Beautiful Venice, what can we say that hasn’t been said many times before? It is still gorgeous, still unique, still photogenic and doesn’t even smell these days.
Best viewed outside peak holiday times when the crowds thin a little, and best viewed from out on the water where you can breathe the sea air. The summer months can be very hot and spring and autumn are better times to go.
Our first experience of Venice was as a short stop on a months Interrail trip and it took us 25 years to return but we always knew we would.
Seeking to escape the worst crowds, on our second visit we stayed out on Lido in the lagoon which gave us easy access to the islands in the lagoon and the sestieri or main set of islands forming Venice’s core city center. The Vaporetto water buses gave us cheap and regular access to the other islands and by buying a pass for several days we were able to make a saving.
There are many ways to arrive at Venice – by train across the railroad bridge, by taxi from the north, cruise ship, or fly into Marco Polo Airport and take a water taxi or water bus. Driving your own car into Venice is difficult as there is very little space to park on the sestieri. Alilaguna has three ferry routes from the airport, these will drop you off at the landing stage nearest your hotel. You will need to walk from there to your hotel. Buy your ticket in the airport building for the line that gets you closest to where you want to be.
Some things to do are:
- Take a boat trip on the Grand Canal at least as far as the Rialto Bridge. The water front palaces are fabulous, some are in a good state of repair, some are in ‘elegant decay’.
- Wander through the narrow streets – you can’t get lost for too long as the main city center isn’t that big. If you end up on the other end of the city center you can get a water bus back.
- Visit at least one of the main palaces or churches, the Palazzo Ducale or the Basilica di San Marco are good choices. The architecture and art inside are fantastic.
- Take the short boat ride to San Giorgio Maggiore – the island opposite St. Mark’s square with its 16th-century Benedictine church and basilica in the classical renaissance style.
- Take a boat trip to one of the outer islands, Lido is a seaside resort on the Mediterranean side and you can walk across it in half an hour. Murano is a renowned glass-making center. Burano is famous for its colourful painted houses and lace.