Road cycling climbs in Italy: the toughest 10 climbs close to Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano

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 30 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.

cycling tour Passo Cuvignone climb

The top 10 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

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

Alpe Neggia from Vira Gambarogno

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

Campo dei Fiori climb Campo dei Fiori from Varese

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

Lago Delio climb Lago Delio from Maccagno

Lago Delio from Maccagno: 10 km – 6.2 mi, avg. 7.4%, max. 11%

Lake Natet climb Lake Natet from Bignasco

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

Monte Ologno climb Monte Ologno from Cannero

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

Monte Sighignola climb Monte Sighignola from Maroggia

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

Passo Cuvignone climb

You can climb up from Cittiglio or from Nasca

Passo Cuvignone from Cittiglio

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

Passo Cuvignone climb from Nasca

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

Passo San Michele climb

You can go up from Grantola or from Casalzuigno

Passo San Michele from Grantola

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

Passo San Michele from Casalzuigno

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

San Martino in culmine climb San Martino in culmine from Cuveglio

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

Sette Termini climb Sette Termini from Grantola

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

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