A guide to Venice’s best attractions

With its unique and intricate network of canals and many historic buildings and sites dating back more than 1,000 years, Venice is well worth exploring. Take a look at our guide to the city’s best attractions to visit.

Getting around in Venice

As cars are not permitted in most of central Venice, you have two main options for getting around – walking or experiencing the local tradition of gliding through its waterways. The vaporetto – or water bus – network offers access to many local attractions.

Alternatively, you can opt for a romantic ride in one of Venice’s famous gondolas – these are really more for fun than for transportation, but it’s a unique experience you won’t want to miss during your Venetian visit.

Places to see

If you are visiting Venice as part of a Mediterranean cruise holiday, you will want to make sure you maximise your time in the Italian city so you can take in as many sights as possible.

A great place to start is the sestiere (quarter) of St Mark, which is the original centre of the city of Venice. This historic site dates back more than a thousand years and you’ll be able to see evidence of structures dating back to the 12th century during your visit.

St Mark’s Square, which has long been a site of both religious and political authority, is characterised by a number of stunning historic structures, including the Church of St Mark, the Doge’s Palace and even a replica of the original Bell Tower, which was rebuilt after the structure collapsed at the beginning of the 20th century.

The nearby Rialto bridge – which has humble origins as a wooden drawbridge – was the first bridge to span the Grand Canal and was re-crafted in white stone in the late 16th century. Today, Rialto is not only known for its distinctive bridge architecture, but also its famous markets – open six days a week (the markets are closed on Sundays), this is an excellent place to spend some time among the locals and sample some of Venice’s most delicious food and wine.

Exploring beyond Venice

If you have some time to explore beyond the city limits, the islands of the Venetian lagoon are also well worth a visit.

Murano, for example, is world-famous for its distinctive blown glass – artistic glass production has been a feature of life here since the 12th century. The island of San Michele also has a rich historic significance – originally the home of the Camaldonesi Monks, today it is the main cemetery for the city of Venice.

Normal holiday or cruise?

Wherever you choose to explore in Venice, you are sure to have a brilliant time – make sure you plan your itinerary well in advance so you can make the most of your experience in this stunning Italian city.

While standard holidays in Venice are a great way to get to know the destination, a growing number of travellers are choosing to visit it as part of a longer Mediterranean cruise taking in a wide range of locations.

Many of Venice’s attractions are located within easy reach of the city’s main cruise terminal, so even if you only have a few hours to explore, you will be able to pack quite a lot into your itinerary. You can often find great offers on cruise holidays to Venice online, especially with P&O.

Photo by Smo_Q on Flickr.

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