Arriving in Venice by vaporetto, the skyline appears like a mirage of gleaming palaces and marbled piazzas. On closer inspection, you’ll find that it’s more like a maze – and the loveliest of places in which to get lost. St Mark’s Square and the Grand Canal draw the crowds (and then some), but the most interesting finds are often the time-worn backstreets and bridges that pass pocket-sized cafés and shops hung with Venetian masks. Islands speckle the surrounding lagoon, each touting their own specialty, from Murano’s glassblowing workshops to Burano’s lace shops. Or, there’s always Venice Lido – home to Venice Film Festival.
Walk around aimlessly: getting lost in Venice
You’ll discover some of the best walks in Venice by ditching the maps and apps and seeing where your feet take you. One turn off the tourist trail are streets strung with washing lines and quiet canals dotted with bàcari – bars serving up delicious Venetian small plates called cicheti.
Cannaregio, the northernmost neighbourhood, is free of the crowds found elsewhere. Listen to the stories of the Jewish Quarter, seek out Tintoretto’s grave at the Madonna dell’Orto church, and sit on the fondamenta and watch gondoliers go by – preferably while digging into a bowl of spaghetti-like bigoli.
Exploring Venetian masterpieces
It’s little wonder that the top spots in Venice are so popular; they’re just as beautiful as rumour (and Instagram) has it. St Mark’s Basilica is a masterpiece of painted ceilings and gilded icons. The Campanile bell tower offers a bird’s eye view of the vast square below. The Grand Canal’s oldest bridge, the Rialto, arches elegantly over the water, while the baroque Bridge of Sighs is carved with solemn faces. Gallerie dell’Accademia houses masterworks and ever-revolving exhibitions by famous faces like Anish Kapoor.
One of the perks of spending a walking holiday in Venice is that you can saunter around these places when what’s left of the cruise ships have departed and the crowds have thinned. Just make sure to book your entry tickets in advance to skip any queues.
The islands and beaches of the Venetian Lagoon
Vaporetti water taxis dart between Venice’s many docks and the islands of the lagoon. Catch a boat to Murano to marvel at the masterful glass blowers or to Burano to wander canals framed by a rainbow of houses.
Venice Lido – an 11km-long sandy spit at the mouth of the lagoon – offers a total change of scenery. Hotels line the water’s edge at Lido town, the host of the Venice Film Festival. It’s been a red-carpet escape for the rich and famous for a good few hundred years, with Liberty-style hotels stacked along the beachfront. The southerly village of Alberoni is a relaxing finale. This nature reserve is heaped with sandy dunes best explored by foot or bike.
Lake Garda, Florence and Rome
Venezia Santa Lucia train station is your gateway to the rest of Veneto. Go to Treviso (20 minutes) for quieter waterways and some great chances to sample the local Prosecco. Peschiera – the southernmost town of Lake Garda – is 1.5 hours away by train, opening the Italian Lakes to water-loving wanderers. How about another city with a romantic reputation? Verona (1 hour 10 mins) and Florence (2 hours 10 mins) both make easy day trips. You can even reach Venice train station in style – by vaporetto.
Why book a summer holiday in Venice with Inghams?
At Inghams, we do walking holidays differently. With no fixed itinerary, you have more time in your destination and the freedom to walk as much or as little as you like, discovering some of Venice's best activities at your own pace.
With over 85 years of outdoor travel experience, our holiday packages to Venice include flights, transfers, and accommodation, so you can relax and leave the small details to us. Our experts can help you choose the best holiday for you, and our team in resort can give you the inside scoop on how to spend your time away with us.