Current as of: June 14, 2024 - 20:58

Cycling the Wine Villages of Piedmont

Cycling the Wine Villages of Piedmont Trip Notes

  • Ways to Travel: Self-Guided Holidays
  • Destination: Italy
  • Programmes: Cycling
  • Activity Level:

    3 out of 7 - Moderate

  • 9 Days: Flight Inclusive
  • 9 Days: Land Only
  • Ages: 12+
  • Trip Code: C08PB

Trip Overview

Scenic self-guided cycling in the UNESCO vineyards of Piedmont

Tucked away in northern Italy, Piedmont is a region brimming with vineyard covered, softly rolling hills, sun-drenched hamlets, world-class wines and incredible hotels. Following quiet, traffic-free country roads, the route starts in the lush hazelnut hills, winding through terraces of swaying vines, verdant pine forests and rippling rivers to discover pretty hilltop hamlets and ancient castles. The region boasts an incredible array of fine wine towns, including Barbaresco and Barolo, both ideal lunch stops. Gastronomic menus feature everywhere, either at the hotel, or at a specially selected restaurant close by.

At a Glance

  • 8 nights hotels, all rooms en suite
  • 4 days cycling with 3 optional rides
  • 95% quiet tarmac roads, 5% gravel
  • Quiet, traffic-free country roads
  • E-bike hire available on request (supplement applies)
  • Self-guided holiday. Min age 12 yrs
  • Management by your local Headwater-appointed agent

Highlights

  • Beautifully scenic cycling in the UNESCO vineyards of Piedmont
  • Luxury hotels with panoramic pools
  • A mecca for foodies: superb regional cuisine and outstanding wines
  • Sun-drenched hamlets and stunning, far-reaching views
  • Historic castles, frescoed chapels, pretty mediaeval villages
  • Based on our popular 8 night, Gastronomic Barolo Cycling

Is This Trip for You?

Cycling Conditions
Classification: Self-Guided
Average daily distance: 35km (22 miles).
No. of days cycling: 4 (with 3 optional rides)
Terrain and route: The suggested cycling mainly follows quiet tarmac roads with a few sections on dirt roads. The terrain is mainly undulating but the distances are kept relatively short to give you lots of time to enjoy the scenery. At one point the route heads to the Langhe Hills which is a hillier region. Alternative routes are available on some days and are detailed in the route notes.

Vehicle Support: This is a self-guided trip for those who prefer to cycle independently, but with our assistance to take out the stress of the logistics and planning. We arrange your accommodations, provide you with a map and route notes so that you can cycle at your own pace, while your bags are transported from one hotel to the next. Our local agent will be there to meet you, make sure the bikes are all set up and will be on call throughout the trip should you need.

It is important that you are happy reading maps and following route notes, we make these as accurate as possible and they are regularly checked. Where possible we stick to cycle tracks and quiet roads to make the journeys as pleasant as possible, however, on occasion we have to use busier routes.

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There maybe others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The route notes contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the local agent is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Families
Self-guided cycling holidays are a perfect option for families as they offer the freedom for you to take your holiday at your own pace. You can stop as and when you want and need, at the cafes and restaurants that suit your family and the sites that interest you. As a guide we have suggested that 12 yrs is the minimum age for this trip, but as it is self-guided and you will be leading your own family we will ultimately leave this decision up to you. The daily distances are all published in the trip notes along with a description of each days cycling so you have a good idea of what to expect. However, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact one of our experts. The principle idea is that these holidays can be as flexible as you like, with logistical support but no group or leader to dictate the daily activities. Please bear in mind the weather when choosing to book, temperatures can be very high in the middle of summer. We therefore recommend going either earlier or later on in the season if you have young children.

Group

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. A local agent is on hand to assist you and will meet you at the beginning of the week to set up your bike and go through the route notes and point out particular places of interest. Your luggage is transferred and route notes and maps are provided. The route notes contain an emergency assistance telephone number. In an emergency, the local agent is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Adult min age: 12

Min group size: 1

Max group size: 6

Itinerary

Cycling the Wine Villages of Piedmont

Land Only

  • Start City: Benevello
  • End City: Benevello

Land Only Itinerary

Day 1
Start Benevello.

Start at the stunning 4-star hotel at Benevello. The Relais Villa d’Amelia is a luxuriously restored 19th century family villa, equipped with a sauna, jacuzzi, Turkish bath and a lovely outdoor swimming pool.
Comfortable Hotel

Day 2
Benevello to Neive

You’ll start today with a gentle ride along an open road, with hawks soaring high above the breathtaking Langhe countryside. You visit lovely Mango, with its beautiful castle rich in WW2 history. Then onto San Stefano Belbo, the birthplace of one Italy’s greatest writers, Cesare Pavese; the pretty old town makes for a lovely lunch stop. Then it is on to Neive, where your cycle ride will take you past the famous moscato vineyards before arriving at your 3-star hotel, which boasts wonderful views over the verdant hills with vineyards cascading down.

Distance covered: 21mi (34km)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 3
At Neive

Neive is a great place to explore. Officially one of Italy’s prettiest villages and home of Romano Levi, a renowned grappa maker, you can wander its cobbled streets which are lined with brightly coloured flower boxes, or after a morning by the panoramic pool, cycle (optional ride – directions provided) or take a local bus to nearby Barbaresco for lunch and cheese-tasting in the piazza. Enjoy some wine in the enoteca, housed in a C19 church built by the locals in thanks for a good grape harvest! Or head across to the spumante capital of Asti, with its quaint cobbled centre. Each September the main piazza is home to a crazy palio horse race to rival Siena’s!
Comfortable Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 4
Neive to Fontanafredda

Leaving Neive behind, you undulate through the vineyards to Castagnole Lanze, before heading downhill to the River Tanaro to enjoy a lovely gentle ride along the river to Alba. There’s time to explore the cobbled streets and bustling piazze of chocolate-perfumed Alba (the home of Ferrero Rocher). Continue to Grinzane Cavour with its UNESCO recognised castle before ending the day in Fontanafredda.

You stay at the Hotel Diffuso Le Case dei Conti Mirafiore (breakfast included)

Distance covered: 25mi (40km)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 5
At Fontanafredda

Enjoy wine tasting in the historic wine cellars at your hotel, once owned by Italian royalty, or head to the atmospheric wine village of Serralunga d’Alba. Alternatively perhaps visit nearby Bra, a gastronomic treasure trove where the Slow Food movement was initiated – there’s plenty of choice for a long, lazy lunch! There’s lots to explore in the town too, including the 18th century Rococo church and the strange octagonal Zizzola, where local witches held their meetings. For the best views in the region, cycle to La Morra, ‘Balcony of the Langhe’, spread out along a panoramic ridge above the vineyards.

You stay at the Hotel Diffuso Le Case dei Conti Mirafiore (breakfast included)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 6
Fontanafredda to Monforte d'Alba

You’ll cycle first through sunflower fields to Roddi, then on to Barolo, an ochre-hued village perched above its world-famous vineyards. The tangle of mediaeval streets are dominated by the Marchesi Falletti’s 11th century castle. Pedal on through archetypal Langhe countryside to Monforte d’Alba, whose lovely honey-coloured old town clings enchantingly to the hillside. Your hotel here is special too.

Stay at Villa Beccaris (breakfast included)

Distance covered: 16mi (26km)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 7
At Monforte d'Alba

Either relax at the gorgeous 18th century villa hotel with private swimming pool, or explore mediaeval Monforte. It’s a lovely town with attractive buildings grouped around an atmospheric cobbled piazza. Maybe strike out a little further to Dogliani (optional ride – directions provided), dominated by its beautiful onion-domed church and famous for being at the heart of Dolcetto wine production.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 8
Monforte d'Alba to Benevello

The final cycling day starts with a gentle coast along the Rea valley before a steady climb takes you to a stunning panoramic ridge. Weave through fields of wildflowers and sleepy hamlets to Serravalle Langhe, a great lunch spot with belvedere views. Pedal onwards alongside chestnut-carpeted hills with delightful vistas to reach the beautiful country hotel at Benevello. There’s time to enjoy the pool and Jacuzzi before dinner.

 

Distance covered: 22mi (35km)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 9
End Benevello.

The trip ends in Benevello. A transfer is included to Turin Airport (approx. 1 hour 50 minutes).

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation

Hotels

Cycling the Wine Villages of Piedmont

The hotels we’ve chosen are, quite simply, fabulous! In Benevello your 4 star hotel is a stunningly restored 19th century family villa; in Neive you’re the guest of Patrizia at her 12-room country house with a breathtaking panoramic pool and in Monforte d’Alba private tastings can be organised in the hotel’s vast wine cellar.

All prices are based on 2 persons sharing, so if there is an odd number of people travelling in your party or you are travelling alone, there will be a compulsory single room supplement. Please call your sales consultant for prices and availability. 

Single supplement from £ 560

Food & Drink

All buffet breakfasts included.

You’ll enjoy gastronomic menus everywhere, either dining at your hotel, or at a specially selected restaurant close by. The cuisine in the Piedmont region is different to most other Italian regions, a fusion of the best of Italian and French food and certainly won’t disappoint gastronomes. Regional specialities include white truffles which are found almost exclusively in the woods around Alba. Hazelnuts are another locally produced ingredient that feature heavily on the menu. Cheese is also widely produced in Piedmont, such as Murazzano, made with full-cream sheep’s milk. Meals in the region always start with bread, your primo (first course) will usually be a pasta dish, such as agnolotti. Your secondo (main course) will then be something hearty like beef gently braised in Barolo wine. Meats such as pork, beef and veal are the popular choice of the region. Piedmont’s wine is famous throughout the world. The most famous are the wines of the Langhe, which produces Barolo, Barbaresco, Dolcetto, Barbera as well as whites such as Asti and Moscato. Other highlights include Alba’s crimson, cobbled streets where you can sample the local chocolate.

Transport

Your luggage will be transported between the hotels by our local representative. They are often able to dispatch a taxi should you need it, but may wish to charge you for this service. You will be pedaling under your own steam but the emergency number for our local operator is in the trip notes if you need assistance.

Weather & Seasonality

The trips run from May through to October. In the early and late departures you will need to be prepared for slightly lower temperatures, with highs of 23 degrees in May and 20 in October. There is more chance of rain in October, but the trip only runs into the early part of the month. In July and August the temperatures are likely to reach highs of 28/9 degrees celcius, there will still be the chance of rain, but it will be reduced. Facilities in some of the hotels such as the pools may not be available for early and late season departures.

Weather Charts

Cycling the Wine Villages of Piedmont

Joining Instructions

Your trip normally starts at the hotel in Benevello on the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary. Hotel check-in times are normally from around 4pm.
Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start: Benevello
Location end: Benevello

Transfer Details

Air prices include our standard flights/transfers
Outbound: British Airways Heathrow to Milan Malpensa 09:15/12:15 then transfer to hotel 2 hours 10 minutes.

Return: Transfer to airport 2 hours 10 minutes British Airways Milan Malpensa to Heathrow 18:50/19:00.

What To Take

Essential Equipment

– warm top and leggings for the early spring and autumn departures

– windproof and waterproof layer

– comfortable shoes and clothes for the days off the bike if you want to explore the towns

Self-Guided Hire Bikes

We use custom made Headwater hybrid bikes. All bikes are supplied with:

  • 1 handlebar map holder
  • 2 rear panniers
  • 1 bike lock per 2 people
  • 1 puncture repair kit per 2 people, which includes puncture repair spray and a pump.

If you are booked as a group, but intend to cycle separately please let us know in advance if you wish to have additional map holders or repair kits.

Bike sizes will have been given to the local operator in advance from the heights you have given us on booking. However, when you receive your bike there will be the opportunity to test and adjust. Our representative will be on hand to assist you and can fit pedals and your saddle if you wish to bring these with you.

Please note helmets are not provided and we recommend that you take your own on this trip.

E-Bikes

Electric bikes offer all the thrills and healthy exercise of a regular bike, but with one crucial difference – power! A tiny electric motor (capped at 25mph) assists your pedalling, allowing you to make molehills out of mountains. Cycle further, see more, have more fun. They are just perfect if you want to try a trip with companions of differing fitness level – or a trip at a slightly harder grade – and want to know there’s a bit of motor power available if you need it. You can upgrade to an E-bike on a number of our European trips.

Bike Repairs

As you are riding unaccompanied, it is wise to know at least how to repair an inner tube before setting off on your bike! The bikes are serviced before being rented out so there should be no problems but there are emergency numbers provided in the Route Notes for more complex problems.

Optional Equipment

– swimming costume

GPS Route Navigation

Ride with GPS logo

We’ve teamed up with RideWithGPS to provide our carefully researched and checked itineraries in a convenient format, similar to a car satnav, with turn-by-turn instructions all along your route.

Before you travel we’ll send you everything you need to download your route notes and the free RideWithGPS app. It’s available for iPhone and Android and the routes can also be used on any regular GPS device such as the Garmin Edge bike computers or Forerunner fitness devices.

For more details and to watch the demonstration video, please visit our GPS Route Navigation page.

If you prefer the familiarity of your own bike, you may, of course, bring it along. Please advise us at the time of booking and you will receive a discount on the price of the holiday, as specified above. You will be responsible for any extra baggage charges, please speak to your sales representative for individual airline fees. Please note, this does not apply to trips within the UK, for which local bike hire is not included.

You will also be responsible for assembling and disassembling your bike as well as bringing along spare parts and any tools specific to it. It is also your responsibility to ensure your bike is roadworthy and suitable for the type of cycling undertaken. If in doubt, the model of local bike hire available should act as a guide and details of terrain, ascent and descent are available both in the itinerary and in the ‘Is this trip for you?’ sections. Our cycling team only carry the relevant spares for the hire fleet. Any clients bringing their own bike should ensure they have adequate cover for loss, damage or theft under their travel, home contents or a specialist insurance policy. If Exodus is confident we have taken all reasonable care to ensure the safety of your bike, in the rare event of loss, damage or theft, you will need to claim under your own insurance policy.

Extra bike accessories

You may like to bring your own pedals and saddle (excluding the seat post) or gel saddle cover to fit to the hire bikes. We encourage this, if it is your preference. However, please note that you are responsible for your own equipment, and removing your saddle/pedals at the end of the trip. We cannot guarantee the return of any bike parts left behind.

Recommended Cycling Clothing

Padded cycling shorts (with loose ‘over-shorts’ where recommended), breathable clothing, and a lightweight waterproof/windproof top. Shoes with relatively stiff soles are better for biking, but are not essential unless you are cycling long distances. Most people want to carry certain items with them during the day while cycling, for this we recommend a large bum bag (fanny pack) or small close-fitting daysack.

Exodus Policy on Cycling Helmets

Wearing a helmet is mandatory for anyone taking part in any guided Exodus cycling holiday. Group members must bring their own helmets, as they are not available for hire, even if they are hiring a bike from Exodus.

For self-guided cycling holidays wearing a helmet is highly recommended. Customers who choose to ignore our advice do so entirely at their own risk and on the understanding that it may affect the validity of their travel insurance. It should also be noted that in some countries, wearing a helmet is a legal requirement.

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

Local Bike Details

A quality local hire bike is included in the overall price of our cycling holidays. At the time of booking we will take your height in order to reserve equipment. There may on occasions be insufficient bikes available in the correct size; we will endeavour to find suitable alternative equipment but this cannot be guaranteed. We will tell you before you book whether suitably sized bikes are available.

Conditions 

1. The equipment remains the property of the supplier and you may not sell, hire out or part possession with the equipment.
2. You must not misuse the equipment and must return it in the same condition as when received (ordinary wear and tear excepted). The supplier is entitled to charge for any damage caused to the equipment during the period of hire.
3. You must ensure that the equipment is adequately secured when not in use. In the event of the equipment being lost or stolen, you may be liable for the replacement value of the equipment
4. You must not use the equipment whilst under the influence of drink or drugs and should immediately notify the Supplier in the event of breakdown or loss.

Practical Information

Visa

Italy

Travellers from the UK, US and EU normally do not need a visa to enter Italy. Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.

Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.

• Australia: www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/europe/italy
• Canada: www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/italy
• United Kingdom: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/italy/entry-requirements
• USA:  www.travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Italy.html

Please note: it is compulsory to carry ID with you at all times in Italy.

Vaccinations and Health

Italy

There are no required vaccinations. However, you may want to consider vaccinations for tetanus, rabies and tick-borne encephalitis. Please confirm with your doctor or travel clinic.

Local Time

Italy's time zone: Europe/Rome (UTC +02:00)

Electricity

European plug – 2 round pins.

Cycling the Wine Villages of Piedmont

Money

Italy's currency: Euros (EUR)

ATM Availability

ATMs are widely available, but we recommend taking some Euros cash with you in case you can’t get to a bank at the start of the trip.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

You will only need money for lunches, snacks and drinks and any sites you wish to visit. Lunches can be inexpensive if you buy produce from local markets or shops and make up a picnic. However, if you stop at a café you can easily spend €15. We would recommend budgeting for €5-15 for lunches and allow an additional €10 a day for any extras.

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… 

Important Information

Your safe participation 

When booking this trip, you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability, please call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary. 

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely take part in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity. 

By booking this trip you agree to our Booking Conditions which clearly state that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these rare instances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred. 

How to Book

  1. Check availability: Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.
  2. Secure your place: You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.
  3. Complete your booking and payment

When you’re ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque.

After booking

You will receive your booking confirmation letter and invoice, which includes extra information and guidance about your travel arrangements.

Full joining instructions, including local emergency numbers and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately two to three weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier, please contact our office or your travel agent.

Trip Note validity

These Trip Notes are valid from the “Current as” date on page one. They will occasionally be updated after booking and before departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary, customers will be written to separately. They will also receive a link to the most up-to-date Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions before travelling.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best-possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

Licensing

Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582, issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA – The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all money paid to us for your trip is fully protected.