5 best things to do in Lido Venice
This year, I was very fortunate to spend my birthday in the scenic Lido of Venice (Lido di Venezia).
What is the Lido of Venice famous for?
The lido’s the location for the Venice Film Festival, welcoming big-name movie stars from all over the world.
You’ve probably seen photos of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt rocking up to the lido in a water taxi.
While the festivals’ locations can change, it’s still interesting to visit the lido without the glitz and the glamour.
How to get there — things to do in Lido Venice
Lido Santa Maria Elisabetta (S.M.E) is the vaporetto stop for the lido. It’s popular with beachgoers as well as Venetian locals returning home.
Depending on which vaporetto you take, the ride from Piazzale di Roma to Lido can take about 15 minutes. Piazzale di Roma is the main port from which the buses arrive and depart for Marco Polo airport.
Similar to our flying after lockdown experience, we kept our masks on for the entire boat ride. I’d like to tell you that passengers were practicing social distancing, but I’d be lying. It was near impossible to keep a safe distance while on the vaporetto.
There were no visible markers in place and workers didn’t seem to be trying to enforce any rules upon boarding.
Arriving at the Lido of Venice
Stepping off the boat at S.M.E was a welcome sight. For one, we could finally remove our masks and breathe in the sea air.
The first thing you notice upon disembarking are the number of cars and buses around. It’s something that you don’t see in Venice (for obvious reasons), and it’s surreal to say the least.
Despite the many buses — and seemingly regular services— walking around the Lido of Venice is the best way to visit.
However, in the early evening, a light sea breeze cools down the lido, making for a comfortable night out.
With a laidback vibe, and vacation feel, these are the 5 things you can do in the Lido of Venice.
The view from the vaporetto before arriving at Lido of Venice
“…come September, these sights are set aside and it’s the Lido di Venezia that takes center stage.”
1. First stop: the beach
This means sandier — as opposed to pebble — shores, and a sea temperature (similar to the Bahamas) that suits me perfectly.
A short walk from S.M.E is the main beach called Blue Moon.
It’s open to the public and comes with plenty of wide-open spaces to relax and swim. Clean, sandy and chilled out, it’s a great way to pass a few hours at the Lido of Venice.
A short walk to the east of Blue Moon Beach is the eclectic Hotel Excelsior Venice (Hotel Excelsior Lido di Venezia). A 5-star resort with sea views and a range of water and indoor activities, it’s an ideal beachfront choice.
Choose your time — things to do in Lido of Venice
Services at the beach include places to eat and drink, as well as sunbeds and cabanas for hire.
If the hot weather doesn’t bother you, come early to claim your spot. If it does, come around 4.30pm. It’s a glorious time to swim, plus many of the early attendees will have already left by then.
Dip your toes into the warm sea water at Blue Moon Beach in Lido of Venice
2. Stroll the promenade
Granviale Santa Maria Elisabetta is one of the main streets that lead from the port to Blue Moon Beach. Its grand space makes social distancing a breeze.
Tree-lined streets dotted with bars, restaurants and cafes on either side make it a popular spot with visitors.
When you feel yourself beginning to get tired, give your legs a rest and hire a bike. Venice Scooter Rental and Venice Bike Rental are 2 places, both of which are located on Granviale Santa Maria Elisabetta.
Take in the sights along the promenade of Granviale Santa Maria Elisabetta
3. Admire the villas
While walking, or biking, along Granviale Santa Maria Elisabetta, there are several noteworthy villas to look out for.
Built in a Liberty style, these grand houses now masquerade as shops, restaurants or hotels. The Liberty period was popular in the early 20th century in Italy, and was renowned for turning ordinary features into something unique.
One fine example of a Liberty-style villa in the Lido of Venice is Grande Albergo Ausonia & Hungaria.
This 5-star hotel headturner immediately grabs your attention upon first sight. Its façade of multi-colored tiles and arched windows makes it a natural contender for your Instagram feed.
The eye-catching Grande Albergo Ausonia & Hungaria Liberty-style hotel
4. Photograph the sunsets
During lazy summer evenings in the Lido of Venice, the sunsets also play out a long-drawn performance.
Walk along the Riviera Santa Maria Elisabetta to capture the ever-changing colors of the sun setting over Venice.
We arrived about 7.15pm and were able to photograph, and enjoy, a superb sunset.
If you continue walking along Riviera Santa Maria Elisabetta, you eventually reach Riviera San Nicolò. This stretch of road overlooking the water leads to a small airport called Aeroporto Nicelli. Bring your camera and a fully-loaded battery and snap away.
Photograph sunsets like these from the Lido of Venice
5. Have dinner at La Favorita
End your stay in the Lido of Venice on a delicious note at La Favorita.
A place, which on first glance, doesn’t appear to be anything special, I implore you to take a closer look.
Like many restaurants in Italy during the warmer months, al fresco dining is the norm.
Serving up classic Venetian dishes and some of the freshest fish and seafood, I’d return in a heartbeat.
A delicate seafood salad, perfectly cooked ravioli with prawns, and a fish skewer with polenta, I was in foodie heaven.
Just the start: a delicate seafood salad at La Favorita
An operatic surprise — things to do in Lido of Venice
While I thought that the food, wine and company was going to be the evening’s highlight, I was proven wrong.
An impromptu performance of Nessun Dorma in the restaurant grabbed all of our attention. Accompanied by an accordion player, the singer sang his heart out, hitting the high notes and blowing us all away.
The icing on the cake was, upon finishing his performance and receiving his applause, he returned to his table! It turned out that he was a diner just like the rest of us.
With our stomachs happily satisfied from our meal, unfortunately we’d no room left for dessert. The menu included Italian classic desserts such as Venetian tiramisu and Crema Catalana.
Whatever you do, don’t miss booking a dinner at La Favorita. It was the perfect end, not only to my birthday, but also to our time in the Lido of Venice.
What do you think of the Lido of Venice? Is it somewhere you’d like to visit one day? Leave me a comment and let me know below.
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Welcome to my site! I'm Lisa, founder of Following the Rivera. I write primarily for a ‘flashpacker’ audience, a demographic (late 20s onward) that enjoys glamping over camping and staying at boutique/luxury boutique hotels. Flashpackers also like to indulge in the local food and wine, cultural activities, as well as a spot of wellness on their travels. Want to know more? Read on....