Bike Across Europe
History Comes to Life as You Cycle the Trading Route from Italy to France
Our journey starts from Genova, Italy, on a course that embraces three countries—Italy, Switzerland, and France—and culminates in the beautiful town of Strasbourg, the capital of the Alsace region in France and also the official seat of the European Parliament.
Spend twelve days exploring this part of the old continent, the way most Europeans do – by bicycle. Relive the march of Napoleon and the battles of World War I and II. And of course, do all this while enjoying the true gems of the area: Piedmont and Aosta in Italy, Lake Geneva, the Swiss regional park of Juras, the Vosges forest and the quaint town of Colmar, the Routes des vins in the Alsace region and finally Strasbourg.
This will be an unforgettable experience featuring a huge variety of traditional recipes and also fresh gelato, delicious, gourmet food and local native grapes. Andiamo, forza, allez les cyclistes!
- Lesser-traveled, gorgeous country roads
- Travel by bike through three countries and discover the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Colmar and Strasbourg
- Gourmet meals and charming accommodations
- Emerald valleys & vineyard-laden hillsides featuring Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera, Alsace wines and more!
- Savor cheese, wine and beer with our local hosts & sommeliers
- Learn more about Roman civilization, Medieval Castles, citadels, and more!
Day by Day
Genova, the Ligurian Riviera and Arenzano
We have a group pick-up shuttle in Genova in front of Aquarium main entrance at 12:00pm and then a 30-min. transfer to the hotel in Arenzano. At 1pm we meet at the hotel for a light lunch & introduction talk, then we enjoy a quick warm-up ride inland and the view of the beautiful Ligurian coast. Today’s ride features also the Mediterranean landscape with olive trees,surrounded by the typical scrub greenery.
Today we pedal northwest away from city life to Acqui. Along the way you’ll encounter Monte Beigua in the Ligurian Apennines. Acqui Terme, according to legend, was founded by Greek colonies. Acqui has been well known for its hot waters since Roman times. Enjoy the thermal facilities of our hotel and to uncover the secrets of local gastronomy.
Romano Canavese, Ivrea
Roll through abundant vineyards along quiet roads today, arriving in Ivrea, which boasts a Roman amphitheater and a fourth-century cathedral, believed to be built over a pagan temple.
Easy or challenging? It’s your choice on today’s ride to the Roman capital of the Alps. In Aosta we’ll learn more about Roman times and we will discover with a local guide the ancient walls of Augusta Praetoria Salassorum, still preserved almost in their entirety and also the triumphal arch, built in 35 BC in honour of Augustus.
To Lake Geneva, Montreux through the Alps
Follow the shadow of Napoleon on today’s ride through beautiful landscapes in the Alps with splendid views of surrounding peaks such as Grand Combin (12,943 ft). We cross the Gran San Bernardo alpine pass -- covered in snow at least nine months of the year. It was here that Saint Bernard trained his famous dogs to assists winter pilgrims on their way to Rome from lower Gaul. We’ll say a short “ciao” to Italy as we enter the stunning Swiss Alps and stay on the Lac Geneva.
Get out of the saddle, get ready to enjoy the Lake of Geneva and its marvelous surroundings. The beauty of the shores of the lake and of the sites of many of the places near its banks has long been celebrated: this is the perfect location for a relaxing and well-deserved rest day! One of the highlights of the day is the guided visit to the Chillon Castle, an architectural jewel located on the shores of Lake Geneva, right at the foot of the Alps. This monument with over 1000 years of history, has always inspired artists and writers, from Jean-Jacques Rousseau to Victor Hugo and Lord Byron, from Delacroix to Courbet.
Today we cross the regional Parks of Jura, famous for forested hills, gorges, bucolic landscape and quiet atmosphere. This is one of the Cantons which lies in the northwest of Switzerland. It consists of parts of the Jura mountainsin the south and the Jura plateau in the north. The Jura plateau is hilly and almost entirely limestone and it is interesting to know that the term "Jurassic" is derived from the Jura Alps, strata of which date to that era. Pontarlier, our final destination, was a Roman station, famous in the past also for the production of absinthe banned in 1915. Distilleries then kept going producing the famous Pastis aperitif and then finally switch back to absinthe in 1990.
Pontarlier to Belfort
A great ride through a quiet canyon, immersed in deep green forests, in the Doubs valley. Streams and creeks surround the area on our way to Belfort, a fortified town built by the French and used as a stronghold against the Prussian empire. In ancient times the site of Belfort was inhabited in Gallo-Roman times and was subsequently recorded in the 13th century as a possession of the counts of Montbéliard. Nowadays Belfort is a trading centre for wine and grain and its industries include chemicals, engineering, plastics, textiles and the production of the famous high-speed French trains called TGVs (Trains Grande Vitesse).
Alsace, Colmar through the Natural Park of Ballons des Vosges
Today we enjoy a lungful of clean fresh air in the Ballons des Vosges Regional Nature Park. This is one of the largest nature parks in France, and is home to an extraordinary mix of fauna, flora and landscapes. You can ride by pastures where you will discover aromatic plants and flowers which only grow at this altitude. The combination of geological features and climatic differences have together created a surprising natural environment here. Occasionally, the snowy peaks can even be admired through the summertime. Today, en route to Colmar, in the spectacular Alsace region, famous, among the others, for its wines, we will tackle the Ballon d’Alsace climb, renown as the first climb ever featured on the Tour de France in 1905!
Colmar and the Vosges Forest
Today’s ride goes through the route de cretes, immense area of geometric beauty of Alsatian vineyards and forests, to discover a natural environment of high biological interest dotted with museums, castles, forts and abbeys.
This will be a fantastic ride which takes place in the Vosges forest above the city of Colmar, featuring a half dozen of "Cols" along the front of WWI, on an alpine landscape. Allow also some time to enjoy more the charming Colmar, which features also its historical center, perfectly depicting a typical Alsatian village. Today there will be also a chance to savor local productssuch as beer, wine and cheeses, which are among the great delicacies that this area is famous for!
Colmar to Strasbourg
On our final ride we ride through the "Route des Vins d'Alsace," an amazing rollercoaster roads among the vineyards that cross a dozen of fairytales villages, perfectly kept by their proud residents like they were 500 years ago.
Our final destination of the tour is Strasbourg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, capital of the Alsace region and the official seat of the European Parliament. This is a perfect location to celebrate a great accomplishment of having crossed 3 countries in Europe in 12 days: tres bien mes amis!
Stay on and explore other parts of France or at around 9am take our 5-min group shuttle to Strasbourg train station, to catch your next connection. From Strasbourg it takes 2.5 hrs to reach Paris, 2 hrs to Frankfurt, 1.5 hrs to Zurich.
- Carbon bike rental equipped with Garmin Edge Touring GPS
- Informative tour leaders throughout the program
- Ciclismo jersey and water bottle
- Shuttle to the start and at the end of the tour
On The Tour
- Van support
- Guided tour of Aosta, Castle of Chillon in Geneva and Colmar
- 1 tasting of local products such as beer or wine or cheese
Accommodations & Meals
- All accommodations
- All breakfasts
- 2 lunches
- 8 dinners
Here’s a sampling of some of the amazing places you’ll stay on your journey.
For a full listing, request a detailed itinerary!
Relais Villa Matilde
When the main gate of the Relais Villa Matilde closes behind you, you have no doubts: in this magnificent 18th-century villa you are going to feel you are starring in a film. The hotel features paintings, marbles, friezes, fireplaces, mirrors, stables turned into a restaurant and the age-old park create the refined and genteel atmosphere which was the aim of the aristocratic owners.
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Hotel Cour du Courbeau
Walk in the corridors and on the passageways of a 16th Century building. Admire the courtyard through a window, or a sculptured statue which enjoys itself while the time goes by. Memory of a formerly Alsatian inn, nowadays an established 4-star hotel just a few steps away from the Cathedral.
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This hotel has a perfect position for enjoying the area's breathtaking Alpine setting. The glorious natural landscape here, a legacy of the Ice Age glaciers that carved out this valley, is spectacular and the hotel offers also some pleasant amenities like a pool and a small spa.
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