The land of canals! One of my favourite cities in Europe, and really, no visit ever seems like long enough. Visit early or late summer to avoid the most chaotic crowds but get lose in the city’s inner streets to really feel like a true Venetian. If you’re short on time, grab the day ferry pass – well worth the money!
1. Piazza San Marco
Relax in the Piazza San Marco along the steps of Doge’s Palace or by the water, with a bottle of tap wine (check out Cantina del Mori). Listen to some live music and relax, without paying the hefty cover charge to sit at one of the many café tables (an experience, but not one I’d do repeatedly).
2. See The City From The Sky
Take in the spectacular panoramic views from Campanile de Saint-Marc – one of the most instagrammable skyline views in Europe.
3. San Marco to Rialto – A Staple
Walk the inner streets from Piazza San Marco to Rialto, and let yourself get lost. It’s a classic trail through the inner alleys of Venice, and definitely one of the most crowded, but don’t let that stop you. Feel free to wander off the signed path deeper into the city’s side streets.
4. Cicchetti Like A Local
Venetians are notorious for their love of Cicchetti – 5pm finger food and a glass of wine at the many hidden bars along the city’s alleyways, perched ons eats overlooking the canal and spending a few hours people watching.
5. St. Mark’s Basilica
Explore this beautiful structure with its stained glass windows – well worth standing the line for. check out the city passes as there might be some that include entries to the Basilica to save you from waiting.
6. Take A Gondola Ride
Nothing characterizes Venice quite as much as its gondolas. Yes, you do need to be a classic tourist, but embrace this and enjoy the ride. Hotels often have their private gondolas available for hire, else grab one near Piazza San Marco.
You really can’t go to Venice and miss the seafood. Grab some shellfish pasta at any of the restaurants between Rialto and Santa Lucia Station – Osteria Olivanera is a particular favourite!
8. Bridge of Sighs
Walk beyond Piazza San Marco to the edge of the island and explore the inner canals – and the Bridge of Sighs. The Bridge is considered one of Venice’s most romantic spots, although it was originally built for prisoners being transferred to a new prison from the Doge’s Palace.
9. Island Adventures
Not a huge detour, and included on your ferry day pass, visit the islands of Murano and Burano. Burano, the island of handmade lace is strewn with colourful houses on either side of the canal, making for some very pretty pictures and lovely souvenirs to take home. Murano gives you a lovely experience of watching the creation of the blown glass, which is the island’s namesake. Grab a souvenir from the factory stores for great deals and one-of-a-kind pieces.
Check out Rialto’s market, and take a stroll on either side of the bridge. The fruits and vegetables farmers’ markets add spectacular colour to the surroundings, with some lovely, fresh, local produce for your snacks through the day.