21 Jun Fall in Love with Venice
With its historic buildings and gorgeous canals, Venice is one of Italy’s most famous and unique attractions. This floating city is the capital of the Veneto region and consists of a group of 117 small islands separated by canals and linked by bridges. When visiting Venice, you will want to have the best tips possible, gathered here are some important tips to have before your arrive!
From the moment you arrive at the Venice Marco Polo Airport, your adventure begins. The best way to navigate the airport and arrive safely at your hotel consists of four options: (1) private water taxi from the airport to as close as possible to your hotel. These can be booked at the two desks in the Arrivals Hall and is the priciest but most private option (2) a shared water taxi (3) Alilaguna ferry from the airport to a number of places in Venice (4) ATVO coach or ACTV bus or land taxi to Piazzale Roma, then walk, or take the vaporetto or a water taxi.
Both the water taxi and the Alilaguna are wonderful ways to start to see the city. Be sure to know the best drop off location through your hotel or travel agent.
Get to Know the Districts of Venice
When getting to know Venice, you must first learn the city is divided into six districts or sestieri. The six central sestieri are:
- San Marco – the tourist hot-spot.
- Cannaregio – mostly quiet residential area with wonderful locals favorite restaurants.
- Castello – stretches from the tourist centre to the public gardens in the east.
- Dorsoduro – students and artsy part of Venice, to the west.
- San Polo – a small area tucked into the top curve of the Grand Canal. It includes the busy Rialto markets.
- Santa Croce – including the busy bus terminus and quiet lanes.
Be Prepared to Get Lost
Even the most directionally talented travelers get lost in Venice. Google maps will even lead you astray, giving constant directions to a dead end down a small alley or leading you to a canal with no bridge to cross! If you plan to get lost, you’ll be much less frustrated. The beauty of this is you never know what you might accidentally find, so as you wander the streets, take in the shops, the churches, stop at a local bacari (wine bar) for an ombra (small glass) of wine and a cicchetti (bite size appetizer).
Transportation in Venice
One of the most surprising things about Venice for first time visitors is the transportation and the “streets”, which are canals. The Grand Canal, cuts through the center of the city, and is like Venice’s main street, and the vaporetti (boats), are its cars. The vaporetti are the main form of public transportation in the city and pay the principal waterways. The #1 Vaporetto runs along the Grand Canal from the train station and makes many stops. Taxis and gondolas are a good way to navigate through the inner canals and a better way to see something more up close and personal, however, they are more expensive.
A wonderful, relaxing way to get the lay of the land and see an overview of the city is to hire a private water taxi near sunset, take a bottle of wine and have the driver take you around the Grand Canal. A gondola ride through the inner canals is also a must.
Don’t Ignore the Top Tourist Sites
Places like Piazza San Marco, Riva Degli Schiavoni, and Bridge of Sighs are popular for a reason. Don’t ignore these tourist hot spots in Venice. A trip to the top of Campanile di San Marco for a bird’s eye view of the city is also a must. Plan on getting there when the building opens for the shortest wait time. Sunrise at Piazza San Marco is worth waking up for too.
What to Do in Venice
While Venice has an amazing collection of world-famous museums and other attractions, you will also love wandering along the canals off the main tourist tracks or taking advantage of other free diversions this ancient city offers. Some of Venice’s most famous attractions include:
Saint Mark’s Square: Piazza San Marco is the main square of Venice surrounded by chic sidewalk cafés and fancy shops. While it’s a great place to take in the scenery and people, it can also be crowded and pricey to sit at an outdoor table. In the evening, you can listen to live music, too.
Saint Mark’s Basilica: Basilica di San Marco, consecrated in 832 AD, is a beautiful church blending the architecture of East and West.
Doge’s Palace: Palazzo Ducale, also on St. Mark’s Square, is the most impressive building in Venice and worth a tour.
Grand Canal (Canal Grande): This is the main thoroughfare of Venice. It is full of many types of boats and lined with beautiful buildings.
Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto): This is the main bridge crossing the Grand Canal in the heart of Venice and it’s more than 400 years old. Nearby is the Rialto Market, an interesting and lively food market with lots of little shops.
Galleria del Accademia: This impressive institution is one of Italy’s most important art museums, with 24 rooms in three historic buildings. Get there early to avoid the crowds.
Don’t forget to Head to the Outer Islands
Some of the most photogenic places in Venice are on the outer islands. The small islands of Burano and Murano should not to be missed. Spend a day island hopping and plan on having lunch on one of these islands. Tour a Venetian glass factory on Murano and learn about the craft that been made there for over 1,500 years. For those searching for more of a sandy beach experience, head to Lido!
With so much to do and explore in Venice, there is no doubt you will fall in love with this romantic city. Let us help create the perfect trip for you in this city of love!