Venice Travel Tips and Insider's GuidesExplore Venice: Read our expert advice and book travel to Venice.
Venice is often described as one of Europe’s most captivating cities, one greatly influenced by the ocean’s rhythmic tides, which encroach and recede every six hours into a network of narrow canals. The Canal Grande, 4-mile-long Grand Canal, offers a mélange of intriguing shops and three bridges to walk across. The main sights are always packed so first time visitors can get a feel for the city from a ferry or stroll the pleasant streets and squares before tackling the crowded museums, grand medieval churches, palaces and other historic sites. The main routes for walking are clearly marked.
Because no motorized vehicles of any kind are allowed within the city proper, travelers park their cars in the outlying area and take a water bus or taxi motoscafi--water taxi--to their destination. Marco Polo airport is about 5 miles north of city center. Visitors to Venice can also take one of the many boat tour options, with English speaking guides, for a good introduction to the city. Riding in one of the shiny black gondolas with a costumed standing oarsmen, is also a pleasant, and often romantic, way to see the Grand Canal, especially at night with twinkling lights reflected on the water.
Venice is also a city memorable for its Venetian glass and its fashion and leather stores, which are clustered along the Calle dei Fabbri, an area of streets connecting the Piazza San Marco with the Rialto district. With good walking shoes, you’ll enjoy visiting Venice most any time of the year. Side trips include two nearby islands, Murano, famous for its glass, and Burano, with colorful canalside houses, narrow streets, and pleasant squares.