The first time I heard about the Serra Oropa Cycle Path was on a pilgrimage to the sanctuary of the same name. Pilgrims and cycle tourers follow two different routes that barely ever meet. As soon as I arrived, though, I realised that this spiritual mountain and sacred architecture is also a popular cycling destination.
Your adventure begins in Santhià, which is easily accessible by train or car. A good 118 kilometres (73 mi) follows secondary roads with very low traffic and stretches of dirt road. It’s a demanding route, especially during the first stage when you leave the agricultural plains of Piedmont to climb towards the Biella mountains. But fear not: if the Tour proves too demanding, you can split it into two stages. You’ll find budget accommodation in Torrazzo or Sala Biellese, as well as refreshments dedicated to pilgrims.
The route is waymarked throughout – just follow the signs of the bicycle. The yellow arrows on a black background guide you towards Oropa, whilst black arrows on a yellow background take you back to Santhià. The route is challenging, with 12% gradients at times. The second stage is easier though, and almost entirely downhill.
The highlight of the trip is the Sanctuary of Oropa, built over 1,600 years ago. Commercial facilities, shops, restaurants and rooms for pilgrims are perfectly integrated into the spiritual context of churches and cloisters. Spirituality and beauty combine here – it’s truly a magical place. You can walk here all year round, just bear in mind that there may be snowfall below 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) during the winter. A mountain, hybrid, or gravel bike are all suitable for this adventure.
Make sure you leave enough time to visit the Monastery of Bose, a short ride away from the Romanesque church of San Secondo; the Collegiate Church of Santhià; the Castle of Roppolo; Lake Viverone; the Ricetto of Magnano; and the historic centre of Sordevolo. This area offers a unique mix of history, culture and faith. It’s welcomed ancient traders crossing the mountains; pilgrims in search of grace; and tourists in search of beauty for over 16 centuries.
Ready to get going? Create and customize your own version of this adventure using the full Tour below as a template.
Last updated: October 10, 2023
Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.
The day that awaits you is an exciting tour that starts from the plain, crosses the hills and reaches the majestic Biella Alps. It's not an easy journey, but it's not an impossible mission either: it's about 64 kilometres, mostly on paved roads, and you can choose the type of bicycle you prefer: gravel…
The day begins in the majestic Sanctuary of Oropa, which you greet to reach the descent that went down in history as the "montagna Pantani", scene of the exploits of the Pirate in the 1999 Giro d'Italia. The fun descent takes you to Biella and its center medieval. Piazzo, the beating heart of the city…
Bike Touring Collection by NORTH STAR PEDALING
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Hiking Collection by Kit P