Quick Guide to Venice
Made up of 118 small islands, connected by 400 bridges and as many boats, Venice is often found high up on lists of the world's most romantic cities, and it's certainly one of the highlights of Europe. And lucky for us, it's close enough for a quick weekend break. Holidays in Venice should involve a large pinch of the main sights, like St Mark's Square, as well as delicious food and drink. The capital of Italy's Veneto region, Venice is known for its incredible ancient buildings sitting atop the Venetian lagoon, its gondolas making their way down the city's canals, and for its ancient artistic traditions. Indeed, writers, artists and musicians have been congregating here for hundreds of years. Venice was a progressive city before those ever existed, and a major financial power during the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
Though the city's main areas - Piazza San Marco and the Bridge of Sighs, for example - draw in thousands of tourists every day during the high season, there are plenty of nooks and crannies where you'll find wine bars, hidden churches and plazas inhabited only by locals. Set off on foot or boat, and explore this most fascinating of cities.
It's also one of the most popular cruise stops on the Mediterranean, although plans are afoot to stop huge ships sailing so close to the sinking islands - we're sure it will stay on the itineraries somehow, though!
Fab holidays for:
Gondola rides, Pasta & wine, Sight-seeing
Venice Marco Polo Airport
Did you know?
Venice is sinking at the rate of 1-2 millimeters a year - visit sooner rather than later!
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Top 5 Things to Do in Venice
There is so much to do in Venice on your holiday that it's easy to feel like a headless chicken. Relax, and know that you won't be able to see it all!
- See the sights
- While away the time and discover the likes of St Mark's and the Doge's Palace too as well as the fascinating neighbourhoods of San Polo and Dorsodouro.
- Stroll around the canals
- You could spend hours wandering around the stunning sights and bridges - and there will be plenty of photo opportunities.
- Sample the food & wine
- There's more pasta, pizza and wine that you can shake a stick at - but the taste is like nothing you've ever experienced. Dig in!
- Picnic on the banks of the Grand Canal
- With the likes of the cheese, cure meats and Veneto wines you can find in the surrounding markets, plus those views, it's no normal picnic.
- Try out a gondola ride
- It may be touristy, or even a tad cliche, but those gondola rides are popular for a reason. Sit back and enjoy the scenery.
How to get to Venice
You can choose where your flights to Venice arrive into. Marco Polo is the nearest to this magical city, although there are often better deals to Treviso. Onward transfers by train, bus or taxi are best as you can't drive in Venice itself.
Where to stay in Venice
A history of being a very popular tourist destination means that you'll never be short on choice when it comes to hotels in Venice. If you're after pinching the pennies then look in the Arsenale area, or in the university district during school holidays. If you want to spend some time in Venice but also spend some time by the beach then why not try a package holiday to Lido di Jesolo. If you are really looking for a budget trip to Venice try looking at deals to Mestre.
Venice for Couples
We don't know if it's the gently rippling water of the canals, the magnificent pinks, yellows and oranges of its sunsets, or the intimacy of gliding along in a gondola as the world rushes past, but Venice is one of the most romantic cities in the world. Whether you're popping the question, on your honeymoon, or need a couple's jaunt away, there's no doubt you'll find true romance on one of the city's many islands.
Make the most of your romantic jaunt with a gondola ride. This traditional method of travelling from place to place is only made better with a scoop of gelato - or even prosecco - in hand. Pull up a pew at one of the city's tiny restaurants, and while away the evenings lost in bowls of pasta and aperitifs.
Top Tips for a Romantic Holiday in Venice
We love Venice for romantic holidays - but with floods of tourists migrating to the city's islands each year, it can be hard to find peace and quiet for two. And while the famous sights are more than worth seeing, it's worth heading off the beaten track (or should we say canal) to find the parts of Venice where you're less likely to be stampeded by tourists. Cannaregio is a neighbourhood that's only a short walk from St Mark's Square that has retained its ancient atmosphere, without the tourists one usually expects in such areas of beauty in this city. Burano Island lies to the north of Venice's main archipelago, and is an easy boat ride away. Here like continues as it has for hundreds of years, and its colourful buildings are a feast for the senses - without nearly as many tourists as you'll find in Venice proper!
How to do Venice on a Budget
Just as Venice is notoriously for lovers, it's also notoriously expensive. Luckily, there are a few simple tweaks you can make to your holiday plans to make the most of the City of Bridges. Rather than feasting in restaurants in tourist-packed areas like St Mark's, head to a bacaro. These small bars are frequented by locals - so you know the food will be of a high standard - and you're more likely to pay reasonable prices. You'll find cheap wine, cheap food, and potentially even better conversation than you would at a hub for tourists. For breakfast, make like the Venetians and throw back a coffee and pastry rather than forking out for a continental or English-style feed - even better, search for a holiday with breakfast included in your room rate! It's also advisable to book your holiday as far in advance as possible - leaving it to the last minute will drive prices up, particularly during peak season.
Gondolas are all well and good, but they can put a huge dent in your stash of Euros! A great alternative is the city's public water bus network - for a much lower fare, you can get from place to place, while still enjoying the experience of travelling down the Venetian canals. Luckily for visitors on a budget, Venice's great beauty is its top asset - one that you don't need to pay for! Spend your time strolling through the city and across its many bridges to experience the true Venetian spirit. Avoid touristy souvenir shops and restaurants, book tours in advance, and you'll be well on your way to a Venice holiday that doesn't hit the hip pocket too hard!