Things to do in Venice

As a maze of quaint alleyways and enchanting bridges, Venice is a city just begging to be explored. It's a metaphorical choose-your-own adventure book, which promises an empty square or serene canal at each turn. As a result, regular visitors will happily tell you that the best way to explore Venice is without a map. In fact, getting lost here is considered one of the best things you'll ever do in the city. Even if you have just have a few hours in this romantic Italian city, you'll get more out of your time here by just wandering around aimlessly than seeking out the attractions.

If you do seek some sort of direction though, set your GPS to St Mark's Basilica, the city's most famous landmark. A stunning and opulent building, the Roman Catholic cathedral is known to be one of the leading examples of Byzantine architecture. Outside the church, St Mark's Square is a popular hangout area during the day and a fantastic site to behold outside the typical tourist hours.

As well as stunning architectural sights, prized artworks and masterpieces lurk in these hallowed buildings so make sure you make the time to idle away some of your hours admiring the exquisite pieces housed within the Academy Gallery, Peggy Guggenheim Collection and Doge's Palace. Try to time your visit during the Venice Carnival so you can partake in the theatre, exhibitions, masquerade balls and gondola rides or just don a Venetian mask and get lost in the piazzas.

Offshore, a gondola ride of the canals doesn't come cheap but is well worth it if you can spare the Euros. Alternatively the city's water buses, called vaporetto, though less scenic, are great for gaining a glimpse of life in the Canal City. And here’s what you should look out fo on your Venice holiday:

St Mark's Basilica

Commonly regarded as one of the best known examples of Byzantine architecture, the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St Mark's Basilica is undoubtedly the city's most famous building and is complemented by St Mark's Square outside.

St Mark's Campanile

Though technically part of the famed St Mark's Basilica, St Mark's Campanile is an attraction in itself. Standing 98.6 metres tall in the Piazza San Marco, the bell tower is one of the most recognizable landmarks of Venice.

Ca' Rezzonico

The 17th-century palace-turned-public museum of Ca' Rezzonico is more suitably described as a glamorous time capsule dedicated to Venice in the 18th century with period furniture and its collection of 18th-century artworks. 

Academy Gallery

Venice has long embraced its artistic reputation. Since the Middle Ages, the Italian city has been well known for its artistic endeavours and often attributed as one of the finest art hubs in Europe.

Grand  Canal

For the Floating City, the major throughfare is the meandering Grand Canal, which cuts a swathe through the middle of Venice. Traverse by vaporetto or gondola to see the historic sights from the water.

Peggy Guggenheim Collection

An infamous heiress, a canalside Venice mansion and a treasure trove of contemporary art. No, it's not  'The Italian Job'; it's the must-see Peggy Guggenheim collection of modern art from Europe and the United States.

Carnevale Festival of Venice

The original pre-Lenten celebration dates back over 850 years and the historic Venice Carnevale is a riot of colour, costumes, masquerade balls, fashion and those famous Venetian masks.

Doge's Palace

The digs of the Doge or supreme leader of Venice is now a major museum of artifacts and artworks housed in stunning architectural surrounds. Set aside plenty of time to explore the many features.

Campo Santa Margherita

For an authentic slice of Venetian life, head to the social hub of Dorsoduro, Campo Santa Margherita. Here, you'll find authentic nosh, bustling markets and heaps of uni students soaking up the atmosphere.