The floating city needs no introduction, but venture beyond its famous attractions and the paths less travelled hold the key to its heart.
It's true: a trip to Italy isn’t complete without visiting the incomparable Venice, where Gothic palaces rise from the waters and life plays out on the winding canals. While it’s often associated with extravagant romance, bustling tourist attractions and kitschy gondola rides, there’s another side to this famous city just waiting to be discovered.
For a truly authentic encounter, read on to discover experiences you won't find in the guide book, from restaurants only the locals frequent to in-the-know Venetian hotspots.
Ready to escape? Discover our collection of Venice offers here.
EAT: on the vine-covered terrace at Corte Sconta
Dine alfresco at this secret trattoria, tucked away in the Arsenale area of Venice, behind the iconic St Mark’s Square. While it may be close to the action, it’s miles away from being a tourist trap; instead, filled with locals enjoying traditional food and wine. Opt for a table in the beautiful vine-covered courtyard to feast on typical Venetian cuisine like lemon-marinated anchovies with capers; maccheroni with prawns and zucchini flowers, or mixed Adriatic fish grill, before finishing it off with a classic tiramisu.
DRINK: wine with the locals at La Bottiglia
You know a bar is popular when it works on word of mouth alone. La Bottiglia is a local drinking hole tucked away in San Polo, a quiet quasi-residential neighbourhood in the middle of Venice. After a morning of exploring, stop by to explore its selection of wines and craft beers, or sample one of the hearty sandwiches for lunch. Stopping by in the afternoon? A spritz and antipasti platter is the perfect pre-dinner warm-up.
TRAVEL: by water taxi
It may be considered one of the unmissable Venetian activities, but a gondola trip isn’t for everyone. In fact, there’s a clever alternative for those who would prefer to avoid lining up with tourists and bartering with the gondolier for the cheapest price. Take to the water via water taxi instead and explore the canals while promptly getting to your destination. You can even hop on one from the airport for a different start or finish to your Venetian adventure.
STAY: in boutique luxury at Radisson Collection Palazzo Nani, Venice
Cannaregio is arguably Venice’s best area to rest your head – it's equally convenient for the main train station and attractions such as St Mark’s Square, but is far away enough from all the action to feel like you’re visiting a true Venetian neighbourhood. Radisson Collection Hotel Palazzo Nani, Venice is located in a restored Renaissance palace by the Cannaregio canal, offering a five-star stay in sumptuous surrounds. With contemporary rooms and suites, a sleek cocktail bar and relaxed alfresco terrace, it’s the perfect base for days spent in the floating city.
DO: Venture off the beaten track
Venice and beach don’t just go hand in hand in Los Angeles... Venetian locals flock to the small town of Alberoni, located at the southern end of Lido Island, where a peaceful beach lies. After a lazy day, green thumbs will love Serra dei Giardini – a greenhouse originally built in 1894 that now houses a flower store and small cafe. If you prefer modern art over the classics found at Gallerie dell'Accademia, hop on a ferry to the island of Giudecca to see Artisti Artigiani del Chiostro, an ancient cloister that is now home to workshops and studios of artists that specialise in all types of crafts.
Discover our collection of Venice offers here.
Looking for more inspiration? Discover How to Pick Your Italian City Escape.