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Venice City Breaks

Venice City Breaks

Truly one of the most famous cities in the world, Venice is a collection of 118 islands all connected by bridges crossing its numerous canals. Renowned for its breathtaking beauty and rich history, Venice is a pure delight to discover on a city break or as a stop on a cruise.

Extraordinary works of art by the likes of Bellini, Titian and Veronese can be found around almost every corner, and the canals are lined with mesmerising buildings, including elaborate Gothic palazzos. From getting around to the best things to do, let our experts help you plan the perfect Venice city break.

Best Places to Stay


Populated by more locals than tourists, Cannaregio is the site of Venice’s historic Jewish Ghetto, and the neighbourhood has a lively and authentic atmosphere which is thanks to its location off the tourist track.

Stay here to get an idea of how the local Venetians really live - there are also plenty of local sights that are worthwhile to visit. Alongside the Jewish Ghetto, visitors staying in the neighbourhood will have easy access to the jaw-dropping Ca d’Oro and the Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli, which is a masterclass in Venice’s Renaissance architecture.


Located south of St Mark’s Square, the Dorsoduro combines a super convenient location without the hordes of visitors that crowd the streets elsewhere in Venice.

It’s also home to a fair few of the city’s must-visit sights including Gallerie Dell’Accademia, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and several of Venice’s best value hotels.


Separated from the rest of Venice by the lagoon, the Giudecca is technically part of the Dorsoduro district, but it retains its distinct character. Once the working-class district, today the Giudecca is highly regarded as the location of some of Venice’s best hotels and plenty of decent restaurants.

Visitors who stay on the Giudecca should make a trip to the Redentore a priority. Designed by Andrea Palladio, an acclaimed architect in the 16th century, this magnificent church was built to mark the end of the Black Death, which wiped out over a quarter of Venice’s population in the late 1500s.

San Polo
San Polo

The smallest of Venice’s six sestieri, San Polo fits a lot of attractions into its confines, the most famous being the Rialto bridge.

The neighbourhood is also home to several important churches, like Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, the resting place of artist Titian, and the church of San Giacomo di Rialto that's one of the oldest churches on the island.

If you are staying in San Polo, make sure you check out the famous Rialto market which takes place every Monday to Saturday between 7.30 am and 1 pm. In addition to that, Cantina do Mori is a wonderful place for an aperitivo and a few cichetti, it’s been operating on this site since 1462.

Things to do


A towering fixture of Venice’s skyline, the Campanile is not only Venice’s highest building, but it’s also one of the oldest monuments on the island. The building functions as the bell tower of St Mark’s Basilica and was originally constructed in 912 but had to be completely rebuilt after the entire tower collapsed in 1902.

The reconstructed 19th century Campanile was built to resemble the original design as closely as possible and it’s well worth a visit on account of its incredible views of Venice and its surrounding islands. There’s a lift for visitors to use to access the top of the tower and, on a particularly fine day, the spellbinding view may extend to the Dolomite mountain range.



In a city full of iconic landmarks, the Bridge of Sighs is still one of Venice’s most instantly recognisable and most visited attractions.

Designed by the nephew of the man who created Venice’s other famous bridge, the Rialto, the bridge was completed in the early 17th century. It takes its name from its position between what was once the interrogation room of the Doge’s Palace and the prison, which meant that the bridge was one of the final things convicted men would see before their imprisonment.

Bridge of Sighs


Venice’s most famous square tells the story of the island’s history through its buildings. It’s the location of the world-renowned sites of St Mark’s Basilica, the Campanile and the Doge’s Palace.

Byzantine splendour of St Mark’s, which was originally built as somewhere to keep the relics of St Mark the Evangelist, which Venetian merchants had stolen from Alexandria in the 9th century.

This lavish place of worship was used by the Doge of Venice as his private chapel, complete with over 8000 square metres of mosaic and priceless treasures including the four bronze horses which were looted from Constantinople during the Crusades, before it was made the city’s official cathedral in the early 19th century.

San Marco


The city has inspired so many artists, and it’s little wonder that Venice has several outstanding galleries, namely the Accademia and Peggy Guggenheim Collection.

The historic Gallerie dell’Accademia offers a brilliant overview of Venetian art through the centuries, and visitors have Napoleon to thank for many of the artistic treasures that are on display here.

Having plundered Venice’s churches and religious buildings, the Accademia is where Napoleon chose to deposit his spoils. Now spread over three buildings, there is an overwhelming amount to see.

Iconic artwork


Enjoying an aperitivo with some cichetti (snacks) is a Venetian evening tradition, so it would be rude not to join in whilst on holiday in Venice.

The beautiful thing about this ritual is that it can be done in grand style, think bellinis at Harry’s Bar or simply at a local bar, such as All’Arco, where an Aperol Spritz or a glass of Prosecco and something to nibble on is had standing up at the counter.



Venice is full of extraordinary sights but, if you can tear yourself away, it’s certainly worth spending a little time exploring the other islands located in the Venetian lagoon.

Highlights are Murano, renowned for its glasswork, Burano, famous for its multi-coloured array of houses, and the ancient island of Torcello, where an exquisite 11th century mosaic of Madonna with Child can be found in the Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta.

The island of San Michele, Venice’s cemetery island, which is the final resting place of ballet dancer Sergei Diaghilev and composer Igor Stravinsky.

Venetian lagoon

Best Ways to Get Around


A trip along Venice’s lagoon and canals in a water taxi should be experienced at least once but, unless you’re happy to blow the budget on travelling in style, it’s prudent to have a more inexpensive option up your sleeve.

Venice’s vaporetto system is a ferry service that’s used by locals to get around the city and its surrounding islands. It’s quick and efficient, and many of the routes enjoy the exact same views that water taxis and gondoliers will charge you a fortune to see.

Particularly recommended is the route followed by vaporetto 1 which glides up the Grand Canal and past San Marco before heading out into the lagoon towards the Lido.

Venetian waterway

Frequently Asked Questions

  • There really isn’t a bad time to visit Venice, in this city every season has a charm of its own. Winter and the early months of spring can be cold and wet, but the upside is that you’ll have to contend with fewer tourists at the major sights.

    It’s worth bearing in mind that Carnivale, which takes place in the weeks preceding Shrove Tuesday, certainly attracts a lot of tourists, as does Easter weekend and the Venice Film Festival which takes place in late August and early September.

    For a winning combination of good weather and fewer crowds, the month of May is a good idea, as is mid to late September.

  • Visitors have the choice of flying into one of two airports. Either Venice’s Marco Polo Airport, which is significantly closer to the centre of Venice itself, or Treviso Airport, which is 25km from Venice but often the airport of choice for inexpensive flights.

    Several bus services operate a regular shuttle service from Treviso to Venice and the journey varies between 40 minutes to 1 hour.

  • Venice has two railway stations. The main station is Venezia Santa Lucia, which is located on the edge of the city centre. It’s easily accessed by vaporetto or on foot, simply follow the signs for the Ferrovia.

    The second station is Venezia Mestre which is situated in mainland Venice and operates a frequent service to and from Venice’s historic centre, which takes less than 15 minutes.

  • As one of the most visited cities in Europe, Venice is pretty relaxed about the millions of visitors who arrive every year, but there are a few points of etiquette that it is useful to bear in mind. It’s prohibited to lie down in public places or stop to eat a picnic in the middle of the street, littering is a definite no-no, as is attempting to swim in the canal or lagoon next to St Mark’s Square.

    The riding of bicycles or other vehicles isn’t allowed in the city and, regardless of the weather, it’s a good idea not to walk about without a shirt, in a bathing suit or undress in a public place.