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Cycle Provence & Tuscany

France, Italy

Cycle Provence & Tuscany

Biking
·
Start: Avignon
·
End: Pisa

Pedal through the picturesque landscapes and quaint villages of Provence and Tuscnany

Activity
Biking
LocationFrance, Italy
Duration15 days
Start / EndAvignon / Pisa
Tour operatorIntrepid Travel

France, Italy

Cycle Provence & Tuscany

Biking·
15 days·Intrepid Travel
Start: Avignon
·
End: Pisa

Description

Enjoy the best of European cycling on this 15 day adventure in Europe’s premier cycling destinations – Provence and Tuscany. Wind your way past neat rows of vineyards, beneath towering aqueducts and through forests on this active cycling adventure through Provence. This journey through Southern France is an idyllic blend of scenic trail riding, historical sights and wine tasting. Visit the sere...

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Itinerary

Day 1Avignon
Bonjour! Welcome to France and the first leg of your Provence and Tuscany cycling adventure. Today is arrival day and there are no activities planned for today except for a welcome meeting at 6pm. We spend very little time in charming Avignon, the former seat of the Roman Catholic world, so if you want to experience more of this beautiful city we recommended arriving early to perhaps pay a visit to the historic Palais des Papes and the Pont d’Avignon, or simply take some time to explore the leafy streets of this French city. Your agent can arrange additional accommodation at the time of booking. Riding distance: none
Day 2Orange
After breakfast there will be a bike fitting session for the group followed by a short test ride to ensure everyone's equipment has been set up properly.  Depart Avignon and cycle approximately 35 kilometres on quiet and flat country roads en route to Orange. Along the way, pass through the famous wine region of Chateauneuf du Pape and stop to enjoy a vineyard visit. Sample (in moderation) some of the red wine the region is so famous for then continue on the road to Orange. Note that the terrain will become a little more hilly as you approach Orange. After checking in to the hotel in Orange and cleaning up, head out on an orientation walk of this compact town, visiting the Arc de Triomphe d'Orange and the outstanding Roman Theatre, one of the best preserved Roman theatres in Europe. Ride distance: approx. 35 kms / 22 miles
Day 3Uzes
Leave Orange behind and ride the quiet roads south to the delightful walled Provencal commune of Caderousse. Here, cross the mighty Rhone river and pass the medieval village of Saint-Laurent-des-Arbres, cycling past the vineyards producing Lirac wines, the favourite wines of historic kings and the papal community in Avignon. Continue west through wine country and on to the legendary Pont du Gard, widely considered to be one of the world’s best preserved examples of a Roman Aqueduct. Towering high above the Gardon River, this three-tiered stone masterpiece never fails to impress. On a quiet day there may even be an opportunity to ride across it! After visiting the Pont du Gard we proceed west to the small town of Uzes with its graceful circuit of boulevards and cute cafes. Ride distance: approx. 60 kms / 37 miles
Day 4Saint Remy
Today is a long day in the saddle that will be rewarded with impressive sights along the way. Hopefully the infamous mistral wind will be blowing from the northwest, providing a tailwind all the way to Saint Remy! Winding back across the Rhone, travel beneath the old city gate and into the small town of Tarascon. Take a short break from cycling to visit the imposing medieval castle, before sitting on the riverbank to learn about the legend of the Tarasque, the namesake of the town. After lunch, continue to the charming village of Saint-Remy-de-Provence. In distinct contrast to the surrounding larger cities and towns, Saint Remy displays a typically Provencal way of life. Visit the serene gardens of Saint-Paul Asylum where Vincent van Gogh was a self-admitted patient and where he painted many works of art, including ‘Irises’ and the famous ‘The Starry Night’. Ride distance: approx. 50 kms / 31 miles
Day 5Saint Remy (& optional Mont Ventoux ride)
Today is a free day off the bike to explore charming Saint Remy and it's surrounds. Indulge your inner Van Gogh, chill out in a Provencal cafe or if you are still keen for a ride our crew can suggest a short ride around the local area. For those wanting a real cycling challenge we offer you the option of cycling up the legendary Mont Ventoux on a carbon road bike. Driving from Saint Remy to Bedoin early you will be riding on the mountain as the sun rises to beat the infamous Ventoux winds and summer heat. The unguided ride should take 3-4hrs, leaving enough time to grab a coffee and croissant before you rejoin your driver in Bedoin and then drive back in Saint Remy for a well-earned rest. This is at an additional cost - please book our 'Mont Ventoux Extension (AMXV) Ride distance: None
Day 6Les Baux & Arles
Hit the road again after breakfast. Today you start with a short 10 kilometre ride to the magical hilltop commune of Les Baux-de-Provence. Although the distance is short, it is also one of the more difficult rides. For those not wanting to ride uphill, your support vehicle is always available. The first climb through the forest is over quite quickly and is rewarded with a short but beautiful descent on possibly the smoothest road in all of France. Carry on through olive groves and vineyards before arriving at Les Baux, declared “one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France” thanks to its narrow cobbled streets and jaw dropping views of the surrounding countryside. Visit Chateau des Baux, which sits perched on a limestone cliff with magnificent 360 degree views. After visiting Les Baux it’s time to hop back on the bikes for a short ride through the Val d’Enfer (Valley of Hell) and its beautiful white limestone rock formations. From here, it is a pleasant downhill and flat ride to Fontvieille then follow the peaceful Canal d'Arles alonside the Rhone River all the way into Arles (approximately 40 kilometres). Park the bikes and enjoy an orientation walk of this popular Roman town, passing by many famous sites such as the Place de la République, Van Gogh’s Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum and the UNESCO World Heritage listed Roman Amphitheatre. For those wanting to explore further there are countless museums, Roman buildings and reminders of Vincent Van Gogh’s glorious paintings on every street. Ride distance: approx. 50kms / 30miles
Day 7Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer/Arles
Swap vineyards for waves on a ride south to the capital of the Camargue, Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea (approximately 45 kilometres). Set on the Rhône River delta, the lakes of Camargue are a bird spotters paradise and home to more than 400 species of birds. The area is also known for its famous white Camarguais horse, often seen running free around Camargue. The ride one way form Arles to the Med is approx. 45kms. After lunch we return to Arles by vehicle. If you are feeling fit you may choose to ride back to Arles but please note that this is optional and will not be supported by either the leader or our vehicle as that is driving back to Arles. Perhaps enjoy a final group dinner together for those leaving after the Provence section of the trip. Ride distance: approx. 45 kms / 28 miles
Day 8Florence
Please note due to the myriad of transport options (bus, train, flight) and to give you the best choice that suits your budget the transfer between Arles and Florence is not included in the cost of the trip and needs to be organised separately. See the 'Transport' section for further information. When organising your transport please arrange to arrive at the Florence hotel by 6pm at the very latest as we will be having an important Welcome Meeting where you will meet the new arrivals for the Tuscany section of the trip. If you're going to be late, please inform your group leader. The tour will spend very little time in Florence so we suggest you arrive early if you want to visit this stunning city's classic icons, with the historic Florence cathedral, Uffizi gallery, Ponte Vechio, and the Piazzale Michelangelo being just a few. Cycling distance: none
Day 9Vinci
After breakfast there will be another bike fitting and then a short test ride. After everyone has been fitted there will be a private transfer by to nearby Signa to begin this Tuscan cycling adventure (approx. 1 hour). Follow the Arno River out of Florence and ride the mostly flat small roads and trails to Empoli. Pass by the Church of Sant'Andrea before turning north towards the Tuscan hills and the delightful town of Vinci, birthplace of legendary Leonardo da Vinci. Surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, the climbs are relatively gentle and can be enjoyed by everyone (approximately 35 kilometres). Once in Vinci, we take a short ride past Casa Natale di Leonardo then return to the village to check into our hotel. The afternoon is free to enjoy, perhaps visit Museo Leonardiano, home to a collection of machines and models devoted to Leonardo da Vinci, or simply enjoy a gelato on the main street. Cycling distance: approx. 35kms/22 miles, mostly flat with approx. 140m/460ft of elevation gain.
Day 10Barga
After breakfast, take a transfer by private transport to the Provence of Lucca (approximately 1 hour). From here, begin cycling to the medieval hilltop town of Barga, climbing gradually along the banks of the Serchio River and up the valley to Borgo a Mozzano, where your leader will reveal the legend of the beautiful Devil’s Bridge. From here, continue the gentle climb upwards until the last two kilometres, when the road towards Barga becomes steep. For those not wanting to do the last climb, the support vehicle is always there to assist you. Those willing to conquer the hill will be rewarded with incredible views of the imposing Pania della Croce mountain towering above the landscape. Why not relax after a big day's ride (approximately 37 kilometres) with a delicious (optional) traditionally Tuscan dinner. Cycling distance: approx. 37kms/23 miles, mostly flat for the first 30kms then climbing the last 5kms, with approx. 460m/1510ft of elevation gain.
Day 11Garfagnana
Start the day with a pleasant three kilometre downhill ride to the valley floor, following the winding road through countless small villages to the imposing Verrucole Castle in San Romano, a medieval fortress with spectacular views over Garfagnana. Along the way, stop for a picnic lunch in one of the villages to sample the authentic Italian food this region is famous for. After lunch, descend back down the valley to the 13th century town of Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, situated at the confluence of the Serchio and the Turrite Secca rivers (approximately 40 kilometres). After a long and hilly ride this is a great place to sit back and enjoy a gelato or pay a visit to the famous Fronte della Rocca, the historic cake shop and chocolate-maker since 1885 – they do an excellent coffee as well! Cycling distance - Ride 1 - approx. 20kms/12 miles, hilly with frequent climbs and descents, with approx. 450m/1480ft of elevation gain. Cycling Distance - Ride 2 - approx. 20kms/12 miles, hilly with 10km gentle climb followed by 12km descent, with approx. 520m/1710ft of elevation gain.
Day 12Lucca
Today there will be a change of pace, starting with a 60 kilometre climb over the Apuan Alps in the support vehicle. Once at the top, mount up and start the ride downhill to the popular seaside resort of Viareggio before heading to the famous city of Lucca. On arrival in Lucca, circle the ancient city ramparts by bike and stop to enjoy an afternoon picnic on the walls. You'll ride a total of approximately 85 kilometres today. Afterwards, enjoy an evening to explore the city. Perhaps end the day at a local bar with a refreshing Prosecco. Cycling distance: approx. 84kms/52 miles, downhill for 20km, flat then very gradual uphill to Lucca, with approx. 600m/1970ft of elevation gain.
Day 13Lucca
Today is a free day off the bike in Lucca. Take the opportunity to see all the sights that this city has to offer. Wander to the former Roman amphitheatre found off Via Fillungo and visit the medieval houses now standing in its place. Grab a seat Piazza dell'Anfiteatro's many outdoor cafes and watch the world go by with a coffee. Be sure to stop by Foro Square and see the majestic San Michele church, which was built over the top of an ancient Roman forum.  Cycling distance: none
Day 14Pisa
Leave delightful Lucca by bike and follow the flat leafy bike paths downstream along the banks of the Serchio River to Pisa, home to a certain crooked tower (approximately 36 kilometres). After cycling through Pisa's frenetic streets, take some time to wander the shopping streets and perhaps enjoy an aperitif at one of Pisa’s many cafes and bars. Cycling distance: approx. 36kms/22 miles, flat with approx. 140m/460ft of elevation gain.
Day 15Pisa
Your Provence and Tuscany cycling adventure comes to an end in Pisa and you are free to depart at any time. Before you leave, perhaps visit the impressive Duomo or sample some local gelato. Cycling distance: none

More info

Last modified (date)

26 Nov 2018

Trip title

Cycle Provence & Tuscany

Trip code

AMXCC

Validity

Validity: 01 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2019

Introduction

Enjoy the best of European cycling on this 15 day adventure in Europe’s premier cycling destinations – Provence and Tuscany. Wind your way past neat rows of vineyards, beneath towering aqueducts and through forests on this active cycling adventure through Provence. This journey through Southern France is an idyllic blend of scenic trail riding, historical sights and wine tasting. Visit the serene ... Read more

Style

Original

Themes

Cycling

Transport

Bicycle(e-bike option available),Support vehicle,Local bus (Transport from Arles,France to Florence,Italy is not included in the cost of the trip)

Physical Rating

3

Physical preparation

This is an active trip, requiring a reasonable level of physical fitness. While there is flexibility in the distance you can elect to cycle each day, the cycling on this trip can be challenging at times, with the heat and terrain adding to the physical effort. It is also important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle. As a general rule, the more preparation you can do fo... Read more

Joining point

Hotel O'Cub

Joining point description

The Hotel O'Cub features a rooftop terrace overlooking the Rhone River and Avignon. The simple rooms include air-conditioning and wifi.

Joining point instructions

ARRIVING BY PLANE: Avignon-Caumont Airport is the nearest airport and is located about 8 km southeast of Avignon. Taxis from the airport to the Hotel O’Cub will cost approximately EUR 30 and take 20 minutes. However, being such a small airport, there are limited services. You may find more options available if you consider airports in neighbouring regions. Marsielle Provence Airport is the next... Read more

Finish point

Casa San Tommaso

Finish point description

This relaxed hotel in an 18th-century building is ideally located for your stay in Pisa, being just a 5-minute walk to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Quaint, bright rooms feature exposed timber beams and terracotta floors, and some come with stone walls. They all include free Wi-Fi, minifridges, TV and private bathroom.

Finish point instructions

DEPARTING BY TRAIN: Pisa's Central train station is located 2 kms from the hotel. The mostly flat walk will take you approximately 25 minutes. If you prefer, a taxi will take approximately 15 minutes depending on traffic, and cost around EUR10-15. Please ask the hotel to assist with arranging a taxi. DEPARTING BY PLANE: Pisa's international Galileo Galilei Airport is located approximately 5 kms ... Read more

Group leader

All Intrepid cycling group trips are accompanied by one of our cycling leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other g... Read more

Safety

We take safety seriously on all our trips, but cycling tours deserve a few special considerations. HELMETS: Helmets are compulsory and we do not allow anyone to ride without one (including our own staff!). You can bring your own, or purchase one that meets international safety standards on the ground. Your leader can assist with this. FOOTWEAR For safety reasons we strongly recommend that you w... Read more

Visas

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with ... Read more

Why we love it

Cycle through the same landscapes that inspired some of Vincent van Gogh's greatest masterpieces

Is this trip right for you

This trip covers quite some distance, with cycling for up to 60 kilometres a day on varied terrain with a few hills, especially in Tuscany so you’ll need only a reasonable level of fitness to enjoy the trip – but remember we will always have the support vehicle on hand if you need to take a break for an hour or a day (or perhaps have had too many vinos). As our riding is done mostly on sealed roa... Read more

Health

All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themsel... Read more

Money matters

The Euro (EUR) is the official currency in the following destinations: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain. All other European countries still have their own national currencies. The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire mon... Read more

What to take

Packing for a cycling tour isn’t that different from any other adventure. But if you want to be comfortable and warm, here are a few bike-specific tips. • Helmet – these are compulsory, but if you don’t have your own you can sometimes purchase an approved and well-fitted one at the start of the trip (our leaders can assist you with this). There are some destinations where you are unable to pur... Read more

A couple of rules

Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol... Read more

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

Emergency contact

In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Europe Operations Team can be reached on the number listed below: For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/ While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Shou... Read more

Responsible travel

As part of our commitment to responsible travel a portion of your trip cost will be donated to Bicycles for Humanity – a not-for-profit, volunteer run, grass roots charity organisation focused on the alleviation of poverty through sustainable transport – in the form of a bicycle. In the developing world a bicycle is life changing, allowing access to health care, education, economic opportunity an... Read more

The Intrepid Foundation

Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed mo... Read more

Accommodation notes

OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances. TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multisha... Read more

Transport notes

IMPORTANT Transport from Arles (France) to Florence (Italy) is NOT included in the cost of the trip. There is a myriad of transport options (bus, train, flight) depending on when you want to leaves Arles/arrive in Florence. The quickest option is usually to take a train/bus to Marseille then fly directly to Florence or Rome. The cheapest (but slower) option is to take a Eurolines bus. You can ... Read more

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and th... Read more

Your fellow travellers

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit... Read more

Itinerary disclaimer

Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Essential Trip Information a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes th... Read more

Accommodation

Hotel (14 nights)
15days
€3,130per person
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Apr 13
Avignon
Apr 27
Pisa
€3,130
Seats left: 11
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May 18
Avignon
Jun 1
Pisa
€3,130
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Jun 15
Avignon
Jun 29
Pisa
€3,130
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Jun 29
Avignon
Jul 13
Pisa
€3,130
Seats left: 12
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