Venice is one of the world's most romantic cities and a great choice for a honeymoon. With direct flights from the East Coast of the United States, you can get away even just for a long weekend. You will probably need to plan your trip at least two weeks before you go if you want to find the lowest rates on airfare. The city offers a large selection of hotel rooms and finding accommodations is not difficult, except during certain parts of the year. If you plan to attend the Carnival in February or the Film Festival in early September, then you should book your hotel early. If you only have a day in the city, read our 1-day in Venice itinerary.
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Things to See & Do in Venice
Venice offers a huge selection of hotels, inns and bed and breakfasts for such a small city. Many former palaces have been converted into accommodations. The closer you get to St Mark's Square, the higher the prices, but the location is worth it, especially if you are planning an anniversary trip or a honeymoon trip. Don't forget to enjoy views of the water. You can watch gondolas and vaporetti arriving and departing from landing stages near Piazzetta San Marco. Or stroll along Riva Degli Schiavoni to see the Bridge of Sighs, Ponte della Paglia and the island of San Giorgio Maggiore. During the day, major squares are filled with tourists, vendors and gondolieri trying to sell their services. If you want a more peaceful experience, get up at sunrise and take a walk along the water's edge. Soft morning light is the best time to take scenic pictures of gondolas, bridges and the water. If you choose one of the hotels with rooms overlooking the Grand Canal, you'll be able to watch gondolas, water taxis and vaporetti go right by your window. If you are only planning a day trip to Venice, read our artice 1 Day Vacation in Venice.
Ca' Pesaro International Gallery of Modern Art
This baroque palace houses a collection of 19th and 20th century art, including paintings and sculptures by Klimt and Matisse. You can get there by vaporetti Number 1 or Number 82. Get off at the San Stae stop. The museum is closed on Mondays and certain holidays. Tickets cost 5,50 Euro and provide admission to the Internazional Gallery of Modern Art and the Oriental Art Museum. You can find current opening times online at www.museiciviciveneziani.it.
Just as often as you'll see signs pointing in the direction of St. Mark's Square, you will also notice those pointing to Rialto. The area around the Rialto Bridge is one of the busiest. Take a romantic walk or a gondola ride. If you go early in the morning, visit the Rialto Markets where you can purchase local produce. During the day, the best way take in the scene around the bridge is to sit down for a drink at one of the cafes.
Housed in a beautiful Baroque palace build in the 18th century, Ca' Rezzonico museum overlooks the Grand Canal. The museum houses a collection of paintings, sculptures, frescoed ceilings and 18-century furnishings. Among the famous artists whose works are exhibited at Ca' Rezzonico are Jacopo Tintoretto, Bonifacio de’ Pitati, Giorgio Massari, Canaletto, Pietro Longhi and Giandomenico Tieopolo. You can get there by taxi, on foot or by vaporetto Number 1. Get off at the landing stage that has a sign. The museum is closed on Tuesdays and during major holidays. Tickets cost 6.50 euro. Before you go, confirm opening times and prices at www.museiciviciveneziani.it. If you are interested in art and Venetian history, the Doge's Palace and Museo Correr are two other great museums to see on your trip.
Venice Film Festival
Venice Film Festival is an annual event that promotes the awareness of international film. The 71st Venice International Film Festival will take place between 27th August and 6th September 2014. This is a competitive event with several awards presented to the winning films, including the Golden Lion for best film. Films presented range from small independent films to big production movies. Many celebrities attend the event every year. Film screenings can be attended by the public in several theaters in Lido. Visitors can purchase individual tickets or combination passes with access to all the screenings that take place in a particular theater. For ticket information and a schedule of events, visit labiennale.org. Throughout the year, you will find various events, so be sure to check before you visit. There are workshops for kids, dance events and more.
The Golden Lion is the Emblem of the City
The winged lion is the emblem of the city and one can find it everywhere. The top of the church features a gilded lion that glitters in the sun. The Column of San Marco is topped with a huge bronze lion with wings. The entrance and the balcony of the Doge's Palace feature a winged lion. Examples are everywhere you look in the city.
From the train station to Rialto
On your way down, from the train station to Rialto, you will travel under the Scalzi bridge and pass several churches as well as numerous palaces facing the water. Among the palaces open to the public are the following: Palazzo Labia houses frescoes by Tiepolo; Fondaco dei Turchi is home to the Natural History Museum; the church of San Stae features works by Piazzetta and Tiepolo; International Gallery of Modern Art and the Oriental Art Museum are located in the Ca' Pesaro palace; the local fish market is located in the Pescheria; and Ca' d'Oro houses the Giorgio Franchetti collection.
Accademia to San Marco
Once you pass under the wooden Accademia bridge, you will begin to see the huge dome on top of Santa Maria della Salute. On your way to San Marco, you will travel past the palace that houses the Peggy Guggenheim collection. Santa Maria della Salute features an imposing white facade and a huge dome. Across from the church lie two of the city's best luxury hotels: Gritti Palace and Hotel Europa and Regina.
Rialto to Accademia
The Rialto area is one of the busiest parts of the city. The locals shop at the fish market while tourists sit on the banks. While traveling down this area, keep your eyes on the the colorful facades of various palaces, gondolas passing by, and the architectural details. Shortly after, the canal bends sharply until you reach Ca' Rezzonico. Just before the wooden Accademia, you can see the Accademia galleries which house the largest collection of Venetian paintings in the world. Read our 1 Day Vacation in Venice.
How Do I get Around in Venice?
Once you arrive at the airport in Venice, you can take a complimentary bus to the dock with water taxis and a public boat that will take you to Venice. Hiring the water taxi is the fastest way to get to town. The trip takes about 25 minutes, but plan on spending around $100 to get to St. Mark's Square. It is a good idea to try to can split the fare with other visitors. If you decide on public transport, the boat makes stops along the way and takes considerably longer to reach your destination than the water taxi.
You have two options - get around on foot or by boat. To get to your hotel from the airport or from the train station you will have to take a water taxi, or public transport. If you are staying in the San Marco district, once you get to your hotel you will be able to reach most of the the major attractions on foot. Walking is fun and an essential part of the Venetian experience. You will cross numerous bridges, boutique shops selling glass souvenirs, and squares with outdoor restaurants and cafes. While it's easy to get lost in the narrow streets, you can always find your way back to the square and Rialto by following frequent signs attached to buildings.
After you've settled into your room, you can begin exploring the town on foot or take a gondola ride to get a feel for the city. St. Mark's Square is a good place to start. It's the central point of the city and one of the most famous landmarks in the world. From there, you can walk towards the Rialto bridge and the Grand Canal. Venice is divided into six administrative districts. St. Mark's district which lies in the heart of the city is the most visited of the six. Attractions include famous square, the Doge's Palace and the basilica. The best way to get around is on foot. You can walk across small bridges and narrow streets from the basilica to Rialto in about 30 minutes. Along the way, streets are lined with boutique shops selling glass items, clothing and books. Few things are better than finding a scenic spot, ordering a drink and enjoying the view. As long as you know where to go, the city offers a great selection of outdoor cafes overlooking a square or the water.
Riva degli Schiavoni
Riva degli Schiavoni faces the water and is the most popular promenade in town. Close to the main attractions, the shoreline is filled with people and souvenir vendors. It is fun to watch the water, packed with gondolas, water taxis and vaporetti. Many hotels line the street, offering rooms with views of the water. For best views, go out early in the morning and enjoy a sunrise over the promenade.
Along the Grand Canal, Riva del Vin next to the Rialto bridge is the best place to sit down and watch boats of all shapes travel past you. To reach another good spot, walk past the Royal Gardens and sit at a table facing the mouth of the canal. During the day, the water is filled with gondolas, vaporetti and water taxis. >In the main square, Caffe Florian and Caffe Quadri both feature open-air orchestras and outdoor tables. The best time to go is at night when the crowds disappear and the pigeons go to sleep.
The Royal Gardens
Giardinetti Reali (the Royal Gardens) are located between St. Mark's Square and the water. The gardens are open to the public and there is no admission. The park has benches where you can rest your feet.From the royal gardens, you can see the top of the bell tower in St. Mark's Square. Just outside the gardens, one can enjoy scenic views of Santa Maria della Salute.
Pigeons in St. Mark's Square
While pigeons are considered a pest in most cities around the world, in Venice they provide a popular entertainment for tourists. In St. Mark's Square, visitors can purchase corn from vendors in the square and feed the birds. Almost everybody goes home with a picture of pigeons with St. Mark's Church in the background.
Visit the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore
The island of San Giorgio Maggiore is located across the water from the Piazzetta San Marco in Venice. It features a church, a monastery and a tall bell tower from which visitors can admire spectacular views of Venice on a clear day. Plan a romantic trip if you have enough time on your romantic getaway to Venice. San Giorgio Maggiore is an active cultural center with an open-air theater. It hosts numerous international events and exhibits. Inside the church, you will find paintings by Tintoretto and his son Domenico.
Venice Honeymoon Vacation Packages
Venice is one of the top romantic cities in the world. Get away with one of these great deals.
- Luxury and Romance: The beautifully restored Gritti Palace has been featured in many movies. It is offering the "Luxury and Romance" package which includes: Two glasses of champagne and a bouquet of flowers will be awaiting in your room and a Complimentary breakfast in bed for two each morning. A minimum stay of 2 nights is required. Rates start from Euro 490 per deluxe room per night.
- Private boat tour: Concordia Hotel, located right on the famous St. Mark's square, is offering a special which includes: Superior double room with side view on St. Mark's Basilica, Generous buffet breakfast, Welcome drink, Private boat tour along the hidden canals and the Grand Canal, A bottle of Champagne and fresh fruit in the room and a Flower bouquet. 2-night rates start at 820 Euro.
- Junior suites with a jacuzzi from 126 Euro: Rooms at Il Nido di Giulietta & Romeo are among the cheapest you will find in Venice, starting at just 80 Euro. Junior suites with a jacuzzi start at 126 Euro per night.
Stunning High Resolution Aerial Tour of Venice
Many first time visitors don't realize that getting around town involves a lot of walking and boat rides. The stunning 360 degree panorama by AirPano gives you a hands-on perspective. Download it to your iPhone or iPad and impress your traveling partner with this beautiful tour before you land. Intuitive controls let you zoom around the city, following the Grand Canal all the way to the famous St. Mark's Square. Plan your gondola ride using this unique high-tech tool. Watch cruise ships dock in the outskirts, pedestrians walking past the Dodge's Palace, and along the famous Rialto Bridge. Be sure to check out our quick and handy guide 1 Day in Venice. See the major sites in just a day or check into one of the unique hotels in the city. This cool interactive aerial tour can help you plan your visit so that you can get the most out of your trip.
What's Venice Like in the Morning?
Early in the morning you can catch a glimpse of a different Venice. The narrow city streets are empty, except for an occasional local hurrying to work. From Riva degli Schiavoni, watch rows of gondolas in the calm waters of the lagoon. First thing in the morning, St. Mark's Square is cleaned and prepared for the daily visitors while the pigeons begin to stir and take test flights to the roof above the square.
Venice at Night
The best time for romance in Venice is at night. As you walk along the narrow streets and squares you can listen to the songs of the gondolieri and the sounds coming from open-air restaurants and cafes. After dinner, walk to St. Mark's Square. Two cafes in the piazza feature live open-air orchestras that play popular pieces while visitors sip their drinks. Late in the afternoon, you will notice a change in the pace of the city. As the one-day tourists leave, the city becomes calmer and more romantic. The best time for a gondola ride is late in the afternoon, after delivery boats leave the narrow canals.
Venice by Day
During the day, Venice is a busy city. Its canals are filled with water taxis and delivery boats, while the narrow streets are full of shoppers and sightseers. St. Mark's Square features live outdoor music, eager pigeons that want to be fed, and a line of tourists in front of St. Mark's Church. You can sit at one of the open-air cafes in the square and watch everyone rush past you. Venice is most busy between 10am and 4pm. Many tourists come to the city on a day trip and leave in the afternoon. You will notice the change of pace as the days draws to an end. The best time for a romantic gondola ride is late in the afternoon, after delivery boats leave the narrow canals.