Cycling in Calabria: cycle routes and paths
Discovering Calabria by bicycle, from north to south
© D. Carletti BeCycling
Sport and nature
Feb 16, 2024 9:08 AM
© D. Carletti BeCycling
Sport and nature
Feb 16, 2024 9:08 AM
Are you dying to discover the length and breadth of Calabria by bicycle? For you, who are a lover of cycling tourism and nature, we propose an itinerary in Calabria by bike, along the main regional cycle route and the routes that can be travelled on your two wheels.
Imagine travelling through the heart of Calabria, stopping along a series of stops that allow you to get to know places of art and spirituality, some of The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy, breathtaking views of the sea and excellent food and wine.
What are you waiting for? Discovering Calabria by bike has never been so easy!
The easiest way to cross the whole of Calabria by bike is to organise an itinerary in stages along the scenic Ciclovia dei Parchi (Parks Cycle Route): 545 km of wonder that pass along the inner Apennine ridge and cut through Calabria's three national parks.
The Ciclovia dei Parchi covers an area of about 350,000 hectares within which one encounters a unique landscape heritage, which combines the biodiversity of the territory and the endemic species of Calabria with the charm of the ancient villages nestled in the mountains, with their traditions and typical products.
Would you like to best organise your itinerary along the Ciclovia dei Parchi? Follow our advice by stages, passing from the Pollino National Park to the Sila National Park; from the Regional Nature Reserve of Serre to the Aspromonte National Park, discovering the Calabria you don't expect.
Ciclovia dei Parchi: Pollino
We take the Ciclovia dei Parchi north, to discover the Pollino National Park, which includes 32 municipalities in the province of Cosenza and which is symbolised by the Pino Loricato.
Starting from Laino Borgo, we reach Morano Calabro along the route that leads from the rocky gorge of the Viadotto Italia and the ruins of the Longobard fortress of Laino Castello through the Lao Valley.
From here, after visiting the not-to-be-missed Grotta del Romito in Papasidero (among the most important Palaeolithic sites in Italy), continue on to Mormanno, with a tasting of its prized legumes (Lenticchia di Mormanno and Fagiolo Bianco Poverello di Mormanno).
Finally, along the route of the former Ferrovia Calabro-Lucana railway, we arrive at Morano Calabro, one of The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy. Also known as the "Crib of the Pollino", the village of Morano (ancient Muranum) stands perched around the ruins of the panoramic Castle. Of Norman origin, it was enlarged between 1515 and 1546 by Neapolitan architects on behalf of Prince Sanseverino, who elected it as his residence.
The majolica-tiled dome and bell tower of the Church of Santa Maria Maddalena, in shades of yellow and blue, are not unnoticed. A walk through the historical centre reveals the beauty of the noble palaces, often bastioned, built between the 18th and 19th centuries.
Has cycling along the Ciclovia dei Parchi made you hungry? Order the typical dish of Morano Calabro: Stoccu e pateni (stockfish and potatoes).
Ciclovia dei Parchi: Sila
After refreshments, we mount the saddle and head back on the Ciclovia dei Parchi to the Sila National Park on the Cosenza and Catanzaro sides. Reaching Lake Cecita, one of several reservoirs dotting the park's territory, we cycle along its shores and reach Campo San Lorenzo, with its small wooden church reflected in the water and almost reminiscent of the country atmosphere of old America.
After passing the Casa Cantoniera (Km 13.6), the Ciclovia dei Parchi climbs through fields cultivated with the precious Patata della Sila IGP to Camigliatello Silano. From here to the Giganti della Sila Reserve, the monumental centuries-old trees, the step is relatively short.
Descending towards the province of Catanzaro, the Ciclovia dei Parchi takes us to the point where the "Two Seas" of Calabria, the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas, can be seen at the same time: we are at the top of the old town of Tiriolo, the "Village of Mattia Preti", one of the most important painters of the 17th century, whose works can be admired in the main churches of the town and at the Museo Civico.
Ciclovia dei Parchi: Serre vibonesi
From the province of Catanzaro we ride sped towards that of Vibo Valentia, towards the Serre Regional Nature Reserve and its "mountain capital": the small Baroque jewel of Serra San Bruno.
We are immersed in a naturalistic area of great value, which combines the experience of slow tourism with spirituality and art in a unique way. Serra San Bruno is in fact the "Land of the Stonemasons" and of St Bruno of Cologne, founder of the Carthusian Order in Europe. The beautiful Carthusian Monastery of Santo Stefano (one of the few still inhabited) with its Charterhouse Museum, and the Sanctuary of Santa Maria del Bosco were founded in the year 1000.
The historical centre of Serra is a jewel of Calabrian Baroque: embellished by the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows and numerous other churches, it represents the highest expression of a craftsmanship made up of master stonemasons, carpenters and blacksmiths that until modern times constituted a true "Serrese school".
Ciclovia dei Parchi: Aspromonte
The Ciclovia dei Parchi crosses the finish line in the Aspromonte National Park, in the province of Reggio Calabria. Threading the Passo del Mercante first and then the Zomaro on our pedals, we reach the beautiful ski resort of Gambarie d'Aspromonte, the only "sea view" ski slope.
The cycle route leads us to discover the natural wonders of the park: from the Mundu and Galasia waterfalls to the Piani dello Zilastro, and on to the unmissable Geositi Aspromontani UNESCO World Heritage Site (the gigantic monoliths of the Valle delle Grandi Pietre).
In these parts, one cannot refuse a taste of typical Aspromonte cuisine, basically based on the prized Aspromonte goat meat, Suino Nero di Calabria and other exquisite Slow Food presidia, such as the tasty Caprino d'Aspromonte in its traditional form, with an artistic touch of the Orient.
In addition to the Ciclovia dei Parchi, Calabria will soon offer another exciting proposal for cycling enthusiasts: the Ciclovia della Magna Grecia (cycle route of Magna Graecia).
A route that starts in Basilicata and ends in Sicily, in the footsteps of the ancient Greeks and the precious archaeological heritage that still today never ceases to amaze.
Departing from Lagonegro (Potenza) and arriving in Pachino (Syracuse), the Ciclovia della Magna Grecia will cover a total of 1,130 km, of which more than 800 km will be in Calabria (from north to south, from the Ionian to the Tyrrhenian Sea), including coastal and marine areas, national archaeological parks, museums, The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy and the ancient Magna Graecia capitals that have now become cities of art and culture.