Finale Ligure is a household name amongst most mountain bikers. Either from the coverage of the Enduro World Series or because you, or your mate John from Thursday evenings post-work ride club has been on a trip there, it's likely been mentioned.

How does Finale Ligure work though, What trails are there and how do you get to the top of the trail network, what does a day riding in Finale Ligure look like and do you need a guide to navigate the riding?

Let's get into riding in Finale Ligure and why we think riding with a guide is the best possible way to experience the area, even if you think you know it already. 

Single Uplifts vs No Uplifts vs Shuttle Tour

No Uplifts, Pedalling

If you know Finale Ligure, you can spend a day riding without using an uplift at all, it is possible and it's how the riding in Finale Ligure started, it's how riding in most places start, that there are now so many shuttle companies does not mean you have to use them.

The classic higher zones of Finale Ligure such as Din and Nato base are a 1.5 - 2.5 hours ride from the beach, at a good pace or gentle canter, with around 1000m of elevation to the top of the first trails.

There are zones that are quicker to access such as the trails of lower Feglino, Madonna della Guardia, the coastal zones of Le Manie or Monte Grosso, and of course the two areas known as San Bernadino and Caprazoppa where you'll find Finale Ligure's most famous 'janky' trails. With riding anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour from the town square.

With a bit of know-how, Trailforks or another similar app or some good map reading skills, some considerable effort on the pedals you can piece these zones together to create afew days riding, with around 2-6 trails per day on your agenda, less if you're unfit, more if you are strong on the pedals, or you are on an E-Bike. Expect your battery to last half a day in trail, and maybe the full day in eco, based on a 700wh battery.

Single uplift

There are 2 single uplift companies, that essentially operate as legal taxis, that will take you to 3 different spots, the Fort of Melogno, which is around 5 minutes further up the road from Din. These two drop-offs give you access to trails like Rollercoaster, Tabogga, the riding in Pietra Ligure and also access to Calizanno and Bardineto (big pedal back out if you choose one of these two zones however).

The other destination for the single uplifts is Nato Base, with an array of trails below you at the drop off point, and more with a little climbing from the base itself.

Prices are €12.50 - €15 per lift, depending on where you go and if you have the FOR card (you should).

With the single uplift you can access quite alot of riding, piecing together several trails or parts of trails, and with a little effort once up in the hills, you can make 2-3 trails work from each uplift. With an E-Bike you can do even more, as you've just gained a 1000m of elevation at the price of zero battery, making this resource a very useful tool in Finale Ligure.

Shuttle Tour

If it's your first time to Finale Ligure, you have to get a guided shuttle tour, no question. We'd even advise it your mate Barry thinks he's know best, as he's been before. It's so much easier to understand the lay of the land and valleys with one for a start.

Above all a good guide and van means you can access so much more riding more efficiently. While you may still pedal or push a little to access certain trails, you'll be doing nowhere near the same amount as you would under your own steam. You can relax and enjoy the descents, saving your energy for having the best time possible on the way down.

A guide will also plan a day for you, riding trails one after the other that makes sense with logistics and timings, stopping for a lunch break, always welcome on these big days in the hills. You'll likely ride anywhere from 6 - 12 trails in a day, sometimes more, sometimes less but this depends on the zones you ride and the length of the trails ridden.

Access to different riding areas is obviously one of the main advantages of a shuttle tour, the riding in Pietra Ligure, Bardineto, Castel Vecchio, Osiglia and Mallare to add to the classic Finale Ligure shuttle areas makes taking a tour with a reputable company a must do for even the Finale Ligure veteran.


Guide vs Self Guide

Why do you need a guide in Finale Ligure?

The simple answer is value for money. The guiding prices in Finale are generally linked to your shuttle price. If you are spending €12.50 per single uplift on average, you're able to get in around 4 per day maximum. That's €50 there on self-guided shuttles, not accounting for the need to pedal back to town each time to make your scheduled departure.

A guided shuttle day will set you back anywhere from €65 - €85 depending on the company used.

A good guide will be your friend, your workshop, your first aid, and your cultural guru to the riding, coffee stops, gelaterias and more. Unlocking the best trails for you and your group. 

A good guide will also be your coach, even Greg Minnaar has a riding coach, so you need one too. Afew hints and tips, even if only useful for Finale Ligure on bike setup or body position, can really go a long way to help you have the best experience possible.

Pair this local expertise with the addition of shuttles and for us it's a no-brainer for all but the most experienced Finale Ligure veteran. Even then, even if you know every trail, it's really nice to just get on your bike and enjoy the riding, and maybe see something new along the way!


Finale Ligure food

DIY Holiday vs Package

With all of this information, it seems like it's possible to get yourself an Airbnb or hotel, a subscription to Trailforks, and a single uplift and you could have a good time in Finale Ligure. This is true, you'll have a blast, it's hard not to have fun there.

However you'll do less riding, experience less of the area, less of the trails, less coffee spots, less gelato, and you'll spend more time wondering if you're on the right trail or stopping at junctions. With support via a van uplift and guide you will cover at least double the amount of terrain, meters descended, zones ridden, and trails conquered, it's just maths.

This can be taken one step further with a packaged trip with us at our villa in central Finale Ligure, metres from the beach. Not only do you have an uplift service, a professional (fully qualified and experienced) guide, you also have a workshop, and bike wash, stocked with Peaty's Products, a chef making your breakfast in the morning, a host cleaning up and helping make sure you're set for the day. There's even dinner on 5 nights of the week. Further to this, your airport transfer is included, so no train from Nice with an hour stop in Ventimiglia, all done and dusted with a crew of experienced professionals looking after you.


Finale Ligure guide

Day in the life at Atlas Ride Co

What does a typical day in Finale Ligure with Atlas Ride Co look like?

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