Venice to Mantova Bike and Boat

  • 4.8
    (2 reviews)
  • Category

    Bike and Boat
    Self Guided or Guided
  • Grade

  • Duration/s

    7 nights
  • Start / Finish

    Venice / Mantova
  • Distance

    118 miles/190 kms
  • Themes

    EbikeRivers and Lakes
  • Accommodation

    Comfort to Superior
  • Tour code

Price From £834


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

This easy, bike and boat cycling holiday is the perfect way to explore the highlights of northern Italy. From Venice on the Adriatic Coast to the beautiful Renaissance town of Mantova in Lombardy, cruise and cycle through breathtaking scenery discovering magical cities of art and culture along the way.

As a starting point for a cycling holiday Venice takes some beating, especially when you’re staying on a comfortable barge moored in the Venetian lagoon itself and convenient for exploring the highlights of Europe’s most unique city.

Cruise across to the Lido and enjoy fantastic sea views cycling along the islands that protect Venice from the open sea. The wetlands of Po Delta are a haven for waterfowl and offer peaceful cycling through a serene untouched wilderness.

Venice - Italy

The Grand Canal – Venice

The winding, medieval streets of historic Ferrara are another highlight as is stopping for a break in one of the many small charming villages you’ll discover all along the route.

Finally we arrive in Mantova, one of the most important Renaissance cities and once ruled by the all powerful Gonzaga family. The city’s Palaces and Piazzas are sensational and a ride through the atmospheric old town, followed by a spell at one of the street cafes in the stunning main square makes a fitting finale to such a wonderful trip.

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.

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


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 Mantova to Venice. For the reverse itinerary, including dates and prices, please click here.

View larger map

Day 1: Arrive Venice

Venice - Italy


Upon arrival in Venice take the vaporetto (water-bus) or water taxi to Giudecca Island where the boat is moored. Your cabin will be available from 4.30pm and the tour leader & crew will host a welcome meeting at 6.30pm. Time allowing you can saviour Venice for a walk around after dinner, but don’t worry if not as there will be plenty of time to explore the city.

Day 2: Discover Venice

Grand Canal - Venice

Grand Canal – Venice

In the morning a local guide will show us around the city pointing out the highlights and providing us with some background information and history. Afterwards the rest of the day is yours to wander where you will and absorb the atmosphere of this magical city. We highly recommend that you also take the time to return to the center in the evening when the day tourists have left and a more tranquil atmosphere pervades.

Day 3: Venice – Pellestrina island, 19 miles/30 kms

Venice Lido

Venice Lido

After breakfast we slip our moorings and cruise across the lagoon to Venice Lido, one of the long narrow islands protecting Venice from the open sea. Here we disembark and begin to cycle  southwards enjoying marvelous sea views to our left. We’ll pass sumptuous villas and ornate hotels including the Grand Hotel des Bains, made famous in Thomas Mann’s novel ‘Death in Venice’. After a very short ferry crossing to the neighbouring island of Pellestrina we continue our ride past, small cottages and fishing boats to the Ca’ Roman nature reserve. We re-board the boat just in front of the small town of Chioggia, also called ‘little Venice’, at the southern corner of the Venetian Lagoon. We moor here for the night.

Day 4: Pellestrina island – Porto Viro – Adria, 25 miles/40 kms

Po Delta - Italy

Po Delta

After breakfast a visit to Chioggia’s frenetic fish market is highly recommended before mounting up and cycling out of Chioggia into the serenity of the Po Delta wetlands. This unique and unspoilt landscape is home to a variety of wild fowl including herons and a colony of flamingos. Riding along the quiet paths and lanes of this pristine wilderness is an unforgettable experience. We spend the night in the ancient port town of Adria, so named because it was once connected by navigable channels to the Adriatic Sea.

Day 5 Adria – Ferrara – Zelo, 22 miles/35 kms plus bus transfer

Castello Estense - Ferrara

Castello Estense – Ferrara

Following a short cruise we disembark with the bikes and ride through open countryside and small charming villages 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 the centre-piece of this lovely old city. We then board a private bus to rendezvous with the boat at Zelo on the Canal Bianco. Weather permitting, an al-fresco meal in this lovely setting is an experience that will live long in the memory.

Day 6 Zelo – Mantova, 31 miles/50 kms

Venice - Mantova cyclists

En-route beside the Po River

Today is the longest ride of the trip but the last few days will have more than prepared you for this enjoyable ride along a meandering cycle path that flirts with the River Po. The pleasant route leads us through charming villages such as Bergantino where we stop to visit a charming carousel and street entertainment museum, to Governolo a large lock at the point where the Mincio River flows into the mighty Po. Here we re-board the boat for a relaxing and scenic cruise up the Mincio to the Renaissance city of Mantova.

Day 7: Discover Mantova, 22 miles/35 kms



Our last day on the bikes consists of a relaxing ride around Mantova, its lakes, and the surrounding countryside. A local guide will lead us through the old town pointing out the main highlights. You will get used to hearing the name ‘Gonzaga’ as this powerful family ruled Mantova for nearly four centuries and are responsible for most of the 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, perhaps culminating in a spell at one of the street cafes in the lovely central Piazza.

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 Mantova to Venice route.

2021 Arrival Dates
Ave Maria
Vita Pugna

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

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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. GPS route data
Local tour guide
Harbour charges
Bus transfer Ferrara - Zelo
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 72-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 available 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 Mantua to Venice, 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 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 Venice or Verona airports.

Research flights from UK airports here.

If you fly into Venice, take the ferry or vaporetto directly from the airport to Certosa Island, where the boat is moored. If you fly to Verona, take the airport bus directly to the city’s main train station, journey time approximately 20 minutes – and from there take the train directly to Venice – journey time approx. 1hr 45mins.

Research rail timetables in Italy here.


Current rating for this cycling holiday based on 2 reviews 4.8
  • Date - 17/04/2018
  • Name - Karen Paterson
  • Service rating -
  • Service comment - The pre-tour service, both via email and phone, was friendly and very helpful.
  • Product rating -
  • Product comment - The trip was very well planned. The accommodation on board was very good and the food magnificent. All staff were very helpful and friendly. One of us had limited cycling experience but found the trip highly enjoyable and not too difficult. The route included many wonderful places, some well known and others very much off the beaten track.
  • Flexitreks response - Service rating : Thanks Karen, we really appreciate your review.

    Product : Thanks for the lovely review of this very popular trip Karen. I was lucky enough to do the trip last year and agree with all your comments, particularly the one about the food - delicious!
  • Date - 21/08/2016
  • Name - Bruce
  • Service rating -
  • Service comment - Friendly, engaging and helpful service from Ally made selecting and booking the trip a breeze.
  • Product rating -
  • Product comment - The highlight of the trip was the staff. The the boat, its crew, the guide and the food were fantastic. The actual cycling was a bit repetitive due to the terrain but was very accurately represented in the product description.
  • Flexitreks response - Thanks for the review Bruce. Yes, the guide and boat crew are great and it's obvious they really love what they do. I know what you mean about some of the cycling being a little repetitive and I guess this is down to it being an easy route with some flat, rural terrain in places.