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Venice

Elegant Venetian buildings and palaces peer over the ancient maze of narrow streets and labyrinth of canals that contrive to make this a unique city. Tourists naturally flock to Venice to experience its inimitable charm. The downside of this can be felt in the narrow streets and cramped piazzas of its sought-after areas. A good way to get to know a more personal side of Venice is to saunter through its romantic back streets and residential quarters.

Venice rests on one of a series of 117 islands distributed throughout the Venetian lagoon at the northern end of the Adriatic Sea. This strategic position conferred on Venice economic and defensive advantages over its trading rivals. As the wealth of the city increased and its population grew, the composition of the city grew ever more dense and today only a handful of the islets that constitute the historic centre are not entirely developed.

The historic centre is divided into six quarters (sestieri). These are: San Marco, Dorsoduro, San Polo, Santa Croce, Cannaregio and Castello. The city's main thoroughfare is the Grand Canal that intersects each district as it meanders through the length of Venice from the railway station to San Marco. An alternative to walking the bewildering streets of Venice is to cruise the waterways onboard the motorboat buses known as vaporetti. These are the less romantic but also less expensive substitutes for the famous gondolas.

Venice extends beyond its six sestieri to the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello. These are known for glass and lace-making respectively and Torcello is noted for the magnificent Byzantine Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta that rests on its soil. Trips by boat to the islands provide a pleasant diversion from the busier historic quarters.

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Airports

Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE)
 

Top hotels in Venice

Palace Bonvecchiati
Located just 250 metres from Venice’s Saint Mark's Square, Palace Bonvecchiati offers contemporary rooms with elegant furniture and air conditioning. There is a gym, Turkish bath and sauna on site. Each room at the Bonvecchiati…
Hotel Al Codega
Hotel Al Codega is set in a quiet courtyard, just 5 minutes' walk from St Mark's Square and the Ducal Palace. Rooms are air conditioned and have flat-screen TVs. Rooms at the family-run Al Codega…
Hotel Al Codega
Hotel Al Codega is set in a quiet courtyard, just 5 minutes' walk from St Mark's Square and the Ducal Palace. Rooms are air conditioned and have flat-screen TVs. Rooms at the family-run Al Codega…
Hotel Becher
Hotel Becher is in the heart of Venice, 50 metres from La Fenice Theatre and a 5-minute walk from Saint Mark's Square. Rooms come with free Wi-Fi and LCD TVs. This 3-star hotel features a…
Best Western Montecarlo
Set in a 17th-century building just 50 metres from St. Mark’s Square, Best Western Montecarlo offers Venetian-style rooms with air conditioning and satellite TV. Wi-Fi is free throughout. Antico Pignolo restaurant serves a range of…
Bauer Hotel
Just 2 minutes' walk from Venice's St. Mark’s Square, Bauer Hotel offers spacious, elegant rooms with satellite flat-screen TV. It features a gourmet restaurant and a terrace overlooking the Grand Canal. Air-conditioned rooms at the…
Bauer Hotel
Just 2 minutes' walk from Venice's St. Mark’s Square, Bauer Hotel offers spacious, elegant rooms with satellite flat-screen TV. It features a gourmet restaurant and a terrace overlooking the Grand Canal. Air-conditioned rooms at the…
Bauer Hotel
Just 2 minutes' walk from Venice's St. Mark’s Square, Bauer Hotel offers spacious, elegant rooms with satellite flat-screen TV. It features a gourmet restaurant and a terrace overlooking the Grand Canal. Air-conditioned rooms at the…
Starhotels Splendid Venice
Located 5 minutes' walk from St. Mark's Square, elegant Starhotels Splendid Venice is set on a canal in the Mercerie area of Venice. It features a private pier, a gourmet restaurant, and rooms with parquet…
Starhotels Splendid Venice
Located 5 minutes' walk from St. Mark's Square, elegant Starhotels Splendid Venice is set on a canal in the Mercerie area of Venice. It features a private pier, a gourmet restaurant, and rooms with parquet…