There are two things you notice when you set foot in Venice. The first is its beauty. The second are the crowds. This is, after all, a city with a population of 80 000, and with more than 25 million tourists annually. Venice is comprised of over 100 islands, however most of the city s visitors don t leave the overpopulated streets in the area of the San Marco Square, the Rialto Bridge and the Bridge of Sighs. A short boat ride (or a ride in the public transport – vaporetto) will take you to quieter parts of town that are just as rich in history and full of interesting spots. Here are three ideas for new Venetian islands to visit.
Best island to eat: Sant Erasmo
Sant Erasmo is known as the Vegetable Garden of Venice. Every morning the local growers load their boats with fruit and vegetables and head for the Rialto market. In the summer weekends traffic can also be observed in the opposite direction – Venetian families arrive with their boats filled with coolers, plastic chairs and portable radios to settle in for a picnic amid the Sant Erasmo farms, where there is no chance to be bothered by tourists. Here the products for what you will be served in the restaurants have probably been harvested today.
How to get there: with vaporetto 13 from Fondamente Nove stop (30 minutes).
Best island for going to the beach: Pelestrina
You have probably heard of Lido, but right across there is what is still a fisherman s island – Pelestrina. The place is calm, with a nice village atmosphere that you would be pressed to find anywhere else in Venice. Here you will see old ladies sitting on benches in front of their houses, knitting lace and exchanging gossip with their neighbours, while their husbands are repairing their fishing nets and discussing the last football match. And Pelestrina s beach has few people and clean water.
How to get there: with vaporetto 1, 2, 52 or LN from Piazza San Marco stop.
Best island for a peaceful walk: Giudecca
Despite being only three minutes by boat from San Marco, it is as if Giudecca is a completely different town. Here there are quiet residential neighbourhoods, family restaurants, factories, as well as a few family-friendly hotels. But the biggest advantage of Giudecca is probably the incredible view that it provides towards San Marco and the Doge s Palace. You can easily move around on foot. Don t miss the opportunity to have a bite in the restaurants, which propose an incredible mix of dishes from Toscana, Veneto and Lazio.
How to get there: with vaporetto 2 or 4 from Piazza San Marco stop. There are four stops on the island of Giudecca itself.