Gondola ride in Venice, Veneto, Italy. Photo via Flickr:Moyan Brenn

Quiet bike path in Ferrara, Emilia-Romagna, Italy. Photo via Flickr:Caspar Diederik
4.9/5 (14 ratings)

Bolzano - Mantova - Venice

Italy Bike + Barge Tours

Cycle in Italy through the gorgeous countrysides and villages!

  • This bike and boat tour in Italy is a variation of the classic tour Mantova - Venice, combining a self-guided hotel tour and Bike & Boat tour. You will bike Veneto, Trentino-Alot, Lombardy, and Emilia-Romagna regions of Italy. During the initial stage of cycling, you will have 3 overnights in 3/4 star hotel accommodations. Upon arrival in Mantova, you will hop on board either the Ave Maria or the Vita Pugna and begin the boat tour in Venice, with 7 overnights spent on board.

    This tour allows you to bike Bolzano, a crossroad of Austrian and Italian culture. You continue cycling in Trento, Peschiera del Garda (where you will stay overnight in hotels), but before reaching Peschiera you will enjoy a breathtaking ferry ride on the beautiful Lake Garda.

    From Peschiera, you bike to Mantova where you will join your boat crew. Mantova (Mantua) is beautifully surrounded by lakes. Its centro historico is not to be missed – dozens of fascinating piazzas, churches, monuments and courtyards!

    This Italy bike tour ends in the great city-on-water, Venice. Biking the surroundings of Venice is a once in a lifetime experience; it's lavish palazzi, elaborate bridges, quaint piazzas, and magnificent churches are all crammed into a maze of narrow streets and canals.

  • 2018:

     Vita PugnaAve Maria
    Standard Season £ 1262 $ 2,243 1540 NOK 15143 kr 13978 $ 1,817 £ 1442 $ 2,564 1760 NOK 17307 kr 15975 $ 2,077
    High Season £ 1336 $ 2,375 1630 NOK 16028 kr 14795 $ 1,923 £ 1590 $ 2,826 1940 NOK 19077 kr 17609 $ 2,289
    Single  £ 320 $ 568 390 NOK 3835 kr 3540 $ 460 £ 320 $ 568 390 NOK 3835 kr 3540 $ 460
    Superior cabin (boat portion) - £ 115 $ 204 140 NOK 1377 kr 1271 $ 165
    Gluten free or vegan diet request £ 41 $ 73 50 NOK 492 kr 454 $ 59 £ 41 $ 73 50 NOK 492 kr 454 $ 59
    REDUCTIONS (boat portion of tour) 
    Bunk bed cabin- £ 82 $ 146 100 NOK 983 kr 908 $ 118
    Third person in cabin £ 205 $ 364 250 NOK 2458 kr 2269 $ 295 £ 205 $ 364 250 NOK 2458 kr 2269 $ 295

    Discount for third/fourth person (hotel portion): £ 49 $ 87 60 NOK 590 kr 545 $ 71

    Standard Season: April 25 - August 15, 2018

    High Season: August 22 - October 10, 2018

    extra options


    Electric bicycle rental: £ 143 $ 255 175 NOK 1721 kr 1588 $ 207

    Helmet rental: £ 16 $ 29 20 NOK 197 kr 182 $ 24

    Extra nights (local taxes to be paid upon arrival):

    Bolzano, 3/4 star: £ 57 $ 102 70 NOK 688 kr 635 $ 83  per person/night Single room: £ 70 $ 124 85 NOK 836 kr 772 $ 100

    Mestre 3/4 star: £ 53 $ 95 65 NOK 639 kr 590 $ 77  per person/night Single room: £ 70 $ 124 85 NOK 836 kr 772 $ 100

    *Venice3/4 star: From £ 74 $ 131 90 NOK 885 kr 817 $ 106 Single room: From £ 123 $ 219 150 NOK 1475 kr 1362 $ 177

    *In Venice, pricing depends on hotel, time of year, etc. 

    please note

    Only unisex hybrid touring bikes or electric bikes are available for this tour.

    Rates are per person based on double occupancy.

    Information to read before you book.

    We recommend purchasing bike trip insurance.

    Please see our FAQ.

  • Travel

    Ideally, fly to Innsbruck and out of Venice. You can also fly into and out of Venice Marco Polo International Airport.

    Local Travel

    The most economical is to take the bus or taxi to the nearest train station, then the train to Bolzano. From there, a short walk or taxi ride to your first hotel.


    The average high/low temperature in °F for the area is approx. 58/36 for Mar, 64/43 Apr, 72/51 May, 79/56 Jun, 84/61 Jul, 82/60 Aug, 75/54 Sep and 64/44 Oct.


    Please note that you will be part of an international group of people. However, your tour guide and crew members will always speak English. Racing, electric, or tandem bike available upon request.

Tour Dates

2018 Dates:
Every Wednesday from April 25 to October 10, 2018
Ave Maria: July 18, August 1, August 15, August 29, September 12, September 26, and October 10, 2018.
Vita Pugna: July 25, August 8, August 22, September 5, September 19, and October 3, 2018

Skill Level

Easy to moderate self-guided and guided bike and bike and boat tour. For the first 3 days of cycling, there are some moderate climbs to conquer. Cycling takes place on good asphalted roads and bike paths with little traffic. There are 9 days of cycling, with an average of 28 miles (44 km) of biking each day, however, on the first day there are 44 miles (70 km) of biking.

Where You’ll Stay

During the initial stage of cycling, you will have 3 overnights in 3/4 star hotel accomodations. Upon arrival in Mantova, you will hop on board the brand new Ave Maria (built during the winter of 2011), and begin the bike & boat tour to Venice, with 7 overnights spent on board.

What’s Included

  • For the hotel-to-hotel duration of trip:
  • 3 nights accommodations in a 3/4 star hotel
  • 3 x breakfast buffets
  • Information packet
  • Ferry cruise on Lake Garda
  • Luggage transportation
  • Route descriptions & maps (one set per booked room)
  • 27-speed unisex touring bicycle
  • For duration of barge/bike tour:
  • 7 nights on board
  • Breakfasts, self-made packed lunches and dinners (drinks are extra)
  • Detailed route descriptions & maps (one set per booked room)
  • Bus transfer: Ferrara-Zelo/Ferrara-Adria
  • Mid-week service of cabin cleaning and towel changes
  • Information pack
  • Tour guide
  • 27-speed unisex touring bicycle
  • Harbor fees

What’s Not Included

Extra Stay

Verbringen Sie vor Tourbeginn 1 oder 2 Zusatznächte in Bozen oder verlängern Sie in Venedig.

Length11 days
From1370 Rates
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Day-To-Day Itinerary

Bolzano - Mantova - Venice Map

Day 1: Arrival in Bolzano
Day 2: Bolzano - Trento, 41/44 mi. (65/70 km)
Day 3: Trento - Desenzano/Peschiera , 29 mi. (50 km) + ferry ride
Day 4: Desenzano/Peschiera - Mantova, 27 mi. (45km) Arrival on boat in Mantova.
Day 5: Mantova, round tour, 25 mi. (40 km)
Day 6: Mantova - Governolo - Zelo, 32 mi. (50 km)
Day 7: Zelo/Castelguglielmo - Ferrara - Adria, 32 mi. (50 km)
Day 8: Adria - Porto Viro - Chioggia , 25 mi. (40 km)
Day 9: Chioggia - Venice, 19 mi. (30 km)
Day 10: Venice, free day
Day 11: Venice, departure following breakfast

*All distances are approximate. The above-planned itinerary is subject to change due to changing wind and weather conditions and other unforeseen circumstances having to do with mooring requirements, etc.

DAY 1: Arrival in Bolzano.
The bilingual capital city of the South Tyrol is a renowned commercial and tourist center which looks back on a rich history. Today the Italian and the Austrian cultures and ways of life join together. The historical center of Bolzano boasts an enchanting beauty.

DAY 2: Bolzano - Trento, 41/44 mi. (65/70km)
Cycling on bike paths you follow the Adige River beside apple orchards, vineyards and through the villages of Ora, Egna, and Salorno. Along the river banks, you ride towards Trento. This city hides itself from the hasty tourist, so take your time to take a look behind the splendid walls of its painted buildings. You will discover something really worth seeing. It is possible to shorten the route today by taking a train from several stations along the way

DAY 3: Trento - Desenzano/Peschiera, 29 mi. (50 km) + ferry ride.
Still cycling along the Adige, you reach Rovereto and Mori. From here you continueup on a gently rising slope westwards in the direction of Lake Garda (the largest in Italy). Before leaving for Riva you must absolutely enjoy the sight of the lake from above! By boat, you travel as far as Peschiera del Garda along the southern shore of the lake. The boat excursion alone is the worth the whole trip.

DAY 4: Desenzano/Peschiera  - Mantova, 44/28 mi. (70/45 km). Arrival on boat in Mantova.
Distance depends on where you begin your cycling. Today you will follow one of the most famous Italian bike paths, which runs parallel to the Mincio River. You will pass through the village of Borghetto, with its mills and Valeggio sul Mincio, famous for the huge botanic park “Sigurtà”.
The trip ends in Mantova, where your floating hotel for the next week is moored at Porto Catena, just a short walk from the city center. Your cabins will be available from 4 p.m. The meeting with the tour guide and the crew is scheduled at dinner-time, approximately 6:30 p.m.
Mantova is one of the most beautiful towns in Northern Italy, where a lot of worldwide known artists left their masterpieces, thanks to the assignment of the famous Gonzaga family.

Day 5: Mantova, round tour, 25 mi. (40 km)
The entire day is dedicated to the discovery of this wonderful city and its surroundings dominated by the family of Gonzaga.

DAY 6: Mantova - Governolo - Zelo, 32 mi. (50 km).
The boat will take you to Governolo, stronghold of the Mincio Pirates. Here you find the biggest basin of Italy, built in order to control the Mincio River. Here, you’ll take your bikes and start riding, following the flow of the Po River. You can also visit the Carousel and Folk Show Museum in Bergantino. After a ride along the Canal Bianco, you will reach Zelo, where the barge will moor for the night.

DAY 7: Zelo/Castelguglielmo - Ferrara - Adria, 32 mi. (50 km) and 60 km by bus
Following breakfast, you will start cycling towards Ferrara. Once you have reached the town, which earned the name of "city of bicycles", you will be enchanted by the historical center, still surrounded by the old city walls. From Ferrara, a short bus transfer will bring you to Adria, an ancient Greek port, famous for trading amber coming from the Baltic.

DAY 8: Adria - Porto Viro - Chiogga , 25 mi. (40 km)
The boat will bring you to Porto Viro, from where you will start the daily ride into the maze of the Po Delta, an uncontaminated paradise between marshes and lagoons of the Po, pedaling in the heart of nature. You follow the Po-Brondolo waterway, which links the river to the Venetian lagoon. Overnight in Chioggia, which is also known as "the little Venice". A visit to the fish market at dawn is an absolute must.

DAY 9: Chioggia - Venice, 19 mi. (30 km)
Today the ship will bring you to the Oasis of Ca’ Roman, a sandy islet surrounded by pine-woods. Pedaling along the lagoon, you will reach Pellestrina and from here, ride on the new bicycle path as far as the ferry landing stage. A short boat ride takes you back up the Lido island, along the ‘Murazzi’, with a stop in Malamocco, the ancient harbor. Overnight is on the Island of Giudecca, not far from St. Mark's square, with an amazing view of the lagoon.

DAY 10: Venice, free day.
After a wonderful awakening with a view of the lagoon, there is the opportunity for a guided tour of the city center. After which, you have the whole day to your liking, to  continue your exploration of the magnificent historical center of the capital of the 'Republica Serenissima', or its wonderful islands.

DAY 11: Venice
After breakfast and the customary goodbyes, free time for individual visits of Venice before returning home.

If you're looking for a different flavor, check out our full list of bike and boat tours or view all our featured bicycle tours, specials, and news.

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Customer Feedback

  • Anne S. 4 weeks ago

    We loved the beautiful, amazing mountain scenery (with very few hills) of the first three days. The written instructions, though, are of a badness difficult to describe. We rated the tour 4/5, and the lost star were because of the extremely poor instructions. If we hadn't had maps and stickers on sign posts, we wouldn't have been able to make it through. The frustration really distracted from the overall enjoyment of the trip - an English speaker with an accurate odometer really needs to rewrite the directions. For example, they talked about "crossing a railway" (or maybe a "railway bridge"), so we spent about 20 minutes trying to find a way to cross the railway - but really it meant to pass underneath an elevated railway crossing. Also, the symbol used to indicate a warning (I think of a turn easy to miss) is a hand pointing to the right. One not unnaturally assumes that this means a right turn. It does not.

    Otherwise the barge, scenery, activities, food, and guides are all exactly what we hoped for and have experienced on earlier trips. No problems with luggage transfers, and the hotels for the first part of the trip were all great.

    Boat: Ave Maria

  • David & Patsy 2 months ago

    Most Memorable Part? The poppy fields along the bike ride was especially beautiful. Instructions need some updating.

    Boat: Ave Maria

  • Ian S. 8 months ago

    Superb scenery, boat, bikes and guides. Delightful in every way.

    Boat: Ave Maria

  • Nelson N. 8 months ago

    Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! Piano player and entertainer was a highlight.....food was fabulous.

    Boat: Ave Maria

  • Rosemary B. 10 months ago

    Most Memorable Parts: the swimming off the boat, out in the ocean after a hot bike ride, were amazing.
    The historical information from our tour guides was outstanding.
    The food was DELICIOUS.
    Sunsets out on the water were glorious

    Boat: Vita Pugna

  • Carmel M. 11 months ago

    Every aspect of the trip made for a memorable experience. Having done both the hotel to hotel and the guided section gave us a truly great opportunity to see a part of Italy that is so varied in both history, culture, food and landscape.

    Boat: Vita Pugna

  • Janet L. 1 year ago

    We were glad that we did the independent bike ride starting in Bolzano 3 days before meeting up with everyone on the barge. The scenery and biking were incredible, especially on the alternate route. We did go solo the first day and got very lost 3 times! The next day we tagged along with others on the same trip. The directions could be more explicit ( Ex. It would be helpful to state directions that avoided questioning routes i.e. ""go this way, not that way""; caution - fork in road- bear right, but not up that 14% grade hill!) And what is a fly-over? (An overpass, we found out later) And what is considered a ""fountain""? (It's a small water spigot at a bikers rest stop). However, it was an adventure we won't forget. We learned we needed to have GPS through Google or another mapping/biking program. This would allow us to be more independent and ride self guided as biking with 28 or more people and 2 guides is slow going. The biking is on flat terrain, very easy. However, many days you bike around 30 miles, with many stops for breaks, tours, and sights. It was very warm in early June. Bring lip sunscreen and regular sunscreen!
    The Ave Maria is fantastic, our rooms were cozy but totally comfortable. The boat is in mint condition. Food is amazing! Our 2 chefs were top notch. Staff are fun and we really were lucky to have a great group of fellow travelers. Ronnie and Silvia were our guides and they were great. They were very patient, helpful and fun to be with. We had a competition one night, all the 5 groups from different countries did a skit. It was hilarious!!
    Also, arriving in Venice by boat at the end of the tour is the best way to go in our opinion. We stayed an extra day in Venice and took water buses to some of the islands. It was cooler there, we saw beautiful places and we used up our 3 day transit pass.
    I could go on and on, but suffice it to say, we had an unforgettable, wonderful trip and are thinking of where to go on our next bike and barge adventure!

    Boat: Ave Maria

  • Martha B. 2 years ago

    Outstanding guide, great staff on boat, wonderful food. The beautiful scenery from Bolzano to Mantova was probably the most memorable. Really happy we took the additional 3 days before boarding the barge.

  • Christine W. 2 years ago

    The scenery on the self guided from Bolzano to Mantua.
    The expert guide (Hein ), the food and the staff on the boat.
    They all went out of their way to make it a very pleasant experience.
    We could not have asked for a better crew.

    Boat: Ave Maria

  • Judith S. 2 years ago

    The guide, Hein, was very knowledgeable, entertaining and helpful. A real asset to the trip.
    Food on the Ava Maria was the best! Loved the three days from Bolzano through the mountains.

    Boat: Ave Maria

  • Rosemary B. 2 years ago

    We took the 11 day cycle in Italy and loved it all.
    A few things I think need mentioning.
    We got lost. Just as one of your reviewers mentioned on the way to Lake Garda. We were doing great and very early to get the boat but at one of the deviations,we turned towards Verona and didn't realize it until half way to Verona. We had to keep looking at the map and book description and when we thought we knew and didn't look at what we were doing, we got lost. So took a train to Verona, lugged the very heavy bikes up the train station stairs, no elevator or escalators there!! Then had to hang the bikes up on hooks on the train. Then the train back up to where we would have been finishing our trip in the boat down Lake Garda. PUCCINCI hotel in Peschiera.I was very disappointed to have missed the ride on lake Garda. So the day that was supposed to be our short day, and we had done 45k before noon, and should have been there, we did over 80K.
    I felt that in order to do each days trip on the extra three days, we had to miss lots of towns and sights I wanted to visit. The hotel in Bolzano was very lovely and staff was great.
    The hotel in Trento, The Grand, was very very Grand. We just loved it.
    The gentleman that was at the front desk in............Peschiera was very helpful and was trying to give us many many things to do until he realized we didn't have the time in one evening, when getting up early to ride, to do too much.
    The hotel at the bottom of Lake Guarda, Hotel Peschiera we had a large bedroom.
    The breakfast room was in the basement and was quite crowded.
    We went for a swim and I asked at the desk about towels for the pool and the woman said to just take the room towels. When I asked for dry towels later for our room she told me they were $5.00 each!!! Never have heard of that ever before.
    Our barge was wonderful and as the times we have biked and barged before with other companies, we were very delighted with the delicious meals, friendly crew and outstanding tour guide Lecia. She was so much fun, very professional, had amazing skills in many languages and we all fell in love with her. The rides were so beautiful, just as we expected and the others on board with us were friendly and keen like us.

    • Carla 2 years ago

      Hi Rosemary! Thanks for submitting such detailed feedback. We are working with our local partner to make that part of the route more detailed. Glad you had a wonderful trip!

  • Daniel G. 2 years ago

    We did the 3-day self-guided tour from Bolzano to Lake Garda to Mantua first and that was a great adventure for us. The food and people we met on the boat was also a wonderful experience.

  • Joanne White 3 years ago

    This Bike and Barge tour was amazing, best holiday ever!

    Boat: Ave Maria

  • Christopher Manning 3 years ago

    Route guides(arrows)could in some areas(particularly in the Bolzano to barge section when riders on their own) be more clearly marked and better positioned.
    Steph,our guide,and the boat crew combined to make this a special experience.

    Boat: Vita Pugna

  • Debbie 4 years ago

    We did the Bolzano to Mantova bicycle trip, what an awesome experience. We loved every moment of it. Thank you for the wonderful trip, the hotels were excellent, the road maps we could not have done without. The signs from Pescheria to Mantova were not as good as the beginning - less to follow but on the whole I trip that we can recommend. The Ava Maria - 5 star, with a crew led by captain Connie and tour guide Helmut, not to mention the excellent food. Well organised and worth every penny

    Boat: Ave Maria

  • Jerry & Betsy Wilson 5 years ago

    Just completed this trip - we'll summarize by just saying "OUTSTANDING"! Enrico (our guide) couldn't have been better - surely gave us more info (and time!) than we expected. The boat's crew was outstanding too - food couldn't have been better! And we loved the cycling...even with (in spite of?) two days of rain. Our tandem bike was (surprisingly, for a rental tandem) easy to ride and control, even through some of the tight turns in the towns on the tour. Hard to find/fit tandems that are enjoyable to ride for both cyclists - Girolibero did their homework! We're already planning another tour for next year, and what a feast to choose from!

    J & B Wilson, 10/23/2013

    Boat: Ave Maria

  • E.R 5 years ago

    Great Trip! Directions were clear & detailed for the self-guided portion. Maps could have been better by showing North orientation.

    Guide on boat was fantastic! very knowledgeable and eager to please. Took us many places and gave us background info on things. Volunteered to take us on a tour of Venice and showed us how to use the water-bus system to get around on our own. Nicest boat and best guide I have had after many bike & barge trips.

    Boat: Ave Maria

  • Bolzano-Mantova-Venice 5 years ago

    We had great weather which helped make the trip so enjoyable. Heins, our guide, was fantastic.

    Boat: Ave Maria

  • Elizabeth Deerfield 7 years ago

    This was a well planned and orchestrated trip. The self guided part was easy to navigate and beautiful, lodging was great.

    The bike and Barge part was excellent. The guide, Hugo, was top notch along with a very great crew. The trip included so much, history, culture and fun. The barge was cozy, rooms good size and the food, excellent and nice variety. This was the best of 7 bike tours we have done.

    Boat: Ave Maria

  • Lynn Yetman 7 years ago

    Myself and 4 of my friends just completed the Balzano - Venice Bike Tour. This was our 7th cycle tour with Trip-Site and as with the previous 6 trips we were not disappointed. The cycling out of Balzano was probably the most beautiful of any cycling we have done. Coming down a mountain road to a spot overlooking Lake Garda was a spectacular site we will never forget.

    The Ava Maria has been beautifully re-furbished. The staterooms are roomy with plenty of storage. The dining room comfortabley seated our 28 fellow cyclists. The food was great and the wine reasonably priced. Our guides Flavio and Martina did a wonderful job and went out of their to be accomodating to our requests. The trail markers and directions from Balzano to Mantova could have been better. But, we were never actually lost, just misplaced from time to time. A great time was had by all.

    Boat: Ave Maria

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Bolzano - Mantova - Venice Boats + Barges

Ave Maria Photo

Ave Maria Italy Comfort Plus Class Boat The Ave Maria was launched in 2011. This Italian boat was totally rebuilt in order to meet even the highest expectations. The boat was completely redesigned by a renowned architectural firm. Its shapes, colors and materials were chosen carefully in order to create a warm, inviting and sophisticated atmosphere.

Vita Pugna Photo

Vita Pugna Italy Comfort Class Boat The Vita Pugna is a romantic Dutch barge which has been sailing since 2008. She has 21 guests cabins with comfortable low twin beds and en-suite facilities. They also offer the convenience of attractive, traditional portholes, which can be opened for fresh air. The corridor is air-conditioned. The sundeck has plenty of seating where you can enjoy the passing scenery.