8 minutes reading time Italy
Venice, built on more than 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea is the capital of northern Italy’s Veneto region. It has no roads or traffic, just canals – including the Grand Canal thoroughfare – lined with Renaissance and Gothic palaces.
Venice is truly a magical place for tourists who come here to see the beautiful palaces, museums, historic landmarks and the city’s famous gondolas and winding streets.
Widely considered as one of the worlds most romantic cities, Venice, surviving against all odds is a fascinating city that has many great alleys for even the most seasoned visitors to get lost in.
Few places can lay claim to being home to such a spectacular natural setting which boasts untainted architectural heritage along with jaw-dropping views of Venice’s Grand Canal.
Top sights include Saint Marks Basilica, St Mark’s Square, Doge’s Palace and the Grand Canal to name a few, making Venice a top priority on everyone’s to-do list.
Venice became a part of Italy nearly 200 years ago and hasn’t changed much since, the ancient walls that are connected by elegant bridges over canals are still used till today, however, mainly by tourists. Gondolas and Vaporetti’s are still prominent in the city where couples enjoy a romantic ride or even groups of foreigners. Everywhere you look there is something to remind you of Venice’s glorious past.
With Venice holding its place firmly as one of the most magical places to visit it can be very expensive on the flip side, especially on the main island.
Venice is widely known to be overpopulated with tourists no matter what time of the year, however to fully enjoy your trip and get the most out of your visit the most recommended time to visit is between December-January where the city is at its quietest.
Peak season here in Venice is mainly from late June through to August which can be unbearable for some due to the hot humid temperatures and extremely large crowds. Spring time (April-June) & Fall (September-October) are also perfect times to visit also due to the mild temperatures and the fewer tourists.
If your someone like me who tends to prefer evading crowds especially you can also head over to some of the nearby islands like Burano and Murano.
Venice is divided into 6 districts: San Marco, Castello, Cannaregio, San Polo, Santa Croce and Dorsoduro.
Normally first-time tourists begin their adventure in Venice by starting off in San Marco and making their way to explore Saint Marks Basilica & The Dodges Palace.
With Venice being mainly built on water and connected each district by bridges, canals and small alleys you will be quick to see there are no trains, buses or cars beyond Piazzale Roma.
Public transport routes in Venice are extremely limited to the main waterways, however, footbridges can be found everywhere which will require you climbing stairs. With this in mind Venice can be difficult to get around if you have a substantial amount of large luggage or even limited mobility, so make sure to plan your trip carefully to maximize your time when navigating around here.
Things to do in Venice
Gondolas are synonymous in Venice, dating back to the 11th Century, Gondolas have remained a recognizable feature of Venice’s lifestyle ever since. Gondolas popular with tourists for transportation through the canal alleys and lagoons are customized specifically for the narrow alleys that you may find here when wandering through the city. These experiences are famed with visitors for the romantic feeling that this experience brings and even large groups can be found enjoying a ride in a Gondola with each one holding up to 6 people.
Visit the Piazza San Marco
Home to many of the city’s important and most prestigious highlights, the Piazza San Marco is a famous meeting spot among Venetians who flock to see sights such as the Basilica, Bell tower, the Doges Palace and the Archaeological Museum.
Saint Marks Basilica
Flaunting its Byzantine façade along with its beautiful and indescribable natural flair, Saint Marks Basilica is rightly so the most popular Basilica here in Venice.
With the doorways here at the basilica designed with mosaics from the different era’s and Romanesque figures, there is plenty of beauty and rich history to absorb when visiting the basilica up close and personal.
The entrance here to St Marks is free however with this iconic landmark being popular within the city do expect large queues.
The Palazzo Ducale (Doges Palace) recognized as one of the most major spots in Venice entices visitors frequently due to the fantastic and unique architecture that was created in the early 15th century.
For hundreds of years the only way to cross the Grand Canal was to use the Rialto Bridge. The Rialto Bridge, oldest of 4 bridges along the Grand Canal is famed for its detail’s handicraft that is made entirely from Istrian stone and another gem of a landmark to visit when travelling through Venice.
Also, to get a feel of the local cuisine here in Venice, visit the Rialto Market as this is Venice’s main market and it has been located famously here for roughly 600 years. You will come across never-ending amount of food markets selling everything from unique colored asparagus to masses amounts of delicious fish to choose from. If you want to avoid the tourists here make sure to come in the morning where you can avoid tons of locals and tourists.
Visit the local markets
Delicious food is widely available here surprisingly found in the markets which are considerably affordable when compared to the restaurants here. There are many different types of markets available for tourists to choose between fish and poultry to fruit and vegetables.
Explore the Peggy Guggenheim collection
The Peggy Guggenheim is one of the finest museums of modern art situated on the Grand Canal in Venice. The Peggy Guggenheim Collection housed in the magnificent Palazzo Venier Dei Leoni.
The museum exhibits fine pieces of artwork from some of the most famous artists from the 20th century such as Pablo Picasso, Rene Magritte, George Braque to name a few. If you are a keen lover of art, history and culture, head on down to the Peggy Guggenheim to experience the true history of some of these world-renowned artworks here.
Visit Murano & Burano
Murano – Make sure to check out the islands north of Venice such as Murano. Murano is the home to the glassmaking industry; here you can find the famous glass blowers and enjoy a fun experience learning about how the glass is blown.
Burano – Also situated in the northern Venetian Lagoon, Burano is considered a picturesque island due to its brightly colored households and different feel from Venice. Burano is a great idea if you are keen to get away from the large crowds of Venice and check out the local markets and also explore the lifestyle and local life on the other side of the Venetian Lagoon.
Try a walking tour
There are plenty of walking tours available citywide in Venice especially on a budget. Tours include walking, food and boat to name a few and each tour has experienced tour guides that are experts in taking you to some of the best spots in Venice to give you a lot of fun to enjoy a world class experience. Some tours are also free so something to enjoy for travelers who are on a tight budget.
Most of Venice is extremely walkable so you can get around most places without much trouble when sightseeing. If you do take one of their most in demand tours then make sure to book the St Marks Basilica or Doges Palace separate as these highlights are not normally included in tour packages.
Safety in Venice
Venice is a very safe city to travel, especially for solo and female solo travelers, Venice offers safe, walkable and available transport to tourists to navigate throughout the city however do make sure to watch out for pickpockets as such.
In the winter and fall time in Venice, Acqua Alta (flooding) is where high water leads to flooding throughout the city.
Flooding is a common theme these days due to rising ocean levels in Venice. Choose accommodations closer to the upper part of town, like near Piazzale Roma or the railway station.
Seeing Venice isn’t just about checking off your to-do list and ticking off your bucket list, it’s about traveling on a vaporetto down the Grand Canal, or enjoying a trip across the lagoon to other islands, or even splurging on a gondola ride with your significant other or group of friends. However you choose to enjoy your trip here just remember hundreds of other tourists are doing it along with you.
Venice provides a unique magic feeling that goes beyond its waterways and monumental landmarks, With the narrow winding alleys or starkly quiet local squares, Venice is truly a city brimmed with magic and romance that is essentially a place perfect to get lost in.