Venice, Italy is arguably one of the most photogenic cities in Europe, filled with narrow canals, amazing pasta shops, gelato on every corner & endless streets to get lost in.
Last month I was able to visit Venice for the second time, spending a few days in the city before and after the cruise I took with my boyfriend and his family through the Mediterranean. Below I’ve put together a list of things to do if it’s your first time visiting Venice:
1. St. Mark’s Square
The heart of venice. This is a great destination to start your day making your way t0 considering it’s right in the middle of the city. You’ll pass plenty of pizza, pasta, gelato and souvenir shops along the way. Once you get there make sure to walk around and if you have time, & check out the Basilica from the inside.
2. Grand Canal
After St. Mark’s Square if you make your way to outer Venice you’ll come across the grand canal. Walking up and down Riva deli Schiavoni you’ll find plenty of great views, restaurants, and water taxis that can take you further into the grand canal and through the city.
3. Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri)
Walking along Riva deli Schiavone you’ll come across the Ponte dei Sospiri, a beautiful white limestone bridge that passes over the rio de palazzo. Translated to “bridge of sighs” in english, the landmark got its name from stories about prisoners who were being transported from the prison to the interrogation rooms/cells and as they walked across the bridge people said they would sigh sadly, possibly getting their last final view of beautiful Italy.
4. Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto)
One of four bridges crossing the grand canal, Ponte di Rialto is the oldest, and probably most crowded. Street vendors everywhere and shops up and down the steps call for a lot of navigating around people, but the view is worth it! If you want to skip the crowds try going to one of the other 3 bridges but the Rialto Bridge is definitely the prettiest in my opinion.
5. Gondola Ride
To get a real feel for Venice, the city of water, I recommend you take a gondola ride at some point. The first time I came to Venice I didn’t do it, and as soon as I left I regretted it. Although a little bit overpriced and a quick trip, it won’t be so bad if you fit 4-6 people in your gondola and split the cost. Almost every gondola I saw was $80 for a 30-40 minute boat ride through the smaller canals, eventually leading out to the grand canal. Our gondola ride felt more like 15 minutes than 30, but either way, it was a fun experience and you get some of the best pictures on this tiny boat.
6. Happy hour on the canal
One thing you won’t run out of in Venice: cute canal restaurants and bars. My boyfriend and I stumbled upon one called Nazarro and loved it. We were practically touching the water where we sat (mostly because the canal was overflowing due to heavy rain in recent weeks), and were able to have some wine and snacks as the sun set behind us.
7. Get some authentic Pizza
Obviously a few of my things to do in Venice revolve around food. Italian food is my weakness. It might sound cliche’ but pizza in Italy really is my favorite. It tastes totally different than pizza back home, made with fresh ingredients and with a variety of different toppings. I just so happened to stumble across the same tiny pizzeria in the middle of Venice both times I went (by accident) so I figured I HAVE to mention the place now. If you check out Antico Forno you won’t be disappointed.
It’s on every corner. This and the lemon/strawberry slushies which I also recommend you try. My favorite flavor I tried was definitely forest fruit which had raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and blueberries mixed in. You can’t go wrong with Gelato
9. Libreria Acqua Alta
This little bookstore has more than a little character. It’s a mess to say the least, but if you want for some interesting pictures (and books) this is your place. Walking through the front of the bookstore you see a collection of used books, art, sculptures, cats and more. As you walk through the back it leads into a canal with a staircase you can climb to get a better look of it. A staircase made of books of course.
10. Get lost
Probably the #1 best way to see Venice. Once you’ve seen the main touristy attractions, just start wandering and you won’t be disappointed. Eventually you will find something cool and different that no other blogger has ever even covered before!
Have fun in Venice! Comment below what your own suggestions where after visiting this beautiful city.