The perfect holiday in Friuli-Venezia Giulia - We spent our vacation on a houseboat!

As the first signs of summer descended upon us, my wanderlust-filled heart yearned for adventure, and what better way to satisfy it than by embarking on a journey to the enchanting region of Friuli Venezia Giulia in northeastern Italy? With its stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and mouthwatering cuisine, Friuli Venezia Giulia promised a summer holiday like no other, and it did not disappoint.

I packed my bags, got my best friend to come along and we started our journey in the North of Italy, a region we have both visited before but never in-depth, so the time has truly come to see the hidden face of the region.

First of all, we have decided to mix and match some touristy areas with other, lesser-known spots which was a great idea, as these more hidden places gave us a breather from the hustle and bustle of more frequented towns and squares.

Exploring Friuli-Venezia Giulia’s Best Attractions

Nestled between the Adriatic Sea and the majestic peaks of the Alps, Friuli-Venezia Giulia is a region of unparalleled natural beauty and cultural richness. During our stay at Marina Resort, we embarked on a series of explorations that allowed us to uncover the hidden gems of this enchanting region.

Our journey began with a scenic drive through the rolling hills of the Collio wine region, where vineyards stretched as far as the eye could see. We stopped at charming wineries along the way, tasting exquisite wines like Friulano and Ribolla Gialla, while learning about the centuries-old winemaking traditions that have shaped the landscape.

Next, we ventured into the heart of the Carnic Alps, where rugged peaks and lush valleys awaited. Along the way, we encountered quaint mountain villages, where time seemed to stand still, and friendly locals welcomed us with open arms.

Certainly, one cannot truly experience Friuli Venezia Giulia without treating their taste buds to its irresistible cuisine. Whether savoring the comforting flavors of frico, a classic cheese and potato dish, or delighting in the delicate nuances of seafood risotto, each bite was a culinary delight. Our meals were perfectly complemented by glasses of crisp Friulano wine and refreshing Aperol Spritz, adding to the sensory journey through this gastronomic paradise.

About the Marina resort in Lignano Sabbiadoro, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy

We have previously stayed in hotels, apartments, and every type of rental you could conjure up in your imagination all over Europe, but never a houseboat! The thought of staying on the water in perfect comfort made us absolutely giddy with girlish delight and we couldn’t wait to spend our first night at the Marina Resort in Lignano Sabbiadoro.

What can I say, staying at the Marina Resort is like entering a serene haven, where the gentle rhythm of the Tagliamento River becomes your morning melody, and the captivating hues of the lagoon greet you at every glance. It's a spectacle meant to be shared with loved ones, a sanctuary of privacy and tranquility.

This unique resort comprises 29 houseboats moored on the pier and an additional 59 nestled securely along the banks of the Tagliamento River. Accessible via wharves crafted from exotic wood, each houseboat is enveloped by the natural splendor of the surroundings, adorned with aquatic plants that paint the pier in shades of lagoon green.

Located in Lignano Sabbiadoro, on the left bank of the Tagliamento River, Marina Resort rests just 2 kilometers from the river's outlet, marking the natural border between Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto.

The houseboats itself offered spacious living, measuring 6 x 10 meters, complemented by an 18 square meter balcony. On the main deck, a cozy living room with a convertible couch invites relaxation and offers the promise of restful nights. An ample bathroom with a shower box and a closet ensures convenience, with a staircase that leads to the upper deck. Here, a charming dining area with a fully equipped kitchenette beckons, opening onto a 12 square meter balcony covered by an awning – the perfect spot for al fresco dining, sunbathing, or indulging in a good book.

All in all, Marina Azzurra houseboats ensure a seamless blend of comfort and convenience amidst the stunning natural backdrop of the Tagliamento River.

Stay at Marina Resort in Lignano Sabbiadoro on a houseboat, right on the water!

A Day of Discovery in Trieste

Amidst the tranquility of Marina Resort, we couldn't resist the allure of a day trip to the captivating city of Trieste. With its rich history, diverse culture, and stunning seaside location, Trieste promised a day of exploration and adventure.

Once there, we were immediately struck by the city's unique charm. From its elegant neoclassical buildings to its bustling piazzas, Trieste exuded an air of sophistication and vitality that was impossible to resist.

Our first stop was the iconic Piazza Unità d'Italia, one of the largest seafront squares in Europe. Surrounded by grand palaces and overlooking the Adriatic Sea, the piazza served as the perfect introduction to the beauty of Trieste. We spent hours wandering through its elegant arcades, sipping espresso at sidewalk cafes, and marveling at the magnificent architecture that surrounded us.

Next, we ventured into the heart of the city, exploring its narrow alleys and hidden courtyards. Along the way, we stumbled upon ancient Roman ruins, Byzantine churches, and charming artisan workshops, each offering a glimpse into Trieste's rich and diverse history.

For lunch, we found a cute little local trattoria, sampling traditional dishes like frutti di mare pasta and hearty osso buco. We washed it down with a glass of crisp Friulano wine, savoring every bite and sip as we soaked in the vibrant atmosphere of the restaurant.

After lunch, we made our way to the Castello di Miramare, a stunning castle perched on a cliff overlooking the Adriatic Sea. We explored its ornate rooms, lush gardens, and panoramic terraces, marveling at the breathtaking views that stretched out before us. I have to say, we took way too many pictures here, but that is what happens when best friends travel and want to immortalize their memories.

Exploring Hidden Gems: A Day Trip to Portogruaro and San Vito al Tagliamento

As I have mentioned before, during our summer holiday in Friuli Venezia Giulia, we decided to venture off the beaten path and explore two charming towns which are often overlooked by tourists: Portogruaro and San Vito al Tagliamento.

Our first stop was Portogruaro, a quaint medieval town nestled along the banks of the Lemene River. Stepping into the historic center felt like stepping back in time, with its well-preserved architecture, cobblestone streets, and atmospheric piazzas. We spent the morning wandering through the labyrinthine alleys, admiring the elegant facades of the ancient buildings and soaking in the peaceful ambiance.

One of the highlights of our visit to Portogruaro was the Ponte di San Michele, a picturesque stone bridge dating back to the 15th century. We crossed the bridge and found ourselves in the charming district of Borgo San Giovanni, where we discovered artisan workshops, quaint cafes, and hidden courtyards tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the main thoroughfares.

After exploring Portogruaro, we continued our journey to San Vito al Tagliamento, a charming town known for its medieval castle and rich agricultural heritage. We wandered through the winding streets of the old town, stopping to admire the imposing fortress and the elegant palaces that once belonged to the noble families of the region.

As we explored San Vito al Tagliamento, we couldn't resist trying out the local cuisine, which is influenced by both Italian and Slovenian traditions. We savored plates of hearty polenta served with savory stews, delicate seafood dishes, and decadent desserts made with fresh fruits and nuts from the surrounding countryside.

Our day trips to Portogruaro and San Vito al Tagliamento were a delightful reminder that some of the most memorable experiences are found off the beaten path. From the medieval charm of Portogruaro to the rustic beauty of San Vito al Tagliamento, these hidden gems captured our hearts and left us longing to explore more of Friuli Venezia Giulia's lesser-known treasures.

Venice: A Day of Gondolas and Great Food

Obviously, we couldn't resist the allure of a day trip to the legendary city of Venice. Known as the "City of Canals" and renowned for its romantic atmosphere, captivating architecture, and rich history, Venice promised a day of adventure and discovery.

Arriving by train, we were immediately taken aback by the sight of the Grand Canal teeming with gondolas and vaporettos. We found ourselves immersed in the labyrinthine streets of Venice, where every corner revealed a hidden gem waiting to be explored.

Our first stop was St. Mark's Square, the heart of Venice and home to some of its most iconic landmarks. We marveled at the grandeur of St. Mark's Basilica, with its intricate mosaics and towering domes, and admired the ornate facade of the Doge's Palace, once the seat of Venetian power and intrigue.

From St. Mark's Square, we embarked on a stroll through the winding streets and narrow alleyways of Venice, getting lost in its maze of canals and bridges. Along the way, we stumbled upon charming cafes, artisan workshops, and bustling markets, each offering a glimpse into the city's vibrant culture and lifestyle.

Some things are meant to be tried out, even if they are flagged as a very touristy activity. So, no visit to Venice would be complete without a ride on a traditional gondola, so we set off in search of a gondolier willing to glide us through the serene waters of the city's famous canals. Best € 80 we have ever spent!

For lunch, we indulged in Venetian cuisine at a cozy trattoria overlooking one of the quieter canals. We savored plates of fresh seafood risotto, creamy polenta topped with hearty ragu, and delicate cicchetti paired with glasses of crisp Prosecco - if this sounds heavenly, I have to tell you, it truly was!

Relaxation and Rejuvenation at Bibione Thermae

At the end of our trip, we decided to treat ourselves to a day of relaxation at Bibione Thermae, a renowned spa resort nestled along the Adriatic coast. After days of exploring charming towns and bustling cities, we were ready to unwind and indulge in some much-needed pampering. Are we spoiled? For sure, but life is not worth living if you don’t pamper yourself whenever you have the chance.

Upon arriving at Bibione Thermae, we were immediately struck by the serene and tranquil atmosphere that enveloped the resort. Surrounded by lush greenery and overlooking the sparkling waters of the Adriatic Sea, it was the perfect setting for a day of rest and rejuvenation.

We began our day with a visit to the thermal pools, where we immersed ourselves in the warm, mineral-rich waters that are said to have healing properties. As we lounged in the pools, we felt our muscles relax and tension melt away, leaving us feeling refreshed and invigorated.

Next, we obviously had to try out various spa treatments, from soothing massages to invigorating body scrubs, each designed to pamper the body and nourish the soul. We lost track of time as we surrendered to the expert hands of the therapists, allowing ourselves to drift into a state of blissful relaxation.

After this, we headed to the resort's wellness center, where we found a range of facilities designed to promote health and well-being. We spent the afternoon lounging in the sauna, steam room, and relaxation areas, soaking in the peaceful ambiance and enjoying the breathtaking views of the Adriatic coastline.

As the day drew to a close, we left Bibione Thermae feeling renewed and rejuvenated, grateful for the opportunity to indulge in a day of self-care and relaxation. With its tranquil setting, luxurious amenities, and attentive service, Bibione Thermae had provided the perfect escape from the stresses of everyday life, leaving us feeling ready to tackle whatever adventures lay ahead.

Book your summer holiday now in Friuli Venezia Giulia and retrace our steps for the perfect vacation experience!

As our summer holiday in Friuli Venezia Giulia came to an end, we found ourselves filled with a sense of gratitude for the unforgettable experiences and cherished memories we had created. From the vibrant cities, the tranquil countryside, and the houseboat experience, Friuli Venezia Giulia had stolen our hearts, leaving us longing to return and explore more of its hidden treasures. Until next time, arrivederci, Friuli Venezia Giulia, and grazie for the memories that will last a lifetime.

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