Stephanie Yoder a RoamRight Blog Author

Magical Experiences In Venice That Live Up To The Hype

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Venice is one of those mystical, magical places that seems to embody much of the food, culture and history that make Italy so revered. It's a place people idolize and dream of one day visiting. The actual experience can be somewhat different than expected, with hordes of tourists, sweltering temperatures in the summer and inauthentic tourist traps lying everywhere.

Which isn't to say that the magical Venice doesn't exist, it’s just that you may have to dig a littler deeper for it. Here are five uniquely Venice experiences that are sure to live up to the hype:
 

Explore the Canals by Boat

Venice is best known for its winding canals and the small boats that travel them. Many tourists opt for the traditional route of hiring a private gondola. This classic option can cost you quite a lot, expect to pay close to 100 euros for the privilege.

A more budget friendly (and local) experience is to take the public water buses, known as vaporettos. For 7 euros you can ride any of the boats for an hour, for 24 euros you can get a 24 hour pass. Certain routes run straight up the famous Grand Canal, others pass different highlights and even go all the way to Murano (see below). These aren’t the fastest modes of transportation though, so make sure you have the time to spend before hopping aboard.
 

Gawk at Saint Mark's Basilica

Nobody actually misses Venice's major cathedral, and with good reason: it absolutely lives up to the hype as one of the most unique and beautiful churches in all of Italy. Unlike the dozens of Renaissance churches you will see down south, Saint Mark's is a thousand year old example of Byzantine architecture with dramatic spires, golden mosaics and elaborate arches. Nicknamed the Chiesa d'Oro (the Church of Gold), the inside is filled with elaborate marble, silver and gold tiles. Try to visit early in the morning to avoid crowds.

Get Lost in the Alleyways

Getting lost in Venice is both unmissable and unavoidable. Whether you plan for it or not, at some point you will find yourself wandering the narrow alleyways without a clue as to where you are. This is a good thing though; getting lost in Venice allows you to truly explore what makes the city great: the secret passageways, decaying mansions and abandoned piazzas. You will find hidden shops, tiny bakeries and interesting details that aren't on any map.

Sample Some Local Seafood

Venice doesn't really compete with its neighboring provinces when it comes to food. Visitors who aren't sure where to look may find themselves sorely disappointed as the food in tourist restaurants is usually marked up and watered down.

Venice isn't the place to try authentic pizza or ragu Bolognese but where it really excels is seafood. Find the right local hole in the wall restaurant and you can try a variety of delicacies from moleches (fried green crabs), to cuttlefish served with pasta drenched in its own ink. The ink dyes the dish an alarming black color but the taste is great.
 

Visit the Neighboring Islands

Don't just limit your explorations to the island of Venice itself. The surrounding area includes many interesting towns and islands which make a terrific half-day trip. The island neighborhood of Burano is known for it's rainbow-colored houses and relaxed atmosphere. More famous is Murano, the island of the glassblowers, where visitors can watch demonstrations and purchase all manner of hand-crafted glass products.

What is at the top of your Venice wish list?

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About the Author

Stephanie Yoder

Stephanie Yoder, a RoamRight Blog Author

Stephanie Yoder is a girl who can't sit still! Since graduating college in 2007 she has either been traveling or planning to travel. She's lived on four continents and visited everywhere from the Great Wall of China to the Great Barrier Reef. She now writes and travels full time, blogging about her adventures on Why Wait To See The World? (formerly Twenty-Something Travel). Follow Stephanie on Twitter or visit her on Facebook.

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