Magical Venice will captivate you as soon as you arrive. With its unique canals, winding streets and stunning architecture, holidays here will capture your heart...
A UNESCO-protected city, it is often described as a marvel of engineering. Built on 118 islands and numerous deeply sunk wooden piles, Venice boasts 177 canals, of which the Grand Canal is the largest.
It is around 2.3 miles long and connects the Saint Mark Basin at one end to a lagoon near the Santa Lucia train station at the other. Sweeping under the beautiful Rialto Bridge, which is one of around 400 bridges in the city, a trip on this canal in a gondola or vaporetto is an experience not to be missed.
Other sights that can be seen from the Grand Canal include the impressive Palazzo Ducale, which has its origins in 9th-century Venice but has been rebuilt, altered and added to over the centuries. The building as it is today took shape in the 1300s with pink marble and limestone walls, but even today it still requires constant attention and renovation, as with so many other Venetian buildings.
Be sure not to miss the magnificent St Mark's Square and its Cathedral, which is a short hop from the Palazzo Ducale and the island of San Giorgio Maggiore lying in the lagoon terminus of the Grand Canal. Don't forget to treat yourself to some Murano glass, which was traditionally manufactured on the island of the same name because in the 1200s the city authorities, fearing fire in the densely packed wooden buildings, ordered the glassmakers to move their foundries there. They have been there ever since, producing some of the world's most exquisite glass pieces.
The Venice Carnival, Venice Biennale art festival and Venice Film festival are all wonderful experiences if you are in the city at the right time of year. But venture away from the beaten path and you will also find other gems awaiting you, such as unrivalled food cooked in small restaurants, red wine warmed by the evening sun and music drifting from houses.
The city is served by two main airports: the Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE) and Treviso San Angelo (TSF). Flights take around two hours from the UK...
Marco Polo is served by British Airways from London Heathrow and Gatwick and Alitalia also offers non-stop flights from Gatwick. In addition, easyJet flies in from Manchester and three London airports, Gatwick, Southend and Stansted. Monarch has flights from Birmingham, Manchester and Gatwick, and Jet2 flies from Edinburgh, Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle.
Ryanair is the only UK carrier to operate into Treviso, with UK departures including Stansted, Bristol, East Midlands and Leeds Bradford.
Of course if none of the direct flights work for you, Venice can also be reached on connecting flights over London, Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt and Munich with BA, Air France, KLM or Lufthansa.
Venice Marco Polo Airport is located around eight miles from the city, while Treviso San Angelo Airport is around 19 miles from the city.
You'll want to find the quickest and easiest form of transport for your onward journey when you land, and there are a few options. Find out the best for you...
Travellers can easily access the city using one of the regular bus, train or boat services. Travelling by boat or ferry is probably the most popular option, with water taxis, hydrofoils and ferries running on a regular basis from early morning until midnight.
Most water services drop you off at the Piazza San Marco and the journey takes from 40 minutes to an hour. The bus deposits you in the Piazzale Roma, sometimes via the Mestre train station and takes around 30 minutes. There are two trains which leave the airport around every 30 minutes - the Metropolitan Train or the Leonardo Express, both of which deliver you to the central station. In addition, many transfer options to the city stop at the Lido de Jesolo for those looking for beaches.
For those arriving into Treviso San Angelo Airport, there are usually buses and taxis waiting outside to coincide with flights. Some of them will take you directly to Venice and others will deliver you to Treviso centre, from where you can arrange onward transport to Venice.
Venice is a magical and unique city to visit. Find out the best place for you to stay…
You’ll find a variety of accommodation in Venice from budget hotels right up to high-end accommodation.
Staying in St Mark’s Square will mean you are right in the middle of the action and within easy reach of all the main attractions such as St Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace and a number of museums and galleries. You can sit in the huge square watching the world go by – but be aware that you pay a premium to stay here.
Vibrant San Polo is another bustling area of Venice and is near to the famous Rialto Bridge, as well as a number of ancient churches and the large square of Campo San Polo. An advantage to this area is that you have the excitement of the Grand Canal on your doorstep, but a few steps away takes you down winding alleys full of restaurants and cafes where you can get right into the heart of Venice.
If you want to completely avoid the crowds and get a taste of real life in Venice away from the tourist spots, you could try Cannaregio. However, be aware that the main sights are a substantial walk away. Santa Croce is also a good option if you want to steer clear of the crowds and you may find that prices are lower here.