Venice, with it small canals, lagoons and tiny islands, is lacking one major thing: a beach.
Or, so I used to think.
More than a decade after my first visit to this photogenic city, I have one goal in the quick visit this time around with my momma:
Visit the Venice beach I had heard whispers of existing way back on my last visit.
It was the dead of winter when my eyes first glimpsed the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The gorgeous canal-laden city of Venice, with dreary skies and a constant drizzle left me chilled to the bone, but mesmerized by the beauty rippling in the water and the pastel of the old buildings.
I experienced Carnivale, I wandered over the Bridge of Sighs, the Realto, I’ve visited the Da Vinci exhibit, seen the sparkling Murano glass, tasted-tested gelatos, got lost in the slick and narrow streets, covered with ramps because of the rains and high tides.
I don’t need any of these things this time around. I don’t want any of that this time around.
It is May and shoulder season, although I use that term very loosely given the throngs of tourists swarming the Piazzo San March when we arrive. This time, I wanted to dip my toes in the water. And not the filmy water of the canals, but the actually water that laps against a soft bed of sand.
I want to go experience a different side of Venice, its beach. Lido Beach.
On our full day in Venice, we plow through the crowds lining up to enter St. Mark’s and bee-line it to the boats waiting to whisk locals and tourists to other parts of town. We board a water taxi bound for Lido and then are off.
I smile as Doge’s Palace and the sea of people fade from view and sit back, appreciating the spectacular scenery we are now treated to, once we are out on the main lagoon, motoring towards stops where history unfolds in front of us.
A quick water taxi from the main square in Venice delivers us to Lido. Once my mom and I pop into tourist information and get directions to the waterfront (straight ahead), we begin to fall in love with this charming part of Venice.
Lido, it turns out, is nothing like the main part of the area with its canals and carts. The island, which shelters the heart of Venice from the Adriatic, is more modern, complete with roads and cars, but it still holds the Venetian charm. Granted, it is the home of the Venice Film Festival, but today, there is not a whisper of that as we explore the area.
Gorgeous pastel-hued buildings line the street. Smells of flowers blooming waft through the air. Blessedly absent though are the throngs of tourists. Perhaps because it is still shoulder season and the beach season has yet to officially kick-off.
We continue down the main street, passing gorgeous trattorias and shops, finally arriving to the beach.
Closed umbrellas and an empty swath of sand greet us. It’s so quiet we can hear the small waves rushing up to shore, collapsing and then retreating. Stray seagulls soar above us, searching for their next meal.
“We should have brought our swimsuits,” I lament to my mom as I kick off my Crocs and let my feet sink into the sand.
I haven’t felt sand in between my toes since Delaware, and that was almost nine months ago.
I stand at the shore, looking out at the industry which surrounds the beach. It isn’t the most scenic beach, it isn’t the most spectacular, but it is a beach and in the height of summer, I can imagine people from the world over lazing on its bank.
After the beach, we head to grab lunch and then it is back to San Marco and some resting up before our next big adventure — exploring Cinque Terra.
Getting to Lido
From the airport, take the Alilaguna water bus to Lido. From Venice, hop aboard the water bus to Lido.
Have you ever been to this Venice beach town?
This post is part of the D Travels Europe (and Israel) series. Stay up-to-date on all of my adventures by following along on Twitter (#dtravelseurope), Instagram,Trover, G+ and Facebook. And, for a look at the health and wellness side of European travel, be sure to follow along at The Comfort Zone Project and on TCZP’s Facebook.