MTB, perfect to discover Levanto and Cinque Terre

Travelling through Levanto and the Alta Via of Cinque Terre on a MTB is a great option to discover this part of the Italian Riviera.

Nestled between sea and mountains, Liguria is the region of colours: green in spring when the slopes above the sea are covered in fresh grass; yellow in summer when the drought is at its peak; red when, after the harvest, the Sciacchetrà vineyards show their autumn colours; white when the foamy sea water carelessly hits the shoreline.

Liguria is a land of constant discovery: during each trip you can’t help but fall in love with an hidden corner away from the crowds, an hamlet perched on a rocky promenade or, on a MTB, a path surrounded by the Mediterranean scrubland.

Between sky and ground you can pedal for miles and miles, surrounded by silence and the beauty of the land, musing in front of beautiful villages or tasting the wild fruits of the woods like blackberries and raspberries.

The Alta Via Cinque Terre on a MTB

In eastern Liguria, starting from the colorful village of Levanto, you can dedicate yourself to the conquest of the Alta Via of Cinque Terre on a mountain bike.

From the crystal-clear sea the road goes up on the reliefs overlooking the Cinque Terre, initially on the main road and after on dirt track. From Termine, a few kilometers above Levanto,  the fun starts on forest trails, single trails and rocky bits.

The firs part of the trail develops entirely under the fresh canopy of the woods, so it’s a suitable track to experience even in high summer. In the second part, after the Colle del Telegrafo, the thick vegetation thins out revealing beautiful sights on the Cinque Terre, especially Manarola and Riomaggiore.

At the crossroad before Riomaggiore, the last Cinque Terre village, you can decide whether to end your excursion by descending towards the sea to catch the train to Levanto or to continue toward La Spezia and Porto Venere.

We decided to keep going among the smell of myrtle and the blackberry bushes.

We pass Campiglia and, below us, the sea becomes an even deeper turquoise colour. Over the Rifugio Castellana the panorama opens up on the city of La Spezia and on the bright white Alpi Apuane that dominate the scene on the horizon. A last look back and a photograph are mandatory before beginning the quick, fun descent towards Case Rosse and the sea.

Porto Venere is not far and if you are still up for cycling you could reach it in less than 15 minutes. For the return trip to Levanto from La Spezia there are many regional trains that allow bike transportation, the ticket is very cheap. 

Salto della Lepre and Bonassola

We asked local bikers to suggest us another dirt track starting from our home base, Levanto.

The trail to Salto della Lepre (i.e. hare’s jump) and Bonassola isn’t for everybody, especially because of some downhill part on rocky walls. Starting from the sea we followed the main road towards the Passo del Bracco, 615 meters high.

Just before reaching the Salto della Lepre the trail becomes a dirt track while still ascending a few hundred meters, before beginning the panoramic descent towards Bonassola.

Those who, like us, loves photography will be amazed at the number of view points, especially that of the Salto della Lepre. The less skilled bikers will have to jump down the bike on some of the more difficult bits, but it will still be worth it. 

You can recover some energy in Bonassola: we recommend you have a bite of  focaccia and swim in the crystalline water!

To return to Levanto follow the former railway line (now a bike path), another small gem in a diversified territory that never ceases to amaze you.

A post by Veronica and Leonardo. For Italian readers, they also wrote about Levanto in their own blog Life in Travel.

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