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Highlights of this tour

Italian countryside by bike and barge

Bike in green woods & next to azure seas

Historical cities like Mantua & Venice

Barges with max. 21 passengers

Guidance
  • Fully-guided: A tour leader will guide you during the cycling days
  • Semi-guided: Daily briefing by the tour leader, independent cycling but tour leader available ICE.
  • Independent: No tour leader, the ships’ crew does daily briefing, independent cycling
guidance Fully-guided
Difficulty
  • Level 1: easy tours, very flat terrain
  • Level 2: quite easy tours, mostly flat terrain
  • Level 3: requires a higher level of exertion, medium hilly terrain
  • Level 4: for experienced cyclists, hilly terrain with climbs
Difficulty level 1 Difficulty level 1
Duration of the tour.
tijd2 Created with Sketch. 8 days

Boat Bike Tours Italy: Venice, Po river + Mantua | Vita Pugna & Ave Maria

The itinerary winds its way along the Mincio and the Po, penetrating into rural areas of the Italian countryside that are still uncontaminated, and ends in the warm embrace of the Venetian Lagoon. This territory has been reclaimed from the marshes for many centuries now and is framed by green pinewoods, which offer protection for numerous species of animals. The work of man overlaps nature in a constant game of roles: reclaimed land alternates with natural canals, fishermen’s huts are camouflaged in the reeds, and bridges formed of boats reduce the distances between strips of sand. Just a few of many highlights are the historical cities of Mantua and beautiful Venice and the fishing village of Chioggia.

Day to day program from Mantua to Venice

Parts that are printed in italics parts will be covered by the ship.

All distances are “approximate distances” of recommended bike tours.
The tour details are barring changes, a.o. as a result of nautical, technical or meteorological reasons.

Day 1 (Sat): Embarkation: Mantua

We welcome you aboard your new home-from-home from 4.30 pm onwards, and then regroup for the introductory briefing – at 6.30 pm – with your tour leader, skipper and crew, along with a first refreshing “aperitivo”. After dinner we can stroll into town and savor the historic center at its most evocative: Benvenuti a Mantova!

Day 2 (Sun): Mantua (round tour approx. 35 km/21 mi.)

A day dedicated to the discovery of this little visited cultural gem, its three picturesque “lakes” formed by the Mincio, and its surrounding countryside – once a City State ruled by the Gonzaga family and now considered by many as Italy’s “Sleeping Beauty”. This afternoon we meet our Mantuan guide for a walking tour of the historic center, and enjoy the rest of the day in town, at our own leisure.

Day 3 (Mon): Mantua – Governolo | Governolo – Ostiglia – Bergantino – Zelo (Approx. 50 km/30 mi.)

After breakfast, you set sail from the “lakes” of Mantua and cruise through the lush wetlands that lead to Governolo Lock, where Mantua’s River Mincio flows into the Po. Here, you saddle up and follow the broad sweeps of the levee towards Ostiglia, renowned for its medieval fortress and fierce fighting in 1945, as the Allies drove Hitler’s forces back.
Next: Bergantino, home of the distinctive Museum of Fairground Rides and its collection of street organs, all expertly restored (and thunderous!). This village is also in the heartland of Grana Padano – the arch-rival of Parmesan – and a visit to the local cheese factory, sampling some well-seasoned Grana, is de rigueur. You catch up with your barge in Zelo, a sleepy village on the Canal Bianco, the waterway which runs parallel to the Po.

Day 4 (Tue): Zelo – Ferrara (Approx. 50 km/30 mi.) | Ferrara – Adria (60 km by bus)

This morning you cross the Po and ride southwards through a patchwork of farmland, orchards and hamlets, as far as Ferrara. Under its ruling family, the Este, this city state attracted architects, artists and scholars for centuries, pioneering town planning principles that have been emulated worldwide ever since. To this day, Ferrara University ranks among the best, and the town is dubbed the ”Cycling Capital of Italy”.
A private bus and trailer then take you back to your floating hotel in Adria, an ancient Roman port once washed by the sea which bears its name. Adria is also renowned for its Etruscan and Greek heritage. An after-dinner passeggiata into town for a well-earned grappa or gelato is in order.

Day 5 (Wed): Adria – Po Delta Nature Reserve  – Chioggia/Pellestrina (Approx. 40 km/24 mi.)

After a short cruise, you cycle into the delta of the life-giving Po. This unique wetland is the prime reserve in Europe for herons and home to a size-able colony of flamingos. Weather permitting, as we continue towards Chioggia, we can also enjoy a break at a fine-sand beach nearby for a dip in the Adriatic – not forgetting a hot savory piadina! Chioggia is also known as “Little Venice”, a colourful fishing hub. The overnight takes place on the Island Pellestrina, just in front of Chioggia.

Day 6 (Thu): Chioggia/Pellestrina | Island Pellestrina – Lido Island (ferry) | Lido Island – Venice (Bike Tour Approx. 30 km/18 mi.)

Venice beckons, but first another world altogether: Pellestrina, the first of two islands you traverse today – a humble and tranquil fishing backwater, picturesque as ever with its cottages, boats and nets. A short island-hop by ferry lands us on the Lido. Fashionable in high society ever since the Belle Époque, the Lido di Venezia is now home to the International Venice Film Festival and its galaxy of stars. We will also visit a historic glass factory on Murano island, with a glassblowing demonstration by a master artisan. After rejoining your barge, an unrushed cruise  in front of St Mark’s square takes you to our final destination. After dinner you can savor Venice at night, now free of the crowds and at her most romantic: Benvenuti a Venezia!

Day 7 (Fri): Venice

After breakfast – and perhaps following a wander off the beaten track with your tour leader – you all meet up with a Venetian guide for a tour through the historic center. Christened La Serenissima (“The Most Serene”), the Venetian Republic held sway over much of the Mediterranean (and beyond) for centuries – both as a military power and a beacon of culture, her explorers reaching as far as China and Newfoundland. After your guided tour, you have the afternoon free to enjoy the city at your own pace.

Day 8 (Sat): Disembarkation: Venice

After breakfast and the customary goodbyes, free time for individual visits of Venice, or return home, if you haven’t booked any extra night.

Good to know

Parts that are printed in italics parts will be covered by the ship.

All distances are “approximate distances” of recommended bike tours.
The tour details are barring changes, a.o. as a result of nautical, technical or meteorological reasons.

Route profile:
Total length: 190/205 km
Total vertical up: 20 m

Terrain: 95% tarmac, 5% unpaved

Summary: This cycling tour is largely along the flats of the Po plains, and the daily stages vary from 25 km to 55 km (15 to 33 miles) – mostly on tarmac cycle paths along rivers and canals, or quiet country roads. The boat is moored at night and normally cruises of after breakfast, meeting up with the cyclists in the afternoon. Some parts of the itinerary are undertaken by boat, to allow easier access onto cycling paths  or simply to enjoy the cruise.

Activity level
Easy: easy cycling in mostly flat areas, with only few short climbs and descents. Little effort required, suitable for most people.
The tour is also suitable for children. If the child one day does not want to cycle, he/she can stay on the boat with one of the parents.

Tour program variations
The program has been planned to feature navigation along the Fissero/Bianco canal, which runs parallel to the Po river and connects Mantua to the Adriatic Sea. Due to organizational reasons, weather conditions or provisions issued by local authorities, the itinerary may be subject to some changes before and/or during the holiday. Issues with high and low water, as well as logistic obstacles such as officially ordered – previously not announced – repair work on locks or bridges can modify some of the daily stretches or overnight stays and may even request a transfer by bus. These decisions are only taken by the boat’s captain.

Tour leader:
Our tour leaders are carefully selected and rigorously trained. They are all multi-lingual, and speak at least English and German. Smart, entertaining, caring and endlessly enthusiastic, they have a true passion for sharing their love of the outdoors, people, culture and local food. Thanks to a deep knowledge of the territory, they can give you useful hints and help you appreciate the place you are visiting. Of course they love cycling and will be happy to give you some advice about how to correctly use the bicycle gears and whenever necessary they can fix your flat tire. As we like to say, our tour leaders are CDO (Controlled Designation of Origin), a real traveler’s ticket to discover the land with ease and to live an unforgettable active travel experience.

Day to day program from Venice to Mantua

Parts that are printed in italics parts will be covered by the ship.

All distances are “approximate distances” of recommended bike tours.
The tour details are barring changes, a.o. as a result of nautical, technical or meteorological reasons.

Parts that are printed in italics parts will be covered by the ship.

All distances are “approximate distances” of recommended bike tours.
The tour details are barring changes, a.o. as a result of nautical, technical or meteorological reasons.

Day 1 (Sat): Embarkation: Venice

We welcome you aboard your new home-from-home from 4.30 pm onwards, and then regroup for the introductory briefing – at 6.30 pm – with your tour leader, skipper and crew, along with a first refreshing “aperitivo”. After dinner you can savor Venice at night, now free of the crowds and at her most romantic: Benvenuti a Venezia!

Day 2 (Sun):  Venice

After breakfast – and perhaps following a wander off the beaten track with your tour leader – you all meet up with our Venetian guide for a tour through the historic center. Christened La Serenissima (“The Most Serene”), the Venetian Republic held sway over much of the Mediterranean (and beyond) for centuries – both as a military power and a beacon of culture, her explorers reaching as far as China and Newfoundland. After your guided tour, you have the afternoon free to enjoy the city at your own pace.

Day 3 (Mon): Venice – Island Pellestrina/Chioggia (Approx. 30 km/18 mi.)

Leaving Venice behind after a gentle cruise in front of St Mark’s square, our first stop will be on Murano island, where we will visit a historic glass factory, with a glassblowing demonstration by a master artisan. Then our cycling adventure starts on the Lido, the first of two islands we traverse today. Fashionable in high society ever since the Belle Époque, the Lido di Venezia is now home to the International Venice Film Festival and its galaxy of stars. A short island-hop takes you into another world: Pellestrina, where you ride past the picturesque cottages and boats of this humble fishing backwater. You rejoin the barge and sail to Chioggia – a bustling and colorful fishing harbor known as “Little Venice”.

Day 4 (Tue): Chioggia– Po Delta Nature Reserve –Adria (Approx. 40 km/24 mi.)

You open the day with a stroll through Chioggia, followed perhaps by a visit up the millennial clock tower – the oldest in the world – for some breathtaking views. Weather permitting, you can also bask in the sun at a fine-sand beach nearby: a dip in the Adriatic, a hot savory piadina – and you are well and truly local! Then onwards into the delta of the life-giving Po. This unique wetland is the prime reserve in Europe for herons and home to a colony of flamingos. You moor for the night in Adria, a key Roman port, once washed by the waters of the sea which bears its name. Adria is also renowned for its Etruscan and Greek heritage. An after-dinner passeggiata into town for a well-earned grappa or gelato is in order.

Day 5 (Wed): Adria – Ferrara – Zelo (Approx. 35 km/21 mi. + 35 km by bus)

After a short cruise you saddle your bikes and, following the Po through farmland and hamlets, you reach Ferrara. Under its ruling family, the Este, this City State attracted architects, artists and scholars for centuries, pioneering town planning principles that have been emulated worldwide ever since. To this day, Ferrara University ranks among the best, and the town is dubbed the ”Cycling Capital of Italy”.  A private bus and trailer takes you back to your floating hotel in Zelo, a sleepy village on the Canal Bianco, the waterway which runs parallel to the Po.

Day 6 (Thu): Zelo – Bergantino – Ostiglia – Mantua (Approx. 50 km/30 mi.)

This morning you head for the village of Bergantino, home of the distinctive Museum of Fairground Rides and its collection of street organs, all expertly restored (and thunderous!). But first things first: you are in the heartland of Grana Padano – the arch-rival of Parmesan – and after visiting the local cheese factory, you enjoy a degustazione of sharp and seasoned Grana, washed down with a glass of Valpolicella. After your customary picnic lunch, you leave Bergantino and follow the river to Ostiglia, famed for its medieval fortress and the fierce fighting that took place here in 1945, as the Allies and partisans drove Hitler’s forces back. You ride on and rejoin our barge at Governolo Lock, where Mantua’s River Mincio flows into the Po. Veering north, you cruise through the lush wetlands that finally emerge into the glorious “lakes” of Mantua.

Day 7 (Fri): Mantua (round tour approx. 35 km/21 mi.)

A day dedicated to the discovery of this little visited cultural gem, its three picturesque “lakes” formed by the Mincio, and its surrounding countryside – once a City State ruled by the Gonzaga family and now considered by many as Italy’s “Sleeping Beauty”. This afternoon we meet our Mantuan guide for a walking tour of the historic center, and enjoy the rest of the day in town, at our own leisure.

Day 8 (Sat): Mantua

Departure after breakfast.


Prices & information

Prices & availability

Below you see an overview of the available (blue) dates; the yellow dot means that this date has 2 or less cabins available, orange is ‘on request’ and red means that on this date there aren’t any cabins available. Then click on the preferred date. After this, choose your ship (some tours have only one ship, and therefore there is no choice), the number of cabins in the required (and available) category, any desired additional products, and ‘local costs’ (such as special dietary needs, which you usually pay for onboard). On the right side, you’ll find the ‘Booking Summary.’ After completing your preferences and necessary information click ‘Book now’ to finalize your booking.

  • Available
  • 2 or less available
  • On request
  • Not available
Departure date -

Choose preferred ship

Please select your cabin(s)

Pricing overview - 2020
Cabin type For Value Vita Pugna Standard Vita Pugna High Vita Pugna Value Ave Maria Standard Ave Maria High Ave Maria
Twin cabin with bunk bed pers. Not available Not available Not available €790 €1250 €1460 Twin cabin pers. €890 €1180 €1290 €990 €1450 €1660 Superior twin upper deck pers. Not available Not available Not available €1130 €1590 €1800
Included in this tour

Boat & Bike tour with the Vita Pugna/Ave Maria, 8 days/7 nights; accommodation on board in the booked category

Full board (breakfast and dinner on board, a self-made packed lunch during bike tours); Tea, coffee and other hot drinks on board

Use of bed linen and towels; daily short cleaning and mid-week cabin cleaning service and towel change

Courtesy kit

English speaking tour leader (within an international group) on board and during bike tours

Second tour leader with a minimum of 25 people (only aboard Ave Maria)

Travel guide, maps and roadbook

Bike helmet

Bus transfer Ferrara – Zelo/Ferrara-Adria

Guided tour in Venice and Mantova

Visit of a cheese factory with tasting of the typical Grana Pardano

Visit of Carousel and Street Entertainment Museum

Visit of a historic glass factory on Murano island

Wifi

Excluded in this tour

Transfers to/from docking places

Rental bicycle or E-Bike (optional)

Other transfers and Ticket for public transportation in Venice

Parking fees

Entrance fees & excursions

Ticket for public transportation in Venice and lagoon (we suggest the ACTV 72 hour-ticket, price 40 €)

Drinks on board

Personal (travel) insurances

Gratuities (at your discretion)

Additional options & information 2020
  • Rental bicycle: € 85 per week/person
  • Rental E-Bike: € 195 per week/person (only on request, limited number of e-bikes available, early bookings strongly recommended.
  • You can find a description of the bicycles under ‘ship’.
  • Bike helmet:  All the helmets have a certification mark according to the DIN EN 1078 (CE) European norm. Helmet is incl. in the price.

 

Diets and allergies:
If you are vegetarian, gluten-intolerant, allergic to some specific ingredients/substances or if you suffer from any other kind of allergies please indicate it at the moment of booking. Once on board, make sure that the kitchen staff is aware of your allergies, in order to avoid unpleasant situations. A supplement of € 50 can be charged (in advance).

TRANSFER BACK:
The towns of Mantua and Venice/Mestre are well connected by train, there are about 15 trains per day between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. There are no direct connections, you always have to change in Verona Porta Nuova or Monselice. The transfer takes approx. 2.5 hours and costs about 30-50 € per person depending on the type of train. For further information on times and costs please consult the website www.trenitalia.com or www.goeuro.co.uk

Legal notice:
Boat Bike Tours is not the operator of this tour; this is a so called ‘partner tour’. Tour operator is: Girolibero, Vicenza, Italy



Reviews

Italy: Venice, Po river + Mantua or vice versa Rated 10 out of 10 based on 9 reviews
5 stars

Mary McMahon

My Boat Bike Tour in August was fantastic and I commend everyone involved on the boat from kitchen staff, captain, engineer and most of all Michaela our guide was amazing. My only criticism was the difficulty we endured whilst booking from Australia- it was not an easy process and our Australian Travel Agent was unable to book for us.

5 stars

Simonne and Guy Ferguson

We have been on several boat bike tours. This one was one of the best–excellent–great food, comfortable boat, very nice staff. We met some wonderful people who are now friends we’ll see in the future.

5 stars

Carrol

I loved the trip from venice to mantova. The food was exceptional and the staff were ALL wonderful. Mikayla was an amazing guide-very confident and in control. I felt extremely safe with her. Can’t fault the journey. Would definitely reccomend.

5 stars

Elmare Van den Heever

This boat and bike holiday was by far the best vacation I ever had Everything, from the tour leader, bikes, the meals, the crew and the cabin, as well as the route and places visited, exceeded my highest expectations! I can honestly recommend this tour to anybody I am looking forward to my next boat and bike tour

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Available ships for this tour

Ship Vita Pugna Italy
max. 21 passengers
10 cabins
1 tours available with this ship
Ship Ave Maria Italy
max. 40 passengers
17 cabins
1 tours available with this ship

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Italy: Venice, Po river + Mantua or vice versa

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