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Caorle - The Spirit of an Italian Summer

On the doorstep of hot and crowded Venice, summer beach fun is in full swing on the long sandy shores of Caorle.

Much like another of the beach towns we love near Venice, a little place called Chioggia, you've a lot of good things going on here: great beaches, fascinating cycling paths and an old town of immense charm.

Caorle

Don't rush either; spend at least three or four days to discover everything and to enjoy some relaxing beach time.  We always stay at the Hotel Antonella, it's only a few roads back from the beach,  great value and always a warm welcome.

For something right on the water try the Hotel Astoria.

On the Beach

Beach in Caorle

Blue flag quality, endless soft sand and warm water. What more could one want from a beach?  

Even better news is that there are two beaches: the Spiaggia di Levante in the east and the Spiaggia di Ponente in the west. They're divided by the old town but both are an easy walk from pretty much anywhere in town. 

Both have free and pay sections. In season, most of the pay sections are reserved for hotels - if you are staying at the Hotel Astoria then they have a lovely stretch of sand just waiting  for you with a private changing room, reserved deck chairs and beach umbrellas.

If you're staying at the more affordable Hotel Antonella, or any of the accommodation options a little further from the shore, then you'll need to use the free sections. You'll find them on both beaches near the old town end of the beaches.

Fisherman's Island & Houses of Reeds

Cason Grottolo RestaurantCason Grottolo Restaurant

Hire a bike, or use the free ones that  the Hotel Antonella provides, and head out to the Casoni.

It's an easy and pleasant cycle over flat terrain.

The best route is along the beach front cycle path, keep on along the path until you reach the end of the track  and then head inland on via Torino and take the first right.  After that keep on going until you reach a T-junction. Turn left and then it is straight on to the Casoni.

It takes around 45 minutes to get there and to cycle through the whole area.

This is an Italy that's more like bayou country in Louisiana. Its unlike the traditional view of Italy but it is still an important part of life around here. These are the traditions that have made the area what it is. Locals are fiercely proud of this part of their heritage.

Cycling in CaorleUs on the cycle path

Okay, what are Casoni? 

They are little fisherman's houses made out of reeds, some of them are now big and elaborate with most of the luxuries of modern life inside. There is even one that has been converted into a restaurant - the Cason Grottolo. Don't bother eating there. Although the setting is lovely the food is overpriced and not worth the money or the setting. Service is lousy too.

They are fascinating to explore and one or two will allow you in to have a look around. Many have beautiful vegetable gardens and, during summer, the owners live entirely from what they grow and the fish that they catch.

Casoni in CaorleA few casoni on the trail

Our Tip: Bring lots of mosquito spray/cream. Because of the waterways, there are lots of them.

River way near Caorle

Old Town Caorle

11th century Cathedral of St. Stephen

The 11th century Cathedral of Saint Stephen is magnificent in a simple rather than flashy way.

It was the bell tower that impressed me the most.  Apparently, it is the only one of its kind left anywhere. It seemed to belong to another world, like something out of a fairy tale.  You almost expect Rapunzel to lean out and let her hair out at any moment.

Don't miss the Church of the Virgin Mary either.  It's a beautiful little place and the whole identity of the town is forged around this church and the statue of the Virgin Mary with Child that was found out at sea centuries ago. The statue was brought ashore and now the local festivals revolve around this event.

Spend time in the old town, it really is lovely. The houses are colorful with a maze of little lanes that recall Burano. 

Caorle

A Taste of the Mediterranean

Personally, when I'm staying in a fishing town I like to eat seafood. If that's you too then I have just the place: Ristorante da Buso.  The seafood is invariably superb and always fresh, service too is always friendly and professional. 

If seafood isn't for you they have some really good dishes without anything fishy in them; the spaghetti with zucchine and prosciutto crudo is a dish my son enjoys.

The other great thing about Ristorante da Buso is that it is a two minute walk away from the Hotel Antonella (where we always stay in Caorle). Makes it easy to get home after a little too much vino ;-)

For the Kids

Make it up to your kids for all those times they've had to trudge through museums "enjoying" the history of Italy: take them to Aquafollie Water Park.  There you will find all sorts of water slides, games and pools, guaranteed to keep them busy the entire day.

Getting to Caorle

Bicycles in Caorle

A car rental is the easiest way to get to Caorle. If you don't want to drive though then you can get a bus from Venezia Marco Polo airport to Caorle. Just ask the ticket office as you come through arrivals.  The bus is the number 4A operated by ATVO.

If you're arriving by train get off at the Portogruaro station and then get the local bus into Caorle from outside of the station.  Train timetables can be found on the trenitalia.com website while the buses leave every 60 minutes or so during the day.  The bus you need to catch is line 2 that is operated by ATVO.

Map

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