Visiting Venice is on the bucket list of many travellers, and for good reason. Venice, or ‘the floating city’ as it is also known, is a paradise for the senses. It’s no surprise that it is the most chosen destination for romantic breaks - every corner of this enchanting little city will have you gasping in delight and reaching for your camera.
Venice has been described as ‘the most beautiful city built by man’. It is entirely man made, and built on a lagoon. It is also widely known that the city is sinking, so be sure to plan your trip soon!
Whether you’re a solo traveller, a couple, or travelling with family or friends, there’s some fantastic experiences to be had in Venice that simply can’t be missed.
Have a delicious hot chocolate in St Mark’s Square
Piazza San Marco, or Saint Mark’s Square as it is known in English, is the main destination for tourists. Showcasing the impressive St Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace, and the famous Cafe de Florian, tourists flock in their droves to witness the incredible architecture and sculptures.
As well as being excellent artists, the Venetians are also extremely good at making hot chocolate. It is a serious passion for them. A hot chocolate in St Mark’s Square (try Caffe Quadri) will set you back a hefty 10 EUR (around 11 USD), but it is well worth it. The ‘cioccolata calda’ (hot chocolate) is a rich, thick, and indulgent liquid chocolate that is a perfect accompaniment as you sit back and take in the captivating atmosphere of the square.
Feel like royalty in La Fenice
This impressive theatre is located within a few minutes stroll of Piazza San Marco, and is a photographer’s dream. Built in 1792, this opulent theatre was the place where many classical and opera concerts took place, and was partly rebuilt after a fire in the mid 1990’s.
It’s easy to buy a ticket, and prices for a self guided tour are just 10 EUR (11 USD), which allows you access to an audio handset, loaded with information about various aspects of this grand building. You can even feel like royalty as you take a seat (and maybe a wave!) in the royal box, which is covered in gold, with plush red velvet seating and mirrors either side, to give the impression you are in an infinite space.
Try on masks in a Venetian mask shop
Many centuries ago, Venetian masks were invented so that the locals could get up to mischievous activities unnoticed. Today, it’s still an incredibly fun experience to try on these masks, which you’ll find everywhere in Venice, from stalls on the street to traditional mask shops.
The masks are typically used at Carnival, which begins in the third week of January. They’re a great souvenir, and can range from just 3 EUR (3 USD), to over 250 EUR (250 USD)!
You can have lots of fun with these masks, which represent well known figures such as Casanova, to cover either your eye area, or your nose too, or some of them your whole face!
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Sail down the Grand Canal
Venice’s breathtaking sites are usually reached via the main thoroughfare; the Grand Canal. This is the main ‘highway’ in Venice, with a plethora of different transportation sailing the blue-green waters - gondolas, water taxis, the ‘vaporetto’ (water bus), and many locals with their own private boats.
There’s so many ways to travel the Grand Canal, depending on your budget. The ultimate travel experience - a gondola ride down the length of the Grand Canal and its pretty waterways, is at the steep price of 80 EUR (80 USD), although you can haggle in quieter periods. An alternative is a short trip on the gondolas across the width of the canal, which will take no more than 1-2 minutes, and set you back just 2 EUR (2 USD).
For those with a small budget, you can buy a 24 hour water bus ticket, which can take you on various routes along the Grand Canal. You’ll still be able to see the beautiful gems along the route, and this method comes in at a more accessible price of 18 EUR per person (18 USD) to see all of Venice.
Lose the maps and find your way
As soon as you get to Venice, you’ll realise that all of these lovely looking cobbled streets begin to look the same. Each nook and cranny twists and turns to the left and to the right, and those without a keen sense of direction may be reaching for the map!
Venice is all walkable on foot, you can walk from one side to the other in roughly 45-60 minutes. Try putting away the map, following your senses, and just allow yourself to be lost! Allow yourself to be lead by the smell of pizza, or to be drawn towards the operatic singing of the gondolier, or to just follow the crowds, who tread a well worn path to the most treasured streets of Venice.
So why not get lost in Venice, and let your senses guide you!
Other fabulous experiences in Venice
Venice is a beautiful destination, and loved the world over because there’s nowhere else quite like it. Other experiences you could try include visiting the famous Doge’s Palace, taking a trip to the Lido (beach), sampling some gelato (ice cream), or buying some famous Murano Glassware. There’s so much to see and do, it’s perfect for a short sightseeing break. So when you create your next travel list, make sure Venice is one you’ll tick off!
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