Discover the secrets to navigating London like a local.
8th March 2022
If you’ve ever seen any photos of Venice’s iconic canals, you’ll know it’s a truly stunning city. No matter what time of year you go, you’ll have an unforgettable time. The food you’ll eat, the sights you’ll see, and the people who’ll greet you are all a treat. While ‘The Floating City’ is arguably one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, it can get extremely crowded in the summer months. This is why we’re naming it our go-to ‘Spring Destination’ this year. Taking a trip to Venice in early Spring will mean beating the large crowds to properly appreciate the wonders of this historical city.
Take a look at our list below for 6 definitive reasons why Venice should be your next holiday this Spring.
You don’t need us to tell you how delightful Italian food is. Venetian food is in a whole different league of its own, with a unique offering shaped by the ingredients available in the local area. Expect an abundance of fresh seafood, lots of traditional sharing plates (like tapas, but called ‘Cicchetti’) and plenty of wine to accompany. For an authentic Venetian culinary experience, visit a ‘bacaro’. These are low-key Italian tapas bars, where you can try a whole host of Italian wines and cicchetti. We would recommend heading down for ‘aperitivo’ before dinner where you can enjoy a pre-meal drink like an Aperol Spritz and a side of delicious small plates.
Travel tip: Look out for tourist traps where you will get sub-par versions of Venetian classics. We would recommend avoiding restaurants close to St Mark’s Square as you’re likely to find higher prices and variable quality. Also, generally, try to avoid restaurants with ‘picture menus’ as these are usually tell-tale signs of a tourist trap!
April is when Venice starts to warm up in more ways than one. With Winter drawing to a close, the weather starts to improve, and tourist attractions and shops end their ‘off-season’ hours. Expect highs of 21°C but watch out as the chances of rain are quite high in April. Occasional showers provide ideal conditions to cover as much of the city without getting too hot and bothered and offer the perfect excuse to explore a museum or seek refuge in a cosy restaurant. In all honestly, some rain is a small price to pay for an uncrowded Venice. (It is known to get to the point where it’s hard to move across the many bridges when there are too many people in the city.)
Travel tip: If you’d prefer to avoid the rain, head to Venice in late April to early May - just be aware of the growing crowds as summer approaches.
Whether you think they’re overrated or not, gondolas are one of the top attractions in Venice, and one of the most iconic things to do in all of Italy. These narrow rowing boats were once the main means of transport in the city, but now serve as a form of entertainment for tourists. (Try and avoid asking a gondolier to take you somewhere specific like you would a taxi driver!)
As clichéd as it may sound, a trip to Venice really is incomplete without a gondola ride. Especially if you are visiting Venice with your partner, this is a super romantic thing to do and a date night you’ll never forget. Going for a ride at sunset will make the experience even more memorable.
Gondolas hold up to 6 people, not including the gondolier who will row across the canals. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take a ride on a traditional Italian gondola in a city which is over 1,200 years old.
Travel tip: Ask your gondolier to take you on the quieter back canals which are less crowded than the popular Grand Canal. This way, you’ll have a more chilled ride and see Venice from a totally different perspective.
Shopping in Venice is a rather special experience. Albeit a slightly different experience from other major Italian cities like Milan or Rome, by exploring the shops and markets in Venice you’ll discover some of the most specialised, wonderfully traditional artisan shops. You’ll find everything from quirky handbags made by local designers and delectable handmade chocolates to the famous Venetian carnival masks. You will have no trouble finding an interesting souvenir to take home!
Venice also has a number of vibrant markets to explore, where you can buy fresh local produce as well as clothing and household items.
Travel tip: Venice also has a buzzing antiques scene, and one of the best places to buy yourself a one-of-a-kind Venetian gem is ‘Mercatino Di San Maurizio’, a famous antiques market, which is only held four times a year. Check the dates before you plan to go, but the good news is that it is usually open for one weekend at the end of April.
Venice is known for its rich history in and around the city’s enchanting side streets and dreamy canals, and you will find something to see around every corner. That being said, Venice is an ideal destination for any history buffs. From palaces to stunning bridges like the Bridge of Sighs and the Rialto bridge to quintessential Italian squares like Piazza San Marco there will always be something to see wherever you end up going (and somewhere to enjoy an excellent cup of Italian coffee as well). We recommend taking some time to just get lost in the smaller side streets to soak up some of Venice’s stunning Gothic architecture.
Travel tip: Venture off the mainland and take a short boat ride to a small island opposite Venice called San Giorgio Maggiore. Here, you will get to explore the spectacular Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, as well as its bell tower. A trip up to the tower provides some of the best views around, meaning you will get to see Venice’s renowned St Mark’s Square and the surrounding Venetian lagoon.
Venice isn’t typically known for its beaches, but you will be pleasantly surprised by the beaches closest to the city. A quick 20-minute ride on a vaporetto (water taxi) will take you to Venice Lido Beach, a gorgeous sandy beach with kid-friendly shallow waters. This is the perfect way to break up your city break with a day at the beach, and depending on your budget, you can enjoy either a private or public beach. Other beaches close to the city are Malamocco beach or Lido di Jesolo Beach.
Travel tip: Venice Lido beach has a special relationship with horses, with its very own equestrian club. Through this club, you can go horse riding on the beach. This is only open October-April, which is another reason we have chosen Venice as our ultimate Spring destination.