Barolo Gastronomic Cycling Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Self-Guided Holidays
Destinations:
Italy
Programmes:
Cycling
Trip Code:
C08PD
Activity Rating - Moderate
Moderate

You are moderately fit and possess a spirit of adventure. Some previous experience is required for most activity based trips.

9 Days Flight Inclusive
9 Days Land only
Ages: 12+

Trip Overview

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.

Your cycling holiday is varied and mainly follows quiet, traffic-free country roads. Starting in the lush hazelnut hills, you'll wind 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 on your cycling days or free days. Other highlights include Alba's crimson, cobbled streets (where you can sample the local chocolate), the expansive views as you freewheel out of Mango, and strolling amongst the tangle of streets and geranium-decked houses of Monforte d'Alba's wonderful centre.

At a Glance

  • 8 nights hotels, all rooms en suite
  • 4 days cycling with 3 optional rides
  • Luggage transfers
  • 95% quiet tarmac roads, 5% gravel
  • Quiet, traffic-free country roads
  • Optional electric bikes at a supplement
  • GPS route navigation provided
  • Management by your local Headwater-appointed agent
  • Self-guided holiday. Min age 12 yrs

Trip Highlights

  • Scenic cycling in the UNESCO vineyards of Piedmont
  • Stay in luxury hotels with panoramic pools
  • Discover historic castles and medieval villages

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

Land Only

Start City:
Benevello
End City:
Benevello

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Arrive in Benevello

    Dinner tonight is in the exclusive DaMa restaurant at Villa d'Amelia.
    You stay at Villa d'Amelia (breakfast and evening meal)

    Meals included:
    Dinner
  • Day 2

    Benevello to Neive

    Visit the lovely Mango, with it's beautiful castle rich in WW2 history, then continue to Santo Stefano Belbo, the birthplace of one of Italy's greatest writers. On the way to Neive you'll pass the famous Moscato vineyards, then you'll spend two nights at the Hotel Villa Lauri, with a choice of restaurants within easy walking distance of the hotel.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 34 km / 21 miles
  • Day 3

    At Neive

    Officially one of Italy's prettiest villages, you can wander Neive's cobbled streets that are lined with brightly-coloured flower boxes. After a morning spent by the panoramic pool, cycle (optional ride - directions provided) or take a public bus to nearby Barbaresco for lunch and cheese-tasting in the piazza. Enjoy some wine in the enoteca or head across to the spumante capital of Asti, with its quaint cobbled centre.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Neive to Fontanafredda

    Cycle through the vineyards to Castagnole delle Lanze before exploring 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.

    Stay at Hotel le Case dei Conti Mirafiore (breakfast and evening meal included)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 40 km / 25 miles
  • 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. For the best views of the region, cycle to La Morra, 'Balcony of the Langhe', spread out along a panoramic ridge above the vineyards.

    Stay at Hotel le Case dei Conti Mirafiore (breakfast and evening meal included)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
  • Day 6

    Fontanafredda to Monforte d'Alba

    Cycle to Barolo, an ochre-hued village perched above its world-famous vineyards, where you can admire Marchesi Falletti's 11th century castle. Then to Monforte d'Alba and Villa Beccaris, where you'll spend two nights. There are plenty of restaurants in the village to choose from for your mouthwatering evening meal.

    Stay at Villa Beccaris (breakfast included)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 26 km / 16 miles
  • Day 7

    At Monforte d'Alba

    Monforte is a lively medieval town with attractive buildings grouped around the cobbled piazza; or visit Dogliani (optional ride - directions provided), famous for Dolcetto wine production and dominated by its lovely church.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
  • Day 8

    Monforte d'Alba to Benevello

    A steady climb takes you to a stunning panoramic ridge. From here, cycle to Serravalle Langhe, a great lunch spot with belvedere views before returning to your country hotel at Benevello, with dinner included in the hotel's Michelin starred restaurant. The chef at Villa d'Amelia trained under Marco Pierre White so you're in for a treat!

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 35 km / 22 miles
  • Day 9

    Leave Benevello

    After breakfast, depart from Benevello.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Accommodation

Hotels

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. 

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Single supplement from £512.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All buffet breakfasts and 4 gastronomic dinners 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.

Transportation

Your luggage will be transported between the hotels by our local agent. 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

Weather Information

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

Joining Instructions

Your trip normally starts at our 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.

Transfers Details

Air prices include our standard flights/transfers
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.

Business/club/first class seats are available on request.

Location start:
Benevello
Location end:
Benevello

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

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.

Bringing Your Own Bike

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 our Sales team for individual airline fees.

N.B 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 to be 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 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 that 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 Bits

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.

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 we travel to wearing a helmet is already 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.

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 or small close-fitting daysack.

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.

E-Bikes Available

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.

Practical Information

Passport

Italy

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information offered below is to help you with that process. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

Italy

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

Italy

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

As we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Italy's Timezone:
Europe/Rome CEST (GMT +02:00)

Electricity

Italy's Electricity:

European plug ‐ 2 round pins.

European plug - 2 round pins.

Money

Italy's Currency

The national currency of Italy is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (May 2022) of approximately 1.2 to the GBP,  0.96 to the USD, 0.74 to the CAD, 0.66 to the AUD and 0.60 to the NZD.

Exchange rates are correct at the time of publication.

 

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 Tourism

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… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake 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.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances 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.

On all trips

In 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 you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

 

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 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.

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; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, 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.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

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. Book with confidence: 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 monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.