There’s no denying that this is a truly magical city, and you’ll find there’s no shortage of things to do in Venice as you stroll along ancient, cobbled streets and cruise along the historic waterways. From floating along the Grand Canal in a gondola to exploring Saint Mark’s Basilica, city breaks to Venice have something to offer all tastes.
Places to go
Nowadays gondolas generally provide a scenic city tour, rather than a practical way to get from A to B, but there’s still something magical about cruising along with your very own traditionally dressed gondolier. When it comes to Venice attractions, this is something you can’t afford to miss out on. Take a group tour or hire a private gondola for a romantic night time ride. If you prefer to cruise the waters on a bigger boat, why not take a vaporetto (water bus) ride down the Grand Canal? Hop on board as the sun sets for stunning views of the city’s architecture.
Venice is a surprisingly walkable city, given all that water, and there’s plenty of history just waiting to be uncovered. Don’t miss a visit to Saint Mark’s Basilica, make sure you dress modestly (shoulders and knees covered) when you visit this 9th century cathedral, with its elegant byzantine domes, marble walls and mosaics.
A must-see is the Quadriga of St Mark’s, a collection of four bronze horses stolen from Constantinople, and it’s worth paying the small entrance fee to see the treasury too. Piazza San Marco is right outside and this 12th century square is a popular meeting spot and the ideal photo opportunity.
Then it’s on to the Doge’s Palace, a wonder of Venetian Gothic architecture that’s today a museum hosting a prison, armoury and various exhibitions. Make sure you check out the Gallerie dell’Accademia too, where you can see Venetian art from the 13th to 18th century.
Places to visit
Venice may not be known for its shopping, but a great way to get a taste of the local culture is to shop at one of the city’s markets. Rialto Market has drawn crowds since the 11th century and its canal-side location and endless stalls ensure its popularity as one of the best things to do in Venice. Here you can shop for fruit and vegetables, fresh produce and fish, before stopping off for a coffee in one of the narrow cobbled streets surrounding the market.
The island of Murano is a popular day trip from Venice, known for its glass making. If you’ve heard of Murano glass beads and jewellery, here’s where they are made. You can visit the Glass Museum or head for one of the glass factories offering demonstrations to visitors. Make sure you stop off to buy some Murano glass jewellery too, while you’re here.
Venice is one of the world’s most beautiful cities and there’s something to please all ages. Whether you’re here for a romantic weekend or a family break, you’re sure to return, as one trip to Venice is never enough.