So I had the opportunity to spend three days in Venice during my Euro trip back in 2017. I was so excited to get to Italy. It was the last stop on my trip and probably the country I was most looking forward to visiting. Actually, the whole idea for my trip began when I started brainstorming a two-week vacation to Italy, and then it exploded into a 6-week adventure around Europe once I realized all the other cities I wanted to visit.
Did you know that Venice was built by setting wooden planks into 118 submerged islands? Or that its city center is located 2.4 miles off the Northern coast of Italy? I had no idea! This magical floating city is really unlike any other. So here are some ideas of what to do if you ever find yourself in Venice…
Eat gelato… every day
Are we surprised this is the first item on my list?! I had gelato at least once a day while I was in Italy. Thank goodness for all the walking! My dreams came true when I arrived in Venice and was able to try Italian gelato for the first time. It was a scorching hot summer day and the gelato melted so fast that it started running down my arm (no joke, see the picture below for evidence)! I loved every second of it.
My favorite gelato that I tried was from Grom. There are a couple of locations around Venice. I recommend the hazelnut and salted caramel combo. Yum!
Get lost in the canals
Getting lost in Venice is a good thing, and with over 390 bridges it’s not hard to do so. The street signs aren’t great, and you can’t see any major
Admire the gondoliers
When I think of Venice one of the first things that comes to mind is gondolas. You have to go to school to become a gondolier, followed by a 6-12 month apprenticeship. The profession was previously only open to men, but the first woman got her permit back in 2009. It’s cliche, but there really is something romantic about riding a gondola with your special someone. We even saw a couple get engaged.
Take a gondola ride
Once you’re done admiring the gondolas, you should definitely get in one! It’s kind of expensive (something like 80 euros/gondola for 40 mins), but I think it’s something you should do once in your life. Plus, if you get a group together you can split the cost. It’s really cool to see the city from the perspective of the water.
You can pick up a gondola from several locations around the city. I would recommend going off the beaten path to avoid the really crowded spots where the gondolas are lined up (see the picture below). There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re on a ride at Disneyland. Our group picked one up down a quieter street and the ride was so nice. We were the only boat on those canals!
Visit Doge’s Palace
This palace was established back in 1340 and was the residence of the Doge of Venice (the ruler of the former Venetian Republic). It opened as a museum in 1923, and the ceilings were unlike anything I’d seen before. Very over-the-top and grand.
Visit St. Mark’s Basilica
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see the interior of St. Mark’s because it was closed the day I decided to go and we were leaving the next day. I heard it’s stunning and something worth seeing if you’re into church architecture.
Visit the island of Burano
When I was researching things to do a couple websites recommended taking a water ferry out to some of the smaller islands around Venice. After looking into a few options I knew I wanted to visit the island of Burano. It’s about an hour away from Venice but totally worth the trip. The island is filled with colorful homes and shops. It was a photographers dream!
Watch the sunset over the canals
Last but not least I would recommend slowing down and watching the sunset over the water. Our hotel was actually on the mainland, but one night we decided to stay out in Venice as late as we could to watch the sunset. It did not disappoint.