Venice Travel Guide

Introduction to Venice

Built on a series of 117 islands in an Adriatic lagoon in the north of Italy, Venice is a strong contender for the most romantic city in the world, and justifiably so. Little changed for centuries, and with a long and fascinating history, the city is famous for its mysterious canals and lavish annual Carnival. Venice is the world’s only pedestrian city: with no cars allowed in, it is quiet and unpolluted, its romantic image every bit as evocative in real life as it is in the innumerable works of art, literature and film which it has inspired.

San Marco

San Marco

Venice’s opulent Byzantine basilica, founded in the 9th century.

Doge’s Palace

Doge’s Palace

Once the seat of Venice’s ruler; includes the famous Bridge of Sighs.

The Rialto

The Rialto

The famous bridge spanning the Grand Canal, lined with small shops.

Other things to do in Venice

The best way to get to know Venice is simply to get lost in its maze of secluded streets and canals and see what you chance upon. Venice’s stunning architecture never fails to impress, and there are countless gems waiting to be discovered, from tiny shops selling colourful Carnival masks to the many sumptuous palaces which line the beautiful Grand Canal.

Venice has a wealth of art galleries and museums, two particularly notable ones being the Peggy Guggenheim Collection of modern art and the Correr Museum in San Marco square, home to a fascinating assortment of archaeological finds, works of art, and a collection of antique globes. For incredible views over Venice and the lagoon, go up to the top of the San Marco Campanile or bell-tower.

If you have time, take a water bus out to Murano Island. Here you can watch the famous Murano glass being blown, and it’s the perfect place to pick up a souvenir from one of the many gift shops selling beautiful glass products in all shapes, sizes and colours. Why not book a sumptuous hotel in Venice and enjoy all this elegant city has to offer.

Eating and drinking in Venice

Venice has numerous restaurants and cafes serving fabulous Italian cuisine, but they can be expensive in the area immediately around San Marco.  Cheaper restaurants, with more authentic menus not aimed exclusively at tourists, can be found by strolling a little further into the side streets; as a general rule, avoid restaurants which have a pushy waiter trying to lure you in.

Venice is also home to Italy’s oldest café, Caffe Florian, which dates from 1720 and can be found on Piazza San Marco. Sipping coffee in these illustrious surroundings may be pricey, but it’s worth it just for the ambience.

Venice climate

Venice is hot and often very humid in the summer, particularly July and August, and can be cold and rainy in the winter. Spring and autumn are best in terms of climate, and although prone to flooding in winter, this is a quieter time to enjoy the city.

When to go to Venice

Venice gets extremely crowded and the canals smelly in the hot summer months, and is therefore best avoided at this time. Go in February or March to experience the delights of the famous Carnival (dates vary each year), or at Christmas for a particularly magical festive atmosphere.

Flying to Venice

When booking flights to Venice, the best airport to fly to is Marco Polo, 12km away from Venice centre. Get your trip off to a great start by taking a water taxi into Venice, or if you’re on a budget, the water bus is a cheaper alternative. Budget airlines fly to Treviso, 25km away, connected with the city by bus.

 Venice Deals

Hotels in Venice

Car hire in Venice

Images by Flickr/Navin75