It’s no secret that Venice is one of the most popular cities in the world, with tourists arriving by the bucket-load to experience the beauty of the canals. However, most people only stay in Venice for a day or two, hitting the key sites before moving onto the next city. While this is all well and good if you’re on a strict itinerary (and you can definitely still appreciate the beauty of Venice in a shorter amount of time), to really get to know Venice, I’d advise staying 3-4 days, and taking your time exploring the quieter areas of the city. So to help with that, I’ve compiled a bucket list of everything you need to do when in Venice, both popular and lesser known!
Go up the San Marco Campanile:
Located in Piazza San Marco, going up the campanile is definitely one of the most popular things to do while in Venice, and I can certainly see why. It costs 8 Euro to go up in the lift (which while fairly expensive, is 100% worth it) and at the top, you get 360 views over Venice and the sea. We were fairly lucky and the queue was fairly short when we visited, but if its mammoth when you visit, it might be worth considering hopping on a water bus over to San Giorgio Maggiore campanile, which is allegedly much quieter, but equally as spectacular!
Go Inside St Mark’s Basilica:
Another obvious one, but with free entry and a fairly fast moving queue, it’s a no brainer (only downside is not being allowed to take photos inside!).
Explore Aqua Alta Bookshop:
Aqua Alta bookshop is perhaps a 10 minute walk from Piazza San Marco, and is the coolest bookshop I have ever been to. Books are literally piled up everywhere (including in one bath tub), and outside is a staircase of books offering views over the canals!
Not sure this needs an explanation, but my personal favourite flavour is Mango!
Burano is one of the main reasons why I recommend staying a bit longer in Venice, as being located on one of the outlying islands, about an hour from central Venice, it takes a bit more commitment, but is also one of the most spectacular places we visited while in Venice (a blog post will follow!)
Take a Ride in a Gondola:
One of the most iconic things about Venice are its gondolas, but at 80 Euros for a 40 minute ride, it’s definitely expensive. However, if you’re willing to share with strangers, you can book online and get a much cheaper deal.
Wander the Tiny Streets:
While it might seem easier to stay near the main canal, the beauty of Venice is really found away from the touristy areas, so make sure to take some time to just get lost in the winding streets.
And if you’re not sure where to get started, Dorsoduro is a beautiful neighbourhood filled with tiny canals and winding streets (as well as many a pizzeria and gelateria!)
Visit Ikona Photo Gallery:
If you’re a fan of photography, but don’t want to pay the 15 Euro to go to the main art gallery (we didn’t), Ikona Venezia is a beautiful little (tiny in fact) gallery, with free entrance and barely any tourists. The square its in is also perfect for a spot of people watching.
Enjoy the View Opposite the Train Station:
While many people arrive in the city by the train station (near Piazzele de Roma), not many stay this side of the island, instead moving further towards Piazza San Marco. However, the canal by the train station, and the neighbourhoods this side of the island are beautiful and (once you move away from the train station), are much quieter, leaving you able to take time to get some great photos.
See the Bridge of Sighs:
While you might have to battle a sea of tourists to the front, the bridge of sighs is worth checking out when visiting Piazza San Marco.
Cross Rialto Bridge:
I personally preferred Rialto Bridge to the Bridge of Sighs, but both are pretty cool! It’s also worth getting off the water bus at Rialto Bridge and then walking to St Mark’s Square, as it’s much quicker and you get to enjoy more of Venice!