Venice by bike: cycling around the Venetian Lagoon

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    Bicycles in Venice are forbidden

    Bicycles in Venice are forbidden, but…

    but the Municipality of Venice offers some amazing opportunities for those of you who, like us, love to ride a bike! Outside of the historical city of Venice, of course!

    Moreover, the wider area of Venice, known as città Metropolitana, offers a variety of tracks that connect different locations within and outside of it. This way, it favours the adoption of low to no-impact mobility which is one of the many things that countries around the world should aim to achieve to fight climate change.

    While we are waiting for the exciting “VenTo” route to be completed, a bicycle lane that will connect directly Venice to Turin, we decided to share with you two itineraries on the islands of the lagoon that are really fun: the Lido-Pellestrina-Chioggia itinerary, and the one around the island of Sant’Erasmo

    One bike lane and three islands: cycling from Lido to Chioggia

    Let us tell you immediately: this is not your everyday bike lane!

    That is for three reasons mainly:

    Firstly, it is not the typical modern lane that you just need to follow to go from one point to another. To give you an idea, one such lane would be the very efficient one that connects Punta Sabbioni to Jesolo: a clear and efficient lane of about 17km. Going from Lido to Chioggia needs a bit more “understanding”… we’ll explain soon, don’t worry

    Secondly, it is a lane broken in several pieces. What do we mean by that? We simply mean that the three islands of Lido, Pellestrina and Chioggia are separated by water, of course! Therefore, you will have to take 2 ferries to continue your tour

    Finally, it is stunning. The long stretch in Pellestrina, in particular, is just too beautiful, trust us!

    So, first of all, where does it start and where does it finish?

    This itinerary starts from the northern part of the Lido and finishes in Chioggia, in the very south of the Venetian Lagoon. Then, of course, you can cycle the way back on the same day or stay there overnight, as we did!

    You can reach our starting point at the Lido, Santa Maria Elisabetta, by water bus. That is possible if you are coming from Venice as well as if you are coming from Punta Sabbioni. Alternatively, you can reach San Nicolò a bit further up north if you arrive from the Tronchetto by ferry, line 17. From there, in just a couple of minutes, you can reach our starting point.

    Ready to start?

    The quickest way is to take Via Sandro Gallo to your right and start cycling on the main road, sharing the street with cars (not too many at the Lido, to be fair). Proceeding on the main street, after about 15 minutes you will spot your lane and can continue on it.  We must confess that from your starting point and all the way to the town of Malamocco, which is the centre of the island, your journey would be quite disappointing: just a long straight path on a road.

    As an alternative, you can head on the Gran Viale and… immediately get off your bike once you get to Via Lepanto! The initial part of Via Lepanto, in fact, is a pedestrian area. Push your bike while you look around the most lively area of the Lido, with vegetable shops, bars, restaurants, and people hanging out. Now, hop back on your bike and continue all the way until the end of Via Lepanto. Now, take the left on Lorenzo Marcello and then take the second turn right on Lungomare Guglielmo Marconi.

    You can’t see the Lagoon, but you can now see the sea: you made it to the opposite edge of the narrow Lido.

    Cycle along the Lungomare and feel free to stop at the Palazzo del Cinema where, every year, the Lido holds the Venice Film Festival, the oldest movie festival in the world!

    Proceed on the Lungomare, until you see the street turning right, leading you away from the sea and the beaches. Instead of following the road, get off your bike and push it up the Murazzi, the long barrier of gigantic stones built over 250 years ago to protect the shore from the sea. The view is just fabulous but, please, be aware that the Murazzi are not a bike lane. This means that although people around you might be riding their bike, you should be aware that, officially, you should be pushing yours.

    The Murazzi are one of the areas that locals love the most. People come here to chill, to have a barbecue, to party, to live for a few hours in straw and wood huts made by unknown local “heroes” for all to enjoy.

    After about 2,5 km on the Murazzi, a small lane (on which you are allowed to cycle) leads to the small and beautiful town of Malamocco. It is the only small and unpaved lane that reveals a bell tower in the background, you can’t go wrong.

    Feel free to take your time to walk (it’s a pedestrian area) and explore around Malamocco, one of the first settlements in the Venetian Lagoon. Malamocco, once called Metamauco, for a short while was the centre of Venetian power and the seat of Venetian Doge. However, after an attack by Pipin that Venetians nearly escaped, it was decided to move the seat of the Doge farther away, in the middle of the Lagoon: Venice

    Malamocco is also the place where you rejoin (or continue on) the main road and proceed towards Alberoni. But now, finally, the road proceeds next to the Venetian Lagoon

    Cycle through the tiny centre of the Alberoni, and turn right: here, wait for the ferry that will take you to Pellestrina!

    The Ferry, goes every 30 minutes. This ferry is “Line 11” and so are also one bus line at the Lido, one at Pellestrina, and the water bus from Pellestrina to Chioggia. This, in fact, is one single line consisting of 2 buses, 1 water bus and 1 ferry that work together to quickly connect Lido to Pellestrina to Chioggia.

    Now, you’re in beautiful Pellestrina. And visiting it on your bike is priceless!

    For most aspects, this magnificent island seems to be unscathed by the changing of times. Fishermen on their boats, kids playing outside on the streets, and elder women sitting outside their doors doing brilliant lace works. Just like Burano, also Pellestrina has its own history of lace making! The former is slower and more complex, the latter is faster and thought to be less complex… but wow, it looks complicated to us and the works are beautiful!

    The ferry stops at Santa Maria del Mar and you can hop on your bike as soon as you landed. Here, take the only road there is, and be ready to be amazed.

    Your road soon become a narrow stripe of land crossing water on both sides! Then, after about 700 meters, take the right to a newly constructed unpaved lane that leads you to the first village in Pellestrina: San Pietro in Volta

    Here, just like in most of Pellestrina, you can ride your bike on the main road that runs between the houses and the Venetian Lagoon, where fishing-boats are moored. You’ll love it, trust us!

    Proceed towards the village of Portosecco and, after it, take the bicycle lane that continues along the Lagoon for about 2 km. Then, take the left and reach the main road “Strada Comunale dei Murazzi”. Your lane runs on the road, next to the cars, for about 200 m.

    Take the first turn to the right, and you’ll be back on the Lagoon on the “Strada Comunale della Laguna”.

    Now, just proceed until you reach the biggest town in Pellestrina, Pellestrina.

    Proceed all the way until the road ends, continue on the narrow lane and reach the Ognissanti Dome. Here, proceed towards the main road, Strada Comunale dei Murazzi, and take the right.

    After 300 meters, you have reached the Pellestrina water bus stop!

    From there, wait for line 11 (remember, all the means of transportation connecting Lido to Chioggia are part of this Line!), embark your bike, and reach Chioggia!

    In Chioggia, feel free to ride around on your bike! It may look a lot like Venice, but in Chioggia they won’t arrest you if you cycle around, so take advantage of it to explore the city and, eventually, also Sottomarina just across the bridge!

    Lido, Pellestrina, and Chioggia by bike Info

    Fix Costs: The ferry and water bus each cost 8,50 euro (7,50 for you, 1 for your bike) unless you have an Imob pass, a pass that costs 110 euros but is valid for 5 years. In that case, the cost drops to 2,50 euro per person (1,50 + 1).

    Timetable: download the App “CheBateo” to have up-to-date information on Venetian public transport. Alternatively, having to wait 29 minutes at most is not terrible since you can take some extra time to check out the surroundings

    Need to Rent a bike?

    Bike Rental Venice: In Via Perasto, just opposite to Via Lepanto, where our journey started.

    Lido on Bike: at the beginning of the Gran Viale street, on the left just after the kiosk

    Sant'Erasmo by bike, all around the vegetable garden of Venice!

    Sant’Erasmo is a beautiful island just in front of the northern entrance of the Venetian Lagoon (the lagoon has three channels connecting it to the Adriatic Sea).

    Sant’Erasmo is easy and fast to reach from the Fondamenta Nuove, on water bus line 13. This 28 minutes ride also gives you the change to admire a bit of the lagoon of Venice and its islands, which is always great!

    For centuries, Sant’Erasmo has been the vegetable garden of Venice and, today, it preserves its ancient role and offers some delicious products. If there is one we must mention, it is the “castraure”, the first small artichokes.

    Anyway, back to our itinerary. Ready?

    There are two things we’d like to mention:

    1. It is complicated to bring your bike to Sant’Erasmo. Therefore the first thing you should do is to enquire if the only place that has bikes for rental is open! That place is the “Il Lato Azzurro” hotel, on the Strada Vicinale dei Forti
    2. The itinerary is a big circle around the island, for a total distance of roughly 10 km. It is enjoyable and not too tiring even if you decide to go by foot: trust us, we’ve done it before (in about 2,5 h of normal walk)

    Now that we have clarified that, let’s begin.

    Reach the water bus stop Sant’Erasmo Capannone.

    Now, take the right along the canal until you see a dirt road crossing the grass on your left. Take the dirt road, cross the little bridge, and you will be on the Strada Vicinale dei Forti. You could have also walked on the paved streets, but that little park is so cute!

    Walk almost 1km straight on the Strada Vicinale dei Forti, or stop after 600 meters to pick up your bike at the “Il Lato Azzurro” and then proceed another 400 meters.

    Now, as you are not in a hurry, you can take the right to check out the Torre Massimiliana pillbox.

    Now go back to the Strada Vicinale dei Forti and take the left this time. As you take the following right turn, can you see that small road on your right? That’s where you need to go!

    Continue all the way and you will reach the beach, yes, the Sant’Erasmo beach! Here, feel free to have a picnic or to go for a swim. Then, facing the Lagoon, take the left.

    Now, just keep on cycling and admiring the island and the lagoon around you until you reach the very end of the island.

    Don’t worry, there is just one road, you can’t go wrong! And when you will be on the edge of Sant’Erasmo, make sure to look towards Burano and Torcello across the Lagoon in front of you, it’s a spectacular view!

    Now take the dirt road again for about 300 more meters, until you reach a paved road.

    Take the left onto the paved road and cycle until you can turn to the right on Via de le Motte.

    From this moment on you can just follow the road that will lead you through vegetable gardens and farmhouses and bring you back to your starting point.

    Along your way back on the Via de le Motte, you will come across two water bus stations: Sant’Erasmo Punta Vela and Sant’Erasmo Chiesa.

    If you are by food and your starting to be tired, you can stop at either of the two stations and take the water bus line 13 back to Fondamenta Nuove in Venice!

    As you could see, the Sant’Erasmo itinerary is very easy to follow and to do. However, it is also very beautiful and enjoyable, therefore you should really consider it doing if you want to explore the area of Venice beyond the most known places!

    I'm visiting Venice. Why should I follow your recommendations?

    The way you visit Venice has an impact both on the quality of your experience and on Venice itself.  Chilling, exploring, shopping, eating and drinking where the locals do, can make a huge impact both on the memories you bring home and on the local economy and community.


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