Gravel Riding and Tree Camping in Italy

Pedal 150km through rural Italy, cycling from the Apennine Mountains to the Adriatic Sea and sleeping in the trees

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Trip Ref #10551

Gravel Riding and Tree Camping in Italy

Pedal 150km through rural Italy, cycling from the Apennine Mountains to the Adriatic Sea and sleeping in the trees

DURATION

5 nights

LOCATION

Italy

ANNUAL LEAVE

4 days off work

SEASON

Apr - Oct

GROUP SIZE

Up to 14 people

MEETING POINT

Perugia Airport or Ancona Airport

ACCOMMODATION

Classic

Guesthouse · Campsite

OVERALL RATING

0.0

This trip is brand new
DIFFICULTY

Challenging

You should have a good level of fitness, and be comfortable riding on gravel tracks. The rides involve some large elevation gains/losses

Traverse the Marche region on hidden trails and gravel roads, pedalling through forests, vineyards, medieval hamlets and up Monte Conero (572m)

Bed down in tents suspended between the trees in woodland camps and at an agriturismo, fuelling up on fantastic local produce along the way

Cycle to the idyllic fishing villages of Numana and Sirolo, ending the journey with a cool dip and a sundowner at Portonovo Beach

Day 1

An undiscovered wild corner of Italy

After meeting your host at the airport, your Italian cycling adventure begins in the small town of Fabriano in Ancona province. Fabriano is home to your cycling specialist host, as authentic as it gets for a rural Italian experience, and is an ideal environment for adventure gravel riding. You'll meet your host's team at the guesthouse and head out into the town for a welcome dinner in a local restaurant. Maps at the ready, you'll talk through the rides that you'll be tackling over the coming days, covering all aspects of what to expect.

Day 2

Mountain trails to secret woodland camps

Cycling

40km · 1500m up · 900m down

The day starts with a bike fitting and safety briefing as you get acquainted with your wheels. You'll start off riding along Giano Rive, crossing a forest on some single track before climbing up a gravel road to discover an intriguing abandoned village. After a pit stop, you'll ride down to Tempio del Valadier - a magical setting where a temple has been carved into a mountainside cave. Lunch will be at the clear waters of the Sentino River, where there is time for a dip. An afternoon climb awaits on Murano Mountain, where a magnificent gravel road leads you up towards a secret woodland camp. Aperitifs at sunset and a fine dinner at the tree camp make for a memorable end to the day.

Day 3

Hillside vineyards

Cycling

40km · 1000m up · 1600m down

Another fantastic day of riding on gravel roads through beautiful Italian countryside awaits, as your journey continues eastwards. Leaving the mountains behind, today's ride involves more descending as the route meanders through a dreamy landscape - rolling hills dotted with medieval villages, surrounded by sprawling vineyards. You'll arrive at Tenuta San Marcello, a wonderful agriturismo (converted farmhouse) which produces wine and operates as a guesthouse. Enjoy an indulgent après-bike swim in the outdoor pool and a delicious home-cooked evening meal.

Day 4

Medieval villages

Cycling

55km · 1480m up · 1570m down

Today's scenic route continues on undulating country backroads, taking in numerous traditional hamlets along the way, crossing Esino River and entering the 'Land of the Castles'. You'll pass through Polverigi and then stop for lunch in Offagna, an enchanting village dominated by its medieval fortress. The final leg of today's ride passes through the forests of Conero Nature Park until you reach the tree camp, which tonight will be set up next to an agriturismo. Hike to the nearby beach of Mezzavalle on the wild Adriatic coastline for a swim.

Day 5

Wild coast

Cycling

35km · 800m up · 800m down

Your final day of riding explores Conero Natural Park, with a route that takes in the wine-producing inland region before moving on to a coastal section, taking in the small fishing villages of Numana and Sirolo (known as the Pearl of the Adriatic). After a sea-view lunch, you'll climb Monte Conero (572m) involving some rough track sections, but be rewarded with spectacular views before descending to finish at Portonovo Beach for a well-earned swim. Toast the end of your trip with a final sunset aperitif by the sea, and enjoy one last night suspended under the stars.

Day 6

Ciao!

The adventure ends this morning with a final breakfast, a shot of espresso, and a shared group transfer to Ancona and Perugia airports for those with onward flights.

Included

Guides

Expert, local, English-speaking cycle guide

Accommodation

3 nights in a tree camp, 1 night in a guesthouse and 1 night in an agriturismo

Meals

All breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinners

Transfers

Group arrival and departure transfers

Equipment

Cinelli Zydeco gravel bike

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Tips for your guides

Some meals as described

Visas where required

Day 1

Guesthouse · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2

Campsite · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3

Guesthouse · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 4 – Day 5

Campsite · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 6

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Any trip to Italy is a culinary treat and this one is no different! The host is proud of their attention to detail when it comes to food and drink, and you'll be given ample opportunity to taste local produce. Expect plenty of cured meats, bread, cheese and olives, with fresh vegetable and meat dishes in the evenings. The team cook up some amazing meals at the campsite and are great at making recommendations when it comes to the array of delicious, locally produced wines.

Le Marche region is famous for the longevity of its population. The long lives of 'the Marchigiani' are attributed to the unhurried lifestyle that most lead: two-thirds of the region's land is still dedicated to farming. Most residents have an 'orto' where they grow their own vegetables and they buy meat in the countryside, far removed from mass production.

Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements and allergies can be catered for - please just request this on your passenger info form.

What is the accommodation like?

Tree Camping

A highlight and unique feature of this adventure is the chance to spend three nights in remarkable and atmospheric campsites. Tents are suspended between trees: within a protected forest atop a secluded mountain (in Gola della Rossa e Frasassi Natural Park) where the host has permission to set up temporary leave-no-trace campsites, and in a coastal setting near Sirolo, within Conero Regional Natural Park. The camp is set up and dismantled for you, and all meals are prepared by the local host team using fresh ingredients sourced from local farmers. Bring your own sleeping bag and liner, plus a pillow or pillow case if you wish. As the first campsite (Day 2) will be in a wild and off-grid location, the host team will install a compostable toilet and carry water for showering. The impact upon the forest is kept to an absolute minimum and the following morning the camp is packed up with no trace left.

Guesthouse & Agriturismo

The first night of the trip is spent at a typical local B&B guesthouse in the small town of Fabriano. On Day 3, you'll arrive to spend a night at a charming agriturismo (converted farmhouse) with a vineyard and outdoor swimming pool overlooking the surrounding countryside.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room and tent can be booked throughout the full trip for an extra charge, see Optional Extras. Please request this at the time of booking (this is subject to availability).

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Perugia Airport or Ancona Airport

Any time on Day 1

Ends

Perugia Airport or Ancona Airport

Morning of Day 6

Transfers

Your host will meet you at either Perugia Airport or Ancona Airport, both of which are approximately 55km from the start point of your adventure: the town of Fabriano. A single group arrival transfer will be provided from both airports at a fixed time on Day 1.

A single group transfer will go to Ancona Airport and then continue onwards to Perugia Airport on the morning of Day 6, departing at 7:30 am. Check with the host if you're unsure about the timings of any onward flights on this day. You will need to pay for a taxi journey separately if the group transfer is not convenient for your travel plans. Ancona Airport is located approx. 30km (30 mins) away from the final overnight destination in Conero, and Perugia is approx. 135km (1 hour 45 mins) away.

Travel options

There are direct flights between London and both Perugia and Ancona Airports. Should you prefer to travel by train then, it is possible to connect through European hubs all the way to the town of Fabriano. At the end of the trip, you can connect to elsewhere in Italy from Ancona train station.

If you'd like to extend your stay in the same place, then you may wish to look up 'Accipicchia Agriturismo' which is next to the site of the final night's tree camp. Alternatively, you could book accommodation in the coastal villages of Sirolo or Numana, where you'll be close to the sea and a range of restaurants.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

  • Cinelli Zydeco gravel bike
  • First aid equipment
  • 4WD urgent assistance vehicle if needed

What do I need to bring?

CYCLING

  • Helmet (compulsory)
  • Cycling shoes (bring your own pedals if using cleats)
  • Pedals and saddle if you would rather use your own (these will be fitted to the bike for you)
  • Water bottles x 2

BAGS

  • Softshell duffel bag or rucksack
  • Small daypack, bumbag or frame/handbar bag to carry basic essentials in while riding

CLOTHES

  • Padded cycling shorts
  • Sports top or cycling jersey
  • Fleece jacket or similar for the evenings
  • Trousers/leggings for the evenings
  • Waterproof rain jacket
  • Cycling gloves
  • Lightweight trousers/shorts/skirts
  • Trekking clothes if booking optional extra activities
  • T-shirts
  • Underwear and socks
  • Swimwear
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunhat
  • Something to sleep in
  • Sandals

SLEEPING

  • Cotton or silk sleeping bag liner
  • Sleeping bag (2-season)
  • Travel pillow or pillowcase

OTHER

  • Universal travel plug adapter
  • Power bank or solar charger
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Ear plugs
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Suncream
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
  • Toilet kit (toilet paper, biodegradable bags to carry paper out to dispose of)
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • Headtorch or torch
  • Energy bars and snacks - read our article on Best Hiking Snacks

Single/Double/Twin Room in Fabriano

Payable Before Departure

Single/Double/Twin Room in Fabriano

Per Night

Private Room and Tent Upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Private Room and Tent Upgrade

Per Person

This trip is brand new

We’re still waiting to collect any reviews from other travellers on this trip. However, all our hosts go through an extensive vetting process to ensure that your adventure is awesome.

We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 103kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2022 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

It's no secret that we love cycling and many of us at HQ think it's the best way to see a country, however, we realise that organising your own trip can be a total faff. On our cycling trips, we've found a local guide who has put together a perfect route and will navigate for you all the way. We even send a van that transports your overnight luggage and provide high-quality bikes and delicious snacks to keep you going. Faff eliminated! All you have to do is turn up, pedal and take in the landscape with your fellow tourers. You don't need to be a lycra-clad 'roadie' although they're welcome too!

Gravel riding means embracing the variety of mixed-terrain cycling routes to allow a deeper exploration into, and connection with, the natural environment, as opposed to being confined to only following the road network. A range of bike styles can be used for this blend of very accessible off-road riding, but purposely designed gravel bikes are typically rigid frame models with drop handlebars and knobbly tyres, with their geometry and gearing somewhere between a mountain bike and a road bike.

Far from being unscripted, the hand-picked routes have been pre-ridden and risk assessed by the host, with daily ride safety briefings giving you advance knowledge of the specific terrains and ride characteristics to be encountered each day. The group will stick together at a steady pace throughout and re-group at regular strategic points along the route, including at any intersections and for any mechanical problems. There may be moments when you might prefer to get off your bike and walk for a short section, and the weather could have an impact on the condition of the terrains encountered.

Ride #1: approx. 70% off-road unpaved on forest trails and some single track, 30% on a mixture of gravel and asphalt road.

Ride #2: approx. 70% on gravel backroads, 30% on quiet asphalt roads

Ride #3: approx. 50% on gravel backroads and 50% on asphalt roads

Ride #4: approx. 40% on unpaved rough tracks and 60% on asphalt roads

A good level of fitness is required. You should have some experience cycling off-road on mixed rough surfaces and be comfortable with riding a gravel adventure bike (rigid frame, drop handlebars). Whilst the distances covered are not huge, the route profiles are very undulating and as a result, the total elevation gains and losses each day are large. You should familiarise yourself with the ride statistics and it is recommended that you train appropriately in the weeks prior to this trip, in order to arrive prepared and to maximise your enjoyment.

Gravel adventure bikes are included for all bookings, and you will be allocated one pre-trip based on your height. They are well maintained by the host team and you'll be guided through the bike's characteristics before you commence riding. The host has a fleet of Cinelli Zydeco GRX gravel bikes. If you would like to bring your own pedals or saddle these can be fitted to the bikes, just let the host know in advance and check the compatibility.

No. You'll need to have a larger bag suitable for all your belongings which will be transported for you by vehicle each day, and then a small daysack or similar to carry personal items during each day of cycling. The host will provide a small frame bag, useful for keeping a few small items handy during the rides - if unsure about what bags to bring then you can ask the host any questions prior to travelling.

No, as the trip is a point A to B journey, there isn't the option of leaving excess luggage anywhere.

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Tips are not included in the trip cost. These are entirely at your discretion and are non-compulsory on this trip. Of course, if you feel that your guides provided an exceptional experience then you are welcome to tip as much as you feel is appropriate.

You should bring refillable water bottles to carry on your bike, and a Camelbak or similar should you wish. You'll have the chance to refill and stay hydrated and several points throughout the rides.

The season of departures spans the spring and autumn months when this region of Italy typically has very pleasant conditions in which to cycle, with temperatures sitting in the mid-20s (degrees Celcius). From late June the typical temperatures rise into the high 20s, and the mid-summer months of July and August can get very hot (mid 30s) so extra precautions to stay hydrated and protect skin from the sun are important. July and August do also have a slightly higher probability of occasional rain. In the more mountainous inland region at the beginning of the trip, the temperature fluctuations between day and night are significant, whilst on the coast the temperature tends to remain stable.

We recommend checking out the country specific information here and also talking to a travel nurse.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

You're in good company. Our adventures are typically made up of a mix of solo travellers and small groups of two or three friends who simply love adventure, pushing themselves and meeting awesome like-minded people. See here for more info about our lovely bunch of Much Better Adventurers.

Want to book a private trip? Just tap ‘Private Group’ in the dates and prices tab.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

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