We’ve known about the Hotel Belvedere in Riccione and its many pleasures for over a decade now, it might not be on your radar. But it should be. And here’s ten reasons why.
Let’s get straight to the point: The riding here is fantastic, and incredibly varied. You can climb to Giro summit finishes and testing cols. You can winch your way up to one of the legion of hilltop towns for coffee and a snack. You can roll along the valleys, or through the imposing Furlo Gorge.
You can cruise with the family along the beach on the bike path. You can do all these, and more. There’s some achingly beautiful views and endless possibilities for aching legs. You want long and swoopy? There’s lots of climbs like that. You want steep and brutal? it’s never far to the nearest sump-destroying hairpin. Cippo Carpegna is over 1,400m high and well within reach for a day’s ride; don’t forget you’re starting at about two metres above sea level, too.
The Belvedere is a cracking hotel. It has a lovely outdoor pool you can lounge in post-ride. Downstairs there’s a wellness suite with sauna, turkish baths, salt bath and jacuzzi. You can book yourself in for a massage after the day’s ride too, if you want. The rooms are well equipped and the beds are comfy. There’s a massive bike lockup and a fully-equipped workshop. It’s one block from the beach. What more do you want?
Marina (up top, stirring the pasta) runs the hotel, and she sweats the small stuff. Every detail is considered, and every person catered for, personally. Some people have a gift for that: she does, and that’s why people come back again and again.
The Belvedere has a fleet of hire bikes you can use, so you don’t need to risk yours to the vagaries of air travel. and we’re not talking about old beaters: the Belvedere fleet is all De Rosas: Avants and 888s and Kings and such. High quality carbon road bikes, maintained by a professional mechanic.
The Belvedere employs a gang of guides who know the area inside out and do a great job of shepherding the various groups round at different speeds. On any given day there'll be four or five rides going out, to cater for everyone that wants to be on a bike. and you needn't worry about being too fast for Felice, you have our word on that.
Ah, the food. So much of it. And such good food. Eating out is a major expense if you go away but we guarantee you: you will never want to leave the hotel. Breakfast is pastries, cooked stuff, euro cold meats and cheeses, whatever you want. Evening meals are a huge variety of local produce, all fresh, a choice so big you can never try everything. Quite often the Belvedere will throw the classic Italian sucker punch of bringing out some kind of meal – paella, piadine, whatever – and fill you up before ushering you into the dining room for a sit down three-course dinner. Watch out for that. And of course there’s a “cyclist’s buffet” in the afternoon which is better than the buffet you’ll get at most hotels in the evening. And even on top of that, there’s sandwiches and bananas to take out on your ride. All included.
Every week there’s a ride out to Marina’s country house for a slap-up barbecue in the garden. The rides all loop out to meet up there, and you can limp home with a serious stomach anchor. Careful, because they pull the two-meal sucker punch at that one too.
Your significant other and your children won’t be short of stuff to do in Riccione. It’s a full-on beach resort, with all the attractions that entails, and the Belvedere has its own strip of beach, like they do in Italy. The hotel organises trips out to the interesting places about, and there’s a bus to the barbecue. There’s a load of stuff going on in the hotel too: cookery courses, yoga, italian lessons, all sorts. Plus the guided rides start with leisure-oriented distances, and there's flat bar bikes in the hire fleet for non-roadies.
Pretty much every other shop in Riccione is a gelateria. You could get your ice cream fix in a different one every day of the week. And a goodly number of subsequent weeks. and it’s good ice cream, too.
Okay, we were a bit lucky on this one. It’s not exactly a given that you can come out here out of the beach season to find wall to wall blue sky and temperatures in the mid 20s; in the spring and autumn things tend to get a bit more changeable. It’s not the nailed down, stable climate you’d get in some of the more training-oriented destinations, but it’s generally pretty good. The season for riding starts at the end of March and goes through to October; through the high summer months the Belvedere is in beach resort mode but that doesn’t mean you can’t ride then, far from it.
To book, email bike [at] belvederericcione.com (subject: road.cc%20Italy%20Week) with road.cc in the subject. Tell them we sent you!
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.