Separating the Venetian Lagoon from the Adriatic Sea, the Lido di Venezia is a 12-kilometer-long strip of sand that is considered Europe’s first beach resort. It was once the place to be seen for celebrities and royalty, with grand hotels and Art Nouveau villas lining its golden sands.

It’s just a short vaporetto ride from St. Mark’s, in Venice, to Lido, which is more residential and less touristy than Venice's center. Small canals still weave their way between the elegant architecture, and there are plenty of waterfront restaurants where you can soak up the city views.

Many of the beaches at the southern end of Lido are privately owned by hotels and only accessible to guests, while there are public beaches at the northern end of the island near the San Nicolo Church. It’s here that some of the relics of St. Nicholas are housed, with the remainder in Bari. Be sure to admire the paintings by Palma the Elder and Younger and wander amidst the charming cloisters.

Lido is an idyllic place to explore by bicycle, which can be rented from shops along the Gran Viale. Explore the back streets to admire the charismatic architecture and soak up the relaxed atmosphere. Boutiques line the leafy streets, and there are plenty of cafes to grab a drink and people watch.

Every August and September, Lido hosts the Venice International Film Festival at the Palazzo del Cinema. It’s the oldest of its kind in the world, attracting countless celebrities and seeing the hotels of Lido fill up fast.