West Alps


Western Alps

In the Occitan valleys there are the most beautiful gravel roads in Europe. Thanks to the military border roads between Piedmont and France built as early as 1600, it is possible to take high mountain routes that go well above 2500 meters above sea level. Another characteristic are the old Alpine routes used by smugglers who left from the Ligurian sea to bring salt to Switzerland and Germany. A network of challenging but unforgettable routes.

At a Glance

6 Days | 5 Nights | 5 Rides
Roads type: 70% Gravel
Bike required: Gravel

Daily Itineraries

Every day 2 different itineraries to chose from.
You are free to mix them to create your personal vacation.

Regular itinerary:

RIDER LEVEL: Recreative/Intermediate

Total ride distance,  155  miles  (240 km)
Total climbing, 19,500 feet (6.000 m)

Extended itinerary:

RIDER LEVEL: Intermediate/Advanced

Total ride distance, 180 miles  (290 km)
Total climbing, 29,500 feet (9.100 m)

Day by Day agenda

Day 1 –Arrival in Italy, welcome and warm-up ride

Arrival in Italy, we pick you up at Milan Malpensa Airport (IATA: MXP).  Approximately two hour van transfer to hotel in a small town of Cuneo Hotel check-in, and after a light lunch two options: few hours to recover from the fatigues of the trip and relax in the hotel or setup the bike and go riding in the mountains (please see below). Late afternoon the vacation briefing is the chance to meet the whole group of guest and the guides.  

When darkness is coming: RISTORANTE LA SPERANZA After the welcome aperitif in Cuneo down town, we move to the border with the Langhe in the village of Farigliano, a Langarola dinner awaits us, the beginning of our Piedmontese culinary journey.

Regular: 21 miles – 1,200 feet 

Extended: 29 miles – 3,200 feet

Day 2  – Via dei Cannoni

We begin to get serious, two beautiful itineraries on the “Cannon Road”, a military road that was used to bring heavy artillery pieces to the fortifications located on the French border. Challenging but very rewarding high mountain itineraries.

When darkness is coming: OSTERIA AL BORGO

It is the evening dedicated to tasting the Bue Grasso di Carrù, one of the specialties of Piedmontese cuisine. Right in the Village of Carrù is the Osteria del Borgo famous for its “Bollito Cart”. 7 types of boiled meat with 7 accompanying sauces, together with Barbaresco red wine, the fate is sealed.

Regular: 35 miles – 4,800 feet

Extended: 38 miles – 6,000 feet

Day 3 – Gardetta and Faunera, the legendary Marco Pantani’s climbs

Gardetta and Fauniera are the climbs that recall the fantastic achievements of Marco Pantani at the 1999 Giro d’Italia. Two rugged climbs in a solitary environment of high, almost lunar mountain, the true essence of the Occitan Alps.  We will climb on asphalt to the well-deserved lunch at the refuge, then we will continue with a long overpass of the unpaved plateau above 7000-8000 feet. Last climb takes us up to the Fauniera Pass (Colle dei Morti) where we will find the monument to Marco Pantani, in front of which, true cycling enthusiasts will experience a thrill.

When darkness is coming: OSTERIA FUORIMANO

Aperitif in the square of the small village of Busca, then dinner at the Osteria Fuorimano, it will be an unusual experience because the dishes will be decided upon arrival for dinner. Don’t be scared, it’s fine.

Regular: 27 miles – 3,180 feet

Extended: 34 miles – 4,085 feet

Day 4 – Valley of Wonders, tour of the military forts

A long ride in a wild alpine environment on the old roads of the eighteenth-century defensive end of the border military forts. Within 1850 and 1880 the Colle di Tenda area was affected by an impressive series of fortification works. The forts involved in this route are Forte Alto (close to Colle di Tenda), Forte Pernante, Giura and Margheria (to the west of the hill, towards the Forte dell’Abisso) and the Tuburda forts (to the east). Following the transfer of the French border, the forts are now all in French territory.

When darkness is coming: LOCANDA DEL FALCO

The Cuneo (Occitan) mountains are enjoying an economic revival that has repopulated the valleys, thanks to the young generations like Alessando and his brigade. In their restaurant they have brought a strong renewal of traditional cuisine.

Regular: 35 miles – 5,000 feet

Extended: 44 miles – 7,700 feet

Day 5 – Alta Via del Sale, the ways of Smugglers

We are moving towards the sea, we get there through the old roads used by merchants and smugglers who used them to sell sea salt to Lombardy or Switzerland.  The Alta Via del Sale is a fascinating former military dirt road that connects the Occitan and French Alps to the Ligurian Sea. Winds between 1800 and 2100 meters above sea level along the main alpine watershed near the Italian-French border, crossing the Alpine passes, hairpin bends and passages along the coast bold.  It’s the Europe’s gravel paradise.

When darkness is coming: REIS CIBO LIBERO DI MONTAGNA

We have a soft spot for Juri, we love his cooking every time we go to visit him. REIS is a microscopic village in the mountains at 1300m above sea level, no cars, no pollution, no confusion, few people (several sheep and goats grazing), a worthy farewell dinner.

Regular: 30 miles – 3,500 feet

Extended: 35 miles – 6,100 feet

Day 6 – Greetings and see you soon with us on the Italian roads

After breakfast, it’s time to say goodbye and start the journey back home.

If you come back home, we will take you to Milan (MPX) airport, or if you plan to stay longer to visit Italy, we will be happy to help you.

We hope to see you soon on one of our tours on the roads of Italy

Dinner in the great Italian “Trattoria”

Contrary to popular belief, Italy does not have a single gastronomic tradition (Pizza, Pasta, Cannolo) but many traditions closely linked to their territory, which make up a very interesting mosaic. Our goal is to introduce you to it, to immerse you, every evening we take you to the “Great Italian Trattorias” where the Italian culinary heritage is preserved and perpetuated.
There are different Piedmontese regional cuisines, all characterized by the availability of high quality ingredients. Here we are in the Occitan area on the border with Liguria and France, thanks to the continuous passage of traders through Piedmont to bring their goods to Europe, the cuisine has acquired strong influences from these regions. A crossroads of people, a cuisine that has undergone many influences, French, Ligurian, Langhe, but which has been able to cultivate extreme excellence, among all the high mountain Castelmagno cheese.


We are in Bra, the city famous for the international “Cheese” fair and because the Slow Food movement was born here, a city dedicated to food, wine and the sustainable growth of small artisans who produce food. We couldn’t take you to our favorite restaurant, Battaglino will welcome us with its haute cuisine and splendid cellar. We think you will be happy.

Highlights dishes:
Starter: “Truset» salad, low temperature cooked eel and sweet and sour peppers.
First course: Meat »bollito» ravioli on creamed potatoes and white pepper.
Main course: “Toumin dal Mel» cheese with turnip tops and Bra sausage.


When we talk about Carrù we cannot help but think of the “Fat Ox” (a regional breed of beef ox) and the fair that has celebrated its meat since the beginning of the last century. In Carrù the preparation of boiled meat is celebrated which includes 7 sauces for 7 boiled meats: head, tongue, scaramella, muscle, breast, lean, tail. Not only this but much more in rigorous respect of tradition.
Highlights dishes:
Starter: Mixed Piedmontese appetizers.
First course: Pasta Tajarin 30 eggs with Fat Ox beef ragout.
Main course: “Boiled” Fat Ox beef from Carrù.


Osteria Fuorimano, only “free-form” menus, three choices depending on the hunger of the diners. The dishes come out with rhythm and are surprisingly different among the diners who have expressed their tastes and any intolerances. Taste dishes with strong, immediate and refined flavours, which combine new recipes with the traditional preparations of the city of Cuneo.
Highlights dishes:
Starter: Sheep tartare with bottarga, garlic bread and candied lemon.
First course: Risotto with crispy eel.
Main course: Boneless quail stuffed with baked veal sausage.


It is an old carriage house, then the engine emptied the premises but left the poetry. Between the stone walls, cool in summer and heated by the stove in winter and scented by the smell of wood, poetry is interpreted according to the strict rules of tradition. Valdieri is the small village where Alessandro opened the Locanda del Falco in the old Savoy carriage depot (@SLOW FOOD and MICHELIN award winner). Excellent Occitan cuisine, good cellar of Piedmontese and non-Piedmontese wines.
Highlights dishes:
Starter: Marinated alpine trout with horseradish and chicory.
First course: Ravioles, occitan potato gnocchi, alpine butter and Plaisentif (cheese of violet).
Main course: Sambucano lamb, stewedwith white beans and bitter wild mountain herbs.


Small mountain trattoria in Varaita valley, a real gem of “Occitan” cuisine (@SLOW FOOD awarded). Juri (owner and chef) has chosen to work in the mountains, he will introduce us to a unique gastronomic experience, linked to the products and traditions of his mountain, something very profound and difficult to replicate. After only some years of work, this small trattoria has become the refuge of many Italian and French gourmets.
Highlights dishes:
Starter: Marinated anchovies, vanilla, raspberries, rocket pesto.
First course: “Mustardela”, risotto with wild garlic pesto and honey vinegar.
Main course: Diaframma lamb steak skirt with pea cream, capers and coffee powder.


Snails, snails, snails are the specialty of the village of Cherasco and above all here at the Osteria della Torre. Don’t panic because there is much more waiting for you on the table, they won’t leave you hungry. One of the most beautiful taverns in the Langhe with Michelin Bib Gourmand award-winning cuisine.
Highlights dishes:
Starter: Piemontese-style Steak tartare with hazelnuts and Alba white truffle.
First course: Potato gnocchi stuffed with snails grilled with parsley chlorophyll and green ribs.
Main course: Ruché wine Braised Piemontese Beef.

previous arrowprevious arrow
next arrownext arrow

Living in the Charme

We have selected some beautiful boutique hotel, historical house or vinery house, where you will enjoy to stay in relax after your bike experience.
Most of them have SPA treatment available in a charming exclusive environment.
Our tours involve staying in a single hotel for the entire holiday, to avoid the commitment of transfers and to have more time to immerse yourself in the culture of the area.
In case of unavailability of the described accommodation, the same level accommodation will be chosen.



The Macario family celebrated 150 years of experience and professionalism with the inauguration of the Relais del Nazionale. Happy achievement dictated by long years of maturity and dedication to the hotel business, to which over five generations have contributed, the Relais del Nazionale marries splendid forms of ancient mountain stories and modern technology, offering its guests all the best of the mountains .


Palazzo Lovera is a boutique hotel located in the historic center of the city of Cuneo, in the pedestrian area of stately buildings and medieval porticoes.

previous arrowprevious arrow
next arrownext arrow

Whats is included


  • 5 night in Historical Mansions, 4* Luxury Hotels or Villas located in special places
  • All gratuities at hotels and restaurants
  • Concierge & suggestion service for additional vacation ticketing, booking


  • Guest pick-up / drop-off in airport or other meeting point
  • All-vacation long, guests, bikes and luggage transport


  • 5 daily breakfasts in hotel
  • 5 lunches during the riding time
  • 5 social hours aperitivo
  • 5 dinners in 5 different GREAT ITALIAN TRATTORIA with the best Italian regional wines


  • 5 riding days,  2 daily itineraries with different grade of effort
  • 2 expert local certified guides multilingual will ride with you and support all day
  • 1 professional mechanic with support/SAG Van during the tour
  • Energy bars and sports drink during pedaling
  • Daily bike maintenance and daily laundry service for bike clothing
  • GPX daily tours documentation
  • Custom Hirides.com cycling kit


  • Professional guides for visits to the tour cities, experts for visits to wineries and support in all not pedaling activities as described in the tour program
  • Wine tasting/oil tasting at the producers’ premises. Visits to dairies with demonstration of cheese making, as described in the tour program


  • Rental of professional bicycle (e-bike or muscle) or transport of your beloved bicycle in Italy


  • Civil Liability Insurance and Italian health insurance for non European citizens

What is not included or on-demand


  • Through our partners we can organize the flight for you (ON-DEMAND)


  • Meals, transportation, hotel costs or expenses in the days before and after the tour


  • Staff Hirides.com gratuities is not included


  • Travel Protection Plan not included, but heavily suggested


  • Luggage service, before/after tour days (ON-DEMAND)
  • Bike transport service, before/after tour days (ON-DEMAND)


  • Regional cuisine cooking class
  • White Truffle tasting
  • White Truffle hunting


  • Cost of passport and visas
  • Personal expenses while on the vacation
  • Personal transportations when not included on the Tour
  • Beverages not specifically agree/included
  • Additional hotel expenses, mini-bar, wellness treatments
  • Optional activities not scheduled by Hirides.com
  • All not explicitly declared in the vacation description