We were recently very lucky to have the time to go back to a special place for 3 days since tourism hasn't quite begun yet on Lake Como for this year.
Tavarone is a tiny town in the Ligurian mountains, nestled in the Val di Vara--an outdoor paradise just like our Lake Como! It is very close to the Cinque Terre (the second most beautiful place in the world, after Lake Como of course :) )
Now let us tell you something cool--at Albergo Ristorante La Veranda in Tavarone is where I met Luca's family for the first time, and thus the meeting that has made Bike It! Bellagio a reality today! That's right, I met Luca's family (Luca actually wasn't there!) at this wonderful family-run hotel the weekend of the Granfondo Cinque Terre in 2013. We had a great time chatting after the race the next day, so we exchanged contact info and nearly 2 months later I travelled to Lake Como from Milan where I was studying to ride with them...and then met Luca! So La Veranda and Tavarone hold a very special place in our hearts.
Now let us tell you about the cycling: AMAZING! There is so much to explore and no flat roads...get your climbing legs ready! Tavarone itself is surrounded entirely by secondary, traffic-free roads, we saw less than ten cars per ride during our 3 days there! There is beautiful scenery over the valley and of course on the ligurian seaside!
Check out our three rides below from Strava, and a short video we made!
We would recommend at least a 3-night stay at La Veranda, but there's so much to explore you could even stay a week or more! It is better to have a rental car to transport your bikes to different starting areas (we did this for 2 days to not make our rides extremely long since there is so much climbing, we drove about 15 min. each day to different starting points). La Veranda is family-run by the nicest couple and their daughters and their restaurant is fantastic. We definitely recommend the half-board option to enjoy their delicious dinners each evening. On weekends they do pizza! The breakfast is also perfect for cyclists: fruit, cereal/oats, local fresh yoghurt, homemade crostata or cake, delicious local focaccia (Liguria is famous for foccaccia) and more!
Tavarone Local Roads (had to be short since the weather was iffy--but we loved every bit! It was so quiet with nearly zero traffic and it was very challenging with lots of great valley views over other small towns like Tavarone!)
Add Liguria, and more specifically the Val di Vara/Tavarone to your cycling destination list! It's about a 3.5 hour drive from us.