Gran Fondo

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Gran Fondo, Belfast

Majestic mountains and two cycling routes of unsurpassed beauty: the Giro d’Italia Gran Fondo Northern Ireland was unforgettable

Great For
  • Groups
  • Active
  • Young Adults
  • Sport
  • Scenery
  • Known For
    Great views | Adrenaline Rushes | Team events | Cycling Fans
  • Access and public transport
    George Best Belfast City Airport | Belfast International Airport | Belfast Central Railway Station | Europa Bus Station | Belfast Port | Translink Metro

The Giro d’Italia put Northern Ireland firmly on the cycling map. The Giro d’Italia Gran Fondo made sure it stayed there. In June 2017, this renowned amateur sportive returned for a final incredible ride, coinciding with the 100th edition of the Giro d'Italia in Italy.

Starting and finishing at the iconic Stormont Estate, the Gran Fondo’s two routes took riders through the Mourne Mountains or along the shores of Strangford Lough. The full Giro experience was on offer: closed roads, full support teams and the opportunity to ride for charity. 

Getting here was the easy part, whether you were bringing your bike, your car, or just yourself. Discovering if you could meet the Gran Fondo challenge? That was all up to you.

From dramatic coasts to patchwork fields on the many road routes or the lakes, rivers, forest and woodland that are part of the off road and mountain bike routes, there is something for every cyclist.


It wasn't just the cycling that set blood pumping here. There were buzzing festivals, lively villages and warm welcomes from the locals along the way, too.

And when the cycling was done, everyone found themselves back in Belfast, ready to enjoy one of Europe’s most vibrant cities.

The Gran Fondo

Mourne Mountains
Mourne Mountains

What is it about Northern Ireland that attracted the attention of one of the cycling world’s greatest road races in the Giro d'Italia? If we’re honest, it wasn’t just one thing, it was many. Take the Mourne Mountains – steeped in myth, they harken back to a fairytale Ireland but their popularity with outdoors enthusiasts keeps them very much in the present.

A stunning and challenging route on fully closed and expertly marshaled roads. Hats off to the organisers and to the folk along the route in particular!

Gavin Browne, via Facebook

In fact, Northern Ireland’s exceptional landscapes are so cinematic that HBO was drawn to make it one of the filming locations for Game of Thrones. And then there’s Belfast; an exciting city that’s known for its thriving foodie scene as much as its Titanic history. That’s Northern Ireland in a nutshell – a land of legends.

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