The 5 Key Cycling Locations in Liguria

Many champions choose our region to prepare for the season. Here’s where to find the cycling pros in Liguria! 

Rolling routes. Characteristic villages and green, untouched forests. Mild temperatures, unthinkable elsewhere in the dead of winter. Well-connected locations with major centers in Northern Italy and therefore easy to reach. Roads that have made cycling history. There are many reasons why cycling enthusiasts choose to train in Liguria in winter. But even for cycling pros, our region truly has an edge. 

Here are the best places to cycle in the sun and, perhaps, meet a champion in training! 

1. Sanremo

You can’t talk about bicycles without mentioning Sanremo: besides being the city of flowers, smiles, and songs, Sanremo is also the finishing point of the Milan-Sanremo, the Classicissima that kicks off the racing season every year. For this reason, many enthusiasts never miss the opportunity to tackle the hairpin turns of Capo Berta, Cipressa, or Poggio, to emulate the feats of Vincenzo Nibali, the last Italian to win the Classicissima. And, if you’re lucky, you might even spot some pros training and trying to find the right pedal stroke for the Milan-Sanremo.

Nibali vince la Milano-Sanremo 2018
Nibali wins the Milano-Sanremo 2018

2. Cycle Path of the Ligurian Riviera

The Riviera di Ponente seems to be the favorite among pros: between Sanremo, Imperia, and Andora, it’s not hard to spot the classic bicycle trains led by the flagship car, as is customary for cycling teams. Moreover, the area hosts the Area 24 cycle path, one of the longest in Europe built on the route of the former railway. From Imperia to San Lorenzo al Mare, 28 km of nature and relaxation where you can train and exercise, in the sunshine of the Riviera dei Fiori. And the project aims to extend it to a total of 60 km of two-way track. A true paradise for cycling, famous worldwide.

Sanremo, pista ciclabile

3. Laigueglia

In Laigueglia, a tranquil village nestled on the beach just a stone’s throw from the nightlife of Alassio, the sound of clicking bicycles has become a familiar tune over the years: the city has been hosting the Trofeo Laigueglia race for a whopping 56 years now, which has evolved into a classic season opener. Beloved by young professionals, this important cycling event in Liguria has always played a role in anointing new stars in the cycling world. Its hall of fame includes the most prominent names in cycling history, from Michele Dancelli to Franco Bitossi, from Eddy Merckx to Beppe Saronni, from Bartoli, Savoldelli, Ballan to a young and not yet compromised Lance Armstrong.

For amateurs, on the other hand, there is the Granfondo Internazionale Laigueglia.

trofeo Laigueglia
Laigueglia Trophy

4. The Three Capes

Anyone who cycles knows it: Capo Mele bends you, Capo Berta breaks you, and Il Poggio kills you. That’s what they say for those following the Milan-Sanremo on TV. However, those who are engaged in pedaling their own bike won’t be able to resist enjoying the stunning scenery of these capes: the hills adorned with blooming mimosas, the sea crashing below steep cliffs, and a few olive trees still awaiting pruning.

(A little secret: you can avoid the tough climb of Capo Berta by taking the “Incompiuta,” a completely flat coastal road that starts just before the beginning of the ascent and bypasses the cape. But then, where’s the fun?)

capo Berta
capo Berta

5. Le Manie

Located near Finale Ligure, introduced in 2008 due to a landslide on the Aurelia road between Noli and Varigotti, Le Manie immediately won the hearts of bikers: it starts narrow from the village and reaches gradients from 5% to 9%, with winding roads and hairpin turns among olive trees and cacti that are no joke at all. It is by no means to be considered a diversion or a shortcut, and well-trained legs are required. But, above all, once you’ve passed Voze and the mystical plateau of Le Manie, where time seems to stand still, a descent towards the sea begins all the way to Finale Ligure. Undoubtedly, one of the iconic places for cycling in Liguria not to be missed!

Noli e Bergeggi
Noli and Bergeggi