The ancient facades and sculptures of Venice seem to whisper their stories at you from all sides as you explore its mysterious yet legendary avenues and alleyways. From famous landmarks to little-known wonders like the Bovolo Staircase, Venice certainly has a lot to say. You could explore its myths and tales for weeks (or months!), but first, you’ll need accommodation in Venice.
Things to Do in Venice
Thousands of years of history has given “The Bride of the Sea” plenty of time to amass tourist attractions galore. With accommodation near St. Mark's Square, you can start making your friends jealous right away: The contrasting domes and spires of Saint Mark’s Basilica, the intricate arches of Doge’s Palace, and the cobalt blue Torre dell’Orologio clock tower are all located here. On the way to your gondola ride (you know you have to!), walk over the Bridge of Sighs, a completely enclosed, white limestone bridge created for prisoners on their way to interrogation in Doge’s Palace.
Venice holidays aren’t all about the ancient past, however. The city’s Peggy Guggenheim Collection is one of Europe’s best collections of modern art, with masterpieces by everyone from Jackson Pollack to Alberto Giacometti. The Punta della Dogana museum showcases even more modern art with rotating exhibits of painting, photography and sculpture. Of course, if statues are your thing, you’ll have a “marble-ous” time in Venice—just don’t take it for granite.
Getting To & Around Venice
Flights to Venice land at Marco Polo Airport (VCE), but you won’t have to be an expert explorer to find transportation into the city. There are trains running to Venezia Mestre and Venezia Santa Lucia stations, and from there you can catch a bus anywhere within the city and beyond. If you do want to channel Marco Polo and take lots of trips outside the city, one of Wotif’s car hire options is the way to go. You can pick one up right at the airport or book one near your Venice accommodation and explore the city first. If you’re sticking to one neighbourhood for a day, consider renting a bicycle or scooter; you’ll save some cash and you won’t have to worry about parking.
Best Time to Travel
In Venice’s subtropical climate, there is one month that stands out above all others: September. If you can hit this one-month window, you’ll have perfect temperatures in the low 20s…along with the Venice Film Festival, the world’s oldest and one of the “big three” along with Cannes and Berlin, brings celebrities and film buffs from around the globe to the island of Lido. As temps fall in the autumn and winter, look for great deals on hotels in Venice so you have a snug place to come home to after a day of sightseeing. Winters are relatively mild, and Venice covered in a dusting of snow is a sight to behold.
Listen to the whispers of Venice, then listen to your holiday self and book great deals on Venice hotels with Wotif. In a city full of stories, it’s time to create some of your own!
Even if you haven't visited Venice, you've probably already seen images of its classic highlights: gondolas on the Grand Canal, the gothic Doge's Palace, and the pigeons on St Marks Square. You can rest assured that the reality of these places is every bit as majestic as the postcard pictures make them out to be.
More than just a series of famous snapshots, however, Venice is a mesmerizing, mysterious city laced with hints of melancholy. Once a major maritime power, Venice continues to survive largely because of the tourist trade, with the number of actual residents dwindling year after year. Ever-increasing flooding wreaks havoc on architecture, while the summer's heat can make the city feel almost swamp-like. Decadent palaces stand next to decaying houses, glorious restoration next to gloomy ruin, making the city nothing short of a floating museum - but in many ways this is also its barrier to modernization.
Mix of contrasts
This profound mix of contrasts makes Venice a fascinating destination. As it struggles to find a balance between preserving the rich cultural heritage on which it depends and carving out an identity as a still-living city in the 21st century, Venice remains one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
The reputations of the signature tourist 'musts' are well-deserved, but the discoveries you make by getting lost in Venice's winding streets and canals are equally rewarding. Exploring your extraordinary surroundings is sure to make you sigh in disbelief. One of Venice's most famous bridges, in fact - just one of over 400 bridges connecting Venice's islands - is called the Bridge of Sighs.
Even the light in Venice is different; the reflection off the water has provided inspiration for many artists. The Accademia Gallery holds several Venetian masterpieces, and you'll notice the play of light in many of its painting. The unusual light is far from being the city's only special quality. Visit during Carnevale and you'll see a glamour you thought no longer existed. Also well worth a visit is Venice Biennale, Europe's classiest international forum for contemporary art.
Cars aren't allowed in Venice, so you'll get to know the city by walking or riding vaporetti (public water buses - an alternative to the more expensive water taxis or gondolas, although it's worth splashing for a romantic evening out). Venice is notoriously crowded (and expensive), but people come for good reason. There is no other city like it in the world - its culture and canals, basilicas and bridges continue to leave visitors marveling. Despite its uncertain future, Venice hasn't lost its magic. Hide