Venice to Mantova Bike and Boat

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.

Post ride drinks on the Ave Maria in Zelo

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.

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.

Venice to Mantova Bike and Boat

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.

Post ride drinks on the Ave Maria in Zelo

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.

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.

Itinerary

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

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 Venice

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

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

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

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

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

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 : Mantova - 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 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.

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