Few cities in the world can compete with Venice in terms of sheer beauty and architectural feats. A breath-taking clash of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque buildings line its many gondola-filled canals. The Basilica di San Marco is a site for sore eyes indeed; sitting proudly in the Piazza San Marco. This beautiful church was 800 years in the making and is undoubtedly the jewel of Venice.
Many consider Venice to be the most romantic city in the world, and you can see why in just one glance. At dawn you can watch the amber sun rising over the blue lagoon as this magical city comes to life. Take a romantic stroll across the stunning Ponte di Rialto, or a moonlight river trip aboard one of the many gondolas.
Enjoy an ice-cold Peroni in one of the many Italian osteries (a pub-come restaurant) or head to the world-famous Harry's Bar, the birthplace of the Bellini cocktail, and was a regular haunt for the likes of Ernest Hemingway. The foodies amongst you will be in heaven, as Venice is teaming with delis, whilst its many Michelin Star restaurants serve every type of food under the sun.
The Mercerie district is conveniently close to the Rialto Bridge, so it’s a great idea if you go there next. It’s the most famous bridge in Venice and the oldest one that crosses the Grand Canal. Go there to check out the market stalls and admire the beauty of the glistening water, with gondolas gliding by.
St. Mark’s Square is a great place to begin a visit as so many of the most famous attractions are right here. Start with the Bell Tower, get the lift to the top for great views of the nearby island of San Giorgio Maggiore then head to St. Mark’s Basilica. Its onion-shaped domes are an East-meets-West design. Just next door, the Doge’s Palace is another must-see.
We’re giving you 22kg hold baggage on all city breaks to Venice. All this extra space means you don’t have to worry about decanting toiletries and squeezing everything into your hand luggage. Instead you’ll get loads of room for extra outfits and sightseeing essentials, not to mention all those souvenirs you can bring home too!
Rialto Market is alive with traders calling out offerings from their stalls, whilst even quiet canals feature authentic ice cream shops with an exotic array of flavours. Originality flows through the city – a facet you’ll find out about when you try local Venetian delicacies like soft-shelled sweet crab, cuttlefish pasta, and pancetta risotto. The region of Veneto is also famous for its fizzy prosecco.
Travelling in Venice is a truly unique experience. There are many water-based ways to get around, including the frequent and excellent value water buses (vaporetti). A traditional ride on the iconic gondola is also a must, or opt for a private water taxi and arrive like a celebrity! The centre of the city is surprisingly compact too, so strolling on foot alongside the many canals is a real joy.
Venice says hello the start of summer with a night of free art. Around 100 museums and galleries around the city welcome you in to enjoy a special evening of workshops, readings and concerts.
A local favourite, this festival sees thousands take to the Grand Canal in boats decorated with flowers and balloons. Next, a magnificent firework display light up the Floating City. A gondola regatta follows the next day.
The last regatta of the season, this popular boat race takes place round the colourful island of Burano. There’s a number of highly charged races throughout the day as losers from the Regatta Storica get another chance at victory.
Click here to check out our European events calendar for a comprehensive round-up of the goings-on in 2016.
Please note, dates are subject to change.
★ This is a city that can quickly add up. If you don’t have George Clooney’s budget, then avoid eating and drinking in St Mark’s square. In the side streets and alleyways there’s a host of traditional osteria’s and trattoria serving inexpensive fare to the locals. Most have set lunches at very reasonable prices. And you’ll get a real feel for Venetian life if you avoid the tour bus crowd too.
★ Don’t just stick to the main tourist sites. Explore local neighbourhoods such as Cannaregio and Castello where you will find fewer tourists and a lot more local life, find a café and watch the Venetian way of life.
★ Enjoy a drink at a reasonable price. Head to Campo Santo Margherita which is a hangout for the local university students ensuring a great atmosphere and cheaper prices!
The city’s first bridge across the Grand Canal opened in 1951 and connected the districts of San Polo and San Marco. Join other tourists and Venetians heading across this elegant arch and watch the water traffic passing underneath.
Located on the Grand Canal, this museum presents Peggy Guggenheim’s collection of early 20th century European and American art. The impressive modern and well-respected artworks are definitely not worth missing.
This impressive structure, once the centre of power from where the Venetian Republic was ruled by the Doges, is not to be missed. Inside the palace you can find remarkable pieces of art, the government chambers and the prison cells.
This principal square hosts a rich fabric of history and is surrounded by splendid architecture. There is plenty to take in here; the grand St Mark’s Church, the Campanile bell tower and of course the colonnaded arcade of famous cafes.
In the heart of Venice, you’ll come across myriad shops filled with colourful, curving glass figures, many of them made on the nearby island of Murano, the home of world-famous glassware. As you wander, you’ll also spot Venetian mask shops - their intricate, delicate designs add yet more intrigue to the city. Look out for Burano lace, and shop the latest fashions on the Mercerie network of streets.