If you enjoy cycling but aren’t so keen on the mountainous routes this area is famous for, the cycle path from Ospedaletti to Imperia, commonly known as the San Remo cycle path may be just what you are looking for. The San Remo cycle path runs along the Ligurian Riviera on an old railway line from Ospedaletti almost to Imperia, about 30km of practically flat, car-free, scenic cycling suitable for the whole family.

lone cyclist riding towards a church surrounded by greenery on San Remo cycle path

Where is the San Remo cycle path?

This cycle path, one of the longest in Europe, uses the old Ventimiglia–Genoa single-track railway line that closed down in 2001. Works began to transform it into a cycle path in 2008 and it opened in 2014 from Ospedaletti as far as San Lorenzo al Mare, 24 km in total.

map of San Remo cycle path

Since then it has been extended to the western outskirts of Imperia, with a project to continue on further east in the near future, however, almost all information you can find online including the official bike path website only mentions the original section to San Lorenzo al Mare.

cyclists on San Remo bike path

Cycling the San Remo bike path is a great day out from the Côte d’Azur, being an easy drive of about 1–1.5 hours to Ospedaletti depending on traffic and your starting point. It is also possible to do by public transport. You will need to take a train to Ventimiglia and change to San Remo. The modern station is now inland just a short walk from the cycle path.

people on a tandem bicycle on the San Remo bike path by the sea

Who can use the San Remo cycle path?

The cycle path called la pista ciclabile del Ponete Ligure in Italian consists of 2 lanes and a pedestrian path. It’s almost entirely far from traffic, you only have to cross a road every now and then, and it is completely car-free. It is suitable for walking, running, rollerblading and skateboarding too!

family on a pedal rickshaw cart in San Remo

What can you expect on the San Remo cycle path?

The very scenic path follows the coast passing many pretty beaches where it’s possible to stop off for a quick dip.

beach in Italy

It crosses through several villages most of which are easily accessible for a look around and all of them have cafés and restaurants for a delizioso Italian meal or snack.

bike stand on beach

There are also quite a few snack bars on the path itself, perfectly located for a refreshing drink. You’ll find several toilets, water fountains and benches placed along the path too.

café by the sea on the San Remo cycle path

I recommend you start in Ospedaletti. Not only is it the nearest town on the path to France, but it’s less busy than San Remo and usually easier to get in and out of and find parking. There’s a big bike hire place and lots of lovely restaurants on the seafront.

Ospedaletti sea front with cycle path

Shortly after leaving Ospedaletti you go through the longest tunnel on the route (1.7km). To keep you entertained in the otherwise rather long stretch without a view it has been decorated with facts and tweets about the legendary Milano San Remo bike race. Look up and pedal slowly to read all about it.

tunnel with facts about Milano San Remo bike race

Going through San Remo you’ll get a glimpse of its glorious past with its imposing late 19th century hotels along the Corso Imperatrice. The town is still famous for its Song Festival and for the Milano San Remo race. It’s a buzzing Ligurian town with lots of charm.

elegant hotel in San Remo

You’ll cycle past the old train station where, depending on the day, you might find yourself having to push through the crowds of the market which takes place here.

San Remo old train station and market

As you leave San Remo you can see Villa Nobel, an elegant mansion built in 1871 where Alfred Nobel lived for the last years of his life. It is visitable though I have not been in.

Villa Nobel in San Remo

Cycling further along the path you get up close to apartment buildings gaining a peak into authentic Ligurian life. Laundry flutters in the breeze off wires strung between balconies.

cycle path going through a Ligurian village

You pass acres of glass houses, some abandoned some still in use growing flowers that this area, known as Riviera dei Fiori (flower Riviera), is famous for.

glass houses next to bike path

All along the ride you’re never far from the sea offering glorious views of fishing harbours and the Mediterranean. In spring and summer much of the path is lined with oleander and bougainvillea flowers. It is incredibly charming.

cyclists on shady tree lined bike path

When to cycle the San Remo bike path

Cycling the San Remo bike path is an all year round activity, ideal in spring and autumn but perfectly possible in winter and summer of course. The photo of beach volleyball was taken in early February. An ideal month for cycling the San Remo cycle path.

sandy beach with beach volleyball and bikes

In summer it can get very hot as there’s almost no shade except for a couple of tunnels, which are welcomingly cool, so remember to bring sunscreen, lots of water and a hat if you’re not wearing a helmet.

view of Ospedaletti seafront and hills behind

Hiring bikes on the San Remo bike path

It is possible to hire bikes at 8 places along the route including Ospedaletti and 3 places in San Remo. There’s a good choice including children’s bikes, baby seats, tandems, cargo bikes, electric bikes and electric scooters. You can even rent family-sized rickshaw carts.

man and child in rickshaw cart on bike path

Prices are reasonable. It is possible to reserve online which I’d recommend if you want something unusual like a cargo bike, but isn’t necessary for ordinary bicycles. Check out the rental website here.

bike rental in San Remo

As the path is mostly flat it is suitable for all levels of riders, you do not have to be a keen cyclist to enjoy this sporty activity. I love it and almost never ride a bike elsewhere!

bike hire at Ospedaletti old train station

For more information on the route and a downloadable map, visit the pista ciclabile website.

Don’t forget if you need accommodation on the Côte d’Azur, close to this great activity, our gîte Lou Messugo sleeps 4 and is open all year round! #bookdirect

Related Reading

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Cycling on the Côte d’Azur

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