OVERVIEW OF VENICE: You will never forget when you step out of the train station and see the canals for the first time. It is the most unique place I’ve ever visited and you need to go there in order to experience it. Streets are made of water and your route will involve bridges and water taxis. Life revolves around the canals so take them in as much as you can and enjoy the magic of this town made of water.
GRAND CANAL: The Grand Canal is a beautiful, large canal that is always filled with activity. The best way to experience this canal is by vaporetti, which is like a water bus. If you buy a ticket, you can get on and off at any time for the number of days you choose. I suggest getting on and when you see something that looks interesting, get off and explore, and then get back on and continue. It’s a lovely way to see Venice. It is also a beautiful experience at night when the lights are on inside the gorgeous waterfront houses.
SAINT MARK’S BASILICA: There is something special about standing in St Mark’s Square looking up at the famous Basilica. From the outside you will notice the mosaic tiles and that is just a taste of the beauty to come. Inside, the domes will blow you away, as well as the tile work. Like any other church in Italy, make sure you are dressed appropriately or you may wait on that long line only to be turned away. You will only need about 30m minutes here but it is amazing and worth the often long wait.
- Opens at 9:45 daily.
- November- April 9:45-5:00, Sundays & holidays 2:00-4:00
- Prices vary depending on if you are doing the treasury, museum, or bell tower.
- Museum is 5 €
- Photography is not allowed inside.
DOGE’S PALACE: If you are tired of typical museums in Italy, you will be pleasantly surprised with this palace. Instead of just paintings and sculptures, you will see suits of armor, weapons, torture devises, and dungeons. Got your attention? As you walk through this palace you will be able to walk into cells and go through secret passageways. My favorite part was walking through the Bridge of Sighs. This bridge gets its name because it was the passageway from the palace, where they were sentenced, to the dungeon. It is where prisoners saw their last view of outside. Crazy huh? This place should not be missed when in Venice.
- Open daily from 8:30- 5:30
- Tickets are 18 € for adults, 11 € for children ages 6-14 and seniors over 65. They also have family tickets as well as student tickets.
GONDOLA RIDE: There is nothing more romantic than this gondola ride we took in Venice and it is my number one activity I would suggest doing. Forget Vegas…there is no other place to take a gondola ride. As you sit back in your boat cruising through the small canals, looking at your gondolier dressed in his dark pants and striped shirt, you feel like you’re in a movie. In the movie the gondolier always sings, and although you may see this once in a while, it was more common for them to be telling you facts about Venice. It started to rain just when we were about to get on our gondola and I was crushed to not be able to do it. So we went to dinner and then on the way back t our hotel we decided to do a ride at night. That was the best decision because I will never forget gliding through the small canals with candles in the windows of the houses and the beauty of going under the bridges. It was unforgettable!
- A standard ride is 40 minutes and costs 80 € but you can go for longer at an additional rate of 40 € for 20 more minutes.
- The price goes up at night (after 7:00 I believe) to 100 € for 40 minutes and an additional 50 € for 20 more minutes.
- 6 people can fit in a gondola.
VENICE ITSELF: The most amazing thing to see in Venice is Venice itself. The canals, old buildings, bridges, and boats…all create a postcard. Get lost in the city. Don’t even buy a map because every alley will lead you to a more magical place.