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From Pisa to Cinque Terre: cycling through diverse Tuscany

Chrissi reports on her employee tour

Idyllic landscapes full of pomegranate and olive groves, a glass of Vino Bianco on a balmy Italian summer night and walks with the sound of waves on the beach of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Who wouldn't want to explore Tuscany with its colourful facets for themselves? I was able to experience this and more on my staff trip to Italy together with Eva, a good friend.

Exactly which individual cycling tour we want to embark on in Tuscany was decided very quickly. It will be one of our new tours, the cycle tour Pisa - Cinque Terre, which we of course want to see for ourselves. Exciting, but above all varied days await us. 

Tourist hotspot Pisa

After a long journey by train, we arrive in Pisa on Saturday morning. We quickly drop off our luggage at the hotel so that we have enough time to discover the small city with its world-famous sights. On foot we stroll through the picturesque alleys and visit the campanile of the cathedral on the Piazza dei Miracoli, also better known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Of course, we can't miss this highlight. We check into our rooms in the early afternoon. In the evening we take part in the information meeting, where we also receive our rental bikes.

Holiday feeling on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea

Since the first stage takes us along the sea, our packing list for the day's necessities looks like this: Bikini, beach towel, sunscreen. This stage works well for us. As a "warm-up lap", we set off from Pisa on flat paths throughout. After the first ten kilometres we can already feel the pleasant sea breeze. So we take the first opportunity to refresh ourselves in the cool water. After a short sunbath, we continue on the cycle path, always along the sea, to Viareggio. We end our day with a refreshing glass of Aperol Spritz at a cosy bar on the beach.

  • Tip: If you want to take a plunge into the Tyrrhenian Sea away from the tourist crowds, you should do so right at the beginning of the beach promenade.

On the way inland

Compared to the first two days, a completely new side of Tuscany now awaits us. The next stages take us inland through the picturesque Tuscan countryside, past the imposing Apuan Alps to the sea again. We stay overnight in the towns of Lucca, Castelnuovo di Garfagnana and Forte dei Marmi. With the sea behind us, we leave the beach town of Viareggio. Initially on flat terrain again, the route takes us inland. We soon notice: This stage involves a few climbs. After the two short climbs, the route leads us further through the hilly landscape of central Italy. A wonderful view awaits us here shortly before Lucca!

Cycle stage number 3 towards Castelnuovo is now upon us. We cycle along the river Serchio. The "Ponte del Diacolo", also known as the "Ponte della Maddalena" or Devil's Bridge, is definitely worth seeing on this stage. The quieter stage town of Castelnuovo di Garfagnana certainly offers a good balance to the livelier towns visited beforehand. On the way towards the coast to Forte dei Marmi, we are offered a very impressive view today: We climb about 550 metres up the valley, past the Lago di Isola Santa reservoir and continue towards the high mountains. As the ascent stretches over approx. 18 kilometres, we cycle comfortably, yet constantly uphill.

Fantastic views on the way to Forte dei Marmi

Far away from everyday life, we enjoy the vast impressions of the Apuan Alps, where the famous white Carrara marble has been quarried since Roman times.

As is well known, where you must go uphill, you must also go down. After a descent of about 20 kilometres, we get closer and closer to the sea. In no time at all we reach Seravezza, from where it is only a few more kilometres until we are in Forte dei Marmi. In keeping with our destination today, which lies directly on the sea, we have calamari fritti for dinner and of course a refreshing glass of Aperol Spritz.

On the home stretch to Cinque Terre – the absolute highlight of this tour

We fortify ourselves with a hearty breakfast and hop back on the saddle early, because the last stage on day 6 is a real challenge. With some hilly sections, this stage is the longest of all at 55 kilometres. But the efforts are rewarded! After a short while, we catch sight of the first lush green grapes on the vines. These accompany us for a few kilometres through the wine region along the Strada del Vino di Toscana. Bocca di Magra is a small fishing village where we refuel our energy reserves for the afternoon. The last climb is ahead of us before we take a short break in the small town of Montemarcello. We are on the home stretch towards la Spezia.

We are looking forward to the 7th day of our journey with great joy and curiosity. Because today we are expecting by far the biggest highlight of the tour - Cinque Terre. The name refers to the five neighbouring communities on the rugged Italian Riviera. With the Cinque Terre Card, which is included in the cycle tour package, we can move around freely and decide for ourselves whether we want to explore the coastal villages by train or on foot along the hiking trail. Boosted by the pleasant September temperatures, we manage three of the four hikes, for which we recommend a good basic level of fitness. The well-known colourful houses, the crystal clear water, rare for Italy, and the carefully prepared hiking trails round off our holiday perfectly. With all these beautiful impressions that we were able to collect during this week, we start our way home.

Our conclusion: Tuscany is definitely worth a visit!

It is rare to find so much variety as offered on this tour. From well-known tourist hotspots like Pisa, sleepy villages in the interior to lively coastal towns by the sea, no stage destination is the same as the next. Even the daily stages themselves could hardly be more varied: from flat routes to hilly terrain to high mountain rides, everything is there. Or would you prefer a hike for a change? Every nature lover will certainly get their money's worth here!

Sarah Salzlechner

"Ich stehe Ihnen bei der Planung Ihrer Radreise gerne mit Rat und Tat zur Seite"

Sarah Salzlechner
Travel specialist
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