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StelvioCycling In The Dolomites & Eastern Alps: The Bicilet Guide To The Best Climbs

Planning a cycling holiday in The Dolomites / Eastern Alps? Looking for the best routes and climbs? The Giro d’Italia this year has certainly picked out some of them. Below, the Bicilet team share why you should be planning your next cycling trip here, and the best climbs to tackle.

The Dolomites is one of our favourite places in Europe to ride a bike. Stunning climbs and beautiful scenery are a match made in heaven for cyclists, and the Dolomites provide both in abundance. To top it all off, the local cuisine is delicious (there are 20 Michelin stars in the South Tyrol region alone…), and makes for a real treat after a long day in the saddle.

Given the Giro’s final week is currently in the Eastern Alps & Dolomites, we’ve focused on road bikes, but the MTB opportunities are limitless. Look out for our upcoming post on the best areas for mountain biking!

Below we’ve picked out some of the best climbs in The Dolomites & Eastern Alps. There are many other fantastic ones – and no doubt you'll be happy with whatever you tackle.

Eastern Alps:



  • Passo dello Stelvio
    • In the Bormio region of the Eastern Alps (so just outside the Dolomites officially), this is a climb not to be missed. Both for its scenery and challenging slopes, you will soon see why it is one of the most popular challenges for cyclists all over the world.
    • You can ascend it in a number of ways. The Eastern face includes 46(!) hairpins.
  • Passo di Mortirolo
    • Want a climb that strikes fear into even the most accomplished professional cyclists? The Mortirolo is for you. With a relentless average gradient that never properly eases up (and a max of 18%), this is a true test of legs and mind. The main ascent is the one from Mazzo di Valtellina – it is the one often used in the Giro, and features a memorial to the famous Italian cyclist Pantani two thirds of the way through.
  • Passo di Gavia
    • A truly stunning climb, although infamous for unpredictable weather! Notorious for snowstorms impacting the results of the Giro d’Italia, in the summer months this climb is absolutely worth making the trip for. Again, there are a couple of options for the ascent:


  • Passo delle Erbe
    • In our view, this is the most scenic climb in the Dolomites. While there are four different routes to the top, we like the “Funes Climb”. Narrow, it starts in Chiusa, and the first 10km are both scenic and relatively gentle. The next 10km, however, introduce the first switchbacks, and provide a real test.
  • Passo Campolongo
    • This is a little more “manageable” than some of the other climbs on this list, but still kicks off with some tight and steep hairpins to get your lungs and legs working. The second half of the climb is a little stedier through the meadows. Don’t forget to take in the scenery though – this climb really does showcase the best of Dolomite cycling.
  • Passo Giau 
    • Used as the penultimate climb in the Maratona des Dolomites for a reason. The road up will test you – the average gradient is a pretty reliable indicator of the climb itself, but you will be rewarded with a stunning view once you reach the top. If you keep going, the descent into Pocol is also fantastic.

Has this whetted your appetite? Hire a super lightweight bike for your next trip, and make the most of this stunning region. Faancy an amazing sportive? Save yourself some serious logistical hassle, and rent a bike for  the Maratona dles Dolomites. Find a bike here!

Henry: 24th May 2017 11:13:00