When I traveled through Croatia and northern Italy this summer with my sister and brother-in-law, Venice was my last stop before heading back home. I had been told by a few people that it was a little “underwhelming” so I really didn’t expect much out of the City of Canals, but I was sooo wrong. This city was truly remarkable and I wish I would have had more time to take it all in!
Get out on the water
Venice was built for the water, so many of the best views will be from the water. Take in the architecture, the colors, and the overall vibes of the city from a water taxi or gondola ride.
Pro Tip: You definitely do not need to stay on the Grand Canal to fully enjoy this experience! It’s actually cheaper to stay off Grand and take some of the smaller canals instead! Honestly, the views are just as magical! Also, gondola rides are obviously a staple of the Venice experience, but taking one of the taxis instead can be just as fantastic! Because of our time crunch in the city, this is what we ended up doing! Not only did we get to cruise through the canals faster than a gondola would do (my childhood “Italian Job” dreams were fulfilled…okay, maybe our ride wasn’t that intense, but you better believe it was still awesome!), but it was also WAY cheaper than a gondola ride! Just make sure you find a taxi with an open back area so you can stand up and let that wind flow through your hair.
Set aside some time to just wander down alleys and canals. Do your best to avoid setting rigid time constraints for yourself! Some of the most incredible things I saw were things that we just happened to stumble upon. Allow yourself to take it in and marvel at how this city was built and how it continues to function in such a unique environment.
Unless you take a water taxi right up to the front step of your hotel, you’ll likely need to quite a bit of walking–and that walk will involve a lot of steps up and down over the multitude of bridges over the canals. Since we were there in the middle of summer, our walk was much harder (and sweatier) than we were anticipating! If heavy luggage is unavoidable, you may want to consider hiring a porter (trust me, your back will thank you)!
Do not settle for a day trip
Give yourself at least two nights in Venice to really take it all in. We traveled to Venice from Croatia by ferry, and then I flew out the next morning for the states. In all reality, we spent probably 10 hours actually taking in Venice and the rest of the time was spent sleeping, getting to the airport, and then waiting around for my plane to leave. It was not nearly enough time and I already can’t wait for the day I can go back again and take in everything much more slowly and intentionally!
Don’t forget to look up and around you
It’s easy to get caught up looking down into the water (or the cobblestone to avoid tripping), but don’t forget to look up and around at the architecture. The city is unbelievably stunning, but the fact that it is built completely on the water was only one of the reasons I loved it. It’s historic and romantic and enchanting. Everything about it is a dream so make sure you walk slow enough to see the views from every direction.
Make it to St. Mark’s Square
We almost missed it, but I’m so glad we got to the square before it got dark! We had all of about 30 minutes there before we had to make our way back to the hotel, but it was well worth the trip across town.
Keep your phone charged
As with any foreign travel, it’s always a good idea to keep your phone charged. I’ve actually started traveling with a portable charger because I really don’t want to find myself phone-less in a country where I don’t speak the language! More than just the photos and videos you’ll be able to take, you’ll want a charged phone to help you navigate the streets if you’re walking from one side of Venice to the other. There is no straight shot across the city on foot, so you’ll end up zig-zagging your way from Point A to Point B and a map can really help you keep your bearings!
There you have it, friends! I’d love to hear all about your must-see things in Venice! So be sure to comment a few of your faves below!