Venice is one of the top and most visited cities in Italy. When you think of Italy for sure the first thing that comes to your mind is Venice. Couples’ favorite Italian city, and a rival to Paris as a place for romance. Venice is on everyone ‘must see’ list.
Built on over 100 small islands in a marsh area of the Adriatic sea, it’s uniqueness comes from the fact there are no roads, but rather a series of waterways where boats are the only form of transportation and with its endless narrow canals and small square within the city.
Those who have been here have said that it’s beautiful, fun and full of things to do. That’s true.
However, the city is very expensive and is always crowded no matter what time of the year you want to come to visit, even when the city is flooded during the rainy season and there is nothing you can do to avoid it. If you want to save some money, what you can avoid instead is the luxury expenses in this city, where prices are doubled or tripled!
Keep reading for tips on the best way to spend you time and money here in Venice. Here are my top things to do, where to stay and where to eat:
Top highlights and things to do in Venice
1. Piazza San Marco
Piazza San Marco is the main square in Venice. It’s the most famous and largest square in Venice and it is really the heart of the city sorrounded by the main city highlights like the Basilica, the Bell Tower, the Doge’s Palace, and the National Archaeological Museum. Piazza San Marco is the meeting point where you can start or end your visit to Venice.
How to get here from the Train Station:
take the Vaporetto (floating buses):
6,50€ valid 60 mins
16,00€ valid 12 hours
18,00€ valid 24 hours
50,00€ valid 7 days
free children under 4 yo
have a nice walk:
about 2.2 km/1.4 miles
30 mins (if you don’t get lost)
2. Basilica di San Marco
A Roman Catholic Church open to everyone with it’s museum upstairs which is filled with amazing mosaics, domes and statues. The high altar contains some of st Mark’s remains. Upstairs terrace give also a great view of Piazza San Marco.
St Mark’s Museum: 5,00€ adult, 2,50€ 6-18yo, free under 6yo
separate fees to see the Pala d’Oro: 2,00€ adult, 1,00€ 6-18yo
and the St Mark’s Treasure: 3,00€ adult, 1,50€ 6-18yo
Built in Venetian Gothic style, it’s one of Europe’s most beautiful and easily recognizable buildings, featuring marvelous arches with pink and white marbles. It was not only the center of government during the Venetian Republic but also the residence of the Doge. Inside you can admire its stunning artworks, and even more interesting when you get the “secret itineraries” tour which lead you to the rooms and chambers where the delicate work of some of the most important bodies in the Venetian administration was carried out.
13€ 6-14yo and over 65yo
Tickets include the visit of Museo Correr, Museo Archeologico Nazionale and Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana.
One of the most important symbols of Venice and one of the highest of Italy, St. Mark’s Bell Tower is 98.6 mt (323 ft) tall, and stands alone in a corner of Piazza San Marco. Head to the top of the tower to get a great panorama view of the city.
8€ adult, 4€ 6-18yo, free under 6yo
closed from 7th to 23rd of January
more infos, opening time and online ticket visitHERE
5. Rialto Bridge
The Rialto Bridge is one of only 4 bridges that cross the Grand Canal. It is famous because it’s the oldest one, this bridge is made of stone and for centuries was the only way to cross the Grand Canal. Nowadays is a significant tourist attraction in the city. However, its popularity attracts so many people every day that it’s not easy to meddle in the crowd and take a good picture of it. Rarely at night you’ll find it empty.
6. Experience a ride on a Gondola
Gondolas make Venice unique for all those who come here, there is nothing like this anywhere. A ride on it is a different way to take a city tour through its narrow canals, while you learn its history from the gondolier. Or a romantic night ride with your loved one, accompanied by the rower’s singing. Although it’s not cheap.
Prices, private gondola up to 6 people:
80€ – 30 minutes, 40€ more for every 20 minutes in excess | day rate
100€-30 minutes, 50€ more for every 20 minutes in excess | night rate (from 7pm)
note: these are the standard fees made by the Organization for Conservation of Gondola and every gondolier should respect these rates but unfortunately not all, sometimes they ask a lot more. So before the ride, make a deal with the gondolier.
7. Attend the Carneval
The Venice Carnival is one of the biggest and internationally known festivals in Italy, annually celebrated in Venice. During this time the city will be colored with masked people and their fancy costumes.
2020 Venice Carneval will begin on February 8 and ends on February 25.
Burano is famous for its brightly colored houses and its casual eateries serving seafood from the lagoon. Actually house painting are regulated by the government to maintain its charm and history. Visit its museum and shops, and try their local butter cookies called “bussolà buranei”. Take a brake from the crowded city of Venice, here there are centainly less people.
How to get here:
From Venice you need to go the station called “Fondamente Nove“, one of only 2 stations available to go to the Venice Airport by boat. From here Take a Water Bus Vaporetto to Murano (there are one every 30 minutes from 5.40am to 8.10pm), once there take another one to Mazzorbo, and finally to Burano.
9. Rialto Market
The Rialto Market is Venice’s main market selling fruits and vegetables, and its fish stands has been taking place here for nearly a thousand year. The Rialto Market is an experience that for sure will change your way of seeing Venice.
Venice is a pedestrian city and the best way to discover its wonderfulness is by walking. Houses, canals, gondolas, mask shops, bridges and the narrow streets; it may seem to be in a maze but you can just spend time strolling through it. Nevermind if you don’t find the right way, there is no better place to get lost. Explore.
Where to stay in Venice
There are many good hotels and apartments in Venice with excellent service and great customer feedback. However they are not cheap and finding something under 200€ is quite challenging.
If you want to save some money, I suggest you to find accomodation somewhere else. I recommend your search in Mestre which is a province of Venice, just outside the city. There are trains every few minutes and from the Mestre train station to the Venice train station it takes just about 10 minutes. Ticket cost only 1,35€ and believe me you can save atleast 100€!