Traveling to Venice is an amazing experience, with ornate architecture and canals instead of streets. However, it is not a cheap destination to explore. Thus, it is helpful to have a clear idea about the places you wish to go, and the attractions you wish to see before arriving. Below are the 8 best things to do in Venice, Italy to help you make the most of your trip abroad.
Vaporettos are passenger boats that traverse the main canal routes throughout Venice, much like buses in other cities. Now, as they take on the role of buses, these are large barge-type boats, not the gondolas you frequently see in photos. The Vaporettos go at a steady pace, allowing you to enjoy the passing scenery. They also stop frequently along the main canal routes, making it easy for you to get on/off and explore. Line 1 is the best for a city tour, taking you past the primary attractions of Venice and along the Grand Canal. Aim to sit at the front of the Vaporetto in the outdoor seats for the best view. Using Vaporettos to navigate the city can save you a lot of money, compared to canal taxis and gondolas, so consider buying a multi-day pass for your trip.
St Mark’s Square is one of the most popular areas in Venice and can quickly become overcrowded, especially in Summer. Beat the crowds and enjoy the sun coming up over the impressive St Mark’s Basilica. Spend time wandering the square to appreciate the Romanesque details and neo-classical architecture dating back to 1499.
North-East from St Mark’s Square across the Ponte della Paglia is the historic district of Castello. Here you will find small local businesses, and cobbled streets lined with houses. Castello is the largest neighborhood in the city, however, it is also the least touristy. This allows you to truly embrace the culture of Venice and dine at authentic Italian restaurants. There is even a working monastery, the San Francesco Della Vigna you can visit.
Though expensive, riding a gondola is a must-do while in Venice. The gondolier will be your personal tour guide, showing you amazing landmarks and historic facts. Not to mention, the amazing recommendations for dining, drinks, and shops. Think of your gondolier as a concierge for the city. The gondoliers will also sing, just like you see in the movies, this may feel cliché, but it is definitely an amazing experience as you coast through the narrow canals.
Here is where you will find the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, housed in what was once her home. The Palazzo turned museum houses Peggy Guggenheim's personal art collection, a sculpture garden, and special exhibition events. Visitors get to experience her wonderful art collection while wandering the halls of the luxurious Palazzo on the Grand Canal. There is also a small terrace where you can sit and watch the canal traffic.
This is the oldest bridge in Venice and was built in 1591. With its unique design, this is a popular tourist attraction. Walking over the bridge is bound to be busy, however, it is well worth it, especially to look at the shops on the bridge itself. Each archway of the bridge is a different shop, so be sure to take your time and browse. For an iconic picture of Rialto Bridge, either ride the Vaporetto or head to the east bank of the canal and walk along the jetties.
For the best panoramic views of Venice, you must go to the small department store of Fondaco dei Tedeschi. Offering one of the few elevated views of Venice, it is a must-do. Book a free time slot online, then head up to the top floor of the department store. The staff are very strict about sticking to ticket times, so don’t be late. Located by the Rialto Bridge, this rooftop terrace gives an amazing overview of the entire city and it various domes and bell towers.
This bridge crosses the Grand Canal at the southern end of Venice. As a wooden bridge, it offers a different feel of Venice than at Rialto. However, the primary reason to visit the Accademia Bridge is to capture the sun setting over the Salute or Santa Maria della Salute.
A trip to Venice is sure to be memorable, no matter what you do while you are there. However, keep our list of the 8 best things to do in Venice, Italy in mind while planning. Not only are most of the options above affordable, but they also allow you to truly see the best of Venice.