Biking your way through Venice

4 Sep

If you think that Venice is only for pedestrians  and that crossing  it involves a lot of climbing up and down stairs and bridges, well think again! And if you believe that in order to move a bit faster you must definitely hop on a ‘vaporetto’ I have news for you: you can also bike in Venice!

While this is not exactly true for the main town (yes, there are tons of bridges and there is barely any space other than that used by pedestrians) you can get away from the crowd and enjoy it all, perched on a bike, if you go towards the islands surrounding Venice.

If you are already in Venice  start by taking a vaporetto to Lido. Bring your bike along if you have any, it costs only 1,10euro more to carry it, or otherwise rent one from Venice Bike Rental at Santa Maria Elisabetta (for no more than 10 Euros per day). Lido is a 11km long sandbar so just cross it all: heading for Alberoni you’ll come across the Grand Hotel des Bains, the Venice Casino and the Grand Hotel Excelsior where, if you’re biking on September, you might stumble upon some Hollywood actors arrived for the Venice Film Festival. The bike trail runs close to the beach so if it’s summer there’s nothing better than a swim after a bit of biking in the sun. The Alberoni public beach is very popular among Venetians so don’t hesitate to mingle with the locals.

From Alberoni a ferry will take you and your bike in less than 10 minutes to Pellestrina, another of the Venetian islands less large than Lido and no longer than 10km. Getting off at Santa Maria del Mare you’ll have to follow the main road for a while but there are very few cars around so don’t worry. It’s all peace and quiet since the island is inhabited by fishermen and it’s lovely to ride through these small fishermen villages with their tiny streets and their boats anchored in front of the house (the sea is never far away). At the other end of the island you can enjoy another swim near the ‘murazzi’ (big dams) or take a stroll through the Ca’ Roman naturalistic area.

We actually reach these islands from the other side, from Chioggia, I rented a bike from Top Bike  and headed for the Chioggia ferry terminal. I’ve read that it might be difficult to get on the first ferry since there are only 10 available places for bikes but I didn’t have any problem, maybe during weekends. The crossing lasts 30minutes and the riding starts at Pellestrina.

One piece of advice: if you decide to start first with Pellestrina and then Lido, once you reach Lido keep left and ride along via Alberoni. To arrive near the beach and cycle the walls you have to find a street on your right. We just took advantage of an opening between the houses, (before house no.38 I believe) we cycled for a couple of minutes through reeds and had to climb a few steep steps to reach the walls.

Arriving in Lido and coming back took us something like 7 hours – including a slow pace, the ferry crossings and the swim – but you’d better consider the whole day since these islands are thought to be the best spots of the laguna for eating fish.

It’s both a pretty incredible experience and an easy thing to do even you don’t feel fit for the 20 or 40km ahead (in case you have to give back the rented bike), the road is paved and completely flat and suprises you with beautiful glimpses of Venice.


3 Responses to “Biking your way through Venice”

  1. ancutza September 4, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

    I’m coming!:)

    • dusty laces September 4, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

      Get your sunscreen, I’ll wait for you at the station :)!

  2. February 3, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

    “Biking your way through Venice dustylaces” was in fact a superb blog post,
    cannot wait to look at more of ur posts. Time to waste a
    lot of time on the web lmao. Regards -Geraldine

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