Venice is definitely one of my favourite cities in the world. It’s unlike any city I have ever visited and I need to go back (sooner rather than later!). I still have so much left to explore – including the Lido – but I have compiled a list of my 20 favourite things to do in Venice (so far!)
20. Wander along the Grand Canal
Every visitor to Venice needs to do this. It’s not the quietest of areas but it’s stunning!
19. Visit the Giudecca
This has to be the quietest area of Venice. It’s the bit at the south of Venice, and there’s a super short boat ride required to reach there. Admittedly, there’s not really anything to do here (it’s mainly residential and hotels – there’s a hideous Hilton hotel here. Seriously, it does not fit in with Venice at all) but it’s a nice area to relax and get away from the crowds.
18. Gondola Ride
This is sort of a ‘must-do’ thing in Venice. Everyone knows about gondolas. My recommendation would be to find as many people as the gondola will allow, as it is 80 Euro per gondola, not per person. I went on a gondola with my Mum and we found an American family to share with – it saved us heaps!
17. Bovolo Staircase
I wish this had been open when I went to visit but, alas, I had to make do with looking through the gates. This staircase is gorgeous and surprisingly difficult to find (I think I wandered around the area for a good half hour before I found it – I was determined!)
16. Ponte di Rialto
I’m glad I saw this the first time I visited Venice, as it was covered in scaffolding the second time I went! Fortunately, this meant it wasn’t so busy, so I got a proper look at all of the little shops on the bridge – all the super expensive little shops!
15. San Barnaba
I know this as the Indiana Jones church. It was featured in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (which made me happy) and now is home to a da Vinci museum (which made me even happier!)
14. St Mark’s Square
Everyone who visits Venice has to visit St Mark’s Square at some point – even though it’s packed. And, true to what I’d heard, there are a lot of pigeons (tourists in Venice seem to love pigeons – and seagulls – which baffles me. Pigeons are so common in Scotland and seagulls are the spawn of Satan – I’m not even kidding…).
13. Ca D’oro
This is a stunning palace in Venice. It got its name, as it used to have a lot of gilt all over its walls. It’s a bit more subdued nowadays but the mosaic flooring at the entrance took my breath away.
12. Have a Spritz
My favourite drink ever. I fell in love with this drink the first time I visited Venice. I have tried (and failed) to make it at home – I’ve tried all sorts of recipes (I even succumbed and bought one in Verona) but no Spritz can hold a candle to those in Venice. Personally, I prefer Aperol to Campari, as it has a sweeter taste, but I wouldn’t say no to either!
11. Isola di San Michele
This whole island is a cemetery and it’s completely unique to any cemetery that I’ve ever visited before. There are graves in the walls, as well as tombs. I think the thing that surprised me the most was that they even had ground burials, which I wouldn’t have thought they’d do, with the frequency that Venice floods. Igor Stravinsky (the famous violinist) is buried here, too!
10. St Mark’s Basilica
I didn’t go inside St Mark’s Basilica the first time around but I’m glad I went back and went in the second time. The mosaics are super detailed! I paid to to upstairs and around the outside, which was lovely as well – people had taken books up with them and were just chilling on the roof! I wish I’d thought to take a book up with me but I wanted to explore Venice more!
9. St Mark’s Campanile
This gives you an amazing view of Venice and the gorgeous orange rooftops – try and aim to be up there for the bells! That was an amazing experience!
8. Doge’s Palace
I would definitely recommend splurging on the tour where you can visit everything – the palace is pretty and all, but I enjoyed seeing the prisons – and Casanova’s cell(s) – and going over the Bridge of Sighs more!
7. Buy a Venetian Mask in Venice, some Murano glass in Murano, and some lace in Burano
Because I said so 🙂
6. Visit Libreria Acqua Alta
The best bookshop in Venice, there are books everywhere. I mean everywhere – they are in bathtubs, in gondolas, even staircases have been made out of books. I love the fire escape as well. It’s basically an arrow pointing out into the canal – I hope you can swim!
5. Visit Paolo Olbi’s shop next to the Ca Foscari university
One of the true masters left in Venice, Paolo Olbi makes all of his work by hand. Watch him make a notebook and definitely buy at least one (I may have bought three…) – the price is definitely worth it!
4. Visit San Giorgio Maggiore and go up the belltower
I personally think that this is the best view of Venice. You can pretty much see all of Venice from here – and it’s so quiet that you’re allowed to operate the lift to the top by yourself!
Murano is similar to Venice but there are glass shops everywhere. And not tacky glass shops – the work is beautiful! I watched someone make a glass flower and I loved it so much that I got 20 Euro off the price, as the man was really pleased that I liked his work. I’d also recommend visiting the glass museum and also gawk at the amazingly over-the-top chandeliers that are in pretty much every shop.
Burano is my favourite of the islands. It’s pretty small but the colours are amazing! The lace museum and the leaning belltower are must-see’s (although you can’t actually go inside the tower).
1. Get lost
What better way is there to see Venice?