Renowned city of canals and culture, Venice is made up of 118 small islands. Romance, education and history are all wrapped into one jumble of waterways. Hop on a gondola and take a tour of the beauty of Venice.

Must sees for free

The Mad Colored Houses of Burano stand out against Venice’s otherwise gothic tone. Made up of four small islands linked together, Burano’s homes are each painted a different colour than their neighbour: anyone who wants to paint has to get approval from the local community government, all only a vaporetto ride away.

In the North Lagoon of Venice is the small island of Torcello. With only a dozen people living there, mainly in farmhouses and relying on tourism for income, it’s hard to believe Torcello is where Venice began more than 1,500 years ago. Visit by boat and spend some time taking in the origins of the city.

For a taste of Venice’s gothic, take a look at the Palazzo Dario. Considered a cursed house, it’s said that anyone who stays at this 500-year-old house meets a terrible fate. Though you can’t go inside, you can look at the front and back of the house via neighbouring streets, across the Grand Canal.

Burano's coloured houses

Top sees for a fee

Though free to enter, there’s no way you can leave Libreria Acqua Alta without at least one book. After repeated floodings, the store took to displaying its books in bathtubs, basins and high shelves. Close to St Mark’s Sq and with a number of resident cats and a fire escape that leads straight into the canal, this is perhaps the most organically whimsical bookstore in the world.

Lazzaretto Nuovo is a plague quarantine island said to be home to vampires. Though that doesn’t initially sound inviting, the mystery surrounding the area draws people in. After uncovering mass plague graves, workers discovered bodies killed by methods associated with vampires. Tours leave at 10am and 4pm and, though free, an optional donation to the National Archaeological Museum of the Lagoon of Venice goes a long way to supporting nonprofit work.

To see everything Venice has to offer, try a boat tour. The Skip the Line: Venice in One Day trip offers a two-hour walking tour, one-hour boat tour and breaks for shopping from £60.97 per person.

Libreria Acqua Alta

Getting around

Venice’s public transport is almost entirely water-based, but the islands are also walkable. Travelcards are also available for €30 (around £26) for two days or €40 (around £35) for three days unlimited travel.

Venetian gondolas

Eating out and going out

While visiting the colourful houses, why not stop for a bite to eat at family-run restaurant Trattoria al Gatto Negro. With a menu filled with seafish, pasta and ‘risotto Burano style’, all at a reasonable price, what’s not to like?

For food for on the go, try We Love Italy. With various options of pasta and sauce, you create your own pot or try one of their many pizzas, flatbreads and salads. Based in Campo Santa Margherita and with prices coming in at no higher than €8 (just over £7), this is more than your average fastfood.

Fancy a drink and a night out? Check out Venice Jazz Club. Based between S.Margherita square and S.Barnaba square, you pay a €20 (around £18) for your table and first drink and can watch live music every night but Thursday and Sunday.

Venice Jazz Club


Luxury: The Arlecchino Hotel is based in Santa Croce and boasts a 24-hour reception, free WiFi and guided tours. Fondamenta Burchielle. From £138 per night.

Mid-range: The Hotel Mercurio Venezia is situated near La Fenice Theatre, Saint Mark’s Square and offers comfortable, quiet rooms, free WiFi and rooms big enough to house families of four or five. Calle del Frutarol. From £118 per night.

Budget: Veneziacentopercento Rooms & Apartments is based in the Castello quarter and boasts gondola tours, a homely authenticity and optional pet-friendly rooms. Calle dei Preti. From £73 per night.

Venetian architecture

The facts

Currency: Euros (€) £1 = €1.12

Time zone: GMT+2

The flight: 2 hours 15 minutes direct with Ryanair from £34 return

Best time to visit: November has the cheapest flights, but May allows for sunshine and warmth

Visas, injections and precautions: None