Accommodation recommendations for cycling trip to Dolomites

Arlberg
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Accommodation recommendations for cycling trip to Dolomites

Postby Arlberg » Fri Oct 09, 2015 8:54 pm

After a great trip to the Pyrenees this year I am now planning a similar trip to the Dolomites, and I'm looking for suggestions for one or two towns/villages/places to stay with good access to many of the famous big Giro climbs like the Stelvio, Gavia etc and a few lesser known ones. A cycling orientated village similar to say, Bagneres de Luchon or Argeles-Gazost in the Pyrenees and Le Bourg de O'sains in the Alps.

I will be doing day trips to the Cols from the place I stay so I will be returning there each night rather than riding from one place to the next.

I'm not a fan of the bigger cities, a supermarket and a bakery/cafe /pizzeria being about all I need.

Bormio looks like it would be a good base for the Stelvio/Gavia/Mortirolo etc. I would also like to have a look/ride around the Lake Como region. Any other suggestions?
Last edited by Arlberg on Fri Oct 09, 2015 9:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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toolonglegs
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Re: Accommodation recommendations for cycling trip to Dolomi

Postby toolonglegs » Fri Oct 09, 2015 9:09 pm

Hotel Alpenrose in Arraba is very nice, OK it is the only place I have stayed in Arraba but I would totally recommend it. Set up for bikes too. Arraba is good for Sella Rhonda and all the amazing rides around there. Very quiet little town even in summer.
Bormio is the only option for me ... Gavia / Mortirolo / Stelvio etc. Loads of choices of hotels depending on your €€€. I have stayed in quite a few different ones.
I don't mind Lecco ... it is bigger, pretty busy etc but good access to Ghisalo etc ... good for the end of a trip before training into Milano.
Merano if you want to link up Sella Rhonda to Stelvio ... bike path all the way between ( 100's of km's worth ). Merano is lovely. Nicer than Bolzano imo.

Honestly I think you could spend 4 or 5 days doing huge rides from Arraba and the same from Bormio ... there's your trip just there.

Arlberg
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Re: Accommodation recommendations for cycling trip to Dolomi

Postby Arlberg » Fri Oct 09, 2015 10:06 pm

Thanks toolonglegs, that s exactly the type of info I'm looking for, I will check Arraba and Merano out. In the Pyrenees this year I had 10 days in Argeles-Gazost and then 8 days in Bagneres de Luchon, both were great although I preferred Bagneres de Luchon both as a village/place to stay and for the riding. Last year I had a week in Annecy, then a week in Bourg de Osains and then a week at Mont Ventoux.

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Re: Accommodation recommendations for cycling trip to Dolomi

Postby dalai47 » Fri Oct 09, 2015 11:26 pm

Arlberg wrote:Bormio looks like it would be a good base for the Stelvio/Gavia/Mortirolo etc. I would also like to have a look/ride around the Lake Como region. Any other suggestions?


Can only comment about the riding around Bormio - spent a couple of nights on a flying visit back in 2012 where I rode both sides of the Stelvio day one and Mortirolo Gavia loop day two.

http://climbinglama.blogspot.com.au/201 ... -18th.html
http://climbinglama.blogspot.com.au/201 ... -19th.html

I can recommend the family run Alpi Golf hotel. Lovely small hotel on the edge of town where I was allowed a very late check out so I could wash off the grime and thaw out after the Mortirolo Gavia loop, before driving back to Milan that afternoon for my flight back to Malta.

Arlberg
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Re: Accommodation recommendations for cycling trip to Dolomi

Postby Arlberg » Sat Oct 10, 2015 3:31 pm

Great write up dalai47! I might well try the same routes you did, although I don't much like the look of those narrow/rough roads on/around the Gavia. However I will allow myself more time, perhaps a week or more, as I NEVER ride in wet weather, even if its looking slightly like it might rain I don't bother, choosing instead to wait for a sunny day.

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toolonglegs
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Re: Accommodation recommendations for cycling trip to Dolomi

Postby toolonglegs » Sat Oct 10, 2015 4:45 pm

The backside of the Gavia is a MUST... yes roads are narrow and you may get a headache from the motos but it is stunning!.

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Re: Accommodation recommendations for cycling trip to Dolomi

Postby il padrone » Sat Oct 10, 2015 5:47 pm

Arlberg wrote:Great write up dalai47! I might well try the same routes you did, although I don't much like the look of those narrow/rough roads on/around the Gavia.

Climbing on almost any narrow local or secondary road in Italy is a rockin' delight - because everyone gives cyclists so much consideration and room.

How often would you get a car driver sitting behind, patiently, quietly, for about 500m-1 km while you (loaded with camping gear) trundle up the mountain road's bends at 8-10kmh ?? In Australia? No horn, no aggro from Italian drivers, more likely just a wave and an "Avanti, bravo!"

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Re: Accommodation recommendations for cycling trip to Dolomi

Postby dalai47 » Sat Oct 10, 2015 8:53 pm

As mentioned although the roads are narrow and the Italian drivers generally crazy, as soon as they are around cyclists they completely change and will wait patiently till they can pass. The back of the Gavia is a must, don't be put off by the width.

I had only two days to ride, so had no choice to wait a day for the weather to improve. More time in the area would be great as there are other possible loops in the area.

I look forward to following this topic for more suggestions, as I still want to ride in the Dolomites one day. :D

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Re: Accommodation recommendations for cycling trip to Dolomi

Postby scirocco » Sun Oct 11, 2015 1:27 am

Personal recommendations from me would be Villa Tony in Corvara in Badia and Hotel Genzianella in Bormio.
Villa Tony is very good, great food and bike storage but Genzianella really takes the cake for fantastic service and general cycling friendliness with a fully equipped workshop and overnight kit washing service. Check out the reviews on Trip Advisor, they aren't wrong.

Corvara and Bormio are the obvious must see Dolomites cycling destinations but they suffer from heavy traffic, specially Corvara. The eastern Dolomites over by the Slovakian border are much quieter and have almost deserted well surfaced roads. We stayed in Ovaro a couple of night and rode Mt Zoncolan back in August but I wish I'd had a whole week around there.

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Re: Accommodation recommendations for cycling trip to Dolomi

Postby toolonglegs » Sun Oct 11, 2015 5:51 am

While for sure the roads in Italy are a pleasure ... routes like the Stelvio and Gavia ( not the Mortirolo ) are really becoming crazy with motos. Some of them ride pretty stupid as well ... seriously I got a headache this year on certain climbs with the amount of motos screaming up the climbs.

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Re: Accommodation recommendations for cycling trip to Dolomi

Postby dalai47 » Sun Oct 11, 2015 4:09 pm

I rode it mid September, so late in the season and the roads were pretty empty.

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Re: Accommodation recommendations for cycling trip to Dolomites

Postby Arlberg » Wed May 18, 2016 3:29 pm

Ok so this trip is now confirmed. I have 20 days in Italy starting July 25, flying in and out of Milan. The flight was pretty cheap at $1514 return with a 30kg baggage allowance.

I will start with about 10 days or so based in Bormio, riding all the big ones around there as mentioned in my opening post, perhaps followed by a week or so in the Sella Ronda region. Has anyone traveled by public transport between the two and how did you do it?

In the Sella Ronda region there is of course the Sella Ronda loop itself which is apparently fantastic. It sounds like Arabba or Corvara are the pick of possible places to sta. Any other suggestions? I have plenty of time so I'll probably ride the Sella Ronda in both directions. Can anyone recommend any other routes/climbs around there? I'm particularly interested in the 'famous' Giro climbs, and also some return day trips between say Arabba/Corvara and Cortina d Ampezzio via Pian Falzarego, and Arabba/Corvara and Val Gardena also looks pretty good.

Any other suggestions on nice places to stay in this region, or even alternatives to the Sella Ronda region to spend the second 10 days or so of this trip?

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Re: Accommodation recommendations for cycling trip to Dolomites

Postby scirocco » Fri May 20, 2016 9:46 am

10 days in Bormio sounds high unless you have non-cycling type activities planned as well. Once you've ridden Stelvio, Gavia and Mortirolo that is more or less it. There are more possibilities based in the Corvara area. However in mid-summer the roads around Corvara are bedlam and having ridden there a couple of times I can say that five days was plenty despite the magnificent scenery.

Corvara has more choice of hotels, shops and restaurants than Arabba but can feel pretty touristy and claustrophobic - Arabba is quieter.

Personally I would do the Sella Ronda loop once and then plan for rides that take in the further away climbs like Giau, Fedaia/Marmolada and up to San Pellegrino. Although further away they are much more peaceful. Here is a link for the Marmolada loop:

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/6364027

It is a big day but doable from Corvara to ride over the Valparola to Cortina then on to the Tre Cime de Lavaredo, and come back via the Giau.

Public transport in and out of the area is not that easy - there is no rail, and buses have to go in and out over the twisty passes.

If you fancy a day off cycling in Corvara take one of the cable cars up the mountain.

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Re: Accommodation recommendations for cycling trip to Dolomites

Postby Arlberg » Sat May 21, 2016 6:54 am

Thanks scirocco,

Hmm, you might be right regarding Bormio. However I did a 20 day trip last year where I spent 10 days in Argeles-Gazost and another 10 in Luchon and found 10 days in each of those places was just about right. I never ride in the rain so I might lose a few days there. In Bormio there is also the ride up to Livigno and then along the Lago di Livigno and possibly further into Switzerland, keeping in mind I'm doing day trips only and I want to be back in Bormio at the end of each day.

That's a great loop you linked to, I will definitely do it. If you have any more nice routes please post them! I will also do Sella Ronda of course, a ride up to Cortina'd Ampezzo and I'm sure there's a few others.

Is the traffic in the Dolmites really that bad? I was amazed last year how quiet all the roads in the Pyrenees were. Even on the famous routes like Tourmalet, Hautecam, Superbagneres, Peyresourde, Portillon, Soulor etc there were next to no cars or motorbikes.

BTW I reversed the order of where I'm staying. I'm having the 10 days in Corvara first and then the second 10 in Bormio. The original plan was to do it the other way around but I found the hotel prices were quite a bit cheaper in Corvara from 25th July until 4th of August than they were from 4th of August until 14th of August. I assume this period must be a 'higher holiday' season. Doing it this way also means a shorter and easier trip back to Milan Airport to catch my flight out.

How is the weather in these regions at this time of year? I intentionally booked in late July/August thinking that was the warmest and driest, but it looks like June/July is actually more so?

Finally I was quite surprised to find the prices of accommodation in Italy (certainly in Bormio and Corvara) are considerably higher than what I paid for a similar standard in Argeles-Gazost and Luchon at exactly the same time last year. A 10 day stay in a very nice, central self contained apartment in Luchon cost me $800 last year and the equivalent this year in Bormio is costing $1500.

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Re: Accommodation recommendations for cycling trip to Dolomites

Postby scirocco » Sat May 21, 2016 2:14 pm

Arlberg wrote:Is the traffic in the Dolomites really that bad? I was amazed last year how quiet all the roads in the Pyrenees were. Even on the famous routes like Tourmalet, Hautecam, Superbagneres, Peyresourde, Portillon, Soulor etc there were next to no cars or motorbikes.


It's really just the immediate area around Corvara that is bad in summer (but unfortunately this means much of the Sella Ronda loop). The cars are respectful and tolerant of bikes but there's just a lot of them on a small number of roads which are the only way in and out. And the motorbikes screaming past at 160kph get a bit tiring after a while. Completely and totally different to the peace and quiet of the Port de Bales or Superbagneres. But away from there, it's much better - the Giau and Fedaia are wonderful for example. But immediately around Cortina it gets bad again. Bormio/Stelvio/Gavia I don't remember as being too bad.

The place mat picture below from a local restaurant is actually pretty accurate for Corvara in summer :) :

I couldn't find a RidewithGPS route but here is my Strava from climbing the Tre Cime de Lavaredo. A day trip well worth doing although it would be hard unsupported:

https://www.strava.com/activities/360399923

Arlberg wrote:Finally I was quite surprised to find the prices of accommodation in Italy (certainly in Bormio and Corvara) are considerably higher than what I paid for a similar standard in Argeles-Gazost and Luchon at exactly the same time last year.


To be fair you will be getting a much higher standard of accommodation and service - Corvara is really upmarket. Really nice hotels and rooms, more German than Italian in style, staff who speak great English and are really helpful. I love France, the Pyrenees and the Garonne valley in particular but there's no doubt it's bit backward economically.

You can see all the local climbs if you stay up and watch tonight - it's the Giro queen stage taking in pretty much every one of the mountains.

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Re: Accommodation recommendations for cycling trip to Dolomites

Postby Arlberg » Sun May 22, 2016 8:54 am

Thanks again scirocco for your time and the great advice. I will have a go at that route as well.

Its too late now as I have already booked and paid for 10 nights accommodation from August 4 -14 in Bormio, but if I was booking again I would probably change that to say, 6 or 7 nights and have an extra 3 or 4 in Corvara instead as there seems to be more riding options there.

Either way I'm sure 10 days in Bormio will be great too and I reckon I'll have a lot of fun in both places. I can always do another Stelvio if I get bored!

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Re: Accommodation recommendations for cycling trip to Dolomites

Postby dalai47 » Sun May 22, 2016 10:48 pm

Both sides of the Stelvio and Gavia plus Mortirolo are the must do climbs, but depending how far you are keen to ride each day you should be able to find enough to do in Bormio over 10 days.

Scroll down the page below for a list of climbs and loops from Bormio including pdf's.

http://www.hotelfunivia.it/en/bike/perc ... strada.htm

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Re: Accommodation recommendations for cycling trip to Dolomites

Postby Arlberg » Tue May 24, 2016 4:47 pm

That's a really great link! Thanks Dalai47.

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Re: Accommodation recommendations for cycling trip to Dolomites

Postby dalai47 » Wed May 25, 2016 11:44 am

No worries. I found it a good resource for when I went there. Looking forward to hearing about the trip when you return. 8)

Just recommend not opening up the Mortirolo profile before riding it... :shock: :lol:

Note the ride to the base of the Mortirolo is along quiet roads and section of sealed bike trail and not the kilometers of tunnels that the main road takes.

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