CILENTO BIKEPACKING

11-18 June 2022 | 3-10 September 2022

TOUR OVERVIEW

Cilento, the land that enchanted Ulysses.

Cilento is a sub-region of Campania and the largest national park in Italy. In this land, where time moves more slowly, nature remains vibrantly green 365 days a year. This is the land that gave birth to the philosopher Parmenides and inspired poets—even Catone talks about Cilento in his stories. Here you will find the ruins of Velia, an iconic Magna Grecian town at the time of Elea. The Romans chose this land because of the pleasant weather and its numerous sources of thermal springs. In fact, the coastal area between Ascea and Palinuro offers a specific micro-climate of mild temperatures all year round. Cilento truly has enough amazing attractions to fill a lifetime!

To enjoy the best of Cilento, Pa-Cycling has designed a bikepacking journey through this spectacular region, cycling between the mountains and the sea to reveal the most magical, uncontaminated, wild, and authentic riding experience the territory can possibly offer—It’s a journey sure to captivate any rider. Physically challenging, but with an overwhelming beauty that promises your eyes will tire long before your legs do, the hardest part will be not stopping every kilometer to spoil yourself with the wonderful beauty of Cilento.

Our Italian bikepacking tour starts from Agropoli, the northern gate of Cilento. It’s a city of ancient origins and one shaped by a succession of different civilizations, from the Greeks to the Romans and Saracens. Here is where our journey truly begins—in the land of the sirens. The going won’t be easy, with considerable climbing every day given the mountainous nature of Cilento, but the effort will be strongly rewarded by the beauty earned through every pedal stroke. Cycling from the coast, we’ll move inland, enjoying climbs in the Campanian countryside before our trip culminates on the highest peak in the region: Monte Cervati. Over six days, you will have the opportunity to truly take in this enchanting land as well as its charming villages where time stands still.

Refund and cancellation

Where, for whatever reason, one person is obliged to withdraw, the person must give written notice to Project Adventure Cycling.

Refund will be calculated with this penalty:

– Within 45 days from date of departure the penalty fare is 10% of the total cost of the trip.

– Within 30 days from departure the penalty fare is 30% of the total cost of the trip.

– Within 21 days from departure the penalty fare is 60% of the total cost of the trip.

– Within 14 days from departure the penalty fare is 75 % of the total cost of the trip.

– After this date no refund will be given.

No refunds for those who will not show at the start or withdraw during the course of the tour.
No refunds for those who could not make the tour due to lack or inaccuracy of the personal travel documents (i.e Visa or Passport). Traveler understands that some destinations pose more risk than other destinations due to weather conditions, political conditions and the geography of the region. Traveler acknowledges that factors such as, but not limited to, weather conditions, landslides, floods, flight cancelations or delays, strikes, labor troubles, failure of power, restrictive governmental laws or regulations, riots, insurrection, war or other reason of a like nature not the fault of Project Adventure Cycling (hereinafter “Force Majeure Event”) can hinder, delay or even prevent the Traveler’s ability to make or complete the trip.

Traveler acknowledges that the Project Adventure Cycling shall not be liable to Traveler for any delay or cancelation of the trip due to a Force Majeure Event. Traveler shall not be entitled to a refund or any other payment for damages from the Project Adventure Cycling in the event that the trip is cancelled or delayed due to a Force Majeure Event. Please note that we are never responsible for any airfare ticket expenses.

COVID 19

In the event that you are unable to fly due to COVID 19 restrictions because of a declared state of emergency, PA Cycling, SL, guarantees:

 

RETURN OF QUOTE* (Except for expenses incurred up to the time of cancellation of the trip)

QUOTA FREEZE UNTIL NEXT DEPARTURE*.

FEE FREEZE UNTIL THE DEPARTURE OF ANY OTHER TRIP ORGANISED BY PA-CYCLING, SL*.

 

* The above conditions ARE NOT VALID in the case of a positive individual.

THE PRICE INCLUDES

  • Two PA-Cycling guides riding with the group.
  • Hotel day 5 with welcome dinner.
  • Hotel day 11 with goodbye dinner.
  • All our overnights at each stage
  • Stage 1 Dinner.
  • Stage 2 breakfast – lunch – dinner.
  • Stage 3 breakfast – lunch.
  • Stage 4 breakfast – dinner.
  • Stage 5 breakfast – dinner.
  • Group travel insurance.

THE PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE

  • Transfer from the airport to the hotel.
  • Transfer from the hotel to the airport.
  • Food during the stages except where it mentioned.
  • Flight ticket and over baggage.
  • Everything not present in “The price includes”.
  • Dates
    11-18 June 2022 | 3-10 September 2022
  • Duration
    7 days
  • Stages
    6
  • Length
    430 km
  • Elevation
    15.450 m
  • Difficulty
    High
  • Price
    1.780 €

THE TRACK

THE STAGES

STAGE 01 – 60 km – 1.216 m – Agropoli – Pioppi

The first stage follows along the coast and is continuously up and down. After leaving Agropoli, we approach the bay of Trentova and then head straight to Punta Licosa. Legend says that the little island in front of Punta Licosa was once home to the sirens whom Ulysses met during his storied epic journey. Surprisingly, this island was actually once connected to the mainland, which becomes evident whilst swimming between it and the shore—look closely beneath the water, and you can easily see the ruins of a Roman villa with its beautiful mosaic floor. Leaving Licosa, the journey continues along the coast, passing through many typical villages: Ogliasto Marina, Montecorice, Agnone, Acciaroli and then Pioppi for an obligatory lunch stop. This unknown little village is where the Mediterranean diet was born, thanks to the American doctor Ancel Keys, who studied and codified the currently recognized model of the Mediterranean diet. Born from the native residents who typically eat mostly vegetables and blue fish, today this culinary tradition remains largely unchanged.

STAGE 02 – 86 km – 1.568 m –  Pioppi – Palinuro

The second day of bikepacking begins by following the coast for the first 10 kilometers. After that, we turn inland to enter an area of rolling hills. Once we’ve cycled past the archaeological ruins of Velia, we will explore a section of the ancient Salt Road, once used by the Greeks to connect the Mediterranean with the Ionian Sea. Unfortunately, this is one of the few segments that still exists of this ancient route from Velia to Sibari. After a few more kilometers on tarmac, the road becomes dirt—rocky and sometimes very steep. Be prepared, we will ride many dirt roads where wider tires are necessary. We recommend a minimum of 45mm! The altitude of this stage is almost all gained here, between Ascea and Rodio. After climbing, a beautiful road descent will once again bring us to the coast, and finally, to a beautiful panorama at Cape Palinuro where we will camp on the Molpa promontory. Obviously, we must also climb to the top of the Cape, home to an old, still-functional lighthouse—notable for being the highest-elevation lighthouse in all of Europe!

STAGE 03 – 64 km – 1.634 m – Palinuro – Rofrano

The third stage of our cycling tour begins by entering the Devil’s Gorge, for years the only way to access Palinuro. A wonderful road on the side of the Mingardo River, it’s flanked by vertical walls that form an amazing natural canyon. Just before the abandoned village of San Severino, our first ascent begins. This road is called Ciglioto, which in the local dialect means “eyelash”, and it climbs for about ten km on the south wall of the gorge to take us up to the town of Licusati, a small village at the bottom of Monte Bulgheria. From here, it’s a nice easy downhill to the village of Camerota where we continue to ride high above the coast before leaving it behind definitively, having almost ridden the entire base of Monte Bulgheria. The second part of the day will be punctuated by a succession of very small, traditional rural villages surrounded by greenery. Our third stage ends in Rofrano where we will bike camp at the foot of the highest peak in Campania, Monte Cervati.

STAGE 04 – 35 km – 2.046 m – Rofrano – Cervati

Definitively the queen stage of this cycling trip, day four will be tiring, but extremely satisfying! Climbing Monte Cervati will not be easy— after the first few kilometers, the day will be entirely spent cycling on dirt roads. The first slopes will be moderate, becoming brutal in the last stretch before reaching the summit. Here you will need good, suitable tires. We recommend at least 45mm, if not more! Even so, some terrain will require us to push our bikes on foot, but fortunately these sections are relatively short, around a few hundred meters or so. Once we’ve reached the summit, we will descend on the northern side, taking more care on the descent than the climb. It will require good off-road riding skills, and the most demanding sections must be done on foot. In the evening, we will sleep in a secluded mountain retreat where a wonderful local dinner awaits.

STAGE 05 – 70 km – 2.030 m – Cervati – Monti Alburni

If Stage 5 had a nickname, it would “Riding into the Wild”. Today we cycle between deep natural areas – think thick forests and lush greenery – and the remains of times and lives from different eras. A long downhill stretch through forestland leads us to the medieval bridge of Piaggine, icon of the Cilento National Park. We continue biking along quiet, gently undulating roads passing through two “Bhorghi Fantasma” or ghost towns. The first we encounter is Roscigno – also known as the 20th century Pompeii – followed by Sacco, perched on the slopes of Mount Motola. On the outskirts of Sacco, we come to the gorge of the Sammaro River, one of the most important karst phenomena in Europe.

We continue, riding through the small medieval village of Sant’Angelo a Fasanella, situated at 520 meters above sea level, then on to the Unesco World Heritage Site at La Grotta, the sanctuary of San Michele Arcangelo. From the Central Piazza, we follow the old “Pescatura” road to the Auso springs and waterfalls, where we’ll break for lunch and the optional refreshing dip. The second half of the day is the most demanding as we will be biking back off road—but it will be all the more exciting for it. We cross one of the most fascinating stretches of the Alburni Mountains, weaving our way between caves and sinkholes as we traverse large, dense woodlands. We are heading to one of the most beautiful, but perhaps least-known, places in Cilento, which is where we will spend the night, near the Panormo Refuge at 1,500 meters above sea level. If it’s a clear night, the stargazers amongst us will surely be spoiled.

STAGE 06 – 80 km – 1.378 m – Monti Alburni – Mare

We’ll set off early on the morning of stage 6, continuing our cycling tour of the Alburni Mountains. We are heading towards Castelcivita. We leave the vast plains behind us and ride for the woods again before facing a long and technical descent. It will be difficult not to be distracted by the stunning views of the valleys below. An old, disused road takes us all the way to the Calore River. Here, we can cool off and refuel before heading up towards Roccadaspide. This is the most challenging part of the day – a 15 km stretch over which we gain 1,000 meters – but there is a reward for all our hard work: the stunning balcony road of Monte Vesole awaits us.  In Trentinara, we’ll find fresh spring water, before continuing beneath the ridges of Mount Soprano and Mount Tadduni. As we proceed downhill and the vegetation grows thinner, views of the entire valley stretch out before us, with Capaccio visible in the distance. We end our day at the magnificent Doric temples of Paestum. A sunset, some sumptuous Buffalo Mozzarella and crispy tomato bruschetta should help make sure we reach our destination – the seaside village of ​​Agropoli – with smiles on our faces. It will have been an action-packed day, for sure.

YOUR GUIDE

Willy Mulonia

Willy Mulonia

Founder & President

Willy Mulonia, expert lonely traveler and cyclist for more than 30 years. He made several solo expeditions, but the most important is without a doubt the 28,640 bike trip from Ushuaia (Patagonia) to Prudhoe Bay (Alaska). He raced in the Crocodile Trophy (Australia) in ’98 and the famous IditaBike (Alaska) in 1999, 2000, 2018, 2019 & 2020 as well as many other mountain bike stage races all over the world. In 2003 he founded the bike travel agency Progetto Avventura, now renamed Project Adventure Cycling. In 2010, with the help of all the team of PA-Cycling he created the Mongolia Bike Challenge, one of the most important MTB stage race in the world. Today you can find him guiding most the tour offered by Project Adventure Cycling.

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