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Venice, Italy

Think of the floating city and what comes to mind is water, not beaches. But skip over to Venice Lido, an 11km-long island just minutes from the tourist hordes at St Mark’s Square, and you’ll find two huge public beaches bordering the Adriatic Sea.

City slicker: Shady courtyards, tiny alleys and gondola-strewn canals are as picturesque as you could possibly hope for. The sight of this city on the water takes some beating.

Beach bum: Over at Venice Lido, sandy beaches take up about half the Adriatic side of the island. The majority are private, hotel-owned stretches, but there are free beaches at the northern and southern ends. Best of all, most holidaymakers are busy rushing around the city with no clue that a relaxing haven lies just moments away, so you can soak up the sun with a particularly smug smile on your face. 

Flight time: About 2hrs from London.


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