What to do on a cruise stopover in beautiful Venice

sightseeing on a short trip to Venice, Italy

[comments in Italic by Daniel, as always] – We came in by plane yesterday and we saw at least seven (!) cruise ships harbored. So we thought, „what to do in Venice when you have limited time?“ So here are our tipps on what to do on a cruise stopover in Venice:

Do get lost in the streets of Venice

Venice fulfills all of our expectations. Even the smallest passages look like they’re from a movie set, with small houses, numerous canals and thousands of tourists everywhere. Do get lost in the streets of Venice – it can’t get any more beautiful than the little alleys and the excitement you feel when you discover wide open places at the end of a narrow walkway by yourself! You don’t always have to make such a brilliant appearance like one of my favorite movie characters, though 😉

sightseeing on a short trip to Venice, Italy

Venice – a perfect place to get lost in

If you’re into movies and like to visit film sites, don’t miss San Barnaba church, the „library“ where „an X never, ever marks the spot“, according to Indiana Jones (The Last Crusade). Be aware that you’ll only recognize the outside (it’s a real church, not a library) and look for the gully cover in vain (quote: „Ah… Venice!“).

Aperol Spritz: A must-have on the drinks menu

You’ll eventually get hungry and there’s no shortage of osterias (= pubs), bars and restaurants. On the contrary, mostly you eat better (and cheaper) a bit further away from all the masses of tourists. We found it hard to compare prices at first, but eventually established the „Spritz Index“. This highly thought-through system allowed for a simple and convenient method to determine the price level of your restaurant of choice. Based on the price for an Aperol Spritz (in EUR), also called Veneziano, you can easily see if the whole place is at the lower or upper end of the scale.

The prices for Aperol Spritz which we saw ranged from 2.5 to 12, with a Gaussian distribution curve ranging around 4-5. Equipped with this knowledge you could potentially save a bit of money on your entire meal – after a while, we looked up prices and enhanced our knowledge of the index just for fun. 🙂

Sightseeing: Doge’s Palace, Rialto Bridge and St. Mark’s Square

After you have enjoyed a cold drink and fueled up your batteries, you can of course do some serious sightseeing when on a cruise stopover in Venice. Much alike everywhere else in Europe, there are prestigious palaces, churches and museums. You’ll soon realize that Venice has always been rich, mostly because of its trade connections to Europe and the Orient. Inside the Doge’s Palace which we visited, literally every room is overly decorated with leaf gold or large canvas paintings, or both. Despite some fires that basically hit every major city in medieval or renaissance times, or the Frenchmen conquering the city, everything is well preserved. I was also impressed by how the democracy was lived and modern thoughts were introduced in times long gone.

Sightseeing in Venice

Rialto Bridge and St. Mark’s Square are a must-see, as well as the Doge’s Palace with the Bridge of Sighs – „Puente dei Sospiri“ (you can see it for free but only pass it when you pay to visit the Doge’s Palace).

sightseeing on a short trip to Venice, Italy

Puente dei Sospiri

The call it Bridge of Sighs because it connects the palace with the dungeon and from the bridge, convicted prisoners could see the lagoon for the last time. The adjacent basilica’s entry is free, although you can expect long queues on the weekends. If you don’t mind getting up early, enjoy the sunrise at St. Mark’s square and witness how this place looks like when it’s deserted. I’m not an early bird, so we didn’t do that, but we highly recommend it.

Tickets are available online, as an add-on to your city pass or on renowned sites like Get Your Guide. With the purchase of a Doge’s Palace ticket you can additionally enter other museums for free, even if your visit is not on the same day (it has to be until the end of the year, though – take a look on your ticket, it’s written on it).

We also enjoyed the ride through the canals with one of the Vaporettos – if you have a day ticket or would like to get the experience of floating through some of the wider canals without paying 80-90 EUR for a gondola ride (not as private, but as much fun and much more original than the touristy alternative), the water bus is your means of transport of choice.
In case you need more tipps on where to stay and how to get around or what to do on the other islands when staying in Venice on a cruise stopover, read my previous blog entry.

Some more impressions of beautiful Venice

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