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From the Dolomites to Lake Garda Cycling

From the Dolomites to Lake Garda Cycling

      from 13 reviews

From the Dolomites to Lake Garda Cycling

  • Relaxed waterfront towns, cosmopolitan cities, traditional pastel-painted Alpine villages
  • Unique fusion of mountain and Mediterranean climates, lifestyles and cultures
  • Flower-filled meadows, sun-soaked vineyards, terraced fruit orchards
  • Imposing Tyrol castles and historic Renaissance palaces
  • Riva, 'Pearl of Lake Garda' - with optional extra nights available
  • Holiday typeSelf-guided cycling
  • Duration9 nights, hotel-to-hotel
  • Activity level
  • Excellent for
  • From $2120 per person, tour only
  • Holiday details
  • All buffet breakfasts
  • Managed by Headwater appointed agent
  • Sustainability rating: 88%
  • Route notes and maps provided
  • High quality bikes provided
  • Luggage transfers between hotels

We're here to help

If you've any questions about this holiday call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 , or email info@breakaway-adventures.com

Boasting 300 days of sunshine a year, bright Trentino-Alto Adige is a timeless bilingual region at the crossroads of Italy and Austria.

As its double-barrelled name suggests, the region is made up of two areas: Trentino, in the south, is 98% Italian-speaking, whilst the mountainous terrain around Bolzano - known both as the Sudtirol (South Tyrol) and Alto Adige - has a unique mix of Italian and German landscapes, languages (German is the first language) and architecture. The architecture is that of the Austrian Tyrol: onion-domed churches stand in Alpine villages, where quaint wooden houses enjoy a mountain backdrop.

Offering a stunning yet dominant backdrop to the region is the UNESCO Dolomites, their jagged rock walls overlook the deep green meadows, acres of fragrant apple orchards and, further south, the lush vineyards of Trentino below.

Pedalling on well-maintained cycle tracks from your starting point in the mountain range in Sudtirol, you'll head through the emerald Val Pusteria valley, passing three rivers (Rienza, Isarco and Adige) en route to Riva on the lemon-lined shores of Lake Garda - a lively town with a mix of sun-worshippers and activity-seekers.

Along the route you'll stay in some wonderful towns. Distinctively Germanic, Villabassa, Brunico and Bressanone boast wooden buildings, beautiful squares and riverside settings. Bolzano is the turning point where Italy creeps upon you, its large piazzas, linked by porticoed streets, all shadowed by the mountains. Onwards into Trentino, and to the town of Trento where Italy arrives with a bang, the volume rises, as you wander within the old walls, admiring the mix of buildings from the C13 castle, to Renaissance and Venetian piazzas and grand buildings.

The local food is a splendid blend of the Austro-Italian cultures, where you'll easily find a traditional German beef pancake soup (Fladlesuppe) or a meat schnitzel being served alongside a sliced steak salad (tagliata), or apple strudel (apfelstrudel) next to panna cotta. Two staples of the region are pizza and cured meat, which are perfect washed down with a fruity red or fresh dry white wine or a beer. They seem to take the best food from both cultures, so large buffet breakfasts come with good fresh Italian coffee.

En route you'll stay in **** hotels located in the centre of the towns - offering the chance to sample the local food in a simple pizzeria or even a high-end restaurant. The accommodation styles vary from quaint Tyrolean-style hotels to a relaxing spa hotel in Riva. Four have swimming pools.

Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in Villabassa

Perhaps have a stroll along the river before heading out for dinner. (Staying at the Hotel Adler, Breakfast only)

Day 2 Villabassa to Brunico 25km/16mi or 36km/22.5mi

There are two options on your first day. The longer option is a short circle to visit Dobbiaco with its beautiful church and back to Villabassa. Then you'll continue along the Val de Pusteria following the milky blue Rienza River, passing deep green meadows, whilst mountains loom above. You'll admire a series of quaint Austrian-style towns, where there are plenty of opportunities to stop and have refreshments. Arriving in Brunico, take the time to walk up to its castle and enjoy wonderful views of the town. (Staying at the Hotel Corso, Breakfast only)

Day 3 Brunico to Bressanone 45km/28.5mi

Make your way to the head of the Val Pusteria today, continuing along the Rienza river, passing castles and lovely towns. You could wander around Chienes, with its Baroque church and the parish church with the best-preserved altar in the Tirol. Just before Rio Pusteria you'll see the impressive ruins of the Chiesa di Rio Pusteria, and heading onwards, the biggest fort in Alto Adige, the Forte di Fortezza. Then it's on a forested track to meet the Isarco River and into Bressanone, perhaps stopping at the Abbiaza di Novacella (or return on your day off).(Staying at Hotel Gruner Baum, Breakfast only)

Day 4 At Bressanone

You could easily spend the day exploring the stunning town of Bressanone. Visit the C10 cathedral, rebuilt in Baroque style in the C13, the Renaissance Bishop's Palace, which houses several artworks, including a nativity scene with more than 5,000 figurines, and the interesting Pharmacy Museum. Or cycle back to visit the Abbiaza de Novacella or take a trip on the Plose cable car from nearby San Andrea. (Staying at Hotel Gruner Baum, Breakfast only)

Day 5 Bressanone to Bolzano 44km/27.5mi

The Isarco River leads you out of Bressanone. The cycle tracks today hug the river, at times you are almost above the river, as you meander along the edge. Take time to stop in impressive Chiusa, the mediaeval town with narrow streets and little art and craft shops. Standing above the town is the impressive Castel Sabbiona. Enjoy the downhill ride as you criss-cross the river on perfect cycle tracks. At the exit of the village of Blumau, perhaps stop for lunch in their lovely beer garden before heading into Bolzano for your next two nights. (Staying at Hotel Scala Stiegl, Breakfast only)

Day 6 At Bolzano

Bolzano is a treat of a city to walk round; it was in 2014 voted as having the 'best quality of life in Italy'. It is where Italy really begins, despite still being in the German-speaking region, 75% of its inhabitants now speak Italian as first language. Aside from wandering around the city's piazzas and porticoes, there are some interesting monuments and museums. The big attractions are the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, which houses a mummy of Otzi the Iceman, the Gothic cathedral, modern art museum, or the Dominican Church housing a series of C14 gothic art. There are also three castles and a cable car that takes you out of the city to the small town of Ritten, where there are some nice walking routes. Alternatively, you can take the train to the spa town of Merano, and cycle back along the Adige River for 32km. (Staying at Hotel Scala Stiegl, Breakfast only)

Day 7 Bolzano to Trento 65km/41mi

The longest day of the holiday is a lovely flat ride following the Adige River, and the narrow Adige valley, passing beautiful cliffs as you cross into Trentino and out of German-speaking Italy. Apples turn to vines as you cycle alongside vineyards. Maybe take time to stop in Egna, once a Roman village, you can still see one of the old Roman houses and pass the old arcades in the old town. Follow the river through a lovely relaxed nature reserve before arriving in bustling Trento with its stunning architecture. (Staying at Grand Hotel Trento, Breakfast only)

Day 8 At Trento

Highlights today include the Piazza del Duomo where the magnificent late Baroque fountain is framed by the C12 Romanesque-Gothic cathedral and the frescoed Museo Diocesano Tridentino, home to one of the most important ecclesiastical collections in the country. Don't miss either the Castello del Buonconsiglio, residence of the Prince-Bishops of Trento between C13-C18, and the Via Prepositura, where beautifully restored pastel buildings date back to the ancient Roman City. (Staying at Grand Hotel Trento, Breakfast only)

Day 9 Trento to Riva del Garda 48km/30mi

You'll have a real sense of achievement today as you complete your final leg, with the option to visit Rovereto en route, down from the mountains to the shimmering waters of Lake Garda. Writers and artists, inspired by the wild beauty and vibrant Mediterranean-style colours, have been coming here for centuries, with Goethe calling it 'a marvel of nature, an enchanting place'. (Staying at Hotel Astoria Park, Breakfast only)

Day 10 Leave Riva del Garda

We take you to Rovereto for your train to Verona or onwards, or maybe spend a couple of extra nights relaxing on the lake.

Where you stay

During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking. You can call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 to discuss accommodation options.

If you'd like to keep your bikes with you for any extra nights we can arrange this for you for just £25 per adult per day. Please contact us on 1-800-567-6286 for further details.

Hotel Adler, Villabassa (****)

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This award-winning, family-run hotel maintains the highest standards of South Tyrolean hospitality with a refined personal touch. The hotel itself combines the traditional with the modern and, following this ethos, the rooms and suites all have their own individual and sometimes eclectic style, and are all furnished to a very high standard. The hotel’s restaurant offers tasty Tyrolean fayre, Mediterranean dishes as well as international specialities.

The hotel’s wellness centre includes relaxation rooms, an indoor swimming pool and sensory showers as well as a Finnish sauna, steam bath and vitarium (similar to the Finnish sauna but a lower temperature).

Find out more on the hotel website and read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

Room upgrades are not available at this hotel.

Please contact us for extra night prices.

Hotel Corso, Brunico (4*)

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The hotel Corso is superbly located in the centre of lovely Brunico. Sitting on the main boulevard, the hotel is traditionally decorated with a lovely facade, the hotel dates back to more than 300 years. The rooms are large and airy with traditional decor. The hotel has it's own restaurant and pizzeria, and offers a turkish bath and sauna with beautiful views of Brunico castle.

Find out more on the hotel website and read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

Room upgrades are not available at this hotel.

Please contact us for extra night prices.

Hotel Guner Baum, Bressanone (4*)

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The hotel Gruner Baum sits across the river from the centre of historic Bressanone. The hotel has two building the main hotel and it's annex the Residence Gasser, rooms can be either in the main hotel or the Residence. Both offer comfortable large rooms, some of those in the Residence have balconies over looking the river.

Attached to the hotel is a large Spa and Wellness centre complete with indoor and outdoor pool, sauna and a gym.

Find out more on the hotel website and read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

Room upgrades are not available at this hotel.

Please contact us for extra night prices.

Hotel Scala Stiegl, Bolzano (4*)

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Hotel Stiegl Scala is a perfect mix of old-world charm and modern design, close to Bolzano Station. Dating back to 1898, the hotel boasts a beautiful garden with a seasonal swimming pool.This historic hotel has undergone a number of refurbishments over the years and provides all the latest amenities. Each room comes with free Wi-Fi and some overlook the surrounding hills and vineyards.

Start your day at the Stiegl Scala with a generous breakfast out on the patio. The hotel features a bar and lounge. The elegant salon dates back to the 1920s when it was a reading room. The hotel is ideally located for enjoying all that Bolzano has to offer, close to the most popular shops and the cable cars.

Find out more on the hotel website and read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

Room upgrades are not available at this hotel.

Please contact us for extra night prices.

Hotel Astoria Park Spa Resort, Riva del Garda (4*S)

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The Astoria park hotel provides an oasis just 1km from the old town of Riva. The hotel boast 15000 square metres of park, which includes a large outdoor swimming pool. There is also a large Spa with a small indoor pool. For those who don't want to venture into town for dinner, the hotel also has an a la carte restaurant.

The rooms have been modernly decorated and are light and airy many with mountain and park view. The hotels offers a large buffet breakfast with hot and cold dishes, in summer months this can be taken outside on the veranda.

Find out more on the hotel website and read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

Room upgrades are not available at this hotel.

Please contact us for extra night prices.

Extending your stay

If you'd like to extend your trip with extra nights at the start or end, or if you'd like to arrange a stop off point en-route, then we recommend the following hotels.

Hotel Kette, Venice (****)

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The Hotel Kette is set in the heart of Venice, a short distance from Teatro La Fenice, from via XXII marzo, the elegant shopping street, 2 minutes from piazza San Marco and only 10 minutes from Ponte di Rialto. So this is an excellent base for exploring the many delights Venice has in store.

The 63 en suite rooms are immaculately furnished and are fully worthy of the four-star rating.

It is possible to reserve a non-smoking room (please contact us and we will request this for you).

Find out more on the hotel website and read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

Room upgrades are not available at this hotel.

Please contact us for extra night prices.

Giulietta e Romeo , Verona (***)

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The Giulietta e Romeo hotel, named after the town's most famous lovers, lies in a quiet side street just yards from the Arena. The hotel is fairly modern in style and very comfortable. There is a large lobby area, which leads onto the breakfast room, which is decorated in white with subtle lighting and art deco friezes on the windows.

The rooms are all carpeted and traditionally decorated in blue and red décor with cherry wood furniture. They are all en-suite and have double-glazing so there is little noise from the street. A couple of rooms even have the famous Juliet style balcony if you fancy a re-inaction!

Parents of under 10 year olds should be aware that some rooms at the Hotel Giulietta e Romeo have a balcony with a step up.

Find out more on the hotel website and read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

Room upgrades are not available at this hotel.

Please contact us for extra night prices.


Transfers included from Bolzano train station at 15:14, and back to Rovereto train station at 06:00.

Please call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 or email info@breakaway-adventures.com to arrange connecting flights.


Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus, of course, an overall rating and comments about their holiday.

Any feedback collected is posted straight to our website - totally unedited. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

Mrs Simpson

Well organised, easy cycling through great scenery. Good hotels and great transfers

Mrs Godsall

We really enjoyed this holiday which introduced us to a beautiful and interesting part of Italy. The cycling is mainly on cycle paths so traffic free and not much uphill. It was lovely to visit Lake Garda but it was busy and we would have preferred to have an extra night at Lake Caldaro instead. We also thought if we repeated this holiday we would prefer to cycle from Caldaro to Trento ourselves.

Mr Miller

Simply stunning scenery and a really lovely daily cycle!

Ms Cockshott

Easy cycle, a lot of free-wheeling, well signed routes and amazing views. Great hotels in good locations. We enjoy the included meals & were not disappointed with those on this trip but would have liked more. Would certainly recommend even though the first cycle day was very rainy. Paid for an upgrade in Merano and ended up with the penthouse loft suite - very nice, shame we were only there 2 nights.

Ms Heard

Of the seven cycling holidays we have done with Headwater this was by far the most scenic and varied. Very enjoyable cycling along the excellent cycle paths. Meeting other cyclists and having plenty of good picnic spots and/or small refreshment opportunities on route was delightful. An extra day in Merano was well worth it. We spent the day going up in the cable car to Merano 2000 for a walk on the mountains before a delicious lunch in an Alpine restaurant. We thought the grading of 2 bikes wa... read mores a bit high compared to previous Headwater holidays and, apart from a couple of hills, was fairly easy cycling. This, of course, maybe that on cycle paths one doesn't have to content with traffic therefore it appears easier. One word of caution. Taking ones bike on the train to Trento was an ordeal. Lifting bikes on and off Italian trains requires super human strength, not to mention trying to negotiate getting two bikes into the lifts to access the appropriate platform! As two over 60 year old ladies this was not a plesant experience. Our final highlight of the holiday was the extra two nights in Verona and seeing Aida at the Arena di Verona - superb and well worth it.

Overall this was an excellent holiday and if it was not for the train journey one we would repeat.

Mrs Honeywood

Our first experience with Headwater and chosen with our teenage daughter in mind as well as our enjoyment of cycling. Wonderful views and an interesting area to cycle in. The cycling was mainly all on tarmaced paths with only a couple of slight climbs. We enjoyed the variety of scenery and places to stop off at. We tended to make our own picnics as there were such lovely places to stop, but there are numerous cafes for drinks and food. We found the time spent in Merano a little long, but ... read morewalked up to Dorf Tirol and spent the afternoon at the local swimming pool with the most stunning views - possibly the coldest pool I have swum in! We enjoyed the opportunity for stops en route , particularly having time to visit the modern art gallery in Rivereto. All in all a very enjoyable holiday and we hope to do another one next year.

Mr Nichols

The cycle paths in August were very busy. Much of the cycle is alongside main roads and railways so can be noisy. Some fantastic scenery but many kilometres of orchards and vineyards to cycle through. Most of the route is downhill or flat; if you are a cyclist you may miss the challenge of a few hills. Great hotels, good locations.

Mrs Myles

A great experience!

Mrs Provan

A beautiful area to visit

Mr Farrell

This was my 3rd holiday with you -- but the first in over a decade. I preferred the way you used to do this with local operatives who would meet us each morning to update us on the route, check the bikes, etc. The problem with the current system is that we were left a bit too much to our own devices. There were a few too many occasions when we encountered routes that were patently out of date or detours that would have bene picked up if there were someone checking the route more regularly, A... read morend in one instance we were left to fend for ourselves in finding our hotel, which resulted is us cycling down a very dangerous hill heavy with traffic desperately looking for ANY kind of sign before a thunder storm hit. That was not a moment I'd like to repeat!

Mrs Latchford

Would thoroughly recommend this excellent holiday combining wonderful views, varied cycling, but predominantly downhill, welcoming hotels and lovely food.

Ms Evans

This was our second cycling holiday with Headwater and again we really enjoyed it. One of the reason we went back to Headwater was the helpful guidance and personal recommendation when booking the first holiday. Unfortunately this was absent with the second booking. We were constantly referred to the brochure and website which we had already studied prior to contacting the office and we're looking for something more than just a booking service. As a result, we changed our minds several times aft... read moreer getting into the detail of each trip and eventually settled on the right one for us. This wasted both our time and also that of the booking agents who made several provisional reservations which were than cancelled. The agents need to be better informed regarding the trips on offer.

The organisation was very good and efficient on the whole, but because we booked our own flights and chose to return on a different flight on a different day they would not book the return train transfer which resulted in unnecessary hassle.

The local agent was very poor. Whilst she spent time with us going through all the necessary information, she demonstrated no interest whatsoever in whether or not we had a good time and provided no personal input. Anything that fell outwits her immediate knowledge was referred the local office and then on to the UK hence the issue with the train transfer which could easily have been dealt with locally. She made it very. Lear that she would not be available once we left the first hotel as she had another job as a teacher!

Once underway everything was fine. All the hotels were as expected, comfortable with reasonable service and food. Most were B&B and we enjoyed the option of choosing when, where and what to eat. The bikes were in good order, comfortable and provided with panniers, good practical locks and cycle computers which were great. guidance notes were fine and it was good to have the maps as well as notes.

For this trip, we would have liked another night at Caldara lake. The hotel was the best of those in which we stayed, the only one with decent outside space and a pool and we would have liked to do more at the lake.

In Merano we had one of our best 'rest days', cycling up to the cable car and spending the day on the mountain and would encourage this rather than a day in the town.

Riva del Garda was disappointing in that it a real holiday tourist destination with accompanying tack yards and shops. However, we found a mountain trail for which our bikes were suitable and spent most of the day out of town.

The Headwater Blue Books were disappointing - most completely empty and those in which people had written were just the comments you might find in a visitors book. On our previous trip, the books contained really useful and practical information on where to go, what to see, where to eat etc and I would encourage people to provide this sort of information whenever possible.

Finally, this was graded as a 2 bike trip, but it really was only a one. Much of the cycling was downhill or flat with only a couple of mandatory hills, plus a few optional detours. Also worth noting that for the first 5 days there was a heavy German influence - everyone spoke German, food was German and it was only when we got to Lake Garda that Italian was the first language.

Had a couple of nights in Verona at the end and went to the Opera which we would thoroughly recommend.

Mrs Campion

Fantastic views, relaxing cycling and some good hotels. Days off in Merano and Trento were very enjoyable with lots to do and see. We were really surprised by how few people spoke Italian until we got as far south as Trento - most people speak German in the north.

Dates and prices

You can be confident that our pricing includes all the standard requirements of your holiday and many additional extras. Always ensure that you are comparing like for like when booking your holiday. Find out about The Headwater Price Promise to ensure you're getting the very best value for money.

For further details, or to check availability, speak to our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 or complete our holiday enquiry form (we'll contact you at a time that's most convenient for you).

To enquire about this holiday, or for further information, call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 or complete our holiday enquiry form.

If you'd like to enquire about dates and prices for 2018 departures, please call our knowledgeable sales team on 1-800-567-6286, or use our enquiry form.

The prices quoted for each individual departure supercede those published in our current brochures. Air prices are subject to change and we advise early booking to obtain the best prices. Please see our Planning your holiday and What's included in the price? pages for additional information.

Holiday details

Minimum group sizes
No minimum group size, however transfers are subject to at least 2 people (in total) booked on each departure.

Please contact us for child prices.

Holiday type
Self-guided cycling Managed locally by Headwater appointed agent.


All buffet breakfasts

Tailor-made travel

Tour only
Transfers included from Bolzano train station at 15:14, and back to Rovereto train station at 06:00.

How to book

For further details, or to check availability, speak to our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 or complete our holiday enquiry form (we'll contact you at a time that's most convenient for you).

To enquire about this holiday, or for further information, call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 or complete our holiday enquiry form.

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Independent customer reviews and ratings

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