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The Best of Venice

6 Experiences You simply MUST enjoy!

Best of Venice

It's not easy to decide on the top 6 things to do in Venice. To be honest, maybe it's got something to do with the fact that I'm Italian, but I find it hard to decide on much.

My husband Andrew is far more decisive, though, so it's with his help and more than a week of animated discussion, that I've finally managed to put together this list of the best of Venice!

I sure you'll find that I have the most special experiences you can enjoy in Venice covered. On with my list then...

1) A Gondola Ride

Sunset in Venice by P. Elie Korkomaz

Ah, the Gondola ride in Venice – the epitome of the city's charm and allure. Yes, it may be deemed clichéd and touristy, but there's something undeniably magical about gliding along the labyrinthine canals in one of these iconic black boats. It's an experience that has stood the test of time and continues to captivate visitors from all corners of the globe.

While some may scoff at its touristy reputation, it's important to remember that this tradition has been woven into the fabric of Venice for centuries. As you settle into the plush cushions of a gondola, the gentle lapping of the water against the hull becomes a soothing soundtrack to your adventure. The world transforms around you as you navigate the intricate network of canals, passing under picturesque bridges and marveling at the architectural wonders that define this floating city.

So, while it may be considered clichéd by some, embarking on a gondola ride in Venice is an essential part of any visit to this mesmerizing city. It's an opportunity to immerse yourself in its rich history, succumb to the allure of its enchanting canals, and surrender to the poetic beauty that has inspired artists and dreamers for centuries. Allow yourself to be whisked away on a journey through time, where love, beauty, and the eternal spirit of Venice converge in perfect harmony.

They are expensive though, however, we've an affordable gondola alternative that you'll love. 


🚩 Stroll across the Rialto Bridge, take a ride on a traditional gondola along the Grand Canal, see St. Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace and other magnificent places in just a day!

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2) Incredible Murano & Burano


Enjoy a boat trip out to the famous Venetian islands of Murano (home of Murano glass) and Burano (home of lace).

Venturing beyond the enchanting waterways of Venice, a boat trip to the illustrious islands of Murano and Burano offers a captivating escape into the realm of exquisite craftsmanship and vibrant charm. As you set sail, leaving the grandeur of Venice behind, prepare to immerse yourself in a world where artistry and colors converge.

First stop, the renowned island of Murano, a haven for the age-old craft of Murano glass. Step into a mesmerizing world where master artisans transform molten glass into awe-inspiring creations, their skilled hands sculpting delicate forms with precision and finesse. Witnessing the art of glass blowing unfold before your eyes is a truly captivating experience, as the fiery furnaces illuminate the workshop and the mesmerizing dance of glass takes shape.

Murano, however, is not just about glass. Its rich heritage, storied past, and labyrinthine streets beckon to be explored, offering glimpses of centuries-old palaces, charming canals, and hidden gems awaiting your discovery.

Next, prepare to be enchanted by the kaleidoscope of colors on the island of Burano. Often referred to as the "colorful mini-Venice," Burano is a visual feast for the senses. As you approach the shores, a dazzling array of vibrant houses welcomes you, each adorned in bold hues that create a symphony of color along the canal banks.

Stroll through the picturesque streets, where each corner reveals a new burst of vibrancy, a delightful interplay of colors that reflects the joyful spirit of the island's inhabitants.

Burano (click for our guide) is not only a feast for the eyes; it is also a haven for lace craftsmanship, where skilled artisans create delicate lacework that has been cherished for generations. Uncover the secrets of this intricate art form, and perhaps take home a piece of Burano's timeless elegance as a cherished memento.

While both Murano and Burano hold their own unique allure, it is the charm and character of Burano that has captured my heart. Its whimsical ambiance, the cheerful smiles of the locals, and the inviting aroma of freshly baked treats from the local bakeries create an atmosphere that is simply irresistible. 

As the boat gently glides back towards Venice, allow yourself to be carried away by the memories of your island escapade. The demonstrations of glass blowing in Murano and the kaleidoscope of colors in Burano have left an indelible mark, reminding you of the endless wonders that await in this corner of the Venetian lagoon. 

3) Venetian Essentials

Not really one thing but a combination of most of the six essential sights we mention here. Included are Saint Mark's Basilica, St Mark's Square and the Doges Palace. Which is the best way to see them in a morning, while avoiding the long wait to get in? Here's the answer!


🚩 Stroll across the Rialto Bridge, take a ride on a traditional gondola along the Grand Canal, see St. Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace and other magnificent places in just a day!

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4) A Bridge & Market

Rialto Bridge by J ReyesRialto Bridge

Step into the heart of Venice's bustling soul as you explore the iconic Rialto Bridge and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the Rialto market. This dynamic duo is an absolute must-see for any traveler seeking an authentic Venetian experience.

As you approach the majestic Rialto Bridge, spanning the bustling Grand Canal, a sense of awe washes over you. Its elegant arches and exquisite architectural details stand as a testament to Venice's rich history and artistic grandeur. Marvel at the panoramic views of the canal, adorned with gondolas gracefully gliding through the shimmering waters. Pause for a moment to capture the beauty of this iconic landmark and soak in the lively ambiance that permeates its surroundings.

From the bridge, follow the enchanting allure of the Rialto market, located in the captivating San Polo area. Prepare to be dazzled by a sensory feast as you meander through the bustling stalls teeming with an abundance of fresh produce, aromatic spices, and local delicacies. Engage with the lively vendors, who bring their passion for gastronomy to life, and discover the secrets behind Venetian culinary traditions.

Beyond the market, the San Polo district unveils a tapestry of narrow alleys, hidden squares, and picturesque canals. Lose yourself in its labyrinthine streets, where each turn reveals architectural wonders, charming boutiques, and cozy trattorias tucked away from the tourist crowds. Admire the elegant palazzi that line the canals, witness the local artisans at work, and stumble upon hidden gems that offer a glimpse into the everyday life of Venetians.

In the San Polo area, history comes alive through its ancient churches, such as the imposing Basilica dei Frari and the intriguing Church of San Polo. Step inside these sacred spaces, adorned with stunning artwork and intricate details, and delve into the spiritual heritage of Venice.

Discover Rialto and the fascinating San Polo area – click here.

5) Churches and Cathedrals

Santa Maria della SaluteSanta Maria della Salute

Venice, the city of canals and palaces, is also home to an extraordinary collection of stunning churches that are architectural marvels and cultural treasures. To truly understand Venice, you need to spend some time exploring the churches, from the awe-inspiring cathedrals to the small neighborhood churches. Here are some of the most beautiful churches and cathedrals in Venice that are sure to leave you in awe.

The Church of the Scalzi, also known as the Chiesa degli Scalzi, is a striking example of Baroque architecture. Located near the Santa Lucia train station, it is known for its ornate facade and elaborate interior. The church houses several notable artworks, including paintings by Tiepolo and a stunning altarpiece by Bernardo Strozzi. Its grandeur and opulence make it a must-visit for art and architecture enthusiasts.

San Stae, officially named the Church of San Eustachio, is another hidden gem in Venice. This elegant church showcases a unique blend of Renaissance and Baroque architectural elements. Its graceful facade and intricate interior decorations make it a visual delight. San Stae is also known for its remarkable collection of artworks, including paintings by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and Jacopo Tintoretto. The church's quiet atmosphere and artistic treasures make it a captivating stop for those seeking a more intimate experience.

Basilica di San Marco, a true masterpiece of Byzantine architecture. Its grandeur is evident from the moment you set eyes on its gleaming gold mosaics and elaborate marble exterior. Step inside to be transported to another world, adorned with dazzling mosaics depicting biblical scenes and intricate carvings. The Pala d'Oro, an exquisite altarpiece embellished with precious gems, further enhances the opulence of this magnificent basilica.

Santa Maria della Salute, an architectural marvel located at the entrance of the Grand Canal. Its distinctive dome and elegant facade make it a prominent landmark in Venice. The interior is equally captivating, featuring elaborate decorations, magnificent artworks, and a tranquil atmosphere that invites contemplation and reflection.

The Church of San Zaccaria offers a peaceful respite from the bustling crowds. The interior is adorned with exquisite Renaissance artwork, including masterpieces by Giovanni Bellini and Tintoretto. The delicate beauty of the church's interior, with its soft lighting and graceful arches, creates a serene ambiance that touches the soul.

The Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, situated on its namesake island, offers not only a magnificent architectural design but also breathtaking panoramic views of Venice. Climb the bell tower to witness a sweeping vista of the city's skyline, framed by the azure waters of the lagoon. Inside the church, marvel at the works of art by Tintoretto and other esteemed Venetian painters that adorn its walls.

Church of San Pantalon, famed for its stunning ceiling frescoes painted by Giovanni Antonio Fumiani. These masterpieces create the illusion of three-dimensional scenes, transporting visitors into a celestial realm. The intricate details and vibrant colors of the frescoes make this church a hidden artistic treasure.

Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli. Often referred to as a "marble jewel box," it is adorned with exquisite marble inlays, intricate carvings, and delicate decorative elements. Step inside to experience the harmonious blend of colors and architectural refinement that make this church a true gem.

You'll find more about many of these churches in our Most Beautiful Churches & Cathedrals in Italy article,

6) The Best of Venice from the Grand Canal

Grand Canal by Alexander StrahilovGrand Canal

To really get the feel of Venice you need to take a boat trip down the Grand Canal, perhaps the greatest avenue on earth.

The Grand Canal is truly magnificent but there is no way, except by boat, to really comprehend just how magnificent. The cheapest way is to catch the water bus (my guide explains which one to take) . If you prefer a little more style then try this option.

Need somewhere to stay that's ideal for discovering the best of Venice? I'd recommend these hotels (click here).

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