Guided/Self-guided Bike and Boat | Bike and Hotel


Italy / Bolzano - Mantua - Venice

Aboard the Vita Pugna

You’ll be delighted by the remarkable variety of this tour, offering you a unique opportunity to combine a more classical bike&hotel tour with a bike&boat trip in the Po Valley till Venice. The cycling route starts in the heart of the superb Dolomites and following the course of the river Adige takes you to the palm-lined shores of Lake Garda. Further on you’ll reach the enchanting Renaissance town of Mantua, where you’ll embark aboard the Vita Pugna. Cycling along waterways, through hamlets and into the surprising Ferrara, you’ll reach the Po Delta, a unique wetland park which is the prime reserve in Europe for herons and home to several colonies of flamingos. The Po river flows eventually into the Venetian lagoon and your first stop will be Chioggia, known as “little Venice” and famous for its bustling fish market. At the end of the trip you’ll be welcomed by the wonderful Venice, a town that has lured passersby for centuries (and still does).
  • Day by Day

    1. Bolzano
    Individual arrival. Bolzano is a famous commercial and tourist centre and also a historical and cultural connection between the Italian and the German world.
    2. Bolzano – Trento (65/70 km)
    You cycle along the Adige beside apple orchards, vineyards and through the villages of Ora, Egna and Salorno. You then reach Trento: take your time to have a look behind the splendid walls of its painted buildings. Possibility to shorten the stage by taking the train in several train stations along the way.
    3. Trento – Desenzano/Peschiera (50 km by bike + ferry)
    You reach Rovereto and Mori. From here you continue up on a gently rising slope in direction of Lake Garda. On the ferry boat you travel as far as Peschiera/ Desenzano along the southern shore of the lake.
    4. Desenzano/Peschiera – Mantua (70/45 km)
    Today you will cycle following one of the most famous Italian cycle paths, which runs parallel to the River Mincio. The stage ends in Mantua, where you’ll embark aboard your barge Vita Pugna. 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.

    5. Mantova round tour (25 km)

    Ruled by the House of Gonzaga for four centuries, the city state of Mantova (or Mantua) attracted a dizzying roll call of names across the arts – from Rubens and Mantegna to Monteverdi and Mozart – and to this day the town is renowned for its international book festival. 

    A ride through the centre soon takes us past Palazzo Tè, on the outskirts, the Gonzagas' summer residence. Onwards to the hamlet of Grazie and its historic church: a site of pilgrimage, it is adorned with an intriguing host of wooden figures, personifying the many torments that pilgrims of yore could identify with. A cruise on a local barge takes us home through a waterscape rich in birdlife, lilies and other aquatic flora.

    This afternoon we 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.


    6. Mantova – Zelo (50 km)

    After breakfast, we set sail from the "lakes" of Mantova and cruise through the lush wetlands that lead to Governolo Lock, where Mantova's River Mincio flows into the Po. 

    Here, we saddle up and follow the broad sweeps of the levee towards Ostiglia, renowned for its medieval fortress and fierce fighting in 1945, as the Allies drove Hitler's forces back. 

    Next: Bergantino, home of the distinctive Museum of Fairground Rides and its collection of street organs, all expertly restored (and thunderous!). This village is also in the heartland of Grana Padano – the arch-rival of Parmesan – and a visit to the local cheese factory, sampling some well seasoned Grana, is de rigueur. We catch up with our Ave Maria in Zelo, a sleepy village on the Canal Bianco, the waterway which runs parallel to the Po.


    7. Zelo – Ferrara – Adria (50 km by bike + 60 km by bus)

    This morning we 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 then take us back to our floating hotel in Adria, an ancient Roman port once washed by the sea which bears its name. Adria is also renowned for its Etruscan and Greek heritage. An after-dinner passeggiata into town for a well-earned grappa or gelato is in order.


    8. Adria – Po Delta Nature Reserve – Chioggia (40 km)

    After a short cruise, we cycle into the delta of the life-giving Po. This unique wetland is the prime reserve in Europe for herons and home to a sizeable colony of flamingos. 

    Weather permitting, as we continue towards Chioggia, we can also enjoy a break at a fine-sand beach nearby for a dip in the Adriatic – not forgetting a hot savoury piadina! 

    Also known as “Little Venice”, the colourful fishing hub of Chioggia is a great place to "go local", and what better way than by making your own bigoli for dinner? This quintessentially Venetian type of pasta is at its best when made fresh, and a delicacy served with a creamy baccalà sauce.


    9. Chioggia  – Venice (30 km)

    A morning stroll through Chioggia’s celebrated fish market comes first, followed perhaps by a visit up the millennial clock tower – the oldest in the world – for some breathtaking views. Venice beckons, but first another world altogether: our barge drops us off at Pellestrina, the first of two islands we traverse today – a humble and tranquil fishing backwater, picturesque as ever with its cottages, boats and 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. After rejoining our Vita Pugna, an unrushed cruise takes us to our final destination. After dinner we can savour Venice at night, now free of the crowds and at her most romantic: Benvenuti a Venezia!


    10. Venice

    After breakfast – and perhaps following a wander off the beaten track with your tour leader – we all meet up with our Venetian guide for a tour through the historic centre. Christened La Serenissima ("The Most Serene"), the Venetian Republic held sway over much of the Mediterranean (and beyond) for centuries – both as a military power and a beacon of culture, her explorers reaching as far as China and Newfoundland. After your guided tour, you have the afternoon free to enjoy the city at your own pace. 


    Due to organisational reasons, weather conditions or provisions issued by local authorities, the itinerary of the Bolzano to Mantua part may be subject to some changes before and/or during the holiday. Along the way you may find temporary deviations (for example road works) which cannot be foreseen; in this case each rider can decide autonomously how to deal with these stretches.
    The programme of the bike and boat tour (from Mantua to Venice) has been planned to feature navigation along the Fissero/ Bianco canal, which runs parallel to the Po and connects Mantua to the Adriatic Sea. 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.



  • Route profile
    • Total length: 355 km
    • Total vertical up: 590/770 m
    • Terrain: 95% asphalt, 5% unpaved
    • Train connection among the overnight stays: day 2, 3, 4
    • Possibility to shorten the itinerary by taking the train: day 2 and 3

    From Bolzano to Mantua you will ride on well-planned cycle lanes, part of which run along the Adige banks. Towards Lake Garda there is a bit more challenging climb to face. From Mantua to Venice you will pedal along rivers and canals on tarmac cycle paths or roads with low traffic.
    Easy cycling in mostly flat areas, with only few short climbs and descents. Little effort required, suitable for most people.


  • How to get there

    Bolzano is connected with the following airports:
    Innsbruck: 120 km, Verona: 150 km, Bergamo: 240 km, Venice: 280 km, Treviso: 280 km, Milan: 300 km.


    For further information on timetables and prices you can consult the following website:



  • Accommodation and meals

    We personally choose all the hotels mindful of your comfort as well as the proximity to cycling paths and any relevant local sites. The hotels of the part Bolzano-Mantua are 3/4* hotels. All rooms have en suite facilities and air conditioning.

    When you book the tour please specify the type of room requested:

    • double room is a room with one double bed
    • twin room is a room with two single beds
    • triple room is usually a room with one double bed and a single bed or a rollaway.

    Take a virtual tour and watch our photo gallery!


    The boat Vita Pugna is equipped with:

    • 10 Standard Twin cabins (including one accommodating up to 3 guests) of 7/8 m2.

    All cabins are air-conditioned and are 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. Bed size is 1.90/2 m x 0.75/0.80 m.

    There is a spacious air-conditioned lounge/restaurant with 5 tables, accommodating up to 23 guests.

    Extra features:

    • 1 sundeck
    • Free hot drinks machine (including Italian ground coffee)
    • Free wi-fi
    • Large 42” screen in the lounge for video
    • Dedicated bike storage

    There is a free wi-fi connection on board which normally works during the whole tour.
    We remind you that the boat is not like a hotel, so during the journey you will always hear some sort of underground noise.


  • Bikes and accessories

    Girolibero’s City bikes are available in various sizes in unisex models. At the moment of booking, you can choose among the following bikes:

    • City bike 27-gear Shimano Deore
    • Electro-bike 8-gear Shimano Nexus


    • aluminium frame
    • mudguard
    • rear rack
    • comfort gel saddle
    • anti-puncture Schwalbe tyres
    • ergonomic bicycle grips
    • Speed Lifter system (only for City bikes)


    We remind you that you will ride the same unisex bike for the whole duration of the tour, from Bolzano to Venice.



    All rented adult bikes are equipped with:

    • 1 cycle computer  
    • 1 Ortlieb one-sided saddlebag
    • 1 front bar bag or 1 map holder
    • 1 water bottle (0.75 l)
    • 1 repair kit per room: 1 spare inner tube, glue, patch, a pump, 2 allen keys and tyre levers
    • 1 combination bike lock

    At the moment of booking you can also rent helmets suitable for head circumferences from 54 to 61. All our helmets have a certification mark according to the DIN EN 1078 (CE) European norm.


  • Accompanying material

    The Information Pack (one per room/cabin) includes:

    • 2 x roadbooks describing the cycling route stage by stage
    • 2 x bike maps
    • 2 x Girolibero Greens Cycling Guides
    • final hotel list (Bolzano-Mantua): due to overbooking or organisational needs your hotel list may be changed just before your arrival
    • luggage labels to be fixed at each piece of baggage, which has to be carried
    • hotel vouchers to be given to the reception of each hotel on your arrival.
    • Lake Garda ferry-boat voucher: give this voucher to the ticket office in Riva del Garda to get your passage by ferry-boat to Peschiera or Desenzano del Garda.


  • By your side

    In Bolzano you will meet our representative who:

    • will present you the tour
    • will deliver you the bikes
    • will be at your disposal (about 30 minutes) for any questions you may have.

    The exact time and place of the meeting will be specified in the Final Tour Details. We kindly ask you to advise if you cannot attend the meeting.


    During the Bike&Boat tour from Mantua to Venice you will be accompanied by a Tour Leader.
    Our tour leaders are carefully selected and rigourously trained by Girolibero. They are all multi-lingual, and speak at least English and German. Smart, entertaining, caring and endlessly enthusiastic, they have a true passion for sharing their love of the outdoors, people, culture and local food. Thanks to a deep knowledge of the territory, they can give you useful hints and help you appreciate the place you are visiting. Of course they love cycling and will be happy to give you some advice about how to correctly use the bicycle gears and whenever necessary they can fix your flat tyre. As we like to say, our tour leaders are CDO (Controlled Designation of Origin), a real traveller’s ticket to discover the land with ease and to live an unforgettable active travel experience.


    During your bike tour you can contact us:

    • office +39 0444 330724 from Monday to Friday 8:30-13:00 and 15:00-18:30
    • emergency phone number every day 8:00-20:00. The number will be specified in the Final Tour Details.
  • 2 Client reviews
      Le seguenti impressioni sono state pubblicate prima del nuovo sistema di rating

      Réal, Canada

      Departure 2014

      Online from 09 February 2015

      Hello Anna,

      You will remember that I did the "Bolzano to Mantua...and Mantua to Venice tours" last April.

      For your info, I just received by mail your superb "2015 brochure" ...en effet, c'est loin Montréal il semble...ça prend beaucoup de temps à arriver la poste...hihihi...très apprécié cependant, j'avoue.

      CONGRATULAZIONI...FÉLICITATIONS...CONGRATULATIONS to all the Girolibero team...a great quality publication...really professional in all's a pleasure to acknowledge so.

      It comes at the right time as I am already starting to plan 2 bike-tours for 2015 : one with my 13 year-old grand-son ( probably your "Paris/London" in July as he was born there ) and one with 3 friends ( Passau/Vienna along the Danube in May) your info is a good complement to your internet site.

      As I also read about your "photo contest", I include a few from "a Québec fan"...just to participate, not to win.

      Merci encore pour l'excellent service, Anna, et au plaisir !

    • Réal

      Departure 2014

      Online from 19 May 2014

      I am just back in Montréal from a great holiday (May 3rd to Mat 10 th ) on the Vita Pugna with André (Captain) and his dedicated crew ( Sara, Vera, Sam ) and Michela (guide and tour leader). Top service and super delicious food were their natural performance all week long and we ( Barbara, Klaus, Loes, Jellie, Monika and Marylise ) very much appreciated the whole Tour and would highly recommend it.
  • 1 Variations
    • Bike and Boat


      From Mantua to Venice

      Aboard Vita Pugna

      8 days / 7 nights from 840 €

  • 2 To combine with

Tour details


from 1,230 €

11 Days / 10 Nights, 3/4* hotels & boat Vita Pugna

Price per person

1,230 € Season 1 in double room/cabin



Season 1: 19.04.2017
Season 2: 3.05 - 9.08.2017
Season 3: 23.08 - 20.09.2017


Every two Wednesdays from 19.04 to 20.09.17



  • 3 nights hotel accommodation (in Bolzano, Trento, Peschiera/Desenzano)
  • Welcome briefing in English
  • Luggage transportation till Mantua
  • 4-hour ferry cruise on Lake Garda
  • 2 x Girolibero Greens Cycling Guide + Maps (1:75:000) + Roadbook
  • 7 overnights on boat Vita Pugna, full board (breakfast, dinner and a self-made packed lunch)
  • Harbour charges
  • Accompanying Tour Leader on board and on bike
  • Bed sheets and towels
  • Bus transfer Ferrara-Adria
  • Boat excursion on Mantova Lakes
  • Coffee, tea and other hot drinks on board
  • Mid-week cabin cleaning service and towel change
  • Guided visit in Mantua and Venice
  • Visit of a cheese factory with tasting of typical Grana Padano
  • Visit of Carousel and Street Entertainment Museum
  • 10-days Hotline service


Not included

  • Local hotel taxes
  • Museums and extras in general
  • Beverages on board
  • Tips
  • Ticket for public transportation in Venice
  • Everything, which is not mentioned in the section “included in the price”


150 € Season 2
220 € Season 3
20 € July and August
390 € single cabin+room

120 € Girolibero bike
260 € electro-bike
20 € helmet

Extra nights in double/single room with breakfast:
65/85 € 3/4* hotel in Bolzano
65/85 € 3/4* hotel in Mestre
from 90/150 € 3/4* hotel in Venice



310 € 3rd adult in the room+cabin


Good to know

Bolzano-Mantua Bike and Hotel: only self-guided tour.
Mantua-Venice Bike and Boat: you can choose if pedalling alone (taking advantage of a very detailed route description) or with the whole group, following the tour leader. When booking the tour please specify which option you prefer.

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At Girolibero we believe in rewarding our customers: if your photo is the chosen prize winner, you will earn yourself a week's bike and boat holiday in Italy.