- Cityscape Archipelago of alleyways
- City life Walking on water
It may seem curious in a city that sits out in the sea and is characterised by its glittering waterways, but it’s walking you should prepare for when you visit Venice.
One of the most beautiful cities on earth, La Serenissima is an atmospheric maze in which to lose yourself. With most of its buildings right on the water’s edge, Venice hides all the snap-happy sightseers well; drift along the canals by gondola and float back in time as you admire Byzantine, Renaissance and Baroque architecture. Give the film-familiar Piazza San Marco a chance to sink in, then follow the locals off the main drags to the best restaurants, hidden churches and lively markets. With so many palazzi and piazze to discover, Venezia is a place for early nights and misty mornings spent wandering charming, traffic-free alleys: it’s the romance capital of the world.
Do go/Don’t go
August is hot, sticky and full of tourists. Autumn can be lovely. February is great if you’re going to the ball for carnival, but trying to find a hotel room in that month is no picnic.
Planes Marco Polo (www.veniceairport.com) and Treviso airports (www.trevisoairport.com) serve Venice. From Marco Polo take the public ferry or travel into the centre in style aboard a speedboat (this will set you back around €100 each). From Treviso it’s a 25-minute taxi journey (€70); or hop on a ATVO Eurobus for €5; it takes 80 mins.
Boats Venice’s vaporettos provide an inexpensive way to get from A to B (www.actv.it). They all take the same route; the difference is how many stops they make, which can take some time. If you want to arrive at your hotel in style, book a water taxi or vintage speedboat: try Venice Water Taxi (www.venicewatertaxi.com).
Trains Venice is well connected to other Italian cities – Padua, Vicenza and Treviso are all within easy reach. You can also travel overnight from London via Paris to Venice on the train; see www.eurostar.com and www.italiarail.com for details. Santa Lucia station is on the Grand Canal, so jump on a water taxi or the Grand Canal water bus.
Automobiles Avoid taking a car; you have to park on the mainland and get a train or water taxi.
- Taxis Use public water buses (€6.50 a journey, or €14 for a 12-hour travelcard); they all take the same route – the difference is how many stops they make. You can hail or call for a water taxi, but they can be pricey.