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

  • 8days
  • Italy

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Bike & Barge Tours Europe
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Bike & Barge Tour Venice to Mantua

Blending nature, culture and fine cuisine, this leisurely bike and barge tour along the waterways of 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 along the route, rewarding our daily rides with authentic regional dishes back on board. From the glory of Venice, the lagoon leads us to colourful Chioggia. Next up, the natural wonders of the Po Delta, famed for its birdlife. Then Adria, once a key Roman port, and onwards to Ferrara and Mantua – once major city states crowned by the Italian Renaissance.

Tour character:

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
    • 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
    • Bus transfer Ferrara-Zelo
    • Some short walking tours

    Not included in the tour:

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

    Notes:

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

    If you would like to rent a bike 110 EUR or e-bike 270 EUR, please contact our office when booking: [email protected]

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

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    • Day 1

      Venice

      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 savour Venice at night, now free of the crowds and at her most romantic: Benvenuti a Venezia!

      ACCOMMODATION barge / MEALS dinner

    • Day 2

      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 breakfast and packed lunch

    • Day 3

      Venice – Pellestrina island

      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 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”.

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

    • Day 4

      Pellestrina island – Po Delta Nature Reserve – Adria

      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.

      ACCOMMODATION barge / MEALS full board (packed lunch) / BIKE 40 km / ELEVATION GAIN + 140 - 140

    • Day 5

      Adria – Ferrara – Zelo

      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.

      ACCOMMODATION barge / MEALS full board (packed lunch) / BIKE 35 km / ELEVATION GAIN + 120 - 115 / TRANSFER bus 1 hour 15 minutes

    • Day 6

      Zelo – Mantua

      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!). But first things first: we are in the heartland of Grana Padano – the arch-rival of Parmesan – and after visiting the 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.

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

    • Day 7

      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 full board (packed lunch) / BIKE 35 km / ELEVATION GAIN + 115 - 115 / GUIDED VISIT 1 hour 30 minutes

    • Day 8

      Mantua

      Departure after breakfast.

      MEALS breakfast

      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.

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    Tours marked with are special prices.

    Start End Max. No. Guests Accommodation Price p.p.
    Jun 15 2024 Jun 22 2024 23 Single rooms 2,400€
    Double rooms 1,500€
    Jun 29 2024 Jul 06 2024 23 Single rooms 2,400€
    Double rooms 1,500€
    Jul 13 2024 Jul 20 2024 23 Single rooms 2,300€
    Double rooms 1,400€
    Jul 27 2024 Aug 03 2024 23 Single rooms 2,300€
    Double rooms 1,400€
    Aug 10 2024 Aug 17 2024 23 Single rooms 2,300€
    Double rooms 1,400€
    Aug 24 2024 Aug 31 2024 23 Single rooms 2,500€
    Double rooms 1,600€
    Sep 07 2024 Sep 14 2024 23 Single rooms 2,500€
    Double rooms 1,600€
    Sep 21 2024 Sep 28 2024 23 Single rooms 2,500€
    Double rooms 1,600€
    Oct 05 2024 Oct 12 2024 23 Single rooms 2,500€
    Double rooms 1,600€
    Oct 19 2024 Oct 26 2024 23 Single rooms 2,400€
    Double rooms 1,500€
    Apr 19 2025 Apr 26 2025 23 Single rooms 2,390€
    Double rooms 1,470€
    May 03 2025 May 10 2025 23 Single rooms 2,490€
    Double rooms 1,570€
    May 17 2025 May 24 2025 23 Single rooms 2,490€
    Double rooms 1,570€
    May 31 2025 Jun 07 2025 23 Single rooms 2,490€
    Double rooms 1,570€
    Jun 14 2025 Jun 21 2025 23 Single rooms 2,490€
    Double rooms 1,570€
    Jun 28 2025 Jul 05 2025 23 Single rooms 2,390€
    Double rooms 1,470€
    Jul 12 2025 Jul 19 2025 23 Single rooms 2,390€
    Double rooms 1,470€
    Jul 26 2025 Aug 02 2025 23 Single rooms 2,390€
    Double rooms 1,470€
    Aug 09 2025 Aug 16 2025 23 Single rooms 2,390€
    Double rooms 1,470€
    Aug 23 2025 Aug 30 2025 23 Single rooms 2,600€
    Double rooms 1,680€
    Sep 06 2025 Sep 13 2025 23 Single rooms 2,600€
    Double rooms 1,680€
    Sep 20 2025 Sep 27 2025 23 Single rooms 2,600€
    Double rooms 1,680€
    Oct 04 2025 Oct 11 2025 23 Single rooms 2,600€
    Double rooms 1,680€
    Oct 18 2025 Oct 25 2025 23 Single rooms 2,490€
    Double rooms 1,570€

    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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