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Sea, sun and singletrack! Liguria is already famous in the MTB world for the trails in and around Finale Ligure, but we couldn't resist putting together a point-to-point trip. It’s mission accomplished with this circuit that takes in some of the best riding the area has to offer, coupled with the magic of following the beautiful coastline and the Mediterranean Sea! A route that takes you through lush valleys and over high summits, through small picturesque villages and sheltered creeks and bays… In the course of a day we ride through a mix of coastal vegetation, deep deciduous woodland and pine forests before finishing on the coast surrounded by palm trees! Starting on the superb singletrack trails that wind their way along the coast, we climb up into the hills each day, where an ever-changing panorama offers beautiful views of the sea and the surrounding peaks of the Ligurian Alps. Singletrack balcony trails overlooking the sea are definitely the local speciality, second only to the famous “Pesto alla Genovese”. The area is also teaming with super flowy singletrack descents that lead us all the way back down to the sea and the local “gelateria”. Then it's time for a cold drink at a bar terrace and an opportunity to wander through the historical centres of the beautiful coastal towns.
Itinerary start: The rendezvous on the first day is at 9am at Diano Marina railway station. We will leave directly from the railway station. Please arrive in your cycle clothing. On request we can book the previous nights accommodation for you in Diano Marina.
Rendezvous in the charming seaside town of Diano Marina, where we begin with a tour around the maze of narrow streets, lined with elegant buildings and houses. Polished by centuries of use, the paving stones testify to the long history of the town… This is the "Riviera dei fiori" (Riviera of flowers), which we follow for the duration of our trip, at times along the water's edge, at times through the hills high above the coastline. The coast hides a string of bays, creeks and small ports overlooked by numerous mountain villages surrounded by dense woodland.
After a tour of the town's streets and squares, and a stop at the shoreline (with optional dip in the sea), we set our course for the mountains, where our route takes us over a succession of mountain ridges and through deep valleys that drop down to the sea. We gain some altitude on a mix of tracks and small mountain roads, passing through ancient olive groves before arriving in the "maquis" (typical Mediterranean landscape) dominated by Alep pines. We're rewarded for our efforts with panoramic views of the imposing mountains of the Ligurian Alps, and the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean far below. We launch into our first descent on a typical Ligurian singletrack… After reaching the bottom of a small valley, we gain some altitude once again by means of a long ridgeline, characteristic of the area. Our route takes us through picturesque olive groves lined with ancient dry stone walls, as well as the village of Tovo Faraldi with its maze of narrow lanes and alleys. We ride on for a few kilometres, before attacking the main climb of the day: a 30-minute hike-a-bike that takes us back up to the ridgeline. Our efforts are rewarded with a superb 360-degree view of the mountains to the north and the glistening Mediterranean Sea to the south. We ride along the ridgeline towards the sea, before launching into a long descent that see's us drop 550 metres on some great, flowy singletrack that leads right to the sea… We find ourselves in the seaside town of Andorra, where we finish our first day with a well-deserved cold drink overlooking the sea. Night in a hotel in Andorra.
Distance covered: approx. 35 km / altitude gain: approx. 1200 m
We head straight into the mountains of the back country this morning. Beginning the climb on a minor road, we then reach a long section of trail that follows the ridgeline and cliff edge, offering great views of the Bay of Laigueglia. The Mediterranean vegetation with its brooms, cane-apple bushes, Holm oaks and Alep pines offers a wonderful array of sweet smells and dashes of colour. The climb is done in stages, before a tonic final climb on singletrack with short hike-a-bike sections. Another great descent awaits us, once again offering magnificent views of the sea. The descent spits us out in the seaside town of Albenga, where we take the time to explore its superb historical town centre and wonderful period architecture… We then head back into the hills where the mountain tops offer superb views of the 15th century castle of Conscente. We settle into our accommodation for the night before enjoying some great local cuisine!
Distance covered: approx. 40 km / altitude gain: approx. 1200 m
We start the day by entering a narrow valley, where we follow a river upstream to the medieval village of Zucharello, classified as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. Its Roman bridge even appeared on the cover of Time magazine! Another small climb and we're in Erli, a small village perched on the edge of a mountainside. We then tackle a short section of climbing on the road, before quickly leaving the asphalt and traversing on a forest track that offers great views of the Ligurian Alps. Our route alternates between forest and open sections, and the vegetation begins to change as we gain altitude. The track heads into a deep forest of Holm oaks, whose leaves let just enough sunlight through to play a fantastic game of light and shade on the forest floor. After a 30-minute hike-a-bike, we descend to the small village of Bardineto, before climbing again on a narrow forest track. Without realising it we flirt with the border of the Piedmont area, which was attached for a long period to the French duchy of Savoy. Our route stays in Liguria however, leading us to our high point at almost 1200 metres, where we leave the forest track for an unforgettable singletrack descent! A superb trail, parts of which have been worked on by local riders, offers a bit of everything: banked turns, flowing switchbacks, chicanes… The trail spits us out some 800 vertical metres further down! A small singletrack trail along the River Maremola takes us right to the sea, and our overnight stop in the charming small town of Pietra Ligure.
Distance covered: approx. 45 km / ascent: approx. 1400 m
This morning we head back into the hills for another great dose of trails and panoramic views… A small, winding mountain road leads us past traditional villages full of colourful houses, then on towards the ruins of the tower of Gorra, an ideal viewpoint to admire the natural barrier of the Ligurian Alps. A beautiful church (with panoramic views of the sea!) marks the start of a roller coaster singletrack trail through dense oak forests. Our route then plunges down to the famous Finale Ligure. We take the time to explore the fortified medieval town of Finalborgo, classified as one of the most beautiful medieval sites in Italy. We then head off to discover what all the fuss is about as we ride our first Finale Ligure descent. After an initial climb on small roads and tracks, we drop into a superb, playful singletrack descent that takes us all the way back to the seashore. We settle into our hotel for two nights, ideally situated fifty metres from the sea. The hotel is full of character with a decor that will remind many of their childhood...
Distance covered: approx. 40 km / altitude gain: approx. 1500 m
An unforgettable day that takes in the best of the trails Finale Ligure has to offer! Superb singletrack, endless descents, panoramic views of the mountains and the sea, a variety of terrain and vegetation, impressive cliffs, beautiful villages and hamlets… Today has it all!
Distance covered: approx. 45 km / altitude gain: approx. 1500 m
A final day on the trails of Finale Ligure! Once again the climb into the mountains takes us through a vast diversity of vegetation from the palm trees and cacti of the coast to the beech forests of the mountains… We begin to understand why Finale Ligure has such a great reputation, as each new trail is as perfect as the last… We end the ride with another great descent that leads us right to the water's edge!
A transfer by train takes us back to our starting point in Diano Marina (included in the price of the tour, see rendezvous/separation paragraph).
Distance covered: approx. 25 km / altitude gain: approx. 700 m
Distances and altitude gain are an indication only and may vary.
The tour finishes in Finale Ligure. After the day's riding, we take a train from Finale Ligure back to Diano Marina. The train ticket is included in the price of the tour (guided version).
Note: Bicycles do not need to be in bike bags for the train journey.
Itinerary end: Separation on the last day is at Diano Marina railway station at around 5pm. On request we can book the following nights accommodation for you in Diano Marina.
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