eurovelo 8 in Italy: Part 1 Trieste to Venezia and the Po delta

Published on:  | Last updated: 31 March 2017

This section of the route takes you along the coast from the border with Slovenia through Trieste to the UNESCO World Heritage site at Aquileia, it then follows the Adriatic coast towards Venezia, where there's a memorable section island-hopping along the eastern side of the lagoon. From Chioggia on the southern tip of the laguna di Venezia the route heads south through the Po delta to the mouth of the Po.

The total distance for this section is approx­im­ately 320 kilometres, mainly on quiet roads although there are some sections of cycleway.

There's a more detailed description of this section of the route in the series Islands and Lagoons of the Adriatic Coast.

Map

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Distances
Trieste - Aquileia 78kms
Aquileia - Caorle 110kms
Caorle - Lido di Venezia 53kms
Lido di Venezia - Chioggia 25kms
Chioggia - Porto Tolle 56kms

Crossing the border

The Open Street Map maps show the eurovelo 8 crossing into Slovenia at Rabuiese (Škofijski Potok) near Muggia (Milje). I’ve not seen a detailed map of the eurovelo 8 as it goes into and out of Trieste (Trst) but the maps I’ve seen show the route heading north-east out of Trieste and then following an inland route before rejoining the coast at Duino. The most logical candidates for the route are the Ciclabile Giordano Cottur (also known as the Val Rosandra cycleway) and the regional FVG2 Pedemontana route - both of these are shown in the OSM maps.

If you don’t want to visit the centre of Trieste, then, looking at the possible options I think the quietest option is probably to pick up the ciclabile at the junction with the Via Costalunga. Zoom in on the map to see my suggested route in more detail.

Note that as you get further out from the centre of Trieste the surface of the ciclabile turns from tarmac to aggregate. There are a couple of useful videos on youtube showing the ciclabile from Draga Sant’Elia into Trieste (part 1 and part 2). The cycleway is partly surfaced and partly unsurfaced.

There is also a section near Slivia (Slivno) where there’s an unsur­faced lane for a kilometre or so - you can avoid this by turning left at Slivia/​Slivno and taking the SP31 over the motorway and then picking up the SP 1.

If you want to visit the centre of Trieste (and I would) then I think you really have two basic options. The first, if you are an exper­i­enced cyclist is to follow main road as it goes into town. (Note: the main Nuovo Sopraelevato flyover is off-limits to bikes). If you are nervous about busy roads then I’d consider taking the traghetto (ferry-boat) over the Golfo di Trieste.

If you don’t want to go into the centre of Trieste then you might want to consider impro­vising a route using minor roads and rejoining the eurovelo 8 at (say) San Antonio in Bosco.

The official route climbs out of Trieste and follow quiet roads parallel with the coast. You may be tempted to take the coast road that passes the Castello Miramare one of the region’s landmarks. You could also take the Strada del Friuli as it climbs out of Trieste (with some great views over the golfo) before joining the Strada Provinciale 1 (SP1). I rode both of these roads on a Sunday when they were pretty quiet - but I don't know how busy they get during the week.

Castello Miramare near Trieste (Friuli-Venezia-Giulia)

Castello Miramare near Trieste (Friuli-Venezia-Giulia)

On to Grado and Aquileia

The route continues, following quiet roads via Monfalcone to Grado. Grado was once a rival to Venezia today it's an attractive seaside resort with a lovely centro storico and harbour area that’s still busy with small fishing vessels. 

From Grado there’s a section of the Ciclovia Alpe-Adria Radweg that follows the old railway line to Aquileia (if you want to you can make a side-trip to the star-shaped city of Palmanova). 

After Aquileia the geography means you need to swing inland a couple of times before reaching Caorle and then the town of Jesolo on the laguna di Venezia. Jesolo has now been overshadowed by the tower blocks of the Lido di Jesolo resort. Fortunately you can avoid the most over-developed parts of the coast and the route continues through peaceful market gardens. 

Basilica di Aquileia - mosaics

Basilica di Aquileia - mosaics

Island-hopping along the edge of the laguna di Venezia

The route along the eastern edge of the lagoon is a memorable exper­ience. There’s more practical inform­ation on ferries etc in the Practicalities section below (or you could also read the article: Island-hopping on the Venetian lagoon: The Ciclovia delle Isole.

Bear in mind that you can't take your bike to the main island of Venezia (although there is a ferry that will take you to the Santa Lucia rail station. If you want to visit Venezia then your best bet is to find somewhere to stay on the Lido, or at Punto Sabbioni or Chioggia, and then pick up a vaporetto. The view of the Piazza di San Marco from the water is the best way to see Venezia for the first time (or indeed the umpteenth time). Don't forget that Venezia isn't just the main island - the other islands such as Burano, Murano, and Torcello are just as enjoyable, if not more so.

Venezia - approaching the piazza di San Marco by vaporetto

Venezia - approaching the piazza di San Marco by vaporetto

Island-hopping

Bear in mind that the section of this route along the edge of the lagoon depends on ferries. While the on-the-road-distance is pretty short, the chances are that you'll need to spend some time waiting for boats: it took me 3 and a half hours from chioggia to Punta Sabbioni - I could have done it more quickly, but probably no in less than 3 hours.

Costs: the most economical ticket is probably the 12-hour ticket at 16€ (2012 prices); if you pay stage-by-stage it’s 5€ for Chioggia-Pellestrina and 6.50€ for each stage after that (2012 prices). On top of that you need to pay 1.10 for the bike for each ferry journey. You can buy tickets on the boat - but bear in mind that you can only buy the 12-hour timed ticket at the ticket offices (eg Chioggia, Porta Santa Maria Elisabetta, and Punta Sabbioni).

The lines you need are:

  • Punta Sabbioni to Lido Santa Maria Elisabetta: 14
  • Alberoni to Santa Maria di Mare: 11
  • Pellestrina to Chioggia: 11

From Chioggia to Porto Tolle

Chioggia - fishing nets

Chioggia - fishing nets

If you’re just passing through it’s worth taking a few moments to savour the charm of Chioggia before pushing on south.

South of Chioggia three of Italy’s great rivers, the Brenta, the Adige and the Po, reach the sea. The landscape is composed of flatlands and lagoons. It also means that you have to get across the rivers, and unfor­tu­nately, unless you are prepared to make a detour inland, this means contending with short stretches of the SS309. These are over with fairly quickly and the rest of the ride is very pleasant one.

The good news is that there is a ferry service offering an altern­ative at Porto Levante. The service is operated by Marino Cacciatori (0426 380314).

Options and connections

At Porto Tolle you have three main options:

  • follow the quiet roads along the northern bank of the Po
  • cross the river and then cut across country to Mesola where you can pick up the cycleway that takes you to Serravalle where you it connects with the main Destra Po cycleway that takes you to Ferrara
  • follow the Anello della Donzella regional cycleway via Scardovari to Santa Giulia where you cross the boat bridge and then head for Gorino at the mouth of the Po di Gorino. This is the start/​end point of the Destra Po cycleway.

If you have the time, you could very easily make a side-trip to Ravenna via Comacchio. See Islands and Lagoons of the Adriatic Coast: Part 1

Waterside Madonna - Caorle (Veneto)

Waterside Madonna - Caorle (Veneto)

More information

Places to stay

Campsites

There’s no shortage of campsites along this section of the route.

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If you want to spend some time sight­seeing in Venezia then your best bet would be to find a place to stay on one of the islands (you can’t take a bike into Venezia itself). There are campsites with easy access to Venezia at Porta Santa Maria/​Lido and Punta Sabbioni. 

Finding a campsite in the Po estuary may be a little trickier. The Villaggio Barricata opens for mid-May and closes mid-September. One option may be the Oasi Park which is a sosta camper (a camper is a campervan/​RV) but their website shows a tent symbol on its services page [Update: or at least it used to —at the moment (March 2017) the site seems to be under recon­struction]. Otherwise there are a number of campsites along the coast at the Lido dei Nazioni. There are a fair number of hostels including the Rifugio al Paesin.

Hostels

The hostels I know of along this section of the route are:

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There are lots of hostels in Venezia itself, but the problem is getting to them with your bike. You may be able to reach the Ostello Venissa - I'd ask for the hostel's advice. If not, the hostel at Chioggia is within reasonably easy reach of the island of Venezia. 

Transport and services

Transport connections

This section of the route passes close to three airports:

  • Trieste Ronchi dei Cavalieri (Trieste No-Borders airport) (destin­a­tions)
  • Treviso (marketed by Ryanair as Venice)
  • Venezia Marco Polo

Main train stations are at Trieste and Venezia (you can reach the Venezia Santa Lucia station by taking a ferry from the Lido di Venezia). 

Resources

Information about cycling in the area

There's a useful leaflet with a map of the Giordano Cottur/​Val Rosandra cycleway (Giordano Cottur cycleway leaflet/​map ).

The cycle touring section of the veneto.to website (en/​fr/​de/​it/​es/​pt/​ru) is extremely useful. See in particular:

General tourist information

Articles in this series

Veneto coastline

Veneto coastline

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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