Venice Holidays – Hold the Gondola
Venice, “Queen of the Adriatic”, home to Casanova, masked balls and the Venetian court and one of the world’s most romantic cities. Think you know Venice already? Be prepared to take another look!
Venice can offer both excellent history, culture, food, architecture and entertainment but did you know it is also a great place for day trips to Lake Garda, Verona and Padua or that it has a beautiful Adriatic beach on the Lido de Jesolo? There’s lots to pack into Venice Holidays so let’s kick off with the 5 best things to do on your Venice trip.
Walk the city – rewards on every corner
Venice is the city of charming back alleys, quaint canals and chapels on every corner, it’s important to start any holiday with a good walk around the city and explore the different quarters at leisure. However, it is easy to get lost so we recommend a walking tour. Although walking around with a bunch of tourists may not be your thing, many of the guides are local and have been offering walking tours, for free, for decades. These guides know the best spots for anything, from bars, cafes to nightspots and theatres and so are a valuable source of information, happy to help you get the most from your Venice holiday.
Check out the Lagoons
Though Venice, Murano (of glass fame), and Burano are the most popular among visitors, there are many lagoons around Venice that are worth exploring. If you’re interested especially in the heritage of the Veneto, then take a quick boat ride over to Torcello, San Francesco del Deserto and San Lazaro degli Armeni which are beautiful and practically deserted with very few tourists. This is local Venice life and you’ll be warmly welcomed here off the beaten track.
Explore the Flooded Crypt of San Zaccaria
The 15th century Church of San Zaccaria will take a couple of hours to explore and holds within its walls a potted history of Venice. It offers a combination of Renaissance & Gothic architecture that’s worth the entrance fee alone but it’s the flooded crypt that draws out the tourists.
Here you’ll find the tombs of doges of Venice half sunken in permanent standing water, it’s an eerie place and looks perfect as a set for Lara Croft’s Tomb Raider!
If you’re interested in the tragic history of the doges of Venice this is a must stop.
Eat at a traditional Venetian trattoria
Venice, home to the slow food movement, doesn’t embrace McDonalds and fast food although the flood of modernity can’t be held back much longer. Starbucks and others have found their way onto the island but while there’s still the chance, check out the traditional trattorias serving the food of Casanova along the lesser known canals of Venice. We recommend visiting Osteria Alle Testiere, a seafood restaurant offering up Venetian favourites like baccala mantecato, it’s a real treat and taste of Venice.
Get off the Island
Venice has to be one of the best cities in the world for day trips with several world heritage sites and natural beauty spots within a short train or car journey.
If you’re after the beach, you can travel to Lido de Jesolo, the city’s premier beach to enjoy some blissed out days and nights.
If you’re into the mountains, travel north to Bassano and in 1 hour you’re in the Alpine foothills for excellent walking, grappa and a taste of Austria.
If you’re into the lakes, it’s a short car ride to one of the most famous and glamorous lakes of the world, Lake Garda.
If you’re into Roman history and architecture, the cities of Padua and Verona are also within a one hour train journey.
A holiday to Venice is so much more than a trip on a gondola and an overpriced ice-cream in St Mark’s square. We hope we’ve given you an appetite to explore Venice and the Veneto and turn that city break into a Venetian Holiday of a week (or even two).
We recommend staying in the Carlton on the Gran Canal hotel, close to the train station on Venice island and within easy access to the bridge off the island if you wish to explore the rest of the Veneto region.