Bolzano via Mantova to Venice Bike and Boat

  • Category

    Bike and Boat
    Self Guided or Guided
  • Grade

    Leisurely
  • Duration/s

    10 nights
  • Start / Finish

    Bolzano / Mantova
  • Distance

    236 miles/380 kms
  • Themes

    EbikeRivers and Lakes
  • Accommodation

    Superior
  • Tour code

    019-101CIT
Price From £1605

Overview

This boat and bike cycling holiday combines a 4 day cycling tour with a 7 day cycling cruise. Cycle from the alpine town of Bolzano, high in the awe inspiring Dolomites, via beautiful Lake Garda to the Renaissance city of Mantova in Lombardy.  Here you join your boat for a wonderful cruise and cycle holiday across northern Italy to Venice.

Enjoy daily rides through ever-changing scenery starting from high alpine peaks, past stunning lakes, through forests, open plains, wetlands and finally the coast. Along the way you will have the chance to explore charming villages and wonderful Renaissance cities of art and culture.

For the first four days, from Bolzano to Mantova, the route is self-guided – in other words you are on your own navigating with the maps and route notes provided, staying in hotels along the route. In Mantova you join a boat for a 7 day cycle cruise eastwards to Venice. A resident bike guide leads daily cycle rides from the boat into the surrounding countryside.

Riva - Lake Garda - Italy

Riva – Lake Garda

In Venice the boat moors up on Giudecca Island for two nights providing the perfect base from which to explore this unique city.

The cruise portion of this trip is with the Ave Maria, a large, modern boat with spacious cabins and comfortable facilities.

This is a leisurely cycling holiday on mostly level terrain. The route follows cycle paths, quiet lanes and small roads with low traffic. One climb, approaching Lake Garda, may test you a little, but remember, you are on holidays and there’s no rush.

Itinerary & Map

This is an easy cycling holiday on mostly level terrain. The route follows cycle paths, quiet lanes and small roads with low traffic. One climb, approaching Lake Garda, may test you a little, but remember, you are on holidays and there’s no rush. For the first four days, from Bolzano to Mantova, the route is self-guided – in other words you are on your own navigating with the maps and route notes provided, staying in hotels along the route. In Mantova you join a boat for a 7 day cycle cruise eastwards to Venice. A resident bike guide leads daily cycle rides from the boat into the surrounding countryside.

The captain reserves the right to make changes to the planned route due to changing wind, tide and weather conditions, and where required by organizational necessities.

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Day 1: Arrive Bolzano

Cycling Holidays in Italy - Bolzano

Bolzano

On arrival in Bolzano, check in at your hotel and then spend the rest of the day exploring this lovely alpine town surrounded by spectacular scenery. You are in the South Tyrol, a region that once belonged to Austria and the local people are happy conversing in either German or Italian – many also speak English. Visit the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology to see world famous ‘Oetzi’ the mummified remains of a man who lived in these parts some 3,300 years ago. The perfectly preserved body emerged from a glacier in the nearby Oetz Valley in 1991. You can also take a cable car ride up into the surrounding peaks to enjoy the views and perhaps go for an alpine walk.

Day 2: Bolzano – Trento, 41 to 44 miles/65 to 70 kms

Adige Valley - Italy*

Adige Valley

Today there are two route options to choose from. The easiest and most direct route leads you south along the lower Adige valley beside the river which is bigger now, swollen by its confluence with the Eisack River at Bolzano.  The second, slightly longer option includes a couple of short climbs but the payoff is a ride through the stunning Caladaro Valley to Lake Caldaro. The lake is one of the warmest in the alps and just perfect for a swim if the weather is hot. The two routes converge in the Adige Valley near the town of Ora from where you continue your journey south.  For centuries this wide fertile valley has been one of the primary north-south trading routes through the alps and the scenery is spectacular. Tiny, white alpine villages, perched on the green mountainsides on either side of the valley, are overlooked by towering granite peaks. The easy, level cycle path sticks resolutely to the valley floor leading you through the small pleasant villages of Ora, Egna and Salorno before arriving at Trento, today’s destination.  Trento has a long and colourful history, thanks to its strategic position on one of the Alps’ main passes. Head for the picturesque medieval city centre to absorb the atmosphere and learn more.

Day 3: Trento – Desenzano/Peschiera area, 32 miles/50 kms plus ferry

Torbole

Torbole

Leaving Trento you continue down the valley to Rovereto where you leave the Adige River and cycle up a ridge to escape the valley. The short, easy climb is rewarded with an exhilarating freewheel downhill to stunning Lake Garda. You can relax now and enjoy a wonderful ferry ride the entire length of the Lake from Torbole, on the North shore, to the South shore. The scenery is spectacular with high limestone cliffs and tree-lined hillsides plunging down into the deep blue lake. Pretty villages line the shore and brightly coloured windsurfing sails flit to and fro across the lake’s surface. Disembark and make your way to your nearby hotel. Take time to visit Sirmione, a medieval settlement on a tiny peninsular protruding out into the Lake.

 

Day 4: Desenzano/Peschiera area – Mantova, 28 – 44 miles/45 – 70 kms

Peschiera del Garda - Italy*

Peschiera del Garda

Leave the shores of Lake Garda after breakfast and cycle south through open countryside following the course of the Mincio River. This well known and popular cycle path leads you through level countryside on paths and quiet lanes through small Lombardian towns and villages to Mantova where the second part of your holiday begins. Cycle to the quayside, check-in from 4.30pm and settle into your cabin. Explore the boat and meet your fellow passengers at 6.30pm for a welcome presentation from the bike guide and crew before sitting down for the evening meal. The boat stays moored in Mantova for the night so you can stroll into town and explore the historic centre.

Day 5: Discover Mantova, 22 miles/35 kms

Mantova

Mantova

Today’s ride explores the Renaissance city of Mantova and its beautiful surroundings. In the afternoon a local guide leads you through the town centre pointing out the main highlights and providing some background to the magnificent buildings. The Gonzaga family, who ruled Mantova for nearly four centuries, left the city with some amazing architectural masterpieces. Visit Piazza Sordello which forms the heart of the city; Palazzo Ducale with its huge set of frescoes and of course the Duomo, which retains the Romanesque bell-tower form the 11th century. If history is not your thing you can simply enjoy the bustling atmosphere of the medieval town centre, perhaps enjoying a glass of wine or espresso in the beautiful square.

Day 6: Mantova – Zelo, 32 miles/50 kms

Ave Maria - Al fresco - Zelo

Al fresco dining on-board  Ave Maria in Zelo

Cruise to the medieval town of Governolo where the day’s ride begins. Cycle along a quiet lane that flirts with the Po River, passing small villages and towns such as Libiola, Ostiglia and Bergantino, home to a unique and colourful Carousel and Street Entertainment Museum. At the end of a very relaxing day’s ride you arrive at the small town of Zelo on the ‘Canal Bianco’ where you will spend the night.

 

Day 7: Zelo – Adria, 32 miles/50 kms plus 60 kms bus transfer

Castello Estense - Ferrara

Castello Estense – Ferrara

Today you cycle through open countryside past small villages, farms and country estates to Ferrara. Wide streets and numerous beautiful palaces and castles dating from the 14th and 15th centuries have earned the town its ranking as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The jewel in Ferrara’s crown has to be the fascinating Castello Estense, a medieval castle, complete with moat, which is well worth a visit.

From Ferrara you board a bus for the ride to the ancient port of Adria, so named because it was once a port town with more direct access to the Adriatic Sea than it has today. The Venetian style is very evident here and you realize the magical city cannot be too far away.

Day 8 Adria – Pellestrina Island, 25 miles/40 kms

Cycling through the Po Delta

Cycling through the Po Delta

The boat will motor to Porto Viro where you will disembark for a very unique ride through the Po delta to the mouth of the River Adige which brings melt water from high in the Dolomites. In this protected area you can expect to see a wide variety of bird-life including herons and flamingos. At the River Adige you re-board your boat for a relaxing cruise along the Po-Brondolo water-way, which links the river to the Venetian lagoon. The Island Pellestrina is your overnight location. It is situated just in front of Chioggia, also known as “little Venice”.

Day 9 Pellestrina Island – Venice, 19 miles/30 kms

Chioggia - Italy*

Chioggia

A short and highly enjoyable ride leads you to your final destination, Venice. The route follows the thin strips of land separating Venice Lagoon from the Adriatic. Pellestrina is mostly inhabited by fishermen but it also accommodates a wide variety of bird species in the Ca’ Roman nature reserve. You then hop across to Venice Lido for a very enjoyable ride along the island made famous in Thomas Mann’s book ‘Death in Venice’ and popular with the aristocracy of the Belle Époque. You re-board your boat for a triumphant entrance into Venice, mooring for the next two nights on Giudecca Island adjacent to the city in the Venetian Lagoon.

 

Day 10: Discover Venice

Venice - Italy

Grand Canal – Venice

Spend the day getting to know Europe’s most unique city.  A local guide will show you the main sites such as St Mark’s Square the Rialto Bridge and the Bridge of Sighs, Afterwards the rest of the day is yours to wonder where you will in this truly unique and iconic city. Our top tip is to explore the less frequented ‘calli’ with their unique atmosphere, the many museums, gardens and galleries. And also after dark when the day tourists have left and a more serene and romantic atmosphere pervades the city.

Day 11: End of trip.

After breakfast your wonderful trip comes to an end and embarkation is by 9am, then it’s time to head for home or your next adventure.

 

Dates & Prices

2019 Arrival Dates
Ave Maria
May822
June519
July31731
August1428
September11

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2019 Prices
019-101CIT
Per person
08 May
to
14 Aug
28 Aug
to
11 Sep
 
Ave Maria - Superior
Bunk cabin £1609 £1854                
Double/twin £1707 £1952                
Triple £1605 £1851                
Single £2089 £2334                
Upper Deck Double/twin £1844 £2089                
Upper Deck Triple £1743 £1988                
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Deposit per person £250

Price Includes

3 nights in comfort hotels with 3 x Breakfast. See practical information
7 nights on board with 7 x Breakfast, 6 x Packed lunch & 7 x Dinner, plus daily coffee & tea
Welcome briefing at start of cycle tour
Luggage transportation
Maps & route notes
4 hour ferry cruise on Lake Garda
Local tour guide during boat cruise
Harbour charges
Bus transfer Ferrara - Adria
Guided tour in Mantova and Venice
Cheese tasting, Grano Padano
Helmet

Price Excludes

Flights and transfers
Bike hire (see supplements)
Drinks on-board
Ferry boat trip in Pellestrina (approximately €9)
Museum fees
Tourist tax (approximately €10-15pppn, payable locally)
Gratuities/tips

Supplements

Gluten free or Vegan diet (£56)
Extra night Bolzano/Mestre, double/twin, comfort (£75)
Extra night Bolzano/Mestre, single, comfort (£99)
Bike with pannier & lock. See practical information (£136)
Electric bike with pannier & lock (£305)

Practical Information

Bikes

Unisex bike

Example of bike used on this tour

The bikes provided on this tour are modern aluminium framed, 27-gear unisex bikes with comfortable gel saddle and upright riding position. The bikes come equipped with pannier, handlebar bag, water bottle, water bottle holder, odometer and lock plus one repair kit per room/cabin.

Electric bikes are also available for hire. Kalkhoff’s Agattu model offers 36 volts and 8 gears. The battery has a range of approximately 90 kms on flat terrain at an average cycling pace.

Helmets are included, however we always suggest you bring your own helmet for safety and hygiene reasons.

Accommodation

Ave Maria - underway

Ave Maria – underway

Ave Maria - twin cabin - lower deck

Ave Maria – twin cabin – lower deck

Hotel details: Stay in comfortable hotels for the first 3 nights. Below you will find examples of the types of accommodation typically used on this tour. Please note that the hotels we book for you may differ slightly from those described but they will certainly be of a similar standard.

Bolzano: Premstaller Garden Hotel
Trento: Grand Hotel Trento
Desenzano del Garda: Hotel San Marco Verona

Boat details: Between Mantova and Venice we offer accommodation aboard the modern, well appointed ‘Ave Maria’.

On-board payments:
Cash and credit cards accepted.

The captain reserves the right to make changes to the planned route due to changing wind, tide and weather conditions, and where required by organizational necessities.

Ave Maria (superior)
The Ave Maria is a modern boat designed and built specifically for this tour. She offers a very good standard of comfort and amenities. There are 2 sun decks, a lounge and dining area, which can accommodate up to 33, with a large 55″ screen and free Wi-Fi in the common areas.

She has 17 air-conditioned cabins; the lower deck has 10 twins (11 m²), 3 of which can accommodate 3 people by adding a bunk bed. There are also three smaller bunk cabins (7,5 m²) that can accommodate two people or for use as single cabins. There are also 4 upper-deck, twin cabins (11 m²), 2 of which can accommodate 4 people by adding bunk beds if necessary.

All cabins have private facilities with shower and toilet plus a small safe. They also all have windows although only the upper-deck cabins feature windows that can be partially opened. Bedding and towels are provided. A complimentary courtesy kit: soap, shower gel, shampoo and a shower cap is also provided.

Virtual Tour of Ave Maria

Meals:
A hearty buffet breakfast is provided each morning where guests are also invited to prepare their own packed lunch. Evening meal is served on board and is always a culinary delight. There is also a free hot drinks machine.

Local taxes
Some hotels have started to charge a local/tourist tax. These taxes are not included in the sale price of the tour and must be paid directly by you at check-in or checkout at the hotels. This fee varies and is ever changing but as a guide, you may be asked to pay between €1-€4 per person per night

Getting There

Fly to either Verona or Venice airport and then take the train to Bolzano. From Verona the train takes approximately 2 hours and from Venice approximately 3 hours.

Research flights from the UK here.

Research trains in Italy here.

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