Ah, Venice. There isn’t a city quite like it. Narrow streets, stunning buildings, and charming canals makes this truly a romantic city.
I’ve visited Venice 3 times so far. The last time was for the magnificent Carnivale in February, which was one of the best experiences of my life.
In order to help fellow travelers, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite things to do in Venice.
Wander the Canals
The iconic canals are beautiful as they connect the different parts of the city to each other. Truly picturesque, it is tempting to take a photo of each one. You can feel transported back in time as you watch gondolas and boats pass by. Notice the doors on the buildings that lead to water. How would you like to go to and from your house by boat?
San Marco Square
This is the infamous square that is featured in so many movies where the pigeons flutter away. And after walking the intensely narrow streets, it is very satisfying to be in a big, open space.
The square is expansive and surrounded by breath taking architecture. Cafe’s surround the square, often accompanied by classical music. Relax, drink a glass of wine, and take it all in. You can see the Saint Mark’s Basilica, which you can go into yourself. It is beautiful inside with dark marble decorating the halls and columns.
This is the grand canal that is a sight to see at night when it is illuminated. I believe the reconstruction is finally finished, so you can see this amazing bridge in all of its glory.
Buy a Mask
It’s Venice! The birth place of the Carnivale. It’s almost a sin not to buy a mask if you visit! There are many shops. Some tacky, while others are authentic. It will say on the mask (and in the price) if it is authentic or not. At Carnivale, I bought 3 different masks. Then again, I’m a little bit obsessed.
I saw this when I came with my high school group years ago, and I can still remember it. Murano, a city near Venice, is famous for its glass. You can watch the masters at work, and then buy your own genuine piece of art to take back home with you.
Visit the Neighborhoods
We stayed in the Cannereggio neighborhood, which is the largest in Venice. It also includes the train station, but we stayed quite a ways away from it.
This neighborhood was perfect for us. Close enough to walk to all of the major attractions, charming buildings and roads, but also far enough from the heavy tourist traffic and extremely narrow, almost suffocating, tiny streets.
Another neighborhood I found remarkable was the Castello. It is definitely off the beaten path, but the buildings and architecture here was beautiful. I felt it was a richer area as we walked amongst the buildings, but I could be wrong.
Rent a Gondola
I hesitated putting this here because I personally have never done it. It costs 80 euros, and it you are only 2 or 3 people, it just isn’t worth it. (In my opinion) However, if you have the money or are a bigger group, perhaps you should do it. After all, it is a Venice staple.
Another option is to simply take a water taxi. While it isn’t as romantic as the Gondola, you still get to see Venice from a different perspective.
Planning the Trip
How to Get There
Take a Train or Bus: Whether it’s the fast or regional train, Venice is a major city and is well connected. Read more about taking trains and buses here.
Drive: Again, Venice is well connected. Take the autostrada, or high way, and follow the signs (or GPS).
Where to Stay
I recommend staying on the actual island, but if there isn’t anything in your budget, you could stay on one of the smaller islands and take a water taxi to Venice. Or, you can stay on the mainland and take the train in.
I recommend AirBnb or finding a hotel on Booking.com or Expedia.com
Well, there you have it. Some things to do in Venice. Please keep in mind, Venice is a very small city, but can feel very large as the streets are so narrow and winding that it becomes a maze and you can end up walking more than you would think.
Buon viaggio! Have a nice trip!