On our recent trip to Venice, we decided to stay on Venice Lido (pronounced lee-doh), rather than in the city itself.
The Lido is another of the islands in the Veneto, a little to the south of Venice itself. It was a fashionable bathing resort in the early part of the last century and every September it plays host to the Venice Film Festival.
It’s also one of the only places in Venice where you can drive a car.
For us, staying on the Lido meant we could have the perfect combination of relaxing beach holiday and city break. Our hotel had its own boat launch, which ran every half an hour, so we could hop onto a boat across the lagoon to Venice whenever we felt like it, before coming back and lounging around the pool. Heaven.
Most people I spoke to hadn’t even heard of Venice Lido, but if you’re visiting the city, here are five reasons why you should consider it as a place to stay.
Venice is a small city, but it’s packed with people. After a while, the hustle and bustle can become overwhelming.
Many of the city’s hotels are located on busy streets, so you’re never far away from the noise that comes with thousands of people walking by your window.
But Venice Lido is a completely different world.
Mostly residential, the Lido offers a colourful and spacious alternative to Venice’s narrow streets and canals. It’s full of parks and greenery; there are wide roads and beaches.
It’s a beautiful place to escape the crowds, while still being only a few minutes away from the city.
It’s a beach resort
The Lido is a long, narrow island with a beach on the Adriatic Sea. It’s full of luxury hotels with private areas on the beach and swimming pools, something that Venice obviously doesn’t have much capacity for.
On a hot day, wandering around Venice can become unpleasant. But knowing that you can head back to your hotel and take a dip in the pool or stroll along the ocean makes it more bearable.
It gives you the best of both worlds.
It shows you another side to Venice
Many of the buildings on the Lido aren’t as old as those in Venice, but it’s still full of beautiful architecture and colourful apartment blocks and houses.
The Lido also has many canals, lined with the private boats of the residents, but it’s much more relaxed than Venice and you can wander around without seeing many people. It also has more modern amenities, like a casino and cinema, and roadside bars where you can relax and sip cocktails in the evening.
It’s more accessible for families
We saw so many people in Venice struggling with small children and pushchairs. Each time they came to a bridge they had to pick up the stroller, hoist it across and put it down again, only to repeat the process a little further along.
In narrow, winding streets, this can be a challenge.
But the Lido has plenty of space and is a more natural resort for families. Children can explore the parks or go swimming, while parents sunbathe.
It lets you explore the lagoon
If you’re on a short trip to Venice, you can easily avoid leaving the city and making a trip to one of the other nearby islands.
But by staying on the Lido, you’re forced to catch a boat across to the city, which will take you past many of the islands you might otherwise miss.
And catching a boat across the lagoon is half the fun. Whether it’s one of the slow moving ferries or a nippy water taxi, you can experience the feeling of being out on the open water, wind in your hair and the spray of water on your face.
Taking the boat across to Venice was definitely one of my favourite parts of staying on the Lido.