Mantova to Venice Bike and Boat

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.

Post ride drinks on the Ave Maria at Zelo.

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.

Mantova to Venice Bike and Boat

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.

Post ride drinks on the Ave Maria at Zelo.

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

This holiday also operates in reverse, see the Venice to Mantova route.

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.

Day 1 : Arrive 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

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

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 60 kms journy 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 – Pellestrina
25 miles/40 kms

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 : Pellestrina – Venice
19 miles/30 kms

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

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 : Venice - end of trip

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

Bikes

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

Electric bikes are also available

Theft and damage insurance is included with all bike rentals on this tour.

We suggest you bring your own helmet for safety and hygiene reasons. Alternatively, helmets are available for rent at the time of booking.

Accommodation

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.

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.

Getting there

Fly to Verona, or Venice 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 Mantova – 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 Mantova – journey time approximately 2.5 hours.

Research rail timetables in Italy here.

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