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ExperiencePlus! Bicycle ToursTuscany is a place synonymous with “la dolce vita” – fine wines, bucolic countryside, Renaissance art, savoring gelato while meandering along ancient cobblestone streets. It has also become a case study in overtourism, with places like Florence and Pisa, among others, getting swamped by coachloads of camera-wielding tourists between May and October every year. ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours, a trailblazer in cycling adventures and leader in active travel, invites guests to experience Tuscany in a more sustainable way – on two wheels, exploring on your own schedule, away from the crowds, and supporting local businesses as you go.

“We believe that experiencing Tuscany by bike offers a unique opportunity for travellers to engage with this beautiful – and yes, oftentimes very busy – region in a meaningful way, without contributing to overtourism,” says Maria Elena Price, co-owner of ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours. “When travelling by bike, you are engaging in slow travel in its purest form. The bike allows you to get away from crowds and up-close to communities, to immerse in local culture and landscapes, supporting the small shops and restaurants that call the area home.”

In Tuscany, the company offers a range of tours that either focus on or at least include the region, including its new-for-2024 Southern Tuscany – Cycling Cortona to Siena self-guided adventure. This eight-day/seven-night itinerary starts in dreamy Cortona, the historical hamlet that features deep Etruscan heritage, art-filled spaces, gorgeous sunflower fields, and serpentine roads lined by those iconic beanstalk-like cypress trees.

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“Cortona is beautiful and well-known – most of the photos you see of Tuscany are of Cortona – but it is not as easy to get to as other parts of the region, and as such, it’s not as busy overall,” continues Price. “The summer, of course, is high season here, but when you explore it by bike, you can very easily avoid crowds, and truly go off-the-beaten-path.”

Along with Cortona, the itinerary visits the towns of Montepulciano, Pienza, and Montalcino, where guests enjoy a wine tasting, and explores the quintessential landscapes of the Val d’Orcia, recognized by UNESCO as a “World Heritage Landscape” thanks to its unique blend of human and natural environments. With three 2-night stays, this is a relaxing cycling holiday – you don’t have to pack every day, you can take a day off if desired, and you can also explore each place deeper. The tour ends in Siena, where guests enjoy a guided tour of its remarkable historical centre.

Other ExperiencePlus! itineraries in the region are: a seven-day Gravel Explorer: White Roads of Tuscany guided tour, an eight-day Bicycling Venice to Florence guided trip, and a 12-day Bike Across Italy – Venice to Pisa adventure.

Renowned for its commitment to sustainable tourism practices and cultural immersion, ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours’ new self-guided program offers cyclists the chance to engage with local communities and support small businesses, while also being able to explore at their own pace. “It’s the perfect way for those who enjoy DIY experiences to take a bicycle tour on their own, without dealing with the hassle of securing hotels, finding the best possible route, and being weighed down by panniers,” concludes Price.

For more information on ExperiencePlus’ Bicycle Tours and its brand-new line-up of immersive self-guided tours in Italy, please visit ExperiencePlus.com.