Those destined to the romantic city whether for the first time or fifth time can benefit from some planning ahead because there is so much to see on this gorgeous and compact island. We recommend here some great experiences to have, it is by no means exhaustive, but after having been many times it is things that we look forward to again and again.
Three places to see:
St. Mark’s Square/Palazzo Ducale
This is the epicenter of tourism in the city and the stunning sites make it so worthwhile. It can of course be bogged down with tourists in high season. Our recommendation for the spot is go early in the morning if you want to see it free and clear, go in the afternoon if you want to people watch and relax in the shade. Many tourists feel like they have to see the Basilica and Palazzo, if you have to choose one to wait in line for, go for the Basilica it is impressive.
This acclaimed landmark sits boldly over the stunning canal. It seems to be constantly under renovation so don’t dream of fascinating pictures too much. The quaint shops on either side make for touristy shopping and great photo ops. To the West of the bridge don’t miss out on the farmer’s market, the Venetians prize their fresh produce as much as they do their seafood.
This is the southern walkway of the city, facing the Giudecca. It is the quintessential place for a stroll in the city. This is especially good in winter time because it is protected from the frigid Northern winds. There will be all manner of locals enjoying the promenade and local crafts being hewn.
This is a festival of art in odd years and architecture in even years that is displayed by the city. It is renowned for its eclectic style and often runs in high season from May through November. Some displays take place in historic buildings and churches, others in academic centers. Many universities participate from around the world and the displays are open from 10am-6pm every day except Mondays.
While this sits in the minds of many tourists as a dream event, the truth is it can be more costly and overbearing than Venice is normally in its peak season. Hotels are sold out, Costume parties and balls are extremely expensive and the weather can be off putting. Save yourself the crowds and get a nice Venetian mask from a shop as a memento.
Venice is a wonderful place to visit in the daytime, but virtually shuts down at night. Staying on the mainland or on Lido, Murano or Burano can give a whole new dimension to your trip. While these places can be equally sleepy in the off hours, they are charming and just a short vaporetto ride away from the charms of the canal city.