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Pellesstrina (4.500 inhabitants) is an extremely long island in the south-east of Venice. The island has a length of about 11 km and a width of only a few hundred meters. Neighbours are the island of Lido di Venezia and the city of Chioggia on the mainland.
It is a relatively quiet island with much less tourism compared to many other regions of Venice. Pellestria is very popular with cyclists (day trips).
Pellestrina is part of the boundary of the lagoon from Venice to the Mediterranean (Adriatic Sea). On the Adriatic side there is an impressive dam called Murazzi along its entire length of the island Pellestrina. The Murazzi dam is the biggest attraction on the island. It was built in the 18th century mainly of kart marble. This marble comes from Istria (Trieste region, partly today Slovenia). On the other side of the elongated island is the lagoon of Venice. This is a well protected water similar to a large lake. Thus, on the west side of the island of Pellestrina no protective dam is necessary.
There are good beaches on Pellestrina on the Adriatic side. Directly behind the protective Murazzi a road runs almost along the whole island (except extremely narrow south of the island).
Map Pellestrina (Venice)
On the other side of the road are the villages and houses. In many places the lagoon island is so narrow that there are only 2-3 buildings between the road and the sea. The island has a length of 11 km and an area of 2 km². So Pellestrina is on average not even 200 meters wide (including dam and road).
There are several small towns on the island of Pellestrina. However, the northern half is more or less continuously built-up. The main town is in the central south of the island. Here, for example, there is a post office, a supermarket, some restaurants and guesthouses.
In summer there are often more bicycles on the road than cars. Bicycle tourism is popular on the island. The locals, however, make little money with these cyclists, since the holidaymakers visit Pellestrina on a bicycle mostly in the context of a day trip 2 to 3 hours and do not spend the night on the island.
There are two ways to get to the island:
Passenger ferry from Chioggia (city on the mainland): On the one hand there is a passenger ferry from the south of Chioggia (journey time about 25 minutes). This ferry only takes pedestrians and bicycles (no cars). On Pellestria the boat stops south of the main town Pellestria at the ferry dock next to the cemetery (Cimitero).
Car ferry from Lido: The other ferry to Pellestrina runs from the south of the island of Lido to the north of Pellestrina. Cars, motorbikes, lorries and even buses can also use these boats. The crossing is very short, about 10 minutes. In good weather there are often more cyclists than bus passengers on the ferry. It is a small car ferry. On our crossing the ferry was almost full with a bus, a truck and about 8 cars. On both ferries there is no shop or bar, not even drinks can be bought.
From Venice to Pellestrina: From Venice take a ferry to the island of Lido Santa Elisabeta (every few minutes a ferry from the train station and near Piazza San Marco). The crossing from San Marco, the tourist centre of Venice, takes only 15 to 20 minutes. Ferry connections on this route are extremely frequent, usually every few minutes. From the big ferry port Santa Elisabetta on Lido you take the bus number 11, which crosses the island of Lido, takes the ferry described above from Lido to Pellestrina and then crosses large parts of Pellestrina. The bus line ends at the ferry port in Pellestrina, where a passenger boat to Chioggia is waiting. The pier is called Cimitero (cemetery).
Total travel time from Lido via Pellestrina to Chioggia by bus and two ferries: is about 90 minutes. This is composed: About 15 minutes bus line 11 from the ferry port Lido Santa Elisabetta to the south of Lido. Car ferry between the islands of Lido and Pellestrina: about 10 minutes. Bus on Pallestrina to the other ferry port: 20 minutes. Ferry to Chioggia: 25 minutes. In addition, there are waiting times when changing means of transport.
The bus of the line 11 goes therefore to the ferry between the islands Lido and Pellestria. You can stay in the bus or get off. Attention: The bus departs immediately after the ferry arrives.. There is no toilet on this ferry. The other ferry to Chioggia does not take a bus. You go as a pedestrian on the ship and arrives in Chioggia in the middle of the central old town. The large pedestrian zone of Chioggia (Corso del Popolo) is only a few metres away.
All ferry and bus schedules are coordinated in both directions. In total, it takes a little more than an hour from Venice to Pellestrina. During the day, the buses and ferries run approximately every hour, at peak times partly every 30 minutes.
If you have a day ticket or a multi-day ticket for Venice public transport (a day ticket from ACTV), you can use all the buses and ferries described above free of charge. As far as we know, bicycles cost extra.
Cycling on Pellestrina
A bicycle trip to Pellestrina is very popular with locals and foreign tourists. Some cyclists bring their own bike, others rent a bicycle. We have also seen some electric bikes.
Almost everyone crosses both the island of Lido and the island of Pellestrina with the Bicicletta (Italian word for bicycle). In total this is about 25 km. As there are neither mountains on the island Lido di Venezia nor on Pellestrina, the tour is not too difficult in good weather. In summer, the heat in Italy is not to be underestimated. Of course, hiking is also possible on Pallestrina. However, due to the lack of alternatives, you walk along the main road.
Settlement and nature reserve Ca Roman
In the very south of Pellestrina there is another settlement. It cannot be reached by road. Some of the ferries between Pellestrina and Chioggia stop in Caroman. Next to the tiny settlement is a small nature reserve.
Our impression of the island Pellestrina
Pellestrina is also suitable as a holiday resort for some people. Day trips from the island to Venice are possible, but it takes at least 90 minutes from Pellestrina to the old town.