Natural Parks

Cycling Level 2/5

Quiet backroads and medieval villages

5 Stages
Total distance: 256 km Total climb 3660 mts
52 km/day
732 mts/day

This tour is designed to permit also to a novice cyclist to ride in the magnificient scenario of Abruzzo’s Natural Parks. Starting at the 1300mts of the enchanted setting of S.Stefano di Sessanio is surely a big advantage! You will travel on quiet backroads and through medieval villages scattered in the wilderness. First class accommodations and the flavours of Abruzzo’s best mountain cuisine make of this tour a unique and unforgettable experience.

VyviGo, our International Tour Operator

Our friends at VyviGo will take care of all the operational aspects of the tour. They are members of Protected Trust Services, which means that your deposit is safe.

2023 Dates

26 April – 2 May

15 – 21 May 2023

13 – 19 June 2023

26 September – 2 October 2023

15 – 21 October 2023


Day 1

You will be collected at the meeting point in L’Aquila and transferred to your quaint and lovely accommodation located within the Gran Sasso National Park, at the starting point of the tour where you will be welcomed by our host. Here, he/she will be personally at hand for any questions, and will advise you step by step with further guidelines on the information you will have received prior to departure.

The accommodation is within a charming stone-paved hamlet. Here you will have plenty of time to relax and get acquainted with the village and its surroundings before our delicious evening meal made from the finest locally grown ingredients.  

Day 2 S. Stefano di Sessanio (Gran Sasso loop) 50 km – total climb 850 mts

The Gran Sasso mountains feature the highest peaks in the Appennine range. We will enjoy pristine beauty from various angles as we ride a few easy kms to Calascio with a possible detour to visit the Rocca, the breathtaking set for ‘Lady Hawke’ and other films. The first climb will take us to the Monte Capo Serre Pass, then to the magnificent Campo Imperatore. You will cycle in the moonscape of an open highland, flanked by the clear peaks of the Gran Sasso; a short and easy climb will be followed by the downhill ride back through ancient beauty.

Day 3 S.Stefano di Sessanio-Fontecchio 40 km – 560 mts

A long, twisted downhill route dotted by old villages takes us into the Sirente Park. We follow the paved road that once was sheeps’ pathway. An annual exodus of man and herd, called ‘transumanza’, was the main motor of the local economy for two thousands years. Abbeys and castles still preside over the path. Our only climb of the day will allow us to visit two of the area’s most beautiful villages before descending to the Aterno river valley and then the charming setting for the following two days.

Day 4 Fontecchio (Aterno river valley loop) 59 km – 870 mts

We ride upward following the Aterno river. Quiet back-roads wind through farmland to the footstep of L’Aquila where a steep one mile climb will get us into the city. L’Aquila, the capital of Abruzzo, was devastated by a tremendous earthquake in April 2009. A small detour into the city’s ‘centro storico’ will allow you to witness the slow but refined reconstruction of this beautiful art city. The ride back to Fontecchio presents a 3km climb to a castle followed by a breathtaking dive into the valley.

Day 5 Stage 4: Fontecchio-Sulmona 44 km – 380 mts

Today’s ride follows the Aterno river downward for an easy and very pleasant ride. The greenery of this valley is a perfect background to the medieval architecture of the villages. Cars are rare along these roads and birdsong is often the only sound one can hear. We will take an easy incline into the rugged S. Venanzio gorges before arriving in Sulmona where the last two nights will be in or near the ‘centro storico’ of this fine town.

Day 6 Sulmona (National Park loop) 63 km – 1000 mts

The last ride is within the Abruzzo National Park, the oldest park in Italy. Without huge efforts we will reach Anversa degli Abruzzi, a stone-built village that marks the entrance to the wild Sagittario gorges. The road clings to the rock with breathtaking views of the emerald creek below. There will be plenty of photo opportunities in the climb to Villalago. We will circle the Lake of Scanno and then arrive into town. Thanks to its landscapes, Scanno is a favoured destination for photographers and painters. If you like shopping, the town is also celebrated for its fine jewelry and lace. The ride back is mostly downhill along the same route. For dinner you will be free to choose among Sulmona’s many fine restaurants.

Day 7
After a comfortable breakfast you check-out of the hotel and easily proceed to the local coach or train station for your journey to the airport or destination of your choice.