Riding to Italy isn’t like nipping out for a weekend breakfast run - so what’s the best way to get there? Here’s how to make your tour transit painless.
Some people might see the distance between the UK and Italy as a problem. At the risk of sounding like a management consultant… it’s not a problem, it’s an opportunity. It means getting there an be as much part of the tour as the riding you do there - because sitting on a motorway all day is not the only way to get to Italy.
How you choose to get there will depend on where you’re coming from as much as where you’re going to. Those taking a ferry to Rotterdam or the Hook of Holland or have a real choice - between heading across Germany or France. Otherwise it’s best to cross to France from Calais, though the ride across France from Caen is good if you have time.
That’s if you ride a bike all the way to Italy, of course. For years, canny riders have been going to Holland and putting bikes on overnight trains, getting off in Italy in time for lunch the following day. The Dutch service stopped in 2015, but a new service from Dusseldorf is now in operation.
There are two other left-field ways to get out there - in both cases sending the bike ahead while you take the plane. First is to use FlyBikeFly to ship your bike to Nice, then take a budget airline flight out to collect it. You can easily leave your house in the morning and be riding on the Ligurian Riviera by mid-afternoon. The catch is that you don’t have the bike for a week after dropping it off, whilst it’s on the transporter.
The other option is the newly launched Bike Shuttle that runs over night once a week between Silverstone and Geneva. Ride down, put your bike and kit on the purpose-built transporter, then jump on a plane. Stay the night in Geneva then collect your bike first thing in the morning and ride to Italy, It’s a doddle.
If you don’t have time to plan your own routes, we’ve plotted three routes to three of our destination towns. Aosta; Borga San Dalmazzo and Vipiteo. These are also the starting points for three of our tours. We’ve set routes to run from Calais and Rotterdam, with a Caen route to Borgo San Dalmazzo. For some routes we have both entirely toll-free options and faster alternatives that include some tactical stretches of motorway to cover a bit of ground. Note that going to Vipiteno means buying an Austrian motorway vignette at a petrol station close to the border.
Maps and GPX files
Click on the map to view in Google maps, click on the GPX links to download.
To Aosta from Calais
To Aosta from Rotterdam
To Borgo San Dalmazzo from Calais
Day one map (no tolls), Day one GPX file (no tolls) OR Day one map (via toll roads) Day one GPX file (via toll roads)
Day two map (no tolls), Day one GPX file (no tolls) OR Day two map (via toll roads), Day two GPX file (via toll roads)
Day three map , Day three GPX file
To Borgo San Dalmazzo from Rotterdam
To Borgo San Dalmazzo from Caen
To Vipiteno from Calais
Day one (no tolls), Day one GPX file OR Day one (via toll roads), Day one GPX files (via toll roads)
Day two map, Day two GPX file
Day three (no tolls), Day three GPX file OR Day three map (via toll roads) , day three GPX file (via toll roads)
To Vipiteno from Rotterdam
Please note: This page contains the route files for The RiDE Guide To Italy which came free with RiDE magazine in July 2015. These website page are not regularly updated, so please check all critical information before you travel. All route files are in .gpx format. Garmin and BMW users can download the main file, which contains all the routes and our recommended hotels as separate waypoints. TomTom users can download the individual routes and use the Tyre software to convert them. For many routes we also have Google Map links. However, as Google Maps will not plot routes over seasonally closed high Alpine passes (such as Stelvio) when they’re shut, these may not work for every route all year round.