Cycling Fun South of Lake Garda

From the southern tip of Lake Garda to the historic city of Mantua lies a special stretch of Italian beauty: the Mincio River. Flowing peacefully over 70 kilometres, the river passes through many places of interest, making it an ideal strategic point to leap from. Perfect for family holidays or romantic escapes, the banks of the Mincio River combine natural beauty with man-made treasures.

 

From the famed Lake Garda, the river crosses through Valeggio sul Mincio, a beautiful fort town renowned for its tortellini (see below) and its picturesque castle, which has been dominating the landscape since the 13th century.

 

Valeggio’s next door neighbour, Borghetto sul Mincio, is so quaint it’s like stepping into a fairy tale. This almost unreal village is often said to be the prettiest village of Italy. Stone houses, ancient watermills, a medieval bridge and just a few inhabitants make this tiny place the most romantic gateway.

 

Finish up with the Renaissance town of Mantua, nestled in between three lakes at the other end of the Mincio River, and don’t forget to pay Romeo and Juliet a visit in Verona, located just half an hour away from the river.

The Mincio Cycle Path

With a length of 45 km, the Mincio cycle path is a very popular and rather popular route, especially in spring.

 

The route develops between the cities of Peschiera del Garda, in the province of Verona, and Mantua, which has one of the most beautiful urban centers in all of Northern Italy.

 

The itinerary begins just beyond the Mantova’s railway station, which must be crossed until reaching the Ponte dei Mulini. Once you pass the bridge, you enter the Mincio Park, an extremely calm and totally immersed in nature. This place is especially attractive for bird watchers, since birds like storks, herons and hawks nest and live in the protected area. There are also attractive villages and farmhouses, where it is possible to taste some of the local specialties.

 

The path is signposted throughout and provides many resting points with facilities, so get your pedals on and enjoy family cycling in the scenic company of River Mincio.

 

For more info about the Mincio Cycle path and other cycling itineraries, check out www.parcodelmincio.it.

 

The Mantua-Peschiera bike bus service

 

The bus line 46, connecting Mantova and Peschiera del Garda in the summer season, has a bike trolley service designed for all bike enthusiasts. The service is called Bicibus and operates on reservation from April to October. Stops along the route include Pozzolo and Valeggio sul Mincio.

Garden Visits

The Sigurta Gardens, right by Valeggio sul Mincio and just a few kilometres away from Verona, are probably one of the most beautiful parks in the world. The Sigurta family, who acquired the terrain in 1941, had a clear vision: to turn the arid land into a heaven of greenery. And so, they did.

 

Covering an area of 60 hectares, the park is an oasis of woodland, lakes, grass carpets, flower beds, ornamental and medicinal gardens, a rose avenue and the oldest occupant of the park – also one of its most popular attractions – an oak tree aged no less than 4 centuries.

 

Sigurta Gardens are simply a paradise for botanists and nature lovers, and a great family day out. Children can also enjoy a playground, as well as a farm visit.

The labyrinth of Parco Sigurta' (image © #parcosigurta)
The labyrinth of Parco Sigurta' (image © #parcosigurta)

Family Fun Time

Nearby, Gardaland is one of the world’s most top-rated amusement parks.

 

Offering larger-than-life dragons, fantasy rides, speed-thirsty rollercoasters, magical worlds and a jolly good atmosphere, Gardaland is a fantastic family day out.
Learn a bit about sea life with Sea-Life, Gardaland’s massive aquarium and another treat for the whole family. With more than 200,000 creatures, expect to come into close contact with an impressive sea universe!

 

Those who prefer staying in contact with nature wil be delighted at the  Parco Natura Viva,  a large zoo located between Verona and Lake Garda. It extends over 42 hectares of wooded greenery and is home to 1,500 animals of 200 different species. The visit is split in two journeys, the FAUNA PARK is the pedestrian area (4 h), the SAFARI PARK (about 30 mins) is to be visited on board of your car.

Parco Natura Viva
image © Parco Natura Viva

What to Eat

Don’t dare think spaghetti. Forget lasagne. it’s all about tortellini here. And proudly so.

 

And in this heavenly tortellini headquarters, we have two golden winners; Tortelli di zucca alla Mantovana, the delicious tortellini of Mantua filled with a blend of pumpkin flesh, amaretti biscuits and Mantuan mustard, and Valegio tortellini, the signature dish of the area.

 

Home-made and filled with meat, the famous tortellini of Valeggio are weaved into an old local legend; the ‘Love Knot’. The legend goes that a local captain fell madly in love with a nymph living in the River Mincio. The nymph produced a handkerchief tied in a knot for her beloved, to remind him of their undying love. Inspired by this legend, residents have been tying pasta into knots and so are born the tortellini!

 

A tribute to the legend comes alive every year in June, when Borghetto hosts the very special ‘Love-Knot festival’. Over 600,000 tortellini are handmade for the occasion, savoured in a party atmosphere celebrating love and tortellini!

Where to Stay

Our choice is La Finestra sul Fiume in Valeggio sul Mincio, this 4-room B&B offers fairy-tale river setting and it is close to many attractions. In summer, a section of the river becomes a wonderful natural swimming pool. The restaurants of Valeggio and the Sigurta’ Park are a 15-minute stroll while beautiful Verona is just a hop on the direct bus.

 

We are including car hire to be able to explore at your leisure but it’s not essential.

 

from £ 775 per person including

5 nights sharing a  double/twin room

fully comprehensive car hire arranged at Verona airport

Do you spare extra nights? Why not combining The River Mincio with the stay in Malcesine and the Dolomites

Tags :