Alpine Cols of the Tour de France

Alpine Cols of the Tour de France
Alpine Cols of the Tour de France
Alpine Cols of the Tour de France
Alpine Cols of the Tour de France
Alpine Cols of the Tour de France
Become a TourHound member today to access personalised recommendations and bucket lists to help plan your trips. You’ll also receive rebates on selected tours. It’s free to become a member, sign up here.
  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • What's Included
  • Reviews
  • Dates
  • Exodus

A spectacular cycling route through the Italian and French Alps

This epic ride starts in the charming Italian town of Cuneo, before climbing into France in search of some of the most iconic climbs in cycling history. The first big challenge is the Col de la Bonnette, at 2802m the highest col in Europe and a favourite of Robert Millar. From here on the legendary climbs come in quick succession as we make our way across the spectacular cols of Vars, Izoard, Galibier and Croix de Fer. We finish the route by tackling the famous 21 hairpins bends to Alpe d’Huez, a memorable finish to a memorable trip!

* Cycle through the Italian and French Alps * Conquer the highest paved road in Europe * Finish with an ascent of the iconic Alpe d'Huez

All breakfasts are included. For breakfast you can expect a continental style buffet with cold meat, cheeses, bread, eggs, jams and pastries as well as tea and coffee. Throughout the trip you can expect really good food with strong influences from Spain and France. Lunches and dinners are not included in the trip price to allow you to take advantage of the local restaurants and cafes along the route and give you freedom over what you eat. Our guide will be able to recommend the best local restaurants and will have planned some stops at good coffee shops to break up the days rides.

  • Europe
  • Italy
  • France
  • French Alps
  • Lyon
  • Nice
Tour Types
  • Winter
  • Adventure
  • Road Cycling
  • Cycling
  • Active
  • Singles
Day 1

Fly to Turin, transfer to Cuneo, a provincial capital in western Italy whose old town centre dates from the 12th Century when it was a fortified town. The Renaissance style arcaded main street is lined with shops and cafés giving it an elegant appearance. Cuneo was made famous in the cycling world in 1949 when the legendary Fausto Coppi dominated the stage there to win the Giro d'Italia. More recently it was a start town for the Tour de France stage to Jausiers in 2008. In the evening there will be a welcome meeting and a chance to check bikes and make any final adjustments. *Standard Hotel*

Day 2

In the morning we enjoy a nice gentle warm up cycling along the Stura Valley to the village of Pratolungo. From here we start the Hors Category climb of the Col de la Lombarde (21.3 km, avg. 6.8%), located on the French/Italian border at 2351m. The climb was last used during stage 16 of the 2008 Tour. From here we are rewarded with a long downhill to the ski resort of Isola 2000. We then descend further down to to the village of Isola where we spend the night. *Standard Hotel*

Day 3

After breakfast we descend to Isola (862m) where we reach the Tinée Valley. The valley is very narrow and typically alpine, with superb views and some attractive waterfalls. A relatively gentle climb brings us to Saint Etienne from where we tackle the infamous Col de la Bonnette (26km, avg. 6.5%), one of the highest paved cols in Europe (2802 m). This climb has only been used a few times during the Tour (in 1962, 1964, 1993, 2008 and 2016) but really is one of the highlights of the trip. After catching our breath we descend to Jausiers, where there'll be the option to climb to either Super Sauze or Praloup. *Standard Hotel* * *

Day 4

Today's ride is a little shorter but still very challenging! In the morning we ride up to Jausiers and then climb the beautiful Hors Category Col de Vars, climbed 20 times since 1947 in the Tour de France. (2108m, 15km, avg. 5.5%). Here we enter the spectacular Hautes Alpes and enjoy some great mountain views on the ride down to Guillestre on the border of the Queyras Regional Park. If you'd like to do a few more miles then in the afternoon there's the option of a nice steady loop to Embrun or the more challenging climb to the ski resort of Risoul. *Standard Hotel*

Day 5

The Hors Category Col d'Izoard (2360m) is a unique place to cycle and one of the greatest cols of the French Alps (32km, avg. 4.5%). The Tour organisers clearly agree as it has been included 23 times in the race since 1947! The scenery here is beautiful, from the sandy coloured eroded cliffs above the 'Casse Deserte' near the summit to the green wooded mountainsides above Briancon where we stay. From Briancon you have the option to continue on a relatively flat ride along the Clarée valley, or to climb the Montgenevre pass on the Italian border. *Standard Hotel*

Day 6

This morning the 'Giant of the Alps' awaits us, namely the Hors Category Col du Galibier (2645m). It is a mammoth 37km of climbing from Briancon, but it is the final 21km where the effort really kicks in at an average gradient of 6%. In 2011 the summit saw a solo stage win for Andy Schleck, but the real drama was a little further down the mountain as Thomas Voeckler heroically retained the yellow jersey with a mere 15 seconds to spare. A monument in homage to Henri Desgranges, the founder of the Tour, sits at the top of the Galibier. A seemingly endless descent brings us to Valloire where we have a short 4km uphill section to the Col du Telegraphe (1566m). We can stop here for an Orangina and take in the spectacular view over the valley below. From here we still have about 11km of descending down to the Maurienne valley and Saint Jean de Maurienne, where we spend the night. It is possible to extend the ride with a nice circular route to Bonvillard, or we can cycle up the Lacets de Montvernier, a spectacular climb which featured in the 2015 Tour de France. *Standard Hotel*

Day 7

For our final days ride, two superb challenges are on the menu! We warm up on the Hors Category Col de la Croix de Fer (2067m, 30km, avg. 5%). This is a lovely peaceful climb that has featured 15 times in the Tour since 1947. But no cycling trip to the Alps is complete without tackling the legendary 21 hairpin bends on the iconic climb of Alpe d'Huez (1845m, 14km, avg. 8%). From Bourg d'Oisans the road immediately ramps up with some of the steepest sections and is often the scene for the first attacks. 'The Alpe' has been climbed 29 times in the Tour since 1952 and the names of many of the winners are marked on plaques on the hairpins. The late Marco Pantani's record of 37 minutes 35 seconds in 1997 is quite humbling! Tonight we celebrate the weeks achievements in Bourg d'Oisans at the foot of Alpe d'Huez. *Standard Hotel*

Day 8

Spend the morning relaxing in Bourg d'Oisans before transfering to Lyon airport; fly to London. **

* All breakfasts and 1 dinner * All accommodation  * Flights (if booking flight inclusive) * Tour leader throughout  * 6 days guided cycling

Great first trip for riding the big mountains

Excellent itinerary for a first trip into cycling big mountains. Great food and drink to be had en route - Thierry's ability to conjure up a suitable picnic every day, and find beautiful spots to stop to eat, was definitely a highlight. Stunning views from the cols.

Rating: 5

Amazing trip for keen cyclist

The Cols of the Tour de France have been on my bucket list for many years and now I've finally done it. We had exceptionally hot weather but being mountains this can change at any time. Our tour guide was amazing. He was supportive and helpful and full of local knowledge. The mileage each day was manageable but for anyone who doesn't cycle hills regularly it is important to get some training in. Some days you can be going up hill for 3-4 hours (depending on how fast you cycle of course). Downhill skills are also needed ! The scenery is spectacular and worth the effort. I loved the trip, the local hotels, the food and the Apres cycle beer!

Rating: 5

Great trip

Great trip, tough climbing but managable, even for a Dutch person, with proper training. Nice company. Great tour guide (Thierry) who makes sure there is enough to eat and drink. It helps to have your own bike.

Rating: 5

Breathtaking scenery and challenging cycling.

An amazing week full of hard cycling climbs, adrenaline filled descending, great company, magnificent regional food and a superb tour guide.

Rating: 5

Top of the Alpine World

Its tough and you shouldn't do this ride without training, but the reward is worth it! Stunning views, thrilling descents, and climbs that last for hours give you a great sense of accomplishment once you make it to the top.

Rating: 5

Alpine Cols

Great trip, fantastic scenery, superb guide

Rating: 5

Cols du Tour de France 2017

This was a truly amazing experience and certainly one which I will remember for a very long time. The climbs are indeed challenging but manageable for most regular cyclists. The trip is well planned with most of the hard ascents in the morning with a good amount of downtime on most afternoons and with options for optional extra rides on the shorter days for those who are fit enough. We were blessed with good weather throughout which I am sure does make a difference as I would imagine that some of the descents would be hair raising in wet conditions.

Rating: 5

Alpine cols of the Tour de France

I backed up from the Pyrenean coast to coast two days earlier. In comparison this is a much easier tour with less kilometres per day. The scenery is stunning and the climbs are achievable if you can do all of the seven peaks climbs in Australia. I took my own bike which was not a hassle and provided comfortable, confident riding which was an advantage as the descents are long. Go prepared with at least one set of winter gear, we needed it on one day.

Rating: 5

Alpine Cols of the Tour de France

This is one trip that I won’t forget in a hurry. The climbs were tough, but the distances just about right to give some time off in the afternoon to relax and recover. The scenery was simply stunning and the descents were thrilling. Apart from one day when things turned a bit grim on the Galibier, the weather was warm, sunny and perfect for cycling. It was great having the minibus as backup, stopping at different locations each night and the group leader was excellent. I was a little perturbed about going on my own, but really needn't have been. The group were a nice mix of ages, abilities and nationalities and very easy to get on with. Highly recommended.

Rating: 5

Alpine Cols of the Tour de France

Well supported and challenging holiday with an amazing, well informed and courteous tour leader. Loved that we rode from hotel to hotel an didn't take any motorized transportation. Rental bike was repsponsive and a joy to ride.

Rating: 5


You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.

Dates Price Single Availability
27-Jun-2021 for 7 Nights Flight Included View live deal View live deal
27-Jun-2021 for 7 Nights Land only View live deal View live deal
15-Aug-2021 for 7 Nights Flight Included View live deal View live deal
15-Aug-2021 for 7 Nights Land only View live deal View live deal
05-Sep-2021 for 7 Nights Flight Included View live deal View live deal
05-Sep-2021 for 7 Nights Land only View live deal View live deal
19-Sep-2021 for 7 Nights Flight Included View live deal View live deal
19-Sep-2021 for 7 Nights Land only View live deal View live deal

Touring with Exodus

With over 45 years’ experience of taking people on amazing adventure holidays, Exodus can help you reach some of the most incredible destinations on 500 itineraries across more than 90 countries around the world. All staff at Exodus have a passion for travel and adventure, and some team members have been professional archaeologists, wildlife guides, overland drivers, mountain leaders, diving and ski specialists and mountain bike gurus. But that’s not all. This reputable company is a Which? recommended escorted tour provider and has won many prestigious awards, including Best Activity and Sports Holiday Company at the 2018 British Travel Awards.

Exodus is all about adventure and helping others to achieve their travel dreams by offering a fantastic range of guided group holidays, self-guided trips, tailor-made getaways and escorted tours. So, if you’re looking to discover different countries, cultures, environments, cities, mountain ranges, deserts, coasts or even jungles, the expert team at Exodus can help you plan an unforgettable solo, group or family adventure.

Each tour and adventure has been created to give you maximum value for money, often including authentic activities, as well as flights, accommodation and a tour guide. And as the team has developed one of the very best and most exciting collections of guided-group tours and self-guided holidays, you’re guaranteed the adventure holiday of a lifetime, no matter which one you pick. Trips include everything from family adventure holidays and walking and cycling tours to mixed-activity tours and seasonal getaways. You can also ask Exodus to plan a tailored itinerary from scratch or tweak an existing one, which means you can book a bespoke holiday that is designed just for you.

Need some inspiration? You can enjoy varied walks in the stunning Spanish mountains, experience the magic of Italy in Tuscany or explore the rich Sri Lankan history and culture by bike. Try a host of different activities in glorious Turkish surroundings, ski through the magnificent Norwegian wilderness or embark on a journey through India’s tropical south. Visit Iceland and East Greenland, see the spectacular marine wildlife in the Maldives or cruise along the mighty Amazon River in Peru – the options are endless!

When it comes to travelling together as a family with Exodus, all family holidays are specifically designed to offer a mix of education and exploration, with plenty of downtime. Each adventure and tour has been created with one of three age ranges in mind, but children outside of the 5-8, 9-12 and 13-16 age bracket are welcome to travel too. Plus, the price for children up to the age of 16 is 25% lower than the adult cost for Exodus guided holidays to help make your trip more affordable. From canoeing and cycling in the Dordogne to safari tours in Africa and dolphin watching in Costa Rica, Exodus offer family adventures all over the world.

Something that makes this adventure holiday and escorted tour operator unique is the loyalty scheme, the Exodus Collective. When you book your second trip, you’ll join the Collective and be given access to exclusive discounts, sales previews and special travel benefits. The more you travel with Exodus the more you’ll be entitled to, and your membership also grants you special access to exclusive travel content.

At Exodus, they make sure that everyone travels respectfully and courteously in a small group to minimise their impact and to ensure each holiday is a beneficial experience for all those involved. Where possible, they believe in putting money directly into the communities they visit by eating locally produced food and using locally owned and run accommodation. They also strive to provide as much flexibility and choice as possible to make it simple for you to experience a memorable holiday, your way.


tour details

This tour is operated by Exodus

7 nights from pp; per Night
compare Compare tour Add this tour to the comparison list. compare Compare tour This tour has been added to the comparison list. Cick here to view.
View live deal View live deal Exodus is where Adventure begins!
Group Size:6 - 16
Suitable For: 16 to 99
Difficulty:Challenging / Tough
Meals:7 breakfasts, 0 lunches, 1 dinners.
tourhound promise
tourhound promise
TourHound Promise
  • I compare from the largest selection of touring companies available.
  • It doesn’t cost you a penny to use me, or to book a tour through TourHound.
  • I never favour one operator over another and provide a totally neutral comparison.
View live deal View live deal View live deal View live deal
tour hound
Why TourHound?