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On this cycle journey we ride down the magnificent glacial valleys of the South Tyrol, past the jagged backdrop of the Dolomites to the beautiful setting of Lake Garda. Cross Lake Garda to explore the grand architecture and cultural heritage of Verona and Venice, where our journey ends. Along the way we sample the local wine and stay in charming and elegant alpine towns.
Explore Tour Leader
6 nights comfortable hotel
1 nights simple hotel
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Our trip begins at Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE) at 4.15pm in the arrivals hall. If you would like to join the complimentary airport transfer today, the latest your flight can arrive is 3.45pm. Your Tour Leader will be waiting in the hall with an Explore signboard at the exit doors from the immigration/luggage retrieval area. Please be aware that they may be waiting to greet both customers whose flight has just arrived as well as those who arrived earlier, so they may be looking in a different direction to the one you're approaching from.
To help us monitor flight arrivals, if you have not booked your flights through Explore, you must let us know your flight details at least 30 days before the start of your trip. If you don't tell us these details, and you do not make the fixed joining time of 4.15pm at Venice airport, we will be unable to ascertain if this is because of a flight delay. This makes it very difficult for the Tour Leader to decide whether to delay the group transfer for you. If you don't tell us your flight details and miss the joining time through flight delay, we expect you to make your own way to the hotel in Merano. A taxi for this three hour journey will cost in the region of €550.00.
After meeting up we will then travel together as a group (260 kilometre/161.5 miles, approximately 3 hours) to our hotel for the night in the Alpine town of Merano. After check in the Leader will organise timings for the welcome meeting, bike fitting and a group meal for those interested.
Located in the South Tyrol, Merano enjoys a fine setting sat in a basin at an altitude of 325 metres/1155 feet surrounded by mountains over 3000 metres/9843 feet high. It has been famed as a spa town since the 9th century and only became part of modern Italy after the First World War. Prior to this it formed part of the Hapsburg Empire which explains the prevailing Germanic culture, language and food in this region. This evening there will be a short briefing by our Tour Leader about the week ahead.
Residence Flora (or similar)
After breakfast and ensuring everyone is happy with their bikes we commence our first cycle ride, much of which is flat, as we make our way to Bolzano on a bike path amidst alpine meadows. We leave Merano then make our way down the scenic Adige Valley cycle path past endless vineyards and apple orchards, against a backdrop of Alpine mountains. We ride on this cycle path all the way to the town of Bolzano, the capital of South Tyrol. After arriving in the late afternoon there is free time to explore Bolzano and perhaps visit some of the museums or take the Funivia Renon (cable car) up the mountainside to enjoy spectacular views over the valley.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 35 kilometres/21.7 miles (Total 100 metres/328 feet ascent, 200 metres/656 feet descent).
Hotel Regina (or similar)
This morning we continue our journey by bike from Bolzano to the impressive setting of Lake Caldaro on a longer ride. From the crystal clear waters of Lake Caldaro the ride follows the beautiful 'Strada del Vino' (wine road) leading through numerous wine-producing villages and along the way we plan to stop at a vineyard for an optional wine tasting. We then descend into the Adige valley and enter a bike path that takes you all the way to Trento. Along the way we may make a stop at one of the 'Bici Grills' (cyclists bar) and visit century-old villages such as Egna and Salorno. Please note that although the route is largely on the flat, it is not unusual to encounter headwinds that slow you down. For this reason there is the option to reduce today's ride by 24 kilometre/14.9 miles by taking the train from Mezzocorona to Trento (approx 15 Euros per person depending on numbers, this must be arranged previously with the Tour Leader as the bikes need to be transported separately). We should arrive into Trento in the late afternoon. The town has an impressive setting in the Dolomites and within the town itself there are several interesting sites including Buonconsiglio castle, museums and other historical buildings.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 72 kilometres/44.7 miles (Total 100 metres/328 feet ascent, 150 metres/492 feet descent). There is the option to reduce today's ride by 24 kilometres/14.9 miles.
Hotel America (or similar)
We start the day with a very short bus ride from Trento to Cadine. Our cycle route leads us up and out of the Adige Valley, taking in superb views and a number of smaller lakes such as Toblino Lake which is dominated by a small castle. We continue on to the village of Arco - a famous rock-climbing mecca. The cycling today is nearly all along dedicated bike paths and towards the end of our ride we are rewarded with stunning views of Lake Garda. Upon arrival into Torbole in the mid- to late-afternoon we check into our hotel. The rest of the day is left free and we recommend a walk through the historic village of Torbole. In the early evening and for dinner you may consider walking or taking a taxi to the historic town of Riva del Garda, some 3 to 4kilometre/1.8 to 2.4 miles away, along the lake shore.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 42 kilometres/26.1 miles (Total 300 metres/984 feet ascent, 660 metres/2165feet descent).
Bike Hotel Caravel (or similar)
We start the day with a relaxing and beautiful public ferry ride (2.5 hours) south across Lake Garda to the town of Bardolino. From the port we ride through town on regular roads for about 2 kilometres/1.2 miles, after which we continue on small country roads which lead us to a bike path that we follow for the last section of cycling into Verona. Although we continue mostly along urban cycle paths the traffic levels inevitably increase on the ride into the city of Verona. We spend the next two nights in the beautiful city of Verona; the setting for Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Over the next couple of days you will have time to visit the city's Roman amphitheatre, the Duomo, see Ponte Scaligero and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere in one of the several piazzas.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 29 kilometres/18 miles (Total 250 metres/820 feet ascent, 245 metres/803 feet descent).
Hotel Fiera (or similar)
Today we cycle to Soave mainly along quiet country roads, with sections of dedicated bike path and an interesting section alongside old irrigation channels (fossi) built in Roman times. The ride is generally flat with one steep hill (for about 1.5 kilometres/0.9 miles) just before we reach the village of Colognola ai Colli. From here we cycle into the beautiful wine growing region of Soave, known particularly for its fresh, fruity and light-bodied white wines which are made mostly with the local Garganega grapes. The town of Soave grew up around its imposing medieval military castle, one of the best examples of castle architecture in Veneto. For a long period of time it suffered feudal quarrels, invasions and defeats and as a result has a rich history. The final kilometre or so of the ride, from Soave to the train station in Bonifacio, encounters unavoidable busier sections of road. We return to Verona by train then cycle once again through the city to our hotel, leaving some free time in the afternoon to explore the city. There is the option of a two hour guided tour.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 35 kilometres/21.7 miles (Total 200 metres/656 feet ascent, 235 metres/771 feet descent).
After breakfast we catch the train to Venice where we enjoy a full day for sightseeing. The Explore Leader will provide an orientation tour and can arrange an optional two hour guided tour of the city for those interested. For those interesting it may be possible for the Tour Leader to arrange a visit to a barcarolo artisan workshop where the gondola's are still built in the traditional way. The rest of the day is free to explore at leisure. At the end of the day we make our way back to Mestre by bus where we spend the night. Mestre is located on the mainland and connected to Venice by a short bus ride.
No cycling today.
A&O Hostel Mestre (or similar)
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Mestre.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like an airport transfer today, you need to depart from Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE), which is around 20 minutes from the hotel.
Total distance : 213 kilometres
April/May and October/November are pleasantly warm. June to September are the hottest months. Showers are common in Autumn.
2 Pin Round
Pannier hire - 15 Euros Gorlenza - Castle 8 Euros Roncolo castle 8 Euros (open Tue-Sun www.runkelstein.info/runkelstein_en/history.asp) 8 Euros Oetzi 'ice man' museum (www.iceman.it/en ) 9 Euros Cable car to the Renon plateau and visit the natural earth 'pyramids' Modern Art Musem Caldaro or Termeno - wine tasting 10 Euros Trento - Buon Consiglio castle (www.buonconsiglio.it/index.php/en/Buonconsiglio-Castle) 8 Euros Verona - Arena 3 Euros, Casa di Giulietta museum (www.turismoverona.eu/nqcontent.cfm?a_id=35876&lang=en) 6 Euros Venice - Guided visit including Basilica di San Marco 20 Euros, city guide half day 120 Euros per group, vaporetto 8 Euros, water taxi approx. 14 Euros (depending on numbers)
When cycling: quick drying cycle tops, padded cycle shorts, lightweight wind and water proof jacket and warmer breathable layers where local conditions require. General: Pack layers of clothes essentially for mild or hot weather depending on the time of the year, but remember a warm fleece if travelling at the start or end of the season as the weather can be changeable. Temperature and rainfall is more or less the same for all places visited, with the exception of Verona where it rains less in July and August. In spring/autumn rain tends to be lighter and more prolonged while in summer it comes down as shorter heavier downpours. In summer the Adige valley is very hot and temperatures are normally above 30°C and often goes over 35°C. https://en.climate-data.org/region/419/?page=2
If you are not bringing cycle shoes then try to bring stiff-soled shoes as these are better for cycling - transmitting your energy into the pedals more efficiently. This becomes more relevant and recommended the more demanding the grade and distances to cover. SPD cycle shoes are not well suited to tours that combine sightseeing with cycling. Comfortable shoes, trainers, sandals or flip flops are useful when not on the bike.
We recommend you bring a daypack and one main piece of luggage (total allowance: 44lb/20kg) which will be transported between hotels while you cycle. Check the bike details section to see if a pannier or handlebar bag is provided on the bike.
Our bike supplier requires that the wearing of helmets whilst cycling is compulsory. Please bring your own helmet from home. In case of an accident resulting in personal injury, certain insurance policies are invalidated in cases where a helmet was not being worn. Cycle glasses to protect against dust, pollen and the sun, padded cycle gloves and a water bottle or water delivery system (e.g. camelback or platypus) are also useful. You may choose to bring your own gel seat cover for added comfort. If a handle bar bag or pannier is not provided (check bike details) then you may like to bring a small rucksack to wear while cycling. Other items to consider bringing are a sunhat and sun cream, torch, earplugs and insect repellent. Please carry some or all of your cycling equipment e.g. helmet as part of your hand luggage.
Bus, Bicycle, Train
All of the hotels we use on this trip are graded Comfortable with the exception of the final night in Venice Mestre which we have graded as Simple. Comfortable grade mid-range accommodation offers a good level of service often with other amenities such as a restaurant, bar, garden or swimming pool. Rooms will be comfortable with en-suite facilities. Due to the massive demand for accommodation in Venice and the surrounding areas, many hotels are unwilling to offer the block allocation of rooms that we need for our groups for just a single night. We stay at the A O Hostel in Mestre. This is a large, modern and clean accommodation where we stay in twin and single rooms with private en suite facilities, decorated in a no-frills contemporary style. The property's dormitory style rooms are located on a different floor of the building. Located just a few minutes north of the Venice-Mestre station there are excellent connections to the island of Venice.
Can you drink the water?
It is generally possible to drink the local tap water, therefore to reduce the need for single-use plastic bottles we recommend you bring a refillable water bottle with you. Your leader will advise you on refill points each day.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Visas are not required by UK, EU Nationals, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Nothing required. Tetanus recommended. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.