Lawrence Fraser, City Break Specialist

"Venice has two sides - the amazing tourist areas of Rialto Bridge, Piazza San Marco and the Bridge of Sighs but there is also the magical back alleys. Lose yourself if the winding canals and alleys hidden behind the main sights. Try out Venice’s 'bacari', tiny neighbourhood bars that serve the city’s tastiest food and wine, these offer great value for money with a taste of authentic Venice!"

Venice at a glance

Venice is quite simply unlike any other city break destination. The vista of canals with their candy striped boat moorings, ornate architecture, perfectly arched bridges and gondoliers in traditional straw boaters are picture perfect. The city is supremely rich in history and tradition, with a concentrated collection of museums, churches and architecture all housed within a small group of 118 islands.

The name Venice originated from the ancient Veneti people who lived in the marshy lagoon around the 10th century. The city grew to become a capital and maritime power as well as a vital centre of trade right up through to the Renaissance period when it took a large role in the development of symphonic and operatic music and was home to a unique style of art known as the Venetian School.

Today the entire city of Venice is listed as a World Heritage Site. Virtually unchanged from its existence centuries before, it continues to possess an unparalleled magical quality. As Lord Byron proclaim, Venice is ‘a fairytale city of the heart.’

Perfect if you’re looking for:

  • Stunning architecture
  • Iconic sites
  • Historic attractions

Getting around

Adding to the charm of a bygone era is the city’s complete lack of motorized vehicles. Claiming the title of the world’s only pedestrian city, Venice is a haven for visitors who want to explore by foot, or in true Venetian fashion, by gondola or vaporetti (public ‘bus’ ferries). 

Shopping

Venice is a haven of unique, hand-crafted products, many of which have been produced for centuries. Colourful Murano glassware can be found in a variety of forms, from vases and candlesticks to jewellery and sculptures. Carnival masks are also widely exhibited in shops throughout the city due to the popular annual Carnival of Venice which has a history dating back to the 12th century.

Dining in Venice

There is a variety of dishes on offer in most areas of Venice – avoid the tourist trap eateries and seek out advise from locals or guidebooks to truly enjoy the local cuisine.

With its location close to the sea, fresh seafood can be found on most menus in Venice. Pasta and pizza is also popular, with side dishes including risotto, polenta and gnocchi.

Must-try local dishes:

  • Tramezzini - triangular, white bread sandwiches with a choice of fillings including meats, cheeses and vegetables
  • Cicchetti - small, snack dishes such as cooked meats, seafood, croutons and savoury pastries served both hot and cold
  • Gelato

Osprey Holidays top tips

A gondola ride is an expensive treat but if you have overspent in the lovely shops and cafés, just hop on the No.1 vaporetto and admire the wonderful palaces on the world's most picturesque main street.

Visit St Marks square in the evening when the day trippers have dispersed!

Get your tailor-made city break itinerary

Osprey Holidays can create a fabulous short break to Venice designed completely around your needs. We can arrange whatever you need, including:

  • All travel and transfers on days of your choice (not just Saturday to Saturday!)
  • Accommodation from our handpicked range of Venice hotels, to suit your budget and requirements

Our award-winning team can provide expert advice and recommendations, from general questions to tiny details. Contact us now for your tailor-made itinerary.

Important information
Population 270,843
Languages Italian
Currency Euro
Visa Information No visa required for EU citizens
Average temperatures

(monthly highs °C)

Interesting facts

A great way to tour the Grand Canal is by vaporetto - a 230 seat passenger boat which travels along Venice's main waterways.

Distance from airports
Venice Marco Polo 8km
Railway stations
Venezia Santa Lucia

Things to do in Venice

  • St Mark’s Square: There is a constant buzz from alfresco cafes, live music, visitors and pigeons alike.
  • Basilica de San Marco: The stunning mosaics, intricate architecture and medieval masterpieces make this church truly special.
  • Rialto Markets: An essential stop for foodies with incredible produce stands and fishmongers.
  • Gondola Rides: An enjoyable, romantic and unique way of seeing the city.
  • Peggy Guggenheim Collection: A huge collection of modern art, featuring avant-garde works by over 300 artists.
  • Boutique del Gelato: Considered by locals to serve the best ice cream in Venice, the constant queues are worth the wait.
  • Bridge of Sighs: An iconic image of Venice, it is said that one could hear the sighs of the condemned as they were being led to prison.
  • Palazzo Ducale: On St Mark’s Square, this historical palace boasts great views, architecture and fine paintings.
  • Do Mori Restaurant: Over 500 years old and Venice’s oldest stand up bar. Enjoy an aperitivo and a traditional bar snack.

Tours and Excursions

Venice City Walking Tour

Take in all the top sights on this leisurely guided tour, including St Mark’s Square, Rialto Bridge, La Fenice Theatre and the magnificent Scala del Bovolo.

Grand Canal Boat Tour

As you glide along the Grand Canal, Venice’s main street, your guide will talk you through the history of the imposing palaces and churches that line the banks and chart how it has developed over the centuries into one of the most beautiful streets in the world. You will then discover the small, romantic canals that wind their way through the city, experiencing the true essence of Venice. 

Gondola Ride Experience

Take a leisurely trip through Venice on its most iconic form of transport - the gondola! This short ride will take you along the Grand Canal and onto the more intimate canals of the Fenice area.

Murano, Burano and Torcello

On this half day tour you will sail past the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, the tip of Sant’Elena and the Lido beach resort before arriving in Murano, world famous for its production of beautiful coloured glass. You will stop here to visit one of the glass factories. Next stop is the pretty island of Burano, known for its lace and fishermen’s houses painted in bright colours. After a short cruise you will reach Torcello where the cathedral with magnificent mosaics and church of Santa Fosca are all that remain of what was the earliest centre of civilisation in the estuary.

We would be happy to arrange an excursion for you. To discuss options with a member of our knowledgeable team or to book, please contact us on 0131 243 8098.