Mantova to Venice Bike and Boat

  • 5.0
    (3 reviews)
  • Category

    Bike and Boat
    Self Guided or Guided
  • Grade

  • Duration/s

    7 nights
  • Start / Finish

    Mantova / Venice
  • Distance

    127 miles/205 kms
  • Themes

    EbikeRivers and Lakes
  • Accommodation

    Comfort to Superior
  • Tour code

Price From £834


This holiday also operates in reverse, click here for the Venice to Mantova route.

A wonderful, easy-going bike and boat cycling holiday across northern Italy following the Po River from the beautiful, Renaissance town of Mantova in Lombardy to Venice on the Adriatic coast. Enjoy daily rides through tranquil countryside, passing through charming villages and wonderful cities of art and culture.

Easy cycling along quiet lanes and river paths characterises this popular cycle cruising holiday, offering a satisfying mix of natural beauty and Italian Renaissance culture. Highlights include Mantova, one of the most important cities of the Renaissance where the ego and wealth of the Gonzaga family is reflected in the town’s ornate palaces and beautiful piazzas. The twisting, medieval, cobbled streets of bustling Ferrara are another high-point as is the town’s impressive castle complete with drawbridge and moat.



The route also reveals stunning natural beauty too such as the untouched splendour of the Po delta wetlands and the ethereal serenity of the Venetian Lagoon.

Venice provides a fitting finale to this magical cycling adventure. St Mark’s square and bobbing gondolas greet us as we enter the unique city by boat from her best side – the seaward side.

On this tour you can choose between two different vessels. The Vita Pugna is a traditional Dutch barge offering a cosy, convivial atmosphere with simple but comfortable cabins. The Ave Maria is a larger boat with more modern facilities and cabins. More details on both boats can be found on the ‘Practical Information’ page.

Itinerary & Map

Easy cycling along river paths and quiet roads.

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.

Important note: This tour also operates in reverse, from Venice to Mantova. For the reverse itinerary, including dates and prices, please click here.

View larger map

Day 1: Arrive Mantova

Ave Maria - Mantova

Ave Maria – Mantova

Upon arrival in Mantova you can either take the short 10-minute walk to Porto Catena where your boat is waiting for you or jump in a taxi. Your cabins will be available from 4.30pm and the tour leader will host a welcome meeting at 6.30pm. After dinner we suggest a stroll through the atmospheric old town, stopping perhaps to enjoy a refreshment at one of the street cafes and drinking in the beautiful Renaissance architecture.

Day 2: Discover Mantova, 22 miles/35 kms



Today is an easy cycling day as you get to know your bikes on a relaxing ride around Mantova, its lakes, and the surrounding countryside. A local guide will lead you through the old town pointing out the main highlights. You will get used to hearing the name ‘Gonzaga’ as this family ruled Mantova for nearly four centuries and are responsible for some of its most stunning examples of renaissance architecture. The bustling centre of this ancient city is a wonderful place to lose yourself, wandering the many lanes and alleyways.

Day 3: Mantova – Zelo, 32 miles/50 kms

Ave Maria - Al fresco - Zelo

Al fresco dining aboard Ave Maria in Zelo

Today we cruise to the medieval town of Governolo where our ride begins. The route leads us along a quiet lane that flirts with the Po River, passing through small villages and towns such as Libiola, Ostiglia and Bergantino. At the end of a very relaxing day’s ride we arrive in the small town of Zelo on the ‘Canal Bianco’. Weather permitting, this is the perfect spot to enjoy an al-fresco meal on deck before turning in for the night.

Day 4: Zelo – Ferrara – Adria, 32 miles/50 kms plus 60 kms bus transfer

Castello Estense - Ferrara

Castello Estense – Ferrara

Today we cycle through open countryside past small villages, farms and country estates to the medieval city of Ferrara. Cobbled streets and numerous beautiful palaces and castles dating from the 14th and 15th centuries have earned the city 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 and drawbridge that is well worth a visit.

From Ferrara we board a bus for a ride to the ancient port of Adria, so named because it was once a port town with direct access to the Adriatic Sea. The Venetian style is very much in evidence here, a sign that Venice herself is not far away.

Day 5 Adria – Po Delta – Island Pellestrina, 25 miles/40 kms

Po Delta - Italy

Po Delta

This morning the boat cruises to Porto Viro where we disembark for a very unique experience, cycling through the wild landscape of the Po River delta to the mouth of the River Adige bringing melt water from high in the Dolomites. In this protected area you can expect to see a wide variety of wild fowl including herons and flamingos. At the River Adige we re-board our boat for a relaxing cruise along the Po-Brondolo waterway, which links the river to the Venetian lagoon. We are overnighting on the Island Pellestrina. It is just in front of Chioggia, also known as “little Venice”.

Day 6 Island Pellestrina – Venice, 19 miles/30 kms

Chioggia - Italy*


A short and highly enjoyable ride leads us towards our 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. We then hop across to Venice Lido for a very enjoyable ride along the island which was made famous in Thomas Mann’s book ‘Death in Venice’. We then re-board our boat for a triumphant entrance to Venice herself. Have your camera primed and ready as arriving in Venice from the seaward side offers fabulous views of St Mark’s square and the Venetian skyline.

Day 7: Discover Venice

Grand Canal - Venice

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 also explore after dark when the day tourists have left and a more serene and romantic atmosphere pervades the city.

Day 8: End of trip.

After breakfast it’s time to disembark, by 9am, and head for home or your next adventure.

Dates & Prices

This holiday also operates in reverse, click here for the Venice to Mantova route.

2021 Arrival Dates
Ave Maria
Vita Pugna

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2021 Prices
Per person
27 Mar
03 Apr
04 Apr
21 Aug
22 Aug
16 Oct
23 Oct
Ave Maria - Superior
Lower Deck
Bunk £834 £1411 £1674 £834              
Double/Twin £1034 £1612 £1875 £1034              
Triple £934 £1511 £1775 £934            
Single £1336 £1913 £2176 £1336            
Upper Deck
Double/Twin £1175 £1752 £2016 £1175            
Triple £1075 £1652 £1915 £1075              
Vita Pugna - Comfort
Lower Deck                      
Twin £934 £1298 £1436                
Triple £834 £1197 £1336                
Single £1285 £1649 £1787                

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Deposit per person £310

Price Includes

7 nights aboard the Vita Pugna (Comfort) or Ave Maria (Superior). See practical information
7 x Breakfast, 6 x Packed lunch & 7 x Dinner
Daily coffee and tea
Maps & route information.
Local tour guide
Harbour charges
Bus transfer Ferrara - Adria
Guided tour in Mantova and Venice
Cheese tasting
Carousel and Street Entertainment Museum
Visit to historic glass factory on Murano Island

Price Excludes

Flights and transfers
Bike hire (see supplements)
Drinks on-board
ACTV 48-hour ticket for public transport in Venice and lagoon, €30 (payable locally)
Museum fees
Special dietary requests (see supplement)


Gluten free, lactose free or vegan diet (£53)
Extra night Mantova, double/twin, comfort (£48)
Extra night Mantova, single, comfort (£76)
Extra night Mantova, double/twin, superior (£81)
Extra night Mantova, single, superior (£118)
Extra night Mestre, double/twin, comfort (£62)
Extra night Mestre, single, comfort (£85)
Extra night Mestre, double/twin, superior (£66)
Extra night Mestre, single, superior (£99)
Regular bike with pannier and bike insurance. See practical information (£72)
Electric bike with pannier and bike insurance (£185)


1 child Free, 0 to 2 years sharing with two adults (Ave Maria only, any deck)
50% for 1 child 3 to 6 years sharing with two adults (Ave Maria only, any deck)
30% for 1 child 7 to 10 years sharing with two adults (Ave Maria only, any deck)
2 children Free, 0 to 2 years sharing with two adults (Ave Maria only in upper deck)
50% for 2 children 3 to 6 years sharing with two adults (Ave Maria only in upper deck)
30% for 2 children 7 to 10 years sharing with two adults (Ave Maria only in upper deck)

Practical Information


Unisex bike

Example of bike used on this tour

Regular bikes provided are modern alloy framed models with 27 speeds. The bikes come equipped with pannier, lock and a repair kit with pump.

Electric bikes are also available.

We suggest you bring your own helmet for safety and hygiene reasons, alternatively helmets are provided on arrival.


Vita Pugna

Vita Pugna

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.

We offer accommodation aboard two different vessels on this tour, the traditional dutch barge ‘Vita Pugna’ and the modern, well appointed ‘Ave Maria’.

Both boats also operate in the opposite direction, from Venice to Mantova, each alternate week. To view the itinerary and departure dates of this reverse tour please click here.

Click on the gallery tab above to view more images of both boats.

Vita Pugna - twin cabin

Vita Pugna – twin cabin

Vita Pugna (comfort)

The lovely Vita Pugna is a traditional Dutch barge with an intimate, cosy atmosphere and welcoming crew. On-board there is a sun deck, spacious air-conditioned living/dining room, which can accommodate up to 23 guests, with a large 42″ screen and free Wi-Fi in the common areas.

There are 10 airconditioned twin cabins (8 m²), private bathroom with shower/wc and a porthole that can be opened. One of the cabins is slightly larger and can accommodate a third bed. Bedding and towels are provided and a complimentary courtesy kit: soap, shower gel, shampoo, shower cap.

Ave Maria - underway

Ave Maria

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

Ave Maria - twin cabin - lower deck

Ave Maria – twin cabin – lower deck


On both boats 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.

Getting There

Fly to Verona, Venice or airports.

Research flights from UK airports here.

If you fly into Verona, take the airport bus directly to the city’s main train station – journey time approximately 20 minutes – then take a train directly to Mantua – journey time approximately 45 minutes. If you fly into Venice, take the bus to Venice/Mestre train station – journey time approximately 15 minutes and then a train via Verona to Mantua – journey time approximately 2.5 hours.

Research rail timetables in Italy here.


Current rating for this cycling holiday based on 3 reviews 5.0
  • Date - 13/06/2019
  • Name - Anonymous
  • Service rating -
  • Service comment - The booking process is straightforward and Flexitreks was efficient in helping us to book our preferred option. I also had a quick and helpful response to a query about arrangements for departing the boat and travelling to the airport on the last day.
  • Product rating -
  • Product comment - The cycling route was both beautiful and interesting, the boat was comfortable, the food was unbelievably good, our guide was excellent, our fellow cyclists/boaters were very friendly.
  • Flexitreks response - So glad you enjoyed this fabulous trip so much.
  • Date - 28/08/2017
  • Name - Angela Good
  • Service rating -
  • Service comment - The staff at Flexitreks were knowledgable and helpful with any questions we had and as it was our first cycling holiday we did have to ring a few times. Although they were probably busy they always took time to go through our questions and ring us back if they didn't know the answer
  • Product rating -
  • Product comment - The Mantova to Venice was a fantastic first cycling holiday, leisurely and flat. There was a wonderful crew including the tour guide Michaela, who made our holiday so enjoyable. The food was superb and everything was very well organised. We would highly recommend this and most certainly would book another cycling holiday.
  • Flexitreks response - Thanks for the lovely review Angela. We can always rely on the Vita Pugna and her crew to provide guests with a wonderful cycling holiday experience.
  • Date - 10/08/2017
  • Name - Anonymous
  • Service rating -
  • Service comment - Coped very well with quite a late booking.
  • Product rating -
  • Product comment - Cycling was very easy and pretty well led. Food was excellent.
  • Flexitreks response - Glad you enjoyed your trip on the Ave Maria. I was on it myself in July and agree that the food is sensational.