My husband and I were planning our very first trip to Europe, and wondering which places to cover. With so many experiences waiting to be explored, we finally decided that Venice – known for being one of the most romantic places on earth, should definitely be there. I researched some things to do in Venice but honestly, I was intrigued as to what could possibly be in this city (or any other) that could add to the ‘romance’.
It was only when we spent a few days that we realized why this place is so loved and why it makes it to most people’s bucket list.
Things to do in Venice
St Mark’s Square
Moderately crowded places do not bother me much. In fact, travelers and specialty shops around the main area give me the feeling of being touristy and that I’m in a new place experiencing what the place is most known for.
St Marks Square is one such place. The exquisite architecture of the buildings surrounding the square with live music being played amongst artsy shops made for the perfect place to start our trip.
Campanile di San Marco
I was never particularly fond of viewing cities from the top, but Venice changed my views (literally). Since Venice is a cluster of over a hundred islands, viewing the city from Campanile di San Marco – the tallest building in Venice, made me appreciate the beauty of this city built on water.
Taking this bird’s eye view of the city early on in our visit helped us see the other locations where we wanted to walk to next.
Yes, it’s something everyone does, but it’s categorized as a must-do for a reason. Seeing the city from the water gives a different perspective of the place.
We were taken through streams to get views of medieval architecture buildings; something we otherwise wouldn’t have seen while roaming around on foot. Going under the low-height, narrow canals while hearing someone from another Gondola sing and play music adds to the romance.
We also noticed how the locals had their boats parked outside their houses, similar to how we have cars outside our homes in our regular ‘cities on land’. Similarly, the police and ambulance too had their own speedboats!
Walk Around the city
We spent ample time walking along the narrow streets, going along the canals, appreciating the beautiful buildings and ‘doing nothing’. We walked up to the famous Rialto Bridge and Santa Maria Della Salute, which were pretty far away from St Mark’s Square, the center of the city. Losing ourselves in the art and culture of this Italian city was the best part of our trip.
On the main island of Venice, there are no cars or two-wheelers, which only helps retain the magical feeling.
More things to do
If you have more than a couple of days at hand, you could also visit the colourful Burano Island, and visit the numerous museums that’ll help you appreciate the art and culture of Venice.
Tips to make the most of your trip
Stay on the island
When searching for hotels in Venice, some hotels show up near the closest airport to Venice. That area is pretty away from the main island of Venice where you’d want to be. Make sure your stay is booked on the main island where St. Mark’s Square is located.
We stayed at a stone’s throw distance from St. Mark’s Square. We paid a whopping £170 for a tiny room with bare minimum facilities, but we have absolutely no regrets. In fact, staying in the center of the city enabled us to cover the to-dos quickly and leave enough time to wander around the lovely streets and experience Venice well, even for the short duration that we were there. That, in my opinion, is money (and time) well spent.
Have food, the local way
Some of the best food we had was at food joints that had no seating arrangements. With limited land space, restaurants with seating are highly priced. Most, apply an explicit charge per person for enjoying the seating (sometimes, even music) and it’s mentioned on the bill too!
Therefore, locals prefer to eat at takeaway outlets, and the food is rather delicious. A special mention to Dal Moro’s Fresh Pasta To Go, for cooking through the pasta well (in place of the authentic way of making it al-dente) to suit our Indian taste preferences.
We couldn’t spot food from other cuisines and even popular fast-food chain restaurants aren’t there. That I think, plays a huge role in maintaining the charm of this gem in Italy.
My suggestion is, don’t get stuck with just the popular things to do in Venice. Get lost in the beautiful streets and sights of Venice that look straight out of picture postcards.
The limited days that we spent there made for an unforgettable experience. We’d love to visit the place again sometime. For now, it’s time to explore some more new places.
If there’s anything else you’d like to ask, I’d be very happy to help.
P.S. All pictures are clicked by me, or by strangers from my camera 🙂 My trip to Venice may not have been perfect, but it sure left behind some beautiful memories for us to cherish.