With a history that spans all the way back to the year 827, Venice has long been a key and strategic place in Italy, Europe – and the world. This city on a lagoon has been intricately – and intimately – tied to the sea since its inception, and has maintained a reputation as one of the world’s most romantic cities for nearly as long. Other than Paris, no other city conjures images of pure romance and timeless, classic charm quite like Venice. From maze-like, winding streets – to its trademark and world-famous canal system – Venice is truly one of the most breathtaking ports of call that most cruise passengers will ever have the pleasure of visiting.
Sightseeing & Things To Do
Venice is such a magical place that to sit on the ship and miss out on its charms would be a major disappointment. From the Piazza San Marco to the Grand Canal, Venice is positively drenched in history, elegance and romance. Whether you choose to enjoy a gondola ride – or if you simply spend you time while here wandering the winding streets and bridges of the city – your time in Venice will be one that you’ll treasure for the rest of your life.
Many people are under the impression that Venice is a small place – it’s not. When visiting, it helps to have a plan regarding what you absolutely must see. Consider one of these attractions:
Piazza San Marco
As the largest and most famous square in Venice, the Piazza San Marco is a superb place to roam about, snap pictures and to simply acquaint yourself with Venice. The people watching here is definitely great, too, and there are always plenty of folks milling about. Small cafes, bistros and shops line the square, making it a natural place to spend an hour or two.
St. Mark’s Basilica
Located right on the Piazza San Marco, St. Mark’s Basilica is one of the most famous sights in Venice. If you only tour one historic building while here, make it this basilica. Keep in mind that appropriate attire is required – i.e., you cannot enter the basilica wearing ultra casual clothing.
The Jewish Ghetto
The Jewish Ghetto is the section of Venice where the majority of Venice’s Jewish population used to live. Dotted with great restaurants, shops and boutiques, this section of Venice is well worth exploring. In many ways, it is a microcosm of the entire city of Venice, so if time is limited you may want to head over here.
Visit The Grand Canal At Sunset
Whether it’s by gondola – which can be expensive – or by water bus, you should make it a point to cruise down the Grand Canal right at sunset while in Venice. You’ll enjoy a different perspective of the city and will marvel at the play of light on the old, well maintained buildings.
Venice’s Rialto market is the best place to pick up virtually anything imaginable. On one end, several excellent shops are available and sell a vast array of goods; on the other end, a farmer’s market allows visitors to sample a bit of the local produce. All along the way, the delightful atmosphere of the Rialto market – and the nearby Rialto Bridge – are sure to create long lasting memories that you will look back on with fondness many years later.
Best Souvenir To Bring Back To the Cruise Ship
Venice is known the world over for its incredible glass. Whether you choose a small glass bauble or trinket – many of which are sold right on the streets of Venice – or a more elaborate and fine work of art, glass is the best souvenir to choose in this gorgeous city.
Eating – Sample the Local Cuisine
Restaurants are easy to come by in Venice, and their general quality is excellent. Be sure to sample a bit of the popular Venetian cuisine while in this eclectic city. Cuttlefish and its ink are famous and very popular ingredients to try while in Venice. The ink acts as the sauce in such dishes, which can be found all over the city. Polenta Nella Seppia – corn meal that is fried in cuttlefish ink – is one excellent example.
When, Where, and How
When To Go
There are pluses and minuses to visiting Venice in virtually any season. That said, if you have a choice in the matter then you should try to come to Venice in May or June. The temperatures are usually pleasantly mild at this time, precipitation is kept to a minimum and the crowds are much thinner than they are during the height of the summer.
Where You’re Docked
The huge majority of large cruise ships dock over at the Venezia Terminali Passeggeri, the main cruise terminal of Venice. Since water taxis and the like are abundant in Venice, it’s easy to snag one upon arrival. Otherwise, setting off on foot is a simple and easy way to embark on your exploration of Venice.
Which Cruise Ships Go Here?
A vast array of the largest cruise lines have itineraries that include stops at Venice. A few of the major cruise lines that stop in Venice are Cunard, Celebrity Cruises, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines and P & O Cruises. However, there are many other options available in terms of ships, dates, days at sea and in port when it comes to Venice.