Hannibal Expedition

 

Cycling on some of Europe's most iconic and picturesque bike touring routes through Spain, France and Italy; the Hannibal expedition has it all.

A modern day tour gives riders the chance to take up Hannibal’s trail in Barcelona, Sommieres, Costiglione Saluzzo or Garfagnana and ride 1, 2, 3 or 4 stages of this epic expedition.

The trail passes through some of the most beautiful cycling areas in Europe - Catalonia, Languedoc, Provence, Piedmont, Tuscany and Umbria among others. It takes us over the Pyrenees, Alps and Apennines as we challenge ourselves on routes that feature regularly in the Vuelta, Tour and Giro.

We will sample the culinary delights on offer. We will also embrace the abundant cultural & historical elements of these areas as we meander our way down the road less travelled by modern day tourists, but once travelled by the Carthaginian general Hannibal.

Ride and Seek Hannibal Expedition

Ride and Seek Bike Tours Hannibal Coin

Conceptualised by Sam Wood, archaeologist and documentary maker - 'On Hannibal's Trail' - and Dylan Reynolds, a bike guide who has lived in all 3 of the countries we travel through, the Hannibal Expedition is one of the world's great bike journeys.

Watch our latest video to get a taste of the Hannibal Expedition and please get in touch for more information.

The Itinerary for the Hannibal Expedition is split into 4 stages. Riders may participate in 1, 2, 3 or all 4 stages. For more information on each stage click on the links or images below. If you'd like to take on the entire Hannibal challenge choose the Epic!

Stage 1 - The Road less Travelled

Ride and Seek Carcassonne

Cycling Highlights:  From the mountains of Montseny to the Mediterranean; Climb over the Pyrenees; Discover the beguiling region of the Languedoc; Overload your senses as we pedal through Provence. 

Historical Highlights: Visit Barcelona, Gallic France, Cathar castles, Carcassonne, Cross the Rhone - How did Hannibal get his army and elephants across?

Gastronomic Highlights: Compare the respective merits of crema catalana and crème brûlée; Rustic simplicity of the Languedoc cuisine;  Jamon Serrano; Cote du Rhone wines; Provencal tapenade; Afternoon Pastis.

Stage 2 - Over the Alps

Ride and seek Bob Berg Col Lautaret

Cycling Highlights: Mont Ventoux; Traverse the Alps - Alpe d'Huez, Galibier. Izoard, Lautaret & Agnel. Hannibal's route over the Alps. The beautiful Langhe area of Piedmont.

Historical Highlights:  Vaison la Romaine; The Gorges du Gats - Hannibal ambushed!; Chateau Queyras - Hannibal trapped! The route into Italy - choosing Hannibal's route over the Alps.

Gastronomic Highlights:  Beaumes de Venise dessert wine; Chateauneuf du Pape ; Osso buco; White truffles from Alba; Barolo – King of Italian wines; Sisteron lamb; Porcini mushrooms; Piedmont - home of the Slow food movement.

Stage 3 - The Italian's Italy

Ride and Seek Piedmont castle

Cycling Highlights: Ride over the vine clad hills of the Monferrato; Challenge yourself on the spines of the Appennines in Emilia Romagna; Cross the Appenine mountain range; Cruise through beautiful medieval towns. 

Hannibal Highlights: Trebbia – Hannibal’s first major battle on Italian soil; Crossing the Arno swamps.

Gastronomic Highlights:  Pinched Peimontese ravioli - agnolotte del plin; The cured meats (affettati) of Emilia Romagna and the king of cheeses – Parmigiano Reggiano; Balsamic vinegar of Modena; The Florentine steak.

Stage 4 - Classic Italy

Ride and Seek tuscany stage 4 cycling

Cycling Highlights: Explore the green heart of Italy – Umbria; Challenge yourself up the Medieval town ramps of Tuscany and Umbria; Roll along the picture postcard Chianti route. 

Hannibal Highlights: Lake Trasimeno the site of one of Hannibal’s greatest victories; The Servian Walls in Rome, over which Hannibal launched a symbolic spear, the Arno swamps where Hannibal lost an eye.

Gastronomic Highlights:Wines of Brunello & Montepulciano; Pecorino cheese from Pienza; The Florentine steak; Black truffles of Norcia; lake fish of Bracciano.

Epic - Barcelona to Rome!

Ride and Seek Epic challenge

Highlights! If you want to challenge yourself and ride the best of Spain, France and Italy, whilst experiencing the culture, history and gastronomy of the areas through which we ride, then this is the tour for you. Cycling on some of Europe's most iconic and picturesque bike touring routes the Hannibal expedition has it all. If you are up for riding from Spain to Italy through Catalonia, the Pyrenees, Provence, the Alps, Piedmont, Tuscany and Umbria then this is for you! This will be a challenging ride but the cycling, historical and gastronomic highlights are spectacular!

Stage Start Date 2014 End Date 2014 Days Cost(Euros)
 
1- The Road less Travelled 6/7 September 13/14 September 8 2295
2 - Over the Alps 13/14 September 20/21 September 8 2295
3 - The Italian's Italy 20/21 September 27/28 September 8 2295
4 - Classic Italy 27/28 September 4/5 October 8 2295
Epic! - Barcelona to Rome 6/7 September 4/5 October 29 8395

In 2014 we will run 2 editions of the Hannibal Expedition. The dates above correspond to those 2 tours, one starting the 6th and one starting the 7th September. Please get in contact if you have any questions.

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Ride and Seek Col Agnel

Hannibal Barca is one of the greatest military commanders of all time. As a leader of the ancient superpower, Carthage, he waged a lifelong war against the Romans and nearly destroyed them. And yet, today we know very little about Hannibal or his people: the Carthaginians. What we do remember is one of his amazing feats: to fight the Romans on their own turf, Hannibal led an army that included nearly forty elephants, over the frozen mountain tops of the Alps and into Italy.

That achievement, leading the largest land animal over one of the biggest mountain chains, was just part of an incredible journey that took Hannibal and his force of sixty thousand men from southern Spain, through France, into Italy via the Alps and finally, over the sea and back to the now Tunisian city of Carthage. For Hannibal Barca this was a very personal conflict – a family affair. As a boy he’d sworn to his father Hamilcar that he would fight Rome to the death and his top generals were his two brothers, Hasdrubal and Mago. Their struggle was the main event during the biggest and bloodiest conflict of ancient times, the century long Punic Wars (264-146 BC). With Hannibal as commander, it really looked as if Carthage was going to win. European civilisation came so close to being something very different – Rome-free,and yet Rome totally dominates our imagination when we think about the ancient world. When Hannibal lived, things were very different.

Contact Us to get the Hannibal Itinerary or read more history at the Wood Brothers On Hannibal's Trail site.

Ride and Seek Hannibal Alps

Stage 1

We take in three different regions as we travel from Barcelona in Spain to the charming town of Sommieres. Barcelona is the capital city of the fiercely independent state of Catalunya that has become increasingly associated with fine gastronomy in recent years. The world famous El Bulli restaurant (chef Ferran Adrià ),rated by the Michelin guide as the world’s best a record 5 times, bears testament to this. The next region we pass through is the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. A strong Spanish influence can be found in this region and you will see a lighter style of eating (less creamy rich sauces) than in the north of France. Languedoc cuisine relies heavily on local produce: olive oil, tomato sauces, herbs from the wild garrigue landscapes of the region such as thyme, rosemary and sorrel. Locals take eating seriously with meals often taking hours and including several courses. Provence is next on the itinerary with a wealth of seafood based dishes and local specialities. Olives are grown in the area and some high quality olive oil is produced in this region. With a strong Italian and Spanish influence the cuisine of Provence has a distinctive flair that sets it apart from more classic French fare. Blessed with an abundance of natural ingredients that flourish in the region, Provence is unsurpassed for the freshness of its produce and variety of its dishes.

Stage 2

We continue our journey through Provence as we head up towards the Alps in the north of the region – Alpes de Haute Provence. This sprawling area is crossed by the river Durance which is a fruit growing region, however, the cuisine in general is far more filling and heavy which will give you more fuel for climbing by bike. Based on butter rather than olive oil it is characterized by wild herbs, spelt and goat produce. Perhaps the best known product of the area though is the lamb from Sisteron which features in many local recipes. After climbing the Alps we descend into Italy and some great new culinary experiences.We enter Italy through the Piedmont region to discover the home of the “Slow Food” movement, Barolo wine, white truffles and nutella. Arguably Italy’s most culinary progressive region we delight in the symphony between tradition bound cooking and a burgeoning new wave gastronomic scene. For a more detailed overview check out our Piedmont tour page.

Stage 3

We continue our journey through Piedmont and in to Emilia Romagna. This region truly is a gastronomic treasure trove with local delicacies including Parmigiano Reggiano- arguably the cheese of which Italians are most proud, Balsamic Vinegar and Proscuitto de Parma. As stage 3 continues we next find ourselves in picturesque Tuscany. Simplicity is the key to Tuscan cuisine with dishes based on top quality ingredients including legumes, bread, cheese, vegetables and fresh fruit. The delicious Tuscan soup called ribolitta will refuel you at the end of a long day with its ingredients of bread, cannellini beans and vegetables. For more detailed information on Tuscan cuisine visit our Tuscan tour page. 

Stage 4

From Tuscnany we then pass into Umbria where the renown Norcia black truffles are found. Other produce includes fresh ricotta, delicious pecorino cheese and high quality olive oils from the Trevi area. For main meals expect Strangozzi pasta and perhaps even suckling pig. Visit our Umbrian tour page for some more detailed information on Umbrian Cuisine. Our journey is coming to an end as we enter the Lazio region and in to Rome. There is a predominance of pork in dishes in Lazio including as an ingredient in pasta sauces or roasted (porchetta). Other typical dishes to look out for are Carciofi alla giudea (lightly fried artichokes), fiori di zucca (stuffed zucchini flowers) and baccala (deep fried salted cod).

Ride and Seek Hannibal Food Wine

Ride and Seek Hannibal Food Wine

Ride and Seek Hannibal Food Wine

Ride and Seek Hannibal Food Wine

Ride and Seek Hannibal Food Wine

Ride and Seek Hannibal Food Wine

Ride and Seek Bike Tours Balsamic Vinegar

Our Expedition Tour reading lists are aimed at being accessible to everyone - all the books are historical but there is fiction, primary authors and serious historians so take your pick! As always if you want any more information or more recomendations please contact us

Hannibal

Serge Lancel

Hannibal's Dynasty

Dexter Hoyos

The Histories

Polybius




Possibly the most comprehensive history of Hannibal's War. An excellent and accessible history of Hannibal and his legacy. An excellent and accessible history of Hannibal and his legacy.

Hannibal: Enemy Of Rome

Leonard Cottrell

Hannibal

Ben Kane

The War with Hannibal

Livy




An entertaining and easy read. Cottrell follows much of Hannibal's route in a campervan! Excellent historical fiction by this best selling author. Authentic primary source. Livy was a Roman who wrote about 100 years after the Hanniballic War. All modern histories are based on his and Polybius' works.

Flights and Meeting Points

Flights and Meeting Points We suggest that you arrive at least one day prior to the tour start, which will enable you to adjust to the time zone and minimise the risk of missing the trip start due to flight related delays. Whilst we are not accredited tour agents we are able to advise you on the most convenient ways to get to and depart from our tours.

Our Pre Tour information pack which we will send you when you sign on to the tour will tell you everything from what to bring and meeting arrangments to training recommendations.

For general essentials relating to group size, bikes, accomodation, tour payments please see the general information or FAQs tab in the Essentials menu above.