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2017 ExpeditionPlus! Alps to the Adriatic in Italy

  • Itinerary Summary

    An epic ride over the Alps all along the eastern side of Italy until the very heel of Italy’s “boot” will let you discover a staggering 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Vicenza, Venice, Ferrara, Ravenna, Urbino, Matera, Alberobello and Castel del Monte. Pedal imposing Alpine passes from Innsbruck, Austria down the Adige Bikeway through Trento and then on to Vicenza. From here we pedal across the northern plains to Venice before heading south along Italy's crystalline Adriatic coast. Explore the hills and beaches of the Marches and Abruzzi and pedal the "spur" of Italy - the limestone peninsula of the Gargano, before heading across the Puglia plateau through trulli country to Matera, the best known secret of Lucania, and on to Lecce, queen of Italy's baroque cities. Our ride ends in Santa Maria di Leuca at FINIS TERRAE, or the end of the world, where the Adriatic joins the Ionian Sea at the very tip of Italy’s heel.

    ***Read more about the ExpeditionPlus! concept to see if this type of tour is for you. If it is fill out our Expedition Application if you have not traveled on an Expedition Trip with ExperiencePlus!***

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    1. Day 1: Sept 09: Meet in Innsbruck, Austria

      Highlights: Innsbruck, Austrian Alps,

      Meet in Innsbruck in the heart of the Austrian Alps. The capital of Tyrol offers a late medieval city center and a getaway to spectacular alpine outdoors. We fit bicycles this afternoon and go out for a warm up ride.

      Distance: Test Ride. Meals: D

      Lodging: Hotel Grauer Bär

    2. Day 2: Sept 10: Bicycle over the Brenner Pass to Italy

      Highlights: Spectacular Alpine Views, bike paths

      Our ride today takes us south from Innsbruck and over Brenner Pass which is one of the most important alpine passes in Europe. It is also the lowest pass (1,370 meters or 4,495 feet) connecting Germany and Austria with Italy. The climb from Innsbruck is 574 meters (1,883 feet) and you'll descend along what was once a railroad grade and today a bonafide cycling highway! You'll be in Italy in Bressanone this evening.

      Distance 122.4 km (76 miles). Meals: B, D


    3. Day 3: Sept 11: Bicycle Bressanone to Trento

      Highlights: Brenner bike path, Bolzano, glaciated Adige River valley

      We continue south along the Tyrol bike path to Bolzano today. Take time for coffee or an early lunch in Bolzano, known in Italy as a bicycle friendly city and regularly voted one of the best cities to live in by Italians. You have the opportunity to visit the museum hosting Ötzi the Ice Man, one of the archeological sensations of the 20th century. We are in Trento this evening, famous for hosting the important counter-reformation "Council of Trent" in the 16th century.

      Distance: 106 km (66 miles). Meals: B

      Lodging: Hotel Albermonaco

    4. Day 4: Sept 12: Bicycle Trento to Vicenza

      Highlights: Foothills of the Alps, Palladio's architecture in Vicenza

      We'll pedal up, down, and out of the Alps today on our way to Vicenza which is renowned for its beautiful architecture from 16th century architect Andrea Palladio. The White House style is inspired by his works and aptly named “Palladian.” Our ride will take us out to the majestic Pian delle Fugazze, a cyclist's dream, and finally to the plains of the Po Delta.

      Distance: 104 km (65 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Conchiglia D'Oro

    5. Day 5: Sept 13: Pedal to Treviso

      Highlights: Palladian Villas, Brenta River

      Today you'll cycle in an area favored by the Venetian aristocracy: they built their countryside villas along the river Brenta and used to reach them by a kind of river boat called burchiello. We'll however just cycle by Villa Contarini, one of the most interesting visitable examples and play aristocracy for the night in a majestic 19th century villa near the city of Treviso, which homes the headquarters of bicycle maker Pinarello.

      Distance: 72 km (45 miles) Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Villa Pace Park Hotel Bolognese

    6. Day 6: Sept 14: Treviso to Venice Lido

      Highlights: Barrier beaches of Venice, Ferry to the Venetian Lagoon

      Today you'll pedal through reclaimed marshlands around the Venetian lagoon. Be sure to take time to dip your toes in the Adriatic Sea at Lido di Jesolo. It's a short ride so you'll be at the Lido of Venice early afternoon. Dinner is together tonight at our favorite trattoria on the Lido of Venice.

      Distance: 67 km (42 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Hotel Biasutti

    7. Day 7: Sept 15: Venice, a rest day

      Highlights: Enjoy exploring Venice

      This is a rest day to enjoy walking through the most unique Medieval city in the world. Venice is, undoubtedly, one of a kind, so we’ll go on an off-the-beaten path tour with the help of a local who will help us discover its charm. Alternatively, you can find a tucked away café, go to the beach, or just hangout and enjoy great opportunities for people watching.

      Meals: B

      Lodging: Hotel Biasutti Best Western

    8. Day 8: Sept 16: Venice to Ferrara

      Highlights: Ride the Lido, the Venetian Lagoon, Chioggia and Po Delta, Ferrara

      You'll hop ferries and then follow the Po river upstream to the Renaissance city of Ferrara today. Be aware of bikes! Ferrara is considered the cycling capital of Italy! Entering the city, you'll pass under the 16th century walls, one of the finest examples of Renaissance walls left in Italy. Other highlights of this UNESCO world heritage site include the many palaces of the Este court from the 14th and 15th century, amongst which a castle with a moat in the very center of town.

      Distance: 108 kms (67 miles). Meals: B, L, D

      Lodging: Hotel Carlton Ferrara

    9. Day 9: Sept 17: Ferrara to Ravenna

      Highlights: Wetlands, Ravenna mosaics

      We leave Ferrara on bike ways and head back to the Po delta towards Argenta, skirting the wetlands that are a sanctuary for migratory birds. Our ride takes us to Ravenna—another UNESCO site—the last capital of the Western Roman Empire and home to more early Christian mosaics than any other city in Western Europe. You can walk to Dante's Tomb and the mosaics of San Vitale, Sant'Apollinare Nuovo and the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia this afternoon, as your hotel is near all the city's highlights.

      Distance 95 km (59 miles). Meals: B

      Lodging: Palazzo Galletti Abbiosi

    10. Day 10: Sept 18: Ravenna to San Marino

      Highlights: Crossing the Rubicon, the Republic of San Marino,

      As we head south from Ravenna we cross Caesar's famous Rubicon River and enter the foothills of Romagna. We'll temporarily leave Italy, but you won't need your passport to cross the border. Our destination is the oldest republic in the world, known as "The Most Serene Republic of San Marino" dating to 301 AD.

      Distance: 88 km (55 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Grand Hotel San Marino

    11. Day 11: Sept 19: San Marino to Urbino

      Highlights: San Marino, San Leo, hill riding, Urbino

      After several days of flat rides, the terrain begins to change today as you enter the foothills of the Apennine Mountains. This area is known as Montefeltro, from the family that ruled it during the Middle Ages through the Renaissance. Many battles took place here and the fortified towns just show it. San Leo is a fortress town like San Marino though much smaller, while our destination for the day, the Renaissance town of Urbino—today a UNESCO site—still has its grand Medieval walls intact.

      Distance 77 km (48 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Hotel Bonconte Urbino

    12. Day 12: Sept. 20: A rest day in Urbino, city of the Renaissance

      Highlights: Explore the Renaissance City

      Spend the day wandering around the walled city of Urbino, a city which retains much of its picturesque medieval aspect. A UNESCO site, its historical legacy of independent Renaissance culture thanks to Federico da Montefeltro, duke of Urbino in the 15th century, it still hosts a renowned university.

      No Cycling Today. Meals: B

      Lodging: Hotel Bonconte Urbino

    13. Day 13: Sept 21: Urbino to Fabriano

      Highlights: Ridgeline and hill rides, Furlo Gorge, Frasassi Caves

      You entered Italy's Marches region once you passed San Marino and today you'll pedal the heart of "le Marche". You'll ride through the Furlo Gorge—a most scenic route closed to car traffic—along the ancient Roman road Flaminia, where the Roman emperor Vespasian had a tunnel built to facilitate traffic at the narrowest point of the gorge. If you are interested, stop at the grotto of Frasassi, the longest limestone cave in Italy at 5km (3.1 miles). Your destination tonight is Fabriano, famous worldwide for its high-quality paper still produced artisanally. We'll have dinner together.

      Distance: 103 km (64 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Hotel Janus

    14. Day 14: Sept 22: Fabriano to Ascoli Piceno

      Highlights: Hills, the spectacular Sibillini Mountains, Ascoli Piceno

      Today's ride is dominated by the crest of the Apennine Mountains off to our right. Small villages and towns nestle on the slopes of glaciated valleys coming off of this massif limestone mountain range. Take time to enjoy the ride as there is no rush and tomorrow is a rest day in Ascoli Piceno.

      Distance: 130 km (81 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Palazzo Guiderocchi

    15. Day 15: Sept 23: Rest day in Ascoli Piceno

      Highlights: Walled city with picturesque Medieval quarter, Olive ascolane

      Relax and bask in the delightful squares and sidewalk cafés of this historic and picturesque city. Ascoli is a town that retains grit. It hasn't been gussied up to attract visitors. It is a place where the locals are still bemused by the presence of foreign travelers visiting their city. It has an art gallery and is rich in both Medieval and Renaissance period architecture. It's also famous for a dish named after the city itself: Olive Ascolane, delicious fried olives stuffed with meat or fish.

      Meals: B

      Lodging: Palazzo Guiderocchi

    16. Day 16: Sept 24: Ascoli Piceno to Atri and Pescara

      Highlights: Adriatic Sea, Pescara

      Our route today takes us away from the mountains and over the foothills to the Adriatic coast. Pescara is a busy coastal town and the largest city in Abruzzo, the small central Italian region that extends from the Adriatic beaches into the heart of the Apennine Mountains. In the town of Pescara itself, the long ten-mile stretches of wide, clean and sandy beaches offer many inviting opportunities to its visitors.

      Distance: 103 km (64 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Hotel Esplanade

    17. Day 17: Sept 25: Pescara to Termoli

      Highlights: Adriatic coastal cycling

      This is your chance to take a swim in the Adriatic Sea as we'll ride along the coast before heading into the foothills. Termoli is an ancient city with a walled Medieval fortress center on a promontory overlooking the sea. The old town is surrounded by a wall which drops straight down to the sea and is dominated by its square castle. Castello Svevo was built in the 11th century but largely rebuilt by Frederick II in the 13th century. Termoli is a popular tourist resort on the Adriatic coast which has long sandy beaches, historic fortifications and some incredible trabucchi, ancient fishing machines not in use any longer. It is very popular with Italian tourists in the summer months but, like the rest of Molise, relatively undiscovered by foreign tourists.

      Distance: 126 km (79 miles). Meals: B

      Lodging: Hotel Mistral

    18. Day 18: Sept 26: Termoli to Vieste

      Highlights: The Gargano Peninsula, Scenic coastal riding

      Italy's Gargano Peninsula is the "spur" on Italy's boot and is reminiscent of a Greek island. It's easy to imagine that it floated across the Adriatic Sea and attached itself to the Italian mainland. Geologically speaking it is a massif rising to the high point of Monte Calvo (1,064m). The forests of the highlands are of great importance and most of the upland area is protected as a national park. The Italians enjoy the fabulous beaches here particularly in July and August but for the rest of the year the beaches and uplands are left to discriminating nature lovers and seekers of peace, tranquility and beauty. You will enjoy amazing views of the blue seas as you cycle along a beautiful rolling coasts.

      Distance: 130 km (81 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Palace Hotel Vieste

    19. Day 19: Sept 27: Rest day

      Highlights: Rest day on the beach

      Enjoy a rest day on Vieste's lovely beach. Vieste is a lovely fishing town of whitewashed houses which hugs the white cliffs of the Gargano peninsula as they jut out into the Adriatic Sea. It is also home to one of the best beaches of Puglia. A great opportunity to relax. However, if you prefer to challenge yourself with a hilly ride we'll point you in the direction of Tavoliere delle Puglie and the Foresta Umbria.

      Meals: B

      Lodging: Palace Hotel Vieste

    20. Day 20: Sept 28: Vieste to Manfredonia

      Highlights: Spectacular coastal rides and sea views

      Our ride continues around the perimeter of the Gargano with wonderful views of the sea. Photo opportunities will keep you busy today as each bend presents another scene featuring dramatic cliffs overhanging the crystalline sea.

      Distance: 76 km (43 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Regiohotel Manfredi

    21. Day 21: Sept 29: Manfredonia to Bisceglie

      Highlights: Castel del Monte, Murgia

      Our ride today takes us across the limestone plateau of the "Murgia" in Puglia. Thousands of olive trees and some vineyards and field crops cover this plain. Before arriving at our hotel, we suggest a visit of the fortress and UNESCO World Heritage site "Castel del Monte" built by Roman Emperor Frederick II in 1240 AD. This is one of the best preserved castles in Italy and stands as a monument to the Christian crusaders upon their return from the Holy Lands in the 13th century.

      Distance: 130 km (81 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Hotel Villa

    22. Day 22: Sept 30: Bisceglie to Matera

      Highlights: Altamura, Matera

      We head out through thousands of olive trees, across the ancient Appian Way. We are in Matera this evening in the Basilicata region. Matera is one of the most interesting, unusual and memorable destinations during this tour. Still little-visited by foreign travelers, it is a city famous for its extensive cave-dwelling districts, the sassi. In 1993 the city was made a UNESCO World Heritage site, for being "the most outstanding, intact example of a troglodyte settlement in the Mediterranean region, perfectly adapted to its terrain and ecosystem". And ever since, Matera has become steadily more popular as an off-the-beaten-track destination.

      Distance: 75 km (47 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Hotel San Domenico

    23. Day 23: Oct 1: Rest day in Matera

      Highlights: Views across Basilicata, the "sassi" of Matera

      Matera has become famous for its troglodyte cave dwellings and historic churches carved into the limestone deposits along the Gravina River canyon. Matera was the one of the filming locations for Mel Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ, with shots showing the sassi and the gorge below.

      We'll take a guided walk of the caves this afternoon to see the finest examples of this type of dwelling in the entire Mediterranean region.

      Meals: B

      Lodging: Hotel San Domenico

    24. Day 24: Oct 2: Matera to Alberobello

      Highlights: Trulli of Alberobello, landscapes of trulli

      We head out of Basilicata and back across the Murgia plateau of Puglia. We'll spin through the fairy tale landscape of the "trulli" near Alberobello, where we’ll spend the night in this traditional housing. The trulli are stone dwellings with cone shaped roofs dotting the limestone plain between pockets of rich red soil. Concentrations of the unique dwellings make up the village of Alberobello.

      Distance: 93 km (58 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Hotel Trulli e Puglia

    25. Day 25: Oct 3: Alberobello to Lecce

      Highlights: Ostuni and the baroque architecture of Lecce

      Our route today is marked by more varied relief as we approach the limestone ridge where Ostuni ovelooks the Adriatic Sea. Founded in historic times Ostuni was destroyed by Hannibal and rebuilt by Greek colonists. To this day it looks like a Greek village, brilliant white in the Mediterranean sun. Our final destination today is Lecce, the baroque Renaissance capital of Italy. In the evening light the golden colored limestone of Lecce's churches and palaces make it unique in Italy.

      Distance: 95 km (59 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Hotel President

    26. Day 26: Oct 4: Lecce to Santa Maria di Leuca

      Highlights: Heel of Italy, coastal cycling

      Our last ride takes us to the extreme southeastern point in Italy, Capo Santa Maria di Leuca. From Lecce we pedal to Otranto. We suggest lunch here as you savor the whitewashed buildings of this historic Greek settlement. Otranto was one of the last Byzantine outposts, lasting until the 11th century. Our final ride takes us along the coast road from Otranto to the point of the heel in Santa Maria. We'll celebrate our ride with a spectacular dinner together this evening.

      Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Hotel l'Approdo

    27. Day 27: Oct 5: Arrivederci, end of our ride

      Highlights: Continued travels or going home

      We will offer a complimentary shuttle departing at 9:00AM to the airport or central train station in Bari (arriving at around 1:00PM), or to the train station or airport in Brindisi arriving at approximately 11:00AM.

      Meals: B

    • Highlights

      Innsbruck, Austria, Vicenza and Venezia, San Marino, Italy, Distinct regional specialties, Trulli of Alberobello, Italian food
    • Includes

      27 days, 26 nights; Use of a high quality bicycle; all breakfasts, 1 lunch, 16 dinners, 2 happy hours; guided walks in Venice, Urbino, Ascoli Piceno, Matera. Activities as described in Itinerary
    • Countries

      Italy, Austria
    • Begin/End

      Innsbruck, Austria/Santa Maria di Leuca, Italy
    • Arrive/Depart

      Innsbruck or Munich/Bari or Brindisi
    • Total Distance

      1858 km (1155 miles)
    • Daily Distance

      45 - 115 km (28 - 71 miles); average 88 km (52 miles)
    • Rating

    • Terms

      Terms & Conditions
  • Dates Price Private Room Charge Notes
    Sep 9-Oct 5, 2017 US $11,500 US $1,000 Book by November 10th and Save $200 per person. Book it

    * We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the private room charge. This charge will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available it will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.

  • Stories

    • Hilly, fun, great locations, ...liked the length.

      John W., Falmouth, MA
    • Fun, challenging, great food, interesting destinations, great tour leaders/organization, fun travel companions, significant sense of accomplishment.

      Jane H., Denver, CO
    • The absolute best trip of my life! Great miles, greatest guides, greatest fellow travelers, great routes. You at ExperiencePlus! do a fantastic job all the way around!

      Mary G., Sarasota, FL
    • I love the expeditions and would go on all of them if I could. Having cycled the west coast of Italy (Italia 150), how could I miss the east coast?

      Elizabeth R., Sisters, OR

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