Ride the old Salt Road (Via del Sale)
With a total length of just over 120 km, the Via del Sale is an old military road on the border between France and Italy. The road itself begins in the mountains in Italy (Limonetto) and winds its way to finish down at the coastline in San Remo.
The Via del Sale (the Salt Road) was one of the ancient roads that connected the coast with the Po valley in Northern Italy. Since early times this road was instrumental for trade, and specifically for traders bringing in salt and also oil from the Mediterranean ports to the markets of the rich Po Valley. And since it was vital for preserving food, salt was in constant demand.
Of the many trade routes that connected the ancient Liguria and Piedmont to France, this is one of the most famous and popular.
With the start in the mountains at Limoetto (1,800m) you would think that it is all downhill to the coast, however the climbs can catch people out.
As the majority of the road is gravel and not open to cars, we tend to use electric mountain bikes for this tour, and the challenge is not to run out of battery! And believe us it is not easy to climb with a electric bike without power.
The Via del Salle takes us past wild landscape and stunning views of the sea and the mountains.
Despite the roads closed to cars, you can often find the road blocked by wandering mountain cows. There is a peace up here that is intoxicating in itself.
You can pass desolate rocky landscape one minute and then tall pines and woodland the next. It becomes easier as you descend through the woodlands that once belonged to modern Italy’s first king, Vittorio Emanuele II. It was his family who had built this track, in part for the troops manning the high fortresses on these ridges overlooking the border.
The best time of the year for cycling this idyllic route is between May and November.
There are two 'Refuges' on the via del sale. The first is not far in to the ride and this provides a welcome break in the day for that hit of caffeine and allows us to charge the batteries on the cycles.
Lunch here is traditional Italian mountain style with a lot of ingredients from the area and polenta to give you the energy for the next stretch.
You can also choose to stop at either of the refuges and our service cars and/or even helicopter will be waiting there to take you back. It is also possible to do the ride over two days and sleep at the very rustic and simple refuge.
Great for Health and Fitness
Velo Monaco actively promotes and creates awareness of the benefits of cycling not just from a health and fitness perspective but also for the green environment.
Our electric mountain bikes provide the best of all worlds: Use the battery wisely by managing the different power modes and resist the temptation to fly off into the distance with turbo mode too often. Eco mode gives a gentle push while lasting much longer.
But don’t think it will be that easy, if you don’t manage your battery use sensibly, you could run out of steam or indeed in this case battery power.
All in all you will feel better for it at the end of the day, healthier and very content with life.
Make Via del Sale Your Next Cycling Adventure
Hopefully we have given you a flavour of cycling the Via del Sale but please contact us to help us put the right package together for you and your friends.
Below is a suggested itinerary of a trip that we could put together for you, however we will tailor everything according to your budget and time available.
This can either be a one day trip or two day trip, it is up to you. Normally we cycle the shorter version, as cycling on 120 km on gravel roads takes a lot of time and energy.
On the road we stop at the first refuge for lunch. We will charge the batteries on the electric mountain bikes. The stop is pretty early, which is always welcoming as it has given you a little time to get used to the bikes and test the battery. The lunch is very traditional Italian mountain style comprising a lot of ingredients from the local areas.
We can also choose to stop at the refuge and arrange the cars and/or helicopter to be waiting there for us or carry on. There is a few different options of length of the ride, that we can decide upon at the time. As mentioned above it is also possible to do the ride in two days and sleep at the very rustic refuge, albeit with very limited facilities.
We will arrange mountain bikes and all necessary equipment for you including transport. All that is needed to create an unforgettable day for you and your friends.
This is just a sample of the things that we could put together for you, but please talk to us about your preferences and we can put an experience together for you and your friends that you will never forget.