Without a doubt, Venice is a romantic city filled with classical music and Renaissance art, and some of the most amazing architecture in the world. It’s a place you can easily lose yourself (and get lost) in and with so much to see and do, here’s our ‘must-do’ list.
1. Visit Doge's Palace & its 'Bridge of Sighs’
Take a guided palace tour or go solo with an audio tour and enjoy the art, architecture and fascinating history of the apartments within. Book a tour early to queue skip and get exclusive access to private areas of the the prison including secret tunnels.
2. See St. Mark’s Basillica
Piazza San Marco and the Basillica are the epicentre of the tourist area so it’ll be busy here, but worth it. Napoleon called this square ‘Europe’s drawing room’ and standing among it, you’ll understand why. Climb the clock tower for breathtaking views and photos.
3. Take a gondola tour
Sure it’s cliché and a little expensive but choosing am ‘in-the-know’ gondolier means you’ll get some local insight to the area, and if you’re savvy, you can use it as a taxi to get from one side of the city to the other.
4. Visit the islands
The islands of Murino and Burino are famous for glass and lacework production and their brightly coloured houses are super-photogenic. Once the busiest island, Torcello is now off the beaten tourist path but worth a visit with its Byzantine-Italian cathedral, dating back to 639 AD.
5. Experience the Rialto food markets
This fresh produce and seafood market is where the locals come to bargain. Get there early (from 7a.m.) to watch it all happen before it’s all over by noon. Even if you aren’t buying, the local vibe and busy surrounds are a memorable experience.
6. Do a walking tour
The only way to experience the nooks and narrow laneways of the city is by foot. City tours like those from Context Travel offer a variety of walking tours focussing on everything from history to food to architecture. Walking tours are roughly 3 hours duration.
7. Hop on the vaporetto
Take a self-guided tour down the Grand Canal on the vaporetto (Venice’s public waterbus). See the city from a gondolier’s point of view as you cruise the canal. Try grabbing an outside or back seat for the best photo opportunities of the city’s landmarks.
8. The Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Every two years, the contemporary art world shines on Venice for the Art Biennale. However, visiting the private collection of quirky art collector Peggy Guggenheim is the next best thing. Her vast collection showcases works from Picasso, Jackson Pollack and once husband Max Ernst.
9. See the Venetian Masters
The city is full of museums, basilicas, and historic homes heavy with some of the best artwork from the Middle Ages to the mid-18th century. The Ca' Rezzonico showcases many masterpieces and once inside, the authentic surroundings will seemingly transport you to 18th century Venice.
10. Eat up Italy
Take some aperitivo time and enjoy a glass of wine or spritz and some cicchetti from a local eatery, Foodies can also book guided food tours to experience a range of local eateries, grappa and gelato tastings, produce markets and/or a cooking class.