Serre Natural Regional Park


How to… explore Calabria on two wheels

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Calabria Official Tourism

Italian cycling expert Amy McPherson goes for a spin in Calabria – the country’s heartiest region – to discover bike routes for all levels of ability

Any Italian will tell you that cycling is ingrained in their country’s national psyche. No wonder, considering il bel paese has some of the most scenic roads and most delicious pit stops in the world. This summer, we suggest you take your wheels down to the toe of the Italian boot in the cycle-friendly region of Calabria. You might be surprised by the wild rugged nature, genuine hospitality and southern Italian authenticity you’ll find once you’re there. You’ll encounter timeless villages, national parks and coastlines aplenty, and traditional recipes that’ll fill your plate and soul. It’s a part of Italy reserved for those who love nature and adventurous trails.


Sila National Park

Ciclovia dei Parchi
Best for: nature lovers

The ultimate route through Calabria’s wilderness is Ciclovia dei Parchi: a whopping 545km of cycling through the region’s four lovely national parks with bountiful biodiversity along the Apennine Mountains – the pinnacle ‘back-to-nature’ ride for those who love nothing more than majestic landscapes.  

The cycle route marks one of the newest projects in cycle tourism in Calabria. Starting from Pollino National Park on the border of Basilicata, it traverses Sila, Serre and eventually Aspromonte National Park before ending up in the city of Reggio Calabria. It makes for a perfect multi-day cycling itinerary, or smaller day trips if you tackle certain sections. Even just attempting the Ciclovia dei Parchi’s first segment, from the village of Laino Borgo to Morano Calabro, you are instantly immersed in Calabria’s rich history and nature. Further south, en route to Sila National Park, you’ll be enchanted by the serenity of Cecita Lake and its surrounding pine forests. 

Not too far from the Cliclovia dei Parchi, another newly built recommended path is the Ciclopedonale della Val di Neto, which stretches some 38km through the green heart of the historic Marchesato region. The bicycle route runs along an ancient path surrounded by nature, historical and archaeological sites and places of worship in the Val di Neto. 


Vineyards in Cirò Marina

Ciclovia della Magna Grecia
Best for: sporty epicureans

Calabria is known for its delicious culinary traditions. For foodie cyclists looking to maximise the opportunity to fuel up on delicious regional cuisine, there are tasty stops at towns and villages along the way.

The Ciclovia della Magna Grecia cycle route project highlights the tasty treats of the region, from the Calabrian village of Sibari on the Ionian Sea to the port city of Crotone via a glittering coastline heading south. Along the way, you can learn about the traditional liquorice, stop for fresh seafood lunch at one of the many beachside restaurants, taste local wines made with the Gaglioppo grape variety, and finally stop at Crotone, where a daily produce market stocks up the Michelin-listed restaurants in town. And don’t forget to pack some ’nduja – Calabria’s spicy, spreadable sausage – for the road.

Il Borgo Pentedatillo 3

The village of Pentedattilo

East to West
Best for: those who want a challenge

Outside of the Alps, Calabria’s mountainous interior and hilltop mediaeval villages double up as some of most challenging climbs in Italy. Take the challenge of crossing from east to west, starting at the edge of the Ionian Sea in the resort town of Bovalino, and crisscrossing into Aspromonte National Park (where you’ll be climbing at least 1,300 vertical meters) before descending towards the stunning coastline of Palmi on the opposite side. Depending on the route you take, there are caves and waterfalls along the way, as well as small mountain villages for rest stops with a view.

A moderately easier, but still testing ride would be to take the road from Catanzaro to tackle Monte Trearie in San Pietro Apostolo, climbing 16km at an average gradient of 4.6%. It might sound insignificant, but you’ll feel that satisfying leg fatigue towards the top.

Or simply pick a hilltop village, such as historic Corigliano, where you can combine a challenging ride up with some sightseeing of the village’s Ducal Castle and ancient churches.

Discover more inspiration for your trip here

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