The Paestum & Cilento Bike Challenge - 9 days - BRCI9

The Paestum & Cilento Bike Challenge - 9 days  - BRCI9
Comfort level
9-day road cycling tour - bases in hotels & agriturismo’s


Paestum and Cilento Bike Challenge

Riding through the amazing scenery of the Cilento National Park, one of the biggest and most diverse of Italy

9-day road cycling tour with different bases in charming hotels & agriturismo’s

The region of Campania has been known as a paradise on earth from ancient times on. The Greeks built some of their most impressive temples here and under the Romans it became known as ‘Campania Felix’ or the ‘Happy Land’. When travelling the region, one becomes overwhelmed by its wealth of cultural and natural attractions, from the great city of Naples to the well-known ‘Costiera Amalfitana’, with its towering cliffs and picturesque coves.

But Campania’s real secret is located south of Salerno. Here the coastline bulges out into an expanse of mountainous landmass known as the Cilento, now one of Italy’s biggest National Parks, with World Heritage listing. This is an area offering endless possibilities to the road biking cyclist, amateur and well trained semi-professional alike. Few flat areas, mainly concentrated along the coast, immediately make way for rolling hilly country punctuated by several low mountains. This makes for an interesting ride, where challenging climbs and exhilarating descents follow up at a breath taking pace.

You will cycle along world famous cultural sites, through pristine natural areas and along dreamy coastal scenery. Your trip will take you on small country roads passing through rough mountain scenery as well as through attractive countryside, with vineyards and olive groves. You’ll visit some of the nicest medieval villages of the area, where the traditional way of life is still evident. And you’ll enjoy visiting some of the Cilento’s greatest cultural treasures, like the sites of Greek Paestum and Velia, and the ruins of Roscigno Vecchia. All linked together by great well paved and quiet roads, ideal for road cycling.

The first day you will move inland from the plain of Paestum, cycling through the Cilento’s foot hills offering wide views on its marvellous coast line. You’ll pass through Trentinara, spectacularly located on top of a sheer rock cliff, and halt at Felitto near the Calore River, where you can admire several medieval bridges. The next couple of days you will explore the mountainous inland of the region, circling the Alburni mountains and maybe even climbing up its high plateau, visiting the marvellous limestone caves of Castelcività. you will then pass through the wild nature of the Cervati massif on your way to the village of Morigerati situated high above the Gulf of Policastro in the far south of the Cilento Region. From here you then discover the pristine mountainous area above the Gulf of Policastro, dotted with little hidden hamlets such as Casaletto Spartano and Sicilì, and pass underneath the towering limestone cliffs of Mount Bulgheria while circling the Mingardo River Valley. The next day you continue along the sea and through the rolling hills of the coastal area to the little fishermen’s village of Pioppi. On your way you will have plenty of opportunities to admire the wide views that open up to you along the way. On your last full cycling day you tackle Mount Stella, passing through several of the villages dotting its slopes, before turning back in the end along the coastal road to Agropoli and Paestum.

Please note: this is a moderate to hard tour for which experience with road cycling and a good general physical condition are necessary to make your travel experience enjoyable. Average cycling times: approx. 5-7 hours each day.



Genius Loci Travel Walking Hiking Kayaking Cycling Trekking Italy Tour holiday

Day 0 Naples (or Salerno)
Arrival in Naples (or Salerno) in case you arrive a day earlier.
Naples has an international airport. From Rome (and many other cities) Naples and Salerno can easily be reached. There are regular AV (High-Speed), Eurostar and Intercity trains: travel time by High-Speed train: about one hour; cost around € 40,00, by IC-train: about two hours; cost around € 20,00; by normal, regional trains the cost is about 11 euro, and it takes almost 3 hours. Several hotels can be booked in Naples and Salerno, according to your wish (either ‘downtown’ centrally located, or near the harbour or train station, ranging from 3 to 5-star). Paestum is then easily reached by train from either Naples or Salerno.

N.B. If you arrive one day earlier you have the possibility to pay a visit to the world famous archaeological museum in Naples, where all the artefacts from Pompeii and Herculaneum are exposed, and/or the equally wonderful Capodimonte museum. Also is it possible to make a day trip to Pompeii.

Day 1 Arrival – Paestum
After your arrival at Paestum you head for the hotel and get settled in. In case you did not bring your own bicycle, you will go pick up your rental bike. The short trip back to your hotel takes you along the temples and city walls of Greek Paestum. Alternatively you can go for a short ride or head down to the beach for a quick dip.  In the evening you can have a pre-dinner ‘aperitivo’ in one of the bars with view of the temples before eating dinner in the hotel.

Hotel in Paestum – HB

Day 2 Paestum to Bellosguardo
Before taking off for your first day’s cycling trip, you may take your time to visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Paestum and its famous Greek temples. After your visit you can hop on your bikes and start your cycling adventure. From the archaeological area of Paestum you head in direction of the foot hills of the Cilento area, passing first through Ogliastro Cilento and then towards Cicerale. From Cicerale you cycle through lush country side to the village of Trentinara, spectacularly located on top of a sheer rock face from where you enjoy a magnificent view on the Paestum plain. It then goes on to the villages of Monteforte Cilento and Magliano Vetere. Along your way you’ll have plenty of time for a refreshing stop in one of the villages to fill up your water bottles or why not, have a cup of coffee or a cappuccino. You can stop for lunch along the road, either at Magliano Vetere or shortly after. After lunch you enter the valley of the Calore River, passing by Fellitto and Castel San Lorenzo. Along this stretch of your trip you can admire several medieval bridges crossing the river, all the while cycling through beautiful countryside on quiet, well paved roads. The last part of your day’s trip takes you to your lovely family run agriturismo near the panoramic village of Bellosguardo. Here you have the opportunity to relax on your terrace while sipping a glass of wine, taking in the wonderful view over the agriturismo’s vine yards before eating a well deserved dinner.

Distance : 83 km – Altitude gain : 1670 m – Cycling time (no breaks included) : 5 hours
Agriturismo in Bellosguardo – HB

Day 3 Round-trip of the Alburni Mountains
Today you will make a round trip of the Alburni Mountains, taking you from the Cilento area into the Diano Valley and back again. After breakfast you leave Bellosguardo and head in direction of Corleto Monforte. You climb up to the ‘Passo della Sentinella’, after which you enjoy a swift descent to the villages of San Rufo and San Pietro al Tanagro. In front of you you see the Diano Valley and behind it the first mountains of the Basilicata region. When arriving at the valley floor you turn north and start following the Tanagro River towards Polla. You now start cycling underneath the high limestone cliff faces of the Alburni Mountains, first slowly climbing up to the village of Petina and then down again through thick chestnut groves to Sicignano degli Alburni. Here you may stop for lunch and a short visit to this small town with its imposing castle. Shortly after Sicignano you start heading south again. You now pass directly underneath the sheer cliffs until you reach Controne. At the next village, Castelcività, you may halt to visit the marvellous limestone caves which are over 5000 metres long, 1700 m of which are accessible to the public. After your visit to the caves you continue on winding country roads to Ottati and Sant’Angelo a Fasanella where you can go see the local church of Saint Michel, built inside a cave. Alternatively from Petina you could climb up to the Alburni’s high plateau with its beautiful beech forests, and experience the exhilarating descent towards Sant’Angelo a Fasanella. This will shorten your trip significantly, but the climb up is a really though one, arriving at nearly 1300 m! From Sant’Angelo, a short stretch of road brings you to Corleto Monforte again, from where you return to your agriturismo at Bellosguardo. Tonight’s dinner will be based on local products, accompanied by the agriturismo’s own wine.

Distance : 80/105 km – Altitude gain : 1570 m – Cycling time (no breaks included) : 5/6 hours
Agriturismo in Bellosguardo – HB

Day 4 From Bellosguardo to Morigerati
Today’s trip takes you from the Alburni Mountains to the little village of Morigerati high above the Gulf of Policastro in the south of the Cilento area. You leave Bellosguardo in the morning and after few km reach the village of Roscigno of which the old centre – Roscigno Vecchia, the ‘Pompeii of the 19th century’ – has been abandoned at the beginning of the 20th century and since has been preserved unchanged. After visiting the abandoned village and its tiny crafts museum you pass on the bridge high above the Sammaro Gorge and arrive at Sacco, located directly underneath several high limestone cliffs. From Sacco you start climbing up into the Monte Cervati mountain range, the very heart of the Cilento. You follow quiet roads through cultivated fields and wild forests, often for times on an end without meeting any traffic. From Piaggine you climb up to the Croce di Pruno plateau situated at 1200 m a.s.l. You then launch yourself into the exhilarating descent that takes you in direction of the isolated village of Rofrano. Shortly before arriving here, you will however turn east and after a short climb, head for the little town of Sanza, situated on a hill top in the Bussento River valley. From Sanza a winding road flanking the river, takes you first to the hamlet of Caselle in Pittari and then to delightful Casaletto Spartano. Up here in the mountains you will cycle along deep gorges and through wild nature, enjoying unexpected views of the Gulf of Policastro! From Casaletto you then continue to Torraca before arriving at your evenings’ base in the medieval village of Morigerati. Alternatively you could head from Caselle in Pittari directly to Morigerati, shortening you route several km. Tonight you’ll have a great dinner based on local specialties.

Distance : 78/109 km – Altitude gain : 1610 / 1950 m – Cycling time (no breaks included) : 5/6 hours
Country inn at Morigerati – HB

Day 5 Round-trip of Mount Bulgheria, the Mingardo Valley and the Gulf of Policastro
After an early breakfast, you start your next cycling day with a wonderful stretch downhill to the Sapri, the main town on the Gulf of Policastro. During the descent you will enjoy some spectacular views of the coast and pass through one of the Cilento’s last cork oak groves. From Sapri it then goes on along the coast to Villamare and Policastro Bussentino. Alternatively you could descend from Morigerati directly to Policastro. After stopping over at delightful little Scario where you may enjoy a cappuccino at a bar overlooking the port, you will start climbing up the steep road leading into the foot hills of Mount Bulgheria. You now cycle underneath the steep limestone cliffs of the mountain, passing through Bosco and Poderia on your way to the small abandoned hamlet of San Severino, standing in a marvellous scenic location above a deep canyon. A short diversion may take you to the wonderful medieval village of Roccagloriosa, clinging to a steep hill dominating the Mingardo River valley. Here you make take a short stroll through the historical centre and pause for a refreshing drink, before moving on. From San Severino you start gently climbing up to the little town of Futani, passing through several small villages and enjoying marvellous views on the coast along your way. Shortly before arriving at Futani you will turn towards Abatemarco and then climb up to the village of Montana Antilia, nicely situated underneath the peaks of the Gelbison mountain range, and the day’s highest point of your day’s trip. Alternatively you can head from Poderia directly to Montano Antilia, which is a steep climb but takes of several km of your trip. From Montano Antilia you then continue to Alfano and Torre Orsaia, passing underneath the heavily wooded Mount Centaurino, after which you will enjoy the swift descent into the Bussento River valley again. The short climb up to Sicilì and then Morigerati, where a nice hot shower and a hearty dinner are waiting for you, then ends your day.

Distance : 91 /115 km – Altitude gain : 1520 / 2230 m – Cycling time (no breaks included) : 5 / 7 hours
Country inn at Morigerati – HB

Day 6 From Morigerati to Pioppi
Today’s stage takes you along a large part of the southern coast of the Cilento to the little fishermen’s village of Pioppi, situated underneath Mount Stella. You will cycle through the hilly country close to the coast, passing by olive groves and chestnut forests. You start by descending from Morigerati to Policastro Bussentino, and then climb steeply up to San Giovanni a Piro. Once you arrive in the village, laying directly underneath the steep cliffs of Mount Bulgheria, the hardest part of the day is already behind you. Indeed, from here on you will enjoy an exhilarating descent towards the coast at Marina di Camerota – an ideal spot for a cup of coffee or a cappuccino in the delightful little village square – and then continue along the beautiful coastal road to laid back Palinuro and the medieval hill top village of Pisciotta, dominated by enormous trees in the olive groves. Alternatively you could climb up from Marina to Camerota and then head to Licusati from where you then have the opportunity to enjoy an exhilarating descent full of hair pin curves into the Mingardo River valley, before cycling to Palinuro. This option will add only a few km, but up to 400 m of altitude gain to your day’s trip! After passing through Pisciotta you will head inland again, climbing up to the hamlets of Rodio and Terradura, beautifully located in lush mountain scenery, and then descend to the coast again. After passing through Ascea you will arrive at Castellamare di Velia. Here you have the opportunity to visit the archaeological site of Velia, home to the Greek philosophers Zeno and Parmenides, and cradle of one of Europe’s most ancient schools of medicine. Amongst its remains one finds the celebrated ‘Porta Rosa’ (Pink Gate), one of the first examples of the use of the vault in Greek architecture. Alternatively you could continue from Pisciotta directly to Ascea, leaving you more time to visit Velia and relax in the afternoon. Anyway, after your visit to the site you continue on flat roads through the Alento River plain to your hotel at Pioppi for a hot shower and some relaxation. You can make a relaxed stroll along the sea shore in the evening before having a nice dinner.

Distance : 88/98 km – Altitude gain : 1325/1620 m – Cycling time (no breaks included) : 5/6 hours
Hotel in Casalvelino Marina / Pioppi – HB

Day 7 Round-trip of Mount Stella
Today you will explore the small back roads connecting the many hamlets on the slopes of Mount Stella. From your hotel in Pioppi you head inland and shortly after start climbing up to Acquavella. From there on you continuously climb and descend through the wooded hilly country, first to Stella Cilento and then to Omignano. Here you can halt for a short break to fill up your water bottles and you may take your time to drink cup of coffee at a local bar. You then have the opportunity of climbing up to the very top of Mount Stella, looking out over most of the Cilento region, which will however add another 13 km and 650 meters of altitude gain to your day’s trip! Possibly you may continue straight to the village of Sessa Cilento, from where you start descending into the valley of the Alento River, on the inland side of Mount Stella. Following the river valley you arrive at the hamlets of Lustra and Rocca Cilento. You then turn west towards the coast and start heading for the little town of Castellabate, passing by Mercato Cilento and Matonti. From here you can enjoy an enchanting panorama on the Cilento Coast with the promontories of Punta Tresino and Punta Licosa in front of you. Alternatively you may head directly from Sessa Cilento to Mercato Cilento and Matonti. You will arrive at Castellabate, beautifully located on a hill high above the coast, in time for lunch. After having visited the delightful medieval centre of the town, dominated by its castle, you then continue along the south western slopes of Mount Stella. You first climb up slightly to Perdifumo and then continue up and down to Serramezzana and San Mauro Cilento. The last stretch of road in the foot hills of Mount Stella takes you through the splendid medieval hamlets of Galdo and Celso to Pollica, from where you enjoy an exhilarating descent towards the fishermen’s village of Pioppi, known as the second home town of the American professor Ancel Keys, father of the so-called Mediterranean Diet. From Pioppi you then follow the coastal road back again to Pioppi and your hotel in time for an aperitif and dinner.

Distance : 74/98 km – Altitude gain : 1550/2300 m – Cycling time (no breaks included) : 5/6 hours
Hotel in Casalvelino Marina / Pioppi – HB

Day 8 From Casalvelino to Paestum
Your last day’s trip takes you along the coast from Casalvelino to Paestum. This will be a relatively short and easy ride, giving you the opportunity to relax and enjoy your last day on the Cilento roads. You first pass through the seaside village of Acciaroli. Here back in 1952 Ernest Hemmingway spent some holidays and – some say – was inspired to write ‘The Old Man and the Sea’. Some of the village’s elders still remember having met the great author and may be willing to tell you a strong tale or two. In any case you may have a short break for a quick cup of coffee or cappuccino. After Acciaroli you will pass through Agnone, after which you climb up the modest ramp of the ‘Ripe Rosse’ or Red Rocks. From here it is downhill to Case del Conte and Ogliastro Marina. You now pass underneath the village of Castellabate and continue in the direction of Agropoli. Following small country roads you arrive at the town’s port. The historical centre, located on steep limestone crags above the port, is well worth a visit. From Agropoli few flat km take you to Paestum again. Perhaps it is a good idea to stop at a buffalo farm along the way to have lunch on its premises, tasting genuine fresh buffalo mozzarella. After arriving at your hotel, you can freshen up and spend the afternoon relaxing in the hotel’s garden, or head for the beach. Those who want can visit the museum of the archaeological site, exploring its collections of prehistoric utensils, Greek vases and Roman sculpture. Not to miss the so-called ‘Tomba del Tuffatore’ (Diver’s Tomb), rare example of Greek funeral painting. Dinner is on your own tonight. You are free to choose from the good choice of restaurants, to have a great last dinner, overlooking the Greek temples at night.

Distance : 55 km – Altitude gain : 600 m – Cycling time (no breaks included) : 3 hours
Hotel in Paestum – BB

Day 9 End of the tour
The tour ends in Paestum after breakfast today. A short private transfer takes you to the local train station from where Salerno and Naples are easily reached. A taxi transfer to other destinations can be arranged on request.

Tour details

Genius Loci Travel Walking Hiking Kayaking Cycling Trekking Italy Tour holiday


All nights are spent in beautiful, characteristic hotels or agriturismo’s (generally 3-star). All rooms have en-suite facilities. Dinners are included on all nights except for the last one at Paestum.

No picnic lunches are included in the tour price, but these can be prepared for you by the accommodation holders, or materials for picnics can be purchased in the villages where you will be passing through.

Night 1: The first night is spent in a beautifully located 3-star hotel, just outside the archaeological area of Paestum. The hotel lays its own park and is within walking distances of the Greek temples.

N.B. For those who bring their own bikes, travelling by car, it is possible to leave your car on the premises of the first hotel in Paestum for the duration of the whole tour.

Nights 2 & 3: These nights are spent in a wonderfully located agriturismo situated near the village of Bellosguardo in the Alburni foot hills. Breakfast and dinner are based on local specialties.

Nights 4 & 5: The next night you stay in a country inn in the village centre of the charming Morigerati.

Nights 6 & 7: These nights are spent in a very nice hotel in the fishermen’s village of Pioppi (or in Casalvelino Marina). The little port and some nice beaches are only a short walk away.

Night 8: The last night is spent again in the hotel at Paestum.


•    Accommodation: 2 nights Paestum, 2 nights Bellosguardo, 2 nights Morigerati,
2 nights Pioppi (or Casalvelino Marina); all nights in good 3-star hotels,
agriturismo’s and country inns.
•    Meals: 8 breakfasts, 7 dinners
•    Extensive route notes, with description of the route & tourist information
•    Maps at 1 : 50.000 scale (or better) ; GPS waypoints and tracks (optional)
•    24/24 h local assistance
•    Luggage transport
•    Private transfers as specified

Not Included

•    Departure taxes & Visas
•    Travel Insurance
•    Drinks and meals not mentioned in the itinerary
•    Optional additional tours or activities
•    Tips
•    Items of personal nature
•    Bicycle rental (high quality road racing bikes. You may want to bring your own saddle and pedals)


Moderate to hard (3/4): Moderate to hard rides (to road cycling standards) with inevitably several climbs, some of which can be quite long and strenuous. All roads are well paved and mostly quiet with little traffic except for some stretches near Paestum. Extensions or shortcuts are possible on most days.

Fitness: Experience with road cycling and a good general physical condition are necessary to make your travel experience enjoyable. You should be able to cycle for several hours a day and long distances also in hot dry weather conditions.


Arrival: The tour starts in PAESTUM which can easily be reached by train from either Naples or Salerno. Naples has an international airport. From Rome (and many other cities) Naples and Salerno, and thus Paestum, can easily be reached.

Departure: The tour ends after breakfast on day 9 in PAESTUM. A short transfer can bring you to the local train station from where Salerno and Naples are easily reachable.

Dates & Prices

Please contact us for the latest prices

GuaranteedYou can book this tour with a minimum of 1 person.
LimitedThere are a very limited number of available places on these dates. Immediate booking is recommended.
On RequestAvailability and prices on request.
  • Prices are per person and based on the season within which the first night of the tour falls.
  • Prices are based on 2 people sharing double or twin accommodation. Single rooms (double rooms – single) are available on most trips however the supplements listed apply.
  • If you are travelling alone then on some trips (which include taxi transfers) a ‘Solo Traveller Supplement’ will be applied instead of the normal single supplement.
  • Prices are expressed in Euro’s. There will never be a currency surcharge.
  • Actual exchange rates: GB £ - US $ - CAN $ - CHF - DKK - SEK - NOK - Other currencies.

Tour variations

Genius Loci Travel Walking Hiking Kayaking Cycling Trekking Italy Tour holiday

This tour is only an example of a possible bike challenge in the Cilento National Park, which offers infinite possibilities for some great bike challenges. It can be used as a framework to create a personalised tour, longer or shorter, or with fewer different accomodations, in order to lower the transport costs. Or with an extension to the beautiful Amalfi Coast. Details and prices on request.

It is possible to extend your tour with a few days at Salerno, along the beautiful Costiera Amalfitana or at Naples. Details and prices on request. Extra cycling and/or sightseeing options can be provided!

It is possible to book an upgrade in some of the places en route. Details and prices on request.

Also Available

  1. The Paestum & Cilento Bike Challenge - 6 days
  2. The Paestum & Cilento Bike Challenge (Group Cycling Tour)


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The Paestum & Cilento Bike Challenge – 9 days – BRCI9
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9-day road cycling tour - bases in hotels & agriturismo’s Starting from: €
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