Venice, once the exclusive trading gateway to the Orient, is bisected with ancient canals winding their way between palaces and basilicas, while narrow streets end in grand squares, including the famous, pigeon filled San Marco. The city is connected to the mainland by a three mile long road and rail causeway and occupies one of the two elongated islands lying across the entrance to the lagoon. Venice is a living museum with its rich blend of Byzantine, Renaissance and Gothic Architecture interspersed by the labyrinth of canals, waterways, narrow lanes and alleys.
Most Popular Sites
The most popular sites can be found around St Mark’s Square including St Mark’s Basilica and the Dodge’s Palace; the Rialto Bridge not being too far away. Despite the crowds in summer, Venice manages to retain its charm aided by the fact that the only form of motorised transport are boats; it is also easy to escape the crowds to much quieter spots, while photo opportunities present themselves around each corner.
An Unforgettable Experience
When we arrived at Venice Airport (Marco Polo) we were met and whisked immediately into a high speed Water Taxi across the Lagoons. What an unforgettable experience it was, particularly the view on the approach to the Grand Canal, with the backdrop of the Dodge’s Palace and St Mark’s Square. Water Taxis can also negotiate many of the narrower canals and is a great way to travel.
The Vaporetti Experience
Tickets can be purchased in advance at tobacconists, offices and some landing stages for the Vaporetti (water buses) which stop at various points along the main canals; and also serve some of the larger islands in the Lagoon as well as Marco Polo Airport. Single tickets are quite expensive so visitors should look at using the better value travel cards for various durations normally starting at 12 hours. On the main Grand Canal, No 1 calls at all stops and No 2 is a limited stop service. Remember to validate your ticket before boarding! By taking several of the water bus routes you can admire much of Venice’s architecture with not much effort.
Venice Simplon Orient Express
For those who enjoy a stylish way to travel, the Venice Simplon Orient Express is a wonderful alternative to flying – and what better way to start your cruise sailing out of Venice. See separate blog post on the Orient Express.
Other things to do
Venice’s famous Gondola rides are better value when shared among a group, and you must agree a price before boarding! Many walking tours are available as well as half day boat trips to the many islands across the Lagoon including Murano (centre of the glass-blowing industry), Burano (lace making) and Torcello.
Staying in Venice can be expensive, however as well as the popular well known 5 star deluxe options I can suggest quite reasonable alternatives for accommodation of various grades to fit your budget. There are various ways of transferring to and from the airport which I can also advise on. Many cruises now leave and/or return to Venice; far too many of them don’t offer any or very little time in Venice – normally I can arrange a proper package in Venice as well as a cruise, and of course you can include the Orient Express as above – ask for details.
Contact Simon at Designer Travel Tailor-made Holidays & Cruises
Photo: Grand Canal (RG) – 7