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.
We climb up mountains for a number of different reasons, but if there’s one thing that unites all cyclists, then it’s the overwhelming sense of satisfaction as we reach the summit.
When it come to cycling in Italy, the Alps offer to the cyclists some of the best road cycling climbs. If there’s one thing a ride on the Alps will never, ever be – it’s boring. There isn’t a lot of flat, or certainly it's difficult to find it.
The Alps are full of legendary climbs with years of Giro d'Italia history.
Dolomites, Stelvio, Gavia, Mortirolo surely are on the every amateur's bucket list who loves climbing and isn’t a big fan of flat expanses.
Climbing the mountains around Lake Maggiore and Lugano
While the Alps remain a playground for pure climbers and the mountain goats, the beauty of Swiss-Italian Lakes such as Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano, for riders of all levels, is its accessibility: there are few climbs here that will prove too difficult for the average rider.
Take a look at the charts and the links on Strava below if you want to tie challenging road cycling climbs with undulating routes at 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.
Top 10 toughest road cycling climbs close to Lake Maggiore and Lugano
Little known roads, huge vistas and challenging climbs. You’ve probably never heard of them, but there’s some massive and excellent climbs in the area.
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.
The altitude profiles and the links on Strava for all the major climbs close to Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano.
1. 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%
Strava - Alpe Neggia climb from Maccagno
Alpe Neggia from Vira Gambarogno: 12.6 km – 7.8 mi, avg. 9.5%, max. 12%
Strava - Alpe Neggia climb from Vira Gambarogno
2. Monte Campo dei Fiori climb
Monte Campo dei Fiori from Sant'Ambrogio di Varese: 8.6 km – 5.3 mi, avg. 8%, max. 13%
Strava - Monte Campo dei Fiori climb 1st part
Strava - Monte Campo dei Fiori climb 2nd part
3. Passo Forcora climb
Passo Forcora climb from Maccagno via Lake Delio: 13,5 km – 8.4 mi, avg. 7.4%, max. 12%
Strava - Passo Forcora from Maccagno
4. Lake Naret climb
Lake Naret climb from Bignasco: 31.2 km – 19.3 mi, avg. 6%, max. 14%
Strava - Lake Naret climb
5. Monte Ologno climb
Monte Ologno from Cannero on Lake Maggiore: 10.4 km – 6.5 mi, avg. 9%, max. 13%
Strava - Monte Ologno climb from Cannero
6. Monte Sighignola climb
Monte Sighignola from Maroggia on Lake Lugano: 16 km – 9.9 mi, avg. 6.5%, max. 14%
Strava - Monte Sighignola from Maroggia
7. 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%
Strava - Cuvignone climb from Cittiglio
Passo Cuvignone from Nasca: 8.6 km – 5.5 mi, avg. 9%, max. 12%
Strava - Cuvignone climb from Nasca
8. 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%
Strava - San Michele climb from Mesenzana
Passo San Michele from Casalzuigno: 8.9 km – 5.5 mi, avg. 7%, max. 10%
Strava - San Michele climb from Casalzuigno
9. Monte San Martino in culmine climb
Monte San Martino in culmine from Cuveglio: 10.2 km – 6.3 mi, avg. 8%, max. 11%
Strava - Monte San Martino in culmine climb
10. Monte Sette Termini climb
Monte Sette Termini from Grantola: 10.5 km – 6.5 mi, avg. 6%, max. 10%
Strava - Monte Sette Termini climb from Grantola
Strava cycling segments
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 can know who are the King of the Mountain (KOM) or the Queen of the Mountain (QOM). There are pro and amatuers, Italians and riders coming from all over the world.
UCI Gran Fondo Tre Valli Varesine
You can also see the the Strava segments for the UCI Gran Fondo Tre Valli Varesine's main climbs.
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