Great Italian Alps Cycling Challenge |

Great Italian Alps Cycling Challenge

  • Overview
  • Map & Itinerary
  • Essential Info
  • Pics & Vids
  • Dates & Prices


  • Journey through the spectacular landscapes and mountain climbs of Northern Italy on two wheels
  • Tackle the legendary climbs of the Passo di Gavia (2621m) and the Passo dello Stelvio (2758m)
  • Conquer the steep ascent of The Passo di Mortirolo (1852m), first featured in the Giro in 1990 and pass the monument to much famed Italian cyclist Marco Pantani
  • Dig deep as you take on the second-highest paved road in Europe with 48 hairpin bends – the famous Passo dello Stelvio
  • Test your stamina against 560kms of incredible cycling terrain in just 5 days.


An epic guided road bike trip to experience the Italian Alps. Tick off the legendary climbs of the Passo di Gavia (2621m), the short but steep Passo di Mortirolo and the Passo dello Stelvio (2758m) – the second highest paved mountain pass in Europe, and one of the most impressive roads in the Alps.

It’s a week of high mountains and their great Alpine passes where Giro d’Italia legends were born. This Great Italian Alps bike tour follows the tracks of those who embarked on epic journeys on two wheels: unforgettable endeavours linked to the big names in international cycling.

Surrounded by glaciers, mountains and unspoilt nature, you will retrace the exploits of the great champions. You can, therefore, expect this week in the Alps to be demanding and extremely rewarding at the same time. It’s a great way to discover the dramatic landscapes of Northern Italy.

This challenge is fully supported thanks to the presence of the support vehicle, bike mechanic and your cycle leaders throughout.

Day 1

Travel to Milan Bergamo Airport and on hotel in Bergamo Italy
Please make your own travel arrangements. There are flights available from London to Milan Bergamo Airport. Then make your way to your hotel in Bergamo. Details will be provided.

On arriving at the hotel, you will rendevouz with your bike for assembly and preparation for the start of your challenge the following day.

Time permitting, you are welcome to explore the ancient walled town of Bergamo. Bergamo juxtaposes medieval monuments with the footprints of 21st-century hipsters. Herein, 600-year-old cafes stand alongside brand new ‘coffee labs’.

A full trip briefing will be provided over dinner at the hotel.

Accommodation: Hotel (twin share basis)
Meals: Dinner

Day 2

Bergamo to Tirano – approx. 148kms/92 miles 
Following breakfast your Great Italian Cycling Challenge begins as your route heads east through beautiful green countryside and small villages, It’s a gradual introduction to your challenge with a few twisting, shady climbs and some long kms ahead.

On reaching the picturesque Lake Iseo, Lake Iseo or Iseo lake, also known as Sebino, which is the fourth largest lake in Lombardy, your route traverses the shoreline winding it’s way along this long and narrow lake as you head north sheltered by mountains.

Your gradual ascent continues – punctuated by a few short sharp climbs – through the Camonica Valley, a wide forested valley dotted with beautiful villages. As you gain height the scenery becomes more impressive, with great vistas out over the forested peaks, and glimpses of more dramatic peaks in the distance, while village houses look distinctively Alpine.

The gradient increases as you reach the upper valley, and into the Valtellina, climbing to Aprica. After a fantastic first day in the saddle, you are rewarded with a wonderful descent in to the small town of Tirano. 

Distance covered:  approx. 148kms
Ascent: approx. 2978m

Accommodation: Hotel (twin share basis)
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Checkpoint snacks & water refills

Day 3

TiranoPasso di MortiroloGavia to Bormio – approx. 91kms/56 miles 
With your legs warmed up from a big day in the saddle yesterday, your route profile today provides a great challenge. Traversing along on quiet roads through the valley towards Mazzo di Valtellina, at the base of Mortirolo, you’ll take on the short yet steep climb of The Passo di Mortirolo (1852m), first featured in the Giro only in 1990. The ascent passes the monument to much famed and loved Italian cyclist Marco Pantani.

The descent to the Val Camonica provides some respite, ahead of the next climb of the southern slopes of the Passo di Gavia (2621m). Unlike the Mortirolo, the Gavia has been a regular feature of the Giro since 1960, when it was once a dirt road and it is a beauty of a cycling climb. It’s got the immense scenery and grandeur of the Passo dello Stelvio but less of the traffic. At 2621m it’s not quite as high as the Stelvio, but it’s still the tenth highest paved mountain pass in Europe and with testing 8% average gradients the Gavia Pass profile is undoubtedly challenging. Once you’re above the tree line, the sensational scenery makes you feel on top of the world. The narrow roads and quiet serenity make it hard not to love cycling the Gavia Pass

Following a well-earned breather at the pass, you can enjoy a long, more steady descent to the small medieval town of Bormio.

Distance covered: approx. 91kms
Ascent: approx. 3405m

Accommodation: Hotel (twin share basis)
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Checkpoint snacks & water refills

Day 4


Bormio to Zernez  – approx. 110km/68 miles

Revised route due to tunnel closure from Italy to Switzerland from 1 Sept – 23 Nov for construction work.

Your new route will follow a section of the famed Engadin Road Bike Marathon route from Bormio to Zernez.

On reaching Zernez, a private shuttle has been booked to transfer you to your hotel in order to get back on the original itinerary and hotel bookings for the following days. Plus it also ensures you don’t miss out the big day of Trafoi – Passo dello Stelvio – Colico (cycling Passo dello Stelvio).

Accommodation:  Hotel (twin share basis)
Meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner
Checkpoint snacks & water refills


Bormio to Prato allo Stelvio (Trafoi) – approx. 106kms/66 miles 
Following breakfast your route is long and gradual over the Passo di Foscagno (2291m) – a helpful stamina-building effort between the tougher days! Your route winds through Trepalle, the highest village in Italy, and then into the resort town of Livigno in the heart of the Italian Alps, before crossing into Switzerland. It’s a welcomed downhill roll along the Swiss Val Müstair before heading back into Italy. The scenery is wonderful, with lush green pastures and small red-roofed Tyrolean villages with striking churches, set against the high rocky mountain peaks.

Today’s route finishes at the foot of the Stelvio, ready for tomorrow’s epic climb of this famous pass.

Distance covered: approx. 106kms
Ascent: approx. 3011m

Accommodation:  Hotel (twin share basis)
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Checkpoint snacks & water refills

Day 5

TrafoiPasso dello StelvioColico – approx. 150kms/94 miles 
Today is the day! For an avid cyclist, cycling Passo dello Stelvio is a must and is likely to be the highlight of your trip to the Italian Alps.

Today is the day! For an avid cyclist, cycling Passo dello Stelvio is a must and is likely to be the highlight of your trip to the Italian Alps. We have scheduled our ride of this famous mountain pass midweek with the aim of having less traffic along the route. The road this windy and well-surfaced therefore a paradise for motorcyclists and drivers as well as cyclists. We strongly recommend bike lights and key items of clothing – long-fingered gloves, arm warmers, leg warmers and a jacket for the summit and descent (you may need more than this if the weather forecast is bad).

Leaving Trafoi behind you, the second-highest paved road in Europe awaits with 48 hairpin bends to be defeated which lie above you on gradients that become increasingly challenging. The average gradient for this mountainous climb sits just above 8%. It’s time to dig deep.

With around 10km to go, approaching 2,000m above sea level, you break the treeline. By this time, you’ll be ready for a new view to take your mind off your legs – the vista across the craggy grey valley to the snow capped peaks above is worth the wait.

At around 16km, the road hits 10% for a ‘challenging’ kilometre. Up above you you’ll see the impressive looking Berghotel Franzenshöhe and, above that, the wall of hairpins snaking their way to the summit. It’s an awesome feeling to see the hairpin signs slip into single digits. The final hairpins are super tight and steep, at just under 10% for the final kilometre, however the summit sign creeps into view and a sense of relief and achievement floods in.

With time at the pass to absorb the huge sense of accomplishment and photos, it’s an adrenaline-pumping descent to Bormio and the sweeping valley below. From here the route is steadily downhill on quiet roads as you glide through the Valtellina, all the way to the shores of beautiful Lake Como.

Distance covered: approx. 150kms
Ascent: approx. 3205m

Accommodation: Hotel (twin share basis)
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Checkpoint snacks & water refills.

Day 6

Colico – Madonna del Ghisallo – Como – approx. 65kms/41 miles 
This morning your legs welcome a gentler day in the saddle to mark the final day of your challenge. Lake Como’s mountain-backed shores are furrowed with ancient paths that wind through attractive villages providing a fitting finale for your short morning spin.

You’ll then take the ferry across the lake to Bellagio, where a short steep climb awaits for Madonna del Ghisallo. This climb is iconic in the world of cycling thanks to both its status in the Giro di Lombardia race, and also because the summit is home to a small chapel, dedicated to the patron saint of cycling. We’ll take the time to visit the chapel to pay our respects and see a huge array of cycling memorabilia.

It’s then time to enjoy a wonderful descent, and the remaining miles to Como are downhill almost all the way where we will have an evening of celebrations to mark the epic achievements of completing this tough cycling challenge.

Distance covered: approx. 65kms
Ascent: approx. 1422m

Accommodation: Hotel (twin share basis)
Meals: Breakfast only
Checkpoint snacks & water refills.

Day 7

Free day – Lake Como
What better way to celebrate having spent 5 big days in the saddle than to enjoy the stunning surrounds of Lake Como.

Explore the countless charming towns or picturesque villages that line the shoreline, explore the city centre (10 minute walk from your hotel), take a boat trip or simply kick back and enjoy the panoramic views of the lake and surrounding mountains from your hotel rooftop infinity pool and sky-high bar.

Meals: Breakfast only

Day 8

Como – Milan Bergamo Airport
Following a leisurely breakfast it’s time to make your way home filled with a huge sense of achievement.

There is the option to take the train from Como to Milan Bergamo Airport. Please see the link below for route options:

Meals: Breakfast only


Pre-trip info

On booking the Great Italian Alps Cycling Challenge, you’ll receive all the exciting trip info via our free mobile travel app. You’ll have access to your itinerary, training guide, countdowns, live updates, contact info, weather forecasts, kit lists and much more at the touch of a button 24/7 via your mobile phone. No more unnecessary use of reams of paper and the need of carrying around documents with you. The app is free to download and all info is customary to your cycling trip ahead. A’ppy days.

Pre-trip support

With being a small family business we pride ourselves with providing personal, professional and friendly service for your Great Italian Alps Cycling Challenge. We’re here to help you every step of the way from the moment you join the team all the way through to completing the challenge and beyond.


Flights are not included to and from Milan to give you the flexibility to fly from your nearest airport and to extend your stay in Italy if you wish.

Transfers to and from the airports in Milan
You will be responsible for making your own travel arrangements to and from the airports in Milan. Adventurous Ewe will provide travel recommendations if needed.


Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance is an important part of any booking. It is compulsory that everyone who travels with us has taken out adequate travel insurance which includes, among other things, cover for the full value of your trip, medical (emergency, evacuation and repatriation) arrangements, personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage, flight delays and personal effects and pandemic travel cover.

For UK residents we have partnered with Campbell & Irvine Direct to provide you with a travel insurance. If you would like to obtain cover for your trip please feel free to contact specialist Insurance Brokers, Campbell Irvine Direct for a quote.

Bicycle Insurance

We strongly recommend that you obtain suitable bicycle insurance to cover your bike and equipment during transportation and on the cycling challenge itself. Please feel free to shop around or obtain a direct quote from Cycle Guard or Bikmo


All nationalities require a full passport. Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. For the latest info, please visit the F&CO website.


British nationals do not require a visa to enter Italy for the purpose of tourism for up to 90 days.

For the latest entry requirements, please visit the F&CO website and also check Brexit advice for travelling to Europe.

Safety and wellbeing

Adventurous Ewe puts the safety and well-being of you, our leaders & crew and the communities we visit at the centre of all our operations, always. Your safety and well-being is our top priority. The Great Italian Alps Cycling Challenge is designed to take you out of your every-day comfort zone and achieve something great with undertaking this self-powered journey. Rest assured we have a thorough Safety Management System, indepth risk assessments and risk management systems in place. Your crew will be equipped with communication devices (eg phones and radios) and medical kit. 

Here are a couple of important points for your consideration:

  • Be prepared. The terrain on the challenge is often undulating, with some big hill climbs, so please be prepared for some long and tough days consecutively in the saddle.
  • Pack for all weather. The weather during the challenge can be unpredictable so we would recommend checking the weather forecast beforehand and pack the appropriate clothing.
  • Be aware of the Italian Highway Code and the rules for cycling in Italy before you go. Please note there is a requirement to wear a high-visibility gilet if riding in a tunnel or outside town/city centres between dawn and dusk.
  • Debris on the roads. The roads in the high mountains take an absolute battering. They’re covered with snow for much of the year and the freeze-thaw process takes it toll. Rain washes gravel into the roads. Rockfalls mean you can come across large chunks of rock in the road! Remember this and do take care, especially on the downhills. Better to go a touch slower and not end up in hospital!
  • Review the route. You’ll receive a GPX file of your cycling route prior to your departure. Spend some time getting to know the route. It’s important to know what to expect before you set out. Consider how long each climb should take, where you plan to refuel (outside of any dedicated water-stops) and take note of any important sections. You never know what’s going to happen out on the road, so it’s good to be self-reliant. 
  • Lights, phone, ID and money/cards. Keep a small rear light fitted to your bike in case you come across a tunnel or get caught in bad weather. You may want a front light too for added safety. And make sure you have money/cards, ID and your phone on you at all times! 
  • Remember it’s a marathon not a sprint! At the beginning of a day/week of cycling, it can be easy to spin off quickly at a pace you can’t sustain. Italy’s mountains are some of the toughest cycling climbs in the world – take it easy and try and remember it’s a team challenge so look out for one another!
  • Long days in the saddle. 8+hours of cycling each day is long time to spend in the saddle, so please ensure your prepare accordingly and that you fuel your body correctly at the water stops and during breakfast and lunch. 
  • Greetings. If you overtake another cyclist, it’s polite to say ciao, salve (which means hello) or buongiorno (good day).
  • Coffee. Lastly, but most importantly, know your coffee etiquette. No milky coffee after midday (unless you’re happy to be looked at with a perplexed expression) and before midday, don’t ask for a latte (you may end up with just that, i.e. milk)! Ask for caffe latte or latte macchiato instead. Also, at a mid ride cafe, it’s usual to pay after you’ve drunk your coffee – so expect to order, drink, then pay. And cash is king in the mountains!
Vaccinations & allergies

There are currently no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations include: Tetanus. For the most up to date info on vaccinations, please consult with your GP or travel healthcare practitioner 8 weeks in advance of travel. For more info, visit the Fit For Travel website.

Please note, it is your responsibility to comply and fulfil any necessary travel requirements and documentation to comply with entry and exit laws into Italy and the UK in relation to COVID-19 or other pandemics. 

Severe allergies
If you have a severe allergy please inform us at the time of booking. We will do all we can to help, but unfortunately we are unable to guarantee an allergy free environment on this trip. You will need to carry your own treatment for the allergy with you, as ‘adrenaline auto-injectors’ are not carried as standard by AE leaders and crew. Whilst your leader is aware of our trekkers medical history, please also inform your leader on arrival of your allergy, and let them know where you keep your adrenaline pen.

Leaders & crew

You will be accompanied by certified Adventurous Ewe Cycling Leader/s, Bike Mechanics and Crew. Our Leaders are first aid qualified and have extensive experience in leading cycling trips. They will be ultimately responsible for the running of the itinerary and the safety of your group.

Leaders and Crew will carrying full safety equipment and first aid kits with larger first aid kits located in the support vehicle. Please note, these kits are for emergencies only so please come prepared with your own personal first aid items. The Leaders and Crew will also be in constant radio communication with the vehicle drivers throughout your adventure.

The crew will be looking after every aspect of your trip with transporting your luggage, helping you with GPX route files, a friendly & supportive face at checkpoints and sorting out any mechanical problems. Support vehicle will be at the checkpoints and there will be a cycling leader accompanying the team during the ride. 

Group size
We pride ourselves in small group travel to minimise the impact on the environment, to maximise your safety and wellbeing and to make your experience more authentic.
The minimum group size for the Great Itallian Alps Cycling Challenge to run is 12 people. A smaller team can be hosted for an additional small group supplement per person.
Group management

The Great Italian Alps Cycling Challenge is a team adventure and not designed to be an individual competitive race. The route will be supplied as a GPX file and therefore there will be no route marking by way of directional arrows (helping us to reduce our carbon footprint). 

There will be two Cycling Leaders accompanying the group. There will be a support vehicle available which you will see at each checkpoiint and lunch stop plus it is available for any emergencies. We encourage team spirit and support of each other to ensure everyone has the best opportunity to complete the challenge and enjoy the journey along the way too.

All luggage and bike spares will be carried in the support vehicle. Please ensure you carry your own puncture repair kit and spare inner tubes.  

Trip grading

The Great Italian Alps Cycling Challenge is graded as Tough. It is a strenuous challenge which will allow people to push themselves out of their comfort zone with considerable hill climbs and descents and long days in the saddle.

For logistical and safety reasons we sometimes need to re-group, so the front-cyclists may find themselves waiting for the slower ones. Please relax, and remember that this is a team effort that enables people to achieve their personal goals.

We highly recommend that all participants on this trip are able to meet the following:

  • Cycle at least 100 miles per day at an average pace of 20km per hour, over an undulating route. Failure to do so may result in receiving significantly less support from the Cycling Leaders
  • Completed previous multi-day cycle trips
  • Confidently and efficiently fix a puncture by replacing the inner tube 
  • Confidently navigate whilst riding using a Garmin or mobile phone app
  • Ridden a Category 1 or HC (Hors catégorie) climb before and have the right gear set up for this – note, this may mean having a climbing cassette fitted to your bike
  • Must be able to carry adequate clothing to cope with mountainous weather – jacket, arm and leg warmers, gloves and under hat, water, electrolytes and nutritional fuel
  • Must be able to confidently descend using drop handlebars or have your bike set up with secondary brakes.
Bike & kit

A full kit list will be provided when you join the team for the Great Italian Alps Cycling Challenge. Good kit can make the difference between a fantastic two-wheeled and an uncomfortable one.

We strongly recommend that the bike is serviced the week before your challenge to ensure that the brake and gear cables along with brake pads haven’t been to worn out during your pre-challenge training.

Whilst we plan our trips around the optimal weather conditions, you could still be exposed to wet & windy or hot & humind weather at any time. It is important that you are prepared for all conditions.



Despite this trip being held at the start of Autumn, the weather can change rapidly in the mountains so it is essential that you are prepared for all conditions including rain, wind and heat. In the week leading up to your trip we recommend monitoring the weather forecast and you will also receive weather updates via our mobile travel app, Vamoos.

Pack for all weather. At any time of year, take a jacket on your ride. It might feel over-cautious when it’s sunny and warm as you set out, but you’ll be grateful at the top of the pass. Snow on Stelvio is not unusual.

If the forecast suggests poor weather, you’ll need to pack kit in addition to a jacket: arm and leg warmers and long-fingered gloves, possibly overshoes too.  

Heatstroke. Use sun cream and drink plenty of water. One great thing about riding in Italy is that there are generally a fair few water fountains around. However it’s still important to carry plenty of water and remember to drink it. Heatstroke can strike quickly and is very unpleasant and can be very serious. Try to rest in the shade wherever possible.

Cramp. This is a common complaint and is often due to the fact you’re sweating and not replacing the electrolytes. Ensure you take electrolyte tablets for your water bottle and use them to help stave off cramps.

Please note, the Leader/s reserve the right to change the itinerary at any time should the conditions require it as your safety and wellbeing is our top priority at all times. In these circumstances we will make the best alternative arrangements possible that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.


We have aimed to stay in 3* star hotels or above on this challenge. Standards may vary between the hotels but they are generally comfortable and convenient for your route. Most night’s accommodation is on a half board basis (dinner, bed & breakfast included).

Rooms will be used on a twin share basis & all rooms will have their own bathroom.


Food & drinks

All meals are included apart from lunch & dinner on Days 6 & 7 of your itinerary. The majority of your accommodaiton is on a half board basis, whereby the hotel will provide breakfast and dinner. The last 2 nights accommodation is only on a bed & breakfast basis.

Lunches will primarily be a picnic style and dinners are usually eaten at the hotel or a nearby restaurant. 

Water and snacks will be provided during your cycle journey at checkpoints enroute. Please do make sure you eat enough to give you the energy for your exertions. We strongly recommend bringing some of your own high energy and nutritional snacks and electrolytes which your body is used to digesting to ensure you are sufficiently fuelled fo this tough challenge. 

If you have any dietary requirements or allergies, please let us know via the booking process or via the link we will send you. 

Payment info

Deposit: £395 per person is required on booking and is non-refunable.
Remaining balance: £1570 per person is due for payment no later than 6 weeks prior to the trip start date.
Total cost: £1965 per person

Monthly payment plan
A monthly payment plan can be arranged for this trip. Please contact us for more information or to set up your plan. Simply email or call 01492 588 069.

You are welcome to fundraise for a charity of your choice if you wish to do so. All sponsorship monies are to be sent directly to your chosen charity.

Departure & Return Duration Availability Deposit Total Cost* (*Total cost includes the deposit)
Sep 26, 2025
Oct 03, 2025
8 Days Available £395.00 £1965.00 Book Now

What's Included?


  • Personalised event support in the lead up to your trip from Adventurous Ewe
  • GPX file of the route
  • Cycle training programme
  • Discount on personal kit both in shop and online
  • Trip info supplied via mobile travel app
  • Public liability insurance
  • Risk assessment and emergency management planning.

During your trip:

  • Cycle leaders, support crew and bike mechanic
  • Support vehicle and luggage transfers
  • Full back-up support including first-aid qualified crew and first-aid supplies  
  • Snacks and water station checkpoints 
  • 7 nights accommodation (twin share basis)
  • Meals per your itinerary
  • All challenge management before, during and post trip.

What's Not Included?

  • Bike insurance
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa (if required)
  • Vaccinations (if required)
  • Any covid tests required for entry to any countries or places of interest on your challenge itinerary
  • Bike and helmet – each participant must bring their own recently serviced bicycle and a helmet must be worn at all times whilst on your bike
  • Bike transfers and carnet costs to and from Italy 
  • Clothing and equipment listed on your Kit List
  • Getting to the start and from the finish of the trip
  • Lunch & dinner on days 6 & 7
  • Personal snacks and electrolytes
  • Any costs incurred with leaving the trip early, ie. accommodation, travel, etc.
  • Personal spending money.


Adventurous Ewe is committed to delivering our trips in a responsible and ethical manner. We respect and aim to operate our adventures to benefit local people, their economy and the environment!

Plus, our commitment to support of our environmental charity partner, Cool Earth, means you can rest assured knowing you’re taking on this challenge in a meaningful way.

Some of the ethical features embedded in this Great Italian Alps Cycling Challenge are:

  • Staying in smaller-scale locally owned accommodation
  • Buying locally produced food and drink, and dining in locally owned restaurants
  • Minimising plastic waste wherever possible
  • Careful management of limited energy and water resources
  • Offering real life experiences which promote cross-cultural understanding
  • Operating with a ‘leave no trace’ ethos – take only memories, leave only footprints
  • Adventurous Ewe will make a financial contribution to the environmental charity, Cool Earth, as part of our business partnership.

As Sir David Attenborough said:

“Helping Cool Earth to halt tropical deforestation makes a real difference. Perhaps the biggest difference we will make in our whole lives.”

We will continue to invest a % of our revenue into supporting critical conservation projects around the world through Cool Earth and we invite you, our valuable flock, to do the same. Please give what you can and help save the world’s rainforests today by simply clicking here. Just £2.50 will save 10 trees and lock up 10 tonnes of CO2.

Together, we can all make a difference in helping preserve this precious and wonderful planet.

8 days & 7 nights
Cost From
Trip Notes