Tag: Venice

Europe Travel, Featured, Italy

1 Day in Venice Itinerary

We get it, time is precious, and even though Venice has a lot to see, you can definitely squeeze most of it into a one day visit. On this one day adventure, you’ll get to soak in all the vibes, sights, and gelato goodness. So if you’re ready to start navigating those canals in the enchanting Floating City, let’s dive in!

Morning:

Visit St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco)

Start your day off early with a stroll through St. Mark’s Square. Admire the beautiful architecture of St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace, and snap a few pictures before the crowds arrive. If you’re in need of a little caffeinated pick me up, check out Caffè Florian – it’s the oldest coffee house in Italy that’s been in continuous use, and one of the oldest in the world.

While it might be a little pricy, we know you’ll enjoy a hot cup of coffee here like we did (or try their famous hot cocoa), especially if it’s a cool morning.

Take a Tour of Doge’s Palace (and St. Mark’s Basilica if you’re feeling ambitious)

Dive into the rich history of this iconic palace, known for its stunning gothic architecture and historical significance. Originally built in 1340 and expanded over the following centuries, this legendary palace was the residence of the Doge of Venice – their leader and highest official at the time. Grab skip-the-line tickets here for an unforgettable tour!

Lunch:

Head to a local bacaro for a quintessential Venetian lunch. Try cicchetti (Venetian tapas) and pair them with a refreshing spritz. Enjoy the relaxed ambiance of these traditional wine bars.

Afternoon:

Wander Along the Lagoon

Take in the views of the lagoon as you explore the waterfront market in Venice. Once you leave St. Mark’s Square, just head towards the water, and you’ll see street vendors and unique shopping finds in both directions!

Get Lost in Venice

With countless charming stone alleyways, beautiful buildings, and picturesque canals sprinkled throughout the city, take some time to wander and explore Venice without a roadmap.

Grab Some Gelato

While there are quite a few places to grab gelato in Venice, we loved Grom in Dorsoduro. Not only was this neighborhood super cool to walk through and explore, but the gelato was the very best we had in Venice!

Watch the Sunset From the Rialto Bridge

Watch the Grand Canal be painted in orange, pink, and red as the sun sets over Venice. This iconic bridge is beautiful on its own, but seeing it and its view of the canal and palazzos on either side at sunset is a truly special experience!

Evening:

Gondola Ride

As the sun sets, treat yourself to a classic gondola ride to see Venice from a whole new perspective. Glide through the canals, passing under romantic bridges and enjoying the magical ambiance of Venice all lit up at night.

Canalside Dinner

Opt for dinner at a canalside restaurant for delicious food and a view that’s uniquely Venice. Indulge in authentic Venetian cuisine while enjoying the serene views of the water.

Europe Travel, Featured, Italy

9 Mistakes Tourists Always Make Their First Time in Venice

When visiting this beautiful Italian city, there are a few things you’ll want to know ahead of time and a few things you’ll definitely want to avoid. While some are actual law, others are just plain old no-no’s that’ll leave locals shaking their heads.

Don’t find yourself in a frustrating (or embarrassing situation), and just read our 9 mistakes tourists almost always make their first time in Venice so you can be prepared and feel confident for your trip to this stunning city!

1. Feeding the Pigeons

First and foremost, it’s actually against the law in Venice. And secondly, they’re gross and are everywhere in Venice. I am particularly biased in my negative feelings towards pigeons in Venice, as one pooped right on my head while we were there!

Imagine, on the day you decide to actually do your hair, dress a little nicer, and do your makeup so you can take some nice pictures with your husband… and 5 minutes after walking out the door, getting splat right on your head by one of these sky vermin! Not my favorite experience.

Do yourself, and everyone in Venice a favor, and don’t feed the pigeons.

2. Not Validating Train & Bus Tickets

This tip is on our Rome Mistakes list too because it’s so important – and something that can feel really foreign to us Americans that don’t have much experience with public transportation. When you’re taking the bus or a train, you will need to validate your ticket before getting on board. 

At the station, there will be a little machine that you have to put your ticket in that punches a hole or clips a corner of your ticket, from there you can get on board. Not validating your ticket can result in a big fine!

3. Putting Your Feet (Or Any Other Part Of You) in the Water

While it may look so refreshing to dip your toes in the lagoon on a hot summer day in Venice, it’s probably not the best idea. Locals warn the water isn’t clean and it’s full of germs, so it’s best to stay away from putting any part of your body in the water.

There might not be a rule against dipping your toes in a canal, but Venice police did recently fine two tourists hundreds of euros each for swimming in the canals. 

On those blazing hot days, you might just want to find some shade instead!

4. Not Packing an Umbrella or Raincoat in Fall or Winter

When we visited Venice at the very end of October, it was pretty cold and windy with frequent rain showers throughout the day. We were really glad to have our rain coats as there were not many places to hide when those downpours hit!

Also keep in mind that Venice floods in certain parts of the city several times per year so keep in mind if you’re close to the lagoon or in a low area that you may have seek higher ground and wear water booties at some point if you’re visiting during the rainy months.

5. Visiting St. Mark’s Square Midday

This is the busiest part of the day to visit St. Mark’s square. If you’re a little claustrophobic, or just want a decent picture, we recommend visiting early int he morning or later in the day. Even at the end of October (during low season), it was still super, super busy in the middle of the day.

6. Eating Food in St. Mark’s Square

This might be one rule you aren’t familiar with – and it can cost you! Eating in St. Mark’s Square and on the Rialto Bridge is banned, and it can result in a big fine. You also can’t even sit in St. Mark’s Square unless it’s in a designated area, or at one of the cafes or restaurants located there.

7. Riding or Pushing a Bicycle in the City

Unless you’re a city resident or under the age of eight, you’re not allowed to use bicycles in the city – even if you’re pushing it by hand. While there’s an expensive fine, we’d imagine all of the bridges and narrow passageways would deter you as well!

While this isn’t a huge deal for most people, there are bicycle rentals and tours in virtually every other Europe hot spot that allow visitors to more easily traverse the city and see the sights. Don’t expect to be able to do it here – you’ll need to be on foot or on a boat.

8. Not Securing Your Valuables

While Venice felt the safest of any other city we’ve visited in Europe, it’s still always smart to make sure your valuables are secured both in your hotel room and on your body. Take advantage of the safe in your room for passports and electronics, and use a slash-proof purse like this one for your explorations around the city! 

I absolutely loved this bag, I used it in Venice and everywhere else we went. It fit my collapsible selfie stick/tripod, a small water bottle, my wallet, and phone with ease. And I was able to clip the zippers together to make it harder (and a much less exciting target) for pickpocketers.

9. Not Staying Near the Train and Bus Stations

If you don’t pack light (I never have and I never will!), staying near the bus or train station is your friend. There are no roads and no cars in Venice, and this can present some issues if you’ve got heavy luggage you’re wheeling around.

The first night we arrived, we didn’t know we could take a water taxi (and honestly, where we were staying, it wouldn’t have saved us that much headache) and my poor husband lugged our two giant suitcases up and down the bridges of Venice (including that super enormous one right when you enter). That poor man was drenched with sweat by the time we got to our Airbnb over by the Museo de la historia natural!

Pack light or pick your accommodations strategically!

Europe Travel, Featured, Italy

10 Best Things to Do in Venice For First-Time Visitors

Picturesque canals, winding stone pathways, and stunning, gothic architecture… it’s easy to see why Venice is such a romantic and beautiful destination to visit in Italy!

Known as the “Floating City,” Venice is one destination that should be on your bucket list! Built on a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea, Venice is a beautiful island city, lined with Renaissance and Gothic buildings that feels straight out of a storybook.

After visiting Venice for the first time this year, I can tell you it lives up to the hype and we enjoyed every minute here! So if you’re planning a day trip or a full multi-day adventure here, there are 10 things you’re going to want to do if you’re a first-time Venice visitor.

1. Walk Over the Rialto Bridge

Whether you’re looking to watch the sunset or just snap the perfect picture, a walk over Venice’s most famous bridge is essential while you’re visiting the city. Seeing the city from the top of this huge bridge and the bustling boat activity below was so cool and definitely one of our favorite views of Venice!

2. Wander Through St. Mark’s Square

There is one large square on the island of Venice, and it’s a stunning place to soak in quintessential Venetian architecture and culture. St. Mark’s Square, features Doge’s Palace, St. Mark’s Basilica, Campanile and many cafes.

3. Tour Doge’s Palace

While it’s fun to admire Doge’s Palace from outside in the square (and of course, snap a few pictures), we recommend taking a tour of this historic palace to get an inside look into ancient Venice life! 

Definitely book your tour in advance to avoid crazy long lines. We recommend this fast-track ticket or bundle it with St. Mark’s basilica and see them both – after all, they’re right next to each other! We recommend this skip-the-line guided tour ticket to see both beautiful sites.

4. Visit St. Mark’s Basilica

Known for its intricate mosaics and impressive Renaissance architecture, a visit inside St. Mark’s Basilica can’t be missed. Originally founded in 828 AD, the basilica was built to house the relics of the patron saint Mark that were brought, or reportedly stolen, from Alexandria. 

Check out this guided tour of St. Mark’s Basilica with access to the terrace overlooking the square!

5. Visit Caffé Florian

At St. Mark’s Square, you’ll find the oldest coffee house in continuous operation in Italy, and one of the oldest in the world: Caffé Florian. Established in 1720, this coffee house is one adorable stop you have to make while in Venice! Enjoy a hot cup of coffee or its famous hot chocolate while you’re exploring the city. While it’s a little pricey, we definitely enjoyed grabbing a coffee here – especially visiting in the chilly month of October!

6. View the Bridge of Sighs

Right by St. Mark’s Square is one of Venice’s most iconic bridges (behind the Rialto bridge of course!), the Bridge of Sighs. To see this bridge, leave the square and head in the direction of the sea. Then take a left along the waterfront and climb the small bridge, and look left. Here you’ll find a view of the Bridge of Sighs.

This bridge, built in 1600, was used connects the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace to the New Prison, crossing over the Rio di Palazzo.  The name “Bridge of Sighs” was coined in the 19th century by Lord Byron in reference to the idea that prisoners would sigh at their final view of beautiful Venice, and their freedom, before being taken to their cells. 

7. Climb the Campanile di San Marco

Enjoy panoramic views of Venice by climbing the Campanile (bell tower) in St. Mark’s Square. The only way up to the top of the 100-meter tall tower is an elevator, and you can buy tickets right at the counter there. 

8. Take a Gondola Ride

A gondola ride in Venice is truly a once in a lifetime experience, and often at the top of most people’s bucket lists when visiting the city. Seeing the city from such a unique vantage point and enjoying the leisurely ride is an absolute must when visiting Rome, especially if you’re with you’re significant other – it looks so romantic!

When we visited Venice at the end of October it was rainy, windy and freezing, so we did not do a gondola ride, and it was so disappointing. Do yourself a favor and soak up the once-in-a-lifetime experience while you’re there! 

9. Eat Tons of Gelato

When it comes to gelato, any flavor is good and if you’re like me, you won’t be able to get enough! I have a serious sweet tooth, so I made it my personal mission to find the best gelato spot in all of Venice: Grom tucked away in the Dorsoduro neighborhood of Venice.


Not only did we have an amazing time wandering through this picturesque, and considerably less busy, area of Venice, but the gelato did not disappoint – even in the chilly October weather!

10. Plan a Day Trip to Burano & Murano

If you’re only visiting Venice for the day, you may not have time for #10 on this list. But a day trip to Murano & Burano by boat is an amazing option for those visiting Venice for multiple days.

Usually coupled together for a boat trip, these are two of the lagoon’s most popular islands and unique experiences. Burano is known for it’s picturesque colorful houses found all over the island. And Murano, is famous for its glass making – you can even see glassmakers at work while you’re visiting the island!