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

The local people will say that the Dolomites and giants such as the Stelvio, Gavia, Mortirolo are the most beautiful mountains in the world.

Road cycling climbs Italy

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%

road cycling climb Alpe Neggia from Maccagno

Strava - Alpe Neggia climb from Maccagno

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

road cycling climb Alpe Neggia from Vira Gambarogno

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%

road cycling climb Campo dei Fiori from Varese

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%

road cycling climb Forcora climb from Maccagno

Strava - Passo Forcora from Maccagno

4. Lake Naret climb

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

road cycling climb Lake Natet from Bignasco

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%

road cycling climb Monte Ologno from Cannero

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%

road cycling climb Monte Sighignola from Maroggia

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%

road cycling climb Passo Cuvignone from Cittiglio

Strava - Cuvignone climb from Cittiglio

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

road cycling climb Passo Cuvignone climb from Nasca

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%

road cycling climb 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%

road cycling climb Passo San Michele from Casalzuigno

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%

road cycling climb San Martino in culmine from Cuveglio

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%

road cycling climb Sette Termini from Grantola

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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