Life's a beach at Lido, an island near Venice
August 19, 2015
It wouldn’t be that long of a swim from a few parts of what most tourists consider Venice to the nearby island of Lido.
Of course, dodging an array of watercraft — and likely the Italian authorities — would add several layers of danger to what would seem to be a fairly easy (though perhaps very dirty) plunge.
So forget about donning those skimpy swim trunks. A water bus is a safer bet, but it might or might not be quicker. A trip to Lido by boat from the train station routinely takes almost an hour. But for those who love the sun, sand and gently splashing waves, it’s probably worth it.
Lido di Venezia is far closer to Venice than it is to similar summer resorts along the coast between Venice and Trieste. But in terms of atmosphere, it’s nearer to places such as Caorle, Lignano and Grado than to St. Mark’s Square or just about any recognizable Venice landmark.
There are canals and boats on Lido. But there are also more than a few cars ferried over from the mainland. Almost every square inch of the southern part of the island is beach. And this time of year, it’s a pretty popular place. Lifeguard stations dot the public parts, though they probably aren’t called on very often for “Baywatch” moments.
During a recent visit, one lifeguard said Lido beaches are safe from undertows that make some Italian beaches dangerous. There are two types of jellyfish that occasionally cross paths with swimmers and waders, but their stings generally cause itching rather than serious illness or death. And contrary to that classic 2008 movie “Sharks in Venice,” there are no fins to worry about.
The possibility of sunburn is a greater worry. You can protect yourself by renting a chair and umbrella. Or splurge even further for a small cabin. There are rows and rows of them, as there are on many Italian beaches, along with hotels that control large sections of beach and charge for access. But there are public sections, too. If you beat the crowd, you might even find room for a towel or two.
What else is there to do in Lido besides hang out on a beach? There are some shops and restaurants along Gran Viale, the main road that connects the beach to the water bus dock. And during a few weeks of the year, Lido is home to the Venice Film Festival. There’s not much to see at the site when the festival — set this year from Sept. 2-12 — isn’t going on, though.
For those who like to wander, there are some nice neighborhoods to check out.