Millions of tourists visit Venice every year and are completely unaware that right next door to that magical city are several excellent beaches.
When I was living in the Veneto, I visited a number of these beaches, including Lido di Jesolo, about which I blogged, and then, a few years ago, I decided to spend a few days relaxing in the family friendly town of Caorle, its 12,000 inhabitants making it one of the largest municipalities of the Metropolitan City of Venice.
Before it was discovered by tourists, Caorle was a fishing port and still is today.
Caorle (pronounced CAH-OHR-LAY ) lies just north of the Venetian Lagoon, overlooks 18 kilometres of wide sandy beaches along the Adriatic Sea and is perfect for a family holiday.
For starters, there are two enormous beaches. Taking them from north to south, you have Spiaggia Levante (Levante Beach), at the end of which is the distinctive Sanctuary of Madonna dell Angelo, jutting out onto a promontory. The sanctuary marks the beginning of a long lungomare which passes by the old town and arrives at another stretch of beach, Spiaggia di Ponente (Ponente Beach).
These two long beaches are well maintained and have a Blue Flag rating making them perfect for families. Rows and rows of sun-loungers and plentiful changing and ablution facilities, play areas for children and, for those who like to keep their beach bodies in shape, there are plenty of fitness areas too.
Caorle’s Blue Flag rating for their beaches has recently been joined by the Spighe Verdi, which is awarded to Italian cities and towns that work to keep their areas green and environmentally friendly.
The town and its surroundings along the beaches can accommodate about 50,000 visitors at a time, due to the huge selection of hotels, B&Bs and holiday apartments on offer.
Being an avid early morning walker, I was delighted to find that the endless promenade stretches as far as the eye could see. On those summer mornings, I was always one of many other walkers, joggers and cyclists out enjoying the mild sunny weather.
Plenty of people walking their dogs too!
The old centre of Caorle is pretty and colourful. Full of restaurants and cafes, ice cream vendors and shops, the brightly painted houses make it a wonderful spot to stroll in the evenings.
The main piazza is called Piazza Vescovado and it is here that you can find the cathedral, which was built in the eleventh century and the tall bell tower is built in Romanesque style.
The Sanctuary of Madonna dell’Angelo has been there in its present form since it was rebuilt on the site of an ancient church in the eighteenth century and renovated in 1944. It is a favourite place for pilgrims, as it contains a greatly revered wooden statue of the Virgin Mary.
On my visit, I noticed many eastern European visitors and it is popular with Germans and Austrians too. I was there in the month of July and, though it was definitely busy, it never felt too crowded as the beaches are so huge. And the weather was absolutely magnificent.
We experienced just one thunder storm and the sky turned ominously grey, before we headed for cover.
Things to do:
Caorle, being flat, is a perfect place to hire a bicycle and there are plenty of cycling paths. For children who need to let off some steam, there is the Aquafollie Water Park or, for a fairground, there is always the Luna Park.
If you want a day to visit Venice while you are holidaying, there are boat excursions available to take you there in summer. It is also possible to take a boat trip around the waterways which surround the town.
Fly to Venice Marco Polo, Treviso or Trieste. There are plenty of bus and train options to take you to Caorle if you don’t want to hire a car.