Lido di Venezia
Directions: Lido is best reached by a water bus from several locations in Venice. From the train station, catch lines 1, 5.1 or 5.2 (located in a cluster to the right after exiting the station). They generally travel around the southern end of the main islands en route to Lido; St. Mark’s is one of the stops. On the way back, the route skirts the northern parts of the main islands, including Fondamente Nove, the quickest port for trips to Murano, where glass blowing is the attraction. Plan ahead if you want to hit them all. To reach the beach, exit the water bus terminal to the right and take a left onto the Gran Viale, the main shopping street, which ends at the beaches.
Times: Beaches are generally open when the sun’s out, especially in July and August; exact times vary.
Costs: A vaporetto ticket in Venice costs 7.50 euros (about $8.47) one way; it doesn’t allow you to get on and off en route to your final destination. For visiting multiple locations in a day, the 20-euro day pass makes sense. Admission to public areas of the beach is free. The cost of renting huts, umbrellas and deck chairs varies by the day and season. Umbrella rentals, for instance, cost about 17 euros in the summer and 12 euros in May and September.
Food: There are a few places to eat along Gran Viale and more at the edges of the beach. Expect beach resort prices.
Information: Lido doesn’t have a tourist information office. A travel agency at the start of the Gran Viale has a few brochures on offer. The main tourist office is off St. Mark’s Square. Find a website at venicelido.it.
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.