Cycling in the Dolomites –
Sept 7th-14th 2013 – Completed. Please see Big Island Extreme
South Tyrol – surrounded by the majestic mountains of the Dolomites. Cypresses, orchards, and vineyards flank the winding roads to the top of famous mountain passes where former champions and tour winners fought for their victories. Challenge yourself with exhilarating climbs like never before.
With a Mediterranean climate and mild temperatures, South Tyrol is a paradise for the well-trained cycling enthusiast. Relax after your ride in luxury accommodations and experience local culinary delicacies, enjoy award-winning wines and learn about the history, culture and traditions of South Tyrol – the best-kept secret in cycling destinations.
At Velissimo – Cycling Destinations, we do our utmost to provide you with the best deluxe cycling vacations. Well-prepared cycling routes, highest standards, deluxe accommodations, fine dining experiences, and our all-inclusive service will make your Dolomites cycling vacation with us special.
Day 1 – Day of Arrival
You will meet your guide at the Bolzano airport. It’s only a short 20-min transfer from the airport to
our Hotel “Goldener Stern”, conveniently located in downtown Kaltern.
You have plenty of time to settle in and make yourself comfortable before we’ll fit your bike to you in the afternoon.
This will be followed by the first culinary highlight of your tour, a gourmet dinner paired with famous local wines, at the Fischer Keller.
Day 2 – Passo di Mendola & Gampen Joch
After a short warm-up, we’ll test our well-trained legs on the Category 1 climb up to the Passo di Mendola, 10.86 miles at an average grade of 6.3%. This pass has taken part in many Giro d’Italia climbs in the past.
We’ll have short break on the top of the Passo di Mendola to take a picture and refuel before we start our descent
of 5 miles to Fondo in the Trento region.
Another two CAT 2 climbs get us to the highest point (5,000’) of today’s tour the Gampen Joch.
Spectacular views and a 16 mile downhill is your award for all the hard work. For dessert we serve a CAT 4 climb of 1.71 mile length, at an average of 4.5%, before we cool down and enjoy the gorgeous scenery of the Traminer back country.
This evening you can enjoy your dinner at the Winehouse “Punkt”, load up on local specialties and taste some of the best wines this region has to offer.
Day 3 – 7 Passes
Say “goodbye” to the Traminer Valley, say “hello” to lots of climbing, heading north-east to the Rosengarten/Schlern region. “Surviving” the day is our motto, a grueling stage containing 7 passes, two Cat 1, one Cat 2, one Cat 3, one Cat 4 and one Cat 5 in 55 miles, all in all, 27 miles of uphill. Not easy, but remember where is uphill, there is downhill.
There will be lots of scenic highlights today, one to mention is the Karersee, a picture perfect lake in front of the beautiful Rosengarten, a mountain mass featured in many European movies and legendary to local inhabitants.
Be “King of the Mountain” or take the “autobus” in the gruppetto riding up winding roads toward the top at 5800’
After our last climb to Fie allo Sciliar or Foels am Schlern, our host town, a 5 course dinner paired with award winning wines is your reward for today’s effort. Nurse your tired body in a wonderful setting at the Hotel Turm, made up of three houses and towers. Each house and tower is unique in style and architecture. Take in the spectacular landscape dominated by the rugged rocky face of the Schlern on the terrace reviewing your day enjoying a Aperitif or Cappuchino.
Day 4 – Val di Gardena
This is a shorter day, never the less we still have to climb again. Refuel your storage tank at breakfast with local delicacies. We are taking it easy. The first part of today’s stage is mostly downhill. For lunch we’ll stop by a café for some alpine flavors like sweet strudel, or Toerggelen.
Taking the main road through Val di Gardena, spectacular views of the Dolomites and landscapes of a world -famous ski resort will make your last climb to our hotel easy. Spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing at our 4-star Boutique Hotel, or go for a stroll through the chic town of Selva, before we meet again for dinner at the Gourmet Restaurant Nives, with its exceptional reputation among gourmets for its excellent cuisine and professional service. Delicious dishes from the Mediterranean, international and regional cuisine will be served in a cosy and stylish ambience. The high quality of food is based on the use of best raw materials and seasonal organic products from South Tyrol. The sommelier looks forward to advise you with individual wine recommendations.
Day 5 – Sella Ronda 4 Passes
Well rested and full of enthusiasm we’ll start climbing. First Category 1 climb of the day, Passo di Sella, 5.79 miles at 6.9% average. Get your sticker of proof at the small convenience store on top at 7,263ft. Make sure you are taking a camera to preserve these incredible mountain vistas for the future.
Four miles of thrilling downhill will follow, before you take the turn to conquer the first of two Category 2 climbs of the day, Passo Pordoi, 3.95 miles at 5.7%. Pay attention on those twisting roads on your descent to Arraba, this little town has been part of many stages of the Giro d’Italia, you might see famous names painted on the asphalt along the way.
A short break at a café, and a good cup of Italian coffee gives us a boost for the next climb up the Passo di Campolongo. The pass is relatively short but feisty, 2.02 miles long at an average of 6.9%. Another four miles down the hill, we zoom through the town of Corvara and start the last battle of the day, the Passo di Gardena, 5.49 miles at 6.1% average, this is another Cat 1 climb!
Enjoy the exhilarating downhill back to our hotel and celebrate the day with another culinary dinner event.
Day 6 – Valparola and Falzaredo
Today we are feeling like Pro’s, we are starting with an appetizer of 4.64 miles and an average of 6.1%,
Climbing the Passo di Gardena in reverse. Restore you energy on the downhill toward the valley of Val Badia, built during WWI to supply the combat line at the Falzarego zone. Have the 8.33-mile long Passo di Valparola at 5.6% average grade for your entrée. The harsh white rock of the Dolomites line the twisted road to the top, the summit of the Valparola. It connects with the summit of the Passo di Falzarego, your desert for the day – no more climbs.
Welcome to the Veneto region, 13 more miles to Cortina’dAmpezzo, host of the 1956 Winter Olympics and the memorable James Bond movie “For your Eyes Only”. Relax in the afternoon at the Hotel’s own Spa, or take a stroll through this popular resort town.
Tonight you have the chance to explore the charming town of Cortina and choose a meal of your own.
Day 7 – Tre Croci
We start the day with a gentle incline up the valley to Schluderbach before we test our legs for the first time. Passing little lakes surrounded by the deep green of the trees, breathing in fresh mountain air – makes this first part of the ride a welcomed distraction.
Soon we reach the beginning of our highlight of the day, the climb up to the “Tre Cime di Lavaredo”. Tre Cime or “Three Pinnacles” are three distinctive battlement- like peaks in the Dolomites. They are probably one of the best known mountain massives in the Alps, and you would make a big mistake, if you ever missed this opportunity to cycle the Dolomites to the top. It’ll be a battle against yourself. The first part of the climb is 4.92 miles long with an average of 5.1%, before it kicks up to 9.1% average for another 2.85 miles, but unforgettable views from the top is paying for all your suffering. At this point, you can call it quits and relax in the van on the way back the hotel or challenge yourself once more with 14 more miles and another Cat 4 climb.
Dinner tonight is presented by Chef Michele Nobile, a silver medalist at the World Culinary Cup.
Day 8 – Farewell
Enjoy your last breakfast with your new cycling friends before saying “goodbye” to the beautiful Dolomites. We’ll take you to the Bressanone train station as you head off to your next destination. ~ Ciao, Goodbye, Aufwiedersehen.
What’s Included in Your Vacation Package
- Unforgettable mountain scenery!
- Deluxe accommodations at superior hotels
- Performance bicycle
- Breakfast and snack lunch
- 6 gourmet dinners including wine
- Tour guide
- Full support vehicle with luggage transport following the ride
- Transfer from meeting point to final drop-off
- Gratuities for hotel services, porters and baggage
- Custom Cycling Jersey
Inclusions are subject to change without notice. For more information, further questions, or to make a reservation: Call 1.800.219.2324 to speak with a Velissimo Cycling Tour Specialist.
- Airline or Train tickets to and from the trip pick-up/drop-off locations
- Lodging before or after the trip
- Gratuities for your Velissimo Guides
- Travel Insurance
- Personal expenses such as, mini bar, phone, non-scheduled activities or visits ( Spa treatments, massages, etc)
Hotel Goldener Stern Night 1 & 2
Located in the heart of Kaltern, “The Golden Star”, run by the Von Stefanelli family, has long embodied the tradition of
relaxation and regeneration. Comfortable rooms and suites, refurbished without losing the traditional feel, tempt you into dreaming and unwinding.
Old wooden beams, double bay windows, and sandstone doorways tell the story of days gone by, and the magnificent modern furnishings leaves no wish unchecked. Spacious rooms and carefully chosen finishing touches create an atmosphere where body and soul can escape the cares of everyday life.
Phone: +39 (0) 471 963 153
Hotel Turm Night 3
The century old estate is situated on an extensive plateau at the foot of the world-famous Dolomites mountain range, overlooking the Isarco Valley.
The hotel is made up of three houses and towers: the old tower, the Kraiterhaus with its round tower, the tower of The Owl, and the Wagenhaus. Each house and tower is unique in its style and architecture. The Turm, the old tower, dates back to the 13th century, and over the centuries has served as fortification, courthouse, and jail, before being turned into a hotel. Many things may have changed since those times, but one thing has survived to this day: the warm and welcoming atmosphere that makes people never want to leave.
Phone: +39 (0) 471 725 014
Hotel Nives Night 4 & 5
A Luxury and Design Hotel and Spa, the Nives sits in the center of Selva nestled in the famous Val Gardena in an unique and natural setting. Experience an unforgettable stay in an oasis of peace and comfort, combined with a stylish ambience and the comfy atmosphere of a family-run hotel.
Pamper yourself with high-class culinary delights in the exquisite gourmet restaurant, or treat yourself to a soothing body treatment in the Spa.
Phone: +34 (0) 471 771 052
Hotel Ancora Night 5 & 6
The Hotel Ancora settles in an emerald valley surrounded by the Dolomite Alps in Cortina d’Ampezzo. One of the oldest hotels in Cortina (built in 1826), the hotel is built in the characteristic Ampezzano style with wooden balconies and intricately carved and painted interior details.
The Hotel is right in the center of the pedestrian mall, which incorporates most of downtown Cortina, one of the most famous and elite resort towns in the world. Cortina is known for its exclusive clientele, fabulous shopping, and the hospitality of the mountain people.
Phone: +34 (0) 436 3261
South Tyrol, is located at the northernmost point of Italy, also known by its Italian name Alto Adige. It is one of the two autonomous provinces that make up the autonomous region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol.
Bordered by Austria to the east and north and by Switzerland to the west, Trento, Belluno, and Sondrio border to the southeast, south, and southwest, respectively.
The province with its capital city of Bolzano has an area of 2,857 sq mi and a total population of 511,750. The majority of the population speaks German. Around a quarter of the population speaks Italian, and a small minority speaks Ladin as their mother language.
South Tyrol is granted a considerable level of self-government, consisting of a large range of exclusive legislative powers and a fiscal regime that allows the province to retain 90% of all levied taxes.
The main characteristics of South Tyrol are undoubtedly its nature, culture, relaxation, and pleasure. An abundance of park-like landscapes of vineyards, forests, meadows, and pastures confined by high mountain valleys and lakes – home to fascinating castles, old manor houses, churches and monasteries. Excellent dining, spectacular wines and luxury accommodations.
South Tyrol boasts over 300 sunny days a year, favoring the growth of palm trees, cypresses, lemon trees and last but not least, grapevines and orchards.
You will have great access to many flights from all US major airports to Italy.
Your final destination is the Bolzano Aeroporto Francesco Baracca (BZO), via Rome.
Alitalia and AirAlps offer several daily flights to Bolzano.
Please do not book your flight until you’ve confirmed your reservation with a Velissimo representive, but plan your arrival time in Rome to be around 8:30am. The next flight to Bolzano will leave at 10:30am, this will allow enough time for transfer.
A Velissimo – Cycling Destinations Guide will meet and greet you at the airport. From the airport, it’s only a short 20-minute drive to your hotel.
A valid passport is required to enter Italy. U.S citizens are among the ones who may enter Italy for tourist or business purposes for up to 90 days without a Visa. For more information on entry requirements based on your citizenship, please contact your embassy or consulate in Italy. U.S. Citizens may also refer to the U.S. Department of State section.
South Tyrol is well connected and offers an extensive train system. You’ll most likely be coming from Verona or Milano. Connections via Innsbruck, Vienna, Munich or Zurich are decent but plan several hours to reach Bolzano.
Please note that the train schedule is subject to change.
If you opt to arrive earlier to avoid jet lag, or if you need assistance with your travel plans in conjunction with your Velissimo tour, we will be glad to help you. Please contact your Velissimo Cycling Destinations Tour Coordinator at 1-800-219-2324.