Published on: 22 March 2013 | Last updated: 9 February 2018
A classic cycling circuit over four famous mountain passes through scenery that genuinely deserves the word ‘dramatic’ as the bulk of the Piz BoÃ¨ looms above you.
The four passes are:
- the Passo di Campolongo (1875m)
- the Grodnerjoch (Passo di Gardena) (2121m)
- the Passo di Sella (2213) and
- the Passo Pordoi (2239m)
None of the climbs is particularly long or very steep and the total amount of climbing is pretty manageable. You can do it in either direction and there are a number of potential start points.
Map and altitude profile
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This is a very popular ride with cyclists, but also with car drivers and motorcyclists. So it gets pretty busy – although I rode up to the Passo Pordoi in the early evening sunshine and there was hardly anyone around. If you have the choice, avoid the peak holiday season. You might want to come for the Sella Ronda Bike Day: the 2017 Bike Day will be the June 25.
The Val Gardena tourism people have produced a great little promo video which will definitely make you want to go, for the party atmosphere and the experience of having the road to yourself (OK you and thousands of other cyclists).
These passes were the scene of some of the most famous battles in Italian cycling and at the Passo Pordoi there’s a monument to Fausto Coppi and another that commemorates the winners of the Cima Coppi (the first person over the highest point in each Giro d’Italia).
In places the road signs are in three languages, German, Italian, and Ladin, reflecting the region’s diverse identity and history: these mountains were also on the front lines in the First World War with the bitter fighting around the Col di Lana.
Places to stay
If you are camping then your best bet is the Camping Colfosco at Colfosco/Kolfosch. This is the only campsite on the circuit itself, at Canazei (1465m) there’s the Camping Marmolada. There are plenty of hotels: on the circuit there are hotels in Arabba, Corvara and Colfosco. La Villa and Volkenstein in Gardena (Selva di Gardena) are not very far away. For information on places to stay go to altabadia.org .
Places to eat
You’ll find the greatest range of choices in Arabba, Corvara and Colfosco.
Maps to print out or view offline
Â About the maps
Links open in new windows unless you ‘save as’ etc.
The maps are in two versions: A4 portrait format - for printing and maybe also for viewing on an iPad, and A5 for smaller tablets and smartphones. As far as eReaders are concerned so far I’ve not managed to get them to work on a Nook - but you may have more success with other devices.
Sella Ronda gps file
(.zip file containing 3 gpx track files)
Â Italy Points of Interest
Â About POIs
POIs are like waypoints, but while you can usually only store a limited number of waypoints on a device, you can store thousands of POIs. These files include information about campsites and hostels, bike shops, train stations, drinking water sources as well as warnings for tunnels and roads where bikes are banned. Please check the ReadMe file for instructions. Updated April 2018. The file format is only compatible with Garmin GPSes .