Road cycling climbs in Italy: top 10 toughest climbs close to Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano on Strava

Climbing is one of the most important and difficult, parts of cycling. It’s really hard, but it’s also the most rewarding part of this sport.
When it come to cycling in Italy, the Alps offer to the cyclists some of the best road cycling climbs . The local people will say that the Dolomites are the most beautiful mountains in the world. They are full of legendary climbs with years of Giro d'Italia history. If there’s one thing a Dolomites ride will never, ever be – it’s boring. There isn’t a lot of flat, or certainly it's difficult to find it.

Here’s still more just outside the border of what is technically the Dolomites . Giants such as the Stelvio, Gavia and Mortirolo are often considered a part of this climber’s Italian paradise due to their proximity. These Italian climbs surely are on the every amateur's bucket list who loves climbing and isn’t a big fan of flat expanses.

The altitude profiles for all the major climbs close to Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano

While the Alps remains a playground for pure climbers and the mountain goats, the beauty of Northern Italian Lakes, for riders of all levels, is its accessibility: there are few climbs here that will prove too difficult for the average rider.

However take a look at the charts below if you want to tie challenging road cycling climbs with undulating routes in the foothills of the Swiss-Italian Pre-Alps. We have designed rides which can involve these climbs. They all are paved and some ones start from the shores of Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano.

The town of Varese (a short 40 minute ride to Malpensa airport and a short 60 minute ride to Milan) and the village of Colmegna on Lake Maggiore are our bases and the places from which to explore the area around Lake Maggiore, Lake Lugano and the arduous climbs in the deeply wooded hills.

Strava cycling segments around Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano

Strava is a social fitness network, that is primarily used to track cycling and running exercises, using GPS data. Segments are one of Strava's coolest features. They are portions of road created by members where the riders can compare times.  Of course climbing segments were created.

You can see the the Strava segments for the toughest climbs close to Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano, hoping that one day you will have the opportunity to climb up them and coast down them. You’ve probably never heard of them, but there’s some massive and excellent climbs in the area.
You can know who are the Kings of the Mountain (KOM) or the Queens of the Mountain (QOM). There are pro and amatuers, Italians and riders coming from all over the world.

You can also see the the Strava segments for the UCI Gran Fondo Tre Valli Varesine's main climbs.
What’s your favorite climb around Lake Maggiore or Lake Lugano?

cycling tour Passo Cuvignone climb

Top 10 toughest road cycling climbs close to Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano

Alpe Neggia climb

There are two ways up the Alpe Neggia. You can start from Maccagno on Lake Maggiore or from Vira Gambarogno on Lake Maggiore.

Alpe Neggia from Maccagno: 21.8 km – 13.5 mi, avg. 6.4%, max. 11%

Alpe Neggia from Maccagno

Alpe Neggia from Vira Gambarogno: 12.6 km – 7.8 mi, avg. 9.5%, max. 12%

Alpe Neggia from Vira Gambarogno

Strava - Alpe Neggia climb from Vira Gambarogno

Monte Campo dei Fiori climb

Monte Campo dei Fiori from Sant'Ambrogio di Varese: 8.6 km – 5.3 mi, avg. 8%, max. 13%

Campo dei Fiori from Varese

Strava - Monte Campo dei Fiori climb 1st part
Strava - Monte Campo dei Fiori climb 2nd part

Passo Forcora climb

Passo Forcora climb from Maccagno via Lake Delio: 13,5 km – 8.4 mi, avg. 7.4%, max. 12%

Forcora climb from Maccagno

Strava - Passo Forcora from Maccagno

Lake Naret climb

Lake Naret climb from Bignasco: 31.2 km – 19.3 mi, avg. 6%, max. 14%

Lake Natet from Bignasco

Strava - Lake Naret climb

Monte Ologno climb

Monte Ologno from Cannero on Lake Maggiore: 10.4 km – 6.5 mi, avg. 9, max. 13%

Monte Ologno from Cannero

Monte Sighignola climb

Monte Sighignola from Maroggia on Lake Lugano: 16 km – 9.9 mi, avg. 6.5, max. 14%

Monte Sighignola from Maroggia

Passo Cuvignone climb

You can climb up from Cittiglio or from Nasca

Passo Cuvignone from Cittiglio: 9.5 km – 7.2 mi, avg. 8.5%, max. 12%

Passo Cuvignone from Cittiglio

Strava - Cuvignone climb from Cittiglio

Passo Cuvignone from Nasca: 8.6 km – 5.5 mi, avg. 9%, max. 12%

Passo Cuvignone climb from Nasca

Strava - Cuvignone climb from Nasca

Passo San Michele climb

You can go up from Grantola or from Casalzuigno

Passo San Michele from Grantola via Mesenzana: 8.5 km – 5.3 mi, avg. 8%, max. 13%

Passo San Michele from Grantola

Strava - San Michele climb from Mesenzana

Passo San Michele from Casalzuigno: 8.9 km – 5.5 mi, avg. 7%, max. 10%

Passo San Michele from Casalzuigno

Monte San Martino in culmine climb

Monte San Martino in culmine from Cuveglio: 10.2 km – 6.3 mi, avg. 8%, max. 11%

San Martino in culmine from Cuveglio

Strava - Monte San Martino in culmine climb

Monte Sette Termini climb

Monte Sette Termini from Grantola: 10.5 km – 6.5 mi, avg. 6%, max. 10%

Sette Termini from Grantola

Strava - Monte Sette Termini climb from Grantola

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