Three examples of our dream trips
Drinking a Spritz at the Venetian Arsenal in the evening light:
In Venice, to follow the rules, you can only paddle on the waterways after 5pm. This is ideal when paddling from Canareggio towards Arsenal. Watch out when crossing the Noal and Dei Gesuiti canals as there is heavy traffic. Paddle alongside the Santa Maria Dei Miracoli Church, a magnificent white marble church, and then by the gondola of the Acqua Alta bookshop. When passing a gondola (or any other traditional rowing boat), keep left. Finally, depending on the tide level, take the path underneath the marbles steps of the Arsenal gate on your knees or lying down. Leave your board on the esplanade between the bridge and the tree, not far from a quiet large café-bar-restaurant with seating on the terrace. Perfect for that much anticipated Spritz. The way back is along the same route, unless you fold your board and take the Vaporetto from the Arsenal stop, located at the end of the canal on the Ca’ di Dio bank.
Between Lido and Giudecca, the challenge of the six Islands
You can try out a part of the lagoon that feels like the sea by setting off from la Guidecca and making a loop linking the Islands of San Servolo, San Lazzaro degli Armeni, Lazaretto Vecchio, Santo Spirito, San Clemente and la Grazia. The best Vaporetto stop for this is Zitelle, which is serviced by lines 2 and 4.1. You should then head to the southern bank of la Giudecca; there is a pontoon at the end of the Michel Angelo street. Vecchio, Santo Spirito and La Grazia will soon be abandoned islands. San Clemente has a five-star hotel, as does Sacca Sessola, which can be added at the end as it is very close. The most daring paddleboarders will add on the Island of Poveglia, which is also deserted, to the south of Santo Spirito. It is possible to make this journey from Lido, but we haven’t tried it. In any case, there are waves, and the wind often changes direction around midday.
Lagoon and culture, a tour around the north of Torcello
We stayed at Burano, a great starting point for a trip to the north lagoon, with the foreshores and birds. You can also make the journey by taking the Vaporetto line 12 to Fondamente Nove or Murano, depending on where you’re staying. Head down to Burano (option: a little tour of the canals of this island with its colourful houses).
To get back to Torcello, we head down a large canal, often rather busy, and take the first canal on the right, then the right-hand fork again. It’s a quiet canal not often used which wanders through cultures and leads you to the back of la Basilique. Carry on until you reach a much wider canal, then take a left. There are pontoons for boats but they are only accessible for paddle boards at high tide. Carry on to find the entrance to a canal which will take you inside.
You can leave Torcello via the route you entered. Take a right at the large canal and you’re heading for a great trip into nature. Towards Sant’Ariano, La Cura and an ascent to the edge of the inland area. It’s very tranquil. A beautiful loop which saves some good surprises for the return trip: sacred ibis and, in a very quiet and bucolic channel on the other side of Torcello, a seahorse!
If you have any, bring your binoculars!
If you have to return to Venice or Murano, you can take the Vaporetto back to Torcello (watch out for the hours in this case) or to Burano.