Umbria Bike Tour
Umbria is a colorful mosaic of greens, blues, and a thousand shades of white. The green comes from its verdant forests, olive groves and vineyards; blue from its large expanse of sky; and the white from the local stone that was used to build the villas, churches and villages that adorn the landscape. Proud medieval cities sit perched on volcanic tufa hills and keep watch over the rolling hills below. Come bike down quiet country roads between amazing cities like Perugia, Assisi, Todi, and Orvieto, and then relax at night with a traditional Italian meal and some of Italy’s best red wine.
Trip design: We had two primary goals in mind when designing this trip. The first was to develop a tour that enabled us to stay in Umbria's most beautiful and historic towns. The second was to get you off the beaten track to ride through some of the region's spectacular countryside. The first three days take you to Perugia, Assisi, Spello, Trevi, Montefalco, and Torgiano, with two nights in Bevagna. These are the most beautiful and culturally important Etruscan, Roman, and medieval towns of the region. During the second half of the trip we go through the mountainous hinterland of Umbria, and stay in beautiful Todi and Orvieto. The riding starts in the flats and gets progressively hillier and more challenging. The trip ends in Orvieto, which is on the main north-south railway line (Rome-Milan) and highway which allows for a quick and easy departure at the end of the trip. This tour is rated moderate (easier than our Tuscany Bike trip), with optional challenging extension rides each day, and is fully van assisted.
Umbria Bike Tour itinerary
Independent arrival in Perugia. Perugia’s stone alleyways link cozy piazzas framed by Gothic palaces and friendly cafes. The main shopping promenade, “il Corso,” is the central artery while hundreds of narrow medieval streets wind around this ancient hilltop town. Perugia is the perfect introduction to Umbria’s vibrant contemporary culture which is rooted firmly in its glorious past. Meet your guide(s) at the train station at 2 p.m. and transfer to the countryside where we begin our first ride to the wine-producing village of Torgiano. You will have time to explore the town and the fantastic Lungarotti wine museum before continuing on to Bevagna, a beautiful walled village with Roman, Medieval, and Renaissance architecture. Our hotel, Il Chiostro, is a converted 12th-century convent. Bevagna also boasts some excellent trattorias and wine bars where we will enjoy a drink before dinner at the Osteria Podestà. Overnight Bevagna. Let us know if you would like to stay the Saturday night in Perugia. We will be happy to recommend hotels. Overnight Bevagna. Hotel and dinner included.
Assisi rises dramatically on a hill beneath Monte Subasio in the heart of Umbria. Like so many Umbrian towns, Assisi has its own particular color, a rosy glow reflected from the pink hues of the locally quarried stone used in the town’s centuries’ old buildings. You will have time in the morning to explore Assisi and visit the basilica of San Francesco, famous for its 14th-century frescoes depicting the life of St. Francis attributed to Giotto. A delightful afternoon ride takes you to the charming walled village of Spello past ancient olive groves. It is then a short ride back to Bevagna. Strong riders can do a challenging optional ride via Gualdo Cattaneo. Overnight Bevagna. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.
Today we ride across the valley to the hillside village of Trevi for mid-morning cappuccino in the village square before heading into the rolling hills and vineyards that surround Montefalco, Umbria’s most prestigious wine-growing town. This afternoon we have a guided visit and tasting at one of the producers of the famed Sagrantino di Montefalco. The town itself is worth a visit. It sits high above the Clitumnus valley and was once a Roman garrison town and later a strategic fortress in the conflict between the Guelphs and Ghibellines. The 14th-century ramparts that surround the village date from this period. Our home for the next two nights is the Hotel Degli Affreschi, a beautifully renovated noble house in the heart of the old town. This evening is a “free night” dinner so you can choose to splash out on a lavish meal or try some lighter fare at one of the town’s many trattorias. Overnight Montefalco. Hotel & breakfast included, dinner not included.
Today’s destination is splendid Spoleto. Ringed by Roman and Medieval walls and surmounted by an imposing 13th-century fortress, it is one of Italy’s most beautiful towns. A breathtaking gorge, verdant with holm oak forest, is traversed by a dramatic 1000-year-old arched aqueduct. The town’s narrow streets are lined with homes and shops whose origins go back to Roman, Lombard, and Medieval times. Our return ride meanders through Montefalco’s vineyards and appropriately we end the day with a tasting of the sought-after Sagrantino di Montefalco. Overnight Montefalco. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.
Leave Montefalco this morning to head into the wild hills of Umbria. The ride takes us through a sparsely populated area, into tiny hamlets and villages and past imposing castles and villas, before dropping us back down to the valley beneath the perched town of Todi. Dramatically situated on the peak of a hill at a sharp bend in the Tiber river, Todi has for centuries been an important strategic city. Three sets of concentric walls date from Etruscan, Roman and medieval times, encircling the stone palaces and townhouses of the ancient city. Todi has one of the most beautiful squares in all of Italy, set between the 12th century cathedral and the city's imposing public buildings, including the crenellated walls of the Palazzo dei Priori, the Romanesque-Gothic Palazzo del Popolo, and the Gothic Palazzo del Capitano. We dine tonight is in Todi's finest restaurant. Overnight Todi. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.
Cross the Tiber river on the 14th-century Ponte Cuti bridge before starting a long but gradual climb up onto a high plateau. The views are stunning throughout the day. The ride continues through rolling country before a long descent towards Orvieto, which sits atop a pedestal of volcanic tufa rock surveying the Tiber valley. Like so many Umbrian towns, its foundations are Etruscan but its most prosperous period was during the Middle Ages when the Popes came to Orvieto to escape the summer heat in Rome. Orvieto's cathedral is widely considered to be one of the finest in Italy. Our hotel is located within the thick city walls. Overnight Orvieto. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.
You can choose to do a relatively short ride out to the stunning village of Cività di Bagnoregio, which is perched precariously on a narrow plinth of tufa rock. From there, return to Orvieto to explore its underground city or continue biking to the lakeside village of Bolsena to make for a satisfying 70 km day. Both rides “feature” a steep climb from the base of Orvieto out to Porano and then pleasant, rolling countryside. The village of Bolsena has a beautiful medieval quarter dominated by the 13th-14th century castle, and there are several good fish restaurants around the lake. The return ride gives you an unforgettable view of Orvieto as the low afternoon sun glitters off of the mosaics that adorn the façade of the Duomo. Enjoy another fabulous dinner tonight at a local trattoria. Overnight Orvieto. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.
Transfer to the Orvieto train station for connections throughout Italy. Orvieto is on the main north-south train line, so offers direct trains to Rome, Florence, Bologna and Milan. Hotel and breakfast included.
The biking in Umbria can be quite hilly, with some longer “flattish” stretches. We ride 40 – 65 km a day, with optional extensions as well as van support, which allows you to relax off the bike for a while. We have designed the trip so that there is always some free time in the late afternoon so you can relax, read, or explore the towns where we stay. Breakfast is included every day, and dinners reflect the excellent traditional food of the region.
Qualifications: This trip is rated moderate to challenging. The terrain is different from Tuscany, where the hills are constantly rolling. In Umbria the first two days are flat and then you get longer but more gentle uphills and downhills. There may be only one major hill per day, so we can easily offer a lift in the van for tired cyclists.
Trip Cost Includes: All accommodations (2 nights Bevagna, 2 nights Montefalco, 1 night Todi 2 nights Orvieto. All 3 & 4 star hotels); 7 breakfasts and 6 dinners; bilingual Customwalks guides; support vehicle; all luggage transfers starting with pick up from Perugia train station and final transfer to Orvieto train station at the end of the trip; quality 27-speed hybrid-style touring bike with front handlebar bag and rear rack, detailed written route notes and highlighted maps so you can ride at our own speed and choose to do longer or shorter options. All departures are accompanied by two guides.
Booking: e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a booking contract (or use the 'Contact Us' link at the top of this page), or click on the 'Book Now' button to the right..
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Getting There: the trip starts in Perugia, which is easily accessible by train from other cities in Italy, or from the small Perugia Airport.
Air: the Perugia Airport now receives several flights per week from London on Ryan Air. Alitalia also offers flights from Milan. See the airport's website for the most updated schedules. For a complete list of Italian airports and a selection of low-cost airlines, see our "Transport Info" page.
Rail: trains to Perugia from Rome take anywhere from 2-4 hrs, from Florence about 2 hrs. See the Trenitalia website (in English) at this link. For alternative high-speed rail travel, see the Italo website. For complete information on using the Italian train system, see our blog post.
Getting Away at the End of the Trip: the trip ends after breakfast on Saturday morning with a transfer to the Orvieto train station, arriving in time for trains to Rome (at 9:58) or Florence (at (9:57).
If you book a trip with us you will receive detailed information about how to get to the start of your trip, or feel free to e-mail us with any specific travel questions.