This bike and boat tour in Italy is a variation of the classic tour Mantova - Venice, combining a Self-Guided Hotel to Hotel tour and a Bike and Boat tour. You will bike through Veneto, Trentino-Alot, Lombardy, and the Emilia-Romagna regions of Italy. During the initial stage of cycling, you will have 3 overnights in 3 and 4 star hotels. 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.
- Bolzano, crossroads between the Mediterranean and central Europe
- Ferry ride across Lake Garda
- River Mincio cycling path
- Combination of hotel to hotel and boat accommodations
- Ancient Greek port of Adria
- The great wildlife of the Po Delta National Park
- Coastal town of Chioggia, known as Venice in miniature with great medieval architecture and a famous fish market
- Combination of hotel and boat accommodations
- Mantova, with its centro historico
- Venice, city on the water
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.
Are you only looking for a bike and boat experience? Check out our Mantova to Venice or Venice to Mantova tour.
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, 27/44 mi. (45/70 km) Arrival on boat in Mantova.
Day 5: Mantova, round tour, 22 mi. (35 km)
Day 6: Mantova - Zelo, 32 mi. (50 km)
Day 7: Zelo - Ferrara - Adria, 32 mi. (50 km) + 60 km by bus
Day 8: Adria - Po Delta Nature Reserve - Pellestrina Island, 25 mi. (40 km)
Day 9: Pellestrina Island - 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, safe navigation, 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 - 70 km)
Cycling on bike paths you follow the Adige River along side apple orchards, vineyards and through the villages of Ora, Egna, and Salorno. Along the river banks, you ride towards Trento. This city is not on the typical tourist's radar so take your time to take a look behind the splendid walls of its painted buildings. 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 continue up on a gently rising slope westwards in the direction of Lake Garda (the largest in Italy). Before leaving for Riva you absolutely must 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, 28-44 mi. (45-70 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 botanical park “Sigurtà”.
The trip ends in Mantova, where your floating hotel, your boat, 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 wealth of the famous Gonzaga family who commissioned works of art.
Day 5: Mantova, round tour, 22 mi. (35 km)
Founded in 2000 BC, Mantova was once an Etruscan village and is now capital of the province with the same name. Surrounded on three sides by man-made lakes created in the 12th century, this world-famous city, known in English as Mantua, showcases art, architecture and history. Mantova is known for its beautiful palaces,
DAY 6: Mantova - Zelo, 32 mi. (50 km)
After breakfast, you leave the "lakes" of Mantova and cruise through the lush wetlands that lead to the Governolo Lock, where Mantova's Mincio River flows into the Po. From here, by bike, you 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. A visit to the local cheese factory, sampling some well seasoned Grana is a must-do. You meet the barge in Zelo, a sleepy village on the Canal Bianco, the waterway which runs parallel to the Po.
DAY 7: Zelo - Ferrara - Adria, 32 mi. (50 km) and 60 km by bus
This morning you will 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 transfers you to the boat in Adria, an ancient Roman port once on the sea but now connected by the Canal Bianco (White Canal). Adria is also renowned for its Etruscan and Greek heritage. An after-dinner passeggiata into town for a well-earned grappa or gelato is strongly advised.
DAY 8: Adria - Po Delta Nature Reserve - Pellestrina Island, 25 mi. (40 km)
After a short time on board, 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 sizeable colony of flamingos. Weather permitting, as you continue towards Chioggia, you can also enjoy a stop at a beach and a dip in the Adriatic – and do not forget to savor a hot piadina! Chioggia is also known as "Little Venice", a colorful fishing hub. The overnight takes place on the island of Pellestrina, just in front of Chioggia.
DAY 9: Pellestrina Island - Venice, 19 mi. (30 km)
Venice beckons, but first another world altogether: Pellestrina, the first of two islands you traverse today. Pellestrina is a tranquil fishing backwater, picturesque with its cottages, boats, and nets. A short island-hop by ferry will transfer you to 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. After rejoining the barge, you will enjoy a leisure cruise in front of St Mark’s square to the final destination. After dinner you can savor Venice at night, now free of the crowds and at her most romantic: Benvenuti a Venezia!
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. You then have the whole day to your liking, to continue your exploration of the magnificent historic center of the capital of the 'Republica Serenissima', or its wonderful islands.
DAY 11: Venice
Tour officially ends just after breakfast.
During the initial stage of cycling, you will have 3 overnights in 3/4 star hotel accommodations. Upon arrival in Mantova, you will board the comfort class vessel, Vita Pugna OR the premium Ave Maria (built during the winter of 2011), and begin your bike and boat tour to Venice, with 7 overnights spent on board.
- Ave MariaPremium 4.7 out of 5 (10 Reviews)
Premium 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 PugnaComfort 4.6 out of 5 (10 Reviews)
Comfort Class Barge
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 sundeck has plenty of seating where you can enjoy the passing scenery.
- 3 nights hotel accommodation with breakfast buffet (Bolzano, Trento and Peschiera/Desenzano)
- 7 overnights on booked vessel with all meals ( breakfast, dinner and a self-made packed lunch)
- Coffee and tea and other hot drinks on board
- Complimentary courtesy kit
- Daily short cleaning and mid-week cabin cleaning service and towel change
- Bike helmet
- 27-speed unisex hybrid touring city bike with handlebar bag or map holder, cycle computer, one rear pannier, water cage and water bottle, one repair kit per room (spare inner tube, glue, patch, a pump, allen keys, and tire levers), one combination bike lock
- Bike protection
- Welcome briefing in English
- Travel Guide, Maps, Roadbook
- English speaking tour leader within an international group (only for the bike and barge portion)
- Luggage transfer each day and onto ship
- Guided visit in Venice and Mantua
- Visit of a cheese factory with tasting of typical Grana Padano
- Visit of Carousel and Street Entertainment Museum
- Harbor charges
- 4-hour ferry cruise on Lake Garda
- Bus transfer Ferrara-Adria
- Hotline service
What’s Not Included
- Helmet rental (suitable for circumfrences 54 - 61 cm)
- Local hotel taxes (approx. €1-€4 per person, per night)
- Museum entrance fees (other than mentioned), and extras in general
- Lunches and dinners during the hotel portion of your tour
- Public transportation while in Venice (water taxi, etc.)
- Everything not mentioned in the "what’s included" section
- Bike protection
- Travel insurance
Dates & Pricing
Every Wednesday from April 15 to September 30, 2020
Season 1: April 15 - August 19, 2020
Season 2: August 26 - September 30, 2020
Ave Maria: April 22, May 6, May 20, June 3, June 17, July 1, July 15, July 29, August 12, August 26, September 9, and September 23, 2020
Vita Pugna: April 15, April 29, May 13, May 27, June 10, June 24, July 8, July 22, August 5, August 19, September 2, September 16, and September 30, 2020
Season 1: Departures from April 15 up to and including August 19, 2020
Season 2: Departures from August 26 up to and including September 30, 2020
Vita Pugna Ave Maria Season 1 $ 2911 £ 1603 $ 2,749 € 1755 $ 3077 kr 18609 $ 2,023 $ 3275 £ 1803 $ 3,093 € 1975 $ 3463 kr 20942 $ 2,276 Season 2 $ 3093 £ 1703 $ 2,921 € 1865 $ 3270 kr 19776 $ 2,150 $ 3624 £ 1995 $ 3,422 € 2185 $ 3831 kr 23169 $ 2,518 SUPPLEMENTS Single room/cabin $ 746 £ 411 $ 705 € 450 $ 789 kr 4772 $ 519 $ 663 £ 365 $ 626 € 400 $ 701 kr 4241 $ 461 Superior cabin (boat portion) - $ 232 £ 128 $ 219 € 140 $ 245 kr 1484 $ 161 Gluten-free or vegan diet request $ 83 £ 46 $ 78 € 50 $ 88 kr 530 $ 58 $ 83 £ 46 $ 78 € 50 $ 88 kr 530 $ 58 REDUCTIONS Bunk bed cabin (if booked by two people) - $ 166 £ 91 $ 157 € 100 $ 175 kr 1060 $ 115 Third-person in room/cabin (total discount to be shared) $ 514 £ 283 $ 486 € 310 $ 544 kr 3287 $ 357 $ 514 £ 283 $ 486 € 310 $ 544 kr 3287 $ 357
Electric bicycle rental: $ 290 £ 160 $ 274 € 175 $ 307 kr 1856 $ 202
Extra nights (local taxes to be paid upon arrival):
Bolzano, 3/4 star:
Twin/double: $ 124 £ 68 $ 117 € 75 $ 131 kr 795 $ 86 Single: $ 166 £ 91 $ 157 € 100 $ 175 kr 1060 $ 115
Mestre 3/4 star:
Twin/double: $ 116 £ 64 $ 110 € 70 $ 123 kr 742 $ 81 Single: $ 166 £ 91 $ 157 € 100 $ 175 kr 1060 $ 115
*Venice, 3/4 star:
Twin/double, from: $ 149 £ 82 $ 141 € 90 $ 158 kr 954 $ 104 Single, from: $ 249 £ 137 $ 235 € 150 $ 263 kr 1591 $ 173
*In Venice, pricing depends on hotel, time of year, etc.
Only unisex hybrid touring bikes or electric bikes are available for this tour.
Skill Level — Easy–Moderate
Easy to moderate self-guided and guided bike and boat tour. From Bolzano to Mantova you will ride on cycle paths, part of which run along the banks of the Adige River. Towards Lake Garda there is a bit more challenging climb to face. From Mantova to Venice you will pedal along rivers and canals on tarmac cycle paths or roads 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. The majority of the route is flat, but again, there are a few climbs!
Most people fly into and out of Venezia Marco Polo (VCE) located 275 km from Bolzano. Innsbruck Kranebitten Airport (INN) is another arrival airport option or Verona Villafranca Airport (VRN). Because the tour ends in Venice, VCE is the most convenient for onward travel home.
Venice Airport From Venezia Marco Polo Airport (VCE), you can take the Fly-Bus shuttle service going to Venezia Mestre train station. The shuttle leaves 3 times per hour from 6:06 AM to 11:40 PM. The shuttle takes about 17 minutes and a ticket costs ~€8. Visit www.atvo.it for details. From Venezia Mestre train station, you take a train to Bolzano (transfer time is about 2 and a half hours with a change in Verona Porta Nuova; ~€30 to 50 depending on the type of train). For further information on timetables and prices, please visit: http://www.trenitalia.com
In Italy, there are different types of climate. In Bolzano, the climate is semi-continental, in the Po River Valley, a mild continental climate dominates and Venice experiences a subtropical climate. One thing that each area has in common are hot summers. Please check local conditions before your arrival. A good website to research regional weather including average high/low temperatures, average rainfall, and more weather-related facts isweatherbase.com. The average high/low temperatures in °F for the area is approx. March, 58/36°, April, 64/43°, May, 72/51°, June, 79/56°, July, 84/61°, August, 82/60°, September, 75/54°, and October, 64/44°.
Day of Rest
During the barge/bike portion of the trip, you may always stay on board and sail to the next town while enjoying Italy’s beautiful scenery.
During the Bike and Barge portion of your tour from Mantua to Venice you will be accompanied by a tour leader. All tour leaders are carefully selected and rigorously trained. They are all multi-lingual, and speak at least English and German. They are experienced enthusiastic travelers who have a true passion for sharing their love of the outdoors, peoples, cultures and local food. Thanks to their 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 on how to correctly use the bicycle gears and whenever necessary they can fix a flat tire. The tour leaders are AOC (Controlled Designation of Origin), and will help you explore the land and live an unforgettable experience. Please note that you will be part of an international group of people. However, your tour guide and crew members will always speak English.
Extra nights before and after your tour can easily be arranged. Just ask.
This tour is run by Girolibero.
We value the strong relationship we have with our local partners and the services we provide.
We are not a broker.
We do not inflate tour prices.
We are simply travelers helping travelers.