Venice is a place that captures hearts and really has an element of magic about it. It definitely captured mine. It was beautiful. It was also a special trip for me as I went with my Mum who had always wanted to go, and we had such a nice time with beautiful weather in April and not too many crowds.
We explored many different areas of Venice, as well as the island of Murano. Italy really is a country with so much to offer – you can see more of this in my Amalfi Coast and Milan posts below if you want!
The highlights of our Venice trip were:
ONE. Gondola Rides
Are they a rip off? Yes. Do they last long? No. Are they worth it? ABSOLUTELY. Ours was so much fun. We booked in advance to save some money with Gondolieri Travel and did the route starting from Bacino Orseolo. It was expensive, and you may get a cheaper price on the day if they aren’t fully booked, but we both loved it. And hey, you’re in Venice.
TWO. Getting lost
I loved just walking about Venice from area to area not really knowing where you’re going. We did have maps, but they didn’t always match the roads anyway. Transport around Venice can also be easy via watertaxi (you very often have to get one to your hotel anyway as taxis/buses can’t get to hotels so drop you at a station and you get the watertaxi in to the city) and both walking and watertaxi were a great way to explore!
THREE. The Rialto Bridge
One of the most famous icons in Venice that absolutely can’t be missed. We walked over the Rialto Bridge to get views down the grand canal but it was so busy we barely got to the front, and even though it is a beautiful view, you can have better views of the smaller canals like in photos above.
To get the best photos of the Rialto bridge itself, go down to the banks below – it wasn’t too crowded and we walked out to multiple piers to get good views. My favourite was this moody shot with a Gondola station in front.
FOUR. St Mark’s Square and The Campanile
St Mark’s Square hosts The Basilica, The Doge’s Palace and The Campanile. It is beautiful, and is best early or late as there are less people once the cruise ships aren’t docked.
The Basilica is a pretty amazing cathedral. The queues to go inside are long but move fairly quickly and it’s well worth a look. You can also go up to the roof for views out over the square, and to see the four horses above the door. These horses were taken in 1204 from Constantinople as part of the Crusades, and are now inside the church – with only replicas above the door now.
The Doge’s Palace was the residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority of the former Venetian Republic. We spent about 2 hours looking around it and found it very interesting.
The Campanile is a tall tower in St Mark’s Square. Go when it opens. We did, and still had to queue for 30 minutes. By the time we got down, the queue was 2 hrs long! The views over Venice are worth it though.
FIVE. The Bridge of Sighs
This bridge runs from the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace to the Prison. It’s known as the bridge of sighs due to the sighs the prisoners made as they went over it. I thought it was beautiful and a must see, just off St Mark’s Square.
The best of the rest in Venice
- The James Bond Building – the famous Casino Royale building, which is actually the Benedetto Marcello Conservatory of Music and is beautiful viewed from the opposite side of the river
- A trip to Murano – the glass blowing island is lovely for a half or full day trip. You can even watch and participate in glass blowing classes
- Food and drink – Pizzas, pasta, prosecco and good wine, need I say more?
- I Frari – a famous, beautiful Gothic church. It’s worth a visit just to look at the pews!
- Dorsoduro – A much quieter district of the city, home to many of the city’s art collections, including the Galleria dell’Accademia and Peggy Guggenheim Collection. It’s also home to beautiful churches and great restaurants, with a fraction of the crowds!
- Venetian mask shops – Fun to have a look in, they’re round every corner
Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed the post – let me know if you’re inspired to visit Venice, or have been before, in the comments below!