Lido di Pellestrina
The Lido di Pellestrina is a long and very thin island which forms part of the barrier of lidi dividing the Venetian lagoon from the sea. Once they were little more than mudbanks, but now the central island, Lido di Venezia is a popular seaside resort. There is an opening to the sea at the southern end of the Lido and on the other side of this lies Pellestrina. At the far end of the island is another opening to the sea and beyond is the southern end of the lagoon and the larger fishing port of Chioggia.
There is a public transport service from the Lido to Chioggia via Pellestrina: bus number 11 which rides on a vehicle ferry between the two islands. It runs the whole length of Pellestrina, along the sea wall, coming to a halt where the road runs out, and a waterbus awaits to take passengers onwards to Chioggia. If you want to look around Pellestrina, this final terminus alongside the ferry stop is the best place to descend.
The Lido di Pellestrina is several miles long; settlements are strung along its length, but the main hub is towards the southern end of the island, before the sea-wall stretches off on its own between the lagoon and the sea. There is one main road alongside the high white sea-wall which hides the Adriatic from view. Smaller lanes head off on the lagoon side of the road.
Pellestrina faces the lagoon, not the sea, but its residents do occasionally cross the few yards to the Adriatic. If you clamber the steps which appear at intervals along the sea-wall, you can make your way down through a band of scrubby vegetation to the rough Pellestrina beaches. Covered in washed-up flotsam, jetsam and seaweed, they're not the most wonderful you'll ever see, but local people set themselves up here in the summer, with parasols, awnings and even chairs and tables.
The settlement is just a couple of lanes wide. Along the lagoon shore is a walkway beside which the town's fishing fleet is moored. It's a so-so sort of place; not amazingly picturesque but not unattractive either. Some of the painted buildings are clean and cheerful, others are appealingly faded. The most interesting thing is probably the general atmosphere: a kind of settled workaday calm that isn't as aesthetic as Venice, as lazy as the Lido or as urban as Chioggia.
Pellestrina is probably not worth visiting on its own - the bus journey is quite long - but it combines nicely with a trip to Chioggia. Cyclists can cycle the whole length of the island, and nature-lovers can continue along the sea-walls or by the Chioggia ferry to the small marine reserve at Caroman. Note that on a hot day the town isn't a very good destination; there is little shade.
Eating, drinking, shops
There are a few little local shops in Pellestrina, mostly dotted along the pedestrian/cycle street just inland from the waterfront. A short way from the piazza in front of the town's church you'll find a very good ice-cream parlour, which also sells a refreshing granita (ice drink). Further north along the lagoon shore is Ristorante da Celeste, a nice-looking seafood restaurant with tables on a terrace over the water.