Mantua – Venice: bike & boat with MS Ave Maria
From the river Po to St. Mark's Square
There’s hardly any other region in Italy offering such ideal activities for those who love the water as well as cycling in order to get to know the wonderful surroundings. The bike trails wind along the rivers Mincio and Po. Dive into the largely untouched nature, into swamps existing for several centuries yet, surrounded by the green charm of the pine woods; here, natural watercourses, minuscule channels and fishermen’s huts hide in the reed. Towns that seem to have escaped from fairy tails like the fantastic Chioggia, often surnamed “Litte Venice”, Ferrara, meeting point for many cyclists, the magnificent islands Pellestrina, Lido and Venice, the “City of Water”, are waiting to be discovered by you. During this discovery trip, you will be hosted by the MS Ave Maria. The boat will accompany the daily cycling stages in a relaxed pace, giving you the possibility to spend a few hours on board instead of cycling the whole distance. Each night, the tour guide will offer to discuss the route for the next day with you. You can choose to explore the wonderful region on guided day trips or completely individually. The daily routes lead completely over lowlands. With the intention to arrange especially the ways out of urban areas in an even more enjoyable way, parts of it will be accomplished by boat during breakfast in the morning or during supper at night.
MS Ave Maria
The MS Ave Maria offers 10 double standard cabins (3 of these can become triple cabins, with a bunk bed) of approx. 11 m², 4 double superior cabins (each of these can become a triple cabin, with a bunk bed) of approx. 11 m² and 3 single cabins (each of these can be sold as double cabin with bunk beds) of approx. 7,5 m². Each cabin boasts large windows, comfortable low beds, en-suite facilities and air conditioning. Each double bed can be changed into two single beds. The air conditioned living room (11 x 7,5 m) is divided into two areas: the restaurant with 33 seats and the lounge with up to 28 seats. The MS Ave Maria offers two sundecks serves as storage for the bikes over night, internet point with two computers, free wi-fi and a large 52” screen TV in the lounge.
1. day Arriving in Mantua
After arriving in Mantua the embarkation starts at 6:00 p.m. Meeting with your guide for more infomation about the tour is at around 6:30 p.m
2. day Round trip Mantova 35 km
Today you will cycle through the town of Mantova and its surroundings. Mantova is one of the most beautiful towns in northern Italy where many artists left their works. In the afternoon you will get a guided tour of Mantua to see the numerous works of italian art.
3. day Mantova - Zelo 50 km
You'll go comfortably by boat to Governolo, to the fort of the Mincio pirates. Finally, up on the bikes and away! You'll cycle on the Po Bike Trail to Ostiglia with its medieval castle ruins. A nice bike route along the Canale Bianco leads you to the anchorage of Zelo.
4. day Zelo - Ferrara - Adria 50 km + 60 km transfer by bus
Today you will visit the famous city of Ferrara. Its center is still surrounded by the antic city wall. After the visit of the old town of Ferrara you will go by bus to Adria. This old greek habour is famous for the trade with amber from the Baltic Sea.
5. day Adria - Porto Viro - Pellestrina 40 km
You will leave the ship in Porto Viro. Marvellous trails surrounded by water and land between the Po-delta and the mouthing of the Adige will guide today’s route. The course of the Po-Brondolo leads you straight into the heart of Chioggia, bearing its surname “Little Venice” with plenty of pride. A relaxed walk around town is just as worthwhile as visiting the fish market at sunrise. Your ship is anchored at the close located island of Pellstrina.
6. day Pellestrina - Venice 30 km
What an experience! Today, the MS Ave Maria takes you to the oases of Ca Roman, a sandy island covered with pine woods. From the upstream islands Pellestrina and Lido, home of the renowned film festivals, you will cycle to the isle of Giudecca, close to St. Mark's Square.
7. day Venice
Fantastic, a whole day in Venice! Discover the historic centre, observe the gondoliers and enjoy the famous St. Mark's Square.
8. day Departing from Venice
After breakfast, you will debark from the MS Ave Maria.
Any necessary changes to the itinerary due to wind, weather and nautical features are reserved for the skipper as captain of the ship at any time!
For all bike & boat tours, separate cancellation conditions apply which you can find in our terms and conditions.
Depending on the travel date, this trip starts in Mantova or Venice.
Direction Mantova - Venice:
25.03., 08.04., 22.04., 06.05., 20.05., 03.06., 17.06., 01.07., 15.07., 29.07., 12.08., 26.08., 09.09., 23.09., 07.10. und 21.10.2023
Direction Venice - Mantova:
01.04., 15.04., 29.04., 13.05., 27.05., 10.06., 24.06., 08.07., 22.07., 05.08., 19.08., 02.09., 16.09., 30.09. und 14.10.2023
prices & services
Individual tours: Here you decide when and with whom you would like to travel. We provide you with detailed tour documents and practical planning tips, and you enjoy our all-in, worry-free package with separate luggage transport throughout your tour.
Guided tours: You can simply get on your bike and enjoy a group holiday (8–20 participants). Your tour guide will take care of everything, and your luggage will be transported separately.
This overview shows you the grade of difficulty for our tours:
In the case of our original Velociped tours, we are the tour operator. We organise and accompany these tours personally.
So that you have an even bigger selection to choose from, we also cover additional routes in collaboration with long-standing partners. With these Velociped partner tours, we are the tour broker.
Minimum number of participants
Velociped can withdraw from the tour twenty-one days before the starting date of the tour, at the latest, in case the minimum number of participants stated under the tour description is not attained. You will duly be informed without any delay in case of a withdrawal. Velociped will of course refund the paid tour price immediately. Please note our General Terms and Conditions.
Prices are per person.
25.03. – 15.04.2023
22.04. – 29.04.2023
01.07. – 19.08.2023
06.05. – 24.06.2023
26.08. – 14.10.2023
bookable additional services
- 7 overnight stays with breakfast
- Lunch packages
- 6 x dinner on board (drinks are not inclusive)
- Coffee and tea on board
- Bedding and towels, 1 x per week cabin cleaning, daily quick cleaning of the cabin
- Tour guide
- Tour information and detailed maps
- Bus transfer Ferrara-Zelo or Ferrara-Adriatic
- Guided city tours in Mantua and Venice
- Visit to the cheese dairy with tasting
- Visit to a historic glass factory on the island of Murano
- Bicycle helmet (reservation necessary)
- Port fees
Worth knowing about your trip with the Ave Maria
Below please find more information about your bike trip. If you have any further questions please feel free to contact us by phone: 0049 - (0)6421-886890.
Arrival by train
Mantua can be reached by train from Germany via Milan. From Mantua train station you can easily reach the port with a short taxi ride.
Venice can be reached from Germany by train. From Venezia Santa Lucia main train station you can easily reach the landing stage by waterbus vaporetto. These vaporetti don't take bikes with them!
Current timetable information and price information can be found very practically at www.bahn.de. or www.trenitalia.it
Train schedule information Deutsche Bahn
Train schedule information Trenitalia
Arrival by plane
Mantua and Venice are relatively well connected (90-120 minutes) with the following airports: Venice (VCE), Verona (VRN), Treviso (TSF), Milan-Malpensa. You can fly low-cost.
Parking facilities in Mantua and Venice
Arrival in Mantua: There is a large, unguarded and free car park in Piazza Anconetta, approx. 400 meters from the ship landing stage. There is also an underground car park in Via Mazzini. This is about 1 km from the ship landing stage. It is not possible to reserve in advance.
Arrival in Venice: We recommend parking your vehicle in Mestre at the guarded, paid car park at the train station. There are regular trains to Venice Santa Lucia from Mestre train station. From there, take a vaporetto to the pier.
You will receive detailed information about the parking facilities with the detailed travel documents two weeks before the start of your journey.
Guided or individual itinerary
On this tour you can decide spontaneously on board whether you want to cycle in a group or explore the region individually. The group (international audience) is led by a trained, English speaking tour guide. If you choose an individual cycling day, you will receive a very detailed route description on board.
Condition of cycle paths
The tour leads through flat land, daily distances between 30 and 55 km. Most of the bike route runs along canals and rivers on paved bike paths or roads with little traffic. In order to make the trips out of the cities more comfortable, sections are covered in the morning or in the evening by ship.
Available rental bikes
You can choose between 27-speed unisex bikes with derailleur and 9-speed electric bikes. The bikes are equipped with a speedometer, one-sided pannier, bike lock, water bottle and a bike helmet. You simply specify your wishes at time of booking.
If you will use your own private bike you have to pay in Venice for the water taxi a fee of 130,00 EUR from the station to the pier.
Cycling in Italy
In Italy, warning vests are mandatory outside closed areas at night and at dusk.
plan MS Ave Maria
A = single cabin or double cabin with bunk beds
B = double cabin
C = 3 bed cabin
D = 4 bed cabin
Additional nights in Mantova and Venice
Prices for additional nights in a 4 **** hotel in Mantova are available on request. Additional nights in Venice can be booked from EUR 90.00 in a double room and from EUR 150.00 in a single room, subject to availability.
Extra costs which are not included in the price
Drinks on board, tickets for public transport in Venice and the lagoon (ACTV 48-hour ticket 30.00 EUR p.p. and the ferry trip to Pellestrina (approx. 9.00 EUR per person) are not included in the tour price.
Entrance fee for Venice: From 1st January 2023 tourists in Venice will probably have to pay an entrance fee of approximately 18.00 to 30.00 euros per person. This fee is payable locally.
7 day hotline service
In case of chain breakdown, flooding or other bad surprises that makes a continuation of your tour impossible: no problem, we also work during weekends and you can reach us 7 days a week in case of emergency.
Passport and visa requirements, health regulations
For EU citizens, there are no special passport or visa requirements and no health formalities to be considered for this trip.
Corona travel information:
Before booking your trip, please inform yourself about the measures in place to contain the Corona pandemic.
An up-to-date overview of applicable measures and travel and safety advice regarding Covid-19 for all countries in the EU and Switzerland can be found here:
You can also find more information on our website at:
Corona virus and holiday planning
The tour price already includes the statutory insolvency insurance. In addition, we recommend that you take out travel cancellation insurance upon receipt of your travel confirmation in order to protect yourself against financial disadvantages in the event of travel cancellation, interruption of travel, illness or accident.
Palazzo Ducale di Mantova
The Duke's Palace is a series of buildings built between the second half of the 12th century and the middle of the 17th century, residence as well as symbol of the power of the Gonzaga family.
The whole body is composed of about 500 rooms and extends over an area of roughly 34,000 square metres.
The most outstanding artists of every time, called here by the Gonzagas, participated in rising the magnificence of their place.
Navigation Lock of Governolo
Right in the centre of the village, where the river Mincio flew till the 1980s, there are the remains of the lock, probably built in 1190 by the engineer Alberto Pitenitno, as part of the works to reorganise Mantua's lakes.
Castello Estense Ferrara
In Ferrara in 1385, a dangerous revolt convinced Niccolò II d’Este of the need to erect mighty defences for himself and his family thus the Castello di San Michele was built, a fortress erected against the people.
Its imposing proportions, its moat, its drawbridges and its towers date back to that remote period. An elevated covered passageway, which still exists, joined the military building to the marquises’ Palace, today Palazzo Municipale.
The cathedral of Ferrara dates from the 12th century and bears witness to all the historical periods of the city. The outstanding façade, divided into three sections, was begun in Romanesque style, still visible in the lower part.
Parco delta del Po
The Regional Park of the Po Delta of the Emilia Romagna region was set up in 1988 through a special Regional Law (Regional Law 27/88) and is part of the system of the protected areas of Emilia Romagna. The park is divided into six “stations” around the southern area of the Po Delta, whose northern part belongs to the Veneto Region, along the coast of Ferrara and Ravenna and near Argenta. In 1999 the northern part of the territory was included in the Unesco site as World Heritage “Ferrara, city of the Renaissance and its Po Delta”.
The city of Chioggia was found in the ancient world. The Romans created an artificial canal, formerly known as Fossa Clodia. Chioggia got municipal law in the 11th century.
Basilica San Marco and Campanile Venice
To build St. Mark’s Church, Venice brought the spiritual and material heritage of Byzantium to the West.
The Greek cross plan stands on a structure which in the longitudinal nave has basilica architectural motifs: the vertical arm of the cross is greater than those of the transepts and the altar is in the apse area. Above the cross are five cupolas, according to the eastern model, as a symbol of God’s presence.
Organisation of the space is rich in evocations that are not found in other Byzantine churches. The interior has a unitary sequence subdivided into individual spatial orchestrations to which gold background mosaics ensure continuity and the church’s special way of being.
Doge’s Palace Venice
A masterpiece of Gothic architecture, the Doge’s Palace is an impressive structure composed of layers of building elements and ornamentation, from its 14th and 15th century original foundations to the significant Renaissance and opulent Mannerist adjunctions. The structure is made up of three large blocks, incorporating previous constructions. The wing towards the St. Mark’s Basin is the oldest, rebuilt from 1340 onwards. The wing towards St. Mark’s Square was built in its present form from 1424 onwards. The canal-side wing, housing the Doge’s apartments and many government offices, dates from the Renaissance and was built between 1483 and 1565.