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Italy

Venetian Waterways (Mantova to Venice)

Bike and Barge holiday

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

8 days

Prices from

£935 P.P.
Italy

Venetian Waterways (Mantova to Venice)

Bike and Barge holiday

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

8 days

Prices from

£935 P.P.
BOOK NOW
Blending nature, culture and fine cuisine, this leisurely bike and barge tour in Northern Italy offers you the chance to explore the River Po's lovely surroundings.
Led by a local guide, you'll be riding alongside lazy canals, biking through vineyards and meandering along country roads as you discover some of northern Italy's most beautiful waterways. You'll be enticed by celebrated cities of art, including Mantova, the seat of the Gonzaga dynasty; Ferrara, the capital of the Este family and glorious Venice. You'll enjoy flat terrain as you follow the River Po, the longest river in Italy, and you'll experience the tranquillity and natural attractions of the Po Delta, one of Europe’s largest wetlands.
During the day, a local guide will be leading the way, however route descriptions are provided if you'd prefer to cycle independently from the group. This bike and barge tour is run in conjunction with a local partner and you will join their guests on board. You will spend your evenings sharing experiences of the day with an international group of cyclists over authentic regional cuisine, cooked and served on board the barge. Please get in touch if you'd like to know the make up of the group booked onto your chosen departure.
If the below dates don't work for you, or if you'd prefer to do the route the other way around, you could consider starting the trip in Venice and making your way to Mantova. Both barges are available on both versions of the route on alternate weeks. Please contact us for details.

Holiday Highlights

  • Cycling through some of Northern Italy’s most enticing cities
  • Staying on board the modern, bright and spacious Ave Maria or the traditional Vita Pugna
  • Spending the day discovering Mantova
  • Riding alongside the River Po, the longest river in Italy
  • Experiencing the Po Delta, one of Europe’s largest wetlands
  • Finishing your trip in beautiful Venice

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We had a wonderful holiday. It was superbly well organised from beginning to end. I’ve travelled with your company before & will look forward to doing so again.

Kathy, Greater Manchester

Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival into Mantova
  • Meals: Dinner

Today you’ll arrive in the beautiful city of Mantova. Your cabin will be available from 16.30 onwards, and a welcome meeting with your tour leader and crew is usually scheduled for around 18.30. It’s a great way to get to know your fellow cyclists and get an idea of what to expect over the coming days. After dinner, we’ll take a stroll into town and experience Mantova by night! Benvenuti a Mantova!

Day 2
Mantova Loop Ride
22 Miles / 35 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Today you’ll have the entire day to explore the little visited, cultural gem of Mantova. Ruled by the House of Gonzaga for four centuries, the City State of Mantova attracted a roll call of names from across the arts, including Rubens and Mozart, and to this day is renowned for its international book festival.

A day dedicated to the discovery its three picturesque “lakes” formed by the Mincio, and its surrounding countryside.

In the afternoon we’ll 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
Mantova to Zelo
31 Miles / 50 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

This morning we’ll take a short cruise along the lush banks of the Mincio to Governolo Lock, where the river runs into the Po and forms the largest inland basin in Italy.

At Governolo Lock, we’ll be straight into the saddle, following the Po through Ostiglia (famed for its medieval fortress and floating mill) and on to the village of Bergantino (home of the distinctive Museum of Fairground Rides and its collection of street organs, all expertly restored).

But, first things first, since we‘re now in the heartland of Grana Padano (the arch-rival of Parmesan) we simply must stop to visit a local cheese factory, to sample some well seasoned Grana!

Finally we’ll reach the sleepy village of Zelo on the Canal Bianco and meet our barge again.

Day 4
Zelo to Adria (via Ferrara)
31 Miles By Bike + 37 Miles By Bus / 50 Kms By Bike + 60 Kms By Bus Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

After breakfast, we’ll 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 for the bikes!) will then take us back to our floating hotel in Adria, an ancient Roman port once washed by the sea which bears its name.

An after-dinner passeggiata (a leisurely stroll) into town for a well-earned Grappa or gelato is in order.

Day 5
Adria to Pellestrina Island (via the Po Delta Nature Reserve)
25 Miles / 40 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

After a short cruise, we’ll cycle into the delta of the Po; this unique wetland park is the prime reserve in Europe for herons and home to a large colony of flamingos. As we continue towards Chioggia, weather permitting, we might have the opportunity to soak up some sun and take a dip at a nearby beach.

Known as “Little Venice“, the colourful fishing hub of Chioggia is a great place to go local. Try a hot savory piadina!

Day 6
Pellestrina Island to Venice
19 Miles / 30 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Venice beckons us today, but first we’ll be heading to Pellestrina, a humble and tranquil fishing backwater, picturesque with tranquil cottages and fishing 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 your barge, you will cruise in front of St Mark’s square and continue on to your 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
Venice - Free Day
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

After waking up to a wonderful view on the lagoon, a local guide will show you the important sights in Venice and afterwards you are free to enjoy the rest of the day exploring the city, with its atmospheric canals, wealth of art galleries and attractive islands.

Day 8
Departure from Venice
  • Meals: Breakfast

Departure after breakfast.

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.

Occasionally, weather conditions or provisions issued by local authorities, the itinerary may be subject to some changes before and/or during the tour. Issues with high and low water, as well as logistical obstacles such as those officially ordered – and previously not announced (e.g. 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 will be taken by the boat’s captain.

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The Cycling

Terrain

You will mostly be riding on well surfaced, quiet country roads and cycle lanes where you’ll be separated from motor vehicles. Around 30% of the route is traffic free, with the rest on quiet roads shared with traffic. There will be some short sections that see you riding over more uneven ground; Over cobbles in some city centres and one short section on day 3 on a gravel / dirt road. This cycling tour is largely along the flats of the Po plains, and the daily stages vary from 30 to 50 Kms. Some parts of the itinerary are undertaken by boat to allow easier access onto cycling paths, or simply to enjoy a cruise through the Venice lagoon. We recommend a hybrid bike for this tour. It is not possible to bring your own bike on this trip.

cycling-italy-leisure-bike-and-boat-easy-skedaddle.jpg

Leisure Cycling Grade

1
2
3
4
5
Grade 1-2 : Easy/Gentle

Aspects of both our grade 1 and 2 holidays

Suitable for those looking for a relaxed ride

Occasional ups and downs

Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!

For more information about our grading system click here.

Is this suitable for you?

Holidays that are graded as a 1-2, will have aspects of both our grade 1 and grade 2 holidays. These tours are still suitable for those looking for an accessible cycling holiday with manageable daily distances, along predominately flat terrain, however there will be some days / sections where we’d expect you to be up for a slightly cheeky challenge. It might be that the distances are a little longer on some days or that the terrain is slightly more undulating, but the rides are still relaxed and manageable for someone whose generally fit and healthy.

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Dates & Prices

Private Departures

Private Departures

Are you keen to only travel with your family or friends? Struggling to find the right date? Well, we can organise a private departure for this tour and tailor aspects to suit your group's specific needs. Contact our friendly team and we'll help you turn your dream into reality.

Start Date
End Date
Duration
Price p.p.
Start Date
27/03/2021
Return Date
03/04/2021
Duration
8 days
Price
£1,030.00
Start Date
03/04/2021
Return Date
10/04/2021
Duration
8 days
Price
£935.00
Start Date
10/04/2021
Return Date
17/04/2021
Duration
8 days
Price
£1,545.00
Start Date
17/04/2021
Return Date
24/04/2021
Duration
8 days
Price
£1,255.00
Start Date
24/04/2021
Return Date
01/05/2021
Duration
8 days
Price
£1,545.00
Start Date
01/05/2021
Return Date
08/05/2021
Duration
8 days
Price
£1,255.00
Start Date
08/05/2021
Return Date
15/05/2021
Duration
8 days
Price
£1,545.00
Start Date
15/05/2021
Return Date
22/05/2021
Duration
8 days
Price
£1,255.00
Start Date
22/05/2021
Return Date
29/05/2021
Duration
8 days
Price
£1,545.00
Start Date
29/05/2021
Return Date
05/06/2021
Duration
8 days
Price
£1,255.00

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Whats Included Tick

A) Barge accommodation (shared twin / double en suite cabins, with sheets and towels)

B) Meals as per the itinerary

C) English speaking local leader, within an international group

D) Travel guide, maps and road book

E) Mid-week cabin cleaning service and towel change

F) Coffee and tea on board the barge

G) Bus from Ferrara to Adria (day 4)

H) Guided visits in Venice and Mantova

I) Visit to a cheese factory with a Grana Padano tasting

J) Visit to the Carousel and Street Entertainment Museum

K) Harbour charges

What's not Included Cross

A) Bike hire (available if required)

B) Flights and charges for travelling with your bike (if

applicable)

C) Single cabin (available if required, on request)

D) Travel insurance

E) Personal clothing and equipment

F) Personal expenditure (souvenirs, bar bills, hotel facilities etc)

G) Entrance fees to museums and other attractions en route

H) Tickets for any public transportation in Venice and lagoon

I) Travel to barge on arrival day

J) Travel from barge on departure day

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The Essentials

Travel Options

For this tour we ask that you make your own way to your barge in Mantova on arrival and on wards from Venice at the end of the trip. We’d ask that you aim to arrive before 18.30 if possible. The most convenient airport for this trip is Venice Marco Polo (VCE). Venice airport is served by BA who offer direct flights from London Gatwick (LGW) and by easyJet from Manchester (MAN). From Venice airport you can take one of the regular airport buses to Mestre railway station. The bus timetable can be accessed at www.atvo.it. From Mestre, there are hourly trains to Mantova with changes in either Verona. The train journey takes around 3 hours. From Mantova station you can travel to the boat on foot (2 Kms) or by taxi (about €7). Alternatively you can fly into Verona (VRN). Please check with Skedaddle before booking any flights so that we can ensure they fit in with the holiday schedule.

Accommodation

For the duration of the trip you will be staying on board a comfortable barge. We have two barges available, the Vita Pugna or the more luxurious Ave Maria.

The Vita Pugna is a traditional Dutch barge which offers compact yet comfortable accommodation providing capacity for up to 21 guests. Home to 10 standard twin cabins (one with 3 low beds that can accommodate 3), all equipped with comfortable low beds, en suite facilities and air conditioning. The living room provides five spacious tables and comes complete with a large 37” flat screen TV, free wi-fi and one Ethernet port and computer. In addition to the salon there is a spacious deck area with cycle storage.

The Italian barge; the Ave Maria is modern, bright and has the capacity for 40 guests. 4 superior double/twin cabins above deck (3 of which can accommodate 4 people by adding 2 bunk beds), 10 standard double/twin cabins below deck (3 of which can accommodate 3 by adding a bunk bed) and 3 bunk bed cabins below deck (also available as single cabins). All cabins enjoy sizeable windows (in the superior cabins these can be opened), comfortable low beds, en-suite facilities and air conditioning. The Ave Maria has two sundecks, a dedicated cycle storage area, free wi-fi, ethernet port with two computers and a 52” TV in the lounge area.

Bike Hire

The hire bikes are typically hybrid/touring bikes with semi slick tyres and 27 gears. We can provide helmets with the hire bikes – please request these at the time of booking.

The hire bikes come with 1 cycle computer, 1 Ortlieb one-sided saddlebag, a water bottle and 1 combination bike lock. If choosing to self-guide you will also be provided with 1 front bar bag or 1 map holder and 1 repair kit per room (which includes 1 spare inner tube, glue, patch, a pump, 2 allen keys and tyre levers). If riding with the group, your leader will carry the repair kit.

You can bring your own saddle and/or pedals, but you will need to bring along your own tools to fit them to the hire bikes, (please let us know in advance). The use of your own bikes for this tour is not recommended, for both cost and logistical reasons.

We also have electric bikes available to hire on request.

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