In spring, Jesolo is an insider's tip for cyclists. There's no need to be a bike racing buff to fall in love with cycling in Italy: in spring, the area around Jesolo becomes an el dorado for all cyclists. And you get to borrow bikes for free at Falkensteiner Hotel & Spa Jesolo.
Bicycles and the Lido
Some things are simply more delightful in Italy than anywhere else: gelato, gondolas and pizza, for example. And cycling. Because there's no better place to cycle than Italy - at least that's what the Italians say. It's not for nothing that they have the "Giro d'Italia". And the "Giro" is much more elegant and delightful than the "Tour de France". At least that's what the Italians say. It's a perfect subject to argue about - without coming to any definite conclusion. What's undeniable is that cycling in Italy is absolutely delightful. Not only with racing bikes. And especially in spring: the landscape, the villages, the air - you can only really enjoy Italy on your bike because it just doesn't get any more Italian.
But how about cycling in and around Jesolo? Is that even possible? Yes - and very much so. But because everyone who hears the word "Jesolo" thinks only of high summer and beach holidays, biking in this part of the Veneto continues to be an insider's tip.
Now, just before the summer, is the best time of year to cycle here: the sun has come out to shine. Not mercilessly like in the summer, but kindly and gently. Just perfect for any type of sport. A paradise for cyclists: the landscape is flat. The wind is usually calm. Villages, boulevards, people, churches and cafés on small village squares - picturesque, friendly and dapper. It's like out of the "Book of Bicycle Dreams". Interaction with car drivers is also completely different than between cyclists and car drives in so many other countries: here it's 'live and let live'. What else? That's Italy for you.
But the region around Jesolo continues to be a "white patch" on the map of most biking enthusiasts. Unjustifiably so. Because the region's landscape has all the appeal that makes Italy so attractive for cyclists. But things are gradually changing. You now even have cycling tours for mountain bikers and tour wheelers through beautiful landscapes around the Venetian Lagoon that have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list - both along Piave River and on the thin strip of coastline before the Venetian Lagoon, where Jesolo and Lido di Jesolo are located. Geographically, this route is a dead-end - so traffic is limited. In high summer, this may be different, but everyone heads for the beach in high season anyway. Usually it's just too hot to cycle then.
But now? Now, in spring, before the hustle and bustle starts to pick up on the 17-kilometre-long sandy beach with the promenade at Lido di Jesolo, cycling is a dream.
Because even the town of Lido di Jesolo has a perfect network of bike lanes. In early season, wheeling through the centre of town is just as enjoyable as cycling along the beach and then on and on and on. To the south of the famous lighthouse that so sharply marks the end of the promenade, you need to cross a rather grim bridge, but, from there all the way to the major inlet for ships navigating into the Lagoon from the Mediterranean Sea, you get to travel along a non-stop, convenient and safe bicycle path that is physically separated from the country road. Through Cavallino and Ca Savio all the way to Punta Sabbioni. Off the main thoroughfare, cyclists can use small, less frequented streets and pathways to cruise through the landscape: from Sea to the Lagoon and back. With lovely and fantastic views of the Lagoon, picturesque ship signalling buildings, old farmsteads, fields, dilapidated watchtowers, little villages and canals. Again and again, like a promise on the far side off the Lagoon of Venice.
Theoretically, you could just as well lock your bike between the countless old bicycles parked on deck by the regional commuters and putter to Venice by vaporetto. The boat ride is not even 45 minutes.
As a matter of fact, cycling trips around Jesolo and in Venice should be just as long as these attractions deserve. Because there are some things you actually only get see from your bike: many, very many of the farms and houses here date from the Renaissance or even further back in history.
You wouldn't even notice when you whiz past in the car on your way to the ferry boat. Only by taking your bike on the slow lane and getting real close will you have the time, leisure, repose and space to appreciate the details and impressions.
Absolutely: the distance from Falkensteiner Hotel & Spa Jesolo to Punta Sabbioni certainly makes for a serious bike tour, but cycling here in Jesolo in spring is delightful even if you ride only short stretches. In early season, the seaside promenade lends itself for a leisurely jaunt on the bike, too. And the comfortable, solid and well-kept bicycles that guests staying at the 5* Falkensteiner Hotel get to rent for free are just what you need to explore the area - as long as you keep a number of things in mind.
Or, better said: as long as you ride "the Italian way". As a matter of fact, there are lots of no-cycling signs on the promenade. However, children and adults continue to cycle here not only with the utmost nonchalance, they do so with the full blessing of the tourism association. In low season, as long as the promenade is not all too crowded and cyclists are considerate, careful and drive slowly, no one appears to mind the official cycling prohibition - we asked several times to make sure. No one complains, no one protests. That's also why no one is thinking of handing out fines. It's Italy, after all. You live and let live in this country.
It's a question of tact and consideration. To be sure, in high season or on sunny spring weekends, the signs have to be observed. Without exception. And there's good reason for that.
Because even when Italians wholeheartedly profess that there's no place like Italy for delightful cycling: in high summer, the short round around town is good enough. From hotel to ice cream parlour. Or to the small café in town. Or to the pizzeria. No one would want to cycle more than that in mid-summer anyways - but springtime is an entirely different matter.
Guests staying at Falkensteiner Hotel & Spa Jesolo get to rent bicycles for free. Children's seats, children's bikes and bicycle helmets are available, too. "Mariobiker" organises and carries out guided cycling tours of varying lengths and duration along the Piave River, Sile River and in the UNESCO World Heritage region. More information is available at the hotel reception or on www.mariobiker.it