Built on water, the vibrant canal city of Venice is like no others. With its’ picturesque canals and charming views, this quaint city has managed to capture the hearts of many.
Lined with many architectural wonders that beautifully portray Venetian art, culture and history, this magical island never ceases to amaze.
What better way to start your exploration of this alluring city than with a free walking tour? Get a taste of the Venetian history from the knowledgeable guides as they take visitors through less touristic paths in this charming city.
The guides are none other than locals who are very passionate about their culture and wish to share their love for the city in this meaningful way.
You do not have to pay anything to join the tour. All you need to do is visit their website and book a preferred time slot. Though this tour is free, visitors are strongly recommended to give an appropriate tip as a gesture of appreciation.
Still skeptical? Well, let the statistics convince you otherwise. Accumulating a near–perfect rating of 4.9 on Trip Advisor, it is safe to say that the majority enjoyed their tour and so, this tour is definitely worth it!
The grand canal is Venice’s busiest ‘street’ and connects most of Venice’s most popular attractions.
Stroll along the canal and soak up the lively atmosphere. There are many bars and restaurants lined up along the banks of the canals so be sure to grab a bite there before you set off once again.
Wander around the quaint streets and alleys and enjoy stunning scenic views of iconic landmarks and bridges.
St. Mark’s Square
St. Mark’s Square is the largest and the most important square in Venice.
Often regarded as the heart of the city, St. Mark’s Square is surrounded by many remarkable buildings which play a significant part in the history and culture of Venice.
The square is lined with many historical buildings such as the Basilica, Doge Palace and the iconic Bell Tower.
Take a ride through the city’s canals and see Venice from a completely different angle. Gondola ride is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and is definitely a must–do when one’s in Venice.
Gondolas are one of the most iconic and traditional Venetian experiences and you cannot get this experience anywhere else in the world.
The usual cost of a gondola ride is 80 euros for 40 minutes, regardless of the number of passengers and each gondola can fit up to 6 people.
Tip: Don’t book a gondola near the San Marco or Rialto Bridge. These two places become so crowded during peak periods to the point that visitors have to wait in line for hours just to ride the gondola for 20 minutes.
Furthermore, the canals near these areas are going to be packed with gondola such that you are going to end up in a gondola train, stuck behind another gondola for the rest of the ride.
St Mark’s Basilica
First, we will visit the world-famous St Mark’s Basilica. This cathedral church is one of Venice’s most visited sites and it is easy to see why.
Housing over 8000 square meters of mosaic, with every single one being unique in its own way, a visit here definitely makes for a magnificent feast for the eyes.
Entrance to the Basilica is free so there’s simply no reason for you to skip it. Before you leave, don’t forget to head to the roof to get a splendid view of San Marco Square!
Well, I have to emphasise yet again that a visit to St Mark’s Basilica is an absolute must for any traveller. Yes, the queues may be very long but trust me, the extraordinary interior of the church will make up for it.
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St Mark’s Campanile (Bell Tower)
Next, we will visit St Mark’s Campanile which is located right opposite the Basilica. The Bell Tower is one of the most recognisable and significant landmarks of Venice.
Once at the top, you will get a remarkable panoramic view of the city as well as the beautiful Venetian Lagoon.
It costs 8 euros to go up to the top of the tower but hey, I can assure you that the view is well worth the wait and of course, the money.
For 8 euros, you get a 360-degree view of Venice that you cannot get anywhere else!
Tip: Be sure to get there early to avoid the crowd which usually forms after 10 am.
Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo
This hidden gem is an incredible architectural wonder tucked away in a quiet neighbourhood, away from bustling St Mark’s Square. The beautiful exterior spiralling staircase itself is so stunning to look at but the views offered from above is far more dazzling, far more breathtaking.
That being said, I highly recommend you to pay the entrance fee of 7 euros to climb up to the top. The climb can be rather strenuous but on the bright side, you can stay as long as you want here and so, you can climb at your own pace too.
The climb is well worth it as the top of the building offers a stunning view of the southern portion of the main Venetian island that you surely wouldn’t want to miss!
End day 2 by catching the sunset at none other than the iconic Rialto Bridge. Just a mere 5 minutes walk away from the Palazzo lies this magnificent landmark, the oldest of the four bridges in the Grand Canal.
As it is a centrally located bridge, it is really hard to miss it and you will likely come across it at least once during your time here.
At the top of the bridge, you can get spectacular views of the bustling canals, not to mention, a superb view of the sunset too. This is undoubtedly one of the best places to catch the sunset in Venice.
Begin Day 3 by taking a tour around Doge Palace, one of the most prominent buildings in Venice and be prepared to be struck by its splendour and significance.
Set in St Marks’ Square, the palace is easily recognisable from far due to its’ extravagantly decorated exterior which is very striking to the eye.
The Doge Palace houses many rooms and each room is exquisitely decorated with many majestic grandeur paintings.
The grand interior you see is a result of the extravagant gold ceiling illuminating the paintings on the wall.
The entrance fee of 20 euros is pretty costly but a visit to Venice wouldn’t be complete without seeing the Doge Palace!
It is also highly recommended to take a guided tour where a knowledgeable guide will provide you with in depth insights to the rich history of the Doge Palace and Venice itself.
Bridge Of Sighs
The Bridge of Sighs is one of the most photographed bridges not just in Venice, but in the world.
This bridge connects the majestic Doge Palace with the gloomy prisons where criminals spent their last few years in misery. Yet, as visually stunning as it looks, there is a rather terrifying history behind how the bridge got its name.
Legend has it that the Bridge of Sighs was given its’ name because it gave prisoners a last glimpse at the beautiful Venetian City before they are led to the execution chamber.
Do note that the bridge is only accessible via the Doge Palace. In other words, visitors will need to buy an admission ticket for the Doge Palace to be able to cross this bridge.
Venice is nothing short of wonderful for art lovers, being home to numerous highly acclaimed art galleries and museums.
One of the most notable art galleries is the Accademia Gallery which has one of the finest collections of Venetian art.
Do note that visitors have to pay an entrance fee of 9 euros to access the rich collection of artworks in this outstanding gallery which simply cannot be rivalled anywhere else.
Apart from the world-famous Rialto Bridge, another notable bridge that you should visit in Venice is the Accademia Bridge which is located directly in front of the Accademia Gallery.
There’s no better way to end the day than witnessing the captivating sunset over the horizon.
Day 4 – Day Trips
Venice is actually made up of many islands, 118 to be exact. That being said, it is impossible to visit all of them but there are some islands that you should stop by if you have the time, of course.
Burano is a picturesque district of Venice known for the colourful houses that surround the island. The brightly coloured houses make for an eye-opening experience and a perfect spot for a photo shoot.
Besides the colourful houses, Burano is also famous for its’ exquisite lace products, arguably the best in the world. As Burano is a relatively small island, it takes only about 4 hours to cover the entire island!
Oh yes, don’t forget to try their traditional biscuit, Buranei, at Panificio Pasticceria Costantini, a family-run bakery.
This dazzling city is not to be missed and is a perfect escape from the daunting midday crowd in Venice.
Due to its’ close proximity, Burano makes for a fantastic day trip from Venice. To get here, take the Vaporetto Line 12 leaving from Venice Fondamente Nove.
The entire journey takes about 40 minutes and it costs 7 euros for a one-way trip.
Just a short Vaporetto ride away from the bustling waters of Venice lies Murano, the glass island of Venice. Although this island bears a striking resemblance to Venice, it is far quieter and there is definitely much more room to move around.
Be wowed by the art of glassblowing by specialist craftsmen with
years decades of experience under their belt. Murano island is one of the last few places where this skill is still being put in practice today.
There are many shops on the island selling the famous Murano glass so you can get some last minute souvenirs here!
To get here, take the Vaporetto Line 12 leaving from Venice Fondamente Nove (the same way you get to Burano Island). The journey takes only 10 minutes.
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