Top Venice sights: From popular landmarks to quieter islands

It's famed for its Rialto Bridge, St Mark's Square and the annual Carnival of Venice, but if you're planning a trip to Venice, what else is there to see in this enchanting lagoon city? Here we explore the top Venice sights to give you some ideas of things to do when visiting this magical city.

The Grand Canal, Venice, Italy
The Grand Canal, Venice, Italy © gurgenb -

Grand Canal

The Grand Canal is a busy hub of water buses and taxis but taking a gondola along its waterways is a more atmospheric way to see the main streets of Venice. The canals are full of cruising tourists and locals simply getting on with their everyday lives alike. Staying in a hotel overlooking the Grand Canal is an exciting way to wake up to the city.

Doge's Palace

This rather impressive palace used to be the home of the elected ruler of Venice (the Doge). White limestone and pink marble walls make for an elaborate interior and there's also a prison and torture chambers to explore if you're interested in its more gory side.

Doge's Palace, St Mark's Square, Venice
Doge's Palace, St Mark's Square, Venice © pmphoto -

Scuola Grande di San Rocco

Leave the 21st century behind and escape into some classic Venetian Renaissance architecture, admiring masterpieces by Tintoretto. The Scuola Grande was once the seat of San Rocco and acted as a protector against the plague in the 15th century.

St. Mary of the Friars

This church is one of the city's main landmarks, and was built in an Italian Gothic style. It took more than a century to construct but the interior and chapels of art were definitely worth the wait. The Assumption of the Virgin masterpiece is kept here as well as the tomb of its painter, Titian.

The Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice
The Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice © Elena Belyaeva -

Visit the Lagoon of Venice's other islands

There's plenty of places once you step off the island too. Did you know that Venice shares its lagoon with over 100 other islands? Not all of them are open to visitors but the ones that do are oozing with their own character and traditions. So if you're staying for longer than a weekend, it's time to get off the tourist path and take a boat ride to the must-see islands of Venezia.

Murano Island

It used to be a secret but now the glass makers on Murano Island have revealed all and allow visitors to witness their glass blowing traditions. If you don't get a chance to take the ferry across, however, you can purchase Murano glass in Venice itself.

Glass blowing, Murano Island, Venice
Glass blowing, Murano Island, Venice © bereta -

Burano Island

Known as a mini Venice and famous for its artisan lace, Burano is one of the prettiest islands with vibrant colourful houses that line the canal. The island museum tells more about old traditions which have been at the heart of Burano since the 1400s.

Torcello Island

Older than Venice, the charm and romance of Torcello is quite hard to beat. The quiet island is popular with locals who come to enjoy the island's nature reserve.

Burano Island, Venice
Burano Island, Venice © MyBionicEye -

Of course, you can't come all the way to Venice without dining under the famous Rialto Bridge or having a cappuccino in St Mark's Square, but there's so much more to this magical city. Venice is a place of Renaissance architecture, a place to lose yourself amongst cobbled streets and a place to just wander in awe.

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Lisa Eldridge

Lisa Eldridge

Posted on Tuesday 28th January 2014 in: City Culture Europe

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