Adige Valley cycleway (Trentino) Ciclabile Valle dell'Adige

Published on:  | Last updated: 10 September 2019

Cyclists on the Adige cycleway near Trento

Cyclists on the Adige cycleway near Trento

The Adige Valley cycleway (Ciclabile Valle dell'Adige) is the Trentino's major traffic-free cycleway. It's part of a longer traffic-free cycle route that starts at the border with Austria and follows the Adige (Etsch) river from its source to the Adriatic coast, taking you through the Südtirol, through the Trentino and on from there into the Veneto. It is the main north-south route through northern Italy, so a lot of people use it as part of a longer tour, but there's nothing to stop you using it in combin­ation with the train for a day-ride or a short tour.

The Adige valley is broad with steep, sometimes vertical, rock walls on either side; this area is a major centre for growing apples, and vineyards. For most of the 81 kilometres through the Trentino, the cycleway follows the high embank­ments of the Adige river.

The Adige cycleway is part of the Via Claudia Augusta and eurovelo 7 inter­na­tional cycle routes with options heading for the Lago di Garda, Verona and Mantova.

At a glance

Distance

81 kilometres

Difficulty/​terrain

Easy, very flat.

Traffic

Entirely traffic-free.

Surfaces

Entirely paved.

Signposting

clearly signposted throughout

Options and variants

You can ride the cycleway in either direction

Connections

The cycleway is part of a continuous cycleway following the Adige (Etsch) river. To the north, it connects with the Etschradroute, and to the south with the Veneto section of the Adige cycleway. The cycleway also connects with the Mori-Torbole cycle route which leads to the Lago di Garda

Public transport

the whole of the cycleway is within easy reach of a train station.

Also known as …

This route is part of the national Ciclopista del Sole (eurovelo 7), and the Via Claudia Augusta.

Notes

Distance: this guide isn't divided into daily stages, as people differ in how fast and how far they want to travel each day.

'Traffic-free': many cycle routes include sections with roads with restricted access for residents or people working on the adjoining land. You may, very occasionally, encounter an agricul­tural vehicle like a tractor pulling a trailer of hay, but most of the time there is no motorised traffic. They are often indis­tin­guishable from the cycleways that are legally set aside for the exclusive use of cyclists and pedes­trians.


The Adige cycleway on the outskirts of Trento

The Adige cycleway on the outskirts of Trento

Getting there and getting back

The main rail line between Verona and Innsbruck runs through the Adige valley - so you' re never far from a station. There are very good rail connec­tions to the major cities of northern Italy, not to mention Austria and southern Germany. For more inform­ation about train services to the transport and services section.

The nearest station to the start of the Trentino section is at Salurn (Salorno). The nearest station to the end is at Borghetto Sull'Adige.

The nearest airports are at Innsbruck or Verona. The excellent rail connec­tions mean that it's also fairly straight­forward to reach from other airports in northern Italy.

When to go

There are no high mountain passes along the way, so this route should be rideable at any time of the year. In July and August temper­atures will often be going into the upper thirties (centi­grade), so it's best to start early in the day before it gets too hot. It's also a very popular route, and on summer weekends it can get hectic — my advice would be to ride it on a weekday when there are fewer tour group convoys around, and people tend to be friendlier.

Options and variations

The cycleway can be ridden in either direction, and as it is part of a longer cycleway, you can, of course, start or finish at any point.

Many people using this cycleway are heading for the Lago di Garda: either taking the cycleway from via Mori to Torbole, or heading for Rivoli Veronese and taking the cycleway from there to Peschiera del Garda. Another popular option is to ride to Torbole and then take a ferry-boat to Peschiera del Garda (you can also cycle there by continuing on the Veneto section of the ciclabile). From Peschiera del Garda you can continue south towards Mantova (and beyond that Bologna and Firenze).

The other major destin­ation is Verona, but you could, if you wanted, continue following the river all the way to the Adriatic coast south of Venezia. For much of the way, you can ride on asphalt-surfaced traffic-free cycleways.

Heading north, you continue to Bozen (Bolzano) and on from there on towards Austria.

As well as the north-south options, there are a couple of east-west options:

  • at Lavis you can turn east and climb (by a reasonably quiet road) to Molina di Fiemme where you can pick up the Val di Fiemme and Val di Fassa cycleway (see: italy-cycling-guide.info: Val di Fiemme and Val di Fassa cycleway) which takes you into the heart of the Dolomites
  • at Trento you can turn east to pick up the Valsugana cycleway (italy-cycling-guide.info: Valsugana cycleway). The cycleway starts at the Lago di Caldonazzo in the hills above Trento and continues, following the Brenta river, to Bassano del Grappa. The connection between Trento and the start of the Valsugana cycleway is a little tricky, but you can take the train from Trento, or there are shuttles operated in support of the Via Claudia Augusta .

If you're looking at the map and thinking that you can head directly for the Lago di Garda from Trento, bear in mind that much of the SP45 BIS is off-limits to bikes and involves some very long tunnels. The altern­ative is the SP85, which means a massive climb (altitude difference more than 1400 metres). The cycleway from Mori is defin­itely the easier option.

Map and altitude profile

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Distances
Salurn (station) to start 3 kms
start to Grumo 6 kms
Grumo to Lavis 12 kms
Lavis to Trento 9 kms
Trento to Nomi 18 kms
Nomi to Rovereto (Borgo Sacco) 9 kms
Rovereto to Chizzolo 10 kms
Chizzolo to Borghetto 16 kms
The Adige cycleway on the outskirts of Trento

The Adige cycleway on the outskirts of Trento

In more detail

Salurn to Lavis

The Trentino section of the Adige cycleway starts a little way after Salurn (Salorno) — 37 kilometres from Bozen and 28 kilometres from Trento. As you head south from Salurn look out for the Schloss Haderburg castle dramat­ically located on a spike of rock overlooking the valley. The valley broadens out a bit after Salurn (Salorno), and you come into the Piana Rotoliana, one of the Trentino's main wine-growing areas.

The German poet Goethe passed this way at the end of the eight­eenth century on the first part of his journey around Italy. He wrote that:

From Bolzano to Trento one travels for nine miles through a country which grows ever more fertile. Everything which, higher up in the mountains must struggle to grow, flour­ishes here in vigour and health, the sun is bright and hot, and one can believe once again in God.

[…]

The valley is open to the south and sheltered on the north by the mountains of the Tirol. A balmy air pervaded the whole region. Here the Adige turns south again. The foothills are covered with vineyards. The vines are trained on long, low trellises, and the purple grapes hang grace­fully from the roof and ripening the warmth of the soil so close beneath them.

The vineyards probably haven't changed so very much since Goethe wrote — although mostly the vines are now trained on trellises made with concrete or steel posts.

What has, of course, has changed since Goethe passed through is the autostrada and railway line. The Adige valley is a major transport corridor, and one of the most important routes for goods crossing over the Alps. The railway line is the main rail link with Austria and Germany. There has also been a lot of urban devel­opment along the route. The cycleway does an excellent job of threading its way through. For most of the way, you aren't really aware of the motorway.

From Salurn, the ciclabile follows the left bank of the Adige (Etsch) — looking in the direction the river flows. A little before San Michele all'Adige it crosses over the river and continues through the outskirts of Grumo, and then goes under the railway line before there's a stretch where it runs beside the autostrada. The cycleway runs on a ten-metre high embankment between the river and the road, so you're looking down on the traffic rather than riding immedi­ately beside it.

This section continues for a couple of kilometres before the motorway diverges from the cycleway (or the other way round), and you continue towards Nave San Rocco where you cross the river and continue on the left bank, passing the 10-kilometre marker.

At the 12-kilometre marker, the cycleway passes Zambana and dips under the autostrada. You can quickly put the traffic noise behind you, and the scenery is magni­ficent: vineyards on the flat valley floor and, looming above you, the almost sheer sides of the valley.

Lavis

Three and a half kilometres further on, the cycleway makes a detour inland to bridge over the Torrente Avisio at Lavis. It makes a left turn and skirts around a water­works, before taking you under the autostrada, another road and the rail line, and on towards Lavis, passing the 16-kilometre marker.

As you come into the centre of Lavis, the ciclabile crosses over the river on a dedicated bridge. You then follow the other bank of the Avisio back towards the Adige.

If you fancy taking a break, Lavis has an attractive little centre. The best bet, if you want to get to the centre of town, is to keep straight on when you get to the bridge then cross over a level crossing and the main road, and follow the Via Orti. The Via Orti turns left into the Via Garibaldi. At the end of the Via Garibaldi turn left, passing the post office and into the Via De Gasperi. Follow the signs for the Municipio, turning left onto the Via Zanella, and left again onto the main Via Matteotti.

Apple blossom beside the Adige cycleway near Trento

Apple blossom beside the Adige cycleway near Trento

Lavis to Trento

As it returns to the left bank of the Adige the cycleway threads its way under the main SS12 and the autostrada. There's a kilometre or so where the ciclabile squeezes between the motorway and the river. This is soon over, and the approach to Trento is a pleasant stretch by the river, with woodland to your left. The route brings you to a round­about (with a bar).

If you want to go into Trento's centro storico (and really you do), probably the simplest way is to follow the riverside for another kilometre and then turn left (Via Verdi) and go under the train line. The Via Verdi leads you straight into Trento's unmissable Piazza del Duomo, with its fountain of Neptune and frescoed palazzi.

Trento: Piazza del Duomo

Trento: Piazza del Duomo

Trento to Rovereto

As head on towards Rovereto, following the Adige out of Trento, you pass what used to be the site of the old Michelin factory. It has now been redeveloped as a park with offices and apart­ments on one side. If you have time, the MUSE science museum is well worth a visit.

From here the cycleway keeps to the left bank of the Adige for a bit over a kilometre and a half, with a brief section beside the main SS12, before crossing over. It crosses back at the next bridge and then passes the Bicigrill Trento and Trento's airfield. (The word bicigrill is a play on the autogrill in the service areas of Italian motorways).

On the other side of the airfield is the Museo dell'Aeronautica Gianni Caproni aviation museum. The museum has an extensive collection of aircraft from the pioneering days of aviation. Gianni Caproni was an engineer who came from the Trentino and set up the Caproni company which produced planes between 1911 and 1950.

If you're inter­ested in visiting the museum, there's a cycleway that branches off the main route just before you reach the airfield. This cycleway joins the Via Lidorno — a quiet road that runs alongside the main SS12 that takes you to the entrance of the museum. Note that bikes are banned from the main road. The museum is 1.3 kilometres from the cycleway.

Distance marker on the Adige cycleway near Trento

Distance marker on the Adige cycleway near Trento

After the airfield, the cycleway continues, a peaceful cruise along the river embankment, with the river on one side and fields of apple trees on the other. There's another section alongside the main road, but lasting for less than a kilometre, before the road diverges away from the river. There's then a long, peaceful section before the cycleway crosses over the river again and there's another brief section beside the autostrada. This section brings you to another bridge over the river, and, just after the bridge, the Bicigrill di Nomi (aka Asgard Bicigrill).

From the bicigrill a very tranquil cruise along the river takes you to Rovereto's Borgo Sacco.

The cycleway skirts around Rovereto, following the river, but the centre of the town is well worth the two-kilometre detour. Probably the easiest option is to wait until you reach the bridge over the river Leno just after Borgo Sacco, then instead of crossing over the river turn right, and follow the riverside cycleway that takes you to the castle, where you turn left to reach the centro storico.

Trento: Museo delle Scienze (MUSE)

Trento: Museo delle Scienze (MUSE)

Rovereto to Borghetto

After Rovereto, the cycleway continues south before crossing the river at Ravazzone. There's then a brief stretch beside the Canale Biffis, a waterway built in the 1930s for irrig­ation and to produce electricity. Construction of the 47-kilometre long tunnel involved excav­ating 6 million cubic metres of earth — much of it dug with picks and shovels — and building 8 kilometres of tunnel. The cycleway follows the canale for much of the way between here and Verona (except for the tunnels of course).

The short stretch beside the canale takes you to the junction with the cycleway that links Mori with Torbole on the Lago di Garda.

Bridge on the Adige cycleway near Rovereto

Bridge on the Adige cycleway near Rovereto

After the junction, the cycleway returns to following the main river, and to Chizzola where there is the Bike Bar La Terrazza. The walls of the bar have been turned into a giant visitors book covered with the names of visiting cyclists.

As you come into Vò Destro look out for the Castello di Sabbionara d'Avio. As well as the views over the valley, and the towers and battle­ments etc, the castle has two cycles of frescoes: La Parata dei Combattenti (The Parade of Soldiers), and the elegant depic­tions of courtly love in La Stanza dell’Amore (The Room of Love).

The castle is now owned by the FAI (Fondo Ambiente Italiano), the Italian equivalent of Britain's National Trust, and during the summer it is open from Wednesdays to Sundays. Admission costs 7€ — free if you happen to be a member of the National Trust.

There's also another bicigrill at Vò Destro: the Bicigrill Ruota Libera.

After Chizzola the cycleway continues to the border between the Trentino and the Veneto just across the river from Borghetto sull'Adige. When I first rode this route, the cycleway came to an abrupt end, and you then had to take to the road for a few kilometres before picking up the Veneto section. Fortunately, the cycleway continues from here (thanks to an investment of 3.6 million euros by the provincia di Verona, the local author­ities along the route, and the support of the EU). When I was last in the area (in April 2017), they were building what looked like a cycleway on the bridge over the motorway to complete the link between the Trentino and Veneto sections. The cycleway takes you to a junction on the road where you cross over and pick up the cycleway that is just on the other side of the road, and slightly to the left.

You could also catch a train from the Borghetto train station. Turn left and cross over the river, when you get to a cross­roads on the other side the station is straight ahead about 150 metres further on.

More information

Places to stay

Hotels and B&Bs

Tourist information websites with accommodation search engines

Booking.com pages for places on this section of the route:

About these links

If you use these links to book accom­mod­ation Booking.com will pay me a small part of their commission. This helps support the costs of producing this site.

I use Booking.com to find and book places to stay when there are no campsites in the area. The large majority of hotels and many hostels are now on ‘Booking’. I like it because it means that I can get almost-instant confirm­ation. The rating system is also a reliable guide to the quality of the accom­mod­ation.

I’ve never had a problem finding places to keep my bike —even if it’s a cupboard or store room. I always use the ‘special requests’ field on the booking form to tell the hotel that I’m travelling with a bike, which gives them the oppor­tunity to let me know if there’s a problem.

Many properties offer free cancel­lation but it’s a good idea to check the condi­tions as these vary from property to property.

Hostels

There are a couple of hostels along this section of the route:

There are also a couple on the Lago di Garda: the Ostello Benacus in Riva del Garda, and the Meet Hostel in Peschiera del Garda.

Campsites

There are only a couple of campsites on this section of the cycleway. The Albergo Camping Moser is at Nave San Felice. There's no website, but there are a few pictures of it on Google. A little way south of Trento there's the Locanda de l'Arguta which seems to be mainly an area sosta camper (stop for camper vans), but according to its website, it has a grassy area for tents.

To the north of the starting point, the nearest campsite is the Obstgarten at Kurtatsch (Cortaccia). It's a small campsite and the couple of times I've stayed there they found space for me in the garden. A little further north are the Hotel Markushof at Auer (Ora), and the Camping Steiner at Leifers (Laives).

There are also a couple of sites at the Kalterersee (Lago di Caldaro): the Sankt Josef Am See and the Gretl Am See.

If you don't mind making a short detour off the cycleway there's : the Albero delle Mele (Apple Tree) agricampeggio near Loppio on the Mori-Torbole cycleway between the Adige valley and the Lago di Garda

South from the end of the cycleway there's the agriturismo/​agricamping at Brentino Belluno (the Agri-Revéna) an agrit­urismo with an area for tents..

If you are heading for the Lago di Garda, you'll find loads of campsites, but the ones on the lake itself can get very busy in the main holiday season. Campsites away from the lake itself may be a better bet.

Transport and services

Trains

Train companies in the Adige valley

The main train line through the region runs through the Adige valley — with Verona to the south and Bozen (Bolzano) to the north (and after that, the line continues to Innsbruck and beyond).

There are three companies running services along the line:

  • Trenitalia
  • Deutsche Bahn/​ÖBB Eurocity
  • Trentino Trasporti

Trenitalia operates services to Brenner on the border from Verona and Bologna. These can get very busy, and you may find that there's no space left. Don't forget that you need a ticket for your bike (3.50€, or the single fare).

The Deutsche Bahn/​ÖBB Eurocity services have a dedicated wagon for bikes. However, you have to have a bike reser­vation, which costs 10€. They are a good option if you are planning to head for say Innsbruck or München, but less handy if you are only planning a short hop.

Boats on the Lago di Garda

During summer the towns on the Lago di Garda are served by frequent boat services. You could use these to connect with the mainline train network at Peschiera del Garda. The most bike-friendly option are the two old car ferries, which have a huge amount of space for bikes. These sail a couple of times a day in either direction, giving four sailings in total. The smaller boats (batelli) have only limited space for bikes, and bikes aren't allowed on the fast hydrofoil services.

Bike shops

Places to eat

Most of the towns and villages on the route were built away from the river — the main excep­tions are Trento, Rovereto and Lavis. The route runs mainly open country with lots of vineyards and apple plant­a­tions, but little in the way of services — although you're never very far away from a town. There are however several bicigrills on the cycleway:

There are other places to eat and drink in Lavis (kilometre 18), Trento and Rovereto.

If you're planning on continuing south, there's the Bottega dal Gilio, the village shop in Rivoli Veronese. Opened by Gilio and his wife Irma in 1962, you may well find three gener­a­tions of the family serving in the shop. They do some of the best panini I've had anywhere in Italy — highly recom­mended.

If you're passing through Brentino Belluno and fancy a restaurant lunch then the Trattoria al Castel is well worth the (very short) climb.

Guest Cards

If you're spending time in the region, it's worth checking out the Trentino Guest Card. The major benefits for cyclists are free use of the train and bicibus services, as well as free entry to many museums and other attrac­tions.

The card is available from parti­cip­ating accom­mod­ation providers (including hostels and campsites). For a list see: visittrentino.info: Guest Card: parti­cip­ating accom­mod­ation providers . You need to be staying for a minimum of two nights — but the website also suggests that you ask about the card even if you are only staying for a single night, as you can buy it for a very special price. If you're planning on doing a lot of sight­seeing, you can also buy the card for 40€ for a week.

There's a pdf map/​brochure if you want to find out more. There's also an app for Android/​iOS.

Most of the holiday areas in the region have a local Guest Card that offers similar benefits.

Resources

Tourist information websites

Cycling information

Visit Rovereto offers a brochure and map with inform­ation about the Rovereto for cyclists on the route. As well as things to see, it lists places to stay in the area. It's only available in German and Italian but may still be useful even if you don't speak either. You can download a copy of the pdf: visitrovereto.it: mappa-ciclabile-Adige-2016.pdf. The Rovereto tourist inform­ation office also operates a dedicated inform­ation and hotel booking kiosk (the 'ciclopoint']. It's pretty much on the route in Borgo Sacco (opposite the Gelateria Zenzero). More inform­ation on opening hours: visitrovereto.it: bike and tourist inform­ation.

Transport information

The visittrentino.info regional tourist inform­ation website has a useful page on taking your bike on public transport in the region: visittrentino.info: cycling-and-public-transport. For inform­ation on taking your bike on Trentino Trasporti trains see: Trentino Trasporti: Transporting Bikes

For ferryboat timetables, go to the Lago di Garda section of navigazionelaghi.it. Note that many services only operate in summer, so the winter timetables aren't much help for travel planning.You can also download the timetable as a pdf navigazionelaghi.it: Lago di Garda timetable Summer 2019 .

Places and attractions

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