Published on: 24 February 2017 | Last updated: 14 January 2020
At a glance
Depends on the oprion chosen
A mixture of quiet roads and sections of traffic-free cycleway
Mostly surfaced, but some sections on aggregate cycleways
Map and altitude profile
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|Treviso to Quarto d’Altino||32 kms|
|Quarto d’Altino to Altino||8 kms|
|Altino to Punta Sabbioni||48 kms|
|Altino to Mestre (via Quarto d’Altino)||30 kms|
Options from Treviso
The Via Claudia is quite an old cycle route, and since it was first established the Veneto region has developed a new cycle route that follows the Sile river to the coast. This is probably the best option for continuing on from Treviso, but a lot of the cycleway is aggregate surfaced, so if your bike has less than, say, 32mm tyres you may prefer to take the Via Claudia route which is on public roads.
The Via Claudia finishes at the remains of the old Roman city of Altino near modern-day Quarto d’Altino. there are places to stay at Quarto d’Altino (it is close to Venezia’s Marco Polo airport), but you may prefer to head for Venezia. again there are options: you could head for the city of Mestre and then pick up the cycleway on the causeway that links Venezia with Mestre, or you could skirt round the lagoon to the Lido di Venezia. The pros and cons of the different option are discussed in more detail in the guide.
Following the Sile river from Treviso to Musestre di Roncade
The route out of Treviso is a little tricky because of the one-way system around the Riviera Garibaldi. From what I could see, the best way is to follow the signs into the centre of town and then go through the cobbled vicolo that comes out on the riverside by the Osteria al Dante, and then cross the road to the ciclabile by the river. Then, just before the bridge over the river, cross back over the road (there’s a crossing) and take the cycleway along the arcade of trees. When you reach the (push-button controlled) crossing, that leads to the waterside turn right and cross the road and turn left. The ciclabile by the river seemed to stop at this point, but going straight on, following the river, appeared to be the easiest option here. Follow the waterside to the start of the Girasile cycleway: it starts just before the railway bridge (you should be able to see the twin circular blue signs about 50 metres away). There’s an I2/I4 sign although the Girasile is numbered E4).
The Girasile is just beautiful. The Girasile park authority and the local authorities in this area have invested a lot of money (€3.75 million) on new and upgraded sections of the cycleway as well as some bridges.
The stretch out of Treviso is popular with runners and walkers (at least it was on a Saturday morning). The cycleway out of Treviso is tarmac surfaced but this gives way to aggregate for most of the 22 kilometres. It is mainly dedicated traffic-free cycleway but there are some sections of quiet road that are restricted to residents (with a 15 kph limit). There’s also a section of boardwalk where you have to get off and walk (‘Cicli a Mano’ signs).
There aren’t a whole lot of places to eat and drink along the cycleway itself: the best bet is probably Casier sul Sile, about 6.5 kilometres out of Treviso, where there’s a bar and a trattoria.
The Via Claudia ends at Altino, eight kilometres from modern-day Quarto d’Altino. You leave Quarto d’Altino by the appropriately-named Via Claudia Augusta and then pick up the Percorso della Memoria — an aggregate-surfaced cycleway/footpath beside the river Zeno. You can also get to Altino by road.
At Altino you can see the remains of the old Roman city of Altinum. This was where the old Roman road ended. Altinum was once a thriving port city that ranked in importance alongside Ravenna and Aquileia (Venezia was established later by people fleeing to the islands for protection from invaders). Like Aquileia, the city was sacked by the army of Attila in 452. The city seems to have recovered after the invasion, but successive waves of invaders from the north lead to the important church institutions relocating to the safety of the islands of the Venetian lagoon. Depopulation meant that there were fewer people able to maintain the drainage systems and bit by bit the surrounding area returned to marshland. You can visit the modern museum which was opened in September 2015: Museo Archeologico Nazionale Altino (or MANA for short) and see a section of the old Roman city street.
Getting to Venezia
Quarto d’Altino is about 22 kilometres from Mestre which is, in turn, another 8 kilometres from Venezia. The most direct option from Altino is to follow the SS14. However, this is the main road to and from Venezia Marco Polo airport so it’s not an ideal choice. An alternative is to go back to Quarto d’Altino and than pick up the cycle route that leads from there to Mestre. This route is now the last leg of the München-Venezia cycle route (see München-Venezia: Part 9). (I have included a gpx track and maps for this option in the downloads for the Via Claudia). As a compromise between the two, you could take the SS14 over the river Dese and then turn right at the next turning (the Via Paliaga) and then right again onto the Via Litomarino and from there follow the cycle route into Mestre. The cycle route continues south through Mestre and on to Fusina and the Brenta Riviera.
The Mestre-Venezia cycleway
There’s now an excellent protected cycleway on the 3.8 kilometre-long causeway that links Venezia with the Mestre on the terra firma (mainland). The cycleway shares the causeway with the main road as well as the rail line and tramway. It’s great that cyclists have the option of crossing in safety, but it’s certainly not glamorous or romantic: check the Google Streetview images and make up you own mind.
The most straightforward route from the centre of Mestre is to pick up the cycleway beside the Via Bembo which continues on the Via Genova and turns right into the Via Napoli. At the junction with the Via Torino, cross the road and turn right onto the cycleway that runs alongside the Via Torino.
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The ciclabile beside the Via Torino leads to an underpass that takes you under the railway line and road, and on the other side you can pick up the cycleway across the bridge. Unfortunately, the access to the underpass has been closed because of the redevelopment of the station at Porto Marghera. Until the work is completed you need to use the underpass at the Porto Marghera station. There should be a canalina on the steps to allow cyclists to push bikes up and down the steps that lead to the underpass.
The most straightforward route to the station is to turn right onto the Via Linghindal (look out for the stazione sign), and then left at the roundabout, and follow the Via Ca’ Marcello and Via Paganello to the station.
The cycleway takes you past a large car park on the Via Petroli and turns left at the roundabout (Via dell’Idraulica). It then comes out beside the tramway and the main SR211. The road is off-limits to bikes — just in case you’re tempted to climb over two sets of barriers to make a right turn.
The cycleway runs on the right-hand side of the causeway for 3.8 kilometres. If you’re headed for the Tronchetto ferry terminal take the turning on the right when the cycleway comes to an end, otherwise, rejoin the road for the final stretch. The road continues on the Ponte della Libertà to the Piazzale di Roma 700 metres further on, passing the turning for the San Basilio ferry terminal.
There are a limited number of bike spaces at the Bici Park on the Ponte della Libertà (see the transport and services section below). See the transport and services section for more information on ferries and bike parking.
The alternative option is to head for Jesolo on the northern end of the Venetian lagoon, and then follow the edge of the lagoon to the Lido di Venezia or Punta Sabbioni and then take a vaporetto into Venezia itself.
You can, of course, continue on from the end of the tour. If you end at Altino you can follow the coastline north into Friuli-Venezia-Giulia and on from there to Trieste, following the Islands and Lagoons of the Adriatic Coast route. Alternatively you can follow it south, skirting round the laguna di Venezia to connect with the river Po cycleway.
The ban on bikes in Venezia
(For those who want to see the chapter and verse).
In 2016, the Comune di Venezia extended the ban on cycling in the centro storico (historic centre) so that now you cannot either ride bikes, or push them, in the centro storico. If you do, you risk a 100€ fine.
I haven’t been able to find a formal definition of the centro storico, but it applies to most of the group of islands at the centre of the Laguna di Venezia. You can still ride to the Piazzale Roma on the main island, and also to the ferry terminals but no further than that. Google Maps and OpenStreetMap maps show the pedestrian-only areas of the city, and it’s safest to regard all of these as off-limits — although there is an exception for the area in front of the Santa Lucia train station.
If you want to see it in black and white, see the city’s website: comune.venezia.it: Forbidden Behaviour.
And if you want chapter and verse, the ban is in Articolo 28 of the Regolamento di polizia urbana (pdf) which says:
Nel Centro Storico di Venezia è vietata la circolazione dei velocipedi anche se condotti a mano
Note that at the time of writing the city council had just approved a new version of the regolamento.
The regulation provides an exception for residents of Venezia, and children under the age of ten in specific areas. It also gives the police power to impound bikes until the fine is paid.
I don’t know how vigorously the ban is enforced, or your chances of not encountering someone from the local police. If you do decide to take the risk, be discreet and pay attention to the other #Enjoy-Respect-Venezia rules. Last year (2018) one unlucky cycle-tourist was fined 350€ for a combination of offences.
Places to stay
Hotels and B&Bs
Find and book places to stay with Booking.com
Booking.com pages for places on this section of the route:
About these links
If you use these links to book accommodation Booking.com will pay me a small part of their commission. This helps support the costs of producing this site.
I use Booking.com to find and book places to stay when there are no campsites in the area. The large majority of hotels and many hostels are now on ‘Booking’. I like it because it means that I can get almost-instant confirmation. The rating system is also a reliable guide to the quality of the accommodation.
I’ve never had a problem finding places to keep my bike —even if it’s a cupboard or store room. I always use the ‘special requests’ field on the booking form to tell the hotel that I’m travelling with a bike, which gives them the opportunity to let me know if there’s a problem.
Many properties offer free cancellation but it’s a good idea to check the conditions as these vary from property to property.
There are several hostels in Venezia itself but getting to them with a bike could be a problem as bikes are banned from Venezia itself as well as from the traghetti to the main islands.
There are lots of campsites around Venezia.
Transport and services
Trains and coaches back to München
The most convenient option for returning from Venezia to München is the DB-ÖBB Eurocity service via Innsbruck. There are places for 16 bikes on each train This is the most direct train with the shortest journey time, however, there are only two departures a day, arriving in München in the evening. There are earlier departures from Verona, and you can take a regional train from Venezia to Verona.
Another option would be to take an ÖBB Railjet or Intercitybus via Udine to Villach, and change trains there - journey times are a little longer but not by very much, so they are worth considering.
Ferry and boat services on the Laguna di Venezia
The Tronchetto to Lido di Venezia car ferry
Bikes are allowed onto the number 17 car ferry service that runs from the terminal on Tronchetto island to the Lido di Venezia. For more information about the ‘Ferry Boat’ service see: actv.avmspa.it: actv-ferry-boat. There’s an ACTV ticket office on the Tronchetto.
The service runs every 50 minutes. I think that tickets cost €7.50 plus €1 for your bike. You should be able to download the pdf timetable from this page: muoversi.venezia.it: orari servizio di navigazione or from actv.avmspa.it: timetable download page.
Other boat services on the Laguna di Venezia
Apart from the number 17 ferry service, you can take bikes on only two of the ACTV vaporetti services on the Laguna di Venezia
- the number 14 (Punta Sabbioni to the Lido di Venezia)
- the number 11. This runs from the Lido di Venezia to Chioggia with two waterborne sections: Alberoni to Santa Maria del Mare, and Pellestrina to Chioggia
On Saturdays and public holidays the number 11 service between Pellestrina and Chioggia is reinforced by a dedicated service for cicloturisti. The boat can carry 40 bikes, and sails 6 times a day. There may be additional services on other days - download the timetable for details.
You can download the timetables as pdfs from actv.avmspa.it: timetable download page.
In addition to the ACTV services there are privately-run services from the Fusina ferry terminal (note this is separate from the Fusina port). On Saturdays, you can take their boat service from Fusina to Alberoni on the eastern edge of the lagoon. Note: you need to call reserve your place. For timetable and contact details go to terminalfusina.it.
Bike and luggage storage in and around Venezia
If you are planning to spend a few days in Venezia, the best option is to find accommodation in Mestre, or on one of the islands, that has somewhere to store your bike.
There’s a Bici Park (bike parking facility) near Mestre station actv.avmspa.it: bicycle park Mestre Venezia. From the pictures I’ve seen, the Mestre facility looks pretty secure, or at least it’s staffed, and the access is controlled. The cost is €0.5 per day. Note: you can’t leave bikes overnight — the Bici Park closes at 19:00 and all bikes must be removed by 19:30.
In Venezia itself, there is parking for 25 bikes beside the Autorimessa Comunale (municipal car-park) at Ponte della Libertà (entry to the right of the vehicles entrance). The operators emphasise that it is not guarded, or monitored by CCTV.
For luggage storage, there’s a Deposito Bagagli (Left Luggage office) at Venezia Mestre station and also at Venezia Santa Lucia. Charges: (per item) €6 for the first 5 hours then €1 per hour for the next seven hours, and and €0.50 for every hour after the first twelve. For more information go to: veneziaunica.it: depositi bagagli or veneziasantalucia.it: Left-Luggage.
Trasbagagli is a private company offering luggage handling and storage services around the city (including at the airport and ferry terminal). I don’t know if they can store bikes (please let me know if you do know).
Ferries from Venezia
From Venezia you can catch ferries to Croatia, Greece and other destinations in the eastern Mediterranean. There are three ferry terminals:
- the Venezia Terminal Passeggeri
- the San Basilio pier
- the Venice RO Port ‘Motorways of the Sea’ ferry terminal at Fusina
The San Basilio jetty and Venezia Terminal Passeggeri are a short distance apart in Venezia itself, while the ferry terminal at Fusina is 10 kilometres south of Venezia — so be sure to check which terminal the ship leaves from before you book or make other travel arrangements.
Reaching the three terminals is relatively straightforward, but it’s worth checking the map first.
The cycleway from Mestre, which runs beside the SR11 road across the causeway that links Venezia with the mainland, brings you to the port area. You’ll need to get information from your ferry operator on which of the terminal buildings you should head for. Don’t follow the signs for the ‘ferry-lido’ as this takes you over a bridge to the Tronchetto ferry terminal.
To get to the San Basilio pier, you need to take the Calle Dietro ai Magazzini from the junction with the Ponte della Libertà.
Venice RO Port ‘Motorways of the Sea’ ferry terminal is at Fusina, about 10 kilometres south of Mestre. (Note that there are two ferry terminals at Fusina — the other just offers a passenger ferry to Venezia).
Getting the Venice RO Port is pretty straightforward, but if you don’t do anything else be sure to stay off the SS309. This is on my list of The Most Horrible Roads in Italy. The route I would suggest is to take the cycleway that goes under the Mestre station, and then continue through Marghera heading for the village of Malcontenta, and then take the SP23 (Via Moranzani). A slightly longer, but possibly more scenic option is to follow the cycle route on the right bank of the Naviglio del Brenta and then cross back over and head for the ferry terminal.
At Malcontenta you definitely should make the short detour to see the Villa Foscari (‘La Malcontenta’) designed by the architect Andrea Palladio. If you don’t have much time you can just admire it from the waterside, but it’s worth the visit to see the frescoes in the reception rooms.
Bike shops on this section of the route
- Preganziol: Brunello Loris (Strada Terraglio 405)
- Mestre: Bike Project | Breda Cicli | Voltan Arturo (7/9 Ramo Motta) | Bicimania (Via Torre Belfredo 124) | Samuel Zentilini (Viale San Marco 33/35)
- Mirano (near Mestre): Scavezzon Biciclette
If you know of other bike shops, or you spot a mistake, please let me know.
Articles in this series
- The Via Claudia in Germany and Austria: Overview
- Via Claudia Part 1: Donauwörth to Landsberg Am Lech
- Via Claudia Part 2: Landsberg am Lech to Füssen
- Via Claudia Part 3: Füssen to Imst
- Via Claudia Part 4: Along the valley of the Inn
- The Via Claudia in Italy: Overview
- Via Claudia Part 5: The Vinschgau
- Via Claudia Part 6: Algund to Trento
- Via Claudia Part 7: Trento to the Lago di Caldonazzo
- Via Claudia 8: San Cristoforo al Lago to Feltre via the Valsugana
- Via Claudia Part 9: the Valsugana cycleway to Bassano del Grappa
- Via Claudia Part 10: San Cristoforo al Lago to Feltre via the Passo Croce d’Aune
- Via Claudia Part 11: Feltre to Treviso
- Via Claudia Part 12: Treviso to Altino (and Venezia
- Via Claudia Part 13: Trento to Verona and Ostiglia