Travel Guide: Venice


Summary

Venice is a magical place. The city is built on around 120 islands, has 150 canals weaving through it (instead of streets) and 400 bridges. Historically, Venice was an important port city and major centre of trade, so the city is very well developed. Riding in gondolas on the canal, dining in restaurants surrounded by Italian Gothic architecture and visiting classic landmarks such as Piazza San Marco make Venice a city that inspires and surprises.


Food & Drink

Top Restaurants

1 Hostaria Castello • A small restaurant with only a few tables, creating an intimate & romantic atmosphere. Venetian-style with great food and wine selection.

2 La Zucca • Seasonal Venetian dishes with vegetarian leanings, in a cozy setting with tables by the canal.

3 Local • Polished restaurant offering a tasting menu of reimagined Venetian cuisine in rustic-chic surrounds.


Top Bars

1 Harry's Bar • Legendary 1930s bar known for its Bellini cocktails, carpaccio & celebrity clientele. Obviously, this was the first place we went to for a €22 bellini.

2 Bar Longhi • Located in the Gritti Palace, this stylish, old-world hotel cocktail bar has excellent views of the Grand Canal & city landmarks. It also has a martini menu with 10+ variations.

3 Il Mercante • Il mercante is located in one of the most beautiful and suggestive areas in Venice, just in front of the mighty Basilica dei Frari. This place is a true cocktail bar with inventive drinks and a creatively-designed interior.


Markets

1 Fondamenta alla Misericordia • In the northern part of Cannareggio, this area is full of some of the very best bars and restaurants in Venice

2 Via Garibaldi • On the eastern edge of Castello is teeming with thrift stores, bars, pastry shops, and specialty food stores selling salami and cheese

3 Riva degli Schiavoni • A popular waterfront area in Venice close to many of the big sites. This promenade looks out at San Giorgio Maggiore Island and the beautiful Church on it.



Other Food & Drink

Other Food • Taverna La Fenice, Dal Moro's, Trattoria da Denis

Other Drinks • Wine Bar 5000, Osteria All'Alba, Birreria Zanon, Taverna al Remer, Al Bottegon, Vino Vero, and any bar/restaurant tucked away beside a canal or in a square with sun or live music.

Coffee Shops • Some great coffee shops and bakeries include Farini, Mamafe & Mamafe Bakery.



Activities & Attractions

Top Activities

1 Gondola ride (€80) • Without a doubt a 'must-do' activity in Venice. We got our gondola from San Polo and made sure that our ride was primarily 'back-canals' and not just the Grand Canal, which would have been less interesting and busier.

2 Island of San Michele • San Michele is Venice's cemetery—a role it has played since the early 1800s, when Napoleon's occupying forces told the Venetians to start hauling their dead across the water instead of burying them all over town. It's a very surreal experience to visit this place.

3 Kayak the canals (or walk them) • The canals of Venice are what separate the city from most cities in the world. 150 canals and 400 bridges make walking around very unique and fun to do. We even saw a tour that was kayaking the canals—I didn't expect this sort of action in Venice, but it's definitely my style!


Other Attractions (SITES, PARKS, Etc.)

Sites • Saint Mark's Square, Bridge of Sighs, Grand Canal, Rialto Bridge

Other Activities • Murano to see Venice's fabled glass workers



Stay

Areas/Neighbourhoods

San Marco, San Polo, Castello, Cannaregio


Hotels & Airbnbs

H Gritti Palace • The Gritti Palace is a Luxury Collection Hotel by Marriott. The hotel is beautifully designed and it has great restaurants and bars, including patios that overlook Venice's canals.

H Ruzzini Palace Hotel • Guests of the Ruzzini Palace Hotel enjoy the atmosphere of a prestigious luxury hotel with a concierge and charming, exclusive rooms overlooking Santa Maria Formosa square. Located close to Saint Mark’s Square.

H Danieli • The Hotel Danieli is a Luxury Collection Hotel by Marriott. With its heritage setting on Riva degli Schiavoni, Hotel Danieli dominates the Venetian lagoon with spectacular views of the Grand Canal and islands. The building was built in the 14th century and it has been deemed one of the top five 'lavish hotels' in the city.