What to see & discover

Top 3

Must See's

01 St. Mark's Square

St. Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco) is one of the most famous squares in Venice. It attracts tourists from all over the world with its impressive architecture. In addition to the Basilica di San Marco cathedral of the same name and the 98.6m high Campanile (bell tower), Piazza San Marco is also home to the Doge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale). The imposing Gothic-style palace was once the residence of the Doge, the highest official in Venice. A visit to the palace is highly recommended!

To see St. Mark's Square in its full splendor, you should go to the balcony of St. Mark's Basilica, from where you not only have a wonderful view over the square, but can also marvel at the astronomical clock of the Torre dell'Orologio and the Procuratie, the complex of buildings along the north and south sides of the square. Incidentally, you will find many nice (but expensive) cafés and restaurants as well as small stores in the Procuratie.

The Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri) is also not far from St. Mark's Square. It connects the Doge's Palace with the prison buildings on the other side of the Rio di Palazzo canal. Its name supposedly comes from the fact that the prisoners who were led over the bridge to the prison could take a last look at the beautiful lagoon with a sigh before entering their cells.

As St. Mark's Square is a tourist hotspot, it is best to come to San Marco outside the main visiting hours (9 am to 6 pm).

02 Rialto Bridge

The largest and most important canal in Venice is the Grand Canal. It stretches for around 3.8 km like an inverted “S” through the historic center of Venice. Many of Venice's most important and magnificent buildings are located along the Grand Canal, such as the Doge's Palace, the Ca' d'Oro Palace, the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni with the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute and a number of bridges.

The most famous bridge is the Rialto Bridge. It is one of the oldest bridges in Venice and connects the districts of San Marco and San Polo. It is famous for its striking design. The bridge consists of a single arch spanning the Grand Canal and is flanked on both sides by stores. These mainly sell souvenirs, jewelry, handicrafts and local delicacies.

As the Rialto Bridge is so popular, you should also stop by here early. It's doubly worthwhile: because then you can stop by the Mercato di Rialto. In the morning, the stalls are bustling with locals and you can buy food and drink for your day in Venice.

If you want to escape the hustle and bustle in a different way, then visit the panoramic terrace of the nearby Fondaco dei Tedeschi (translated: “Warehouse of the Germans”). Here you can enjoy a wonderful view over Venice in peace and quiet.

03 Murano & Burano

Want even more peace and quiet from the tourist city? Then hop on the vaporetti and take a ride to the islands of Murano and Burano. The two islands are located in the Venice lagoon. They are known for their handmade glass production (Murano) and lace embroidery (Burano) as well as their colorful fishermen's houses. If you explore the two islands, you will encounter far fewer tourists than in the center of Venice, which I found very pleasant.

Both Murano and Burano offer the opportunity to attend workshops to experience the art of glass blowing or lace making. The history of glass production on Murano dates back to the 13th century. At that time, glass production was moved to the island to reduce the risk of fires in the densely built-up areas of Venice. Murano quickly developed into a center of glass production and gained a worldwide reputation for its high-quality glassware. The glassblowers of Murano mastered the secret of producing crystal glass and developed various techniques and styles that are still unique today.

The production of lace on Burano is also a long-standing tradition and dates back to the 16th century. The women of Burano were famous for their ability to make fine lace work by hand.

Incidentally, the tradition of painting the houses in different colors dates back to ancient times, when fishermen painted their houses in this way so that they could recognize them when they returned from the sea.

What else to see

Also interesting to see and a little insider tip is a slightly different library: the Libreria Acqua Alta in Calle Lunga Santa Maria Formosa. You can either stop by just to explore. Or you can bring some time with you and spend some time reading a book in a gondola on the canal.

Those interested in art and culture will not miss out in Venice either. You can admire the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni and Italian Renaissance paintings in the Galleria dell'Accademia. Or you can explore the Jewish ghetto. In the evening, you can go to the Gran Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Venice's largest opera house. Prefer something a little smaller? No problem! Then simply visit the opera in the Palazzo Barbarigo Minotto.

Otherwise, you should simply walk around Venice at your own pace. Explore the alleyways and canals and walk past the many palaces, some of which can be very morbid. Try to explore the city a little off the beaten track. I promise you'll find something worth seeing everywhere!

P.S. When we were in Venice, we listened to the children's radio play “Lord of the Thieves” by Cornelia Funke. Thanks to our Venice experience, I was able to visualize the locations in the radio play exactly and thus deepen my impressions.

I have put together a list of all the places on Google Maps.

You can find the list here.