eurovelo 8 in Italy Overview

Published on:  | 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.

Overview map

  Map:  FT-maps-ev8-overview show map in overlay    |    FT-maps-ev8-overview show map in new window 

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 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.
Information board on the FE20/Destra Po cycleway near Ferrara (part of eurovelo 8)

Information board on the FE20/​Destra Po cycleway near Ferrara (part of eurovelo 8)

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:

and with a bit more of a detour you can take in Mantova and Sabbioneta, and Ravenna.

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.

View of the river Po between Piacenza and Cremona

The river Po between Piacenza and Cremona

Downloads

GPS files

  •  eurovelo 8 gps files 
    (.zip file containing 13 gpx track files and one file of waypoints)
  •  Italy Points of Interest

     About POIs

    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.

More information

Places to stay

Campsites

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.

  Map of campsites along the route:  FT-maps-ev8-campsites-show in overlay    |    FT-maps-ev8-campsites-show in new window 

Hostels

  Map of hostels along the route:  FT-maps-ev8-hostels-show in overlay    |    FT-maps-ev8-hostels-show in new window 

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.

Resources

General tourist information

Regional tourism information websites

Parks and nature reserves

Articles in this series

This article is part of a series about the eurovelo 8 in Italy:

Get in touch

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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