From winding, cobblestone alleyways to passionate gondola rides through canals, Venice is an enchanting city that captivates travelers from around the globe. If you’re looking for an extraordinary place to explore and stay that has a unique mix of urban vibes and coastal serenity, Lido Island in the Venetian Lagoon might just be your dream destination.
With its bustling streets and stunning array of sights to take in, it’s easy to get lost in its wonders as you set foot on this enchanting little strip. Explore centuries-old monuments as canals pass by, or simply relax at one of Lido’s many beachside cafes. No matter what your tastes and interests may be, something special awaits you on this Venetian Island.
Here’s everything you need to know before planning a trip – from how to get there, where and when the best time to explore Lido is, plus some must-see attractions along with our top picks for places to stay. So pull out those passport stamps and join us; your next Italian vacation awaits!
Venice’s Island Guides:
Welcome to Lido di Venezia!
Although there are 118 islands in the Venetian Lagoon, Lido is considered one of the main islands due to how close it is to Venice.
Lido is known for its long stretches of sandy beaches of the Northern Adriatic Sea, making it a popular destination for tourists looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of Venice.
The island is also home to a number of parks, gardens, and cultural sites, as well as a variety of accommodations, dining, and shopping options.
Lido is probably most well known for playing host to the Venice Film Festival, which takes place every September. Lido island is a perfect destination for a family holiday, a beach holiday, or for those who want to combine the beauty of Venice with the comfort of a beach vacation.
How to Get to Lido Island
There are several transportation options to get to Lido Island:
- Public Water Bus (Vaporetto): The most convenient and frequent option for getting to Lido Island is by taking the public water bus (vaporetto) from various points in Venice, such as San Marco, Rialto, or Piazzale Roma. The journey takes around 30-40 minutes.
- Water Taxi: Another option is to take a water taxi from various points in Venice. This is a faster and more expensive option, but it can be more convenient for those with heavy luggage or limited mobility.
- Private Boat: For a more luxurious and private option, you can also hire a private boat to take you directly to Lido Island.
- Public Bus: For those who prefer land transportation, there is a bus service, which runs between Lido Island and Piazzale Roma, with stops at various points along the way.
It’s worth noting that Lido Island is also accessible by car and bike, as it is connected to the mainland by a bridge, but due to the limited space and the high number of tourists, it is not recommended to travel by car, and it’s also forbidden to drive in the island center.
History of Lido Island
Also known as the “Gold Coast,” Lido has a rich history dating back to ancient times. The nobility originally used the island as a hunting and fishing ground during the Venetian Republic.
In the late 19th century, Lido Island began to attract wealthy tourists, who built grand villas and hotels on the island. This led to the development of the island as a seaside resort destination.
During the early 20th century, Lido grew into a popular destination for Hollywood stars and other celebrities, and it was also the site of the Venice Film Festival, which was first held in 1932 at the Palazzo del Cinema. The annual film festival has become one of the most important events in the international film calendar.
Some recent popular Venice Film Festival films include:
- Brokeback Mountain (2005)
- The Wrestler (2008)
- The Shape Of Water (2017)
- Roma (2018)
- Joker (2019)
- Nomadland (2020)
During World War II, Lido was occupied by German forces and was heavily damaged. After the war, the island was rebuilt and has become a popular tourist destination.
Today, Lido continues to attract visitors from around the world, who come to enjoy its beaches, cultural sites, and laid-back atmosphere.
Things to Do on Lido di Venezia
Despite being a narrow strip of land, there’s a variety of things to do when you visit Lido. Here are some of the most popular activities and attractions on the island:
Lido is known for its long stretches of sandy beaches, making it a popular destination for sunbathing, swimming, and beach sports.
Alberoni is a free beach that is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing. The beach is equipped with all the necessary amenities such as sun loungers, parasols, and showers.
The water is so shallow, you have to walk close to 100 feet from the beach to swim, making it a great place for families with young children who want to play in the water.
Alberoni is also a great spot for those who are looking for some peace and quiet, as it is less crowded than the other beaches on Lido.
Alberoni beach is accessible by public transportation, by taking the vaporetto waterbus line 1 or 5, or by private car or bike, as it is connected to the mainland by a bridge. It’s worth noting that during the high season, parking can be difficult, so it’s best to arrive early.
Blue Moon Beach
Blue Moon Beach is known for its crystal-clear water and fine white sand, as well as for being one of the most exclusive and expensive beaches in the Venetian Lagoon.
While families can certainly have fun at Blue Moon like playing volleyball and soccer in the sand, it’s geared adults looking for a more upscale and luxurious beach experience.
Along Blue Moon, you’ll find several well-regarded seaside resorts, grand hotels (like the posh Hotel Excelsior Venice Lido), beach bars, and restaurants serving fresh seafood and Mediterranean cuisine.
Soak up the sun and take a dip in crystal clear waters of the Adriatic Sea at Lido Beach, the most popular public beach on this beautiful island. With its powdery white sand and tranquil atmosphere, you can make your own perfect day of swimming, sunbathing or just lounging around.
If you’re looking to spend a day in the sun, several small businesses rent chairs and umbrellas. What’s more, there are an array of beach restaurants and bars nearby where you can grab some delicious Venetian food and drinks.
Parks and Gardens
Lido is home to a number of beautiful parks and gardens, making it a great destination for those who appreciate nature and outdoor spaces. Here are some of our favorites.
Oasis of Alberoni
The Natural Oasis of Alberoni is a protected natural reserve on the southern tip of the island that is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna. It is a popular destination for birdwatching (look out for Kentish Plover and Little Tern), hiking, and nature observation.
The Natural Oasis covers an area of around 200 hectares and is home to a wide variety of birds, including many species of waterfowl and wading birds. The Oasis is also home to a variety of plants, including reeds, bulrushes, and other marshland vegetation.
The Oasis of Alberoni is open to the public and can be accessed by foot or by bike. There are several hiking trails and observation points that allow visitors to explore the area and observe the wildlife.
Keep in mind that this is a protected area and visitors are asked to respect the rules and regulations of the park, such as not disturbing the wildlife, not picking plants or flowers, and not leaving any litter.
Parco “Ca’ Bianca”
If you’re looking to take a break from the lagoon shore, Parco “Ca’ Bianca” (White House Park) is a state run park we found while city sightseeing. The park’s main feature is the Ca’ Bianca Villa, which was built in the early 20th century and was once the residence of the famous Italian playwright and Nobel laureate, Luigi Pirandello.
There are several walking paths and gardens, where visitors can enjoy local vegetation and wildlife. There are also several recreational areas, such as playgrounds, sports fields, and picnic areas.
The park is open to the public, and it is a great place to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine.
Museums and Cultural Sites
While mostly known for beach holidays and luxury hotels, Lido is home to some interesting museums and cultural sites.
1. Palazzo del Casinò
The Palazzo del Casinò, also known as the Casino of Venice, is a historical building located near Blue Moon Beach in the northern part of Lido.
The building was built in the 1930s and was once the most popular casino in northern Italy and quickly became a popular destination for high society and celebrities.
The Palazzo del Casinò is known for its Art Nouveau architecture and its beautiful rooms. The building is now a conference and cultural center that routinely hosts events, exhibitions, fashion shows, and concerts.
2. Palazzo del Cinema
The Cinema Palace is a historical building dating back to the early 20th century and is known for its Art Deco architecture and being home to the Venice Film Festival, which is held every September.
Palazzo del Cinema features several screening rooms, a bar, and a surprisingly good restaurant, where visitors can grab a bite to eat or a drink before or after the movie.
The Venice Film Festival is one of the most important events in the international film calendar, and it takes place every September at the Lido’s Cinema Palace. The festival attracts film stars, directors, and film enthusiasts from all over the world, and it offers an opportunity to see some of the latest films and meet the stars.
3. Museo del Manicomio – La Follia reclusa
Located just off of Lido’s coastline, the Museo del Manicomio is a former insane asylum that has since been converted to a fairly popular musuem.
The museum is housed in the former San Servolo Psychiatric Hospital, which was in operation from 1725 to 1978. The museum offers visitors an opportunity to learn about the history and treatment of mental illness in the past.
The museum features photographs, documents, and medical equipment, that offer an insight into the history of the asylum and the treatments used to cure mental illness in the past. The exhibits also provide information on the daily life of patients and staff within the asylum.
The museum offers guided tours, which are led by experts in the field of psychiatry and mental health, and provides visitors with a deeper understanding of the history of mental health treatments.
The Museo del Manicomio is open to the public and it is accessible by public transportation, by taking the vaporetto waterbus line 1 or 5, or by private car or bike, as it is connected to the mainland by a bridge. There is a small parking area nearby, but it can be limited during the high season, so it’s best to arrive early.
While Venice is a great place to explore architecture and museums, Lido di Venezia is the place to go to if you’re interested in outdoor activities. Sure, they can be enjoyed all year round, but we recommend hitting Lido during the summer months.
Here are just some of the outdoor things to do in Lido:
- Beach Sports: Lido is known for its long stretches of sandy beaches, making it a popular destination for beach sports such as beach volleyball and soccer.
- Bicycle tours: We recommend taking a lazy bike tour around Lido. It’s a great city to explore by bike, as it offers scenic routes and bike paths. You can usually rent bikes and take a guided tour through the various hotels on the island.
- Boat tours: Visitors can take a boat tour around the island and the Venetian lagoon. Most boat tours will take you to neighboring Burano, Murano, and Torcello islands.
- Fishing: Lido is a great place for fishing, as it’s home to sea bass, sea bream, mullet, and eel. Visitors can take guided fishing tours or rent equipment and fish independently.
- Hiking and birdwatching: Lido is home to several parks and natural areas, such as the Oasis of Alberoni, which offer hiking trails and observation points for birdwatching.
- Swimming and sunbathing: Of course, you don’t come to Lido without swimming in the Adriatic Sea and sunbathing on the free beach. Go and soak up some sun!
Hotels on Lido
While many of the hotels on Lido are expensive and luxurious, there are enough options available you don’t have to break the bank.
Here are some popular hotels:
- Hotel Excelsior Venice Lido Resort: This 5-star hotel offers luxurious accommodations, a private beach, and a beautiful outdoor swimming pool. The hotel has two well-regarded restaurants and three bars. During the annual film festival, the hotel hosts many film stars.
- Grand Hotel des Bains: Built in 1900, this 4-star hotel is housed in a historic building most famous for hosting Thomas Mann in 1911, inspiring his novella Death in Venice. It has since become a popular destination for some of the best films set in Venice, including being the backdrop to Luchino Visconti’s 1971 film of the novella and appearing in 1996’s The English Patient.
- Hotel Venezia 2000: Owned by Caesar Hotels, this 3-star hotel is only a 20-minute walk from the vaporeto, features a free beach right outside its doors, and some great views of the Adriatic Sea. I recommend getting a fresh bellini at the bar and look out at the water.
- Hotel Riviera: This 3-star hotel is a great choice for budget accommodation, but keep in mind that the rooms are small and older. If possible, try to book a room that faces Venice. There’s a great view of Doge’s Palace and St Mark’s Campanile.
Venice is known for its seafood dishes, and Lido is no different. That said, there are many options, even if you don’t like seafood. Here are our choices for the top restaurants in Lido di Venezia.
Address: Lungomare D’Annunzio, Lido, 30126 Venezia
With over thirty amazing sandwiches to select from, there is something for everyone. Whether you’re craving a classic Italian sandwich such as Bresaola or Prosciutto, a chicken alternative, hamburger options, or vegetarian delights – El Pecador has it all! This is a great place if you’re enjoying an outdoor day at the beach without wanting to sit down for lunch.
Address: Via Lepanto, 9, 30126 Lido VE, Italy
While Bar 9 is a great place to grab a pizza, I recommend trying their cichetti during aperitivo (the Italian tradition of pre-dinner drinks).
It’s a small watering hole with extremely outgoing bartenders who are more than happy to make some recommendations based on your interests. Be sure to get a spritz (I prefer aperol, but my wife loves the campari) – it’s the perfect drink to enjoy on this beautiful island.
Address: Via Lepanto, 21, 30126 Venezia
Step inside Trattoria Andri, and you will immediately feel as though you have been invited to a family dinner in someone’s Italian home. This traditional trattoria is run by a loving family, creating an authentic atmosphere that simply cannot be matched!
Here, seafood reigns supreme! Every dish is decorated like an intimate Italian family gathering and the perfect way to sample a variety of delicious flavors with your group. Share wonderful dishes family-style for the ultimate experience!
Ready to head to Lido? You might also be interested in some other articles on the Venetian Lagoon:
- What to Do on Torcello Island
- Things to Do on Burano Island
- Exploring Murano Island
- Best Times to Visit Venice
- Top 10 Museums in Venice
- The Oldest Buildings in Venice
- Top 10 Things to Do in Venice
- Best Restaurants in Venice
- Where to Stay in Venice
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Lido Island Private?
No, Lido Island is not a private island. It is open to visitors from around the world.
How Many Houses Are on Lido Island?
Lido is one of the more populated islands in the Venetian Lagoon. There are around 12,000 houses on the island.
Are Beaches in Lido Free?
Yes, all of the beaches in Lido are free to access.
Are There Cars on Lido Island?
Lido is one of the few islands of Venice where there are roads, buses, and cars.
Why is Lido Famous?
Lido is most famous for its beaches and resorts. It is also home to the Venice Film Festival, which attracts visitors from all over the world.
Can You Walk around Lido Island?
Yes, you can walk around the entire island. It takes about two hours to complete a full circuit of Lido Island.
Is Lido Worth Visiting in Venice?
Absolutely – Lido is a great place to explore and it has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for stunning scenery, beautiful beaches, delicious food, or a unique cultural experience, Lido has it all. Plus, it’s conveniently located close to Venice so you can easily add it to your Italian itinerary.
Can You Swim in Venice Lido Beach?
Yes, you can swim at Lido Beach. Unless there is a storm, the water is usually calm. The water is so shallow that you have to walk out at least 100 ft before you can swim.
Is It Better to Stay in Venice or Lido?
It really depends on what you’re looking for. Venice is a vibrant city with plenty of attractions, restaurants, and nightlife. On the other hand, Lido has beautiful beaches and a more laid-back vibe. If you’re looking for a quieter place to stay but still want easy access to Venice, then Lido is a perfect choice.
Explore Sant’Erasmo, the Garden of Venice, and discover its rich history, vibrant culture, and unique charm. From artichoke festivals to serene lagoon views, Sant’Erasmo offers an unforgettable Venetian experience.
Plan your perfect adventure in Venice with our guide to islands like Murano, Burano, and more. Learn how to get there and what to see and do.
Torcello is perfect for those interested in Venice’s history. With only 10 residents on the island, Torcello is a unique experience you won’t find elsewhere.
Although a small island, Burano is packed with things to do. From brightly colored homes to lace-making demonstrations, there’s a lot to see and do.
Lido is the place to go if you’re looking for a true Italian experience away from the major crowds in Venice. From the food to the culture and history, there is something for everyone in this beautiful city. And don’t forget to enjoy a glass of wine while taking in the breathtaking views! If you have any tips or suggestions for exploring Lido, be sure to share them with us in the comments below.