Planning the perfect weekend in Venice

Venice is an enchanting city in Italy that is full of romance and charm, making it the perfect weekend getaway from the UK. In this ultimate guide, you will discover all you need for planning a Venice city break. From must-see sights like St. Mark's Basilica and Doge's Palace to insider recommendations for hidden gems off the beaten path, we've got you covered. Get ready to create memories that will last a lifetime in Venice. Let's start planning your perfect weekend in one of the most romantic cities in the world!

Why is Venice the perfect city break destination?

Venice, known as the “City of Canals” or the “Floating City”, is a destination that has captivated visitors for centuries. Located in northeastern Italy, this unique city is built on 118 small islands connected by canals and bridges. So, it’s no wonder why Venice is often considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. From gondola rides through picturesque waterways to immersing yourself in its rich history and culture, Venice offers an unforgettable weekend getaway.

Flights from the UK and transportation tips for getting around Venice

Venice is a city that captures the hearts of travellers, with its picturesque canals, charming streets, and rich history. If you're planning a weekend getaway to this enchanting city, one of the first things you'll need to consider is how to get there and, once you've arrived, how to get around. In this section, we'll explore the flight options from the UK and provide some transportation tips for navigating Venice like a pro.

Flights to Venice from the UK:

When it comes to flying from the UK to Venice, there are several airports that offer direct flights. The main airport in Venice is Marco Polo Airport (VCE), located on the mainland about 8 miles from the city centre. From London's airports (Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted), there are multiple airlines offering direct flights to VCE including British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair. Flight times range from 2-3 hours depending on your departure airport.

Another option is Treviso Airport (TSF), located about 20 miles away from Venice. This smaller airport mainly serves low-cost carriers such as Ryanair and Wizz Air but can be a more affordable option if you're willing to take a short bus ride into Venice.

Tips for getting around Venice:

Once you've arrived at either airport in Venice, getting into the city centre is relatively straightforward. VCE offers water taxis which will take you directly to your hotel but can be quite expensive. A more budget-friendly option is taking a public bus or shuttle service which will drop you off at Piazzale Roma where you can catch a vaporetto (water bus) or walk across one of the many bridges into central Venice.

Speaking of vaporettos, these water buses are an essential mode of transportation within Venice and offer scenic views of the city as well as access to all major attractions. You can purchase single trip tickets or a day pass depending on how much you plan to use them. Another option is to purchase a Venezia Unica City Pass, which includes vaporetto rides and entrance to popular attractions.

For those looking for a more unique experience, gondolas are also available for hire. While they can be quite pricey, taking a gondola ride through the narrow canals of Venice is an iconic experience that shouldn't be missed.

One of the best ways to explore Venice is by foot. The city's compact size makes it easy to navigate on foot and allows you to stumble upon hidden gems and charming neighbourhoods that you may have missed otherwise.

Iconic attractions to visit during a weekend in Venice

Venice is a city steeped in history and beauty, with countless must-see sights that will leave you in awe. With only a weekend to spare, it may seem overwhelming to choose which attractions to visit. That's why we have curated a list of the top historical landmarks and iconic views that you simply cannot miss during your stay in Venice.

1. St. Mark's Basilica

One of the most famous and recognizable landmarks in Venice, St. Mark's Basilica is an architectural marvel that should be at the top of your list. This stunning cathedral was built in the 11th century and boasts a unique blend of Byzantine, Gothic, and Renaissance styles. Admire its intricate exterior adorned with marble columns, statues, and golden mosaics before stepping inside to witness its grand interior filled with beautiful artworks.

2. Doge's Palace

Located right next to St. Mark's Basilica, Doge's Palace is another must-see attraction for history buffs. This magnificent palace was once home to the rulers of Venice known as Doges and now serves as a museum showcasing the city's rich history and art collection. Take a tour through its grand rooms adorned with priceless paintings by renowned artists such as Tintoretto and Titian.

3. Rialto Bridge

No trip to Venice is complete without crossing the iconic Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal. Built in 1591, this bridge has become one of the city's most photographed landmarks due to its unique design featuring three walkways lined with shops selling souvenirs and traditional Venetian goods.

4. Peggy Guggenheim Collection

For art enthusiasts, a visit to Peggy Guggenheim Collection is essential during your stay in Venice. Housed in an 18th-century palace on the Grand Canal, this museum showcases works by prominent modern artists such as Picasso, Pollock, and Dalí.

5. Grand Canal

Take a leisurely ride on a vaporetto (water bus) or gondola along the Grand Canal to experience Venice from a different perspective. This main waterway cuts through the heart of the city and is lined with stunning palaces, churches, and bridges, offering breathtaking views at every turn.

6. Piazza San Marco

Spend some time soaking in the vibrant atmosphere of Piazza San Marco, also known as St. Mark's Square. This bustling square is surrounded by architectural wonders such as St. Mark's Basilica, Doge's Palace, and Torre dell'Orologio (Clock Tower). Grab a gelato from one of the nearby cafes and enjoy people-watching while taking in the impressive sights.

With these must-see attractions, you can make the most out of your weekend in Venice and experience its rich culture and history in all its glory. Don't forget to wear comfortable shoes and have your camera ready to capture these unforgettable sights!

Hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path experiences in Venice

When visiting a popular tourist destination like Venice, it can be easy to get caught up in the usual sights and activities that are recommended by guidebooks and travel websites. However, if you really want a unique perspective on the city, look no further than insider recommendations from locals. These hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path experiences will allow you to see Venice through the eyes of those who call it home.

One of the best ways to experience Venice like a local is by exploring its lesser-known neighbourhoods. While places like San Marco and Rialto are must-see areas, they can often be crowded with tourists. Instead, venture out to areas like Cannaregio or Castello, where you'll find charming streets lined with residential homes and local shops. These neighbourhoods offer a more authentic experience of daily life in Venice.

Another unique aspect of Venice is its rich cultural history. While many visitors flock to famous landmarks like St. Mark's Basilica or Doge's Palace, there are plenty of lesser-known museums and galleries that offer equally fascinating insights into the city's past. For example, Museo di Palazzo Mocenigo showcases Venetian fashion throughout history while Scuola Grande dei Carmini displays beautiful artwork from renowned Venetian artists.

If you're feeling adventurous, consider taking a gondola ride through one of the quieter canals rather than opting for the busy Grand Canal route. Not only will this give you a more peaceful experience but also a chance to see the city from a different perspective. Locals also recommend taking a vaporetto (water bus) ride at sunset for stunning views of Venice's skyline.

For outdoor enthusiasts, head to Giardini della Biennale, a public park known for its contemporary art exhibitions and peaceful gardens. This hidden gem is a favourite among locals for its tranquil atmosphere and beautiful views of the lagoon.

Don't be afraid to step off the tourist track and explore Venice through the eyes of locals. These insider recommendations will provide you with a unique and authentic experience in this enchanting city.

Best places to eat in Venice

Venice is known for its picturesque canals, stunning architecture and rich history, but perhaps one of the most enticing aspects of this city is its food. With a strong influence from neighbouring Italy, Venice offers an array of delicious and authentic Italian cuisine. Here are our top recommendations for the best places to eat in Venice.

Authentic Italian cuisine:

When it comes to traditional Italian dishes, Trattoria Alla Madonna is a must-visit restaurant in Venice. This family-run establishment has been serving up delicious Venetian fare since 1954. Their menu features classic dishes such as homemade pasta, fresh seafood, and mouth-watering risotto. Don't forget to try their famous tiramisu for dessert – it's simply divine.

If you're looking for a more upscale dining experience with a modern twist on traditional Italian cuisine, head over to Osteria Ai Artisti. Located in the lively Dorsoduro district, this Michelin-starred restaurant offers innovative dishes using only the freshest ingredients available. Their tasting menu allows you to sample a variety of their exquisite creations and guarantees an unforgettable dining experience.

Budget-friendly options:

For those traveling on a budget or looking for some casual dining options, there are still plenty of great choices in Venice. One popular spot among locals and tourists alike is Al Merca Restaurant & Wine Bar. This cosy eatery offers simple yet delicious dishes at affordable prices. Be sure to try their famous cicchetti – small bites typically served with drinks and perfect for sharing.

Another budget-friendly option is Paradiso Perduto which serves up hearty portions of traditional Venetian cuisine at reasonable prices. The atmosphere here is relaxed and welcoming, making it the perfect spot for a laid-back dinner after a day of sightseeing.

From authentic Italian cuisine to budget-friendly options and must-try experiences, Venice has something to satisfy every palate. Be sure to add these recommendations to your itinerary for a perfect weekend in this enchanting city.

A round-up of Venice

From its romantic atmosphere to its rich history and culture, Venice truly has it all. Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway with your significant other or a fun weekend trip with friends, this city is sure to leave you wanting more. So, pack your bags and get ready to jet off for a weekend away in Venice. 

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