As our vaporetto (water bus) navigated through the Grand Canal, the city of Venice slowly came to life. Old historic houses along the canal stand tall one after another as if welcoming us with their fascinating colours. Gondolas stole our attention as they floated so elegantly along the water. It was a pretty sight, and I was glad we had just arrived.
Bellissima! If you are still looking for the real definition of love, you’ll probably find it in Venice. More than the love shared between couples holding hands while wandering around its streets. Venice illustrates true love – with its stunning piazzas, magnificent buildings and the embrace of the water canals upon the whole city.
Piazza San Marco
St. Mark’s Square, as it is known in English, is the heart of all the tourist action in the city. A huge public area with al fresco dining options, pigeons and stunning architecture. It is home to some of Venice’s most beautiful structures such as the Basilica Di San Marco (St. Mark’s Cathedral), the Torre dell’Orologio (Clock Tower) and the Campanile Di San Marco (St. Mark’s Campanile). Admission is free for the cathedral and a climb to the bell tower costs €6 per person. It’s one of the tallest structures in Venice so you get a magnificent view of the rest of the city.
The most iconic structure in the whole city, the Rialto Bridge is a stunning pedestrian bridge along the famous Grand Canal. It is one of the first tourist attractions you will encounter upon your arrival and one you will want to see properly on foot as there are plenty of interesting sights nearby including the Mercato di Rialto, one of Venice’s oldest markets. There are also plenty of souvenir shops and small cafes near this area if you want to hang around.
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The Streets and Canals of Venice
Venice is probably the best city to get lost in since there are so many sights hidden among its streets and along its canals. But really, you won’t get lost. Some signs may get confusing but it’s easy to work your way towards Piazza San Marco or the Rialto. Get off the tourist streets to explore some of the quieter sitting areas and cafés the city has to offer. You’ll be surprised to see a lot of the interesting parts which include beautiful old churches and art galleries just outside of the Grand Canal.
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The Outer Islands of Venice: Murano, Burano and Torcello
If you want to escape the crowds or are just looking for the old Venice, you can check out its outer islands.
Purple, pink, yellow and blue – Burano is a splash of colour. Like a miniature Venice, Burano boasts beautiful coloured houses, narrow canals and small bridges. Another highlight of this island is the lace industry. You won’t find any difficulty in looking of beautiful embroidery in these parts.
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Famous for its glass-blown art, Murano is a beautiful island with quaint little shops and cafés. If you have the luggage space or if you’re willing to ship some souvenirs, this is probably the best place to buy them.
The lost island, well it seemed like it. Though many tourists still flock to the islands of Murano and Burano for their souvenir shops, Torcello has been left aside. It was the quietest place we’ve been in the whole of Venice and felt like we’ were the only tourists there. It’s still interesting to see though, as it is so different from the rest because it’s very rural. We saw an old church and lots of farms on this tiny island.
Travel Tips for a Delightful Holiday in Venice
Venice is a popular tourist attraction. It is a beautiful city that many people long to see so it’s important to plan your trip ahead. Here are some travel tips for a pleasant holiday in Venice:
Avoid the Crowds. Consider Travelling in Low Season
Venice is a popular city for tourists and it can get pretty crowded. Plan your trip ahead and consider to visit in the low season if you are looking for a less busy holiday. We were there in November 2014, close to winter, and there weren’t many tourists. Expect to still queue for most attractions, though.
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Stay on the Islands of Venice, not on the Mainland
Most budget travellers will opt to stay on the mainland to save on accommodation expenses, however this may affect your Venice experience. The good thing about staying in Venice itself is that you can wander the streets easily. There are reasonably priced hotels in Venice. We stayed in Hotel San Samuele, a 1-Star Hotel near Piazza San Marco. You can check out our review for Hotel San Samuele if you are still looking for options for accommodation.
A Cheap Gondola Ride
If you aren’t on your sweet honeymoon or going on a private gondola ride (which costs €80 per hour) isn’t as important, you can opt for the local and cheaper version. The best way to take a quick ride and say “I’ve been on a gondola”, is by doing the short trip across the Grand Canal which you can take near the Rialto Market and only costs €2 per person. It’s not as romantic but it’s an amusing ride.
Purchase a 24-Hour Transport Pass
If you are looking into some serious sight-seeing by vaporetto (water bus) or if you want to go to the outer islands of Venice, you can save some money and time by purchasing a 24-Hour Transport Pass which costs €20. Note that the airport water bus is not included in the pass.
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Have you been to Venice? Do you have plans to visit this romantic city? Let us know.