In our opinion, the Dolomites are the most beautiful cycling area in the world. We have documented 16 of the top cycling climbs of the Dolomites and they may be accessed by clicking on the preferred climb in the table below or the photo in the slideshow above (slideshow is limited to the first 10, not all climbs).
Nuvolau as seen from Passo Giau
Dolomites - perhaps the most beautiful cycling venue in the world.
The Dolomites are an Italian mountain range in northeastern Italy and are part of the Italian Alps. This world famous bike climbing area is one of the most beautiful and spectacular venues for climbing by bike in the world. The scenery on so many of the climbs of the Dolomites is simply breathtaking and unparalleled. If we were given only one area in the world to cycle (a last wish or something along those lines), we would be hard pressed not to choose the Dolomites.
“The site of the Dolomites comprises a mountain range in the northern Italian Alps, numbering 18 peaks which rise to above 3,000 metres and cover 141,903 ha. It features some of the most beautiful mountain landscapes anywhere, with vertical walls, sheer cliffs and a high density of narrow, deep and long valleys. A serial property of nine areas that present a diversity of spectacular landscapes of international significance for geomorphology marked by steeples, pinnacles and rock walls, the site also contains glacial landforms and karst systems. It is characterized by dynamic processes with frequent landslides, floods and avalanches. The property also features one of the best examples of the preservation of Mesozoic carbonate platform systems, with fossil records.” http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1237
We have stayed and ridden in the Dolomites twice and will return soon. Some of our favorite road bike climbs in the Dolomites are:
Passo Giau is a fairly short, mild climb by Italian cycling climb standards. The Giro has included this climb seven times since 1973.
Nuvolau at Passo Giau.
At nearly 20 kilometers, with a 5.4% average grade, Passo Falzarego is a long climb. The Giro has included this climb five times since 1976.
This gorgeous climb is part of the Sella Ronda (Campolongo-Pordoi-Sella-Gardena) which is one of (if not THE) greatest cycling loops in the world. This loop circles the Sella Gruppo and can be ridden by bike during the cycling season and skied during the winter using the Sella Ronda ski lift carousel. Our route is in the counterclockwise direction, beginning in Arabba.
Sella Ronda Bike Day is in June each day and climbs in this order: Sella-Pordoi-Campolongo-Gardena.
For our Sella Ronda, we stayed at Hotel Cir at the Col Gardena and we have no regrets. However, there are so many beautiful areas to stay in the Dolomites we doubt you can go wrong anywhere! The three climbs of the Sella Ronda:
Tre Cime di Lavaredo is a very famous destination in the Dolomites which dead ends near the base of the 3 peaks which are some of (if not the) most recognizable Dolomites formations (the 3 Peaks of Tre Cime from west to east are Cima Ovest [2973m], Cima Grande [2999m] and Cima Piccola [2857m]) - photo below (sadly, it was heavily overcast on the day we rode Tre Cime).
Tre Cime is seen through the entrance in the background.
“[The Dolomites] are a mountain range located in northeastern Italy. They form a part of the Southern Limestone Alps and extend from the River Adige in the west to the Piave Valley (Pieve di Cadore) in the east. The northern and southern borders are defined by the Puster Valley and the Sugana Valley (Italian: Valsugana). The Dolomites are nearly equally shared between the provinces of Belluno, South Tyrol and Trentino.
There are also mountain groups of similar geological structure that spread over the River Piave to the east – Dolomiti d'Oltrepiave; and far away over the Adige River to the west – Dolomiti di Brenta (Western Dolomites). There is also another smaller group called Piccole Dolomiti (Little Dolomites) located between the provinces of Trentino, Verona and Vicenza (see map).
The Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park and many other regional parks are located in the Dolomites. In August 2009, the Dolomites were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.” Wikipdedia - Dolomites.