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The best experience - ever!
The best experience – ever! Nancy and Damian from A’qto Cycling Tours are lovely people. Nothing was less than perfect on the recent 2023 Giro D’Italia tour. An excellent group of people, bikes were great, the riding was amazing, the food and wine better, and the scenery breathtaking. I loved every minute of it and will return for another A’qto Cycling tour, for sure.
the entire tour was amazing.
……..it was truly exceptional and your attention to detail, planning and general care of us all went above and beyond my expectations.
I found the climbs exceptionally difficult and there may have even been days where I muttered “FFS” in amongst the breathing and wheezing, but the sense of achievement in completing each one and the entire tour was amazing.
The location of the hotels made a huge difference, I loved being in the middle of the action with a bar and café at your doorstep. I wish I had more time to explore some of the locations, especially Bergamo which was a complete surprise. But you cant have everything as more time exploring would have meant less time on the bike and those amazing roads and views.
I also loved the food experience. It was different than I expected, especially in regard to the regional dishes, but this added to the experience.
You have a unique product which you should be very proud of.
A 5 star experience for a non rider
A 5 star experience for a non rider
Nancy and Damian have crafted a bespoke, authentic Italian experience which totally exceeded my expectations.
As a non rider I enjoyed guided hikes in the wonderful towns and surrounding areas. Nancy uses local guides who are passionate about their home town and incredibly informative. We experienced the beauty of the Dolomites on foot, visited a cheese farm near Bergamo and met some of the wonderful people living their daily life.
Taking the funicular to the top of Mount Baldo showed me some of the most spectacular scenery I have ever seen. The mountains of Lake Garda smack you in the face with their beauty. Seeing 50 paragliders jump off Mount Baldo with their colourful shutes to drift over Lake Garda was amazing.
We explored local lakeside towns via the ferry and enjoyed hearty (and healthy) lunches as a small friendly group of non riders. Nancy speaks the language fluently and aims to meet individually curiosities. She’s been doing this for 8 years so she knows where to go and who to speak to
Nancy and Damian have a chillax approach but you know everything is under control and the groups’ needs are considered. This sets a comfortable tone for the entire trip.
As someone who is GF, I really appreciated the great variety and tasty food throughout the entire tour – I never felt like I was missing out on authentic Italian cuisine.
Group activities with the riders included wine and olive oil tasting (so good!) and cheering on the cyclists in the Giro d’Italia during the tour. Even as a non rider, you couldn’t help but get swept up in the excitement of this international cycling event.
The quality and variety of the accommodation was excellent from a 14th century converted townhouse overlooking the cobbled streets of Bergamo to a modern lakeside boutique hotel in Lake Garda and our personal favourite, the chalet in Cortina – a colourful Arthouse chalet that punches colour and oozes cool everywhere you look.
We researched lots of companies before deciding on A’qto. This tour offers the best of both worlds. While we enjoyed the excitement of the Giro, we also experienced the different regions of Italy through carefully considered planning of meals, accommodation, transfers and all non riding activities.
For non riders, you’ll need to feel comfortable in small groups, happy to meet new people and enjoy walking. This is not the tour for individuals who aren’t team players and don’t want to share the lived experience and cultures of the Italian people. I was lucky to be with a group of non riders who embraced all that Nancy had on offer and together we created special memories.
We don’t usually go on tours, but this one gets a 10/10 rating – all the decisions are made for you and you realise that what Nancy and Damian have in store for you is exactly what you would have planned – only better.
Loved the mega 5 star ‘wine and dine’ experience.
I recently undertook the Giro Tour 2023 as a non riding partner and was thrilled with the variety of experiences and the fantastic support throughout the tour. Loved the mega 5 star ‘wine and dine’ experience every night as well. Being a regular hiker I found the forest and mountain trail walks perfect for me. Thank you Nancy!
Just completed my fourth tour with A'qto.
Just completed my fourth tour with A’qto so I think that speaks for itself. Each tour has been richly rewarding, with varied cycling and cultural experiences that reflect the diversity of Italy.
My latest was the 2023 Giro D’Italia tour and it was one of the best. The rides were beautifully curated to give us a mix of Giro experiences – a stage start, two stage finishes, mid-stage views and riding sections of the course ahead of the peloton, including some ‘bucket-list’ climbs – but just as importantly, each day was thoughtfully put together to provide a great day’s riding in its own right that I’d happily ride any time.
Accomodation and meals were thoughtfully chosen – for comfort and convenience but also to be reflective of the areas we were visiting. I’m glad I was riding every day so there was no need to hold back at dinner!
Stunning rides, challenging routes and great fun
Stunning rides, challenging routes and great fun (mad) interactions with the Giro! We even rode with the Jumbo Visma team on their rest day when they were going up the same hill we were! They were nice lads and posed for our camera so we were their fans from them on! I had to keep pinching myself to believe I was riding these roads and seeing the magnificent scenery and getting so up close with the pros!
Damian and his support crew were fabulous, calm, considerate and fun!
My non riding partner had a fabulous time too! Hiking, tasting local produce and we all ate fabulous meals together!
Unforgettable and planning the next one once I calm down!
Thank you Damian and Nancy!
a superior cycling, wine and food adventure.
“The best thing about Italy is the people. Damian and Nancy support local businesses and employ the best quality staff. They set the perfect tempo both on the rides and afterwards and pre-meditate a superior cycling, wine and food adventure.
In addition, the non-riding partner program was carefully tailored and hosted by a beautiful soul and it gave me comfort to know that my mum was having fun while I was cycling. The only downside was I had FOMO!”
left me smiling everyday.......
My daughter(Jenny) and I enjoyed ourselves very much. I was the non-riding partner.
On the tour my days included: pleasant walks, interesting & varied tours, and in the evenings great food & wine, and much laughter.
The cooking lesson with Andrea & Ruth at their home was literally a day to remember. We ate what we made and drank beautiful wine.
The whole tour left me smiling everyday with the memories.
WHY WOULD ANY KEEN CYCLIST NOT FALL FOR SUCH AN EXHILARATING OPPORTUNITY
What a fantastic experience in the beautiful, mountainous northern Italian landscape. Damian and Nancy were the most gracious of hosts and tour guides in this wonderful cycling and gastronomic region of Italy. With the Giro 2019 in full swing and some of the most challenging, picturesque climbs on offer why would any keen cyclist not fall for such an exhilarating opportunity. Looking forward to being part of Aqto’s other fantastic offerings.
A FANTASTIC EXPERIENCE I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER
As a rider, I can only describe my experience of participating in this tour as a “fantastic experience which I will always remember.” The professionalism and competence displayed throughout the 9 days by Damian and the guys was outstanding. As a rider of only one years experience, I was a little apprehensive about managing the climbing for so many days but the encouragement and support from the team and my fellow riders greatly assisted me to successfully complete each days ride. The chance to enjoy a number of stages of the Giro de’ Italia up close was an added bonus. The tour accommodation and meals were outstanding and serve as a testament to Nancy and Damian’s great organisational skills and local knowledge. Lastly, I would again like to thank Nancy, Damian, MaUro, Mateo and Andrea for providing such a unique and special tour and for their friendship. I am keen to tour again with A’qto !
WHAT A GREAT EXPERIENCE!
I joined the 2019 A’qto Cycling Giro D’Italia tour that had 8 days of cycling in the Como-Bormio-Dolomites region as well as observing several starts and finishes of the Giro and admission to the VIP section of one of the Giro starts. What a great experience! I would thoroughly recommend this to anybody with a good level of cycling fitness and a passing interest in pro-cycling. Definitely the cycling was challenging and I am glad that I put several months into the training. Although this trip was in the Italian Alps and took in some major climbs (I logged 12750 m over 8 days of vertical), it was not beyond the capability of a regular cyclist who is prepared to put in some decent training.
The trip was exceptionally well organised with really good quality hotels and Nancy and Damian selected excellent bars for aperitivo and restaurants for some really fine Italian dining. I had no expectation that the level of food and accommodation was going to be as good as it was. Additionally the ground support was fantastic. I hired a bike for the trip through A’qto which was a new Pinarello, that was brilliant. Additionally the local guides ensured that the bikes were cleaned and tuned each day. There was not a mechanical issue on the entire trip. The support vehicles were good and the route plans kept us off the busier roads. All of this was included in the overall trip cost which I thought was really great value.
My only regret is that my wife did not join the trip as well. She is not a cyclist and hence made other plans. However, Nancy organised a parallel non-cyclist program for partners and this looked like a lot of fun for those involved, and next time we would definitely join as a couple.
In summary, joining one of these trips is a great way to see Italy and to have a lot of fun with fellow cyclists and to challenge yourself to some really interesting cycling experiences.
A UNIQUE AND MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE
Italy is a wonderful country to visit. The Giro d’ Italia Tour organised by A’quto Cycling made our recent visit unforgettable. From our initial contact with Damian and Nancy we had full confidence that this would be a tour to long remember.
Every aspect of the tour was well organised so all we had to do was enjoy each day. From communication with us prior to departure, bike hire and adjustments for each rider, checking into our very comfortable hotels, communication with all participants to arrange the daily events and departure from venues, everyone was kept well informed of what was happening, when and how. If there was a need to be flexible with plans, Nancy and Damian adjusted them to meet the needs of all participants, weather conditions or time constraints. If there were problems behind the scenes, these were never obvious and everything ran smoothly and enthusiastically.
Mention must also be made of the excellent way Damian and Nancy catered for a gluten free diet, both when riding and all meals on the tour. The small size of the tour group also provided the opportunity to get to know and enjoy the friendship of others.
Nine days of outstanding bike rides, fantastic and varied non rider activities, great food, wine and amazing scenery ensured everyone had a brilliant time. Watching, cheering and enjoying the Giro certainly added to the Italian experience.
Thanks Damian, Nancy and your very efficient and capable staff for an amazing nine days. We hope to be back in Italy again next year for more great rides, interesting Italian experiences, wonderful friendships and lots of fun. Your personal touch set you aside from other tour groups and makes a trip with A’qto Cycling Tours a unique and memorable experience.
Greg & Fran
EXCEEDED MY EXPECTATIONS
Thank you to the A’qto team for a wonderful tour. Nancy looked after the non riding partners so beautifully. She was a delightful companion. In each area Nancy listened to our suggestions, offered her own suggestions, expertise and local knowledge then took us on guided sight seeing tours and scenic walks which were most enjoyable. Our accommodations were excellent and the included meals absolutely delicious! The tour exceeded my expectations. We will definitely book with A’qto again.
My partner and I had the pleasure of participating in the A’qto Giro100 tour, me as a rider and Mary as a non-rider.
We had previously experienced Damian & Nancy’s excellent weekend tours in regional Victoria and the Giro100 tour was a further example of their attention to detail and organizational skills. We wanted for nothing, from the ride routes with knowledgeable local guides, quality accommodation, exceptional regional restaurants and wines and activities for non-riding partners.
In a bike tour market increasingly crowded with similar products, A’qto offer a small group tour that is well researched, resourced and rich in local knowledge and culture that’s hard to beat. The whole experience was unforgettably brilliant, so much so that we are already saving for next year’s edition.
We would unequivocally recommend an A’qto tour to anyone.
A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE BOTH ON AND OFF THE BIKE!
My partner and I travelled with our bikes all the way from Australia to be a part of the fabulous A’QTO – Giro 9-day tour to celebrate 100 years of racing.
We would like to thank Nancy, Damian for a wonderful locally focused adventure. The accommodation was spectacular, the hospitality was awesome, the dining experiences were exquisite and the bike routes, as always were scenic and challenging.
Thank you both so much.
Jill & Kirsty
I FEEL SO MUCH STRONGER & CONFIDENT TACKLING HARD CLIMBS
I really enjoyed the Giro and came back so much stronger and confident tackling hard climbs. I knew the climbs would be hard and they were. The choice of rides were all good. It was obvious where our dollar was being well spent; your choice of hotels, restaurants and menus were all excellent. Mauro (van driver) was such a bonus, as was having an extra guide on wheels.
I WOULD LOVE TO DO IT AGAIN
Awesome riding and overall, a most enjoyable and fun experience that I would love to do again.
BY FAR THE BEST PART OF OUR TRIP
My husband Michael and I went on the A’qto Giro Tour. It was part of a five week holiday in Europe, and it was by far the best part of our trip. Michael, a keen cyclist, has always wanted to participate in a cycling tour in Italy and on hearing about the A’qto trip that coincided with the 100th year of the Giro, thought it would be a good year to go.
I initially thought I would meet Michael after the tour, until I found out I could participate as a non rider.
I want to reassure all non riding partners, you can go on a bike riding holiday and have a fantastic time.
I felt part of the group, whether I was travelling in the support van enjoying the fantastic scenery and being amazed at the climbs the riders were achieving, or enjoying the non-rider activities such as treks in the countryside with Nancy.
Nancy and Damian put a lot of research into sourcing restaurants that emphasise local produce and quality local wines. The food we enjoyed was excellent ranging from aperitivo, to pizza, to five course banquets.
Thank you, Nancy and Damian for a wonderful trip that has left me with many fond memories and unique experiences.