Venice is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. After your flight to Venice touches down and you catch a boat from Marco Polo Airport (it’s not a gimmick, but genuinely the easiest way to reach the city center), it seems almost incredible that this city even exists.
Venice’s spires, domes, and palaces offer spectacular views from the water, but the city doesn’t disappoint from dry land, either. The churches and museums are packed with remnants of the days when Venice was one of the richest trading posts in the world. Around every corner, you’ll find picture-postcard sights, secret squares, and secluded alleyways—none of which are choked by cars. Losing yourself in a city will never be so much fun.
Indeed, wandering around without a map or itinerary is part of the experience. How else will you stumble upon Venice’s hidden gems and hole-in-the-wall joints? One of the best areas for a stroll is Cannaregio, a neighborhood hugely popular with locals. It’s easy to spend hours in one of the canal-side cafes or cozy trattorias watching Venetian life go by. For one of the best views of the city, however, head off the mainland and across to the island where the Bell Tower of San Giorgio Maggiore stands. The vista of Venice and its waterways are spectacular.
It’s impossible not to hail a gondolier or splurge on a canalside restaurant or hotel with views of the water. It’s absolutely worth it. You’ll never experience anything quite like Venice.