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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”. This cycling tour is largely along the flats of the Po plains, and the daily stages vary from 30 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 through the Venice lagoon. Level Easy: easy cycling in mostly flat areas, with only few short climbs and descents. Little effort required, suitable for most people. The tour is also suitable for children.
The cabins are available from 4.30 pm. The meeting with the tour leader and the crew is scheduled at dinner time, at 7 pm.
In the morning a local guide will let you discover the capital of the ancient “Serenissima Republic of Venice”, which held sway over much of the Mediterranean (and beyond) for centuries. You will also have a lot of time to visit the city.
Leaving Venice behind after a gentle cruise in front of St Mark’s square, 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”.
We recommend a morning stroll through Chioggia’s fish market. and if time allows it, a visit up the millennial clock tower – the oldest in the world – for some breathtaking views. Our cycling resumes southbound, into the delta of the imposing Po. This unique wetland park is the prime reserve in Europe for herons and home to a colony of flamingos. We overnight in Adria, an ancient Greek port once close to the shores of the sea which bears its name, also renowned for its Etruscan and Roman heritage.
After a short cruise we saddle our bikes and, following the Po through farmland and hamlets, we reach Ferrara. Under its overlords, the Este family, this ancient City State attracted influential architects and artists for centuries. A private bus takes us back to our floating hotel in Zelo, a sleepy village on the Canal Bianco, the waterway which runs parallel to the Po.
After a few km on our bikes, we reach the village of Bergantino where we visit the charming Carousel and Street Entertainment Museum. Following the river through Ostiglia (famed for its medieval fortress and floating mill) and on to Governolo Lock. Once a vital staging post for local navigation, this is where the River Mincio flows into the Po, creating the largest inland basin in Italy. Leaving the Po behind, we reach Mantua through a magnificent navigation in the afternoon.
An entire day dedicated to the discovery of this little visited cultural gem, its three picturesque “lakes” formed by the Mincio, and its surrounding countryside – once a City State ruled by the Gonzaga family. In the late afternoon a local guide will lead you through the most known highlights of the town.
Departure after breakfast. Possibility to book extra nights. The program 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 organizing 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.
WHAT´S INCLUDED IN THE SELF-GUIDED BIKE AND BOAT TRIP?
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