Difficulty Rating : 2 Start: Venice Finish: Mantua Terrain: Mostly flat, with only a few short climbs/descents Daily Average: 38km Weekly Average: 190km Tour Type: Self Guided,Family,Bike and Boat,Group Teaser: Our bike & boat tours have been a fantastic success with the option of being able to sleep at the same place each night
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Our bike & boat tours have been a fantastic success. The option of being able to sleep at the same place each night, but yet explore a new destination each day seems to have struck a cord!
As one of must see places in the world, Venice needs little introduction. The proximity of the city to water and nearby islands is a perfect starting point. The first day is a chance to explore Venice itself or can be just spent relaxing, soaking up the 'Dolce Vita'.

Our cycling starts on the nearby islands and on to a nature reserve at Ca'Roman. We take in the Po Delta where the interesting biodiversity is enhanced by the beauty of elegant flamingos. We also cycle near some fine beaches providing swimming opportunities at lunch. Cycling on a mix of river cycle paths and small roads we arrive in Mantova a beautiful historical Renaissance city with lakes on three sides.

This mix of routes, the extremely flat nature of the cycling and the opportunity to just relax on the boat make this trip ideal for the less sportive of riders and children. We offer this tour on two different boats and in both directions. You can either cycle independently following detailed maps and route directions or with the rest of the group, following the tour guide.

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Day 1

Arrival to Venice

Individual arrival to Venice. The cabins are available from 4.30 p.m. The meeting with the tour leader and the crew is scheduled at dinner-time at 7 p.m.

Day 2

Guided tour of Venice

In the morning you have time to explore the capital of the ancient ‘Serenissima Republic of Venice’, which held sway over the Mediterranean (and beyond) for centuries. After the guided tour of Venice you have lot of time to soak up its timeless beauty or explore its islands.

Day 3

Venice ~ Chioggia (approx. 30 km)

Cruising out of Venice at a gentle pace, we start our bike and boat adventure on the Lido, the first of two islands we explore today. Fashionable with the artists and aristocracy of the Belle E poque, the Lido di Venezia is now home to the International Venice Film Festival and its galaxy of stars. A short island-hop takes us to Pellestrina, where we cycle towards the Ca’ Roman nature reserve, past the fishermen’s cottages and boats. Here, where we rejoin the barge and sail to Chioggia – a bustling and colourful fishing harbour known as “Little Venice”.

Day 4

Chioggia ~ Porto Viro-Adria (40 km)

A morning stroll through Chioggia’s fish market is recommended and, time allowing, 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.

Day 5

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 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.

Day 6

Zelo ~ Mantova (50 km)

We sail for a short stretch and, back on our bikes, we cycle to 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 Mantova.

Day 7

Mantova round tour (40 km)

The entire day is 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 before our final night together.

  • 7 nights onboard with ensuite facilities
  • All breakfasts, self made packed lunches & 6 dinners on board
  • coffee, tea and other hot beverages on board
  • Sheets and towels
  • Mid-week cabin cleaning service, towel change
  • App incl. maps, roadbook, points of interest and GPS tracks
  • Digital tour information
  • Guide cycling with the group (group tour)
  • Bus transfers Ferrara - Zelo / Ferrara - Adria
  • Visit of Carousel and Street Entertainment Museum
  • Visit of a historic glass factory on Murano Island
  • Harbour charges
  • Guided tours in Venice & Mantua
  • Visit to a cheese factory with tasting of a typical Grana Padano

    Not included / Optional Extras
  • €50 supplement for special dietary requirements ( vegan / gluten free ) 
  • Ferry ticket in Pellestrina ( approx €9 ) not included
  • 1 dinner
  • Venice Municipality Access Fee (approx €18 - €30, to be paid on site)
  • Tips for crew and guides 

Bike rental is not included in our 2023 tour price. This is an additional:
€100.00 Hybrid Bike
€250.00 Electric Bike

The tour is a seven night trip on a barge with an English speaking guide. Each day you head out with the guide on the cycling tour while your luggage will stay on the barge and meet you at the end of each day.

You can either cycle independently following detailed maps and route directions or with the rest of the group, following the tour guide.

In 2021 Bike rental is not included in the basic tour price

We rent a 27-gear unisex Citybike A unisex frame, ideal for an upright but relaxed riding position.
This is the bike automatically given to ladies and gents unless otherwise specified.
There is the possiblity of a Citybike with men's frame with 21/24 gears but it is on request only.

It is also possible to rent an E-Bike ~ Kalkhoff, Agattu model Motor:
The high-capacity battery is secured to the seat tube.
Gears: Nexus 8-speed.
Range: approx. 90 km (flat terrain, average speed).

Flyer T8.1 Model, Low-entry frame Panasonic or Bosch batteries of top safety and long life. Panasonic motor (36 V, 15 AH Capacity, 540 WH available power) Gears: Nexus 7-speed. Range: approx 90 km (flat terrain, average speed)

45km is the average day's cycle

If you cannot cycle you can stay on the barge if you prefer

As this is not a tour that takes on many hills, you should find it very manageable if you just cycle a few hours a week and put a little training before you go.
However as with all tours doing one longer cycle a week of 2 or 3 hours would really help in your tour enjoyment

This tour exceeded my expectations. The Ave Maria was comfortable and spacious, I cannot say enough about the crew including our cycling guides. Everyone was so friendly, fun and helpful. It was a fantastic trip.

Kimberley McGrath (Italy, Amalfi Coast 2017)

BOAT 'Ave Maria' PRICES 2023
Price per person sharing

Season 1: ( March 25 - April 15 incl. )
€1130     Season 1   in a standard cabin below deck
€1480     Season 1   single cabin
€2090     Season 1   double cabin for single use
€830       Season 1   3rd person in triple cabin
€930       Season 1   bunk bed cabin

+€510     Season 2   ( April 22 - April 29, July 1 - August 19 ) 
+€630     Season 3   ( May 6 - June 24, October 21 )
+€750     Season 4   ( August 26 - October 14 )

+ €200:  Superior double cabin (deck level)

BOAT 'Vita Pugna' PRICES 2023
Price per person sharing
Season 1: ( March 25 - April 15 incl. )
€1030    Season 1  twin cabin
€1900     Season 1  twin cabin for single use
€730       Season 1  3rd person in trible cabin

+€320    Season 2 ( April 22 - April 29, July 1 - August 19 ) 
+€370    Season 3 ( May 6 - May 24, October 21 )
+€440   Season 4  ( August 26 - October 14 ) 

Self-Guided Tour Information

When booking this bike and boat tour, please specify your chosen option - i.e. guided with a guide cycling with the clients or self-guided, when you get your maps and route details and you cycle independently.

How to get to Venice:

Venice is connected with the following airports:

  • Venice Marco Polo: 10 km,
  • Treviso Canova: 30 km,
  • Verona: 110 km,
  • Bergamo: 240, km
  • Milano: 310 km

Connection Marco Polo Alilaguna water bus: - from the airport of Venice you can reach the boarding point by sea with Alilaguna lines.

Red Line Alilaguna (www.alilaguna.it) with stop on Certosa island on request. This line works from 8.22 a.m. to 6.22 p.m. (transfer approx. 40 minutes, ticket about 15 €).

Blu Line Alilaguna: if you arrive later, you can take the Blu Line that works until 00.15 a.m. (transfer approx. 1 hour, ticket about 15 €).

Connection shuttle bus: - from the airport you can reach Venice by bus: the Fly Bus ATVO shuttle service leaves every 30 minutes from 7:50 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. (20 min journey; ticket: €6; www.atvo.it).

For more details please have a look at the tour dossier.

As always please contact us in the office for more information (info@cyclingsafaris.com).

Ave Maria Barge

This 4* Italian boat has been totally rebuilt in order to meet the most challenging clients’ requests. Only the hull of the original 1970s sand digger sailing along the Po has remained and the boat is now brand new. It has been completely designed by a renowned Italian architectural firm. Its shapes, colours and materials have been chosen carefully in order to create a warm but yet sophisticated atmosphere.

Ave Maria Barge image 1Ave Maria Barge image 1

Vita Pugna barge

This barge comes with a spacious air-conditioned lounge/restaurant with 5 tables, as well as a sundeck, accommodating up to 23 guests. There are 10 Standard twin cabins (including one accommodating up to 3 guests) all 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.

Vita Pugna barge image 1<img src="/images/Accommodation_Europe/Italy_-_Venice_to_

Tour Date Options

Red = booked out / not available, Blue = Limited Availability, Green = available

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Booking Form

Primary Contact Details.

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We require you to have Travel Insurance when you book the tour. It is important that you are covered in case of cancellation due to injury as the deposit is non refundable

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Please indicate below how many people are in your group including yourself.

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For single travellers, we organise accommodation on a twin sharing basis. Please note it may not be possible on all our tours and a single supplement will be applied.

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Other Information

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Payment Information

If you have been on a previous tour, there is a €50.00 discount on our week long tours in Ireland (unfortunately this discount does not apply to other European trips)

A €250.00 deposit is required for each person booking on a holiday. The Balance payment is required two month prior to the starting date. The deposit is forfeited in the event of a cancellation of your booking. The balancing payment is also non-refundable in the event of the cancellation occuring within 14 days of the tour starting date. All transactions are taken in Euro.

We will contact you to confirm your booking and payment details.

Please ensure that you have read the terms and conditions before proceeding.

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Booking Conditions

Irish Cycling Safaris Ltd (“the Company”) accepts bookings subject to the following conditions:

  • The contract is between the Company and the client, being any person travelling or intending to travel on a tour operated by the company. The contract, including all matters arising from it, is subject to Irish law and the exclusive jurisdiction of the Irish courts. A booking is accepted and becomes definite only from the date when the company sends a confirmation. It is at this point that a contract between the company and the client comes into existence. Before your booking is confirmed and comes into existence the company reserves the right to increase or decrease brochure prices. The company or their agents reserve the right to decline any booking at their discretion.
  • To secure a booking the Company or their agent requires a completed booking form and the necessary deposit. (Full payment if travel within 60 days). The first named client must be over 18 years of age. Clients booking by telephone, by website/E-mail or fax will be deemed to have signed the booking form and read and accepted our terms of booking. The person signing, or being deemed to sign, the booking form warrants that he/she has full authority to do so on behalf of all persons whose names appear thereon, and confirms that all such persons are fully aware of and accept these conditions.
  • The balance of all monies due, including any surcharges applicable at the time, must be paid to the company or their agents not later than 60 days before departure. In the case of non-payment of the balance by the due date the Company reserves the right to cancel your booking and cancellation charges will apply. If any cheque is dishonoured we reserve the right to charge €25 to cover administration costs.
  • Travel Insurance is mandatory for all clients whilst on a tour organised by the Company. Clients are wholly responsible for arranging their own insurance. Clients are responsible for ensuring that they are in possession of private Travel insurance with protection for the full duration of the tour in respect of at least medical expenses, injury, death, repatriation, cancellation and curtailment, with adequate cover.
  • An administration fee of €25 per booking plus any additional costs incurred will be charged if a confirmed booking is changed or transferred to a different departure date or tour, up to 60 days prior to departure. Thereafter all changes will be treated as cancellations and subject to the relevant charges. Changes are subject to availability. For an administration fee of €25 you may request a credit voucher. This must be redeemed within 12 months of issue and must be used against a new booking. The voucher is non transferable and cannot be exchanged for cash. In certain circumstances, which the Company considers reasonable, the booking may be transferred to another suitable person; however the tour arrangements must remain the same and will only be allowed if all suppliers agree to accept the name change. If a transfer is allowed an administration charge of €25 per person will be charged plus any extra charges levied by suppliers.
  • Should the client wish to cancel, cancellation charges will be imposed. These are calculated from the day written notification is received by the company or their agent as a percentage of the total tour price, including surcharges as follows:

    > 60 days before departure – retention of deposit

    60-14 days before departure – 50%

    < 14 days before departure – 100%

  • Clients are responsible for arranging, and must be in possession of, a valid passport and any visas and vaccination certificates required for the whole of their journey. Information about these matters or related items (climate, clothing, baggage, personal items etc) is given in good faith but without responsibility on the part of the company.
  • Should the client have a reason to complain, you must immediately notify our representative and the relevant supplier. If the client’s complaint is not dealt with satisfactorily at the time, they must write to us with full details of the complaint within 28 days of the end of the tour. Failure to notify complaints entirely within accordance of this clause will diminish or extinguish the client’s ability to claim compensation.
  • The company provides all services on a “ground only” basis. The client is responsible for arranging their own travel to the designated start points of each tour. The company cannot accept any liability for any delay/cancellation in your transportation and cannot offer any refunds for lost holiday time.
  • Clients agree to accept the authority and decisions of the Company’s employees, tour leaders and agents whilst on the tour with the company. If in the opinion of such persons the health, level of fitness or conduct of a client at any time before or after departure appears likely to endanger the safe, comfortable or happy progress of a tour the client may be excluded from all or part of the tour without refund or recompense. In the case of ill health the company may make such arrangements as it sees fit and recover the costs thereof from the client. If a client commits an illegal act the client may be excluded from the tour and the Company shall cease to have responsibility to/for them. If you are affected by a condition, medical or otherwise, that might affect you or affect other people’s enjoyment or active participation of the tour, you must advise us at the time of booking. No refund will be given for any unused services.
  • The Company will use its best endeavours to operate all tours as advertised. However, it reserves the right to change any of the facilities, services, prices or itineraries described in our brochure/website. If a major change is necessary or deemed advisable, the company will advise the client as soon as reasonably possible, if there is no time before departure. A major change does not apply to a change of transport or named accommodation, but is usually considered a major change in itinerary or change in duration of a client’s holiday. If advised of a major change before departure, the client will have the choice of accepting changes (at additional cost if applicable), purchasing another available tour from the company, or cancelling the tour with a full refund.

    Provided that the major change is not as a result of situations outside the company’s control or consolidation, compensation will be paid as follows:

    Notification Period Given / Compensation Per Person

    More than 30 days: Nil

    14-30 days: €40

    Less than 14 days: €50

  • Force Majeure. We regret we cannot accept liability or pay any compensation where the performance or prompt performance of our contractual obligations is prevented or affected by reasons of circumstance amounting to “force majeure”. In these conditions “force majeure” means any event which we the supplier of services in question could not, even with all due care, foresee or avoid. Such events include war or threat of war, riot, civil strife, industrial dispute, terrorist activity, natural or nuclear disaster, fire or adverse weather conditions, epidemics or health risks and all similar events outside our control.
  • The company reserves the right to cancel a tour in any circumstances but will not cancel a tour less than 4 weeks before departure except for “force majeure”, consolidation, or the client’s failure to pay the final balance. Unless the client fails to pay the final balance, the company, upon cancellation will return all monies paid to it, or offer the client an alternative holiday of comparable standard if available (if less expensive than original we will refund the difference, if more expensive, the client will have to pay the difference). Compensation will not be payable (1) where the company is forced to cancel as a result of unusual and unforeseeable circumstances beyond our control, the consequences of which we could not have avoided even with all due care or (2) where an insufficient number of people book the clients chosen holiday and we notify we are cancelling for this reason not less than 28 days before departure. In all cases our liability is limited to offering the above choices and the compensation payments (where applicable) set out in clause 11. No compensation is payable if we notify you of cancellation more than 8 weeks before departure. We cannot be held responsible for any costs or expenses you may have as a result of cancellation.
  • Client’s bookings are accepted on the understanding that they appreciate the risks inherent in adventure travel and that they undertake the tours featured in our programme at their own volition. Our obligations, and those of any suppliers providing any service or facility involved in any travel arrangements you book with us, are to provide services and facilities with reasonable care and skill. Facilities will be provided to the realistic minimum standard recommended by the regulatory authorities responsible.
  • Bike Hire: The equipment including all accessories supplied is let out on hire. The equipment remains the property of the company and the Client will not sell, hire out or otherwise part with the possessions thereof.

    The Client undertakes not to misuse the equipment and to return it with all accessories in the same condition as when received (ordinary wear and tear accepted). The company shall be entitled to charge the client for any damages caused to equipment during the period of hire. In event of a breakdown, other than a result of the Clients misuse, the company will use its best endeavours to repair or procure repair of the equipment.

    The company will not be liable for any damage or loss whatsoever, through breakdown or other defect in the equipment or other circumstances beyond the company’s control. The Client shall indemnify the company with respect to all costs, claims, expenses and demands suffered or incurred which arise directly or indirectly out of the use of the equipment during the period of hire. The company reserves the right to charge the client for partial or full settlement of any claim. In the event of the equipment being stolen or lost, the company reserves the right to call upon the client to indemnify the company the replacement of the equipment. However, should the equipment subsequently be returned in a satisfactory condition, the company undertakes to refund the clients indemnity within 14 days.

    The Client will ensure that the equipment is adequately secured when not in use, will not use the equipment whilst under the influence of drink or drugs and will immediately notify the company in the event of breakdown or loss of equipment.

  • Clients bringing their own bikes do so on the proviso that their equipment is in a suitable condition for participation in a tour. Responsibility for maintenance of bicycles brought by clients rests with the client. The company will endeavour to accommodate such clients, but cannot guarantee that correct tools and spares will be available, given the wide range of possibilities that exist.