Trentino cycleways

Published on:  | Last updated: 13 July 2019

Overview

The Trento region has over 400 kilometres of traffic-free cycleways. These are among the best I've ridden in Italy and Europe. If you're looking for high-quality traffic-free cycleways, then the Trentino region and the neigh­bouring Südtirol are the best places in Italy, quite possibly in Europe, to start.

Surfaces

The Trentino cycleways are all tarmac surfaced. Surfaces are very smooth — it's not unusual to come across people on skates, and cross-country skiers in training. The only partial exception to this is the cycleway in the Val di Fiemme and Val di Fassa where there's a feeder route from Canazei that follows an aggregate-surfaced bike path.

Traffic

The Trentino cycleways are mainly reserved exclus­ively for cyclists and pedes­trians (the official term is ciclope­donali), but you will come across some sections where farmers are allowed to use them for access, as well as some sections on quiet road through villages.

Signs and waymarking

The Trentino cycleways are generally well signposted. You could follow some of the more popular routes without a map, but that's not true for all of the cycleways.

In addition to the normal cycleway signs, most of the cycleways in the region are waymarked with wooden kilometre markers. These echo the kilometre markers that you'll find on a lot of Italian roads. You can come across some cycleways that have sections that don't have them, so the fact that the markers suddenly disappear may not mean that you have gone off the route.

The Adige Valley cycleway (Ciclabile Valle dell'Adige)

The Trentino's major traffic-free cycleway is the Ciclabile Valle dell'Adige which runs for 90 kilometres from the border with the Südtirol via Trento and Rovereto to the border with the Veneto. This stretch of cycleway is part of an almost continuous traffic-free cycleway that follows the Adige (Etsch) river from its source near the border with Austria to the Adriatic coast. It's also a key link in a couple of inter­na­tional cycleways; while many people use this cycleway as part of a longer route, you could easily use it for a day-ride or a short tour.

At a glance:

Distance: 81 kilometres
Surfaces: entirely paved
Difficulty/​Terrain: very flat
Public transport: the whole route is within easy reach of the main train line between Verona and the Innsbruck

Read more: Adige Valley cycleway

Mori-Torbole cycleway (Ciclabile Mori-Torbole)

This cycleway connects Torbole on the northern coast of the Lago di Garda with the Adige valley cycleway. It has some very scenic parts, but its main importance is as the most practical route between Trento and the northern Lago di Garda (if you're headed for the southern part of the lake you can turn off at Rivoli).

Distance: 13 kilometres
Surfaces: entirely paved
Difficulty/​terrain: if you are heading toward the Lago di Garda, this cycleway involves a very limited amount of climbing, but heading the other way there's a fairly steep (10%) climb out of Torbole

Transport connec­tions: Mori is on the main rail line, and there are ferry services on the Lago di Garda that stop at Torbole

Read more: Mori-Torbole cycleway

Val di Sole cycleway (Ciclabile Val di Sole)

The Val di Sole cycleway starts near Pejo and follows the Noce river through the Val di Sole.

Distance: 34 kilometres
Surfaces: entirely paved
Difficulty/​terrain: mostly downhill or flat, but the final section involves more climbing
Public transport: train services from Trento to Mezzano on the route, as well connecting bicibus services

Read more: Val di Sole cycleway

Alta Val di Non cycleway (Ciclabile Alta Val di Non)

The Alta Val di Non cycleway is a circular cycleway on the high altopiano of the Val di Non. It offers some fabulous views looking west towards Brenta Dolomites and the Alps of Lombardia.

At the time of writing (2019) work was underway on a section of new cycleway that, when completed, will connect the Val di Non cycleway with Mendola and offer a link between the Trentino and the Adige valley.

Distance: 19 kms
Surfaces: entirely paved
Difficulty/​terrain: moder­ately challenging. There are no big climbs on the cycleway, but quite a lot of small one
Transport connec­tions: limited — no train or bicibus

Read more: Alta Val di Non cycleway

Val Rendena cycleway (Ciclabile Val Rendena)

This cycleway starts at Sant'Antonio di Mavignola and runs for [x] kilometres through the resorts of Pinzolo and Carisolo.

Distance: 28 kms
Surfaces: entirely paved
Difficulty/​terrain: mostly downhill or flat, but the final section involves more climbing
Public transport: in the main summer season there are bicibus services along the main route, and connecting it with the Val di Sole and the Lago di Garda

Read more: Val Rendena cycleway

Valle del Chiese cycleway (Ciclabile della Valle del Chiese)

This cycleway/​cycle route follows the Chiese river as it flows into the Lago d'Idro. The route consists of two sections of cycleway, which are now, thanks to the building of a new section of road, linked by quiet roads.

Distance: 19 kms (plus a 7-kilometre variant and a 4-kilometre section connected by quiet road)
Surfaces: entirely paved
Difficulty/​terrain: easy, mostly flat
Public transport: in the main summer season there is a bicibus connection with the Val di Ledro and Riva del Garda

Read more: Valle del Chiese cycleway

Valle di Ledro cycleway (Ciclabile Valle di Ledro)

The cycleway runs between the Lago d'Ampola and the Lago di Ledro, in the hills to the west of the Lago di Garda. The official cycleway seems to finish at the western end of the lake, but you can continue along the south shore of the lake to Molina di Ledro. If you have a mountain bike, you could make the descent to Riva del Garda on the spectacular Strada del Ponale.

Distance: 13 kilometres
Surfaces: entirely paved
Difficulty/​terrain: easy, mostly downhill or flat
Public transport: in the main summer season the cycleway is linked by bicibus services to/​from Riva del Garda

Read more: Valle di Ledro cycleway

Valle del Sarca cycleway (Ciclabile Valle del Sarca)

The Sarca cycleway is one of Italy's most scenic cycleways and deserves to be much better known than it is. It follows the river Sarca north from the Lago di Garda. At the moment it ends at Sarche, but the Trentino region has plans to extend the cycleway to connect it to two others in the area: the Ciclabile dei Giudicarie and the Ciclabile Valle dei Laghi. The Giudicarie cycleway uses a spectacular stretch of the old road along the side of the Forra di Limarò (Limarò gorge/​canyon), deep, dramatic, river gorge carved by the Sarca river. The Ciclabile Valle dei Laghi is a shortish cycleway that takes you to the beautiful Lago di Terlago.

Distance: 24 kilometres
Surfaces: entirely paved
Difficulty/​terrain: mainly flat, but with some short climbs
Transport connec­tions: there's a BiciBus service between Sarche and Molveno, but no service between Sarche and the Lago di Garda - but you don't really need one as this is a pretty easy day ride from the lake.

Read more: Valley of the Lakes

Val di Fiemme and Val di Fassa cycleway (Ciclabile delle Dolomiti Val di Fiemme e Val di Fassa)

The Val di Fiemme e Val di Fassa cycleway takes you to Campitello di Fassa in the heart of the Dolomites. The cycleway is one of the best routes into the Dolomites, but a bike-bus service means that it is also an accessible and popular day ride.

Distance: 42 kilometres
Surfaces: entirely paved
Difficulty/​Terrain: mostly flat or gently downhill, although the section near Moena currently involves some short sharp climbs
Public transport: the route is supported by a regular 'Bicibus' service (a coach with a massive trailer for bikes)

Read more: Val di Fiemme and Val di Fassa cycleway

Valsugana cycleway (Ciclabile della Valsugana)

The Valsugana cycleway starts at the Lago di Caldonazzo in the hills above Trento and continues, following the Brenta river, through the deep, dramatic Canale del Brenta and into the Veneto. The cycle route carries on in the Veneto, mainly following quiet public roads, to Bassano del Grappa. You could continue, following the Brenta, to Padova and the coast south of Venezia — although at the moment there is a gap in the cycleway for a few kilometres south of Bassano del Grappa.

Distance: 79 kilometres (49 kilometres in the Trentino)
Surfaces: entirely paved
Difficulty/​Terrain: easy - mainly gently downhill
Traffic: the Trentino section of the cycleway is almost entirely traffic free, but the continu­ation to Bassano del Grappa is mainly on quiet roads that get busier as you approach the town
Public transport: the whole route is within easy reach of the train line between Trento and Bassano del Grappa. There's also a shuttle bus between Trento and the Lago di Caldonazzo.

Read more: Valsugana cycleway

Text box: Joining the dots

As you can see from the map, the major weakness of the Trentino cycleways network is that different cycleways mostly don't connect with one another. There are plans to improve the connec­tions, but there are public transport options that help to fill the gap. These are:

  • a network of bike-bus serves running out of Riva del Garda
  • train services between Trento and Mezzana on the Val di Sole cycleway, and between Trento and Bassano-del-Grappa serving the Valsugana cycleway.

Unfortunately, there's no bicibus or train service linking the Adige valley with the Val di Fiemme cycleway, or linking the Val di Sole and Alta Val di Non cycleways. However, the good news is that the roads between them are reasonably quiet, and not partic­u­larly steep.

Coming soon …

There are ambitious plans for a cycleway around the Lago di Garda. In the Trentino region this will involve a section suspending a cycleway from the rock face between Riva del Garda and the border with the Veneto, where it will link with a recently-opened stretch of cycleway a sbalzo . Note however that you have to do this as a loop from Limone sul Garda as bikes are banned from the road (because of a long tunnel).

I've also seen press reports of discus­sions of a link between the Val di Sole cycleway and the Passo del Tonale where it would link with the Ciclovia del Fiume Oglio in neigh­bouring Lombardia. This might in turn form part of a larger project for a cycle route linking with the Etsch/​Adige valley. However, this looks like it will be a long way off.

Other routes

The Fleimstalbahnradweg (ex-Ferrovia della Val di Fiemme)

For part of its course, the Val di Fiemme-Val di Fassa cycleway uses a section of the old rail line that once linked Auer (Ora) in the Etsch (Adige) valley with Predazzo in the Val di Fiemme. I've ridden the cycleway between Auer and the Passo di San Lugano, and it's defin­itely rideable (although most of the surface is compacted aggregate). Since I rode it in 2017, the route on the Trentino side between Castello di Fiemme and the Passo di San Lugano has been added to the OpenStreetMap maps, but I don't have any more inform­ation on the types of surface etc.

Mountainbike routes

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