The Valsugana cycleway stretches for about 80 km between the Trentino and Veneto region; from Pergine Valsugana, a few bike rides from Lake Caldonazzo, you get to Bassano del Grappa, in the province of Vicenza, after covering all the valley. This cycle path stretches almost entirely in the plains and right for this reason is a cycletourism route also suitable for families with children, in addition the Valsugana valley is entirely crossed by the railway line and regional trains can be a comfy alternative to cycling in case of tiredness or to go back to the starting point.
The real Valsugana Cycle Path starts in Valcanover, but, as a matter of convenience, we prefer to start from the train station of Pergine Valsugana in proximity to which is the long distance track of the Via Claudia Augusta.. The station is daily reached by many regional trains that allow to transport your bike without using a bag (but pay attention because train seats are limited depending on the season!). As you go out of the train station, you cross the street and, continuing to the right, you follow the short stretch of cycle path in the direction of the roundabout and connection with the Via Claudia Augusta. Indeed, shortly before the roundabout you turn again right in Via Rosmini, a street with low traffic density, slowly moving away from the town center to plunge into the surrounding countryside.
You cycle along Via Rosmini for 600 meters till a crossroad on the left that makes you cross the Valsugana statal road thanks to a subway. In 150 meters you follow the signs of the Via Claudia Augusta turning left and then, in a few meters, again on the left going along a road parallel to the highway that at a good pace gets close to the Lake Caldonazzo. After 400 meters you find another crossroad on the left where you have to go along flanking the Esso station. The track runs along a straight line that skims, without ever touching, the busy SS47 statal road that, just ahead, runs side by side with the railway line towards Bassano del Grappa and Venice.
Via dell'Angi enters Canale di Pergine, a district in the village of Pergine Valsugana. The road ends on a diagonal, via Nazioni Unite, where you turn left for about twenty meters, just enough to cross Via delle Valene on the right. Via delle Valene, after a few turns, leaves the small town center to head to the basin and the start of the Valsugana Cycle Path.
The lakes of the Upper Valsugana
The Valsugana cycle path follows the shores of the Lake Caldonazzo between the SP1 provincial road and the railway and in a few hundred meters reaches Valcanover. After the village the cycle path turns into a charming wooden walkway suspended on water, this is the ideal spot where to take a few pictures of the lake and the hills surrounding it on the opposite shore with the villages of Ischia and, further on, Tenna.
The small beaches of the lake, the small shops and the accommodation solutions are really within pedal reach and you can choose to stop where you prefer without worrying to run out of food or a bed where to rest. You go along the lakefront for 3 km then finding yourself in Calceranica. In this village, very popular among people from Trentino and Dutch tourists during the summer season, the cycle path gently deflects towards the village center crossing it until reaching a roundabout. A short section leads cycling tourists to the SP1 road that is flanked by a cycle-pedestrian sidewalk. Just after the stream Màndola you turn right and find again the cycle path that reaches in less than 1 km the old Calceranica mine. The mine can be visited during the summer season and, on hottest days at the end of your visit among the fresh rocks of the attractions, you can immerse yourself in the crystal clear pool of the stream that slides towards the lake just below the tourist site.
From the mine you go back to the cycle path overtaking another roundabout so finding you cycling on a secondary road till Caldonazzo, after 1 km. Caldonazzo has less than 4,000 inhabitants even if in summer it far exceeds this number. You cross the village by bicycle passing in front of the Church of San Sisto and the Trapp Castle dating back to the XIII century and turned, today, into a horse-riding school. Right close to the old manor house you turn left (Via Filzi) in the Via Claudia Augusta that ventures into apple rows (blooming in early spring or loaded with fruits in late summer!) in the countryside of Valsugana. You cycle eastwards leaving behind the beautiful Lake Caldonazzo: this track stretch is covered also by tractors and a few authorized persons but it’s anyway very safe (and really quiet) also for families with children.
At the doors of Levico, instead of getting on the flyover leading to the lake of the same name (unless you want to jump!), the cycle path goes on in the countryside till meeting the river Brenta that continues till Bassano del Grappa. The cycle path signs are clear and many so it’s really difficult to get lost. You cross road SP133DIR (attention!!!) and you find yourself again on the cycle path.
The river Brenta and the bikegrill
The life of the river is very varied and, if you are lucky, you may spot some aquatic bird resting among the vegetation of the Brenta.
Before continuing to the east I suggest a stop at the Bicigrill Big fish in Levico, the first one but not the last one you’ll meet along the cycle path. Bikegrills that spread all over Italy were born in Trentino and more precisely in the Adige cycle path: these small dining facilities lie on the tracks for bicycles and besides offering food and drinks, support the cycle tourists in case of punctures or other mechanical problems. Each bikegrill is organized independently and in the latest years they have become a real reference and meeting point also for local cyclists.
The cycle path continues flanking the river Brenta crossing it twice and then returning to the right bank. Perched on the hillside on the left you can spot the ruins of the Selva Castel while, looking up above on the right, the majestic Vezzena Fort appears, on top of Pizzo di Levico, at an altitude of 1,908 meters. The fortress, built by the Austro-Hungarians at the end of the first decade of the 1900, rises in a really panoramic position in the Valsugana valley and can be reached with a trekking or a challenging hike by MTB. The cycle path reaches the town of Novaledo which houses the ruins of Tor Quadra while along the itinerary you pass in front of the small Church of San Silvestro that once stood on the bank of Lagomorto (“Dead lake”), today disappeared. The church is a good place where to stop and refill your canteen with fresh water. Novaledo is followed by the village of Marter boasting the presence of an original museum: the scarecrow museum. The permanent exhibition was staged in what was once an important mill in Valsugana, the Angeli mill. If you’re lucky you can also see the scarecrow cyclist. To reach the museum it is necessary to divert a few meters from the cycle path close to the village along a link road that goes beyond the railroad and exceeds the SS47 road.
From Marter, a hamlet in the town of Roncegno, you cross the river Brenta twice more before finding yourself at the entrance of Borgo Valsugana. A traffic light for bicycles allows to reach the continuation of the cycle path beyond the road safely. Via Roma, flanked by the Valsugana cycle path, runs along the river Brenta passing just under the eye-catching Telvana Castle, one of the most beautiful in the valley.
The itinerary crosses Borgo passing in the town center, under the typical houses overlooking the river Brenta. Also Napoleon Bonaparte slept in town, but this is really an old story. Historic is indeed the interesting permanent exhibition on Great War in Valsugana and Lagorai set up right in Borgo in the former Spagola mill, that can be visited according to opening hours.
Beyond Borgo... towards Veneto
The trip by bicycle along the river Brenta continues leaving Castel Telvana and the junction to go up to Arte Sella, passing beyond the town of Castelnuovo and arriving ahead of another fortress, the Ivano Castle, built by the Lombards, has resisted to the conquests that have occurred over the centuries keeping alive its ancient glory. Nowadays you can marry in Ivano Castle, you can arrange meetings or events.
On the left bank of the river Brenta you go beyond the territory of Ospedaletto coming closer to Selva di Grigno. Right in proximity to this place a new section of cycle path has been recently completed that instead continuing along the right bank after crossing the bridge in the shadow of the mountain, stretches in the center of the valley without going through the village. The benefits of this new cycle path section can be surely found in the better exposure to the sun and no difference in height. Those who still prefer to pass from Selva di Grigno cycling on the right bank can anyway rejoin the new connection 2 km ahead. You go past Grigno and Tezze di Grigno where, directly on the Valsugana cycle path, there is another bikegrill where it is possible to drink and eat and, why not, check that your bike hasn’t any kind of problems. Just before entering the field of view of Pianello di Sopra, the Via Claudia Augusta deviates to the left leaving the valley and going down the road of the Scale di Primolano and the Veneto region.
Bassano del Grappa is nearby
The Valsugana cycle path instead continues in the valley floor arriving first in Piovega di Sopra, Piovega di Sotto and Cornale (where you can find restaurants!), in the province of Vicenza. In this section the valley narrows and the cycle path becomes even more evocative passing under the rocks on a footbridge just before the water. The Cismon, on its way to the sea, flows into the river Brenta and cycling tourists breathe again in a valley that is more open and airy. Soon after the Valsugana cycle path turns into a secondary road (the cycle path of the Venetian rivers) where, at peak times, a lot of vehicles circulate. The places follow fast one after another while you come closer to Bassano del Grappa, final destination of the itinerary. Before entering the city and reaching the well-known “Ponte degli Alpini” bridge for a (deserved!) grappa, we recommend the beautiful Villa Angarano recognized Unesco World Heritage Site in 1996 together with the other Palladian villas in the Veneto region. Only part of the building was actually designed by the famous architect, the rest is attributed to Baldassare Longhena and dates back to the following century. The villa is abandoned. The arrival in Bassano is really a nice time: colors, architectures, scents in the air, the city of the Bridge of the Alpini is the right reward to the fatigue of the long ride of almost 85 km from Pergine Valsugana.
When to go and why
The Valsugana cycle path is feasible all year long, but in winter a few sections can be covered with snow or even frozen and therefore you can run the risk of sliding. Anyway being in a valley, the Valsugana Cycle Path is not always heated by the sun and in the cold season sun rays filter only for a few hours. Our advice is to travel it starting from April, May or June, according to temperatures.In the height of summer, in July and August, it is more crowded and, some days, temperatures are really high and cycling can be really tiring. If you have the possibility wait till the end of August or September to travel it with clear, sunny, warm days anyway not suffocating and first of all to be able to discover it in peace.
Two considerations on the railway
The Valsugana Cycle Path is often flanked by the railway covering the whole valley connecting Trento to Bassano del Grappa and Venice. Regional trains are equipped to transport bikes too even if in a limited number. Throughout the year, with the exception of July and August, each train can transport a maximum of 2 bikes and two wheels with two trailers exceeding a length of 2 meter are not permitted. In July and August, tourist high season, each train can transport 32 bikes.
To travel together with your bike you have to pay an additional fee of 3,5€ a day or a lower fee than 3,5€ if also the fee applied to the passenger if so.
Renting a bike in Valsugana
If you want to cover the Valsugana Cycle Path you also have the possibility to rent a bike at the beginning of the track and to return it in one of the many rentals available to users along the itinerary. The best rental center in our opinion is that of Stefano Casagranda, who with his Inbike Valsugana covers the whole valley and Veneto region so you’ll be able to start from wherever you like and leave your bike directly in Bassano del Grappa (or before) without having to pay the return ticket or waiting for a train with seats available.
Arriving in Trento by bicycle
From Pergine Valsugana, at the beginning of our cycle itinerary, you can easily reach Trento overcoming the short climb that from Civezzano goes along the Strada dei Forti. Once the rise is done you can reach the center of Trento passing from the “Strada delle Laste” road, where there is a Sanctuary, and going down to the Castel of Buonconsiglio. In the next few years is on the agenda the realization of a connection linking Trento to the Valsugana Cycle Path passing along the old road of the gorge of the stream Fersina... when ready, it will be another wonderful cycle path in Trentino!
A harder (and more traffic congested too) alternative, anyway very rewarding, is the road climbing to Bosentino starting from Calceranica, on the Lake Caldonazzo. After reaching Bosentino you continue towards Vigolo Vattaro passing through the Valsorda valley at the sight of the majestic Vigolana, the mountain on top of the valley. From Vigolo you cycle until you reach Valsorda from where you can decide whether heading to Mattarello, a district of Trento located south of the city, or diverting towards San Rocco and Villazzano, hilly districts to the east of the city. Reaching Trento from these two places is really obvious.
Trentino is a province rich in cycle routes and two wheel itineraries. The Etschtal Cycle path, the Cycle path of the Chiese Valley, the Cycle path of the Non Valley..., are just a few examples of itineraries to go discovering the beauties of the territory and nature. If you prefer mountain bike, we’re sure you’ll find our MTB routes really interesting!
Besides the many villages, castles, and monuments, also Nature, here, has been lavish and you’ll notice immediately observing the mountains, visiting the biotopes and pausing to watch the flow of river Brenta. Those who love animals can easily spot some birds of prey in the sky, while on the river Brenta you’ll be able to see many other bird species... ready for birdwatching?
Leaving from Bassano del Grappa and cycling towards the Lake Caldonazzo you can take some very interesting detours:
Scale di Primolano: just 30 km from Bassano del Grappa there is the winding road that from the lower Valsugana takes to the Feltre area. The Scale di Primolano (“Stairs of Primolano”), popular among cyclists of all ages, are lined by the fortresses of Primolano that barred the way to possible infiltrators during the First World War. Huge and really powerful they struck visitor. In summer often there are tastings with a visit to the fortresses!
Tezze e Grigno: Tezze is the first hamlet of the village of Grigno you meet entering the territory of the Autonomous Province of Trento and is the place where you can rest at the bikegrill. Before the WWI, this railway station marked the border between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Kingdom of Italy. Grigno was the place where Alcide Degasperi (born in Pieve Tesino) attended school. In a hamlet of Grigno called Selva there is the Bigonda Cave, the third biggest natural cavity in Italy. The cave can be visited only for the first kilometer accompanied by a guide and only in winter because less rainy. Again in Selva you can access also another natural cave carved into the dolomite rock and known as Calgeron Cave. It’s always advisable to access only accompanied by a guide: it is possible to explore the first two kilometers rich in lakes. Near Selva there is also the Fontanazzo biotope that can be visited with routes you’ll find on a panel along the Valsugana Cycle Path.
Castel Ivano: in Ivano-Fracena there is the Ivano Castle that rises from the homonymous hill above the statal road and the Valsugana Cycle Path. Probably dating back to the XII century, private property of the Staudacher family, it cannot be visited but on the occasion of events or art exhibitions.
Borgo Valsugana: maybe the most beautiful village in the Valsugana, Borgo lies on the banks of the Brenta and, in the town center, houses directly overlook the water. Since the cycle path goes through it, it can be the right opportunity to visit the village. In Borgo, just think, there is also the palace where Napoleon slept while passing by in Valsugana. One of the most beautiful views of the valley and Borgo Valsugana is from the slopes of Mount Ciolino where you can stop at the Franciscan monastery.
Biotopo Inghiaie this natural reserve managed by the WWF is part of the municipality of Levico and you can meet coming from Borgo Valsugana. Within the biotope you can follow different itineraries to discover the various environments and biodiversity that inhabit them. Along the route there is also a lookout tower for birdwatching.
Levico and the lake renown thermal resort of the Valsugana, Levico is a pleasant village to visit also because overlooks the homonymous natural lake. With a depth up to 38 meters, the lake is at an altitude of 440 meters and, in summer, is literally besieged by local people and visitors who refresh on the beaches of its beach.
Lago di Caldonazzo It’s the biggest lake entirely in the Trentino region. On its waters you can do water sports and, in spring and summer, you can also swim. On the southern side the Valsugana railway passes by and there is a popular pedestrian and cycle track. In San Cristoforo a promenade starts that flanks part of the lake crossing the homonymous biotope. In Valcanover, Calceranica and Caldonazzo there are pleasant small beaches. From Tenna you can have wonderful views of the Lake Levico and Lake Caldonazzo. By bicycle we suggest that you follow also the cycling tourist route of the two lakes.
Along the Valsugana cycle path there are many different types of accommodation. Around the lakes you can pitch your tent in one of the campsites (they are not cheap but offer many services!), Or opt for an apartment on Airbnb taking advantage of the discount if you are not yet registered, a b & b or, in hostels (for example in Borgo Valsugana or in Trento) of the territory. If you want to try some typical dishes, I recommend a stay on a farm.
The Trentino cuisine is a typical mountain cuisine influenced by belonging to the Austro-Hungarian Empire of the territory until 1918. For the preparation of dishes they are used purely butter, many types of cheese, meats and polenta (typical in Valsugana and in Storo). Some Trentino dishes to taste are absolutely: the canederli (with butter and sage or in broth), the Spätzle (flour and water dumplings - sometimes even eggs - usually prepared with cream and speck), the soups especially barley, the tonco de pontesel, cold cuts such as speck and mortandela (especially in Val di Non) and strudel. Do not forget the red wines of Trentino such as lagrein, marzemino, teroldego and Trento DOC with regard to bubbles.
The Venetian cuisine of the province of Vicenza is completely different from the Trentino one. One of the most typical dishes is baccalà alla vicentina. Also try the Brenta river trout and the well-known Bassano grappa.
In the villages on Valsugana cycleway it is easy to find fountains to fill the water bottles with fresh water.
Correva l'anno 1983: anch'io vidi per la prima volta la luce del sole estivo e sorrisi.
Da sempre col pallino per l'avventura (nessun albero poteva resistermi!) ho avuto la fortuna di girare l'Europa e l'Italia con i miei genitori e poi, per la maturità, mi sono regalata un viaggio in 2 cavalli da Milano a Praga (un fiorino ha interrotto il nostro viaggio verso Mosca facendoci ribaltare, senza gravi conseguenze, su una strada slovacca).
Ho vissuto 6 anni in Trentino lavorando in tanti luoghi diversi, scoprendo la bellezza della Natura, delle sue montagne e, devo ammetterlo, della MTB! Al momento che ritenevo giusto, ho mollato il lavoro senza alcun rimpianto per volare in Nuova Zelanda dove ho viaggiato per cinque mesi in solitaria. Nel 2007 ho provato per la prima volta l'esperienza di un'avventura a due ruote e, da quel momento, non ne ho potuto più fare a meno... così, dopo alcune brevi esperienze in Europa, nel 2010 sono partita con Leo per un lungo viaggio in bicicletta nel Sud Est asiatico, la nostra prima vera grande avventura insieme! Da 3 anni scorrazziamo in MTB sui sentieri del Lago di Iseo, ma la prossima partenza per il #noplansjourney è alle porte...:)
Su lifeintravel.it trovi tutti i nostri grandi viaggi insieme (e non)!