The Ultimate Venice Bucket List - A Go To Guide

Updated: Feb 7



Venice is known as "The Floating City" and with good reasons. This city is literally built on water and has no roads, only narrow streets and winding canals with gondolas cruising from one end to another. Venice has water taxis, water police patrol and water ambulances - if that isn't special we don't know what is. Occasionally you'll experience big puddles of water all around the famous San Marco Square which is quite a sight! Venice is in our opinion one of the most extraordinary and picturesque cities of Italy with its unique, renaissance architecture, majestic cathedrals and beautiful bridges and squares.


A trip to Venice should be on everyone's bucket list! It has been said for many years that Venice is sinking and will eventually be a city underwater, so if you haven't visited yet here's your go-to guide to maximise your Venice experience!


The Ultimate Venice Bucket List


How to get around Venice:

The primary means of getting around Venice is by foot or by boat.


Venice is a compact city and can be walked from one end to the other in about an hour and all sightseeing is within a short distance of the Rialto Bridge and San Marco Square. We definitely recommend going on foot around Venice also if you want to capture the charming streets, walk across the connecting bridges and soak up the carnival atmosphere of this incredible city.


The other option of transport is the floating public transportation which is also quite an experience. The main boat options are private water taxis, vaporetto (small passenger ferries), alilaguna (water shuttle) and gondolas.



Private Water Taxi

The private water taxis function more or less like regular taxis. You simply call the water taxi company and remember to ask for a fare quotation before booking as it can be extremely expensive.


Vaparetto

The vaparetto are small passenger ferries which operate as public water buses. There are 19 different lines where you can travel around Venice as well as between Venice and the nearby islands. If you want to travel by vaparetto you should look out for ACTV water bus stops which are located around Venice and also shown on most Venice maps. You'll also see signs posting towards the ACTV stops when walking around the streets of Venice. A single trip costs around €7.50 and lasts for 75 minutes.


Alilaguna Water Shuttle

The alilaguna water shuttle has 3 lines connecting between Marco Polo Airport, San Marco, Lido and Murano. This type of transportation is mainly used for travellers coming to and from the airport or travellers wanting to visit Murano. You can purchase the tickets online, in the airport arrivals hall or at the Alilaguna ticket office near the piers. The airport fares are between €15-18 per person which includes 1 x luggage and 1 x hand luggage. The rest of the fares are also starting at €15 for a single trip whereas a roundtrip is €27.


Gondola

Last but not least you can catch a gondola to get a proper tour around the canals. This is much more than a means of transportation - this is an experience! A gondola ride costs €80 for a ride and can fit up to 6 people in one.



Tips & tricks:

Our best tips and tricks for your trip to Venice is to avoid holidays and weekends as it tends to be even more crowded than usual. Instead try to plan your visit outside high season and during week days. We would recommend spending at least two full days with 1 night in Venice however we could've easily spend 3 days and two nights. It depends on what you want to see and do, but if you're planning to see all the highlights including some of the nearby islands we would definitely say 3 days, two nights!


Feeding the pigeons in Venice especially St Marco Square is actually banned and you can get fined for doing so however there are men who hand out corn for people to feed the pigeons for a penny and many tourists do this. You must be super careful if you choose to take the risk as some of the pigeons can be with disease and have aggressive behaviour. Unfortunately we were unaware that it's now banned to feed the pigeons and actually ended up doing it at San Marco Square - and let us just say that our view of pigeons now isn't as bad as it was before we fed them. They're actually quite soft.



There are lots of street vendors offering different kinds of jewellery, roses etc and they basically just put it in your hands and then demand payment so stay alert and don't expect to get anything for free.


The Ultimate Venice Bucket List - A Go To Guide


Stroll around the beautiful San Marco Square

San Marco Square is probably our favourite part of Venice and also where you find many of the highlights so you definitely can't miss this spot! It's such a beautiful square unlike any other squares we've visited in Italy. Strolling around the square in the evening is such a vibe however it's also amazing to visit as the sun rises behind the Basilica and Doge's Palace. The square is almost empty in the morning, very quiet and peaceful, only with the sounds of the winds and pigeons roaming the square.



Admire the famous St Mark's Basilica

St Mark's Basilica is the most famous church/cathedral of Venice and dominates the San Marco Square. It is said that the saint Mark rests here and that's where the name St Mark's Basilica origins from. The architecture is influenced by eastern style as Venice was a big trading port with shipping routes to the east bringing back artistic inspiration and influence. This cathedral is an absolute must-see in Venice as it's so iconic for this city as well as incredibly beautiful inside and outside!


Visit the Doge's Palace

The Doge's Palace is another famous landmark of Venice located in San Marco right next to the Basilica. The architecture is outstanding and very unique both on the inside and outside. Currently, the Doge's Palace is a museum open to the public which costs €25 per person to enter and includes entrance to other nearby museums as well. If you're interested in ancient history it's definitely worth a tour inside but can also be admired from the outside!



Stop by the Bridge of Sighs

The Bridge of Sighs is an enclosed passageway significant or the "sighs" of the prisoners who passed over the bridge back in the day. The tradition holds that if a couple kiss underneath the bridge, passing in a gondola, they will experience eternal love. It's a beautiful bridge to see while being in Venice and the best viewpoint is from the bridge behind the Doge's Palace at San Marco.



Take a gondola ride

A gondola is probably one of the most iconic symbols of Venice and therefore you should add a gondola ride to your bucket list! A ride with a gondola is a romantic and one-of-a-kind experiences in Venice! This is also the absolute best way to discover hidden canals of Venice and soak up the beauty of the floating city. The standard price for a gondola ride is €80 for 30 minutes however at night it tends to be more expensive varying between €100-120 for a 30 minute ride. If you're interested in a longer ride you can have a chat with the gondolier to discuss the length of your ride as well as the cost.


The best places to catch a gondola is close to the most famous landmarks however it's possible to get a gondola ride all around Venice.


Is a gondola ride worth the money though? Well that really depends on you. If you would like to experience Venice form the water, which is the way it's meant to be experienced, yes it's worth it. If you want to explore the tiny, hidden canals across the ancient city while being rowed of one of the few hundreds of people capable of rowing a gondola, yes it's worth it. If you want the most iconic and authentic experience in Venice, yes it's worth it.



Stroll across Rialto Bridge

The Rialto Bridge is the most famous and iconic bridge in Venice and definitely a must-visit while strolling around the city. It is located in the heart of Venice crossing the most narrow point of the Grand Canal. The famous photo spot overlooking the bridge is on the opposite side of the bridge from San Marco Square and you'll have to walk around a building to find it - it is an easy find!



Visit the photo popular canal by Hotel San Moise

This is not the easiest spot to discover in Venice and doesn't really have a name but it is located close to the Hotel San Moise. If you find the hotel, you'll find the photo popular spot to capture an iconic shot of a gondola cruising down the narrow canals. There's a tiny jetty where you can walk out and have a sit while relaxing and waiting for a gondola to pass by. Definitely something you should do while visiting Venice!



Explore the colourful Burano Island

Burano is the most colourful island in the Venetian Lagoon. This island is known for lace making and its bright, rainbow coloured houses. The best way to reach Burano is by vaporetto. You can buy the tickets close by the piers or onboard the ferry which are around €7.50 per person. Burano is definitely worth a visit and especially for photographers as its such a picturesque island.



Experience glassblowing in Murano

The islands of Murano is famous for glassblowing and the only place where Murano glass is created. Murano glass has very unique creations with lots of colours, designs and motives.

Murano glass is hand-blown and the prices vary from fairly cheap to very expensive.


If you like artwork this is definitely a place to add to your bucket list!


Eat takeaway food by the Grand Canal

The Grand Canal is the biggest one leading all the way through Venice. There are so many good spots and corners to sit down, enjoy, relax and eat some takeaway food to fuel yourself for the rest of your trip around Venice.



Get lost in the charming streets of Venice

Let go of your map and simply just wander around the charming streets of Venice and allow yourself to get lost between the renaissance architecture, the narrow streets with carnival shops, the connecting bridges and canals with iconic gondolas cruising up and down.


Walking by foot and getting lost around Venice is definitely a must-do!



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