Val Rendena cycleway Pista ciclabile Val Rendena

Published on:  | Last updated: 9 September 2019

Cyclists on the Val Rendena ciclopedonale near Caderzone Terme

Cyclists on the Val Rendena ciclope­donale near Caderzone Terme

At a glance

Distance

28 kilometres

Difficulty/​terrain

Easy — almost entirely downhill or flat.

Traffic

Almost completely traffic-free except for very short sections through a couple of villages.

Surfaces

The whole route is on paved cycleways or roads.

Signposting

Well signposted.

Public transport

The central section of the route is supported by a bicibus service, and, in addition, there are bicibus services connecting the route with Dimaro in the Val di Sole, and with Riva del Garda and Torbole.

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.


This cycleway is probably mainly of interest if you are staying in the area or in the neigh­bouring Val di Sole. It is reachable by public transport from the Lago di Garda and Trento itself, but without your own car etc it would need a deal of planning and determ­in­ation. You could defin­itely include it in a longer itinerary.

Kilometre marker on the Val Rendena cycleway

Kilometre marker on the Val Rendena cycleway

Getting there and back

There's no railway line on the cycleway, but there is a station at Dimaro in the neigh­bouring Val di Sole. There is a bicibus service that runs between Dimaro and Carisolo via Madonna di Campiglio. The service operates between mid-June and mid-September with four buses a day in either direction every day.

There's another bike-bus to take you back to Carisolo from Tione di Trento (it also stops at other places along the route). There are five buses a day in each direction. You could then take a bus from Carisolo to Dimaro.

The area is reachable by public transport from Trento, and from the Lago di Garda, but it wouldn't be feasible as a day-trip; you'd need to stay overnight in the area.

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Distances
Sant'Antonio di Mavignola to Carisolo/​Pinzolo 4 kms
Carisolo/​Pinzolo to Caderzone Terme 5 kms
Caderzone Terme - Piazzo 4 kms
Piazzo to Tione di Trento 9 kms
Tione di Trento to Ragoli 5 kms

About this table

The table doesn't neces­sarily show the distances from one city centre to the centre of the next town — if a route skirts around a town the distances are measured to the nearest point on the route from the centre.



Bridge on the Val Rendena cycleway near Pinzolo

Bridge on the Val Rendena cycleway near Pinzolo

Options

The Val Rendena cycleway has three main sections. The first is a steepish descent from Sant'Antonio di Mavignola to Carisolo and Pinzolo. The second runs between Carisolo/​Pinzolo and Tione di Trento, and the third between Tione di Trento and the Lago di Ponte Pio.

The 16-kilometre middle section between Carisolo/​Pinzolo and Tione di Trento links the main towns and is the core of the route, and is supported by a bicibus service. The first and third sections are well worth doing, but a little more off the beaten track.

You can ride the ciclabile in either direction, but the climb from Carisolo to Sant'Antonio di Mavignola involves a four-kilometre climb with a gradient of a bit over 7 per cent (an altitude gain of 288m). There's a gondola lift between Pinzolo-Campiglio Express gondola lift, but it's a relat­ively expensive option as it looks like you have to buy a two-hour bike pass (18€). The road from Madonna di Campiglio isn't especially busy and offers some cracking views of the Brenta Dolomites, but I wouldn't recommend it if you're nervous in traffic.

There are several points where there are branches off the main cycleway, but the main variant is to the north of Carisolo where there are two branches: one goes via the little church of Santo Stefano and then crosses the river Sarca and follows the right bank (looking in the direction the river flows). The other branch follows the left bank, before it too crosses the river, and the two branches join.

Cyclists on the Val Rendena cycleway near Pinzolo

Cyclists on the Val Rendena cycleway near Pinzolo

Connections

The Val Rendena cycleway forms part of the DolomitiBrentaBike mountain bike route. You can continue following the DolomitiBrentaBike to Dimaro, or in the other direction, towards the Lago di Molveno.

If you are staying in the area, you could make use of the bike-bus service to Dimaro to ride the Val di Sole cycleway. You could also do a side-trip into the Parco dell'Adamello Brenta along the beautiful Val Genova is well worth the time. The road into the Val Genova continues for 16 kilometres but only part of it is asphalt surfaced (at least 6 kilometres and probably more).

You could also use the cycleway as part of a longer road itinerary, for example:

  • continue on from Tione di Trento to pick up the Valle del Chiese cycleway to the Lago d'Idro and then from there take the Valle del Ledro cycleway before descending to the Lago di Garda via the Strada del Ponale;
  • or continue to Comano Terme and then return to Riva del Garda via the Lago di Tenno, or the Sarca and Giudicarie cycleway back to Arco and Torbole on the lake.

What to see along the way

Probably the star sights along the way are the churches of Santo Stefano near Carisolo, and San Vigilio in Pinzolo.

The churches were decorated with frescos by Simone Baschenis and other members of the Baschenis family — a family of painters who lived in Lombardia but also worked in this valley and the neigh­bouring Val di Sole. Their work spans several gener­a­tions and the best part of two centuries. You See you can see other examples of the Baschenis' work in chapels at Sant'Antonio di Mavignola, Pelugo and Ragoli.

In more detail

Sant'Antonio di Mavignola to Pinzolo and Carisolo

The route starts from the centre of Sant'Antonio di Mavignola in front of the tiny Chiesa di Sant'Antonio Abate (defin­itely take a look inside the little chapel if it's open).

If you are coming from the Madonna di Campiglio turn right: there are two roads you can take, and both lead to the same place. The first turning is just before the sign indic­ating that you are leaving the village, and, if you miss the first turning, the second one is immedi­ately after the sign.

You need to take the Vecchia Strada (old road) also shown on the maps as the Via Folgarida. The only sign is an MTB route sign for the Vecchia Strada (MTB 960 – Trail Vecchia Strada).

The Strada Vecchia was built in the nineteenth century by the owner of a hotel in Madonna di Campiglio, as the first step in turning an abandoned monastery into a successful summer resort that was popular with the nobility of the Austro-Hungarian empire. The road became the old road with the building of the modern strada statale that made it possible to reach Madonna di Campiglio in winter as well as summer.

You can see why the road was imprac­ticable in winter: it's pretty steep in places. The surface is generally pretty good, but there are a couple of rough spots to watch out for, as well as two or three drainage channels.

After 2.7 kilometres (according to the sign at the bottom) the road comes out onto a bridge over a river, turn right heading for Carisolo. On the way to Carisolo, and neigh­bouring Pinzolo, you pass the Birrificio Val Rendena brewery.

A little after the birri­ficio you come to a junction with the start of a branch of the cycleway on your right-hand side. This is the start of the branch of the cycleway that follows the left bank of the river.

If you want to go to Carisolo, it's better to stay on the road and then turn right at the next junction (by the Hotel Edelweiss). If you want to go to Pinzolo, then you should stay on the road and then turn left.

You have several options here depending on whether you want to visit the church of Santo Stefano near Carisolo, or the church of San Vigilio in Pinzolo. Or both. Or neither.

You could visit the church of Santo Stefano and then pick up the branch of the cycleway that follows the right bank of the river and bypasses Pinzolo. If you want to visit the church of San Vigilio as well, then the best option is to return the way you you came and then go into Pinzolo. Once you've visited the church of San Vigilio, the easiest option is again to return here and take the cycleway on the left bank. You could join the cycleway at the next bridge downriver, but the access is by steps, so this is the most convenient joining point.

Carisolo and the church of Santo Stefano

To reach the church of Santo Stefano, you need to head through the centre of Carisolo, to the Piazza II Maggio. Look for the (brown) signs for the Chiesa di Santo Stefano and the Località Antica Vetreria (glass­works). Keep following the Via Negrelli (and the signs) as it leads out of town. Turn right when you get to the Via Santo Stefano and follow it as it heads uphill, leading you to the church. The road has been tarmacked for most of the way, but as you get near to the church, the tarmac gives way to stone setts (paving blocks).

The Chiesa di Santo Stefano is high up on the valley side, in the sort of location that has probably been a sacred place for thousands and thousands of years. Inside the church, there are a couple of fabulous frescoes by Simone Baschenis. One fresco depicts the Last Supper —look for the river shrimps on the table. The other fresco shows the passage of Charlemagne (Carlo Magno) as he came through the area (his army is said to have camped at the Campo Carlo Magno on the way from the Val di Sole into the Val Rendena).

During the peak summer months the little church is opened up by volun­teers (see visittrentino.it for opening times - or ask at the helpful tourist office).

Once you've visited the church, if you want to take the cycleway on the right bank of the river you need return down the Via Santo Stefano, and then, when you come to the junction with the Via Negrelli, turn right and head for the Antica Vetreria. After the Antica Vetreria, the road leads to the river and the cycleway on the other side.

Pinzolo

The San Vigilio church in Pinzolo is best known for the danza macabra painted by Simone Baschenis on the wall of the church. A danza macabra (danse macabre or Dance of Death) is a mural showing the great and the good of the Middle Ages in a dance with skeletal figures. There are a small number of these scattered across Europe — see en.wikipedia.org: Danse Macabre). The danza macabara in Pinzolo has been beauti­fully restored and is well worth the detour.

The church is only open during the summer months (June to September). It should be open in the mornings, and in July and August in the late after­noons (check opening times with the tourist office or the tourist inform­ation website campigliodolomiti.it: chiese in Val Rendena)

Pinzolo to Spiazzo

From here (the start of the cycleway just after the birri­ficio) you follow the left bank of the river. You come to a big playground and pineta (pine wood), and a timber bridge with a roof of wooden shingles, where you cross over the river.

The cycleway skirts around Caderzone Terme, passing a golf course. As you approach Strembo, there is a little park (the Parco Crosetta) with a play area and a bicigrill. There is a short break in the traffic-free cycleway as the cycle route goes past the town's recycling point, and the cycleway restarts again at a round­about on the corner with a beautiful marble drinking water fountain.

After another couple of kilometres further on (at the 7-kilometre point) you cross back over the river and turn right. The next village is Spiazzo. As you approach Spiazzo, there's the Bar Minigolf which has a workstation with an e-bike charging point as well as a pump and set of tools. There's also a cool-looking play area a little further on.

Spiazzo to Vigo Rendena

At Spiazzo the traffic-free cycleway gives way to a stretch of very peaceful road that takes you through the neigh­bouring village of Fisto. Look out for the garden on your right-hand side with an extraordinary collection of old saucepans and old toys.

Artwork by the Val Rendena cycleway near Fisto

Artwork by the Val Rendena cycleway near Fisto

The road takes you past the 8-kilometre marker and into the centre of the village where turn right by the water fountain. The dedicated cycleway resumes near Ches, after a bit under a kilometre. Turn off to the right going downhill again towards the river. Look out for the sign for Tione di Trento on the right-hand side (as well as a sign for the Bicigrill Vigo).

The cycleway follows the left bank of the river, and then, after 1.4 kilometres, you come to another bridge where you cross back over to the right bank (although you could also continue on the left bank until the next bridge).

On the other side of the bridge (at the ten-kilometre point) there's another play area, as well as a bar-ristorante (the Biergarten Parco Masere). Bear left and cross over another bridge, following the signs for Tione di Trento.

The cycleway continues following the river, passing Vigo Rendena and Darè. Just after the 11-kilometre marker, you pass the Bicigrill di Vigo Rendena on your right-hand side. A little further on there's the Camping Val Rendena, and just beside it the Ristorante-Pizzeria Le Fontane. There's also a play area with a picnic area equipped with barbecues.

From here the cycleway passes Javrè and Villa Rendena.

Cyclists on the Val Rendena ciclopedonale

Cyclists on the Val Rendena ciclope­donale

Vigo di Rendena to Tione di Trento

A little after the 12-kilometre marker, you come out onto a road where you turn left, and then when the road forks, bear left (the road to the right leads to Javrè). The route takes you past a magazzino (Council depot) and then there is a short climb to a little chapel where you turn left, onto another section of traffic-free cycleway.

The cycleway heads downhill towards the river, and then there's a short, but pretty sharp climb (signed as 15%) before you cross over a local road (the SP34). The route keeps on climbing to the main road (average gradient a little over 5 per cent) for a bit under 400 metres.

Bridge on the Val Rendena cycleway near Verdesina

Bridge on the Val Rendena cycleway near Verdesina

Turn left at the road and follow the cycleway as it runs beside it for a brief stretch before heading back downhill towards a modern white bridge over the river at the 15-kilometre marker point.

After the bridge, the cycleway comes out beside the SP34 again and runs beside it for a short stretch towards Tione di Trento.

The cycleway brings you to a pedes­trian crossing leading to a play area and sports ground on the other side of the road. The next stretch of cycleway takes you to Ragoli, 5.5 kilometres away. It begins almost directly after the sports ground on the other side of the road. Cross over the road and continue straight on with the sports ground on your left-hand side.

If you're heading for Tione, you need to follow the SP34 as if crosses back over the river and takes you into the village. On the other side of the bridge, on your right-hand side, there's a short footpath that takes you to the little Chiesa di San Vigilio.

The chiesa di San Vigilio in Tione di Trento

The chiesa di San Vigilio in Tione di Trento

Tione di Trento to Ragoli

The Val Rendena cycleway continues from Tione di Trento, following the left bank of the Sarca. It is virtually flat, with the very slightest of downhill gradients. It skirts around Preore and Ragoli.

There's another Baschenis church (the Chiesa di Santi Faustino e Giovita) between the two villages. The well-preserved (and beauti­fully-restored) frescos on the vaulted ceiling of the little church were painted in the 1500s by Cristoforo Baschenis assisted by his young son Simone. I haven't been ale to find any inform­ation about whether the church is open to visitors, but you can of course look through the windows.

To get to the church, bear left when you come to a fork in the cycleway, and take the branch that leads toward Ragoli. When you come to a junction turn right and then right again onto the Via Marconi which takes you to a round­about and to the church.

The other branch of the cycleway continues for a kilometre and a half before coming to an end a little after Ragoli. You can continue following the SP34 as it leads to Stenico, and on from there to Ponte Arche. If you're thinking about using the cycleway as part of a longer route you could head from Ponte Arche towards Villa Banale and the Lago di Molveno, or you could head south and pick up the Giudicarie and Sarca cycleways which take you most of the way to the Lago di Garda. For more inform­ation see: italy-cycling-guide.info: Valley of the Lakes.

More information

Places to stay

Hotels and B&Bs etc

The area is a popular holiday choice in winter and summer, so there are lots of hotels and B&Bs, Carisolo and Pinzolo have the greatest range of choice and convenient location.

Tourist inform­ation websites with accom­mod­ation search facil­ities:

Find and book places to stay with Booking.com

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 no hostels on this route. The closest are the Active Hostel at Ponte del Caffaro, on the Lago d'Idro, and the Ostello Benacus at Riva del Garda.

Campsites

There are a couple of campsites in the valley: the Camping Parco Adamello at Carisolo, and the Camping Val Rendena at Darè.

Transport and services

Transport and services

There is a bicibus service that runs between Dimaro and Carisolo via Madonna di Campiglio. The service operates between mid-June and mid-September with four buses a day in either direction every day.

There's another bike-bus to take you back to Carisolo from Tione di Trento (it also stops at other places along the route). There are five buses a day in each direction. You could then take a bus from Carisolo to Dimaro.

You can also catch the Pinzolo-Campiglio Express funivia back from Pinzolo to Madonna di Campiglio. In 2018 a 2-hour 'Bikepass' cost 18€ for adults, and under-16s pay 13€. The funivia runs between the end of June and the beginning of September.

Bike shops

Places to eat and drink

You are never very far from a village, but there's only a limited number of places to eat and drink that are directly on the route:

  • Caderzone Terme (kilometre 10 ): Bicigrill Parco Crosetta
  • Spiazzo (kilometre 13): Bar Minigolf Spiazzo
  • Pelugo (kilometre 15): Biergarten Parco Masere
  • Vigo Rendena (kilometre 17): Bicigrill Vigo

(Distances are from Sant'Antonio di Mavignola).

There's also a bar (Bar Arno) a short distance off the route at Tione di Trento. The Ristorante-Pizzeria Le Fontane a short distance further on from the Bicigrill Le Fontane is the most convenient place for a lunch stop (and it's good).

I would highly recommend the Baita Magnabò near Carisolo for good local cooking, but it's more of a place for a proper sit-down lunch or dinner rather than a lunch-stop. It's also very popular and busy.

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

Information about the route

[campigliodolomiti.it: Ciclopedonale Val Rendena]http://www.campigliodolomiti.it/lang/EN/pagine/dettaglio/ciclopedonale_val_rendena,108/ciclopedonale_della_val_rendena,501.html campigliodolomiti.it: ciclope­donale val rendena) — includes a link to a download of the map/​flyer for the route as well as inform­ation about what there is to see along the route (Ciclopedonale della Val Rendena flyer ).

The site also has inform­ation about playgrounds along the route and e-bike hire: campigliodolomiti.it: bike hire and
campigliodolomiti.it: Val Rendena playgrounds.

There's also a page about the route on the regional visittrentino.infovisittrentino.info: Val Rendena bike path.

Information about cycling in the area

The Madonna di Campiglio/​val Rendena area claims to have the largest bike in Italy. There's an overview of the route in the area on this page (in Italian only): campigliodolomiti.it: mappe e itinerari bike. You can also download (the maps of the Brenta Bike Park and the Bikeland MTB Campiglio) from here: campigliodolomiti.it: downloads page .

DolomitiBrentaBike

The DolomitiBrentaBike route has its own, compre­hensive, website: dolomitibrentabike.it .

Transport information

Between mid-June and the middle of September, there's a network of five bicibus services in the north-western part of the region (the area between the Lago di Garda and the Brenta Dolomites). In general, the services run four times a day in each direction; three of the lines run every day, while the other two run five days a week.

The five lines are:

  • Line 1: Carisolo-Madonna di Campiglio-Dimaro. Links the Val di Sole and Val Rendena cycleways
  • Line 2: Comano Terme-Tione-Carisolo. Supports the central section of the Val Rendena cycleway
  • Line 3: Sarche-Comano Terme-Molveno-Fai della Paganella
  • Line 4: Torbole-Riva del Garda-Comano Terme. Buses on lines 3 and 4 connect to provide a return option at the end of the Sarca cycleway
  • Line 5: Ampola-Lago di Ledro-Riva del Garda. The service links the Val di Ledro cycleway with Riva del Garda.

Fares depend on the distance travelled, with a flat 2€ per bike, but you can travel for free with the Trentino Guest Card or one of the other local guest cards. You can buy the tickets on the bus.

The buses (or at least all the ones I've seen) have trailers that can carry 28 bikes.

According to the leaflet: you have to book before 18:00 for buses the following morning, and by midday for services in the afternoon. The Italian text of the leaflets says booking is advised; it's probably a good idea to book, but even if you don't have a booking it may be worth turning up anyway.

The Val di Sole tourist office produces a useful leaflet showing the bike-friendly train services serving the Val di Sole together with linking bike-bus services to the Passo del Tonale and Val Rendena (Carisolo): valdisole.net: Find your bikebus & biketrain 

You can download a pdf copy of the timetables for the Trentino Trasporti trains from the train section of the company's website: trentinotrasporti.it: train.

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

Places and attractions

There's an excellent guide to places of interest along the route on the campigliodolomiti.it tourist inform­ation website: campigliodolomiti.it: Discover Val Rendena by bike.

campigliodolomiti.it: Pinzolo and Val Rendena

To check the opening times for church of Santo Stefano and San Vigilio) go to: campigliodolomiti.it: Chiese in Val Rendena.

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