Magnificent buildings, striking architecture, gondoliers, which glide over the water – this is Venice. If you have never been, you can get to know Venice – and learn to love it – in this article.
There isn’t a city in the world which boasts more clichés than Venice. It’s the city of love, the city of bridges, the city of gondoliers… It seems as if all romance and beauty has come together in one city and this creates a mesmerising image. Charming, small islands are linked together by a variety of canals, which are decorated with more than 400 bridges. Fascinating buildings in breath taking architectural styles stand side by side and capture the imagination. Wherever you are at the moment, I would like to leave you with the touch of romance to come. Open your heart to the city and give it a special place there. Besides, with these Venice tips you are well informed.
In my opinion, everyone should visit such a place at least once in their life – so much is said about Venice and, what’s more, it’s a city which promises so much. After all, you experience things here, which you can’t experience every day. And please, don’t be scared by the rumour that it stinks there. I have just been in Venice and not once did I have to cover my nose. The beauty of the buildings, which I caught sight of from afar as I arrived, had a much bigger impression on me. No matter how you travel to Venice, you have to leave the mainland at the latest at Piazzale Roma and catch a ride to the centre in a Venetian waterbus or Vaporetto. I can remember this crossing exactly. The magnificent buildings are already visible from far away, and clusters of people gather here and there to experience Venice’s beauty.
The sights in Venice
Venice without the Grand Canal is unimaginable. The main waterway is 4 kilometres long and meanders in an S-shape through Venice, offering the perfect network of popular spots to enjoy. Venice is also inconceivable without the famous Rialto Bridge. I am sure that you have heard about this bridge many times, even if you haven’t been to Venice. Built in a wonderful architectural style, it is the main attraction of the city, and it is pretty much always packed with tourists, who like to take photographs here. But who wouldn’t want to enjoy the simply spectacular view over the Grand Canal? Of course, the surrounding cafes, souvenir shops, and the gondoliers make full use of this tourist interest – the prices here are staggering.
La Piazza San Marco, or St. Mark’s Square, is just as famous the Rialto Bridge. You are welcomed by a throng of pigeons, which are a symbol of this square, like gondoliers are a symbol of this wonderful city. I recommend starting your sightseeing tour here. Standing with your back to the Grand Canal, the Doge’s Palace is on your right. The palace used to be the centre of Venice’s government and administration. Later, it became one of Napoleon’s residences. With a ticket, you can sneak a peek at the secret passageways in the Doge’s Palace, which was once linked to the state prison. You can take the same walk over the Bridge of Sighs as former prisoners. The name of the bridge is full of history – as criminals were marched straight from the Doge’s Palace to prison, they let out a sigh as they looked out at Venice and freedom for the last time. Now, you can have a look at the former prison cells and experience the past first-hand.
St. Mark’s Basilica shines out impressively at the head of St. Mark’s Square. With an Oriental influence, and splendid cupolas and mosaics, it amazes tourists from all over the world. For this reason, there is a horribly long queue in front of the entrance every day. However, you can buy your entrance ticket online beforehand and avoid standing around for a long time. The skip the line ticket costs just 2€ and really saves you a lot of time. Please remember that there are strict rules in the Roman Catholic Church and you must cover your shoulders. Mini-skirts and shorts can also cause problems at the entrance.
The only thing you’ve missed in St. Mark’s Square now is an awe-inspiring photo from the Campanile di San Marco. The bluey-green roof of the bell tower and the golden angels on the basilica can’t be confused. What you can see at ground-level is topped by the view from the 100-metre-high viewing platform. From up there, there is an amazing view over the roofs of the historic Old Town. If you’re not normally a fan of crowds of countless tourists, all I can do is recommend St. Mark’s Square with all its sights and exceptional buildings. Unfortunately, you also have to reckon with food and restaurant prices, which are sky high here. Whether you only want to enjoy a small scoop of ice cream or an Italian coffee, you have to expect steep prices everywhere.
Tips for a day trip from Venice: Take the water taxi to Burano. This small but colourful town will enchant you as much as Venice itself. It is better to travel really early in the morning or in the late afternoon as it is quieter at these times.
Venice Tips – Away from the tourist attractions
Perhaps you’re coming back to Venice for the second time or you’ve planned a longer stay? If this is the case, it’s worth taking a look behind the scenes of this tourist town. Would you like to experience original Venice up close? Then, I would really recommend the Dorsoduro quarter. Here, you can catch a glimpse into the everyday life of the Venetians. You can watch as they happily play football in the streets and enjoy the smells coming from Italian kitchens. You can spend a few quiet hours in this neighbourhood. Original mask shops and artist’s studios invite you to stroll along the streets, and the cafes and pizzerias here are actually affordable.
Beaches in Venice
If you feel like a trip to the beach during your city break in Venice, you can take one of the Vaporetto and travel to one of the beaches on the Adriatic near Venice, for example, the Lido di Venezia. In the summer, you can enjoy the sun and give your feet a rest from sightseeing. Especially at this time of the year, an unhurried walk along the beach is a welcome change from the hectic hustle and bustle of the city.
Venice by night
A special magic envelopes Venice by night. It becomes rather romantic in the city of canals once the day tourists and cruise ships have left and you no longer have to share the most beautiful places in the city with crowds of other holidaymakers. Find a small, authentic restaurant in the countless inner courtyards of the city, and, afterwards, take another stroll along the illuminated canals. Here and there, a gondola still travels along the waterways. On the whole, Venice seems to have turned into a completely different town.
Accommodation in Venice – pamper yourself and enjoy
A city, which oozes romance should obviously be enjoyed to its fullest. This doesn’t only entail a ride on a gondola, where you can snuggle up to each other cosily, while the gondolier shows you the most beautiful corners of Venice, but also an amazing hotel. Stay at the luxurious 4-Star Hotel Liassidi Palace, for example, and let it charm you with its exquisite beauty. A combination of modern and classic Venetian style awaits you. Enjoy the exquisite Bisazza mosaic tiles and relax with a glass of champagne in your own jacuzzi. As an evening in the graceful city is a part of your unforgettable trip to Venice, you can almost jump out of the bath tub and be at the Rialto Bridge for dinner in five minutes.
You can stay somewhere even more exquisite if you decide on a suite in the 5-Star Hotel The Westin Europa & Regina. Spend the night in the historic, 17th-century palace in the middle of the art and theatre quarter. Enjoy a view over the Grand Canal, St. Mark’s Basilica and other city landmarks – naturally from your own, exclusive terrace. After a tiring day of sightseeing, you can get cosy in your splendid suite and enjoy a spa-treatment, without having to take a step out of your room.
Just the pictures in this article have made me want to go back to Venice one more time. Maybe this time in a different way? As you can see, there are different ways to create your own image of Venice – in a luxurious hotel, where every wish is their command, in private accommodation, where you can get up close to the life of the Venetians, or just on a day trip. There’s one thing that I’m sure of – the city of love will also put you under its spell with its individual charm.
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