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Lido vs. Outdoor Pool: Exploring the Distinctions for Travelers

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When it comes to enjoying a refreshing dip on a sunny day, the choice often comes down to either a lido or an outdoor pool. While both options offer the opportunity to cool off and relax, there are distinct differences between the two. In this article, we will explore the differences between a lido and an outdoor pool, highlighting their unique features, benefits, and overall experience. Whether you’re a traveler looking for a dip or a local looking for a new aquatic destination, understanding these differences will help you make an informed choice.

1. Definition and Origin

A lido, also known as “swimming baths” in some regions, is a term used primarily in the United Kingdom and certain other parts of Europe to describe an outdoor swimming pool or leisure complex. The term “lido” originated in Venice, Italy, where the Lido di Venezia is a famous beach resort. Over time, the term has expanded to include any outdoor swimming facility with additional amenities such as sunbathing areas, cafes, and sometimes even entertainment.
An outdoor pool, on the other hand, refers to a swimming pool located outdoors, typically in a recreational setting such as a hotel, resort, or community center. Unlike lido pools, outdoor pools are not specifically associated with the term “lido” and can vary in size, design, and available amenities depending on location and purpose.

2. Design and Architecture

Lidos often have distinctive architectural designs that incorporate elements of Art Deco or Modernist styles. These pools are often grand in scale, featuring elegant entrance arches, ornate facades, and expansive sundecks. Indoor pools are designed to provide a visually appealing and immersive experience for visitors, combining the pleasures of swimming with the aesthetics of the surroundings.

In contrast, outdoor pools come in a wide range of designs, from simple rectangular shapes to more elaborate configurations. Their design tends to focus on functionality, ensuring ease of access, safety and practicality. Depending on their location and purpose, outdoor pools can be part of a larger recreational complex or blend seamlessly into the natural landscape.

3. Location and surroundings

Lidos are often found in picturesque settings such as coastal areas, lakesides or parks, offering breathtaking views and a serene ambiance. They are designed to take advantage of their natural surroundings and provide visitors with an immersive outdoor experience. Lidos may also feature landscaped gardens, palm trees, or other decorative elements that enhance the overall atmosphere.

Outdoor pools, on the other hand, can be found in a variety of locations, from urban settings to rural retreats. While some outdoor pools may offer scenic views, their primary focus is usually on providing a convenient and accessible swimming option rather than creating a specific atmosphere.

4. Amenities and facilities

Lidos often offer a wide range of amenities and facilities beyond the pool itself. Visitors can expect to find sun loungers, parasols, cafes or restaurants, changing rooms, showers, and sometimes spa or wellness facilities. The goal is to create a comprehensive leisure experience that caters to a wide range of needs and preferences.
Outdoor pools may offer a more streamlined set of amenities, typically including changing rooms, showers and possibly a small snack bar. The focus is primarily on providing a functional swimming environment, while ensuring that basic facilities are available for the convenience of patrons.

5. Cultural significance and popularity

Lidos hold a special place in the cultural heritage of the regions where they are found. They have often been important social centers, attracting visitors of all ages and backgrounds. Lidos have served as meeting places, venues for events and performances, and symbols of leisure and recreation. Their historical significance, combined with their unique architectural and design elements, has contributed to their enduring popularity with locals and tourists alike.

Outdoor pools, while lacking the historical and cultural significance of indoor pools, remain popular attractions in their own right. They appeal to a variety of audiences, including families, fitness enthusiasts and individuals seeking relaxation. Outdoor pools often provide a convenient and accessible option for those who want to enjoy a swim without extensive travel or membership requirements.

Bottom line

In summary, the difference between a lido and an outdoor pool lies in their terminology, design, location, amenities, and cultural significance. Lidos offer a more grandiose and immersive experience, often with unique architectural features and picturesque surroundings. They typically offer a wider range of facilities to enhance the visitor’s leisure experience. Outdoor pools, while more varied in design and location, prioritize functionality and accessibility while still providing a refreshing swimming option. Whether you choose a lido or an outdoor pool, both options provide an opportunity to enjoy the water and create lasting memories during your travels.


What’s the difference between a lido and an outdoor pool?

A lido and an outdoor pool are both types of swimming facilities, but they have some key differences.

What is a lido?

A lido is a term commonly used in the UK to refer to an outdoor swimming pool or bathing area that is usually located near the coast or a body of water. Lidos are often larger and more expansive than traditional outdoor pools and may include additional amenities such as sunbathing areas, cafes, and changing facilities.

What is an outdoor pool?

An outdoor pool, on the other hand, is a generic term used to describe any swimming pool that is located outside and not enclosed within a building. It can refer to various types of pools, including those found in residential complexes, sports clubs, or recreational facilities.

Are there any design differences between a lido and an outdoor pool?

Yes, there can be design differences between a lido and an outdoor pool. Lidos are often designed with a more elaborate and aesthetically pleasing layout, featuring architectural elements such as grand entrances, decorative features, and landscaped surroundings. Outdoor pools, while they can also be well-designed, may have a simpler and more functional layout.

Do lidos and outdoor pools offer the same facilities?

Not necessarily. Lidos are often developed as leisure destinations and may offer a wide range of facilities beyond just swimming pools. These can include picnic areas, water slides, children’s play areas, sports courts, and even entertainment venues. Outdoor pools, on the other hand, may focus primarily on providing swimming facilities and may have fewer additional amenities.

Are there any differences in terms of location and accessibility?

Lidos are typically located near coastal areas or large bodies of water, taking advantage of natural scenic views and easy access to the beach. Outdoor pools, on the other hand, can be found in various locations, including urban areas, parks, or residential complexes, and may not necessarily have a direct connection to natural water sources.