Cycling in the Po Delta
The best way to discover an area full of attractionsIt is an area to be discovered for its scenic beauty, of course, and for how it allows you to immerse yourself completely in nature, but also for its proximity to points of historical and artistic interest such as, for example, the city of Ferrara, and of course for its proximity to some of the most famous seaside resorts on the Riviera. What we are going to do here, however, is to better understand why one of the best ways to fully enjoy and discover the true soul of the Comacchio Valleys and their surroundings is to cross the area by bicycle: it is no coincidence that two-wheel enthusiasts are increasingly opting for bicycle touring in the Po Delta, and local cycle paths are not lacking in the travel guides for cycle tourists.
Lots of nature and more: why cycle tourism in the Po Delta
When one speaks of the Po Delta one is referring to an area of over 50,000 hectares, divided between nine municipalities and three provinces, in which very different landscapes naturally alternate: from the pine forests of the hinterland to the sand dunes moving towards the coast, passing through the lake areas. So much biodiversity is worth a closer look, and the best way to do this is by taking the time to go on an excursion, either on foot or by bicycle. By choosing the second option, i.e. opting for cycle tourism in the Po Delta, it is easier to organise longer routes, with more stages and which lead to discovering the true soul of the area. Riding your bike, especially if you choose organised and group itineraries, you will generally ride far from traffic and it is here, away from the noise and pollution of the city, that you can admire the local fauna. It is also, like the landscapes, quite varied: you can meet land and sea turtles and with a bit of luck, especially further from the coast and cycling through the Bosco della Mesola area for example, even fallow deer and deer. The main inhabitants of the Po Delta, however, are birds: the associations operating in the protected area have counted at least three hundred different species, including those that nest and those that simply pass through the area during the migration period, and this is why in recent years areas such as the Comacchio Valley in particular have become a favourite meeting point for birdwatchers. Walking by bicycle, in short, it is not difficult to make very close encounters with cormorants, perhaps the species most present in this area, or with pink flamingos, which are the reason why even those less familiar with the subject go birdwatching in the Po Delta. Contact with nature, combined with a good dose of physical activity, is an excellent remedy for the stress of work and family commitments, and the ease with which one can reach the area from most regions of Italy, and from here possibly move on to other stops and excursions, make cycling in the Po Delta an excellent alternative for the whole family to spend spring weekends differently. The mostly flat tracks and excellent organisation in terms of stops, refreshment points and other services along the Po Delta cycle tourism routes and the possibility, as mentioned above, of organised cycling tours - some of which also include kayak or boat excursions - make this area ideal for cycling excursions even for beginners and those travelling with children. For those who do not conceive of a holiday that is not also an opportunity to discover something new or to taste local specialities, small detours easily lead to cities of art such as Ferrara and to ancient villages where you can enjoy the best of cuisine just like in the old days.
Three routes for cycling tourism in the Po Delta
One of the advantages of cycle tourism, and the reason why it is increasingly popular, is not surprisingly the possibility of customising the travel itinerary as much as possible. This is why it is not easy to answer questions such as which are the best routes to take by bike in the Po Delta?
Families who choose to cycle in the Po Delta almost always opt, for example, for the route that leads from the Island of Albarella to Rosolina, in what is known as the Rosolina Valleys Route. It is not a very long itinerary: it is fifty kilometres, possibly divisible into several stages. It is very flat and, above all, it is protected from car traffic. Looking around as you pedal, you can see both the typical fishermen's cottages and the fishermen themselves intent on fishing in stretches of water where it is not uncommon to find mussel, clam and oyster farms. For lunch or a snack based on typical local products, you can stop at one of the many agriturismi you come across while cycling.
The route along the Sacca degli Scardovari is also one of the most popular cycling routes in the Po Delta. It has something to do with the fact that bird species such as the aforementioned cormorants can easily be seen here. At sunset, however, the numerous pools where oysters are raised against the backdrop of the fishing sheds make up a view that cannot be found elsewhere (or almost) and that photography enthusiasts will not fail to enjoy immortalising. The pink oyster of the Delta, by now a real speciality of the area, awaits the gourmands here.
For the most experienced two-wheelers, the most interesting itinerary could be that of the Destra del Po: with its 125 kilometres it is among the longest cycle routes in all of Europe, included for this reason among the cycling routes of the international Eurovelo circuit, and runs from Stellata di Bondeno to Gorino Ferrarese, following almost the entire course of the Po. You can, of course, decide to divide the route into several stages and here too there is no lack of routes and guided excursions, even by motorboat.
What to know before organising a cycling excursion in the Po Delta
The (relative) simplicity of the routes for cycle tourism in the Po Delta should not lead us to abandon the main precautions necessary when making excursions or travelling on two wheels. Obtaining information on the most suitable type of vehicle for the area is the first of these, and considering that in most cases these are dirt tracks, it would be best to opt for a mountain bike or alternatively an electric bicycle. Equipping oneself with the necessary sports clothing, water bottles and possibly snacks can make the excursion more comfortable and avoid accidents such as getting soaked in a thunderstorm. Although there are officially no best times of year for cycling in the Po Delta, spring and autumn are ideal, also to avoid the heat and sultriness that can be felt on the plains during the summer months. Finally, it is absolutely forbidden, for your own and their safety, to approach animal species and feed them.