The combination of a journey across Italy made this trip work – crossing from one coast to another – a physical challenge and seeing more remote areas of a country where I’ve previously enjoyed the cultural highlights of Rome, Venice and Florence, made this trip hugely appealing to me when considering a holiday destination in early summer.
The cycling journey began on the Adriatic coast, in Monopoli, and traversed the mountainous interior to the Mediterranean coast (or more accurately the Tyrrhenian Sea) along the Amalfi coast to Sorrento.
I am generally fit but am a novice cyclist and expected to find the trip challenging (as it was graded by the tour operator) and I was not disappointed! The trip covered 280 miles and ascents totalling 7,800 m over six days – and in the middle of a heatwave – and even the experienced cyclists in our small group of fourteen stated that the cycling was tough.
But the experience was not to be missed …. spectacular views, the fragrances of the countryside (so different from the UK) and staying in amazingly beautiful small villages and towns, including Matera the third oldest city in the world, the hilltop village of Castelmezzano and Padula with its UNESCO Carthusian monastery housing the largest cloisters in the world, and to finally swim in the Tyrrhenian Sea at Paestum after so many miles and calories burned (20,500 total!) was a real treat.
The final day’s cycling from Salerno along the Amalfi coast to Sorrento, while stunningly beautiful, was choked with tourist traffic including huge coaches and speeding scooters and made me appreciate how far off the beaten track we had been and the tranquility we had enjoyed.
To complete the sensory delights of southern Italy, we enjoyed some truly excellent local cuisine from a Michelin-star hotel restaurant to home-cooked food in a family-run Agriturismo villa … not to mention some truly sublime gelato!
I love your newsletters and your website is a good source of inspiration and ideas. I originally got the idea of trying a walking or cycling holiday from your website – and found myself in India in February and Italy in June!
You provide an extra layer of “security” over and above that offered by the tour operator and I know that if I had a problem I could rely on you to fix it.
It’s the bespoke bits where you come into your own – for instance, if I’d wanted to stay on after the trip, you would have made some good suggestions and sorted it all for me.
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