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Florence to Barcelona 2025

Tuscany, Italian Riviera, French Riviera, Monaco, Sardinia, the Balearic Isles, & Catalonia

Photo Itinerary

Santana’s newest cycling cruise begins in Florence, home of the Italian Renaissance.

An optional 2- or 3-night PreTour includes insightful reintroduction to the city’s fabulous art and architecture.

We’ll begin our journey by gazing out over the city from the most iconic rooftop of the Renaissance, Il Duomo.

Highlights of the PreTour include the Galleria dell’Accademia, home of the statue of David, Palazzo Vecchio, the Uffizi Gallery, Santa Croce, and (on the way to embark) a guided reveal of Pisa!

Embark day – Santana’s team will greet flights arriving into Pisa’s International Airport on embark morning.

While we meet with today’s arrivals, those who opted for the PreTour will enjoy a guided walking tour of Pisa, including Piazza del Duomo and the famous leaning tower.

Next door to Pisa is the port of Livorno, where we’ll test our bikes before embarking the MS World Navigator for our cycling journey across 4 countries.

Day 2 – Back in 1996, a week after the press conference, Santana contacted Andy Hampsten, who remains the only American to ever win the Giro d’Italia. Andy had just announced his decision to retire from the pro peloton to start a new business. Our offer? If Andy Hampsten would help to plan and co-host a Santana tandem tour through Tuscany, where he’d lived and trained for nearly a decade, we’d help him to launch his now-famous Cinghiale Cycling Tours. With Andy’s help and guidance Santana hosted hotel-based tours of Tuscany in 1998, 2002 and 2007. The 1998 version doubled as Cinghiale’s first event.

While living in Tuscany as a pro cyclist Andy logged 400-500 miles per week. On his rest day he kicked back with a “coffee” ride over his favorite stretch of back road. Andy’s ride, perfect beyond imagination, was a gentle warmup spin to cappuccino in the medieval walled village of Suvareto, followed by a very easy uphill return to where he might stop for a gelato in Sassetta. Cars? Although the road’s gradient is mild, the twists and turns are endless. Now that a newer road links this delightful pair of Tuscan villages, the old one is largely vacant.

Jan and I have hosted rides over Andy’s twisting road through oak forests many times over the last 3 decades, and each time members of our groups have pronounced it their “best ride ever.”

Descending through a third village (Castagneto Carducci was Andy’s Italian home) we pass Italy’s finest vineyards and wineries—home of the vaunted Super Tuscans such as Ornelaia and Sassicaia—and turn onto the cypress-lined Poet’s Road to reach Bolgheri.

Following up on a more recent recommendation from Andy, after riding as few as 32 miles, our routes of up to 55 miles will coalesce for a special winemaker’s feast at a hidden restaurant, where Andy’s favorite chef will pair local cuisine with three fabulous wines.

After dessert and coffee, some will opt for a motorized shuttle while others finish a day with a fast 20-mile return along Tuscany’s Via Principessa (route of the Princess).

Day 3 – Nestled amongst the spectacular coastline of Liguria, the villages on Cinque Terre await our exploration. While cycling is certainly an option, our past participants preferred the unique hiking trails connecting the iconic villages of Montessoro al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.

Starting the morning in La Spezia, both options include breathtaking views of the most photographed coastal villages in the world. As this is Santana’s third cycling cruise to include Cinque Terre’s rarely-cycled coast, we’ve figured the best strategies for pedalers and non-pedalers. Whether you choose to ride or hike, we’ll provide a pair of all-day passes for the hiking trails and frequent shuttle trains that interconnect all five villages.

Host to dozens of restaurants, Cinque Terre is a perfect place to explore the culinary delights of the Italian Riviera.

Whether or not you opt to cycle, this day concludes in the yacht harbor of Portovenere, where our ship will have moved to await our return.

Day 4 – When was the last time you rode your bike across an international border? How about three countries in one day?

Our ride begins in Imperia, a lovely Ligurian town known across the Italian Riviera for colorful flowers and bountiful olive trees. Pedaling west along a rugged coast (this is where the Alps meet the Mediterranean), we soon find the entrance of what might be Europe’s finest bike trail. After train service linking Rome with the Rivieras was modernized and moved inland, the incredibly scenic coastal route was converted to a wide and smoothly-paved bike trail that allows cyclists to choose 17 miles with curves and tunnels, instead of a slightly longer route with traffic, hills, trucks, and signals.

After passing through San Remo, the Italian resort town where pro-cycling finishes the earliest race of each season, it’s an easy coastal ride to the French border. From here the best cycling route to the French resort town of Menton follows a beautiful old corniche (or shelf road) above the newer highway.

Looking for a little afternoon boost? A pit-stop in Menton for macarons and espresso may be just what you need!

On a day where the shortest option is barely 40 miles, the second border crossing separates France from Monaco, a country that’s considerably smaller than New York City’s Central Park. In this diminutive Royal Principality famous for yachts and the annual Grand Prix auto race, we’ve reserved Monaco’s only cruise ship dock for its first-ever visit o a ship filled with cyclists.

Overnighting in Monaco means that if you’ve ever wanted to don that tuxedo and grace the velvet tables of the Monte Carlo Casino like 007, now’s your time to shine!

Day 5 – A fun day with a choice of mild-to-wild loops from the royal bastion of Monaco—where the ruling monarch is a former Olympian and serious cyclist!

Today’s longest option climbs into the adjacent Alps to conquer Col de la Madone, the Alpes-Maritimes pass that inspired Trek’s premiere model name.

A pair of shorter options only climb as far as the French village of La Turbie, a favorite coffee stop for local cyclists, who will help you choose which route you’ll use to return to Monaco. Those with an allergy to climbs will cruise the old coast highway through Cote d’Azur villages to reach Villefranche-Sur-Mer.

Day 6 – After bidding Adieu to France and Monaco, it’s Buongiorno to Sardinia, a remote slice of Italy that’s relatively unspoiled by progress or tourism.

Although Jan and I have visited Sardinia on five different occasions, and love the distinctive cuisine, this will be Santana’s first visit to this somewhat mysterious island which doubles as a stepping tone between the Mediterranean’s Rivieras and equally-trendy Balearic Isles.

Our all-day visit hosts a choice of routes which all converge at a country ristorante for a bountiful lunch of Sardinian specialties.

Day 7 – Our first day of rides in Spain begins with the jaw-dropping island of Menorca. Harder to reach than Mallorca, but even more beautiful, Menorca is a cyclists’ paradise!

In the early 90s, Menorca was designated a UNESCO. To preserve the incredible scenic beauty and wildlife of the island, nearly half of the island is protected park lands—which lend themselves perfectly beautiful sunny days of cycling.

Menorca is home to numerous beachfront cafes and restaurants, be sure to take in the views over an ice cold sangria!

We’ll ride gentle coastal roads overlooking the crystal clear aquamarine water, and meet friendly locals eager to share their unique fusion of Balearic and Spanish culture. Along the way you’ll be able to sample the local gin, cheese, and herb infused wines.

Afternoon routes will guide us back to our yacht, where we’ll taste more of the Spanish culture with a selection of the chef’s favorite tapas showcasing favorite ingredients of the Balearic islands.

Day 8 – Ibiza, well known as a youthful jetsetter island that never sleeps, has a distinctive siesta-like atmosphere during the day. The island is blessed with an abundance of sandy beaches and crystal blue water, you’ll want to take pictures every time you ride around a corner.

Our final day of cycling starts in the shadow of the Old Town Fortress. The ominous limestone walls surround charming streets filled with colorful markets, bodegas, and small restaurants.

After riding through the island’s lush green interior, we’ll trace the coast make a return to island’s small capital for a mechanic-hosted bike-packing session. Finish early? You’ll have ample time to peruse the town and sample some of the exquisite local specialties such as paella, butifarra, and bunuelos.

Tonight we’ll celebrate the end of our journey with a farewell dinner as we sail into the sunset on our way to Barcelona.

Day 9 – Our convenient disembark dock in Barcelona is a short shuttle from the city’s center or its well-connected airport.

If you’ve not yet visited Barcelona, we’ll offer a fun-paced Barcelona PostTour with two days of content including favorites like a professionally guided walking tour of the Gothic Quarter and La Sagrada Familia.

Florence to Barcelona 2025

Tuscany, Italian Riviera, French Riviera, Monaco, Sardinia, the Balearic Isles, & Catalonia

MS World Navigator

The world of cruising has changed. After decades of ever-larger ships, the newest and most innovative ships are distinctly smaller, and designed for travelers instead of tourists. By design, these yacht-size cruise ships are able to reach niche destinations that larger ships can’t enter. Perfect for a hand-tailored Florence to Barcelona Cycling Cruise.

In late 2020 we heard about a new cruise line being launched by a wizened group of cruise veterans from around the world. Synthesizing decades of experience on cruise ships with countless stays at stylish hotels, these worldly travelers created something entirely their own. Atlas Ocean Voyages has developed a new concept for cruise travel. They’ve taken the sophistication and luxury of a boutique resort hotel and transformed it into a marriage of modern and vintage in their new fleet of “luxe-adventure” cruise ships.

Each of the 95 staterooms and suites are tastefully finished with the finest materials. Mahogany trim and modern bathrooms are softened with elegant carpets and luxurious bedding.

All of the staterooms are comfortably spacious, and most have room to socialize. Nearly two thirds of the staterooms have a private balcony with table and chairs—a perfect place to relax and watch the port sink into the horizon while enjoying the champagne and a snack delivered by room service. The small collection of super-suites are especially large, and most include the service of a butler.

The lounge is a great place to relax and recount the day’s ride while getting to know your fellow adventurers.

The largest of the six dining options is Porto, a beautiful salon where you can savor the inspiration of Atlas’ Portuguese heritage as you experience regionally inspired favorites of our journey from Florence to Barcelona.

Prefer to dine al fresco? Porto’s refined-dining menu is also available on the ship’s aft view-deck. Start with a savory appetizer, move onto a mouthwatering main course and finish with a delicious dessert to satisfy your sweet tooth. Relish it all with a fresh ocean breeze
and expansive horizon views.

7-Aft, a New York style BBQ grill chophouse specializes in jospering, a grilling method originated in Barcelona and now considered a legendary form of gourmet charcoal cuisine. Satiate your hunger with choice burgers, ribs, lamb and many more.

The Dome has a delightful array of snacks, teas, cookies, and finger sandwiches. Open early to late, this is a great spot for a light lunch or a late night drink. Complete with 270-degree and overhead views, it’s a feast for all the senses.

The Pantry is where you can grab a fresh-pressed juice or hot cup of barista prepared coffee on your way to exploring. This is a great spot for a tasty specialty sandwich, delightful cupcake, fresh smoothie, or a satisfying and refreshing meal on the go.

Or, for a more intimate dining experience, the ship has a room service menu and provides 24-hour service.

The Zephyr Lounge is one of the best places to sit with friends while watching the port get smaller and smaller as you sail towards the next day of your cycling adventure. Other great spots are the ship’s pool and pair of hot tubs, L’Occitane Spa, or the ship’s bridge which is open to passengers.

Unless you’d rather “attend” by watching from your stateroom’s TV, the ship’s Forum is where you’ll learn about the next day’s choice of routes and activities for our Barcelona to Lisbon Cycling Cruise. On those days you elect to cycle, it’s also the place for our morning route talks.

Atlas Ocean Voyages is leading the way with some of the smallest luxury-expedition ships at sea. Combining a style defined as simple elegance with invigorating immersions, they provide a luxe-adventure travel experience made for seasoned explorers like you.

MS World Navigator video
Please note: Airfare is not included in our charter.

Florence to Barcelona 2025

Tuscany, Italian Riviera, French Riviera, Monaco, Sardinia, the Balearic Isles, & Catalonia

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the exact dates?
A: Santana’s Florence to Barcelona Cycling Cruise will take place from September 11 to 19, 2025.

Q: Why September?
A: The most spectacular Mediterranean cycling weather occurs in September, just after most tourists have departed. The water and beaches are still warm. The roads and attractions are suddenly uncrowded. We’ll experience perfect warm and sunny cycling weather with clear skies and daily-peak temperatures in the high 70s.

Q: What’s the cost?
A: Due to the current strength of the dollar, our per-person double-occupancy pricing for this 9-day cycling cruise starts at $6,699. Booking early is easy and RISK FREE. Our reservations page shows pricing of available staterooms.

Q: Traveling Solo?
A: While some of the ships Santana charters have a small number of single rooms, this one doesn’t. If you can’t convince someone to join you, the single supplement to have an “Adventure class” double stateroom all to yourself is 80%.

Q: What’s “Early-In” Pricing?
A: To manage the risk of chartering entire cruise ships, couples who commit early are rewarded with lower pricing. Booking early is easy and RISK FREE.

Q: What about tipping?
A: Jan and I don’t accept tips. A comprehensive “cruise extras” fee of $600 per person includes a long list of off-ship activities, tours, admissions, interpretive guides, site fees, non-rider touring coach, and ride support (gps route files and a pair of SOS vans driven by pro mechanics). Note that this is considerably less than the average cruise passenger pays for a week of “deluxe excursions.” Government mandated Port Taxes are $300 per-person. Shipboard gratuities of $180 per person includes wash & fold laundry and valet bike handling.

Q: Are all staterooms the same?
A: The recently launched World Navigator has 95 double occupancy staterooms in 10 categories. All rooms in all 10 categories feature exterior view and private bath. Sumptuous king-width bedding can be converted to a pair of full-width twins. Staterooms in 6 of the 10 categories have a private balcony with a table and chairs. Suites comprise 5 of the 10 categories. A small number of the largest rooms can accommodate a third person. The 3 largest Suite categories include butler service.

Q: How are staterooms assigned?
A: In any sub-category all rooms are identical. Using the PayPal timestamp, those who reserve earliest get the conveniently located staterooms closest to the center of the ship. If friends desire a pair of adjacent staterooms the timestamp of the first reservation determines the location of both rooms. In short, out of fairness to all our guests, we will not take requests for specific room numbers. Those who book early obtain prime positioning.

Q: Are rental bikes available?
A: Yes. If you own a nice bike that fits, however, bringing it with you is relatively easy and inexpensive. More info on this in Bill’s Travel Tips. Lightweight road bike rentals are about $550 per-person for the duration of the cruise, and E-Bike rentals are about $200 more. Rentals include delivery on embark day and retrieval at the end of the final ride. More info on our “Welcome Aboard” page.

Q: How do we get to and from the tour?
A: Detailed info will be emailed a year in advance (prior to airline tickets going on sale). Those who arrive and leave on the embark and disembark days will receive free airport transfers.

Q: How many miles each day?
A: In addition to our daily pair of zero-mile options (remaining on the ship or reaching prime attractions via Santana’s non-rider touring coach), every day has multiple cycling routes. Anyone who can ride 35 miles will be able to enjoy multiple days of cycling. If 35 miles seems too tough, you’ll have two seasons to train and prepare—there’s nothing like the promise of an incredible vacation to motivate you! In any case, eBikes rentals will be available. Longer routes are always available, and typically provide 60 or more miles. At each morning’s breakfast you’ll get a map charting the day’s cycling routes and recommended stops. During a brief route talk you’ll hear about each route’s attractions. Santana’s vets have learned to love and rely on their handlebar-mounted gps units. Available for less than $170, these touch-screen marvels prevent the age-old problem of getting lost or riding unplanned miles. Santana supplies free electronic mapping and route files that can also be viewed on your smartphone. Simply select the route and follow the highlighted map. More info can be found in our GPS-Guide.

Q: What’s the next step?
A: Santana’s Barcelona to Lisbon Cycling Cruise is a rare and incomparable event. Pricing listed on the Stateroom Reservations section is the current pricing. Refresh your browser to see any changes that may have occurred if you delay booking after loading this page. To lock-in availability and the lowest pricing on a RISK-FREE basis, reserve your space through our PayPal portal. PayPal’s secure website is open 24 hours per day, accepts all major credit cards, and automatically adjusts for remaining stateroom availability. Reserving your spot is RISK-FREE. In each category the prime location staterooms will be assigned in the same order as the timestamp of your booking.

Q: What do you mean by RISK-FREE?
A: When you use your credit card and book through PayPal, we’ll give you 14 risk-free days to think it over and clear your schedule. If you change your mind, send an email to within two weeks to cancel the PayPal transaction and obtain a full refund. Here is a full listing of Santana Adventures’ Terms & Conditions.

Q: What if we change our minds after 14 days?
A: Because full-boat charters are binding, non-cancelable contracts, Jan and I will only enter into this charter based on your confirmed-through-PayPal commitment. In effect, we undertake a huge risk by guaranteeing full payment on your behalf. After entering into this obligation, we cannot afford for you to back out—for any reason. This is no different than the clear written policy that existed for all except one of Santana’s prior chartered-ship cruises (this charter will be our 93rd!). While preparing for our 2009 Danube event I neglected to include the following proviso. That’s the year a group of friends, after verbally agreeing to pay in full and then stringing Jan along for many months, decided to cancel their plans. Lesson learned! Here it is (again) in writing:
Santana’s acceptance of your registration and non-refundable deposit for this event is subsequent to your agreement to pay the remaining balance in full. While Santana allows limited refunds on rallies and tours, Santana’s cruises are non-cancelable and non-transferable. When the possibility of paying yet not attending is unacceptable, Jan and I recommend Travel Guard trip insurance. For the past 25 years hundreds of our clients have relied on Travel Guard coverage without complaint. An informative application will be mailed with your invoice; and further information is available online. Here is a full listing of Santana Adventures’ Terms & Conditions.

Q: Have you ever relaxed your refund policy?
A: Jan and I have willingly resold a number of fully prepaid staterooms for a fee of $1,000 per stateroom—which is waived when vacating participants find someone to take their place. When there has been more than one pending resell request, those who paid-in-full earliest had their space resold next. Using this non-guaranteed method (which is grossly inferior to trip insurance) Jan and I have cheerfully refunded over $500,000 in otherwise non-refundable and non-transferable cruise fares. Here is a full listing of Santana Adventures’ Terms & Conditions.

Q: What’s the difference between a SAG-wagon and Santana’s SOS/treasure vans?
A: Most tour companies use SAG-wagons that haul luggage and “sweep” the route between overnight stops. The drivers refill water-bottles, fix flat tires, and retrieve riders who can’t manage the easiest route between the widely spaced hotels. The problem, of course, is that the roving vans tend to be annoying until you actually need help. At that point it’s common to wait for two or more hours until one shows up. Although SAG drivers can fix a flat, they don’t have the tools or know-how to handle serious mechanical problems. Instead, they drive you to a bike shop (which explains why SAG-wagons disappear for hours at a time). This tour’s pair of SOS vans are driven by pro bike mechanics who bring tools and spares. When you phone one of our drivers with the coordinates from your GPS, they’ll arrive in a flash to get you back in the saddle. Because Santana expects participants to fill their own bottles, fix their own flats, and choose a ride they can finish, our SOS drivers are underworked, and have time to retrieve your shopping treasures.

Q: Are beverages included?
A: Yes. All beverages are included at all times. Staterooms have a complimentary beverage center that is restocked daily. The ship’s lounges serve custom coffees and cocktails.

Q: Which meals are included?
A: The ship’s celebrity chef curates a new menu for each meal, and will always include a surprising selection of local fruits and produce, regional specialties, the freshest-possible seafood, vegetarian options, and grilled-to-order meats. A changing assortment of desserts and pastries are produced aboard each day. Breakfast and Lunch is available from a menu, or from a buffet, which is perfect for active cyclists. Dinner is a plated multi-course menu with plenty of gourmet options for all of our participants.
In addition to the main dining room, this ship has five other dining options — perfect for hungry cyclists to find a hot meal and cold refreshments after their rides.
Finally, the ship’s room-service menu is available 24 hours.

Q: Does The World Navigator include WiFi? Does the ship have an elevator?
A: Absolutely.

Q: Will there be menu selections for vegetarians, vegans and picky eaters?
A: Yes to all of the above.

Q: What if we have more questions?
A: The quickest and easiest way to get help is to use Santana’s Contact Form. One of our team members will follow up with you as soon as possible.

Florence to Barcelona 2025

Tuscany, Italian Riviera, French Riviera, Monaco, Sardinia, the Balearic Isles, & Catalonia

Stateroom Reservations

September 11 to 19, 2025