The warm waters of the Adriatic that run between Italy and the Balkans wash up against some really lovely coasts. There is no doubt though that when you mention this area, most people’s thoughts turn to Venice, The Jewel of the Adriatic.
Once a major power in its own right, Venice had the time and the money to create one of the most unique cities on earth, a centre of Western decadence that built gorgeous Palazzi in which to hold outrageous parties, and atoned by building magnificent churches.
Today the whole city may be fighting a losing battle with the sea, but it still remains one of the world’s leading tourist attractions, with some 15 million visitors a year coming to marvel at St Mark’s Square, the Bridge of Sighs and the endless splendour of the Grand Canal.
Of course, there is more to the region than simply Venice however. The Adriatic is home to many fine beach resorts, from Italy’s Lido di Jesolo and Treporti to the exciting Croatian resort of Porec.
Newly discovered by Western tourists, Porec offers an exciting city that has stood here since Roman times, together with attractions that include the Euphrasian Basilica, with its early Christian compound that is reputed to be the only complete building in the world remaining from that period.
It is also possible while you are in either Venice or Porec to enjoy a trip by boat to the other resort. Yet whichever direction you travel in, you are sure to be captivated by the warmth and splendour of the entire Adriatic coast.
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Your simple guide includes the following so your car-free holiday is hassle free, and you have plenty of time to enjoy yourself whilst exploring the Adriatic coastline:
With both Italy and Croatia to enjoy here, camping on the Adriatic Coast offers sunshine and culture in equal measure; though the many attractions of Venice are perhaps the most popular reason for coming here:
St Mark’s Square
The Piazza San Marco is Venice’s main square, lying alongside the Grand Canal. Beautiful in its own right, it is home to arguably the city’s two finest buildings, the Doge’s Palace and the stunning Basilica of St Mark.
Basilica of St Mark
This magnificent building is surely one of the most ornate cathedrals in the world. Built on a Greek cross plan and topped by five huge domes, it is a gem of Byzantine architecture, as spectacular inside as out.
Bridge of Sighs
The path once taken by enemies of the state on their way to torture and imprisonment, the famous Bridge of Sighs, which crosses the canal to the Doge’s Palace, is a poignant reminder of the terrible power once wielded by Venetian rulers.
St Mark’s Campanile
The iconic bell tower of St Mark’s Square stands more than 98m high and these days enables visitors to take a lift to the top, where they can enjoy spectacular views over the city and the Grand Canal.
No tour of Venice would be complete without a visit to Harry’s Bar, where clientele ranging from the crowned heads of Europe to Ernest Hemingway have traditionally come to see and be seen while drinking Bellini cocktails.
Lido di Jesolo
A lovely old seaside resort on the Adriatic, Lido di Jesolo makes a great place to enjoy a trip to the beach, as well as to enjoy the local habit of promenading along the main street each evening once it has been closed to traffic.
Perhaps the major attraction of Croatia’s Adriatic coast, Porec is a lively town with a lovely old harbour. It is also home to the 6th century Euphrasian Basilica, which is the jewel in the crown amongst many historic sites in this part of Croatia.
The Baredine Caves
6km from Porec you will find the Baredine Caves, where guides will take you 60m below the surface of the earth to marvel at vast underground halls lined with stalagmites, stalactites and huge, shimmering lakes.
Jolly Roger Pirate Cruises
Sailing all along the Adriatic coast and its many lagoons, Jolly Roger Cruises welcome kids (and their parents) aboard a real pirate ship for a day of music, games, and even a treasure hunt on the island of Murano.
Featuring a delightful aquarium where youngsters can discover the denizens of the deep, Gulliverlandia is also a theme park with Volcano rapids and a delightful little train that travels around a display of the world’s great sights.
Located in Jesolo, Aqualandia is Italy’s premier theme park. It offers a host of pools and waterslides, together with a variety of shows to entertain all ages. Its rides also include the tallest fixed bungee tower in Europe, which stands 60m high.
When older children and teens are looking for real white-knuckle thrills, they will find them here in Jesolo. This huge park offers more than 50 attractions, including the high adrenaline MixTreme ride.
The coast from Lanterna to Porec is lined with watersports centres where you can rent every kind of craft, from sailing dinghies and canoes to pedal boats and jet skis. You will also find a waterskiing cableway here.
The waters of the Adriatic are famously calm and clear. So Porec is a popular diving centre, with courses for beginners and a number of guided expeditions around the many reefs, caves and shipwrecks you will find here.
While Italy is far from being a famous golf destination, there are a large number of courses in the Veneto region. Many of them are dotted around Padova, though Golf di Venezia in Venice is also considered one of Italy’s finest courses.
Just an hour away from Venice by car you will find yourselves in the foothills of the Dolomites. One of the finest walks here takes you to Lake Misurina, ‘the Pearl of the Dolomites’: splendid in its own right, it also offers superb views of the peaks around you.
Venice Film Festival
Usually held in late August or early September, the Venice Film Festival may not have the same glamour as its counterpart in Cannes, but it continues to attract the biggest films and Hollywood’s A-listers.
Villa Concerts in Vicenza
Every June and July, the great and the good open up their villas on the Veneto around Vicenza for a series of classical concerts everywhere from the famous La Rotonda to privately-owned renaissance villas.
Shakespeare Festival, Verona
Every July, the ancient Teatro Romano in Verona hosts a festival featuring the plays of William Shakespeare, in English, performed by great companies including the RSC. It’s a simply wonderful place to enjoy the Bard.
Summer Tango Festival, Porec
With a host of DJs, thousands of dancers, tango workshops, daily open-air milongas (tango parties), beach milongas and party boat trips, Porec in July is the place to be if you like to tango.
Between the Veneto and the Croatian coast you will find two very different cuisines, and some very pleasant surprises:
Pra’Delle Torri offers a beach, superb pool complex and a wide range of activities, including an 18-hole golf course. It is also an ideal base for touring.
An extremely impressive parc with a superb pool complex at its heart and a broad sandy beach. Union Lido is also an excellent base from which to explore Venice.
With its beautiful setting, rose gardens and private beach, Sant’Angelo is a friendly, lively parc that is ideal for the whole family and well-placed for sightseeing.
This large, lively parc offers you a quite outstanding pool complex and private beach, as well as great kids clubs and a very popular disco for teenagers.
Enjoying a superb location just a boat ride away from Venice, this bustling parc also offers a sandy beach with warm, shallow waters and a very good restaurant.
Our closest parc to the ferry port at Punta Sabbioni, a short bus ride away, puts Venice, Murano, Burano and Torcello on your doorstep. This is also a high quality parc with a superb pool complex
This high quality parc offers a quite superb pool complex and direct access to a gorgeous sandy beach. You are even within striking distance of Venice here.
This attractive tree-lined parc has a private beach onto the warm waters of the Adriatic and an ideal location for exploring everywhere from Venice to Padua.
San Francesco is a very pretty and unspoiled parc, enjoying an enviable location amidst a fragrant pine forest, with direct access to a gorgeous sandy beach.
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