Our incredible adventure begins in Venice, Jan’s favorite city in Europe. It’s easy to understand the appeal when you picture yourself taking a gondola ride across Venice’s grand canal before having lunch at a canal-side cafe—Prosecco and pizza followed by a cappuccino and tiramisu.
On embark day a shuttle will be available from Venice’s VCE airport. The schedule will be provided before airline tickets are available. Unlike normal cruises, our yacht-dimensioned ship will be docked inside Venice’s pedestrian-district, only a short walk (or enchanting Gondola ride) to San Marco Square or Rialto Bridge. We’ll immerse ourselves in Europe’s most romantic city. Not enough time for you? Venice has so much to see that La Belle will stay docked in Venice for a full second day so you can explore to your hearts’ desire.
Day 3: Today’s choice of flat rides wander through the Valli di Comaccio, where we’ll spot marshes full of flamingos and fields of olive trees. All routes converge for lunch at a local farm-restaurant which will include hand-made ravioli and other local specialties. This afternoon we’ll explore Ravenna a city with Roman, Gothic, and Byzantine architecture.
Day 4: A magnificent day of riding from an idyllic beach town will take us into an entirely different country, San Marino. While we’re cycling the ship will race down the coast and wait for us at our ride’s end.
On most days of this tour, our shorter routes will be primarily flat, and longer routes climb into the foothills. On this particular day when most of us will want to get our passport stamped in San Marino, the strong riders will accept the challenge of ascending Monte Titano, while others will take a boost to reach Guita Tower at the peak.
That afternoon will be a delightful downhill ride winding through vineyards as we make our way back to the sea. Another great thing about a cycling cruise? The afternoon routes are always downhill!
Day 5: One of the rides I am most excited about reaches and explores the renaissance city of Urbino. The entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Less touristed and far better preserved than Florence, walking the streets of this smaller city gives you an authentic experience of 15th century Italy.
500 years ago, the prestige and opulence of the Palazzo Ducale had the Borgias and Medicis vying for control of the city. We’ll imbibe the stunning landscape of Italy’s Marche region as we ride past charming villages to return to La Belle.
We’ll enjoy a day of cycling past scenic beaches where the Italians take their vacations. Rides through expansive nature preserves makes cycling a treat.
In Ascolopiceno we’ll marvel at a city founded in 268 BC. The city is an iconic medley of Roman and Gothic architecture.
Photographers beware, you’ll want to stop every 10 feet on this day of cycling.
Vieste, built on a peninsula, is an incredibly picturesque city on the water, flanked by miles of breathtaking natural parks and renaissance villages.
It’s impossible to get lost on this day, there’s always a spectacular view just around the corner.
Today’s ride will feature Lecce, a 2,300 year old city that’s a myriad of Roman, Greek, Gothic, and Baroque architecture.
We’ll sample a Primitivo (an Italian Zinfandel) at a local vineyard before a peaceful afternoon ride back to Brindisi, a city with miles of wide promenades open to cyclists.
Day 10: We will disembark on our final day in Bari, the capital of Puglia which dates back to 300 BC. The city is rich with ancient Roman & Greek architecture, perfect for a few extra days of adventuring if you wish to extend your vacation.
After our final farewells, our airport shuttles will take you to Bari’s BRI Airport—the shuttle schedule will be determined before airline tickets are available.
This itinerary also has the option of being connected Dubrovnik to Venice for a 2-Cruise Adriatic Cycling Adventure. In addition, this itinerary can also be paired with our Greek Isles Cycling Cruise for a cycling adventure spanning the Adriatic and Aegean!
Venice to Bari
La Belle de L’Adriatique
We’ve chartered “The Beauty of the Adriatic” for this Venice-to-Bari itinerary, a 110-metre (yacht-dimensioned) vessel with advanced stabilization, ultra-green powerplants and Z-drive propulsion.
Commissioned by CroisiEurope in 2007, this unique Belgian-flagged cruiser has just fewer than 100 soundproofed staterooms in five categories.
All have private bath, spacious floor plans, king-width beds that can covert into separate full-width twins, individually-controlled A/C, and large view windows.
The cuisine is exceptional. Breakfast includes bountiful buffets created by our 5-star chef. Each evening your waiter will present a new five course menu—listing an array of choices for you to select from.
Is beer & wine included with dinner? Of course!
The Lounge has seating for all our guests and is a great place to relax, mingle with your fellow cyclists, catch up on emails, or read a nice book. The bar, located on the Sun Deck, enjoys breathtaking 360-degree views.
Onboard wi-fi is included, as is expert wash-and-fold laundering of your valuable cycling wear.
Venice to Bari
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the exact dates?
A: October 9 to 18, 2021. 10-Days/9-Nights.
Q: Why October?
A: Italy is too hot and crowded in the summer. By October the crowds have thinned and the cycling weather is perfect. Mornings in the mid 60s and afternoons in the low 70s. Plus, most of us reach peak cycling fitness in the early fall.
Q: What’s the cost?
A: Due to the current strength of the dollar our first-in per-person pricing for this 10-day cycling cruise starts at $3,699 per-person. Booking early is easy and RISK FREE. Our reservations page shows pricing of available staterooms.
Q: What’s “Early-In” Pricing?
A: To manage the risk of chartering entire cruise ships, couples who commit early are rewarded with discounts of up to $2,000 per stateroom. Lowest pricing in every category is limited to the first few rooms. Booking early is easy and RISK FREE.
Q: What about tipping?
A: Jan and I don’t accept tips. A comprehensive “cruise extras” fee of $400 per person includes a long list of port fees, off-ship activities, admissions, interpretive guides, sight fees, and ride support (gps route files, morning shuttles to give casual riders a head start, and an SOS van driven by a pro mechanic). Note that this is less than the average cruise passenger pays for week of “deluxe excursions.” Shipboard gratuities of $150 per person includes wash & fold laundry and valet bike handling.
Q: Are all staterooms the same?
A: The efficiently-scaled La Belle de L’Adriatique has 100 double occupancy staterooms in five categories (sorry, no singles or triples). Launched in 2007 and refurbished in 2017, all rooms in all categories feature exterior view and private bath. Instead of suites and/or balconies La Belle has large public areas and lots of deck space. Four of the five categories have full-width twins that convert to a king width double.
Q: How are staterooms assigned?
A: In any sub-category all rooms are identical. Using the PayPal timestamp, those who reserve earliest get the conveniently located staterooms closest to the front of the ship. If friends desire a pair of adjacent staterooms the timestamp of the first reservation determines the location of both rooms. In short, out of fairness to all our guests, we will not take requests for specific room numbers. Those who book early obtain prime positioning.
Q: Are rental bikes available?
A: Yes. If you own a nice bike that fits, however, bringing it with you is relatively easy and inexpensive. More info on this in Bill’s Travel Tips. Single bike rental rates are about $450 per person for the event, includes delivery to Amsterdam PreTour (or embark) and retrieval from Amsterdam at disembark.
Q: How do we get to and from the tour?
A: Detailed info by November ’19. Those who arrive and leave on the embark and debark days will receive FREE Airport transfers.
Q: How many miles each day?
A: In addition to our daily pair of zero-mile options (cruising on the ship or grabbing a seat on our Panoramic-Window coach), every day has multiple cycling routes. Anyone who can ride 40 flat miles will be able to enjoy all eight days of cycling. If you prefer hills or want to ride up to 80 miles a day, we’ve got you covered. At each morning’s breakfast you’ll get a map charting the day’s cycling routes and recommended stops. During a brief route talk you’ll hear about each route’s grades and difficulty. Santana’s vets have learned to love and rely on their handlebar-mounted gps unit. Costing as little as $200, these touch-screen marvels prevent the age-old problem of getting lost or riding unplanned miles. Santana supplies free electronic mapping and route files. Simply select the route and follow the highlighted map.
Q: What’s the next step?
A: To lock-in availability and the lowest pricing on a RISK-FREE basis, reserve your space through our PayPal portal. PayPal’s secure website is open 24 hours per day, accepts all major credit cards, and automatically adjusts for remaining stateroom availability.
Q: What do you mean by RISK-FREE?
A: When you use your credit card and book through PayPal, we’ll give you 14 risk-free days to think it over and clear your schedule. If you change your mind, send an email to Matt@SantanaAdventures.com within two weeks to cancel the PayPal transaction and obtain a full refund. Here is a full listing of Santana Adventures’ Terms & Conditions.
Q: What if we change our minds after 14 days?
A: Because full-boat charters are binding, non-cancelable contracts, Jan and I will only enter into this charter based on your confirmed-through-PayPal commitment. In effect, we undertake a huge risk by guaranteeing full payment on your behalf. After entering into this obligation, we cannot afford for you to back out—for any reason. This is no different than the clear written policy that existed for all except one of Santana’s prior chartered-ship cruises (this charter will be our 54th!). While preparing for our 2009 Danube event I neglected to include the following proviso. That’s the year a group of friends, after verbally agreeing to pay in full and then stringing Jan along for many months, decided to cancel their plans. Lesson learned! Here it is (again) in writing:
Santana’s acceptance of your registration and non-refundable deposit for this event is subsequent to your agreement to pay the remaining balance in full. While Santana allows limited refunds on rallies and tours, Santana’s cruises are non-cancelable and non-transferable. When the possibility of paying yet not attending is unacceptable, Jan and I recommend Travel Guard trip insurance. For the past 20 years hundreds of our clients have relied on Travel Guard coverage without complaint. An informative application will be mailed with your invoice; and further information is available online. Here is a full listing of Santana Adventures’ Terms & Conditions.
Q: Have you ever relaxed your refund policy?
A: Jan and I have willingly resold a number of fully prepaid staterooms for a fee of $500 per person—which was waived when a vacating couple found someone to take their place. When there has been more than one pending resell request, those who paid-in-full earliest had their space resold next. Using this non-guaranteed method (which is grossly inferior to trip insurance) Jan and I have cheerfully refunded over $250,000 in otherwise non-refundable and non-transferable cruise fares. Here is a full listing of Santana Adventures’ Terms & Conditions.
Q: What’s the difference between a SAG-wagon and Santana’s SOS/treasure vans?
A: Most tour companies use SAG-wagons that haul luggage and “sweep” the route between overnight stops. The drivers refill water-bottles, fix flat tires, and retrieve riders who can’t manage the easiest route between the widely spaced hotels. The problem, of course, is that the roving vans tend to be annoying until you actually need help. At that point it’s common to wait for two or more hours until one shows up. Although SAG drivers can fix a flat, they don’t have the tools or know-how to handle serious mechanical problems. Instead, they drive you to a bike shop (which explains why SAG-wagons disappear for hours at a time). This tour’s SOS van is driven by a pro bike mechanic who brings tools and spares. When you phone him with the coordinates from your GPS, he’ll arrive in a flash to get you back in the saddle. Because Santana expects participants to fill their own bottles, fix their own flats, and choose a ride they can finish, our SOS drivers are underworked, and have time to retrieve your shopping treasures.
Q: Are beverages included?
A: Beer & Wine are included at dinner. Other alcohol is not included but can be charged to your room. Soft Drinks, Coffee, Espresso Drinks, and Juice are all complimentary at meal times.
Q: Which meals are included?
A: During Santana’s earlier charters of Croisi cruises the culinary staff appreciated our appetites as much as we appreciated their multi-course gourmet meals. Croisi’s 5-star chef will curate a new menu for each meal, and will always include a surprising selection of local fruits and produce, regional specialties, the freshest-possible seafood, vegetarian options, and grilled-to-order meats. A changing assortment of desserts and pastries are produced aboard each day. Breakfast and Lunch are served buffet style, perfect for active cyclists. Dinner is a plated multi-course menu with plenty of gourmet options for all of our participants.
Q: Does La Belle have free WiFi? Does the ship have an elevator?
Will there be menu selections for vegetarians, vegans and picky eaters?
A: Yes to all of the above.
Q: What if we have more questions?
A: The easiest way to get help is by phoning or emailing Matt, who is happy to help answer your questions.
+1 (949) 677-7896 Matt@SantanaAdventures.com
Q: What if I run into problems with Reservations or PayPal?
A: The easiest way to get help is by phoning or emailing Matt, who is happy to help guide you.
+1 (949) 677-7896 Matt@SantanaAdventures.com