Venice is truly a city of dreams, it's no wonder that it's captured visitors' attention for centuries, remaining one of the most visited cities in the world, even today! With experts claiming Venice will sink in the next 70 years, there's no better time to visit the gorgeous yet mysterious floating city. I truly fell in love with this place, actually it's the first time I was so enchanted with another city since I moved to Paris. The stunning architecture, colourful buildings, narrow streets, and antique charm are sure to make you fall in love, too. Here are my top 5 things to do in Venice for the trip of a lifetime.
1.Cruise il canale grande in a gondola
As cliché as it may seem, one of the best ways to actually see Venice is in a Gondola. You'll see the city from a new perspective, and the actual ride itself is so romantic and relaxing. I would recommend to go early in the morning to beat the crowds, or around sunset to see the incredible colours of the city illuminated in the sunlight. All-in-all, a 35-minute gondola ride is going to set you back about 70€, but I promise it's more than worth it! Plus, if you go outside of peak times, it's pretty easy to negotiate the price with your gondolier.
The Grand Canal from the bottom of the Rialto Bridge.
2. take in a bird's eye view (and maybe some shopping)
The newly-renovated department store T Fondaco dei Tedeschi holds a little known secret: there's a gorgeous rooftop terrace on the top floor, with FREE ACCESS! Dating back from the 1200's, this architectural wonder not only holds to-die-for shopping and your favourite luxury brands, but you can also enjoy a drink and a breathtaking view overlooking all of Venice from their terrace. This Instagrammer's dream is definitely one spot not to miss in the city.
T Fondaco dei Tedeschi
Calle del Montego dei Tedeschi (near Rialto Bridge)
3. enjoy an APERITIvo like a local
In Italy, but especially in Venice, the apéritivo is a way of life. This pre-dinner drink and cicheti (snack) session is best enjoyed in a square or along the canals. Most places will be open serving apéritivo until 8 or 9 P.M., so getting there around 6-7 is perfect, though mid-afternoon is nice too. You can plan on spending about 5€ for a drink (Prosecco, wine, or Apéral Spritz) and a couple small snacks at most places. There a re a ton of cafés and casual dining spots northwest of the Rialto bridge, but this one in particular was really central and had amazing little snacks, one of my favourites:
Osteria dei Zemei
San Polo 1045/B, Venezia, Italy
If you're still in the mood for a little something extra after your apéritivo, finish off with a homemade gelato from this centuries-old Venetian place:
Venchi Cioccolato - Gelato
Calle dei Fabbri, 989, 30124 San Marco,Venezia VE, Italy
4. Taste Fresh, Venetian Seafood
Venice is literally known as "the floating city" and lies in a lagoon off the gorgeous Adriatic Sea, which means there's an abundance of delicious, fresh seafood in store. If you have a way to cook during your stay in Venice, you should spend a morning at the Rialto Mercado where you'll have a huge variety of fresh seafood (I saw things I didn't even know existed, and they were delicious). If you're not up to cooking, or just don't have the space, this old-school Italian eatery is off the beaten path and definitely the next best option. Your food is made to order from old family recipes, and was one of the best seafood/food in general restaurants I've been to.
Osteria Alba Nova della Maria
Lista Vecchia dei Bari, S. Croce, 1252, 30135 Venezia
5. Visit Burano, Murano and Torcello
These islands are less than an hour away from Venice city centre by boat, and they are absolute must-sees. I was amazed by how beautiful, walkable and unique each island was.
Burano: This is one of the largest islands and was once an ancient fishing village. The colourful houses that draw tourists in today were once painted that way so the fishermen could find their way home late at night. Wander along the canals, enjoy a lunch in on of the many cafés and take advantage of the amazing photo opps around every corner.
Murano: While it's definitely less populated, this island known for producing handmade glass beads and glass ornaments is definitely worth having a look around. Discover some artisanal shops, or just take in the views and the slower pace of life.
Torcello: This island is the smallest of the three and is mostly farmland and fields. An excellent location for an afternoon picnic, or just a getaway from the hectic city life, Torcello is worth the trip. If you like the cult-classic restaurant Cipriani, visit and dine outside at the original location, tucked away on tiny Torcello and once frequented by the likes of Queen Elizabeth, James Bond and Marilyn Monroe.
What are some of your must-see places in Venice?
Bonjour! I'm Jordan, a fashion-loving, beauty-obsessed, travel addict from the Pacific Northwest currently living between Seattle and Paris. Currently an MBA student studying Finance and Luxury Brand Management and writing about it all in my free time. I created this blog to share my adventures in style, photography and life from every corner of Paris and beyond. This blog is a window into my world and I hope you’ll enjoy.