6 Things You Must Do in Venice

AD – this is part of a collaboration with Jet2.com

Venice remains one of my favourite city breaks I have ever done. I think because it was the perfect size to explore in just over three days, we were able to cram so much in that it truly felt like I knew every corner of the city once we came home. It truly is like no other place on earth and if you are planning a trip there this year, I challenge you not to fall for the peaceful canal streets, buzzing piazzas and amazing food. I’ve shared my ultimate three day itinerary and my tips on how to eat your way around the city, but what about the best things to see? In this guide, you will find six things that are an absolute must-see when you visit Venice for the first time.

1. Get a Traghetto across the Grand Canal

View of BASILICA DI SANTA MARIA DELLA SALUTE

When you think of Venice, you think of canals and gondoliers in their striped shirts and straw hats. Gondolas are everywhere in Venice but they cost around €80 for a 20-minute ride on the canals. They look beautiful and I am sure they are the perfect photo opportunity if you are that way inclined, but if you’re like me and you’d rather spend that €80 on Aperol and a few nice dinners, then get a Traghetto across the Grand Canal instead. It costs €2 per person for a crossing and in most cases, it cuts your journey time in half because you won’t have to keep walking to find a bridge! It’s a great way to tick off your gondola ride for a fraction of the price.

Find it: You will find Traghetto stops located on both sides of the Grand Canal.


2. Visit the Peggy Guggenheim collection

Peggy Guggenheim Gardens Venice

The Peggy Guggenheim gallery is the most visited attraction in Venice and is one of the best collections of 20th Century and modern art in the world. Whether you are a fan of art or not, the Guggenheim gallery is a great place to spend a few hours and you get a beautiful perspective of the nearby Basilica. From Pollock to Picasso, Dali to Ernst, you will definitely find some famous names throughout the gallery’s permanent collection. The sculpture garden is beautiful too and perfect for basking in the sun whilst enjoying an overpriced cappuccino from the gallery cafe!

Cost: €15 per person

Find it: 704 Dorsoduro, 30123 Venice

www.guggenheim-venice.it


3. Take a photo from Ponte Dell’Accademia

View from Ponte Dell Accademia over the Grand Canal, Venice
Ponte Dell Accademia, Venice

The Ponte Dell’Accademia is one of only four bridges to span the Grand Canal and crosses it near the southern end. It is named after the Venetian Academy of Art and the Gallerie dell’Accademia. It has exactly 50 steps up each side and is made of wood. It has a beautiful geometric design and provides the perfect platform to get the famous Venetian shot! Make sure you get there early to beat the crowds, but if you are looking for a spot to take a stunning photo that encompasses everything Venice, then this is it!

Find it: 30123 Venice


4. Explore the Island of Burano

Houses in Burano

Venice is made up of lots of small islands in a shallow lagoon and the city spreads further than you realise! A 40 minute boat ride across the lagoon is Burano, one of the most famous islands and perhaps one of the most colourful places in the world! A visit to Burano should be on your Venice bucket list as it’s such a beautiful place and you can escape the hustle and bustle if you head off first thing. No one is sure why the houses in Burano are painted in all the colours of the rainbow, but it is thought that they were painted so that fishermen could see the island in the heavy mist that descends over the lagoon. Whatever the reason, Burano is beautiful! Spend a few hours there wandering the quieter streets away from the main canal and stop for a Bellini before you get the boat back to Venice.

How to get there: Get the 12 ferry from ferry terminal Nove, 30121 Venice.


5. Secret Itineraries Tour of the Palazzo Ducale

One of the highlights of our trip was definitely our visit to the Palazzo Ducale – the Doge’s Palace. Venice has a long, political history dating back to 40AD and the Venetian State once owned a huge stretch of territories not just in Italy but in Greece and Croatia. It operated as a separate government from Rome, which didn’t always sit well with the Pope. It was ruled by a Doge, usually an old, rich nobleman who would serve until his death and use his fortune to maintain San Marco’s Basilica. The palace is where the Doge resided but was also home to Venetian secret service, political prisoners who were kept and tried, and was where the state was run.

The Secret Itineraries tour starts in the dungeons and leads you through the secret passages where the secret service offices are and where the prison guards would roam. You will also be shown where Casanova was imprisoned and find out how he escaped down the Golden Staircase. It’s a really insightful tour and you get a lot more out of your visit. You will also discover vast gilded ceilings and staterooms, secret passages and learn about Venetian spies, so if you love history and Gothic architecture, this will be right up your street.

Cost: €20 (includes tour and general admission – pre-booking is essential)

Find it: Piazza San Marco, 1, 30124 Venice

palazzoducale.visitmuve.it


6. Eat like a local

Cicetti bar in Venice

My favourite way to immerse myself in local culture is to EAT. Food is such a huge part of my travels to anywhere and I love to try local delicacies and visit places off the beaten track. When you visit Venice, you won’t find the traditional Italian food that you would find in say, Rome or Naples. Venice is not known for its pizza – it’s known for Cicetti! Cicetti (pronounced chi-ket-ti) are essentially tapas: small bites of food that cost a few euros and can be enjoyed at a bar with a spritz. Don’t be put off by the cheap wine – some of the cheapest glasses were the best we drank. There are so many Cicetti bars across Venice, you can literally find them on every corner. It’s such a cheap way to eat and is the best way to eat like a local. Some of the best places to grab Cicetti are Catina do Spade, Dei Zemei and Al Arco.

Find more tips and restaurant recommendations in my guide to eating in Venice.

If you want to try out Venice for yourself, check out Jet2Citybreaks – they have some great deals on flight and hotel packages.

What were your favourite spots in Venice? Share your recommendations in the comments below!

Save my Google Maps guide and get quick access to everything we saw and ate.
Things to do in Venice

Here’s a map with all the places we visited in Venice, from sights to eats and useful stuff like hotels and ferry terminals. You can save this map to your places and use it as a basis for your own maps.

I’ve colour coded it for ease: Red is for transport and accommodation; Green for food; Yellow for things to see.

To use the map, open Google Maps on your browser, open the tab on the left-hand side and click on ‘My Places’. Save to your maps to edit. You can download it before your trip for easy access when you’re on your trip.

Disclaimer – My trip to Venice was a collaboration with Jet2.com. Jet2 provided our flights, hotel and expenses. This blog post is in addition to my first blog post, but some of the experiences in this post will have been covered as part of my collaboration with Jet2.

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