• more than 30 years of experience
  • wide range throughout Europe
  • guided and self-guided
  • good quality bikes

Mantua to Venice

Cycling along the Venetian lagoon


  • Start
  • Finish


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.

This tour 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 bird life. Then Adria, once a key Roman port, and onwards to Ferrara and Mantua – once major city states crowned by the Italian Renaissance.

  • Type of tour Guided
  • Level 1
  • Duration 8 days
  • Distance 42 km, average per day
  • Venice: the city of gondolas
  • Mantua: Italy's sleeping beauty
  • Walled town of Ferrara
  • Po’s delta unique wetland park

Daily Program

1 km = 0,62 miles
Day 1

Saturday: Arrival in Mantua

We welcome you aboard your new home-from-home from 4.30 p.m. onwards, and then regroup for the introductory briefing – at 6.30 – 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!

Day 2

Sunday: Mantua, round tour


Ruled by the House of Gonzaga for four centuries, the city state of Mantua attracted a dizzying roll call of names across the arts – from Rubens and Mantegna to Monteverdi and Mozart – and to this day the town is renowned for its 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.

Day 3

Monday: Mantova–Governolo–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.

Day 4

Tuesday: 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.

Day 5

Wednesday: Adria–Po Delta Nature Reserve–Chioggia/Pellestrina


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! Also known as “Little Venice”, the colourful fishing hub of Chioggia is a great place to “go local”, and what better way than by making your own bigoli for dinner? This quintessentially Venetian type of pasta is at its best when made fresh, and a delicacy served with a creamy baccalà sauce.

Day 6

Thursday: Chioggia/Pellestrina–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. After rejoining our barge, an unrushed cruise 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!

Day 7

Friday: Venice

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 held sway 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.

Day 8

Saturday: Venice

Departure after breakfast.

Travel Dates

Date Availability Departure Accomodation Category  
3/30/2019 - 4/6/2019 Available Mantua Ave Maria Comfort Book now
4/6/2019 - 4/13/2019 Fully Booked Mantua Vita Pugna Comfort
4/13/2019 - 4/20/2019 Available Mantua Ave Maria Comfort Book now
4/20/2019 - 4/27/2019 Available Mantua Vita Pugna Comfort Book now
4/27/2019 - 5/4/2019 Fully Booked Mantua Ave Maria Comfort
5/4/2019 - 5/11/2019 Fully Booked Mantua Vita Pugna Comfort
5/11/2019 - 5/18/2019 Fully Booked Mantua Ave Maria Comfort
5/18/2019 - 5/25/2019 Fully Booked Mantua Vita Pugna Comfort
5/25/2019 - 6/1/2019 Fully Booked Mantua Ave Maria Comfort
6/1/2019 - 6/8/2019 Fully Booked Mantua Vita Pugna Comfort
6/8/2019 - 6/15/2019 Fully Booked Mantua Ave Maria Comfort
6/15/2019 - 6/22/2019 Fully Booked Mantua Vita Pugna Comfort
6/22/2019 - 6/29/2019 Fully Booked Mantua Ave Maria Comfort
6/29/2019 - 7/6/2019 Fully Booked Mantua Vita Pugna Comfort
7/6/2019 - 7/13/2019 Limited Mantua Ave Maria Comfort Book now
7/13/2019 - 7/20/2019 Limited Mantua Vita Pugna Comfort Book now
7/20/2019 - 7/27/2019 Available Mantua Ave Maria Comfort Book now
7/27/2019 - 8/3/2019 Available Mantua Vita Pugna Comfort Book now
8/3/2019 - 8/10/2019 Available Mantua Ave Maria Comfort Book now
8/10/2019 - 8/17/2019 Available Mantua Vita Pugna Comfort Book now
8/17/2019 - 8/24/2019 Available Mantua Ave Maria Comfort Book now
8/24/2019 - 8/31/2019 Fully Booked Mantua Vita Pugna Comfort
8/31/2019 - 9/7/2019 Fully Booked Mantua Ave Maria Comfort
9/7/2019 - 9/14/2019 Fully Booked Mantua Vita Pugna Comfort
9/14/2019 - 9/21/2019 Fully Booked Mantua Ave Maria Comfort
9/21/2019 - 9/28/2019 Fully Booked Mantua Vita Pugna Comfort
9/28/2019 - 10/5/2019 Fully Booked Mantua Ave Maria Comfort
10/5/2019 - 10/12/2019 Fully Booked Mantua Vita Pugna Comfort
10/12/2019 - 10/19/2019 Fully Booked Mantua Ave Maria Comfort
10/19/2019 - 10/26/2019 Fully Booked Mantua Vita Pugna Comfort
10/26/2019 - 11/2/2019 Available Mantua Ave Maria Comfort Book now

Tour prices

Accommodation Room Price Children 0-2 years Children 3-11 years
Prices are per cabin 0 0
0 0
Ave Maria Lower deck: 2-berth cabin with bunk bed on March 30 € 1780,- 0 0
Ave Maria Lower deck: 2-berth cabin with bunk bed April 13 - August 17 € 2480,- 0 0
Ave Maria Lower deck: 2-berth cabin with bunk bed Aug. 31 - Oct. 12 € 2880,- 0 0
0 0
Ave Maria Lower deck: 2-berth cabin with low beds on March 30 € 1980,- 0 0
Ave Maria Lower deck: 2-berth cabin with low beds April 13 - August 17 € 2680,- 0 0
Ave Maria Lower deck: 2-berth cabin with low beds Aug. 31 - Oct. 12 € 3080,- 0 0
0 0
Ave Maria Upper deck: 2-berth cabin with low beds on March 30 € 2260,- 0 0
Ave Maria Upper deck: 2-berth cabin with low beds April 13 - August 17 € 2960,- 0 0
Ave Maria Upper deck: 2-berth cabin with low beds Aug. 31 - Oct. 12 € 3360,- 0 0
0 0
Vita Pugna Lower deck: 2-berth cabin with low beds on April 6 € 1780,- 0 0
Vita Pugna Lower deck: 2-berth cabin with low beds April 20 - August 24 € 2180,- 0 0
Vita Pugna Lower deck: 2-berth cabin with low beds Sept. 7 - Oct. 5 € 2380,- 0 0

Rent a bike

Image Name Type Price per week
27-gear unisex Citybike 27-gear unisex Citybike Incl. bike helmet €85
Electric bike Electric bike Kalkhoff, Agattu model, incl. bike helmet €195


  • All nights on board (incl. sheets and towels)
  • Season supplement
  • Daily short cleaning of the cabin
  • Full board (breakfast, dinner and a self-made packed lunch)
  • Coffee and tea and other hot drinks on board
  • Courtesy kit
  • Travel Guide, Maps, Roadbook
  • English speaking tour leader with an international group
  • Second tour leader with a minimum of 25 people only aboard Ave Maria
  • Bus transfer Ferrara – Zelo/Ferrara – Adria
  • Harbour charges
  • Guided visit in Venice and Mantua
  • Visit of a cheese factory with tasting of typical Grana Padano
  • Visit of Carousel and Street Entertainment Museum
  • Boat excursion in the Nature Reserve of the Mincio Park

Not included

  • Reservation costs € 20,- per party
  • Cabin for single occupancy (Standard cabin): supplement of € 300,- (only available on the lower deck)
  • Bicycle rent
  • Personal insurance / cancellation insurance (optional)
  • Beverages on board
  • Museums, fees  and extras in general

Special details

  • This tour will be operated by our local partner.
  • Please take good notice of our Terms & Conditions.
  • The program is subject to change without notice.
  • If you have special meal requirements we ask you to mention this when booking. In case of gluten-free and vegan there is an additional charge of € 50, – per week.
  • Tour programme variations: The programme has been planned to feature navigation along the Fissero/ Bianco canal, which runs parallel to the Po river 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.

Arrival info

Saturday is the day of arrival. You can leave the luggage on board anytime during the day but the cabins will be available from 4.30 PM to 7.00 PM (dinner time). Just before dinner, a meeting with the tour guide and the crew is scheduled. The mooring place of the barge is at the harbour in Porto Catena.


The nearest international airport is Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE). The airport is located 120 km/ 75 miles from Mantua
To get to the barge you can go by city bus to the train station in Mestre (Venice), then continue by train from Mestre to Mantua (1x change of trains in Verona Porta Nuova). Travel time is almost 3 hours and costs between € 25,- and € 36,-.


The barge is located 2 km/1.25 miles from the train station in Mantua. From the station it is about 5 minutes by taxi, costs are about € 10,-.


The city of Mantua is located near the Brennero highway A22. You can park your car in Mantua in several parkings. From these parkings you can walk to the harbour (about 20 min. from the farthest parking) or you can take a taxi.

End of the tour

The tour ends one week later, on Saturday morning after breakfast before 9 AM in Venice. You will spend the night from Friday to Saturday on board. To get to Venice Marco Polo Airport, there are several ways of transportation: By water bus (vaporetto): you can reach the airport by sea with Alilaguna lines. Travel time is between 40 minutes and 1 hour and a ticket costs about € 15,-. By shuttle bus: with the Fly Bus ATVO shuttle service. Travel time is 20 minutes and a ticket costs € 6,-

Book this tour

Frequently asked questions

  • What biking level is the Mantua to Venice tour?

    Easy cycling in mostly flat areas, with only few short climbs and descents. Little effort required, suitable for most people.

    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.

  • How do I get from the airport to the destination place and is this transfer included?

    Our sales and information department can inform you on this manner. These transfers are usually not included (see the included section for each tour).

  • How large is the group on board?

    The size of the group depends on the barge scheduled on the tour. The capacity of the barges varies between 12 and 26 participants.

  • What is the average age of the participants?

    The ages vary between 35 and 75, but of course we have younger and older guests. During school vacations there are more children on board.

  • Which countries do the participants come from?

    The main countries represented by our cycling guests are: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and France. However we regularly welcome South Africans and Japanese guests.

    The common language on board is English.

More questions

Price starting from € 890,- * * There are no extra's included in this price


Ave Maria
Ave Maria

About the barge

100 % Italian design.This Italian boat has been totally rebuilt in order to meet the highest client's’ requests.  It has been completely designed by a renowned architectural Italian firm. Its shapes, colours and materials have been chosen carefully in order to create a warm, sober and yet sophisticated atmosphere.

Cabin plan

The Ave Maria is equipped with:
- 4 Superior double cabins above deck, approx. 11 m² (three of these can accommodate up to 4 persons adding 2 bunk beds);
- 10 Standard double cabins below deck, approx. 11 m² (three of these can accommodate up to 3 persons adding 1 bunk bed);
- 3 bunk bed cabins below deck, approx. 7.5 m² (also available as single cabins).

All cabins enjoy sizeable windows (the ones in the Superior cabins can also be partially opened), comfortable low beds, en-suite facilities, air conditioning and safety box.
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)
- the Lounge (up to 28 seats).

Extra features:
- 2 sundecks
- Free hot drinks machine (including Italian ground coffee)
- Free WiFi in the common areas
- Large 55" screen in the lounge for video
- Hair-dryers (limited number) available on request

  • Offical name Ave Maria
  • Length 41 m
  • Width 7.5 m
  • Capacity 40 persons
  • Electricity 220 Volts
Vita Pugna
Vita Pugna

About the barge

After many years as cargo boat Vita Pugna has been totally renewed in the beginning of the 1990s in order to start its new life as floating hotel along the Dutch canals. On board the Vita Pugna you will find the same style and cosy atmosphere of the Bike & Barge cruises in Holland enhanced by the friendly and homely management of the international crew. The typical wooden cabin area and the comfortable air-conditioned living room will welcome the customers for a well-deserved rest after a day on the bike.

Cabin plan

The boat Vita Pugna is equipped with:
- 10 Standard twin cabins (including one accommodating up to 3 guests) of 7/8 m².

All cabins are air-conditioned and 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. Bed size is 1.90/2 m x 0.75/0.80 m.

There is a spacious air-conditioned lounge/restaurant with 5 tables, accommodating up to 23 guests.

Extra features:
- 1 sundeck
- Free hot drinks machine (including Italian ground coffee)
- Free WiFi
- Large 42" screen in the lounge for video

  • Offical name MS Vita Pugna
  • Length 36 m
  • Width 5.4 m
  • Capacity 23 persons
  • Electricity 220 Volts

Mantova to Venice

Mantova to Venice


What others think of this tour

Leave your review