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Venice to Mantua 8-day Bike & Barge Tour (VP)
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: 10 Standard Twin cabins (including one accommodating up to 3 guests) of 7/8 m2. All cabins are equipped 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. Bed size is: 1.90/2 m x 0.75/0.80
THE LIVING AREA There is a spacious airconditioned lounge/restaurant with 5 tables, accommodating up to 23 guests. EXTRA FEATURES › 1 sundeck › Free hot drinks machine (including Italian ground coffee) › Free wi-fi › Dedicated bike storage › Large 42” screen in the lounge for video/internet
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 and gluten-free diets a fee of 50 Euros will be invoiced when booking
If you would like to rent a bike (85 euro) or e-bike (195 euro), please contact our office when 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.
Tours marked with are special prices.
|Start||End||Max. No. Guests||Accommodation||Price p.p.|
|Sep 28 2019||Oct 05 2019||23||Single rooms||1,490€|
|Oct 26 2019||Nov 02 2019||23||Single rooms||1,190€|
|Apr 11 2020||Apr 18 2020||23||Single rooms||1,530€|
|Apr 25 2020||May 02 2020||23||Single rooms||1,530€|
|May 09 2020||May 16 2020||23||Single rooms||1,530€|
|May 23 2020||May 30 2020||23||Single rooms||1,530€|
|Jun 06 2020||Jun 13 2020||23||Single rooms||1,530€|
|Jun 20 2020||Jun 27 2020||23||Single rooms||1,530€|
|Jul 04 2020||Jul 11 2020||23||Single rooms||1,530€|
|Jul 18 2020||Jul 25 2020||23||Single rooms||1,530€|
|Aug 01 2020||Aug 08 2020||23||Single rooms||1,530€|
|Aug 15 2020||Aug 22 2020||23||Single rooms||1,530€|
|Aug 29 2020||Sep 05 2020||23||Single rooms||1,640€|
|Sep 12 2020||Sep 19 2020||23||Single rooms||1,640€|
|Sep 26 2020||Oct 03 2020||23||Single rooms||1,640€|
|Oct 10 2020||Oct 17 2020||23||Single rooms||1,640€|
|Oct 24 2020||Oct 31 2020||23||Single rooms||1,240€|
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