Venice is the ultimate destination in Europe for sheer aesthetic value. The dull yellow glow of the city, its countless breathtaking bridges, riverside cathedrals and elegant gondolas in the backwaters – all make for an overwhelming eyeful. But the most popular guides might leave out some hidden haunts, culturally charged expeditions and must-do things in the city. This guide makes sure that you don’t miss out on them. Although the city is a couple’s paradise, there are plenty of attractions for all sections of the family. Here is a list of 10 absolutely essential things to do in Venice.
1. A Kiss Under the Bridge of Sighs
Legend has it that anyone who shares a kiss in a Gondola under the Bridge of Sighs is granted eternal love and bliss. Whether you believe the legend or not, visiting this 500 year old bridge running across the Rio di Palazzo and the Gondola ride in its water is a must-do thing for every traveler visiting Venice.
2. The Grand Canal Tour
Most cities have buses. Venice has vaporettos! The #1 vaporetto is a brilliant option for a tour of the city through the Grand Canal. The slow drifting ride gives you ample time to make a list of attractions that you’d like to visit and you could even use it as a hop-on, hop-off system. Either way, the vaporettos in Venice make for a lovely afternoon tour.
3. The Rialto Market
This is a must do for gastronomical enthusiasts. The Rialto market is a long stretch of the local market along the Rialto Bridge and is a wonderful opportunity to get in tune with the local food culture of Venice. The fish market is their biggest attraction and a window shopping spree through the market can give you a glimpse of the way the Venetians shop and eat.
4. St. Mark’s Basilica
Italian churches are some of the largest and most ornate in the world. St. Mark’s Basilica with its towering marble pillars and intricate mosaic work is completely worth the visit. There are even three museums within the basilica that you could visit depending on the time you have and your enthusiasm.
5. Walk Around
Travelers to Venice are so occupied with the most popular tourist attractions that they forget to vacation. One of the best parts about Venice is the streets. Just take a walk through the winding lanes without any plans and you’ll soon find yourself overwhelmed by the beautiful architectural sprawl of the city.
6. Get to the Top
Take the elevator to the top of the Campanile, the tallest building in an otherwise flat city. The historic Campanile offers a stunning bird’s eye view of the city’s most imposing structures and a chance to see the bell tower of the city up close.
7. A Boat Ride to Torcello
If you want to get away from the bustling crowds in Venice, take a short boat ride to the island of Torcello. With a very sparse population and plenty of greenery, the key attraction on the island is a 7th century Byzantine church with beautiful mosaic art.
8. Glass Blowing at Murano
Even though it can be a bit crowded, the island of Murano is home to the world famous Murano glass. There is a museum dedicated to the glassworks. But the key attraction is the glass studios where you can watch the glassblowers live in action.
9. The Venetian Art Tour
From the 15th to the 18th century, Venice was the hub of artists in Europe. The works of great Venetian masters like Titian, Canaletto and Tintoretto can still be viewed as is in the original sites of installation in the city. This is a must do for art lovers.
10. A Binge by the River
For all the beer and wine aficionados, Venice provides a long stretch of quaint bars by the canal that offer quality Italian wine and cheese along with a delectable view of the backwaters. Sip some of the world’s favorite brands here for a life-time.
The best way to tour Venice is to head exactly in the opposite direction of the crowds. While thronging tourists flood to mediocre tourist traps, you could experience a slice of the real culture of the city with the help of this simple guide. Bon Voyage!