Venice is enchanting. Yes, that may be cliché to say, but once you see the city on the water for yourself, you’ll surely agree. Step out of the Santa Lucia train station and the breathtaking Grand Canal will soon greet you. You’ll see water taxis coast along, passing underneath the Ponte degli Scalzi (Bridge of the Barefoot) and might hear the faintest hint of a serenading violin, or is that your imagination?
It might not be all in your head. Romantic gondolas carrying smitten couples glide through the web of the city’s many waterways, and gondola drivers are known to sing when the moment feels right. On land, narrow passageways twist past Old World storefronts and residences, and over bridges.
You should note that maps aren’t all that helpful here and getting lost is the norm – embrace the disorientation, or enlist the help of a local by signing up for one of the best Venice tours.
This canal-clad city’s main draw is its magical atmosphere, but you’ll also find quite a few diversions, too: The tour guides at St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace give some great historical insight; the Gallerie dell’Accademia hangs works by Titian, Veronese and other famed Venetians; and the Teatro La Fenice puts on some world-renowned operas. You can also travel to nearby islands like Lido for the beach, Murano for the well-known glass and Burano for its lace.