Published on: 13 May 2014 | Last updated: 31 March 2017
The eurovelo 8 in Italy has three main sections:
- the first crosses the border from Slovenia and then follows the Adriatic coast from Trieste to Venezia and from Venezia to the Po estuary - approximately 322 kms
- the second follows the Po from the Adriatic coast to Torino (Turin) and then on towards Saluzzo in Piemonte - approximately 617kms
- the third part runs south from Torino to the cities of Saluzzo and Cuneo, and then on to the border with France at the Passo di Tenda (Col de Tende) - approximately 193kms.
The route is predominantly flat - with the exception of the sections at either end. A large proportion is also on either traffic-free cycleway or on quiet roads (in many cases roads that are open only to residents).
Surfaces are variable: the western stretch along the Po, in the Ferrara area follows the Fe20 Destra Po which is one of Italy’s best-quality traffic-free cycleways. As far as Piacenza the route is pretty much all on surfaced cycleways or very quiet roads. After Piacenza the proportion on unsurfaced road/track increases. The final section from Saluzzo south to Cuneo is on surfaced cycleway or quiet road.
Signposting varies: in some sections it's as good as the best you’ll find anywhere and in others it's non-existent. I would definitely recommend using a gps with the detailed OSM mapping.
Making the most of the eurovelo 8
A major proportion of the eurovelo 8 is through open countryside - with a surprisingly high proportion passing through protected areas. There are really very few towns and villages along the river itself. The peace, quiet and solitude is definitely good for the soul, but after a while it gets a bit much, and my advice would be to plan to make detours to visit places like Mantova and Ferrara that are near to, but not actually on, the route.
Bear in mind also that, particularly on the sections along the Po that there may be almost no services along the way: if you want to stop for a coffee or a drink you may well need to go a kilometre or two off the route.
Planning your route
Unfortunately the map on the European Cyclists Federation website (eurovelo.com), while it gives a good overview, isn’t useful for detailed route planning. The Federazione Italiana Amici della Bicicletta (FIAB) are organisation who have responsibility for the eurovelo routes in Italy. They are in the process of revamping their website and at the moment the page with information about the eurovelo 8 is missing. This is the best source of information on the official route so hopefully it will be published soon.
The eurovelo 8 connects with a number of international and international routes along the way (many cycle routes follow rivers that are tributaries of the Po). Major interconnections include:
- the Ciclovia Alpe-Adria Radweg (at Aquileia)
- the Via Claudia Augusta (connections near Venezia and at Ostiglia)
- the Ciclopista del Sole (near Mantova)
- the Ciclovia Tirrenca (near Parma)
- the Ticino cycleway which connects Pavia with the Lago Maggiore
- the Ciclovia Svizzera-Mare
- the Via Pedemontana Alpina
The connection with France via the Col de Tende is a little problematic: you may want to consider the alternative routes into France:
- the Bicitalia Ciclovia Tirrenica - this heads south from Casale Monferrato to Asti and Bra before reaching the coast at Imperia;
- or from Cuneo you could take the Via Pedemontana to Savona on the Liguria coast.
When to go
I’ve done this route in May-June and September. July and August will be very hot.
What to see along the way
The route passes through, or close to, five of Italy’s World Heritage sites:
There’s a lot more to see along the way: see the individual articles for more
An alternative option
Along the Po you might want to consider the option of a bici-barca (bike-boat) holiday, where you ride during the day and then spend your nights on the boat. There are a couple of Italian operators offering this option between Mantova and Venezia. The main one is girolibero who have two boats: the Vita Pugna and the slightly more luxurious and expensive Ave Maria. Places on those boats are also offered by zeppelin.it.
- eurovelo 8 gps files
(.zip file containing 13 gpx track files and one file of waypoints)
- Italy Points of Interest
POIs are like waypoints, but while you can usually only store a limited number of waypoints on a device, you can store thousands of POIs. These files include information about campsites and hostels, bike shops, train stations, drinking water sources as well as warnings for tunnels and roads where bikes are banned. Please check the ReadMe file for instructions. Updated March 2017.
NB the download package only includes the gps files for the sections of the route that I have done. For gpx tracks for other sections and other options please see the article eurovelo 8: planning your route: books, maps and gps downloads or follow the links in the ReadMe file.
Places to stay
Cycle-campers should bear in mind that while there are lots of campsites along the Adriatic coast, there are very few along the Po. There are however quite a lot of hostels to fill the gap, and, in my experience hotels (and agriturismi/B&Bs) tend to be inexpensive.
Transport and services
There are rail stations along most of the route.
The main railway stations are at: Trieste, Venezia, Ferrara, Ostiglia, Mantova, Cremona, Piacenza, Pavia, Casale Monferrato, Chivasso, Torino and Cuneo.
The route passes within easy reach of several airports: Trieste Monfalcone, Venezia Marco Polo, Treviso, Bologna, Milano Malpensa, Torino. The airports at Verona, Brescia and Bergamo are a little further off the route but still reachable in a day’s ride.
General tourist information
Regional tourism information websites
- turismofvg.it (it/en/de)
- veneto.to (it/en/fr/de/es/pt/ru)
- visitporiver.it (it/en)
- emiliaromagnaturismo.it (it/en/de/ru)
- artcityemiliaromagna.com (it/en)
- turismo.regione.lombardia.it (it/en)
- piemonteitalia.eu (it/en/fr/es/de)
Parks and nature reserves
Articles in this series
This article is part of a series about the eurovelo 8 in Italy:
- eurovelo 8 in Italy: Overview
- eurovelo 8 in Italy: Part 1: Trieste to Venezia and the Po delta
- eurovelo 8 in Italy: Part 2: Along the Po
- eurovelo 8 in Italy: Part 3: Torino to Cuneo and the Col de Tende
- eurovelo 8 in Italy: detour to Mantova and Sabbioneta
- eurovelo 8 in Italy: Planning your route: books, maps and GPS tracks
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Please get in touch if you find any errors in the information, or if there’s anything, good or bad, that you’d want other cyclists to know.
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