Italy Bike & Boat / Veneto
This Veneto bike tour (from Venice to Mantova) is entirely in the low lands and the daily cycling stages vary from 30 km to 55 km. Much of the pedaling is along rivers and canals on tarmac cycle paths or roads with a low volume of car traffic.
Starting from Venice, one of the most beautiful towns in the world, this itinerary winds its way along the Mincio and the Po, following the natural course of the longest Italian river. After a wonderful trip from the countryside of the Po Delta the tour finishes in the enchanting Renaissance town of Mantova.
The tour is entirely in the low lands and the daily cycling stages vary from 30 km to 55 km. Much of the pedaling is along rivers and canals on asphalt cycle paths or roads with a low volume of car traffic. The boat will sail some of the way during breakfast or evening meal to make getting out of the towns easier or to shorten the stages.
The route has been planned to feature navigation along the Fissero/Bianco canal, which runs parallel to the Po and connects Mantova to the Adriatic Sea. A few weeks in the year, when the waters of the Po are favorable, the barge will navigate along the Po river. This means that some of the overnight stays will be modified. As the water levels change, we will modify some of the daily stretches or embarkation points. These decisions are taken by the boat’s captain.
This s a floating hotel with high quality meals served on board. The typical wooden cabin area and the comfortable air-conditioned living room will welcome you for a well deserved rest after a day on bike.
This is considered an easy tour entirely in the lowlands. The daily cycling stages vary from 30 km to 55 km. Much of the pedalling is along rivers and canals on asphalt cycle paths or roads with a low volume of car traffic. The boat will sail some of the way during breakfast or evening meal to make getting out of the towns easier or to shorten the stages.
- Difficulty: Relatively Flat
- Road Conditions: Smooth & Paved
- Recommended Bike: Hybrid
- Fabulous scenery
- Cultural heritage
- Incredible food and wine
2023 Price aboard Ave Maria or Vita Pugna Barges:
(prices are based on double occupancy)
Ave Maria Capacity about 40 guests – 4 superior double cabins above deck, 2 cabins can accommodate 4 people with 2 bunk beds, 10 standard double cabins below deck – 3 of these can accommodate 3 people with a twin and a bunk bed, 3 double cabins with a bunk bed below deck – also available as a single cabin)
All cabins have en suite bathroom and air conditioning, sizable windows but only the superior cabin windows open.
- €1160 standard cabin per person (value season: March 25 – April 15)
- €1670 standard cabin per person (value-plus season: April 22-29 and July 1 – Aug 19)
- €1790 standard cabin per person (standard season: May 6 – June 24 and Oct 21)
- €1910 standard cabin per person (high season: Aug 26 – Oct 14)
Vita Pugna Capacity about 20 – 10 standard double cabins. All cabins are air-conditioned and are equipped with comfortable low twin beds and en-suite facilities and safety box. They also offer the convenience of attractive, traditional portholes, which can be opened for fresh air.
- €1050 standard cabin per person (value season: March 25 – April 15)
- €1370 standard cabin per person (value-plus season: April 22-29 and July 1 – Aug 19)
- €1420 standard cabin per person (standard season: May 6 – June 24 and Oct 21)
- €1490 standard cabin per person (high season: Aug 26 – Oct 14)
- Ave Maria Barge ONLY: €200 superior cabin (upper deck with windows that open)
- €50 special diet (gluten-free and vegan diets)
- Ave Maria Barge ONLY: €350 single cabin
- Vita Pugna Barge ONLY: €900 twin cabin, single occupancy
- €100 hybrid bike rental, €250 Electric bike rental, (bringing your own bike is not allowed on this tour)
- 7 Overnights on the boat
- all breakfasts, and self-made packed lunches
- 6 dinners
- Coffee and tea and other hot drinks on board
- Sheets and towels
- Complimentary courtesy kit
- Daily short cleaning and mid-week cabin cleaning service and towel change
- Bike helmet
- App including maps, roadbook, points of interest and GPS tracks
- Digital tour information
- English speaking tour leader within an international group
- Second tour leader with a minimum of 25 people
- Guided visit in Mantua
- Visit of a cheese factory with tasting of typical Grana Padano
- Visit of Carousel and Street Entertainment Museum
- Visit of a historic glass factory on Murano island
- Harbour charges
- Bus transfer Ferrara-Adria
Price Does Not Include:
- 1 dinner on day 6
- International Flights
- Beverages on board, including alcoholic beverages
- Museums, fees and extras in general
- Ticket for public transportation in Venice and lagoon (we suggest the ACTV 48h-ticket, 30 €)
- Venice Municipality Access Fee: it is expected to enter into force on January 1st, 2023 (approx. 18-30 € to be paid on site)
- Everything not included in the section “Included”
Day 1- Venice
Welcome on board! Ave Maria is moored at the Giudecca island, not far from St. Mark’s square. The cabins are available from 4 p.m. The meeting with the tour leader and the crew is scheduled at dinner-time, at 7 p.m.
Day 2 – Venice
Following a wander off the beaten track with your tour leader you have the day free to enjoy the city at your own pace. Christened La Serenissima (“The Most
Serene”), the Venetian Republic held sway over much of the Mediterranean (and beyond) for centuries – both as a military power and a beacon of culture.
Day 3 – Venice – Pellestrina Island (30 km)
Leaving Venice behind after a gentle cruise in front of St Mark’s square, our first stop will be on Murano island, where we will visit a historic glass factory, with a
glassblowing demonstration by a master artisan. Then our cycling adventure starts on the Lido, the first of two islands we traverse today. Fashionable in high
society ever since the Belle Époque, the Lido di Venezia is now home to the International Venice Film Festival and its galaxy of stars. A short island-hop by
ferry takes us into another world: Pellestrina, where we ride past the picturesque cottages and boats of this humble fishing backwater. We rejoin our barge just in front of Chioggia – a bustling and colourful fishing hub known as “Little Venice”.
Day 4 – Pellestrina island – Po Delta Nature Reserve – Adria (40 km)
We open the day with a stroll through Chioggia, followed perhaps by a visit up the millennial clock tower – the oldest in the world – for some breathtaking views. Weather permitting, we can also bask in the sun at a fine-sand beach nearby: a dip in the Adriatic, a hot savoury piadina – and you are well and truly local! Then onwards into the delta of the life-giving Po. This unique wetland is the prime reserve in Europe for herons and home to a colony of flamingos. We moor for the night in Adria, a key Roman port, once washed by the waters of the sea which bears its name. Adria is also renowned for its Etruscan and Greek heritage. An after-dinner passeggiata into town for a well-earned grappa or gelato is in order.
Day 5 – Adria – Ferrara – Zelo (35 km by bike + 35 km by bus)
After a short cruise we saddle our bikes and, following the Po through farmland and hamlets, we reach Ferrara. Under its ruling family, the Este, this city state
attracted architects, artists and scholars for centuries, pioneering town planning principles that have been emulated worldwide ever since. To this day, Ferrara
University ranks among the best, and the town is dubbed the ”Cycling Capital of Italy”. A private bus and trailer take us back to our floating hotel in Zelo, a sleepy village on the Canal Bianco, the waterway which runs parallel to the Po.
Day 6 – Zelo – Mantua (50 km)
This morning we head for the village of Bergantino, home of the distinctive Museum of Fairground Rides and its collection of street organs, all expertly
restored (and thunderous!). But first things first: we are in the heartland of Grana Padano – the arch-rival of Parmesan – and after visiting the local cheese factory, we enjoy a degustazione of sharp and seasoned Grana, washed down with a glass of Valpolicella. After our customary picnic lunch, we leave Bergantino and follow the river to Ostiglia, famed for its medieval fortress and the fierce fighting that took place here in 1945, as the Allies and partisans drove Hitler’s forces back. We ride on and rejoin our barge at Governolo Lock, where Mantua’s River Mincio flows into the Po. Veering north, we cruise through the lush wetlands that finally emerge into the glorious “lakes” of Mantua. Free dinner in Mantua.
Day 7 – Mantua Loop Ride (35 km)
A day dedicated to the discovery of this cultural gem, its three picturesque “lakes” formed by the river Mincio and the surrounding countryside. This afternoon we meet our Mantuan guide for a walking tour across the historic centre: starting from Piazza Sordello with its magnificent cathedral and Palazzo Ducale, we will walk through the city centre up to Piazza delle Erbe. Here we will admire the Clock Tower, the Rotonda di S. Lorenzo (the oldest church in town) and the Cathedral of St. Andrew, a jewel of Renaissance art and architecture. We will learn why Mantua, once a City State ruled by the Gonzaga family, is now considered by many as Italy’s “Sleeping Beauty”.
Day 8 – Mantua
Your tour ends after breakfast.