Cycle round Lago del Trasimeno
Start and Arrival: Castiglione del Lago
Distance: 70.5 kms
Height Difference: 440 metres
Grade: medium - difficult
Surface: sealed, dirt
Suitable for: MTBs, hybrids along the shorter route
What to see: Castiglione del Lago, Tuoro sul Trasimeno, Passignano sul Trasimeno, Monte del Lago, Sant’Arcangelo, Castello di Montalera, Parco del Trasimeno
About half of the route around Lake Trasimeno is along a walking/ cycling track that was inaugurated in 2005. The track has still to be completed, so some stretches are along road, but when it is finished, it will go right around the lake on easy dirt road.
In the meantime, while waiting for work to be completed and to avoid the traffic between Sant’Arcangelo e Castiglione del Lago, an alternative route through Montalera, Macchie and Sanfatucchio is suggested, along dirt or sealed roads with little traffic.
The overall length of the route is 70,5 kms, starting from the ex airport at Castiglione del Lago, and since it is along the flat, it is an easy ride, especially if cyclists take a rest at some of the numerous scenic viewpoints or refreshment places along the way. Being a long way to cycle, however, some cyclists may prefer to break the ride into two stages, with a stopover at San Feliciano or Sant’Arcangelo.
The route starts from the entrance gate to the government estate around the airport, where the cycling/walking track goes along the lakeshore towards Tuoro. After passing through a natural reserve, it returns to sealed road at Borghetto (km 8,9), then goes back to the track after about a kilometre. Here, it runs close to the water of the lake through a thick wood that is cool even in hot summer weather.
Past the wood, the track runs close to the railway line to Lido di Tuoro (km 14,7), where food and water are available. At Passignano, the track is interrupted again and cyclists are “obliged” to go through the attractive little town on the shores of the lake until they reach Darsena, where the track starts again at the level crossing (km 21,8). From here, it runs alongside the railway to Torricella, where it then picks up the Sp 316 road to San Feliciano (km 26,5) for a short distance.
Past the old fishing village of San Feliciano, through pretty hills with olive groves and old farmhouses, the route continues to San Savino, alternating stretches of road and cycling track. In less than a kilometre, it arrives at Oasi la Valle (a Nature centre run by Stageambiente, where the lake’s ecosystem can be observed in all its variety), then turns right along a dirt road that goes in less than 3 kilometres to La Frusta, where the track ends.
From here, the route turns right along the SS 399 road( beware of the traffic) to Sant’Arcangelo. At km 45, there is a crossroad where cyclists can choose between returning through the traffic along the main road to San Feliciano or Sant’Arcangelo (the shortest route, about 13 kms), or moving away from the lake, through the countryside and its pretty scenery to Casalini, Le Macchie and San Fatucchio, arriving at Castiglione del Lago after 27 kilometres.
In the latter case, there is a short climb to the foot of the castle at Montalera, an imposing 12th century fortress built amongst oak and holm woods, with Guelph merlons, defensive walls, moat and draw bridge. The living quarters have been transformed into a beautiful Renaissance palace.
Once past the only real climb along the way, the route continues along secondary or dirt roads bordering the fields, through the villages of Macchie and San Fatucchio, then arrives at Vitellino (km 65,4), just outside Castiglione del Lago.
Here it turns right along the road to Castiglione del Lago and reaches a roundabout after 2 kms, where the road along the lakeshore can be seen. This is the best and the easiest way to return to the start, as there is a cycling lane alongside the scenic drive along the lake, with the town of Castiglione high up to the left.
SOURCE: Bike in Umbria