Oh Venice. It is a city like no other. A car free city where you can walk everywhere along canals, where the only transport is a boat or a gondola. Venice is unique, different from the rest of Italy, so romantic and charming that you’ll fall in love with it, guaranteed. Below a selection of things you must do when in Venice, as well as how to get there and where to stay, in this Venice Bucket List.
Venice Bucket List: Things To Do
Wander the narrow winding streets
If you do one thing in Venice, do this one. It’s free and it’s the one I enjoyed the most. The main streets of Venice may be packed with tourists but if you let yourself get lost you’ll wind up in quiet gorgeous streets where you’ll go like “Ah, this is why everybody talks about Venice”.
Drink Aperol Spritz
The Spritz originated in Venice when it was part of the Austrian empire. It’s a version of the Austrian Spritzer, which is white wine and soda in equal parts. Today the spritz is the most common aperitif in Venice, and it’s drank with Aperol, Campari, or Cynar. That’s what the orange, red and brown watery drinks you’ll see on the streets of Venice are about!
Have an espresso in Piazza San Marco
Yes of course an espresso in Piazza San Marco in Venice will be overpriced but how expensive can an espresso be? Just sip on your coffee while you gaze the San Marco Basilica and people watch. Also, it’s really nice to walk the Piazza when the sun comes down and the lights come on.
Watch sunset at the Rialto bridge
The Rialto bridge in Venice is one of those bridges you’ll never forget. If you watch sunset from here then you’ll also watch a sunset you’ll never forget!
Take a gondola ride
Of course a huge cliche but you can’t really skip this when in Venice, sorry. The rides come at a hefty price though, last time I checked it was 80 EUR for 40 mins, and the price goes up at night to I believe 120 EUR. Worth it, specially, if you are trying to be extra romantic. There’s a much cheaper book-in-advance option here.
Eat like a Venetian
Polenta and seafood dishes are traditional from Venetian as well as Bigoli, which are thick fresh noodles which you can eat with a variety of sauces. Some restaurants to try: La Zucca, Trattoria Antiche Carampane, Osteria alle Testiere, Osteria Enoteca Ai Artisti. If you really are a food lover, you can try this street food tour with a local guide.
Cross the Bridge of Sighs
This bridge takes its name because it is where convicts would get the “last view of Venice” before their imprisonment, or execution. There is a nicer legend around this bridge which says that if a couple kisses while drifting under the bridge at sunset, as the bells of St Mark’s Campanile ring out, it will enjoy eternal love and happiness. The bridge is beautiful, by the way.
Take a day trip to another island
Both Burano and Murano are islands you can travel to as a day trip from Venice by taking a vaporetto (public ferry). Burano would be my first choice as it’s this cute little island with colorful houses which just makes postcard perfect photos. Some consider it a slice of paradise! Murano is a must go for glass lovers as there you can get all sorts of hand-blown glass ornaments and even watch a demonstration. If you are in Venice for a couple of days you can visit both either separately or why not take a tour that takes you to both in half day.
Admire San Mark’s Basilica
This is one of the most iconic sites of Venice. It’s located in Piazza San Marco, and it’s known for its gorgeous mosaic and golden details. It is impressive to say the least.
View Venice from above
St. Mark’s Campanile is the bell tower of St. Marks’ Basilica. Climb the stairs to get a panoramic view of the city. Lines can get pretty lengthy in the summer, so arrive early or invest in a skip the line ticket!
Visit La Fenice Opera House
Make your time in Venice more memorable by visiting the La Fenice Opera House. Even if you don’t have the time to watch a performance, use this skip-the-line ticket to admire its sensational avant-garde design.
Create your own carnival mask
The wearing of masks in Venice is a tradition which goes back as far as the 12th century, and historians speculate that it was a response to one of the most rigid class structures in all of Europe. Eventually the wearing of masks was so ubiquitous that the government had to pass laws restricting it to the Carnival season. Instead of buying one, learn more about this tradition and make your own mask in this workshop.
Admire the view from Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo
Get an amazing view of Venice and its network of canals from the top of the famous spiral staircase of the Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo. You can buy the entrance ticket in advance here, it’s cheaper than if you buy it on the spot.
Venice Bucket List: Where To Stay In Venice
Venice is small and super touristy so staying there is expensive and even more so on weekends. To avoid the steep prices some people stay in Mestre, the first city on the mainland and commute in. In my experience that’s not worth it. To get the real Venetian experience, I’d strongly recommend you stay in the city. Evenings and walking at night are the nicest thing about Venice and there is nothing better than knowing that you can walk back to your bed. I stayed at this hotel which was standard and not too expensive, you can choose cheaper or posher hotels depending on your preference here.
Venice Bucket List: How To Get To Venice
If you are traveling from abroad, to get the cheapest flights to Venice try Momondo. The Marco Polo airport is just a short bus ride away.
If you are visiting Venice within Italy in my experience, the best way to get to Venice is by train, the train station is right in the center so you can most likely walk to your hotel from there.
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