'll work with our partner operator on better translated daily directions. We appreciate your time and hope to help you in the future!
Interesting Culture Great Scenery
We decided to do two week long bike tours in succession with this trip coming immediately after the previous tour finish in Lecce.
We caught an overnight train from Lecce to Bolzano which worked out quite well initially. The only problem was that our last couple of days were were getting a bit sick of moving in and out every day. We probably should have given ourselves a little more time in between trips.
The tour itself was fantastic, with the main surprise being the cultural differences between the south and north. The germanic influences were much stronger that i had expected. Also, being in the foothills of the dolomites, obviously means different architecture and traditions. This was all good.
The cycling itself was generally very easy and for the first few days followed a dedicated cycle way. There is plenty of time to take detours into the villages off the main track and still arrive at the next destination in plenty of time.
Although the tour was very well organised, the tour directions were quite poor in comparison to other tours we had taken, however because the trail itself is quite well marked, it is probably better to follow your nose and the o site directions rather than using the detailed guide book. (there have obviously been recent changes to the tour route itself)
if your are wanting a taste of the high italian mountains without having to climb any, this would be an ideal trip. there is a lot of spectacular scenery along the valley road and across lake garda before changing to a more typical italian countryside for the final couple of days towards venice.
just a note on the approach into vincenza, my wife decided that she did not want to take the hillier route (there is a choice) but then when she discovered we were staying at the hotel at the top of a big hill, she regretted it. Take the hillier route into vincenza.
for us, the apuglia tour was probably slightly better tour, but we have absolutely no regrets in doing this one as well.
The Best Way to Get to Venice!
Each town we visited was unique. Bolzano had a very Austrian feel and Venice was magical. Glad that we chose the 4-star hotels because they were beautiful and roomy and worth the extra money! The self-guided tour allowed us the flexibility to seek out really cool local restaurants and go at our own pace. It was the trip of a lifetime and the recommendations and help from Matt and the staff at BikeTours was excellent.
Bolzano to Venice
Overall the trip was very nice and I plan to use Bike Tours again soon. We arrived Bolzano via train from Munich and the scenery through the Austrian Alps was fantastic. Our first hotel is Bolzano, Hotel Scala, was very nice and we enjoyed the extra night we had booked, including a tram ride. We were a little surprised to have almost 30 people in our tour orientation. With so many people, there was little time for one on one instruction on the equipment and it was a struggle to get questions answered. The bikes, one e bike and one hybrid, were in great condition and were pleasant to ride. We were fortunate to have the tool kit which included a spare tube because on our last day the e bike had a flat in the back. The e bike had an extra (gear??) cable in the back we were not familiar with but managed to figure it out. It would be nice if the bikes had shocks to absorb the rough surfaces but I'm sure there is a reason they don't.
Our second hotel, in Trento, was not as nice as Bolzano and had no air conditioning. Since it was hot and humid the entire trip, ac turned out to be a big issue for us. Some hotels had it but it was not very effective or efficient. The next trip we book will include the upgraded hotel package.
Navigation into and out of the cities proved to be our biggest challenge. Following the arrows was great until you missed one and it required constant vigilance. Trying to follow the road book instructions was difficult, the mileage references never seemed to matched and street names were hard to find. I also found that often it would have been easier to join the route directly from our hotel rather than getting to a central starting point indicated in the road book.
We booked an extra night in Mestre and were glad we did. The Hotel Venezia Mestre had great ac, several English language tv stations, and great location to catch the bus to Venice and airport (VCE-Marco Polo).
Overall a great trip and looking forward to our next one.
Very pleasant trip in Italy
I had a very great time in this tour, done in solo, in october. The scenery is fabulous, the mountains are wonderful, the roads and paths quiet and well paved. This is an almost always flat itinerary and the two days with an uphill section, there is an alternate route. I'm not used to slope, but I choose the hilly route and there were my favorite days of the trip. The effort was very worth it. Verye great trip.
It was a part of my overall trip to Italy and definitely was a highlight. The only thing I would have done differently is to do a little more research in advance myself. There are so many things to see along the way one simply cannot get them all. So I could have been more selective and that would have give me more time at the sights that more interesting to me. For example, I was interested in a little wine testing and there were opportunities along the way, but because I found out about them just a bit too late, I had no time to stop.
The trip was a lot of fun and our guide was the best