Home > My Bike for Your Gondola: Ride Along the Venetian Lagoon
We like to call this our “Bike and Boat” tour. Beginning and ending in Mestre, just outside of Venice, this four-day bike vacation will expose you to all of the aquatic and architectural magic of Venice and its environs. Highlights in Venice alone include the Rialto Bridge, Doge’s Palace, Saint Mark’s Basilica and the Palazzo Grassi. In between stays in Mestre, you’ll board a ferry and lodge in Chiogga, a smaller version of Venice located on the south end of the Venetian Lagoon. You’ll also pedal inland and lodge in Padova (also known as Padua) one of Earth’s greatest cultural hubs. This bustling city has a long history of attracting world-class artists, architects, writers and thinkers.
Padova’s openness to creative pursuits is reflected in its streets, where you’ll find landmarks such as the Palazza Del Capitano, the Basilica of Sant’Antonio and the Cathedral. The return pedal follows the Brenta Canal. Often referred to as “Venice’s Riviera,” elaborate villas and palaces built by wealthy Venetians line both sides of the canal and once even attracted the attention of Napoleon. The short length of this tour makes it a perfect vacation choice, especially during long holiday weekends.
For travel and cycling tips to the Veneto, visit our "travel and cycling tips" section.
Head to your hotel located in the heart of Mestre. This coastal city is the mainland link to Venice, separated by only 6 km (4 miles) of water. The earlier you arrive, the more time you’ll have for exploring Venice, the world’s only all-pedestrian city. Trains from Mestre to Venice depart every 15 minutes. Piazza San Marco tops Venice’s must-see list. Universally recognized as one of the planet’s greatest manmade landmarks, the piazza houses the Doge’s Palace, Saint Mark’s Basilica and Saint Mark’s Clocktower. The Rialto Bridge, another Venetian icon, demands gotta-visit status as well. The oldest of four bridges (1591) that span the Grand Canal symbolizes Venice’s aquatic uniqueness more than any other landmark.
Today you’ll pedal to the Venetian Lagoon via the Ponte della Libertá. This bridge spans 4 km (2.5 miles) and represents the main link between Venice and the mainland. You’ll bicycle to Tronchetto Harbor and then board a ferry to Lido, a sliver of an island that plays host to the Venice Film Festival each year. Your ferry will travel via the Giudecca Canal, passing waterside villas and palaces and bobbing gondolas. Upon reaching Lido you’ll pedal south, straddling the Venetian Lagoon on your right and Adriatic Sea on your left. Eventually you’ll reach Chioggia, home for the night. This lagoon town is often referred to as a smaller version of Venice, and features many architectural attractions, including the Church of San Martino, a 14th century Gothic marvel.
Today you’ll pedal inland into the heart of Italy’s Veneto region, following the historic paths of the Brenta Canal and the Bacchiglione River, once crucial for supplying provisions to Venice. Then you will head towards the Euganean Hills, where you will have the opportunity to relax in a 4-star spa resort in the largest European thermal district.
Enjoy another easy ride through the Veneto region’s flat countryside. Along the cycle path of the Battaglia Canal, you will reach the lively university town of Padua, where Galileo once taught mathematics. We recommend a visit to the grand Basilica del Santo dedicated to Saint Anthony. You'll then follow the path of the Brenta Canal, or what many refer as "Venice's Riviera".
Both sides of the canal are lined with massive villas and palaces built by wealthy Venetians between the 15th and 18th centuries. These awe-inspiring structures showcase works by some of Italy's greatest architects (Scamozzi, Contini, Jappelli) and artists (Angeli, Zelotti, Schiavoni), making the entire ride feel like you're pedaling through one of the planet's largest open-air art museums. In Mestre, you'll conveniently drop your bike off at the same hotel you initially stayed at and thus conclude your tour.
After breakfast, depart Mestre at the time of your choice.
4 nights' accommodation in 3- and 4-star hotels