While hiking in the Dolomites of South Tyrol is one of the world’s true wonders, discovering the region on two wheels opens up a whole new avenue of opportunities. Hikes may well take you off the beaten path and into the mountains proper, but a cycle tour around Alta Badia will give you the opportunity to see this beautiful landscape from below, and is a great way to break up a week of on-foot activities.
Many of the cycling routes you see here will do just that, giving you the opportunity to explore and appreciate the raw scale of the Dolomites and the surrounding valleys. Beyond the scenery, many of these routes will also take you on some of the best roads in the area, with thrilling corners, challenging ascents and adrenaline-fuelled descents. With that said, here are some of the best cycling experiences in the Dolomites.
1. The Dolomites Bike Day
Returning for its third year in 2019, the Dolomites Bike Day is one of the most important and revered cycling events in the Dolomites, so if you enjoy travelling by two wheels, you won’t want to miss it. The event gives you the opportunity to ride five legendary mountain passes including Pordoi, Fedaia, Falzarego, Valparola and Campolongo. If you’ve never heard of them before, check them out on Google Images. They are beautiful, curvaceous roads that carve their way through the mountains with backdrops of jagged mountains and vibrant green valleys.
The event is open to everyone, beginners and experts alike, and is entirely non-competitive. This year, the event takes place on 16 June and will become the largest of its kind in Europe, boasting a 67-mile long route. What’s more, the five main mountain passes will be closed to motorised traffic between 9am and 3pm, leaving you to enjoy the glorious roads and scenery without a worry about what may be coming around the next corner. On top of that, the roads linking the Ladin valleys Val Badia, Livinallongo, Fassa and Ampezzo will also be reserved for cyclists, resulting in over 31 miles of traffic-free thrills. Find out more on the official Dolomites Bike Day website.
2. The Fedaia Pass
If you’re after natural landscapes of mind-boggling beauty, you’ve come to the right place, and the Fedaia Pass is one such option for you to sample the area at its best. From May into summer, there are weekly guided tours along this route on a Friday, giving you the opportunity to ride through the beautiful valleys of Val Badia, Fodom, Fassa and Val Gardena. The route takes you on mostly good tracks, with some steep climbs and challenging descents, but the hard work will be worth it.
Along the way, you’ll be blessed with views of the icy fortress of Marmolada Glacier and sublime Dolomites peaks such as Sassongher, Sella, Civetta, Marmolada, Sassolungo and Cir Towers. With blue skies, warm weather and some fine cycling, there’ll be nowhere else you’ll want to be.
3. The Sellaronda Bike Day
Just like the Dolomites Bike Day we’ve spoken about above, the Sellaronda Bike Day is another free event that takes place in June. Open to all, the event centres itself around the infamous Sella massif, with the nearby mountain passes all closed off to traffic between 8.30am and 3.30pm. Participation in the event is entirely free of charge and you can start in whichever valley you would prefer, be that Alta Badia, Val Gardena, Val di Fassa or Arabba/Livinallongo.
The tour, which is roughly 30 miles in length, takes cyclists onto the passes of Gardena, Sella, Pordoi and Campolongo and has a total elevation gain of 1,600m. That’s a fair amount of climbing to be done, but the good news is that you can take as long as you like, stopping in one of the many mountain villages along the way for a break. Of course, the best bit about the Sellaronda Bike Day is that you’ll be able to ride along roads flanked by pristine forest and stark crags of rock, with panoramic views across Alta Badia and the Dolomites.
4. The Furkel Pass
Another guided bike tour in the Dolomites that might be worth checking out is the Tour Passo Furcia, which takes cyclists to the top of Furkel Pass. The full route itself is just over 50 miles in distance and sees a fair amount of elevation gain, with the gradient of the roads reaching 15% at times. That said, this is not a route best suited for beginners.
The highlight of the tour has to be the Furkel Pass, which itself has featured in iconic Italian bike races. Throughout the tour, the stark beauty of the Dolomites is plain for all to see.