Milan by bicycle - From the Darsena docks to Pavia

A journey on two wheels along the Naviglio Pavese

It is time to explore the great Lombard capital by ditching the car keys and lacing up your trainers for some great cycling!

Milano has created a cohesive infrastructure for bicycles with dedicated cycle paths and restricted traffic areas so it is now a city where cycling is easy and offers many rewards.

Here is an itinerary along the  Alzaia Naviglio Pavese, the towpath that leads from the Darsena docks to the city outskirts, pedalling through the extensive green open-air spaces of southern Milano.

From the Darsena to the Conchetta area

Start off from the ‘city seaside’, the recently refurbished Darsena docks, to cycle down the Naviglio Pavese towards the green residential area of ​​Cantalupa. The bars dotted along the Naviglio flow quickly past your eyes, one after the other, as do the couples sitting outside and leisurely sipping drinks as they admire Leonardo's locks.

The shared-use path for cycles and pedestrians continues until just before the intersection with the external ring road, where viale Liguria meets viale Tibaldi. Then the road opens up to light traffic, never getting too busy anyway, as it remains after all the Alzaia del Naviglio towpath.

As far as the Conchetta area the route is also suitable for families cycling with kids who, together with their parents and friends, head off to the parks south of the city.

Along the route, from the centre to the gates of the city, you may come across a number of well-known restaurants and, with a small detour, you can scout an area of Milan that retains a cool ‘60s vibe with pubs, ice cream parlours and historical trattorias - all very easy-going, with excellent prices and more of a countryside feel.

From Chiesa Rossa to Pavia

The fittest of the pack, who will not be satisfied with cycling for a mere kilometre and a half, can continue along the Naviglio as far as ​​Chiesa Rossa and opt to stop off for refreshments in the park. Alternatively, they might enjoy some quiet time at the local library, built on what is left of an agricultural establishment from the sixties, resting in its turn over an ancient Roman settlement.

If the weather is fine, your bike is rolling and you are feeling in top form… why not push on as far as Pavia, which is connected to Assago by a cycle path - but maybe you will leave this to the professionals!