Updated: Feb 26, 2020
Getting to the islands
Welcome to beautiful Venice, one of the most popular cities in Europe. Once you arrive at the airport you will have to make your way to the islands. I suggest you familiarize yourself with the map a bit to see the route you will be taking. You can also point it out upon landing!
We rented a car since we only had a few days, then had plans to hit the road throughout Italy. It was a little tricky to find the right lane but everyone is friendly and helped direct us.
From here you will most likely find a large crowd, bridge and stair area. This is where you will find the Vaporetto that takes you around Venice.
http://www.veneziaunica.it - BUY TICKET HERE
Make sure you save a copy of the timetable/schedule and keep track of the routes you will be taking.
Where to stay
Giudecca is where we slept and I’d consider the best island to stay on! While searching for accommodations I thought it was odd that the majority of the hotels had shared bathrooms!
This was when I first discovered Airbnb… (https://www.airbnb.ca/c/gledoyenlambert?currency=USD)
We were able to score an entire apartment with bricks accents, a loft, skylight to overlook the canal, full kitchen and anything else you might need! We always found it was best to wake up early and avoid the big crowds.
- Visit Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge)
Walk down to Ponte di Rialto, the oldest bridge over the grand canal in Venice. See how locals are unloading their fresh vegetables and fish from the boats and cross the stunning bridge. Lastly, walk down the bridge to the square at Sotoportego de l’Erbaria. After that, enjoy a delicious espresso and chocolate croissant in the fresh morning sunshine.
- The view from Fondaco Dei Tedeschi
From the bridge, it’s a 2-minute walk to the rooftop of Fondaco Dei Tedeschi. This might be one of the best views in Venice. The rooftop is on top of a luxury shopping mall and is free to visit. There is however a limit of 70 people at the time, reservations can be made inside the mall or online. It is one of the best places to see the sunset but most-likely impossible to get a spot during high-season.
- Visit Italy’s coolest bookstore
Libreria Acqua Alta is a bit off the beaten path in a quiet area where not many tourists are seen. In this crazily decorated bookstore, they sell secondhand books, postcards, maps, and calendars. There are books everywhere you look, even in a huge gondola and bathtub that’s inside the bookstore. This is because water can suddenly flood the place so it is to protect the books.
- Get lost in the little streets – Best thing to do in Venice
The main Venice tourist spots can get extremely busy but you can get to a quiet area pretty easily. Get lost and stroll along the canals, cross bridges, locals enjoying their coffee moment and see the real beauty of this incredible city. Without a doubt one of the best things to do in Venice. As a bonus, do this at night! ——> READ OUR STORY HERE ——> Lost in Venice at night - we found cars!
- Gondola ride in Venice
A unique and romantic way to see Venice is by cruising its canals with a gondola, the luxury cars of Venice. The gondola price is 80 EUR per 40-minute boat ride and is officially set throughout the entire city. It’s quite pricey, but after Venice 2 times now, we regret not having gone.
- Palazzo Ducale & Bridge of Sighs
The Doge’s Palace is full of history and artwork that you can’t miss. From here, criminals are sentenced to prison. The prisoners crossed the Bridge of Sighs and captured one last glance of Venice. Hence the name Bridge of Sighs.
- Saint Marco Basilica
The impressive architecture and mosaics of the Saint Marco Basilica is a must-see. Parts of the cathedral are free to visit, and it’s not allowed to take any photos or videos inside. From the top of the cathedral, you have a great view of the entire square but try to be here at 09:30 AM to avoid the long lines. (opening times)
Note: As you are entering a religious site, dress appropriately.
- Piazza San Marco
Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) is the biggest square in Venice. Strategically located surrounded by some of Venice’s most famous buildings like the Saint Marco Basilica, the Campanile (bell tower) and the Palazzo Ducale. Tip: Get a delicious dinner at Ristorante Rosa Rossa
- Scala Contarini del Bovolo
Tucked away in the narrow streets of Venice is a unique piece of architecture. A spiral staircase (Scala) leading up to the top of the building that gives you a panoramic view of the city. You can see the Saint Marco Basilica from there. The entrance is 6 EUR per person and it is worth the search!
- Basilisk Santa Maria Della Salute
Cross the bridge ‘Ponte dell’Accademia’ and walk around the student area of Venice called Dorsoduro. Make your way to the tip of the island towards Santa Maria Della Salute.
- Sunset on the canals
Finish your day watching the sunset along the canals. So find your own private piece of the pier and enjoy the orange and purple colours on the Venetian canals.
Extra: Visit the most colourful island in Europe - Burano
Burano is a 1-hour one-way boat trip from Venice. The regular bus line does this route a couple of times a day. Burano is a small island with colourful bright painted buildings. It is a nice getaway. Expect to spend at least 4 hours including the return trip.
How much does Venice cost?
🏨 Hotel: 150 – 250 USD / night
🍲 Lunch / Dinner: 10 – 30 USD
🚰 Drinking water: Free! (drinkable tapwater)
☕ Espresso: 1 – 2 USD
🚕 Water taxi: 10 USD per ride
🎟️ Attraction entrances 5 – 80 USD