Umbria & Abruzzo

The Altopiano trail


The UK magazine Cyclist rated the "fearsome" Blockhaus as "one of the highlights of the Apennines. This is a mountain of solemn majesty, the challenge is impossible to resist."


The trail

Heading south to Majella National Park, the landscape changes dramatically. The area is known as ‘the sleeping beauty of Abruzzo’ and is notable for its rugged mountains split by very deep gorges. Its interior is a spectacular display of dramatic canyons and ravines, dense beech forests and crystal clear waters, whilst underground there is a labyrinth of limestone caves which often feature bizarre rock formations. You will bike along the deep Orta and Orfento river gorges, a land that could provide the setting for a dozen fairy tales. You’ll then bike your way through shady forests that open onto high pastures with incredible panoramas. Along the way there are plenty of opportunities to spot the local wildlife such as Apennine wolf, red deer, roe deer, the brown bear, wild boar and wild cats, not forgetting the undisputed ‘King of the Peaks’, the Apennine Chamois.

Despite being popular even during Roman times, Majella is still relatively unknown. A relatively new national park, many of Majella’s 700 kilometres of trails are fairly undiscovered. This makes it all the more exciting, leaving one feeling like a bike explorer seeking the ancient paths.

With more than 30 icy peaks exceeding 2000 metres, Majella National Park is the most southerly alpine region in Europe, with commanding views over the Adriatic coast. You will be rewarded with that splendid sea view after your offroad climb up the mythical Mount Blockhaus (2145m). This imposing mass of rock – which takes its name from a pillbox built by the army of Piedmont to fight the brigandage in 1866 – is often likened to Mont Ventoux for its stark and sinister presence. This journey up offers breathtaking views above the deep valleys of Selvaromana and the Orfento River, as well as some peaks like Mounts d’Ugni and Rapina. The downhill journey towards Bocca di Valle is pure MTB freeride pleasure.

The final stretch of your bike holiday, will take you to the Adriatic Coast via the Pista Cicabli Lungofiume Foro, a purpose-built MTB trail that follows the Foro River Valley, all the way down to the rocky Trabocchi Coast. Trabocchi are old structures similar to the wood pilings used for fishing with large nets, the trabocchetti. Nowadays the Trabocchi Coast is home to some of Italy’s most delightful seafood restaurants; a meal at one will provide a most memorable end to your trip.

Riding surface

You’ll be riding on 4×4 gravel roads and rough forest singletracks, a more technical downhill near Bocca di Valle, mixed with fast rolling terrain on your way to the coast.

Average mileage

The first day towards Majella offers a series of nice, long climbs, reaching a maximum of 78km and 1900m elevation gain. On the last day, first you will climb to the top of Mount Blockhaus at 2154m (with an elevation gain of 1600m), but there’s a shortcut option at Rifugio Bruno Pomilio in Majelletta (1830m). From there, it’s downhill all the way to the coast – a long stretch of 80km which varies from technical biking to easy, fast sections. There are also offroad and asphalt shortcut options available.


Share this link with your bike buddies

Officially recognized travel agency

VVR registration nr. 9733