admin Posted on 1:33 am

Visit Venice on a cycling holiday

Although you can’t ride a bike in Venice, the nearby Po Valley is good country for biking. A tour of this area of ​​Veneto and Emilia-Romagna could include cities such as Verona, Padua, Ferrara, Bologna, Modena and Ravenna. Marco Polo Airport, just north of Venice, is a convenient starting point for such a tour, but it would be a shame not to visit Venice when it’s so close, especially if you’ve never been before. A couple of days in this most beautiful of cities would be a great way to wind down at the end of a cycling holiday.

A plan that involves both Venice and a bike presents particular challenges: This is probably the least bike-friendly urban area on the planet. Piazzale Roma, the busy square where Mestre’s causeway ends on the mainland, is the only part of the island where you can bike (or drive). Even if it were allowed elsewhere, and it isn’t, it’s simply not feasible to even push a bike through the narrow streets that are packed with tourists almost at all hours of the day. And space is at a premium in this city, so hotels don’t have bike storage, even if you could bring your bike wherever you stay by putting it in a bag and treating it like a piece of luggage. Water buses (vaporetti) are the most sensible way to get around, besides walking, but they are often crowded and have little space for luggage. Considering that a touring bike with panniers is really only transportable by its rider while mounted with its panniers, and that’s simply not an option in a crowded city enforcing a bike ban, you’ve got a problem. But that doesn’t mean you have to forego a visit to Venice as part of your cycling holiday. These are some of the options.

  1. There is a secure bike shed next to the Mestre train station called BiciPark. To find it, exit the main station entrance, turn right and walk about 80m. The park has 600 spaces. Many are hired by commuters on a monthly basis, but riders looking for a space for a few days have a good chance of getting one outside of the peak summer period. For a charge of €0.50 per day, your bike will be stored in a building that is open and staffed from 6am to 11pm all week except Sunday. You will have to bring your own lock and buy a ticket, which you will show when you return to pick up your bike. Frequent trains run from Mestre to Venice Santa Lucia Station, or you can take a no. 2 buses from the front of the station to Piazzale Roma.
  2. Unless you plan to arrive or leave Venice on a Sunday, or the Mestre BiciPark is full when you arrive, you won’t have to consider any of the alternatives. I was flying out on Sunday at the end of a recent trip, so I went to speak to the tourist information office in Venice on Saturday afternoon to see what they suggested I do with the bike I had left in Mestre. I had already picked up a copy of the Venice cycling map at the BiciPark and noticed that there is another bike park not far away, in Parco di San Giuliano, near Marghera Fort. The tourism officer explained that this was not a secure, guarded bike park and advised me to lock my bike up tight if I was going to leave it there, as he had heard of a lot of theft. Since she didn’t think much of my other solutions (see below), I decided to go with this one and took the number 2 bus back to Mestre. From the bus, I noticed quite a few bikes parked in a rack by a building opposite the Mestre train station. Once I picked up my bike from the BiciPark, I went back to investigate the place where it appeared from the bus. It was fairly well protected from the weather, being under the overhang of a building. Several of the bikes were secured with very strong locks. After some thought I decided to leave my bike there, well secured to the rack with 2 locks. I also removed the saddle, both because it’s pretty good and because a bike without a seat is a less tempting target for a thief. To find this casual bike park, head into the tunnel that carries the north-south bike path under the railway. The tunnel mouth is on Via Dante and the bike racks are adjacent to it on the west side of the road, next to the building at the corner of Via Dante and Viale Stazione. This building has an Avis office with a big red sign on the Viale Stazione side and is easy to spot. The bike racks can be seen from Google Streetview.
  3. There is another BiciPark in Venice itself. This is a covered park next to the public parking lot in Piazzale Roma. It is open 24/7 and is free, but it only has 25 spaces and cannot be reserved. The other big drawback, compared to Mestre BiciPark, is that the bikes can be left there for a maximum of one day and can be removed if they are left for longer. So it’s an option if you’re planning a day trip to Venice, but not otherwise unless you want to risk your bike missing when you return for it. Even then, it would be good to arrive early to hopefully find a free space. You may have to cycle back across the causeway to the much larger Mestre bike park.
  4. One last possibility, which I have not investigated in detail, involves Trasbagagli. This organization transfers luggage between the airport and Venice by road or water, especially for tour groups. It has offices in Piazzale Roma and at the airport and offers a left-luggage service at each, open daily from early morning until 9pm. You should inquire about leaving a bike in its normal state, but there’s no reason why a bike packed in a bag or box ready for your ride home shouldn’t be accepted for storage like any other piece of luggage. The cost is currently €5 or €5.50 per day, depending on which locker is used, which is a bit expensive for trips of more than a day or two. You can cycle to the airport, pack up your bike and leave it for a couple of days, making the trip back to Venice on the Alilaguna water bus or the number 5 highway bus. You can even make an arrangement with Trasbagagli to leave your bike packed up in Piazzale Roma and be transported to the airport ready for your flight.

Now that you have the information you need to spend a few days in Venice as part of a bike tour in Veneto or Emilia-Romagna, start planning your trip!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *