Self-Guided Cycling in Tuscany: Pisa to Florence Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Self-Guided Holidays
Trip Code:
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Leisurely / Moderate

You are reasonably fit, enjoy the outdoors and are looking for some exercise. Some previous experience is preferable for activity based trips.

8 Days Flight Inclusive
8 Days Land only
Min age: 12

Trip Overview

Cycle from the iconic leaning tower of Pisa to the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, passing through beautiful Tuscan landscape that inspired artists and composers such as Leonardo da Vinci and Puccini. The gentle cycling is mainly along riverside paths and quiet roads, and there are the opportunities to lengthen the rides, or take the train at some stages to spend extra time at your destinations. Enjoy a free day in the romantic city of Florence and take some time to visit the sights in one of the world's most stunning cities!

At a Glance

  • 6 nights 3 and 4-star hotels throughout
  • 5 days cycling (including 1 optional ride) with luggage transfers
  • 88% tarmac, 12% unpaved
  • Mainly flat roads with some undulation
  • Option to choose longer or shorter rides on days 3, 5 and 7
  • Self-guided holiday. Min age 12 yrs

Trip Highlights

  • Visit the famous cities of Pisa and Florence
  • Relax in one of the most famous thermal cities of Europe
  • Gentle cycling through idyllic Tuscan countryside
  • See da Vinci's birthplace and sample some of Italy's finest cuisine

Is This Trip for You?

Cycling conditions
This is a self-guided cycling trip for those who like to cycle independently, but with back up to take out the hard work and planning. We arrange your accommodation, 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.
Activity Level: 2 (Leisurely/Moderate) 
Please see the introductory pages of the cycling holidays brochure or our website for more important information on classification and grading.
Av. daily ride: 48km (30 miles).
No. of days cycling: 5 (including 1 optional day)
Terrain & route: The suggested cycling is along quiet, tarmac roads (mainly traffic-free). There are some hilly parts but they do not require any athletic skills.
Vehicle Support: Bags are transported from one hotel to the next by van. On days 3, 5 and 7 it is possible to take the train to make the route shorter.

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.

For most days on this trip we have offered the shortest riding distance in these trip notes, but it is often possible to extend this further and the directions will be included in your route notes so you can make a decision on the day.

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

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.


As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. Your luggage is transferred and route notes and maps are provided. The route notes contain an emergency assistance telephone number (operating between 0800 and 2000hrs). In emergency, the local representative is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Adult min age:


Land Only

Start City:
End City:

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Pisa. Free time to explore this beautiful city and visit the iconic leaning tower

    Make your own way to Pisa. This UNESCO World Heritage city is known all over the world for the iconic leaning tower but offers a whole host of other monuments, museums and galleries to discover. If you have time be sure to take in a walking tour of the city, and enjoy an aperitivo in one of the city's lively bars.

  • Day 2

    Cycling along the River Serchio, pedal towards the well-preserved Renaissance town of Lucca. Optional ride towards Massaciuccoli Lake

    Easy cycling as you pedal northwards along the River Serchio. For those who would like to extend their route, it is possible to cycle to Massaciuccoli Lake before reaching the well-preserved Renaissance town of Lucca. The town is well known for its high quality olive oil produced in the region, and there are plenty of places in which you can choose to sample some of the delicious rustic cuisine.
    N.B the longer distance available today is 45km / 28 miles

    Meals included:
    Distance covered: 30 km / 19 miles
  • Day 3

    Panoramic cycling through the small village of Collodi, optional visit to the famous Pinocchio's Park. Spend the night in Montecatini Terme

    Cycling along a panoramic road you reach the small village of Collodi and the town of Pescia. In Collodi, where the author of Pinocchio spent his childhood, you can visit the famous Pinocchio's Park (created in 1962) and the aristocratic Villa Garzoni. In Pescia there is time to enjoy a stroll around the town, discovering churches, palaces, Renaissance mansions and the local flower street market.

    Meals included:
    Distance covered: 45 km / 28 miles
  • Day 4

    Free day; relax in one of the most famous thermal cities in Europe, or take a circular ride (60km) to Vinci, Leonardo da Vinci's birthplace

    Free day in which you can relax in one of the most famous thermal cities in Europe; taking the cable-railway to the top of the hill and strolling along the narrow lanes of the old city. Alternatively cycle a picturesque itinerary (approx. 60km) through beautiful countryside, discovering olive groves, vineyards and historical farms. Highlights of this route include the villas of the Medici family, and Vinci which is Leonardo da Vinci's birthplace and has a museum dedicated to the artist.

    Meals included:
  • Day 5

    Take a short train transfer to the pretty town of Pistoia and then head back in the saddle to reach Florence. Alternatively ride all the way from Montecatini

    You have two choices today; either cycle directly from Montecatini, or take a short train transfer to Pistoia, a city rich in Romanesque and Renaissance monuments and with one of the most evocative squares in Italy: Piazza del Duomo. From here get back on the saddle, through the Tuscan flatland to reach Florence, where some of the greatest artistic treasures in the world are housed in the city's museums, palaces and churches.

    N.B the longer distance available today is 65km / 40 miles

    Meals included:
    Distance covered: 50 km / 31 miles
  • Day 6

    Free day in Florence. Meander down enchanting streets, marvel at the cathedral or climb the hill to the church of San Miniato al Monte for a spectacular view

    Enjoy a free day in Florence. Meander down enchanting streets, marvel at the cathedral or climb the hill to the church of San Miniato al Monte for a spectacular view. The historical city centre is surprisingly small, but incredibly rich in detail, architecture and monuments, so you will be spoiled for choice!

    Meals included:
  • Day 7

    Take a short train transfer to Empoli and cycle along the River Arno to return to Pisa

    Today you can choose to either pedal directly from Florence to Empoli and take a train on to Pisa, or take a train from Florence to Empoli and ride to Pisa along the river Arno. Arrive in Pisa with time to enjoy this lively, friendly city.

    Option for longer 105km / 65 miles ride.

    Meals included:
    Distance covered: 65 km / 40 miles
  • Day 8

    End Pisa

    Departure after breakfast.

    Meals included:

All ascents, descents and distances listed above have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders. Please note that different GPS measuring devices can give differing results dependent on the barometric pressures at the time. Measurements stated throughout these trips notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter.



We use a cosy 2-star hotel in Lucca; other nights are spent in 3 and 4-star hotels, all en suite. The hotels are chosen for their excellent facilities and proximity to the relevant local sites. All rooms have en suite facilities and air conditioning. Please specify whether you would prefer a double or twin room when booking.

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 £204.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts are included. However, please note that the typical Italian breakfast is light, and often consists of a cup of coffee and a cream-filled or jam-filled croissant. It is always advisable to visit a local shop or supermarket before riding to pick up water and snacks for the day.

Suggestions of what to do for lunch and dinner are given in the information material provided. Tuscan food is based around the notion of cucina povera, or 'poor cooking'. Simple, inexpensive meals are made using fresh, high-quality, local ingredients to bring out the natural flavours. Dishes are traditionally hearty and you will find mouth-watering soups and stews made with beans and local meats appearing on all menus, paired with a glass of the local Chianti of course! Tuscany is famous for its truffles, mushrooms and homegrown olive oil, and you will also find a variety of delicious breads as an accompaniment to most meals. It is impossible to offer an exhaustive list of suggestions for 'must-try' dishes, but here are a few recommendations: Panzanella - a cold bread salad made using the simple ingredients of unsalted bread, tomatoes, red onions, basil, olive oil, vinegar and salt Lardo di Colonnata - cured meat generally served as a starter Cacciucco - fish stew, or soup Lampredotto - a stew using the fourth stomach of a cow, cooked in a broth and often found served as street food Castagnaccio - a traditional cake made with chestnut flour Wine lovers will be spoilt for choice, and each town generally has its own wine, so if the choice becomes overwhelming, it is simple enough to go for the vino della casa (house wine) which will likely be a delicious Tuscan table wine.


Your luggage is transported from hotel to hotel for you. On some days it is possible to shorten the route by taking the train.

Weather & Seasonality

When to go

Italy has a good all year round climate, with plenty of sunshine and warm/hot temperatures. The summer departures ought to have daily hot sunshine and temperatures can reach the mid to high 30 degrees Celcius. The earlier and later departures are likely to be cooler with a slightly higher chance of rain. In late summer there is the possibility of heavy thunderstorms (generally in the afternoons), but these are usually short-lived. Please be aware that the hot weather in the summer can make the cycling a little harder.

Weather Information

Italy has a good all year round climate, with plenty of sunshine and warm/hot temperatures. The summer departures ought to have daily hot sunshine and temperatures can reach the mid to high 30 degrees Celcius. The earlier and later departures are likely to be cooler with a slightly higher chance of rain. In late summer there is the possibility of heavy thunderstorms (generally in the afternoons), but these are usually short-lived. Please be aware that the hot weather in the summer can make the cycling a little harder.

Weather Charts

Weather chart

Weather chart

Joining Instructions

Travelling land only: 8 days starting in Pisa and ending in Pisa

Your trip normally starts at our hotel in Pisa on the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start hotel are given in the Final Joining Instructions. 

Full joining instructions including route notes, hotel list, map and 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.

Flights from London
We do not offer any package flights on this trip. You can fly to Pisa with multiple carriers (BA, Easyjet and Ryanair amongst others) from a number of different UK destinations. Please ask your sales consultant if you would like help in booking your international flights.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

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

Airport transfers are not included in this trip.

The easiest way to reach the start point from the UK is to fly to Pisa airport. From here, you can take a bus (€1.20) to the city centre. More details can be found on

Location start:
Location end:

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Self-Guided Hire Bikes

All bikes are supplied with:
- 1 front bar bag with a plastic folder for your route notes and maps - 1 per 2 people (if you are travelling together)
- 1 set of rear panniers
- 1 bike lock per 2 people
- 1 repair kit per 2 people, which includes 1 spare inner tube and a pump, plus a lock
- Front and rear lights

Seat and handlebar heights will have been set up 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. Electronic bikes are available for this trip, please request one as early as possible as they are subject to availability. Helmets can be requested if you wish, but please be aware we can never guarantee the quality of these so we do recommend bringing your own. 

We recommend you bring the following items: 
Normal daily clothes 
Padded cycling shorts 
Cycling gloves 
Water bottles 
Breathable cycling top 
Cycling helmet (compulsory on this trip) 
A couple of warm layers
Sunglasses, sun cream and sunhat
Stiff-soled shoes suitable for cycling 
Waterproofs and long cycling trousers
For earlier departures you may need some warmer layers
Mobile phone with roaming capabilities 


Bike Repairs
As you are riding unaccompanied, it is wise to know at least how to repair or change an inner tube before setting off on your bike!  Please visit for a comprehensive guide on fixing a puncture.

The bikes are serviced before being rented out so there should be no problems - however, there are emergency numbers provided in the Route Notes for more complex problems.

Optional Equipment

Panniers are provided with the bikes. If you want to carry more with you during the day we recommend a large bum-bag or small close-fitting daysack. You may find that you want to take some cycle-specific clothing such as cycle gloves and padded cycling shorts. In addition to this it is worth taking some leggings and long sleeved tops for the mornings and evenings when it may be cooler. It is also recommended that you take a swimming costume so you can take advantage of any bathing opportunities that come your way.


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.


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 off 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. You will also be responsible for assembling and disassembling your bike as well as bringing along spare parts and any tools specific to it. 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.

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



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

There are no specific health risks on this trip.



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.

The above information can change at short notice; 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:

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.

If you are a UK citizen and travelling in Europe you should obtain the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from your Post Office. This gives you medical care at a reduced cost, and some cases for free, in many European countries, but should not be considered a substitute for adequate insurance.

Local Time

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


Italy's Electricity:

European plug ‐ 2 round pins.


Italy's Currency

The national currency of Italy is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 1.2 to the UK£ and 0.9 to the US$.

Exchange rates are correct at the time of publication.


ATM Availability

In every town you can withdraw the local currency from a Cash Machine (ATM) but we do recommend you obtain some of your spending money in Euros before you leave the UK. Credit cards are also accepted in most places you visit but cash is easier.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

Train tickets:
Montecatini - Pistoia approx. €3, Florence - Empoli approx. €2, Empoli - Pisa approx. €3.
For lunches and dinners allow about €170 depending on the standard of restaurant chosen.
LOCAL TAXES: many Italian cities have recently introduced a tourist tax for non-residents. The local administration is in charge of the tax, which will be collected by the accommodation provider at check-in or check-out. This fee varies depending on the hotel category, the season and number of days of stay and during the season some variations may occur:
Pisa: 4/5* hotels 2 €;
Lucca: 2* hotels 1.50 €, 3/4* hotels 2 €;
Montecatini: 3* hotels 1 €; 4* hotels 1.40 €;
Florence: 3* hotels 4 €, 4* hotels 4.80 €, 5* hotels 5 €

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.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

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.



The Foreign & Commonwealth 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

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting

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 for online booking, 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.


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.