Published on: 23 March 2013 | Last updated: 11 March 2018
You couldn’t describe Italy’s north east coast as dramatic, but it has a certain fascination. Wild and tranquil wetlands and waterways that are home to flamingoes as well as grey, and white, herons. Fishermen’s casoni huts with nets stretched out before them, line the area's waterways. While it passes near some of the major tourist areas of the Adriatic coast (and some busy roads) it remains amazingly quiet. If you’re looking for an accessible ride offering big skies and lots of peace and quiet this one is worth considering.
This route connects three UNESCO World Heritage sites. There’s Ravenna, briefly capital of the western Roman empire, Venezia and the Venetian lagoon, and the ancient roman city of Aquileia, with another must-see set of early-Christian art. It then continues to Trieste the one time main port of the Austro-Hungarian empire and now enjoying a renaissance.
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The central part of this route is the Ciclovia delle Isole di Venezia (Islands Cycleway) promoted by the Veneto region. In the Veneto, leaflets with maps are available free from the tourist offices along the route (and much of the route is also signed). It then picks up the Itinerario del Littoral route signposted by the Friuli Venezia Giulia region.
A big chunk of this route also coincides with the eurovelo 8 international cycling route as it connects between the Po and Slovenia.
You could join start this route from Ferrara (see the Ferrara Terra e Aqua website) either joining at Ravenna or near Comacchio.
At the end of the route you could continue on into Slovenija either following the coast via Muggia or take the Pista Ciclopedonale Giordano Cottur (the page has a link to a pdf map).
The route connects with the Po cycleway, with the Adige river (see my article here), the Ciclovia Alpe-Adria Radweg which leads north from Grado via Udine and into Austria).
There are possibilities to connect with or detour to Padova and Treviso and other cities of the Veneto.
When to go
The route is pretty much entirely at sea-level so will be hot in July and August. May, June and September would be the best months.
Maps to print out or view offline
- Islands and Lagoons of the Adriatic Coast: Part 1: A4 maps
- Islands and Lagoons of the Adriatic Coast: Part 2: A4 maps
- Islands and Lagoons of the Adriatic Coast: Part 1: A5 maps
- Islands and Lagoons of the Adriatic Coast: Part 2: A5 maps
About the maps
The maps are in two versions: A4 portrait format - for printing and maybe also for viewing on an iPad, and A5 for smaller tablets and smartphones. (A4 and A5 are international paper sizes).
Links open in new windows unless you ‘save as’ etc.
Islands and Lagoons of the Adriatic Coast gps files
(.zip file containing 6 gpx track files)
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 April 2018. The file format is only compatible with Garmin GPSes .
Places to stay
There's a very wide range of accommodation in the main seaside resort towns along the route, including Ravenna, the Lido di Venezia, Bibione, Lignano Sabbiadoro and Trieste. The Po delta area is a lot less developed with fewer places to stay.
There are hostels in Ravenna, Chioggia, Aquileia and Trieste. There are also several hostels in Venezia, but it may not be possible to get to them with a bike.
There’s generally plenty of accommodation along the route - especially if you are camping - but there’s not much on the section between Comacchio and Rosalina Mare.
Transport and services
There are main stations at Ravenna, Trieste and Venezia, but most parts of the route are within cycling distance of a station.
The route passes close to Venezia Marco Polo airport, Treviso airport and Trieste Ronchi dei Legionari. Rimini airport is also not far away.
- Emilia-Romagna cycleways and cycle routes and interactive map
- Veneto cycleways and cycle routes and interactive map
- Friuli-Venezia-Giulia cycleways and cycle routes and interactive map
- Emilia-Romagna - guide to useful websites and other resources
- Veneto - a guide to useful websites and other resources
- Friuli-Venezia-Giulia - guide to useful websites and other resources
Articles in this series
- Islands and lagoons of the Adriatic Coast: Overview
- Islands and lagoons of the Adriatic Coast – Part 1
- Islands and lagoons of the Adriatic Coast – Part 2
- Islands and lagoons of the Adriatic Coast – Part 3
- Islands and lagoons of the Adriatic Coast – Part 4
- Islands and lagoons of the Adriatic Coast – Part 5
- Islands and lagoons of the Adriatic Coast – Part 6