Vibrant Venice

Venice is a unique, magical place 365 days a year. I recently spent 2 days in Venice and this time of year is an ideal time for visiting – the city isn’t too crowded with tourists and the weather is just right to spend your days wandering around the small streets around the canals.

Venice Sunset
Sunset over Venice


Get your bearings
From Marco Polo airport, get on the Alilaguna water bus. The water bus stops in Venice at San Marco, Rialto, Fondamenta Nuove and Le Guglie. The journey takes about 1 hour and 10 minutes to get to San Marco. The scene when you arrive into Venice is like no other, stepping out and being greeted by a glittering canal is heart-stopping, whether you’re doing it for the first or the 100th time.

Venice is built on a lagoon; the island is bisected by the Grand Canal and divided into six districts. San Marco is the heart of the town, with the most famous sights.

 Facade of St Marks Basilica, Venice
Facade of St Marks Basilica, Venice

Tour Venice
With so many historic sights to see, I’d recommend booking a walking tour of Venice – you’ll have a local guide who will know lots of fun facts about the sights and give you a comprehensive history of the city. Try the Walks of Italy, Legendary Venice: St. Mark’s Basilica with Terraces & Doge’s Palace tour. You’ll get a half a day tour and skip the queue entry into the top two sights of Venice.

Colourful Burano
Colourful Burano

For something a little different, visit Murano and Burano. You can watch glass being blown at a Murano glass factory, and admire exquisite handmade lace and the colourful fishermen’s houses on Burano. It’s a great way to see more than just the central sights of Venice.

If you don’t fancy a tour, you can still take in all the sights of Venice just by exploring the streets, the great thing about this city is how close everything is – great for cramming in as much sightseeing during your trip as possible.

Bell Tower Piazza San Marco
St Mark’s Campanile

Take in a view
The bell tower on the Piazza San Marco is certainly the best-known spot for a panoramic view of Venice. The original lighthouse dates from the 9th century. With a height of 99m, it is the highest lookout point in Venice. It gives you a beautiful view of the city and the closest islands in the lagoon like San Giorgio Maggiore and Giudecca.

Scala Contarini del Bovolo
Scala Contarini del Bovolo

For a viewpoint a little off the beaten track, the Scala Contarini del Bovolo is the most beautiful building with a view over Venice. The residential house of the Contarini family dates from the middle of the 14th century. The spiral staircase on the outside of this ‘snail house’ was added at the end of the 15th century. Even though the tower is only 26m high, it gives you a nice view of the San Marco Basilica and campanile and other higher buildings in the city.

Food Venice

Dine in Venice
My advice here is to go off the main streets, take a stroll down some side streets and you’ll find a huge selection of hole-in-the-wall restaurants and bars – all of which are a lot more affordable than the tourist spots. My favourite spot was Al Mercà – stroll across the Rialto Bridge to the market are and join the fun. I’d recommend getting an Aperol Spritz and some cicchetti (small snacks and appetizers, often served on bread).

Getting there
We fly to Venice daily from Dublin during summer months and it usually takes two and a half hours.

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