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Venice to Mantua 8-day Bike & Barge Tour Level 1
This tour offers you a unique opportunity to experience by bike the North of Italy along the Po valley, following the course of the Po, the longest Italian river. You start with a full free day in Venice, before setting sail to explore the Venice lagoon and the bustling fish market of Chioggia. Cycling along waterways and through hamlets, you ride in the Po Delta, a unique wetland park which is the prime reserve in Europe for herons and home to several colonies of flamingos. Further on you’ll discover Adria, which gave the name to the Adriatic Sea, and Ferrara, the town of cyclists. Finally, you have the chance to discover the enchanting Renaissance town of Mantua, considered Italy’s “sleeping beauty”.
Total Length: 190 km Total vertical up: 30 m Terrain: 95% tarmac, 5% unpaved. This cycling tour is largely along the flats of the Po plains, and the daily stages vary from 25 to 55 km – mostly on tarmac cycle paths along rivers and canals, or quiet country roads. The boat 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 boat, to allow easier access onto cycling paths or simply to enjoy the cruise. Easy cycling in mostly flat areas, with only few short climbs and descents. Little effort required, suitable for most people.
The boat is equipped with:-
All cabins enjoy sizeable windows (the ones in the Superior cabins can also be opened), comfortable low beds, en-suite facilities and air conditioning. Bed/bunk size is 2.00 x 0.80 m. Most of the double beds can be separated into two single beds. The air-conditioned living area measures 11 x 7.5 m and is divided into two parts: the Restaurant (up to 33 seats) and the Lounge (up to 28 seats)
There is a free wi-fi connection on board which normally works during the whole tour.We remind you that the boat is not like a hotel, so during the journey you will always hear some sort of underground noise.
For vegan, lactose-free and gluten-free diets a fee of 50 Euros will be invoiced when booking
If you would like to rent a bike (100 EUR) or E-Bike (250 EUR) please contact our office at time of booking [email protected]
Slow Tours offers a number of other Bike & Barge Tours in Europe
We welcome you aboard your new home away fromhome from 4.30 p.m. onwards and then regroup for the introductory briefing – at 6.30 – with your tour leader, skipper and crew. You''ll also enjoy a first refreshing aperitivo. After dinner we can savour Venice at night, now free of the crowds and at her most romantic: Benvenuti a Venezia!
After breakfast and perhaps following a wander off the beaten track with your tour leader, we all meet up with our Venetian guide for a tour through the historic centre. Christened La Serenissima ("The Most Serene"), the Venetian Republic dominated 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.
Venice – Pellestrina/Chioggia (30 km)
Leaving Venice behind after a gentle cruise, our cycling adventure starts on the Lido, the first of two islands we traverse today. Inhabited by fashionable 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 by ferry takes us into another world: Pellestrina, where we ride past the picturesque cottages and boats of this humble fishing backwater. We rejoin our barge just in front of Chioggia – a bustling and colourful fishing hub known as "Little Venice".
Pellestrina/Chioggia – Po Delta Nature Reserve – Adria (40 km)
We 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, we can also bask in the sun at a fine-sand beach nearby: a dip in the Adriatic, a hot savoury 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. We 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.
Adria – Ferrara – Zelo (35 km by bike + 35 km by bus)
After a short cruise we saddle our bikes and, following the Po through farmland and hamlets, we 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 take us back to our floating hotel in Zelo, a sleepy village on the Canal Bianco, the waterway which runs parallel to the Po.
Zelo – Mantua (50 km)
This morning we 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!. However, first things first. We are in the heartland of Grana Padano – the archrival of Parmesan and after visiting a local cheese factory, we enjoy a degustazione of sharp and seasoned Grana, washed down with a glass of Valpolicella. After our customary picnic lunch, we 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. We ride on and rejoin our barge at Governolo Lock, where Mantua's River Mincio flows into the Po. Veering north, we cruise through the lush wetlands that finally emerge into the glorious "lakes" of Mantua.
Mantua round tour (35 km)
Ruled by the House of Gonzaga for four centuries, the city state of Mantua has attracted a host of famous names across the arts – from Rubens and Mantegna to Monteverdi and Mozart. Up until this very day the town is renowned for it's international book festival. A ride through the centre soon takes us past Palazzo Tè, on the outskirts, the Gonzagas' summer residence. Onwards to the hamlet of Grazie and its historic church - a site of pilgrimage, it is adorned with an intriguing host of wooden figures, personifying the many torments that pilgrims of yore could identify with. A cruise on a local barge takes us home through a waterscape rich in birdlife, lilies and other aquatic flora. This afternoon we meet our Mantuan guide for a walking tour of the historic centre, and enjoy the rest of the day in town, at our own leisure.
Departure after breakfast.
The programme has been planned to feature navigation along the Fissero/ Bianco canal, which runs parallel to the Po and connects Mantua to the Adriatic Sea. Due to organisational 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.
The Mantua to Venice tour was amazing! I can't say enough about how wonderful this experience was. Italy is amazing always, but in this case, it was the staff and tour leaders that made this vacation so memorable. The tour guides took such great care of us - really trying to make our riding enjoyable. The boat staff (including the guides) were obviously happy to be there, worked very well together as a team and made it their mission to make us happy. The food was great, the boat was clean, the staff friendly. I would highly recommend this tour!
Tours marked with are special prices.
|Start||End||Max. No. Guests||Accommodation||Price p.p.|
|Apr 01 2023||Apr 08 2023||33||Single rooms||1,480€|
|Apr 15 2023||Apr 22 2023||33||Single rooms||1,480€|
|Apr 29 2023||May 06 2023||33||Single rooms||1,990€|
|May 13 2023||May 20 2023||33||Single rooms||2,110€|
|May 27 2023||Jun 03 2023||33||Single rooms||2,110€|
|Jun 10 2023||Jun 17 2023||33||Single rooms||2,110€|
|Jun 24 2023||Jul 01 2023||33||Single rooms||2,110€|
|Jul 08 2023||Jul 15 2023||33||Single rooms||1,990€|
|Jul 22 2023||Jul 29 2023||33||Single rooms||1,990€|
|Aug 05 2023||Aug 12 2023||33||Single rooms||1,990€|
|Aug 19 2023||Aug 26 2023||33||Single rooms||1,990€|
|Sep 02 2023||Sep 09 2023||33||Single rooms||2,230€|
|Sep 16 2023||Sep 23 2023||33||Single rooms||2,230€|
|Sep 30 2023||Oct 07 2023||33||Single rooms||2,230€|
|Oct 14 2023||Oct 21 2023||33||Single rooms||2,230€|
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