Classic Climbs of San Remo & Nice

8 days
from
£1,199
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Traveller ratings
4.8 / 5 from 6 reviews >
Trip code: 
MSN
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Drop Bars
Min age:
18
Group size:
6–16

This tour will bring us from the Italian to the French Riviera following the best parts of the coast and tackling some of the stunning climbs from the Milan–San Remo and Paris-Nice bike races. You will discover the Riviera in a unique way, following a labyrinth of switchback roads away from the main traffic, passing beautiful hill top villages with superb views of the coastline and the high mountains of the Mercantour national park. Sunshine is practically guaranteed and make sure you look out for the many professional riders and teams that call this area home.

Highlights

  • Perfect weather for an early or late season cycling holiday 
  • Enjoy delicious food and wine from Italy and France 
  • Spot professional teams and riders who train in the area

Key information

  • 6 days cycling with vehicle support (limited seats)
  • 100% tarmac roads
  • Hilly route with mountain passes
  • Group normally 4 to 16 plus leader in suport vehicle. Min age 16 yrs
  • 7 nights hotels 

 

What's included

  • All breakfasts 
  • All accommodation (see bellow)
  • All transport and listed activities 
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking flight inclusive)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Local bike hire (available on booking)
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations

6

Pace:

Approximately 4-6 hours cycling per day

Terrain:

100% tarmac roads with mountain passes 

Day by day breakdown
Day 267.0km/41.0miles
Day 354.0km/33.0miles
Day 4100.0km/62.0miles
Day 564.0km/39.0miles
Day 675.0km/46.0miles
Day 758.0km/36.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Fly to Nice and transfer to San Remo; free time to sort out bikes and explore the town.

    Fly to Nice and transfer to San Remo; we have a free afternoon to explore the town, collect hire bikes and build bikes that have been brought from home. San Remo is the little Monaco of Italy, famous for its flowers, the labyrinth architecture of its old town and its excellent Italian restaurants. San Remo is also well known for being the finishing point of the 298km Milan - San Remo bike race, which this year saw Arnaud Demare sprint to victory.

    Stay in a 2-star hotel in the centre of San Remo town.
    Standard Hotel

  • Day 2

    Ride the Poggio climb, featured at the end of Milan-San Remo race; cycle back roads to the Italian Riviera, then into France at Menton.

    After breakfast we try out the bikes on a short loop over the famous Poggio climb which features at the end of the Milan-San Remo race. This climb was added to the race in 1960 to reduce the possibility of a sprint finish, but is now sprinted up in around six minutes by anyone who wants to be involved at the line. We then have a nice ride through the back country of San Remo with a steep climb up to San Romolo and a 920m pass before descending into the village of Perinaldo. From here we ride down through the Italian Riviera then along the coast and into France where we stop in the town of Menton for the night.

    Cycle approx. 67km with 1300m ascent
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Circular ride through beautiful hill top villages and over the famous Col de la Madone and the Col d'Eze.

    We cycle out of Menton towards the town of Sainte Agnes, listed as one of the nicest villages in France and from here we have fantastic views over Menton. Up next is the most famous col near the Riviera, the Col de la Madone is 13km long at 7% and is known to be one of Chris Froome and Richie Port’s favourite climbs and also where they test their form before the TDF. We then descend into the village of La Turbie which overlooks Monaco; from here we ride over the Col d’Eze, a climb which has featured in the Paris-Nice race since 1969. A twisty descent takes us to the village of Eze which is one of the most picturesque perched villages in the Riviera, before we return to Menton for the night.

    Cycle approx. 54km with 1250m ascent
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    A hilly day over the Col du Castillon, Col de Braus and a steep climb from L'Escarene to Vence.

    Today is probably the most challenging ride of the week; we will climb the Col du Castillon (728m), the Col de Braus (1002m) and a series of relatively difficult climbs from L’Escarene to Vence. We will be submerged in the stunning landscape typical of the inland Alps Maritimes, with limestone cliffs, views of the snowy high mountains of the Mercantour National Park in the background and the sea all in sight at the same time. With so much to see and the incredible riding, this is a day that will not be forgotten.

    Cycle approx.100km with 1800m ascent
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Circular ride taking in the Col de Vence; a great climb often featured in the Paris-Nice race.

    After yesterday hills, today we have a slightly gentler circular ride to and from Vence. In the morning we will start the ride heading east to the village of Gattieres and then through Carros before starting to climb the Col de Vence. At the summit we can admire the stunning views over Vence and the surrounding areas before continuing the ride back to the town. This loop ride will be finished by early lunch so there will be free time to do some extra miles in the surrounding hills or explore the charming town of Vence.

    Cycle approx. 64km with 750m ascent
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Cycle over the other side of the Col du Vence to Grasse.

    Today we start by climbing the Col de Vence (9.7 km at 6.7% in average max 9%), from the top we continue toward the magnificent hill top village of Greolieres following a stunning road which winds its way along the top of the cliffs. Passing Greolieres we will cycle to the view point overlooking the Plateau de Caussol. To fininsh the ride we have a fantastic descent down to Saint Valliey along a lovely road with panoramic views over Grasse.

    Cycle approx. 75km with 1700m ascent
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Circular ride from Grasse up to the Plateau de Caussols.

    For our last days ride we will cycle to the hill top village of Tourettes sur Loup and then climb to Gourdon, famous for its magnificent gardens designed by André Le Nôtre. From Gourdon the road continues to climb to the Plateau de Caussols up at 1100m. Here we will have to stop at the boulangerie in Caussol for one of its amazing local specialities! The area of Caussol is a truly stunning place to ride. We follow roads with very little traffic as they wind their way through the limestone rock formations.

    Cycle approx. 58km with 1300m ascent
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Transfer to Nice airport; fly home.

    After a relaxed breakfast in Grasse we transfer to Nice airport and catch the return flight home.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Free morning to relax in Grasse before the trip ends here.

    The holiday ends after breakfast at our hotel in Grasse. Please note that clients who have booked a flight included package will be transferred directly to Nice airport. Land only clients may join this transfer but will need to request this with a sales person when booking.

    Meals included: Breakfast

Essential Info

Visas

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

No vaccinations are obligatory.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts are included.

We stay near towns with a good selection of restaurants offering delicious food so you can re-fuel after the days cycling. The French and Italian Riviera’s are well known for having a high standard of food.

Weather

Nice and the French Riviera have on average 200-250 days of sunshine per year. Typically November is the wettest month so we avoid running trips at this time of the year. In the summer months the temperatures range from 25-30c. In the winter you can expect the temperature to be between 10-20c. Due to the wind from the coast, and the mountains to the north and east the weather can be changeable and unpredictable at times. It is not un-common to be riding through clouds and drizzle to then have clear blue skies and sunshine ten minutes later. On every departure you can expect to be cycling in shorts and a jersey only, but we suggest you pack some warm and waterproof clothing.

Is this trip for you?

This trip is classified Drop-bar

Activity Level 6 (Challenging/Tough).

Average daily distance: 60km (37 miles)

6 days cycling with full vehicle support (limited seats) 

The gradients do not get much steeper than 10% but the climbs can be long. Daily distances are realistic, and there are plenty of opportunities for stronger riders to add more kilometres if they wish. The support vehicle is always available for riders who have achieved their personal goal and require a lift up or down any of the hills.

This trip is on roads away from traffic however we do have to use some busier roads around Nice. The scenery from the route we take is wonderful and all of the roads used are good quality tarmac so we recommend using drop bar road bike for this trip.

You should be aware that cycling of all kinds has its dangers and that accidents can happen from time to time. Please ensure that you are properly prepared for the riding you are going to undertake. 

Please note: Exodus drop bar cycling holidays are not run in a training camp style, all our daily rides are group rides and we aim to cycle as a group wherever possible. The days are broken up with food and coffee stops so it is likely that we will be outside for the majority of the day (sometimes between 9am – 5pm). It is common for the group to split on the longer climbs, please keep in mind that if you are looking to push yourself on the climbs you might have a wait at the top for other members of the group, however the support vehicle will be there to offer warm clothes and snacks.

Accommodation

Hotels

We stay in a great selection of hotels and B&B’s, all ideally located along the route and near large towns with a good selection of bars and restaurants to allow you to indulge in the fantastic cuisine along the French and Italian Riviera. Rooming is on a twin share basis but a single supplement can be arranged on booking.

Due to the point-to-point nature of our drop bar trips, it is inevitable that there is some variance in the style and quality of accommodation used each night. Our priority is to make the riding days as balanced as possible in terms of distance and elevation gain and once we are happy with the route we choose the most appropriate accommodation in our chosen location. In some of the more rural locations there may not be a wide choice of accommodation. 

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed September 2016
    Mike Edmunds

    Unforgettable San Remo to Nice Ride

    The daily distance was never going to be the challenge. Averaging 37 miles (60km) a day was fine but there were other factors I did not appreciate before setting off. Keeping your concentration on the roads when there are stunning vistas all around, is tricky. Finding a way to capture a photograph from the best possible angle is another unforeseen problem. Trying to get back on the bike after an incredibly delicious 3 course lunch of fresh local produce is possibly the hardest task. But you forget all these things when you’re riding. I had to pinch myself several times at the rewards of a summit finish. Some of the climbs were tough but the gearing on our BMC Teammachine CLR03 was perfect. None of the gradients ever got above 9% and were generally steady climbs on quiet roads where it would be easy to stop for a photo or have a rest. Our cycling started when we rode up the famous Poggio climb; the ascent felt easy as it is not steep and the knee felt good. This continued throughout the week and a great sense of achievement awaited us all as everyone got to the top of the various cols, mountains and hills. Being first to the top of the climb to Saint Aignes gave me a few minutes on my own to enjoy the breath-taking panorama – definitely one of the many highlights of the tour.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    At the end of the week, we poured over our top 3 moments on the tour and most people shared the same views. The food, the group dynamic and being able to complete all of the cycling were common answers. My magic moment definitely came on those silent few minutes at Saint Aignes. Looking down on the switchbacks I had ridden up, seeing the start point in Menton and further in the distance, the Mediterranean Sea was something I will never forget.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bertrand was very French and was always driving ahead or staying behind us to keep an eye out for hazards or set up a snack/drink stop. It was useful to arrive early and meet him as this gave me time to realise that I forgot my water bottles and discover that my bike computer mount didn’t fit on the bars. A bit stressed at my own mistakes, I asked Bertrand what I could do. He pointed me in the direction of the friendly local bike shop in San Remo along the fantastic cycle path and 15 minutes later, I was all set for the following morning.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Measure your bike at home if you are renting the local one through Exodus so that you have a good starting point to ride. Take your own saddle and pedals. Take enough cycling clothes to wear a fresh set every day.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    With 6 days of cycling, at least one big climb every day, a heavier bike than I was used to and carrying a knee injury from a crash two weeks before departure, it’s fair to say that I was very worried about completing the cycling part of this trip. I knew that I would be able to eat everything on offer – I am very good at that - but sitting in the Challenging/Tough bracket of Exodus’ grading system, hills can be unforgiving and you need to be physically fit enough for the demands. Our party was a mixed bag; three 60-something year old friends from the USA, a young English pair of friends who were keen runners rather than obsessive cyclists (one didn’t have cleats), a couple from New Zealand, 2 Australians looking for warm weather cycling, a solo American and myself. All sorts of different backgrounds and abilities were represented but we all got on well. There was a little competitiveness here and there but the group mostly looked out for and encouraged each other. Jane, the girl without cycling shoes, got stronger and stronger throughout the week and was one of the quicker climbers in the bunch. Advice and information was shared with each other and passed around freely and willingly. Improvements were made by everyone and nobody really got in the support van.
  • Reviewed October 2015
    Sigrid Grantham

    Fabulous group spirit - superb rides - let down by accommodation and breakfasts on offer

    A superb team spirit taking care of everyone I. The group regardless of fitness level or previous experience. Fabulous selection of rides in amazing country side in the back country of the French Riviera. However the trip was let down by the choice of accommodation Which wS disappointing to say the least ( with the exception of Vence). For those if us who had paid a hefty single supplement it was not worth it as our rooms in San Remo and Nice were little more than shoe boxes and not a up to even 2 star standard. The breakfasts in all hotels except in Vence were poor and not what a serious rider would expect. No porridge fruit or yoghurt just some dry bread and croissants even the fruit in San Remo was rotten. Lastly the lovely tour leader Bertrand was overworked with having to manage a Group of 10. Fix bikes. Sweep the road for the weaker riders and give clear and precise instructions and road directions all At the same time . There should. E. Driver AND a tour leader riding with the group. Being the weakest (and oldest ) in the group I found myself too ofte. TrAiling behind and despairing if I was on the right track. Despite my fluent French! To sumerise : better accommodation, better breakfasts and a tour leader who leads from within with a driver who drives!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to the col de la madone!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bertrand is typically French Very knowledgable. Struggles with English and has sometimes trouble to explain things clearly and concisely

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't pay for a single room. You will get the worst room in the hotel!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Need better accommodation , otherwise not value for money as you have to pAy for all meals, coffee breaks and drinks yourself !
  • Reviewed June 2015
    Paul Thompson

    San Remo to Nice

    For a novice (never been on a cycling holiday before or competed in any events) this was a tough but fantastic break. Unbelievable scenery, unseasonably warm weather and a knowledgeable guide made for a great trip that has given me an appetite for more. Hotels were as advertised but with genial staff who housed the bikes during the evenings. My only drawback would be the flights. Taking that out of the equation I'd certainly recommend you take up the challenge.....

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Surviving day 4 and the group letting me sit at the head of the "snake" into Vence.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bertrand had wealth of local knowledge which was great to draw on, and the site of the van part way up some of the climbs was more than welcome. He was more than willing to pitch in and help fix the bikes if needed or locate bits we asked for - greatly appreciated!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    As an absolute novice I thought I'd bitten off more than I could chew but was lucky to have a good base fitness from running in the hills. The only thing I'd say is for those in a similar position is try something easier first and then go for this
  • Reviewed June 2015
    Jen Good

    Great time!!!

    A fantastic week with equally fantasic weather & a great guide (Vincent) with well thought out routes, excellent stop over towns & hotels & a variety of riding. Staying in some places for 2 x nights is also a great idea & chance for a littel respite & get to know a town better! The small town villages are just the best!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Making it through & all of the amazing towns we visited. These trips that move from place to place are just inspiring, the sort of thing you probably wouldn't do on your own as all of your luggage is transported ahead and being fully supported on the ride & leaving just to pedal being the priority is a total luxury!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fantastic! Vincent was most accommodating in all areas! He was very well prepared for daily briefings, details of navigation, timings and directions into busier traffic towns (where possible, escorting us in behind the van, ensuring everyone was accounted for & waited for as necessary) and his fluent language skills necessary for our interpretation! Nothing was a problem!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A fantastic trip that explored roads that may not always be included on the more 'major tourist mapped rides'; a really great route & fantastic support!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    From start to finish Exodus (& our guide Vincent) have been fabulous to deal with! A highly recommended trip! Enjoy!
  • Reviewed June 2015
    Peter White

    Great Way To Spend a European Holiday

    A well supported challenging mix of rides in an iconic & historic area of NE Italy / Southern France

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The daily achievements of putting a stamp on a tough ride with the satisfaction of looking over the picturesque areas we had just ridden.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Great, well lead tour by Vincent, excellent local knowledge, he was able to anticipate and assess the need of each of the group to ensure we all could make the most of the time we had on tour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't think about it, just do it!
  • Reviewed May 2015
    Andrew Ross

    Spectacular place to ride!

    Fantastic mix of coastal and mountainous riding. Plenty of challenging climbs and fast descents, mostly on quiet roads through the foothills of the alps. Add in a lovely group plus fantastic food and drink and this made for a fabulous early season trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Bumping into a couple of local professional riders at the top of two different big climbs. We saw Michael Matthews on the Madone and Richie Porte on the Col du Braus. It was quite surreal to see Matthews on TV wearing the pink leaders jersey of the Giro d'Italia less than a week later!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was excellent, with good local knowledge, a passion for cycling, and a van full of tasty snacks! The trip ran very smoothly, much of which was down to his hard work throughout the week.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Try and get some riding done before the trip as the climbs shouldn't be underestimated. They are lower than in the Alps, Pyrenees or Dolomites, but remember than many of them do start from sea level!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I can't recommend this one enough.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

Call us on 0208 772 3936