I’m Back! I have so many photos and thoughts to share with you from our European Vacation – that I don’t even know where to start. So instead of just dumping 100 photos into a post, I decided to give everyone a peek into our trip, as well as some travel tips for when YOU get to visit these places yourself!
Of all the places we went, Venice is the place I would tell you that you HAVE to go! My grandfather was right when he told me that Venice is the one place in the world you HAVE to visit! So to start off my posts, here are 8 Must See Spots in Venice, Italy!
Vaporetto Ride up and down the Grand Canal
If you are like most visitors, you are flying into Venice from somewhere else in Europe. If you are flying in – the Venice airport is very small but very easy to get out of and to the main area of Venice. Once you are out of the airport, follow the path to the Vaporetto / Alilunga Orange Line to the Grand Canal in Venice itself. This line will bring you all the way through the grand canal giving you a great first look at the city of Venice! We stayed at a hotel right on the Grand Canal and I would recommend you do the same! You can take a Gondola ride as well, but we passed on this as it’s very expensive.
St. Marks Square
St. Mark’s Square is what you will always see when reading or watching something about Venice. It’s the main square at the “end” of the Grand Canal and many tourists can get stuck in this area and never experience the rest of the Venice. No matter what time of year you go – this area will be busy, it will have the most street carts selling souvenirs and touristy restaurants. Make sure you visit as it’s a great sight to see with many important buildings, but make sure you take the time to explore the rest of Venice too!
St. Marks Basillica
St. Marks Basillica is located in St. Marks Square and is a sight to see. The outside is amazing looking, but just wait until you walk inside and look up. The golden mosaics cover the whole inside of the building and are quite amazing! You can go in for free, but if you want to go up to the over look area and museum (which I recommend) there is a charge of 5 Euros per person. Here is a view from the balcony on top of the Basillica.
Doges Palace & the Bridge of Sighs
Doges Palace is located right next to St. Marks Basilica and we visited right after our visit to the Basilica. None of these attractions take the whole day, so if you have a limited amount of time in Venice, you can easily hit quite a few in one day! Time saver tip: If there is a long line to get in – go across the square to the Museum Correr and buy a combo ticket – this will get you into that museum as well as the Palace and allow you to skip the ticket line at the palace. The museum is some-what interesting, and for “free” it is good to look through, but if you are tight on time – you could skip it and head straight to Doges Palace!
This church is a little hard to find – as it is set back from the Grand Canal but feel free to get lost along the way – it will be worth it! The church itself is a traditional large nave church and has some amazing and different sculptures. The Rick Steve’s self-guided tour helped us out a lot in this church! You can’t take pictures in this church, but the whole area around the church is great too!
To me, the Rialto Bridge was a bit underwhelming. It is lined with touristy shops, people selling “selfie-sticks” and pick pockets (be careful!) – but the view is gorgeous from the bridge – so if nothing else, go for the view and pick up a few souvenirs for your family back home!
Getting Lost in the Back Canals – The #1 thing you have to do in Venice is just roam around and get lost! Getting lost in a city that is foreign sounds pretty unsettling but trust me, once you are there – you will find that it isn’t at all scary, it is a safe city and its so small that you will eventually end up back at the grand canal with the ability to find yourself on a map and get back to your hotel! If you are tired of walking by that time, hop on the Vaparetto! We got lost many times – and one of the times (when trying to find Frari church) was one of the best walks we had in Venice. We winded back and forth through some very residential areas of Venice, seeing how “everyday life” was. When we hit the grand canal again, we were right across from the train station and another beautiful bridge. We hit areas on our walk that we would never of seen if we hadn’t gotten lost and I’m glad we did get lost! Pick a direction, make a few turns and just go for it! When in doubt, ask someone to point you in the direction of the grand canal or st. marks square!