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Mantua to Venice 8-day Bike & Barge Tour (VP)

  • 8days
  • Italy

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Twin bed room:
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Bike & Barge Tours Europe
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Italy Bike & Barge Tour cycling around the Po valley

Blending nature, culture and fine cuisine, this leisurely bike and barge tour along the River Po offers more than just a taster of Northern Italy. It explores celebrated cities of art, one of Europe's prime Nature Reserves, and a wealth of tucked-away rural hamlets, rewarding our daily rides with authentic regional dishes back on board. The tour starts in Mantua – in its heyday a major city state crowned by the Italian Renaissance – progresses to Ferrara and culminates in Venice. Along the way: Adria, once a key Roman port; the natural wonders of the Po Delta, famed for its birdlife; and colourful Chioggia, gateway to the Venetian lagoon. Finally: the glory of Venice herself.

Tour character: Level 1

Total length: 200 km (Venice to Mantua) Terrain: 90% paved, 10% unpaved

This cycling tour is largely on flat terrain, and the daily stages vary from 25 to 55 km – mostly on paved cycle paths along rivers and canals, or quiet country roads. The barge is moored at night and typically sets sail after breakfast, meeting up with the bikes in the afternoon. Some parts of the itinerary are undertaken by barge, to allow easier access onto cycling paths or simply to enjoy the cruise. Leisure cycling in mostly flat areas, with only a few short ups and downs. Little effort required, suitable for everyone. 

Accommodation: 

After many years as cargo boat Vita Pugna has been totally renewed in the beginning of the 1990s in order to start her new life as floating hotel along the Dutch canals. After a famous long journey from Holland to Italy, this charming Dutch lady has been sailing with great success between Venice and Mantova since 2008.

It is a small barge capable of passing under low bridges and navigating on shallow water, typical of Italian waterways.
Why get on board? For the cozy atmosphere, small size and charm of sleeping on a historic Dutch barge.

Features: 

  • Barge size: 36 m long and 5.4 m wide
  • Cabins: 10
  • Capacity: 21 guests in low beds
  • Comfortable low beds (1.90/2.00 m x 0.75/0.80 m)
  • En-suite facilities

Included in the Tour:

  • 7 overnights
  • Breakfast, 6x dinner and self-made packed lunch
  • Coffee and tea and other hot drinks on board
  • Welcome Drink
  • Sheets and towels
  • Courtesy kit
  • Mid-week cabin cleaning service and towel change
  • Bike helmet (to book in advance)
  • Travel Guide, Maps, Roadbook
  • English speaking tour leader within an international group
  • Second tour leader with a minimum of 22 people (only aboard certain barges)
  • Guided visit in Mantua
  • Visit of a cheese factory with tasting of typical Grana Padano
  • Visit of Carousel and Street Entertainment Museum
  • Visit of a historic glass factory on Murano island
  • Harbour charges
  • Some short walking tours
  • Bus transfer Ferrara-Adria/ Adria-Ferrara

Not included in the tour:

  • 1x dinner 
  • Beverages on board
  • Museums, fees and extras in general
  • Ticket for public transportation in Venice
  • Tips 
  • Transfers
  • Venice access fee (approx. 18-30 EUR to be paid on site). From 1st Jan 2023

Notes:

  • Departure Saturdays Only
  • For vegan, lactose-free and gluten-free diets a fee of 65 EUR will be invoiced when booking
  • Charter options available, please email us for details
  • 3rd person in triple cabin -770 EUR
  • You can choose to cycle this tour: independently (following the APP we will provide you) or with the group (following the tour leader)

If you would like to rent a bike (110 EUR) or e-bike (270 EUR)  please contact our office at time of booking: [email protected]

Slow Tours offers a number of other Bike & Barge Tours in Europe

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  • Day 1

    Mantua

    We welcome you aboard your new home-from-home from 5.00 p.m. onwards, and then regroup for the introductory briefing – at 6.30 p.m. – with your tour leader, skipper and crew, along with a first refreshing aperitivo. After dinner we can stroll into town and savour the historic centre at its most evocative: Benvenuti a Mantova!

    ACCOMMODATION barge / MEALS dinner

  • Day 2

    Mantua round tour

    A day dedicated to the discovery of this cultural gem, its three picturesque “lakes” formed by the river Mincio and the surrounding countryside. This afternoon we meet our Mantuan guide for a walking tour across the historic centre: starting from Piazza Sordello with its magnificent cathedral and Palazzo Ducale, we will walk through the city centre up to Piazza delle Erbe. Here we will admire the Clock Tower, the Rotonda di S. Lorenzo (the oldest church in town) and the Cathedral of St. Andrew, a jewel of Renaissance art and architecture. We will learn why Mantua, once a City State ruled by the Gonzaga family, is now considered by many as Italy’s “Sleeping Beauty”. (The programme may be subject to changes).

    ACCOMMODATION barge / MEALS breakfast and packed lunch / BIKE 35 km / ELEVATION GAIN + 115 - 115 / GUIDED VISIT 1 hour 30 minutes

  • Day 3

    Mantua – Zelo

    After breakfast, we 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, we 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. We catch up with our barge in Zelo, a sleepy village on the Canal Bianco, the waterway which runs parallel to the Po.

    ACCOMMODATION barge / MEALS full board (packed lunch) / BIKE 50 km / ELEVATION GAIN + 115 - 125

  • Day 4

    Zelo – Ferrara – Adria

    This morning we 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 us back to our 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.

    ACCOMMODATION barge / MEALS full board (packed lunch) / BIKE 50 km / ELEVATION GAIN + 145 - 145 / TRANSFER bus 1 hour 15 minutes

  • Day 5

    Adria – Po Delta Nature Reserve – Pellestrina island

    After a short cruise, we 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 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 savoury piadina! Chioggia is also known as “Little Venice”, a colourful fishing hub. The overnight takes palce on the Island Pellestrina, just in front of Chioggia.

    ACCOMMODATION barge / MEALS full board (packed lunch) / BIKE 40 km / ELEVATION GAIN + 110 - 110

  • Day 6

    Pellestrina island – Venice

    Venice beckons, but first another world altogether: Pellestrina, the first of two islands we 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 our barge, an unrushed cruise in front of St Mark’s square takes us to our final destination. After dinner we can savour Venice at night, now free of the crowds and at her most romantic: Benvenuti a Venezia!

    ACCOMMODATION barge / MEALS full board (packed lunch) / BIKE 25 km / ELEVATION GAIN + 115 - 115 / TRANSFER ferry 15 minutes

  • Day 7

    Venice

    Following a wander off the beaten track with your tour leader you have the day free to enjoy the city at your own pace. 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.

    ACCOMMODATION barge / MEALS full board (packed lunch)

  • Day 8

    Venice

    Departure after breakfast.

    MEALS breakfast

    Tour programme variations

    The navigation is guaranteed all year round along the 135 km waterways"Fissero- Tartaro-Canalbianco-Po di Levante", which run parallel to the Po river. 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 barge’s captain.

  • Read More

vineyards

A fantastic trip!! Our two friends, my wife and I joined the Mantua (Mantova) to Venice cycle trip on 13th May 2023. The trip was everything we could have hoped for. A friendly group of travellers joined our Tour Guide Helmut and the wonderful team on our vessel – The Vita Pugna. Weather was not great, but we still completed all days riding. The meals on board were exceptional and we tried many dishes local to the areas we passed through that normally would not be on my menu selection. Scenery on route and places we passed through were fantastic. Helmut guided us through quiet country roads, quaint villages and major centres along the way, pointing out items of interest and giving us a detailed background to what we were seeing. We had plenty of time to stop for coffee, sightsee and enjoy the many places we visited. An outstanding trip in general and we are looking towards our next adventure. - May 2023

Tours marked with are special prices.

Start End Max. No. Guests Accommodation Price p.p.
Jun 22 2024 Jun 29 2024 22 Single rooms 2,400€
Double rooms 1,500€
Jul 06 2024 Jul 13 2024 22 Single rooms 2,300€
Double rooms 1,400€
Jul 20 2024 Jul 27 2024 22 Single rooms 2,300€
Double rooms 1,400€
Aug 03 2024 Aug 10 2024 22 Single rooms 2,300€
Double rooms 1,400€
Aug 17 2024 Aug 24 2024 22 Single rooms 2,300€
Double rooms 1,400€
Aug 31 2024 Sep 07 2024 22 Single rooms 2,500€
Double rooms 1,600€
Sep 14 2024 Sep 21 2024 22 Single rooms 2,500€
Double rooms 1,600€
Sep 28 2024 Oct 05 2024 22 Single rooms 0€
Double rooms 1,600€
Oct 12 2024 Oct 19 2024 22 Single rooms 0€
Double rooms 1,600€
Apr 12 2025 Apr 19 2025 22 Single rooms 1,990€
Double rooms 1,070€
Apr 26 2025 May 03 2025 22 Single rooms 2,390€
Double rooms 1,470€
May 10 2025 May 17 2025 22 Single rooms 2,490€
Double rooms 1,570€
May 24 2025 May 31 2025 22 Single rooms 2,490€
Double rooms 1,570€
Jun 07 2025 Jun 14 2025 22 Single rooms 2,490€
Double rooms 1,570€
Jun 21 2025 Jun 28 2025 22 Single rooms 2,490€
Double rooms 1,570€
Jul 05 2025 Jul 12 2025 22 Single rooms 2,390€
Double rooms 1,470€
Jul 19 2025 Jul 26 2025 22 Single rooms 2,390€
Double rooms 1,470€
Aug 02 2025 Aug 09 2025 22 Single rooms 2,390€
Double rooms 1,470€
Aug 16 2025 Aug 23 2025 22 Single rooms 2,390€
Double rooms 1,470€
Aug 30 2025 Sep 06 2025 22 Single rooms 0€
Double rooms 1,680€
Sep 13 2025 Sep 20 2025 22 Single rooms 2,600€
Double rooms 1,680€
Sep 27 2025 Oct 04 2025 22 Single rooms 2,600€
Double rooms 1,680€
Oct 11 2025 Oct 18 2025 22 Single rooms 2,600€
Double rooms 1,680€

Car rental in Italy

If you would like to drive yourself before or after your tour, ask us for a quote on any brand new Renault, Peugeot or Citroen vehicle for driving in Europe.

Pick up your vehicle from most capital cities in Europe and return it to your drop off destination. Top insurance cover. Email [email protected] for a competitive quote

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