|Aktivitets nivå :||Aktivitetsferie - Gourmet reise - Kultur & Tema reiser (standard) - Self guided/independent - Sykkelturer|
Start at the stunning 4-star hotel at Benevello. The Relais Villa d'Amelia is a luxuriously restored 19th century family villa, equipped with a sauna, jacuzzi, Turkish bath and a lovely outdoor swimming pool. The chef here was trained under Marco Pierre White, so you're in for a treat tonight.
You'll start today with a gentle ride along an open road, with hawks soaring high above the breathtaking Langhe countryside. You visit lovely Mango, with its beautiful castle rich in WW2 history. Then onto San Stefano Belbo, the birthplace of one Italy's greatest writers, Cesare Pavese; the pretty old town makes for a lovely lunch stop. Then it is on to Neive, where your cycle ride will take you past the famous moscato vineyards before arriving at your 3-star hotel, which boasts wonderful views over the verdant hills with vineyards cascading down. Cycle approx. 35km.
Neive is a great place to explore. Officially one of Italy's prettiest villages and home of Romano Levi, a renowned grappa maker, you can wander its cobbled streets which are lined with brightly coloured flower boxes, or after a morning by the panoramic pool, cycle or take a local bus to nearby Barbaresco for lunch and cheese-tasting in the piazza. Enjoy some wine in the enoteca, housed in a C19 church built by the locals in thanks for a good grape harvest! Or head across to the spumante capital of Asti, with its quaint cobbled centre. Each September the main piazza is home to a crazy palio horse race to rival Siena's!
Leaving Neive behind, you undulate through the vineyards to Castagnole Lanze before heading downhill to the River Tanaro and a lovely gentle ride along the river to Alba. There's time to explore the cobbled streets and bustling piazze of chocolate-perfumed Alba (the home of Ferrero Rocher). Then it's on to Grinzane Cavour where a warm welcome awaits at the elegant Casa Pavesi. Cycle approx. 42km.
Explore the UNESCO-recognised castle and indulge in a spot of wine tasting today. Then perhaps visit nearby Bra, a gastronomic town where the Slow Food movement was initiated - there's plenty of choice for a long, lazy lunch. There's lots to explore in the town too, including the 18th century Rococo church and the strange octagonal Zizzola, where local witches held their meetings. For the best views in the region, walk or cycle to La Morra, 'Balcony of the Langhe', spread out along a panoramic ridge above the vineyards.
Today's cycle takes you through sunflower fields to Roddi, then on to Barolo, an ochre-hued village perched above its world-famous vineyards. The tangle of mediaeval streets are dominated by the Marchesi Falletti's 11th century castle. Pedal on through archetypal Langhe countryside to Monforte d'Alba, whose lovely honey-coloured old town clings enchantingly to the hillside. Your hotel here is special too. Cycle approx. 34km.
Either relax at the gorgeous 18th century villa hotel with private swimming pool, or explore mediaeval Monforte. It's a lively town with attractive buildings grouped around an atmospheric cobbled piazza. Maybe strike out a little further to Dogliani, dominated by its beautiful onion-domed church and famous for being at the heart of Dolcetto wine production.
The final cycling day starts with a gentle coast along the Rea valley before a steady climb takes you to a stunning panoramic ridge. Weave through fields of wildflowers and sleepy hamlets to Serravalle Langhe, a great lunch spot with belvedere views. Pedal onwards alongside chestnut-carpeted hills with delightful vistas to reach the beautiful country hotel at Benevello. There's time to enjoy the pool and Jacuzzi before dinner. Cycle approx. 35km.
4 days cycling with luggage transfers
95% quiet tarmac roads, 5% gravel
Quiet, traffic-free country roads
Self-guided holiday. Min age 12 yrs
8 nights hotels, all rooms en suite
All breakfasts and 8 dinners included
All buffet breakfasts and 8 gastronomic dinners included. You'll enjoy gastronomic menus everywhere, either dining at your hotel, or at a specially selected restaurant close by. The cuisine in the Piedmont region is different to most other Italian regions, a fusion of the best of Italian and French food and certainly won't disappoint gastronomes. Regional specialities include white truffles which are found almost exclusively in the woods around Alba. Hazelnuts are another locally produced ingredient that feature heavily on the menu. Cheese is also widely produced in Piedmont, such as Murazzano, made with full-cream sheep's milk. Meals in the region always start with bread, your primo (first course) will usually be a pasta dish, such as agnolotti. Your secondo (main course) will then be something hearty like beef gently braised in Barolo wine. Meats such as pork, beef and veal are the popular choice of the region. Piedmont's wine is famous throughout the world. The most famous are the wines of the Langhe, which produces Barolo, Barbaresco, Dolcetto, Barbera as well as whites such as Asti and Moscato. Other highlights include Alba's crimson, cobbled streets where you can sample the local chocolate.
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