Venice to Bologna Bike
Our Venice to Bologna bike trip takes you on a classic journey through the historic towns and villages of the Adriatic to the Apennine mountains of Bologna. We bike along the Venice “Lido” to the historic city of Ferrara, once home to the Dukes of Este and the notorious femme fatale Lucrezia Borgia. From there we ride along the marshes and salt flats of the Po Delta, now protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its biodiversity and rich animal life. We have a day to explore Ravenna and its amazing 6th century mosaics, then continue on to the hilltop town of Dozza, where we stay in a renovated convent with fabulous views over the countryside below. We end the trip in Bologna, one of Italy’s most beautiful and “non-touristy” cities, famous for its arcades, soaring stone towers, and some of the best food in the country!
We designed this trip to enable novice cyclists to discover the joys of exploring Italy by bike. We ride along quiet roads that traverse the flat yet beautiful landscape of the Po valley. The last day of riding is a bit more challenging through hilly terrain, but otherwise the terrain is FLAT.
Venice to Bologna Bike itinerary
Arrive in Venice and transfer to our hotel on the Venice Lido. Enjoy the sights and sounds of this amazing city and do dinner on your own. Overnight on the Venice Lido. Hotel included. Dinner not included.
Today we bike directly from our hotel to the mainland – using ferries of course! – and make our way to beautiful Chioggia and its brightly painted houses. Food lovers can enjoy a gourmet lunch at one of the city’s famous restaurants (like the Michelin-starred ‘El Gato’), or we can keep it simple. Chioggia is famous for mussels and has a lively fish market which we will explore by foot. After lunch we continue south and follow canals to the Po Delta, and eventually reach our hotel in the village of Adria, which was founded by the Etruscans some 3,000 years ago. Overnight Adria. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.
Today we ride along the canals and waterways of the Po to the charming Renaissance town of Ferrara, once home to the Este Dukes, whose court was one of the most illustrious of the Italian Renaissance. Today the town center is divided between the narrow cobblestone streets and medieval houses of the south, and the spacious piazzas and grand palaces of the Italian Renaissance in the north. The center is also closed to automobiles and the principle form of transport is bicycle. Overnight Ferrara at the Hotel Carlton. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.
We’ll take some time this morning to visit the treasures of Ferrara, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, then set out by bike for the national park of the Po Delta. The park spreads out over some 130,000 acres and contains wetlands, forest, dunes and salt pans. It has over one thousand plant species and 374 vertebrate species, of which 300 are birds. We spend the night in a renovated farmhouse that has been in the family for generations. We dine tonight on their fresh home-grown produce. Overnight Campotto. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.
Today we take a break from the bikes and shuttle by van to the historic city of Ravenna, home to Western Europe’s finest Byzantine mosaics. Once a flourishing port on the Adriatic, Ravenna reached it zenith in the 5th century when Honorius transferred the Imperial Roman court from Rome to Ravenna. We’ll take a guided visit of the city center and then have lunch in a local trattoria. When we’re done touring, we climb back into the van and transfer one hour to our next hotel, a renovated 13th century monastery in the hilltop village of Dozza. Overnight at the fabulous Monte del Re. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.
Today is the most challenging ride as we bike from our hilltop town into the rolling hills below. The scenery is totally different from what we seen so far, and you finally get to try out your small chain ring on the hills! Back home, take some time to explore Dozza, known for its painted walls and murals. Every two years the village hosts a festival which attracts national and international artists who paint on the walls of the houses. There is also an imposing medieval fortress, a drawbridge, and a fabulous wine bar. Time permitting, we can arrange for a tasting before dinner back in our hotel. Overnight Dozza. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.
Today we leave the hills and ride into the city of Bologna along quiet back roads known only to us! We’ll stop along the way to see how some of that delicious pasta is made, followed by a lunch of homemade specialties. Once in town, drop off your bikes and head out for a visit of this vibrant city on foot. Bologna boasts the oldest university in the world and still retains a lively student life. It also has beautiful medieval churches and a half-dozen massive stone towers. We dine tonight at one of the city’s fine restaurants, and will try what many people consider the best food in Italy. Overnight Bologna. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.
The trip ends after breakfast this morning in Bologna, with a transfer to the train station. There are hourly trains to Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome, etc. Breakfast included.
The biking on this trip is flat, with some challenging optional rides on some days. We normally ride between 40 – 65 km a day, with optional extensions as well as van support, which allows you to relax off the bike for a while. We have designed the trip so that there is always some free time in the late afternoon so you can relax, read, or explore the towns where we stay. Breakfast is included every day, and dinners reflect the excellent traditional food of the region.
Activity rating: 2 out of 5 = Easy to Moderate: Flat to rolling terrain. Daily activity is 4 to 5 hours . Max distance about 50 kms (30 miles). Note: Much of the riding is done on dedicated bike paths, but when entering some of the towns a little traffic will be encountered.
Trip Cost Includes: All accommodations in superior three-star hotels (1 night each Venice, Adria, Ferrara, and Bologna plus 2 nights Dozza); 7 breakfasts and 6 dinners; bilingual guide or guides; support vehicle; guided tours as noted in the itinerary; all luggage transfers and final transfer to Bologna train station at the end of the trip; bikes (quality 27-speed hybrid-style touring bikes with front handlebar bags and rear racks), detailed written route notes and highlighted maps so you can ride at our own speed and choose to do longer or shorter options. All departures are accompanied by two guides.
Booking: e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a booking contract (or use the 'Contact Us' link at the top of this page), or click on the 'Book Now' button to the right.
Insurance: We highly recommend the purchase of Trip Insurance. We recommend “Travel Guard” to our North American clients, just click on the logo below. Australian, New Zealander, and British travelers, please consult your insurance brokers.
Getting There: the trip starts with your independent arrival in Venice at our pre-booked hotel. Venice is well connected to all major airline European hubs, and is also easily reached by rail from Florence, Bologna and Milan.
Air: Venice “Marco Polo” Airport is the closest airport to the start of the trip, while Bologna is the closest to the end of the trip. They are only 1.5 hrs from each other by train, so you could easily do round-trip from one airport and return by rail at the end of the trip. Similarly, Florence is only 2 hrs by train from Venice, and 35 mins from Bologna; while Milan is 2.5 hrs from Venice and 1 hour from Bologna. There are also frequent low-cost flights into the smaller airports of Bergamo and Verona with carriers like Easy Jet and Ryan Air. For a complete list of Italian airports and a selection of low-cost airlines, see our "Transport Info" page.
Rail: There are frequent daily trains to Venice from cities around Italy. Most trains stop at the Venezia “Mestre” station, on the mainland, but your hotel is more easily accessible from the “Santa Lucia” station on the island of Venice. From there take Vaporetto no. 51, 1, or 82, direction “Lido.” The trip takes about 40 minutes. See the Trenitalia website (in English) at this link. For alternative high-speed rail travel, see the Italo website. For complete information on using the Italian train system, see our blog post.
Boat: Alilaguna offers boat and hydrofoil (aliscafo in Italian) service to several points around the Venetian Lagoon, including a stop at the airport and the Lido. For more information check out their site www.alilaguna.it.
Getting Away at the End of the Trip: there will be a group transfer to the central train station in Bologna after breakfast on Day 8. Bologna is well connected to all other destinations in Italy.
If you should book a trip with us you will receive detailed information about how to get to the start of your trip. Please e-mail us with any specific travel questions.
The accommodations were superb, the food and wine were fabulous, but the best thing about this trip were the guides who cycled with us, Claire and Luca, who made the adventure so fun. They also kept the bicycles in fine repair and made sure we had expert guides in Ravenna and for our tour of the islands surrounding Venice.