DAY 1: Arrive in Acqui Terme
The hot sulphur springs of Acqui Terme have been famous since Roman times. A delightful little city Acqui Terme has been authentically restored and sights include the Gothic Acqui Cathedral, Palaeologi Castle, the 10th century Church of San Pietro and the roman aqueduct on the outskirts of town.
Hip little shops, countless restaurants and friendly locals will earn Acqui Terme a place in your heart.
Acqui Terme is easily accessed from five major airports – Malpensa, Linate, Nice, Genoa and Torino by train or bus.
Overnight: The elegant and tranquil Hotel Roma Imperiale**** occupies a 19th century villa and boasts a outdoor pool, spa and fine dining.
Alternatively the Grand Hotel Nuove Terme**** occupies a historic building dating from 1891 right in the centre of Acqui Terme on the cathedral square. It has a large indoor pool and spa facilities.
Acqui Terme to Gavi
Leaving Acqui Terme you will cycle to Gavi through green rolling hills and verdant valleys, famous for the ‘Gavi de Gavi’ white wine, and the homeland of Italy’s legendary cyclist, Fausto Coppi.
Cycle: 59km / 37 miles
Overnight: The delightful four star Hotel L’Ostelliere is located on a large wine estate. Impeccably presented rooms, fabulous views, an outdoor pool and fine restaurant will make you wish you were staying for longer.
Alternatively the four star Hotel Villa Pomela. Looking more like a castle than a hotel the building dates from the 1690’s and has been sympathetically converted into a comfortable country hotel set in beautiful parkland.
Gavi to Vignale Monferrato
Leaving Gavi you descend to the flood plain alongside the Tanaro River, a tributary of the River Po. Your route is punctuated by small villages and large castles – many of which are built from the characteristic red brick of the region.
Vignale Monferrato, the wine capital of the area, awaits you, where you can enjoy a well-deserved glass of Barolo.
Cycle: 69km / 43 miles
Overnight: Agriturismo Cascina Alberta is located two kilometres from town on a hilltop which boasts wonderful views of the surrounding countryside. At the heart of a working wine estate the authentic farmhouse is backed up by a warm welcome and wholesome food.
Or Anticoborgo B&B, which is located on the edge of the village and enjoys expansive views over the Monferrato Hills towards the Alps.
Vignale Monferrato to Asti
Leaving Monferrato you can look forward to a relaxed ride to the beautiful capital of the province, Asti. Cycling through the Barbara wine hills you pass through the picturesque villages of Fubine, Montemagno and Portacomaro.
Asti lies at the heart of the region famous for the production of Asti Spumante (DOCG) sparkling wine. With a history dating back to Neolithic times the charming old town centres on the triangular shaped Piazza Alfieri.
Famous for its towers, of which 120 still stand, you must also visit the Torre dei Comentini (13th C), the octagonal Torre de Regibus (13th C) and the Rossa di San Secondo, built during the reign of the Roman Emperor Augustus.
If you visit Asti in September you are in for a treat. The famous Palio horse race, where riders and horses don medieval garb is held on the third Sunday. Even better news is that in the two weeks prior to the Palio local wine producers gather for the the Douja d'Or, an exhibition of local vintages accompanied by tastings of special dishes from the great Astesan chefs and a busy entertainment programme.
Cycle: 50km / 31 miles
Overnight: Either the 4 star Hotel Palio, a comfortable modern hotel or the contemporary 4 star Hotel Aleramo. Both are located less than 100 metres from the historic centre of Asti.
Asti to Benevello
Today’s ride takes you through the heart of Barolo, one of Italy’s most prestigious wine producing regions via the city of Alba.
The centre of Alba has pre-Roman origins, and the city itself is in a polygonal form, with parts of the fortified gate and other marble and mosaics still visible. The cobbled streets of Alba are lined with chic bars and boutiques and the restaurant scene is second to none.
The Ferrero Rocher factory on the edge of town makes some of the world’s best selling chocolate, but for a real treat dive into one of the divine little pastry shops.
Alba is famous for its prized white truffles. The truffle fair takes place on the six weekends from the beginning of October to mid November and brings the city to life.
Leaving Alba you can look forward to 15 more kilometres through rolling hills covered with fragrant peach orchards and hazelnut woods to Benevello, where you will be based for two nights.
Cycle: 57km / 36 miles
Overnight: Hotel Relais Montemarino
Standing in the shade of an old chestnut tree the hotel was created from the renovation of a nineteenth century farmhouse.
The hotel, which has a swimming pool, is surrounded by the unspoilt beauty of the Langhe Hills. Each of the 27 rooms, all different, are tastefully and imaginatively furnished and equipped with all modern facilities.
Circular route from Benevello
Today’s circular route is challenging in places, winding through the Alte Langhe and its hazelnut forests. The surrounding villages of Serravalle and Cissone are great places to stop and appreciate the rural Italian lifestyle. On your return you wind through the back roads, along the steep Nebbiolo and Barbara vineyards, with spectacular views of Alps.
Cycle: 23/32km / 14/20 miles
Overnight: Hotel Relais Montemarino
Benevello to Acqui Terme
Your last cycling day takes you to back to Acqui Terme. Enjoy the relaxed cycling along the Bormida river, and discover the old villages of Cessole and Bubbio on your way. The beautiful Romanesque bridge of Monastero Bormida is a great example of the mediaeval architecture of the region.
Cycle: 54km / 34 miles
Overnight: 4 star Hotel Roma Imperiale or 4 star Grand Hotel Nuove Terme
Depart Acqui Terme
Your holiday ends after breakfast.
You can add additional nights at any point before, during or after the tour or elsewhere in Italy.
This cycling tour is graded moderate. Daily distances range between 32– 69 km with between 400-800 meters of climbing each day.
The route follows country lanes and secondary roads with light traffic, although inevitably near the larger towns there is more traffic.
We supply you with detailed route notes and maps for each day’s journey, so you should have no problem following the route.
The accommodation on this trip is fabulous. A combination of stylish four-star hotels in the larger towns and excellent country hotels and inns in the countryside. An authentic experience of the best of Italy!
During high season, or when your stay falls on a closing day, you might be booked into a different accommodation which is not listed in the description. Any alternative accommodation will be of the same or better standard as those described.
Single Rooms & Solo Travellers
If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable.
This holiday is available for solo cyclists but as some costs are not shared there is a supplement payable.
A delicious breakfast is included each morning. Lunch and dinner are not included. You can pick up a picnic lunch before you set off or stop along the route in one of the villages. Dinner is available either at your accommodation or nearby restaurants.
Your bags will be transferred between your accommodation as per your itinerary. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.
Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which lists everything you need to pack.
Rental Bikes (not included)
Rental bikes are available to hire at an additional cost. We offer 21-gear hybrid bikes which come with a puncture repair kit, pump and lock.
Getting to/from Acqui Terme
By Air: The most convenient airports to fly into are Genoa (1hr), Milan (2hr) and Turin (2hr). All are well-served by major and low-cost airlines.
By Train: From Milan, depart Central Station (two changes).
Genoa has a direct service from Porta Principe or Brignole stations.
From Turin, depart Porta Nuova for direct trains, although sometimes you will have to make one change.
Please see www.trenitalia.com for train times, or www.raileurope.com
By Bus: From Milan, depart Milano Famagosta Station (Linee Veloce) Mon-Fri.
From Turin, depart Corso Vittorio Emanuele for Acqui Terme. (Linea 025/10)
Please see: http://www.arfea.it/
It is a condition of booking with us that you have suitable travel insurance that covers you for cancellation, curtailment, illness or injury.
We are often asked the following questions and I hope that you will find the answers useful. Don't hesitate to contact one of our Italy specialists if you have any further queries.
How fit do I need to be?
This cycling holiday is graded moderate and daily distances range between 32-69km and 400-800m of climbing per day. To get the most from this trip it is advised that you are a regular cyclist and used to cycling uphill and downhill.
What happens if I have a problem with my bike?
You are expected to be able to take care of minor repairs and punctures. In the case of a major mechanical problem we would send our representative to assist.
When is the best time of year?
The cycling is fabulous from April through October. October is high season for truffles! July and August can be very hot and there is not much shade on the roads so you will have to start early to miss the heat of the day.
How far in advance do I need to book?
We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as this area is extremely popular. You will find up to date availability on our website and we will always try and accommodate your plans so just ask.
What personal equipment do I need?
You will need normal cycling clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers and warm clothes in the Spring or Autumn. A detailed kit list will be provided in your information pack.
Which is the best airport?
The most convenient airports to fly into are Genoa (1hr), Milan (2hr) and Turin (2hr). All are well-served by major and low-cost airlines.