- Active & Green
Boat trips on Lombardy's rivers
The waterways of Lombardy are perfect to discover the unspoilt green heart of the region
They descend placidly from the mountains on the horizon, they silently pass through the cities of art that charm millions of visitors, quench the thirst of communities, irrigate pastures and crops, and give life and nourishment to our lives.
The great rivers of Lombardy are the beating heart of our region and of the success of so many agricultural and industrial companies and more.
Among the wonders to be explored in Lombardy are even more treasures, hidden in the foliage along the waters of the rivers that caress these lands. Boat trips along Lombardy's rivers are an unparalleled experience to explore a charming and unexpected side of this multifaceted land.
Among the most iconic rivers in Lombardy are the majestic Navigli in Milan. An intricate network of canals, built in the distant past for commercial and irrigation purposes, the navigli have over time become one of the city's most popular attractions. But the aquatic treasures of Lombardy do not stop there.
The Ticino, a mighty tributary of the Po, offers memories worthy of a museum exhibition. Passing through the Ticino area, one can admire stone villages and quiet towns that found nourishment and trade from the river.
And then there is the Mincio, a river with placid waters and the site of historic battles. Its banks, enveloped in lush vegetation and dotted with historic villas and medieval castles, offer the fragrance of olive trees and flowers that accompany travellers in a multi-sensory experience.
Finally, an extraordinary natural oasis awaits in the Adda Sud Park. Here, the Adda River flows majestically through pristine landscapes, providing adventurers with an unforgettable experience.
Boat trips on Lombardy's rivers are the perfect opportunity to get closer to a spectacular and unexpected side of Lombardy.
The Navigli: a plunge into Milan's history
An intricate network of canals built centuries ago for commercial and hydraulic purposes is one of the city's most characteristic features. These beautiful waterways have been restored and are now one of Milan's main attractions. Boarding a boat along the Navigli will take you back in time to medieval Milan, when these canals were the beating heart of the city's commerce.
The Darsena itinerary is one of the most fascinating options for immersing oneself in Milan's history. Starting from Alzaia Naviglio Grande 4, this 55-minute route offers the opportunity to admire the picturesque Vicolo dei Lavandai, where women once washed clothes, and the magnificent Church of San Cristoforo, an architectural jewel dating back to the 14th century, proudly overlooking the Naviglio Grande. The boat passes under the picturesque Ponte dello Scodellino, so called because of the many taverns that once crowded the area. Finally, the journey ends at the Darsena, a beloved location for the Milanese and witness to a past linked to the intense daily trade with Lake Maggiore.
An experience on the Naviglio is a journey among historical villas of ancient Milan, where it is possible to perceive the truest soul of the city along these charming waterways. Prices for boat excursions vary, and there are special offers for families. Booking a boat trip is experiencing Milan at its best.
The Ticino: a river epic
One of the most beautiful river cruises in Lombardy is set in the heart of the Ticino Natural Park a precious oasis of biodiversity located between Lake Maggiore and the Po. This area is crossed by the so-called “blue river”, the Ticino, which takes this name from the deep blue pigmentation of its waters and the many landscapes and games of colour it offers.
The Ticino is rich in meaning and history: barges once transported the precious Candoglia marble for the Milan Cathedral. The Ticino Park also boasts the prestigious title of UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, awarded in 2002. This confirms the exceptional value of this place as an extraordinary combination of nature, landscape, history, and art.
Embarking on one of these boats means immersing oneself in the unspoilt nature that embraces the course of the Ticino along the famous Via dei Marmi. For 12 km, the boat takes visitors across the blue waters past graceful swans and curious ducks. The intense fragrances of the broom, chestnut, and oak forests enliven the crisp, refreshing air of the river, providing a rejuvenating break especially in the warmer months.
The Ticino Park experience is a journey through history and nature, an epic where the hand of humanity has worked together with the majesty of nature, creating an architectural and natural integration that is difficult to find anywhere else.
Mincio: an enthralling experience among lotus flowers
Among the treasures that can be admired along the charming waterways of Lombardy, the Mincio River holds a prominent spot. Its placid waters flow through the picturesque Mincio Valleys, a marshy area that joins the Po Valley to the river, creating an ideal habitat for a variety of rare plants and animals, some of which are considered protected or endangered species.
The Mincio River offers an unforgettable experience for visitors, especially for those who love nature and birdwatching. One of the tourists' favourite activities is a boat trip along the river. This experience is suitable for all and allows tourists to immerse themselves in the extraordinary biodiversity of the nature reserve established in 1984.
One of the most charming features of the Mincio is the blossoming of the lotus flowers. These marvellous plants, originally from south-east Asian countries and imported in the early 1900s, have spread to the vicinity of Mantua, so much so that the city has been nicknamed the “City of the Lotus”. In July, the blooming flowers reach their peak, creating a unique show that charms everyone.
To best organise your boat trip on the Mincio, you can rely on the Consorzio dei Barcaioli del Mincio, one of the navigation companies operating on the river. This will allow you to enjoy the experience to the fullest and the herons, lotus flowers and all the other natural wonders that characterise the river's course. The lotus flower period is particularly recommended for the excursion, but the Mincio offers wonderful views all year long.
Adda Sud Park: wonderful landscapes and Etruscan civilisation
The Adda Sud Park, located in the heart of Lombardy, is the gateway to an extraordinary historical and natural oasis, whose access is located in Pizzighettone and Ponte d'Adda, two privileged ways to enter a natural and timeless universe marking the beginning of a journey along the river of time.
During the hour-long boat ride, one is lulled by the currents and the beauty of the surrounding nature. The Adda Sud Park is a natural sanctuary full of native flora and fauna. The river flows in harmony with its surroundings, providing an immersive wilderness experience.
The route, a charming loop starting from the Pizzighettone pier, is home to a variety of landscapes and special places. The Adda river, the undisputed protagonist of the area, lively flows among lush vegetation where one can admire wildlife of various kinds: hedgehogs, moles, hares and wild rabbits that have turned the river into their home.
At the end of the journey, we enter the historical streets of Pizzighettone, a village full of memories dating back to Etruscan times and the foundation of Acerrae, which is believed to have been located in the town's area. A guided tour that starts at the ancient moat from where you can learn of the ancient history of the place.
Navigating experiences in the Adda Sud Park are available on Saturday afternoons, Sundays and public holidays for the whole day, are an immersion in nature and history. This river experience is an unforgettable chapter of Lombardy's history.