From Bolzano-Bozen, a city in the German-speaking part of Italy, you'll ride along picturesque canals and rivers all the way to enchanting Venice. The itinerary takes you though and by countless remarkable sites, three of which (Vicenza, Verona, and Venice and its lagoon) have been deemed so exceptional that they are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
This itinerary takes place mainly on flat terrain, on quiet secondary streets with low traffic, or paved bike paths
Northeastern Italy’s canals and rivers serve as a link between the region’s cultural centers and, luckily for you, they make for one scenic bicycle tour! The tour starts in Bolzano, known as Bolzen to its German-speaking inhabitants; it is the capital of South Tyrol, a region annexed to Italy in the early 20th century. From the heights of the Dolomites you’ll descend to the Alpine foothills, following waterways through romantic cities and quintessentially Italian landscapes until you reach the Venetian Lagoon.
The tour can star any Saturday from April 26th to September 13th, 2014.
NB: Special departure dates may be possible for groups of 6 or more (on request).
Saturday: Arrive in Bolzano (Bolzen)
Thanks to its location on a train line between Munich and Verona, which also connects to Milan and Venice, Bolzano is easily reachable from all major gateways. When you arrive, prepare to be wowed! Bolzano is not your typical Italian city; it boasts a multi-lingual population and bright, crisp Austrian-influenced architecture. From the railway station, also known as the Stazione Ferroviaria or Banhof, your hotel is a short walk. Aside from meeting your guide and receiving your bikes, you are free to do as you wish today. Stroll through the Piazza delle Erbe’s fruit and vegetable market, do some high street shopping in the medieval arcade of the Lauben, or visit some churches surrounding the old city squares. Enjoy a feast of traditional South Tyrolean cuisine, which is best described as 'mountain food with Italian flair'.
Sunday: Bolzano – Trento - 68 km (42 miles)
Set out from Bolzano along the Adige River, which carves its way through a peaceful lower Alpine valley. A number of sights may catch your interest, such as the imperial Reinhold Messner Mountain Museum, located within a hilltop fortress just outside of Bolzano. Breeze past vineyards and fields or stop for a snack in towns like Egna, whose whitewashed arcades grace the carefully preserved historic centre. Your destination, Trento (Trent), is a cosmopolitan commercial center oft overlooked by tourists. Consider yourself lucky to get to know the city’s unique blend of Renaissance, Germanic and modern elements. The Castello del Buonconsiglio and the Cathedral of Saint Vigilius, better known as the Duomo, are the city’s prominent structures.
Monday: Trento – Bassano del Grappa - 35 km by train (22 miles) + 60 km by bike (38 miles)
To shorten today’s stretch, take the train from Trento to Borgo Valsugana, at which point you’ll begin following the Brenta River. Once an important transportation route, the Brenta is now dotted with grandiose villas built by wealthy merchants. Reaching Bassano del Grappa is easy – the Brenta will take you right there, straight to the Ponte Vecchio covered bridge. Leave your bikes at your hotel while you explore the charming city centre on foot.
Tuesday: Bassano del Grappa – Vicenza - 40 km (25 miles)
The walled medieval town of Marostica is the perfect rest stop on today’s ride, where you can jump into a life-sized chess game in the main square. Resplendent villas built by world-renowned Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio mark your way to Vicenza, where more of his masterpieces await discovery. To protect the palaces, theatres and the Basilica Palladiana, Vicenza has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Inspired by the city’s beauty and good-natured vibes, and maybe the rich food and wine, you may head to bed feeling like a great Italian artist yourself.
Wednesday: Vicenza – Padova - 50 km (31 miles)
An undisturbed bicycle path will take you out of Vicenza and onto a quiet gravel road. Palladio’s most famous creation, the Villa Rotonda, is located nearby, if you wish to pay a visit. The route also passes Costozza, a town whose mystical caves provoked ancient minds and now produce great wines. The River Bacchiglione will be your guide to Padova, known as Padua to the English-speaking world. Although abundant in architectural and artistic treasures, such as Giotto’s The Last Judgment, this university town is best known as having once been Galileo’s classroom. You will marvel at absolutely everything: the way Il Santo towers over the town, the lively square called the Prato della Valle, and the soft glow of the riverfront park lamps in the evening.
Thursday: Padova – Chioggia - 60 km (37 miles)
Canals will lead the way to Stra, home of the must-see Villa Pasani, a baroque splendor built to showcase a powerful Italian family. From there, you’ll be back on the Bacchiglione and Brenta rivers flowing toward the Venetian Lagoon. The unique experience of riding a narrow strait between lagoon and sea cannot be matched! At the end, a ferry will transport you back in time to the tiny fishing village of Chioggia. The quaint cousin of Venice, Chioggia’s canals and narrow streets connect unassumingly picturesque medieval buildings to the fishermen’s docks. A seafood supper is highly recommended!
Friday: Chioggia – Mestre/Venice - 35 km (22 miles)
After a fantastic week, you will return your bikes and board a ferry to Venice, island hopping on your way. The romance, mystery and grandeur of Venice are no myth – see for yourself as you wind through the quiet alleys and pass through the bustling Piazza San Marco. You are free to explore with or without a map, but the next part of your adventure is up to you! Your hotel in Mestre is located near the train station and across from a bus stop, both offering regular service to Venice, which can be reached in a matter of minutes. An early arrival will allow you to experience the world’s most romantic and dreamy city.
You can choose to stay in Venice instead of Mestre for an extra fee (on request).
After breakfast, depart Mestre/Venice at the time of your choice.
Possible transfer back to Bolzano (reservation required).
Two options are offered:
Also see tour packages in:
Europe Italy Outdoor: Land Rambler Bicycle Touring Cultural Journey