Valsugana cycleway Pista Ciclabile Valsugana

Published on:  | Last updated: 10 September 2019

Ciclabile della Valsugana

The Ciclabile della Valsugana cycleway beside the Brenta river near Levico Terme

Cyclists on the Valsugana cycleway

Cyclists on the Ciclabile della Valsugana cycleway near Grigno

Cyclists on the Valsugana cycleway

Cyclists on the Ciclabile della Valsugana cycleway near Grigno

Cyclist on the Valsugana cycleway (Veneto)

Cyclist on the Ciclabile della Valsugana cycleway near Enego (Veneto)

The Valsugana cycleway (Ciclabile Valsugana) is one of Italy's top cycleways and is rightly very popular. It starts at the Lago di Caldonazzo, high in the hills above Trento, and follows the Brenta river as it heads from its source to the Adriatic coast. It goes into the Canale del Brenta a deep river gorge that carves its way between the Altopiano di Asiago and the Massiccio del Grappa. At the deepest point of the Canale, the walls of the gorge are over 800 metres high.

Linking the Trentino with the Veneto, the Valsugana cycleway is also a great option for cyclists heading south (or north) across the Alps.

At the moment, the cycleway starts/​finishes in San Cristoforo al Lago on the Lago di Caldonazzo, in the hills above Trento, but there are plans for a link with Trento.

At a glance

Distance

49 kilometres (79 kilometres including the Veneto section of the route)

Difficulty/​terrain

Easy — downhill most of the way to Bassano del Grappa.

Traffic

The Trento section of the route is almost entirely on traffic-free cycleways (with two short stretches through villages). However, the final 24 kilometres of the Veneto section of route are on public roads. On the whole, these are very quiet, but they get busier as you approach Bassano-del-Grappa.

Surfaces

Entirely on paved cycleways or roads.

Signposting

Well signed.

Public transport

the whole route is within easy reach of the train line between Trento and Bassano del Grappa. In addition, there are rental companies who offer one-way rental services so you can drop-off your bike at the end of your ride.

Also known as …

Parts of the cycleway are used by 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.


Lago di Caldonazzo

The Lago di Caldonazzo

Getting there and getting back

The route is served by the train line that runs between Trento and Bassano del Grappa.

You can ride from Trento to San Cristoforo, but the route isn't obvious, and it involves a climb that is steep at points. The region is working to build a cycleway between Trento and San Cristoforo, but for the moment the easiest option is to take the train from Trento. The trains run between Trento and Bassano del Grappa, and, during the summer, there's a whole carriage dedicated to carrying bikes.

In 2018 there was an additional bus service to supplement the train service on Saturdays. There's also a shuttle service that operates in support of the Via Claudia cycle route.

For more inform­ation on train and bus services, please check the Transport and Services section below.

Options and variations

I've taken San Cristoforo al Lago as the starting point, but there's a branch of the cycleway that connects it with the town of Levico Terme, so you could start there. There's also a feeder route from Pergine Valsugana.

The main route goes to Bassano del Grappa, but there are altern­ative options:

  • the main variant of the Via Claudia Augusta turns off Borgo Valsugana and heads by road for Castel Tessino and the famous Passo di Croce d'Aune
  • you could turn off near Cismon del Grappa and take the dramatic road that climbs to the Lago di Corlo and from there to Feltre
  • or you could climb to the Altopiano di Asiago, although be warned it's a big climb.

There are lots of options if you want to include this cycleway as part of a longer itinerary.

The cycleway forms part of the Via Claudia Augusta.

You could also follow the Brenta as it continues south towards Padova and then the coast just south of Venezia — there's a gap just south of Bassano, but if you can find your way to Camazzole, the Ciclovia del Brenta then runs continu­ously from there to the sea. Note that the cycleway south from Bassano is mainly compacted aggregate.

There's also an excellent signposted regional route, the Anello del Veneto (Veneto Ring) - a circular signposted route on cycleways and quiet roads which goes through Bassano and in one direction takes you to Vicenza and Padova and in the other direction to Montebelluna, Treviso and Venezia.

Map and altitude profile

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Distances
San Cristoforo al Lago to Caldonazzo 7 kms
Caldonazzo to Borgo Valsugana 19 kms
Borgo Valsugana to Grigno 16 kms
Grigno to Martincelli (turning for Feltre) 6 kms
Martincelli to Carpanè-Valstagna station 17 kms
Valstagna - Bassano-del-Grappa 12 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.



Valsugana cycleway (Veneto)

The Ciclabile della Valsugana cycleway near Enego (Veneto)

In more detail

The Ciclabile della Valsugana (Valsugana cycleway) starts just outside the train station at San Cristoforo al Lago where a brand new section of bike path takes you to the Lago di Caldonazzo. The cycleway continues along the shore of the lake.

Once you get to Calceranica al Lago the lakeside cycleway gives way to a section cycleway that runs runs beside the road. At points the cycleway is little more than the permission to ride on the pavement. It's not great, but it works and gets you into Caldonazzo without problems.

The route through Caldonazzo is a little tricky because of the one-way system, you need to head out of the village on the Via Roma before turning off onto a country lane that runs parallel with the strada provin­ciale to the point where the cycleway resumes by a round­about on the main SS47. From here you continue on into Borgo Valsugana on a combin­ation of traffic-free cycleway and quiet road.

Before you get to Borgo Valsugana you might want to visit the Mulino Angeli (opening hours). This also houses a museum of scare­crows and a toy museum. The scare­crows were collected by photo­grapher Flavio Faganello. You can see a gallery of his pictures on this page: lacasadeglispaventapasseri.net: mostra The museum is about 60 metres from the cycleway - you need to turn left just before your get to a picnic area and take the road that leads under the railway line and under the main road.

Borgo Valsugana: the Castel Telvana

Borgo Valsugana: the Castel Telvana. Photo by Matteo Cescato (source: Wikimedia Commons)

Borgo Valsugana

As you come into Borgo Valsugana look out for the Castel Telvana on the hillside above. If you have the energy you could go up to the castle - although it's not open to visitors.

The Valsugana links the Veneto with the Trentino. Between 1866 and 1918 this was the border between the Austro-Hungarian empire and Italy. The valley and the nearby Altopiano di Asiago were the scene of important battles in the First World War. In Borgo Valsugana there's a mostra permanente (permanent exhib­ition). For more inform­ation see: trentinograndeguerra.it or mostradiborgo.it.

Borgo Valsugana is a good place to stop for a coffee or a drink. From Borgo Valsugana there's a long section of cycleway that takes you toward Grigno - although not into the village itself. Just outside Grigno the route crosses the river and then, shortly after, crosses back again, passing the Trincerone di Grigno on the other side of the river. Trincerone means 'big trench' and while it's barely noticeable from ground-level, below is forti­fic­ation built by the Italians during the first World War to defend the border, as it then was, with the Austro-Hungarian empire ( picture of the Trincerone). For inform­ation on visiting the trincerone see: valsuganacultura.it or ask in the Biblioteca Comunale (library) in Grigno.

The Ciclabile della Valsugana cycleway near Grigno near Grigno

The Ciclabile della Valsugana cycleway near Grigno

Into the Veneto

After Grigno there's the bicigrill at Tezze Valsugana. A bicigrill is the cycling version of the autogrill on the Italian autostrade. For me this is an oblig­atory stop although there is another bicigrill a 8 kilometres further on at Piovega di Sotto. Or you could stop at both.

The section from Tezze takes you into the Veneto. This is perhaps the most scenic section of the route as the canale narrows and the walls of the gorge tower over you.

Further on, at Piovega del Sotto, there's another bicigrill and the end of the traffic-free part of the cycleway. From here the route continues on a strada comunale into Valstagna. The road is very quiet and initially you won't see more than the occasional car.

Valstagna

Valstagna

Valstagna

Valstagna is linked by a stone roadway - the Calà del Sasso (en.wikipedia.org: Calà del Sasso) to the village of Sasso — 810 metres (altitude), and 4444 steps, above on the Altopiano di Asiago. The Calà was used to transport logs down to Valstagna, and from there they were trans­ported by river to Venezia. According to the Italian wikipedia page (it.wikipedia.org: Calà del Sasso), in 1999, Alberto Limatore rode a bike up the Calà without putting a foot down even once.

The Calà del Sasso between Valstagna and Sasso (Veneto).

The Calà del Sasso between Valstagna and Sasso (Veneto). Photo by fabyr

The local tradition is that if a couple walk the Calà hand in hand they will stay in love forever.

The logs were trans­ported down river from Valstagna by the zattieri (rafters) who sailed rafts of logs down river. The opening of the railway in the nineteenth century was the end of the zattieri but they are commem­orated by the Palio delle Zattere The palio takes place on the last Sunday of July. Teams from nine contrade (neigh­bour­hoods), each consisting of three men and a damigella (damsel), get dressed up in medieval costumes and take to the river on rafts that don't look much larger than a tabletop.

Flyer for the 2016 Palio delle Zattere

Flyer for the 2016 Palio delle Zattere

On its way into Bassano del Grappa the route passes the Grotte di Oliero . There are four caves - one that you visit by rowing boat - as well as three museums: one about caving, another about paper making, and an ethno­graphic museum.

View of the Ponte degli Alpini and Bassano del Grappa

View of the Ponte degli Alpini and Bassano del Grappa. Photo from: Wikimedia Commons

Bassano-del-Grappa

The town is famous for its bridge and for, you guessed it, grappa. The wooden bridge was designed by the architect Andrea Palladio. The wooden construction and the striking design were intended to help the bridge withstand the force of the Brenta in flood. The present bridge is actually the third bridge built to Palladio's design on the site. The bridge was rebuilt again in 1947 and is now commonly known as the Ponte degli Alpini. The Alpini are the military regiments recruited from the mountain areas. The bridge was blown up during the war, and the Alpini raised the money to rebuild it. It had, and still has, a huge symbolic importance as the gateway to the Monte Grappa, the scene of historic battles during World War I. Please go to the article on this site about Bassano del Grappa for more about the town.

Lion of San Marco

Bassano del Grappa: the lion of San Marco - symbol of the Veneto

More information

Places to stay

Hotels and B&Bs etc

The area around the Lago di Caldonazzo and Lago di Levico is a popular tourist destin­ation, and there is lots of accom­mod­ation in the main towns of Pergine Valsugana and Levico Terme as well as at Bassano del Grappa at the other end of the route.

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

So far as I know, there are no hostels on the route — although there is one in Trento (the Ostello Giovane Europa).

Campsites

There are lots of campsites around the Lago di Caldonazzo and the nearby Lago di Levico. At the southern end, there is a campsite (the Camping Santa Felicita at Borso del Grappa and there are a couple of campsites on the Lago di Corlo near Feltre (the Camping Gajole and the Camping al Lago ).

Transport and services

Trains and buses

The Valsugana cycleway is supported by a train service between Trento and Bassano del Grappa. Trains run every hour and can carry up to 6 bikes, but in July and August there's an extra carriage for bikes giving a total capacity of 32 bikes.

The trains are operated by Trenitalia on behalf of the regional transport company Trentino Trasporti. You can check times on trenitalia.com. You can also download the timetables from the Trentino Trasporti website.

If you don't want to go all the way to Bassano del Grappa you can catch a train back from one of the inter­me­diate stations, the most convenient are Borgo Valsugana, Primolano, Grigno, Tezze di Grigno or Cismon del Grappa.

The trains with special coaches can take up to 36 bikes, but the normal trains have space for six. Trentino Trasporti says that it's advisable to book for these trains. You can reserve bike places by ringing Trentino Trasporti (+39 0461 821000) before 16:00 on the day before travel.

In 2018 the train service was supple­mented on Saturdays in May, June and September by a bus service with a bike trailer for 25 bikes. It ran twice a day in each direction between Trento and Bassano. Hopefully, the service will continue in 2019. Places could be reserved by calling the Valsugana tourist office on Thursdays or Friday mornings. For more inform­ation, download the leaflet from visitvalsugana.it: Valsugana Cycle Path.

Bike shops and bike hire

Bike shops

If you know of other bike shops, or you spot a mistake, please let me know.

Bike hire

Both inbikeValsugana and Valsugana Rent Bike offer oneway rental services allowing you to drop-off your bike at the end of your ride and catch the train back. Check their websites for inform­ation about prices and pickup/drop-off points.

Places to eat and drink

  • San Cristoforo al Lago (kilometre 1): Bar Smile
  • Lago di Caldonazzo(kilometre 6 plus 1.5 kilometres): there are a couple of bars and a couple of restaurant-pizzerias on the lakeside of the Lago di Caldonazzo
  • Levico (kilometre 11: Bar-Gelateria Officina)
  • Levico (kilometre 12): Bicigrill Levico (Bicigrill Big Fish)
  • Roncegno (kilometre 20): Bar Old Tower
  • Borgo Valsugana (kilometre 26): there are several bars and cafes, as well as a restaurant
  • Tezze Valsugana (kilometre 47): Bicigrill Tezze
  • ??: Birreria-Ristorante Al Cornale
  • ??: Bar-Gelateria Al Confin

(Distances are from San Cristoforo al Lago)

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

Websites and other resources

Tourist information websites:

  • visitvalsugana.it (it/​de/​en/​nl) is the tourist inform­ation website for the immediate area
  • visittrentino.it/ (it/​de/​en/​nl/​cz/​pl/​ru). Official tourist inform­ation site for the Trentino
  • veneto.eu is the website for the Veneto region (it/​en/​fr/​de/​es/​pt/​ru/​jp)

Cycling information

Transport information

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

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