Bike and boat Italy: From Venice to Mantua on the Ave Maria

8 Days

Your trip

With this fantastic bike and boat tour, we offer you the pleasure of discovering northern Italy by bike along and on the Po, the longest Italian river.

From the world-famous lagoon city of Venice, you cycle through the sea up Italy’s longest river, the Po, to the beautiful Renaissance city of Mantua. Thanks to the Gonzaga family, it is a town with a rich cultural heritage of works of art by numerous artists.

Your route meanders along the lovely course of the river. It immerses itself in largely untouched rural areas, such as the Po Delta nature reserve with its extensive flora and fauna.

During the tour you will get to know cities such as Ferrara, the “city of cyclists”, or the old port city of Adria, which owes its name to the Adriatic Sea.

The river flows into the Venetian lagoon and you first visit Chioggia, famous for its fish market, and finally the magnificent Venice, which fascinates thousands of travelers again and again.


Your ship – the MS Ave Maria

You travel and spend the night on the ship Ave Maria. A modern and elegant Italian ship, 41 m long and 7.5 m wide. With up to 40 guests, the good lady has been in action since 2011.

You can look forward to

> 2 sun decks

> an air-conditioned lounge with restaurant and lounge

> Self-service coffee and tea machine

> free WiFi in the common areas

> Large flat screen in the lounge for videos

> a well-secured storage area for bicycles

> in the cabins: Hair dryer, soap, shower gel, shampoo, shower cap

Board plan

The cabins

> 4 Superior twin cabins on the upper deck, approx. 11 sqm

> 10 standard double cabins on the lower deck, three of which can be converted into triple cabins with bunk beds, each approx. 11 sq.m.

> 3 bunk bed cabins on the lower deck (each can be used as a single cabin) approx. 7.5 sqm

> Each cabin has large windows, low beds, shower/WC, air conditioning and a locker.

> Under the bed there is a storage space approx. 40 cm high for your suitcases.

> The bed size is 2 x 0.80 m. Almost every double bed can be separated into 2 single beds.

Please note: The ship is a ship and not a hotel. Space and comfort are limited. During the voyage you will hear typical ship noises on board.

The route

Your journey leads mainly through flat land. You only climb about 50 meters in total. The daily distances vary between 25 and 55 km. The total distance is around 200 km.

Most of the cycle route runs along rivers and canals on asphalted cycle paths or roads with little traffic. 5% on unpaved roads.

To make it easier to leave the cities or to shorten the stages, parts of the route are mainly covered by boat in the morning during breakfast.

The trip is not suitable for persons with reduced mobility. Please contact us for detailed information if needed.


Rental bikes: If you want to rent a bike from us, you will get a very good unisex city bike with Deore Shimano 27 speed derailleur. Also available as a men’s bike.

Electric bikes (pedelecs): You can also rent an electric bike for this trip. These are equipped with 9-speed gears and assistance up to 25km/h. Performance: approx. 90 km (depending on driving style)

All bikes are equipped with mudguards, puncture-proof tires, single-sided waterproof pannier, handlebar bag (1 x per room), bike computer, repair kit (1 x per room) and bike lock.

The bikes of sizes S – XL and the corresponding equipment such as repair kit, air pump, spare tube, bike lock, saddle bag, handlebar bag, bike computer are ready for you at the arrival hotel. At the end of your bike tour, simply drop off the rental bike at the last hotel. Return transportation is provided. Models may vary depending on region and availability.

Please indicate your age and height when booking!

Please note: Helmets are not compulsory in Italy. However, we recommend that you always wear a bicycle helmet on all bicycle tours. You are also welcome to rent it for the duration of the trip.

Own bikes

Unfortunately, it is NOT possible to bring your own bikes on this tour.


by train:

> Venice is perfectly integrated into the Italian rail network and can be reached by car or plane.

> You can travel back from Mantua to Venice comfortably by train in around 2.5 hours.

> Information on timetables and tickets can also be obtained from Trenitalia or from the travel information service of Deutsche Bahn.

by plane:

> Mantua and Venice are very well connected to many airports in northern Italy: Venice (VCE), Treviso (TSF), Verona (VRN), Bergamo (BGY).

Note on the itinerary

Normally you follow the Fissero / Bianco canals, which flow parallel to the River Po and connect Mantua with the Adriatic. For organizational reasons, due to weather conditions or according to the regulations of the local authorities, changes may be made to the itinerary before and/or during the trip. High and low water as well as logistical obstacles such as (unpredictable) maintenance work on bridges or locks can change the daily routes or mooring points and may even require a bus transfer. The decision is made by the captain alone.

Please note: We also offer the same route on a sister ship, the Vita Pugna. Information on dates and prices can be found under the link Tour 25b. Tours 24a and 24b take you in the opposite direction down the Po to Venice.

Country information and tips on package tours

Information on entry requirements to Austria and Italy can be found on our page under country information. Please read our notes on package tours on the ARB page.

Please note: This trip is not suitable for people with reduced mobility. We recommend that you take out international health insurance and travel cancellation insurance.

Day by day

Individual arrival in Venice and embarkation :
Day 1

Individual arrival in Venice and embarkation

The cabins are available from 17.00 hrs. The meeting with the tour guide and the crew is scheduled for 18:30 before dinner.

Venice :
Day 2

Round trip by bike around Mantua, approx. 35 km

After a walk off the beaten track with your tour guide, you have the day at leisure to enjoy the city at your own pace.

The Serenissima ruled over a large part of the Mediterranean and beyond for centuries. Both as a military force and as a beacon of culture, it has written chapters in human history. Their explorers reached as far as China and Newfoundland.

Breakfast, Dinner
Venice - Pellestrina Island :
Day 3

Cycle tour Venice – Pellestrina Island, approx. 25 km

You will begin with a visit to a historic glassblowing workshop on the island of Murano, where you will see a demonstration of the centuries-old art of glassblowing.

This is the most magical day of the whole tour, as you cycle through the two long islands that separate the lagoon from the Adriatic. From the Lido, one of the most impressive beach resorts on the Adriatic and home to the international film festival. Cycle south to Malamocco. The small town was the first seat of the Doges of the Republic of Venice. A short boat trip takes you to the island of Pellestrina with its picturesque fishermen’s cottages. You reach the ship not far from Chioggia, a lively and colorful fishing port.

Breakfast, Dinner
Pellestrina - Adriatic Sea :
Day 4

Cycle tour Pellestrina – Porto Viro – Adriatic Sea, approx. 40 km

You will leave Pellestrina and then Chioggia, the so-called “little Venice”, heading south along the Po-Brondolo and across the mouth of the Adige. After cycling through the rich flora and fauna of the Po Delta, you will reach the town of Adria, once an old Greek port.

Breakfast, Dinner
Adria - Zelo :
Day 5

Cycle tour Adria – Ferrara – Zelo, approx. 35 km by bike and 35 km by bus

After a short boat trip in the morning, you cycle through the countryside towards Ferrara, which has earned the name “city of cyclists” due to its numerous cycle paths and the widespread use of two-wheelers. You are sure to be enchanted by the beautiful historic center with its mighty ring of walls. In the afternoon, a short bus transfer will take you to Zelo, where the boat will be waiting for you.

Breakfast, Dinner
Zelo - Mantua :
Day 6

Cycle tour Zelo – Mantua, approx. 50 km

After a few kilometers of cycling, you will reach Bergantino, where you can visit the “Museum of the Carousel and the Popular Theatre” and enjoy a tasting in a cheese dairy. You cycle along the Po to Ostiglia, a small town with medieval castle ruins, and then to Governolo. The largest river basin in Italy is located here. You then leave the river Po and finally reach Mantua in the late afternoon on a wonderful boat trip.

Breakfast, Dinner
Mantua :
Day 7

Round trip Mantua, approx. 35 km

A day dedicated to discovering this cultural gem and its three picturesque “lakes”.

In the late afternoon, you will be accompanied through the city by a guide: From Piazza Sordello with its magnificent cathedral and Palazzo Ducale, you will walk through the old town to Piazza delle Erbe. Here you will admire the bell tower, the Rotonda di S. Lorenzo (the oldest church in the city) and the Cathedral of St. Andrew, a jewel of Renaissance art and architecture. You will also find out why Mantua, once a city-state of the Gonzaga family, is now known by many as the “Sleeping Beauty of Italy”.

Breakfast, Dinner
Departure from Mantua :
Day 8

Individual return journey

Individual departure after breakfast – you would like to stay an extra night. No problem. Ask us and we will make you a suggestion for an extra night in Mantua.

Breakfast, Dinner



  • 7 nights on board with breakfast
  • 6 Dinner
  • Freshly prepared packed lunches on board every day
  • Welcome drink
  • Coffee and tea on board
  • Towels and bedding
  • Cleaning of the cabin once in the middle of the week and change of towels
  • Bicycle helmet, please reserve in advance
  • App with maps, route description, sights and GPS data, digital tour information
  • English-speaking tour guide within an international group
  • Guided tour of Mantua
  • Visit to a cheese dairy with tasting of the typical Grana Padano cheese
  • Visit to the Carousel Museum and the People's Theater
  • Visit to a historic glassblowing workshop on the island of Murano
  • Some short tours
  • Port fees
  • Bus transfer Ferrara - Zelo and Ferrara - Adriatic Sea

not included

  • Tips
  • 1 x dinner
  • Drinks on board
  • Museums and general extras
  • Ticket for public transportation in Venice and the lagoon (we recommend an ACTV 48-hour ticket, approx. 30 - 40 €)
  • Entrance fee to the city of Venice, approx. 20 to 30 €, to be paid on site
  • Everything that is not explicitly listed as 'included in the price'

Dates and prices

Please note that we offer this trip in two variants on two different ships. The route in the opposite direction can be found on trip 25b.

Departure with the ship Ave Maria 2024 or Vita Pugna on Saturdays in …
Season 1 06.04.
Season 2 20.04., 29.06., 13.07., 27.07., 10.08.
Season 3 04.05., 18.05., 01.06., 15.06., 19.10.
Season 4 24.08., 07.09., 21.09., 05.10.
The day of arrival determines the season.
All prices per person. The prices in the booking form or shopping cart apply.
Travel package Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 Season 4
Double cabin with bunk bed (“double room”) 1.000 € 1.550 € 1.700 € 1.850 €
Double cabin with 2 standard beds (“main deck 2-bed cabin”) 1.200 € 1.750 € 1.900 € 2.050 €
Per pers. in 3-bed cabin standard bed 980 € 1.530 € 1.680 € 1.820 €
Single cabin 1.550 € 2.100 € 2.250 € 2.400 €
Double cabin for single use 2.200 € 2.750 € 2.900 € 3.050 €
On request and at an extra charge of 250 € / pers. Superior cabins on the upper deck (“upper deck 2-bed cabin”) can also be booked.
Extra nights
Starting point Mantua on request
Destination Venice on request
Additional nights are possible in Mantua (additional night at the starting point) and in Venice (additional night at the destination). If necessary, please indicate in the comments field of the booking how many additional nights you want and at which location.
Rental bikes
E-bike 300 €
Touring bike 150 €
Please note that it is NOT possible to take your own bikes on board the ship.
Additional services
Gluten-free, lactose-free and vegan food 75 €
Transfer Mantua – Verona on request
Please note: The indicated route is only for rough orientation. You will receive a detailed route plan with all routes, arrival and departure times on board.

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  • 25a
  • 8 Days
  • easy
  • trip from place to place
  • Summer
  • Bike & Ship
  • Ship
  • Individual trip

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