Venice was my last stop in Italy before heading home. To be honest, I was a little worried about how I’d feel about Venice since I’ve heard people either love it or aren’t too impressed. After dropping the rental car off at Avis and heading to my airbnb, I couldn’t wait to start wondering around! To get around Venice, you can either walk since there are bridges throughout the city or you can take a water taxi. I walked the majority of the time, but I did buy a 24 hr pass for the water taxi which took me to Burano, Murano, and when I didn’t feel like walking anymore I took it through Venice. The water taxi also goes to Marco Polo Airport so if you don’t want to take the bus to the airport, you have another option!
I know its touristy, but I definitely wanted to take a gondola ride through the canal’s because why not have that experience?! Since I was there in June I knew the prices would be on the high end, but the going rate for a thirty minute gondola ride was eighty euros – not THAT bad I thought. If you’re wondering if its worth it, I thought it was!
If you head towards San Marco, the gondola prices are going to be higher – just walk around until you find a price that works for you. It’s easy to find gondoliers sitting in their gondolas waiting to take someone on a ride so walk around and you’re sure to find at least one!
Piazza San Marco
Piazza San Marco gets REALLY crowded so if you want to beat the crowd, I’d suggest waking up early and getting there by 7:30 am. Also, book your tickets ahead of time to the following attractions so you don’t have to wait in line! You’ll thank me later.
- Basilica di San Marco – Around 8:30/ 9 am the line to get into the basilica started to twist through the piazza, but since I reserved my tickets online, I waited maybe five minutes to get in.
*Remember: Even if it’s summer and hot out, you must cover your knees and shoulders or they won’t let you in! I decided to bring scarves with me so I could take them off afterwards and go about my day without sweating too much!
- San Marco Campanile (Bell Tower) – The Bell Tower is located directly across from the basilica and gives you a great view of Venice and the sea! There are two entrances to the bell tower: one is on the side if you’ve reserved your tickets online, the other is in the front where you can buy tickets and wait in line. I will warn you that if you decide to buy your tickets there and are traveling during high season be prepared to stand in line for a while! The people who reserved tickets online get priority and the elevator (yes- there’s an elevator, no stairs!) only hold 6 people to go up and down.
- Doges Palace – I did notice that the line to get into Doges Palace was smaller than San Marco Campanile, but there was still a line. If you want to purchase tickets online, you also get admission for Museo Correr, Museo Archeologico Nazionale, and Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana. The inside of Doges Palace was one of my favorite “museums” on my trip because of the elaborate gold ceilings and decorations in every room.
Going through Doges Palace, you get to walk across the Bridge of Sighs and see the jail cells where prisoners were kept. As you walk across the Bridge, look out of the small openings. Apparently this would’ve been the last time the prisoners would see the outside before they were sentenced to death.
Chiesa di San Giorgio Marggiore
Not that many people take the water taxi across to Chiesa di San Giorgio Marggiore, but if you do, the bell tower gives you a great view of Venice – probably better than St. Marks Bell Tower!
Rialto Bridge is the oldest bridge that crosses the Grand Canal. It’s not your typical bridge because there are shops on the bridge (like the Ponte Vecchio in Florence). This bridge gets packed full of people during the day. One early morning I went for a run and the streets led me to Rialto Bridge and NO ONE was on it! (By the way- don’t expect to run through Venice and not get lost. It’s like a labyrinth with dead ends and side streets that just lead to canals, it’s fun though trying to make your way around!)
There is also the Rialto Market where fresh fish is sold, but you want to get there in the morning to get the best before they sell out!
Murano is one of the small islands near Venice and you can take a short water taxi ride to get to. They’re known for their glass work and you’ll find Murano glass being sold all throughout Venice. Murano is not too crowded with tourists either!
I loved walking through Burano! It’s another small island near Venice that you can get to with a water taxi and it’s considered one of the most colorful places in the world, for very good reason. The brightly colored painted houses add charm along the canals.
Not only is Burano known for it’s vibrant colored houses, but also intricate handmade lace. If you have a few hours, I highly recommend visiting this island.
I had gelato almost everyday in Italy, sometimes even twice a day! My top two favorite gelato places in Venice were:
- Gelateria Artigiana- I had several gelato’s from this gelateria, but my absolute favorite were the fruit flavors mixed with yogurt. One time I got Yogurt con Malograda (pomegranate) and another time I got Yogurt con Mandarin and they both were delicious! It was on the cheaper side too which can be hard to find!
- La Boutique dell Gelateria- Another gelateria that had really good gelato, I couldn’t even decide on which flavors I wanted so I ended up getting 3 flavors!!
If you have any favorites or awesome places that weren’t listed feel free to leave a comment, its much appreciated! ♥