If you’re looking for a beautiful getaway in a foreign land with lots of water and scenery, Venice, Italy should be at the very top of your list. An ancient city with artifacts and alleyways dating back centuries, Venice is a network of 118 islands separated by canals but strung together by bridges. At its peak, Venice was one of the biggest cities in Europe.

The waterways running throughout the city, connect locals and tourists together with a breathtaking array of attractions, historical landmarks, shops, and restaurants. Next time you visit Venice, make sure you add these nine stops to your itinerary to get the most out of your Venetian experience.

1. St. Mark’s Basilica


One of the best known surviving examples of Italian Byzantine architecture St. Mark’s Basilica sits in the piazza of the same name like a majestic tower of grace. Guarded by four bronze horses, the church is named after St. Mark, the evangelist whose remains were stolen from Alexandria, Egypt. His remains were hidden in barrels of pork and cabbage leaves by a few Venetians hoping to lay him to rest amongst the canals. 

Built in 1094, this church is exquisite in every way, with antique details, decorative sculptures, and stunning artwork covering its domed ceiling.

2. The Grand Canal

The largest canal connecting the Venetian islands, the Grand Canal is a true wonder worth visiting on your next Italian getaway. Although it is a canal, this body of water operates more like a river stretching from one side of Venice to the other. 

Lined by hundreds of buildings dating back to the 17th century, the Grand Canal has served as an important waterway and mode of transportation in Venice for centuries. Hundreds of gondoliers can be seen cruising the canal each day, picking up locals and taking them to their destinations.

3. Doge’s Palace


Beautiful both inside and outside, Doge’s Palace overlooks the Grand Canal and is one of the most alluring buildings in Venice. The Palace sits in St. Mark’s Square and it contains large, Venetian-designed archways and diamond-patterned walls. 

Inside the Palace, there is an assortment of vintage artwork, furniture, and interior design from the original owners of the Palace. Be sure to take as much time admiring the inside of the structure as you do the outside to take in the full essence of the Palace.

4. Bridge of Sighs


Although a very small bridge compared to others in Venice, the Bridge of Sighs is one of the most visited and most historic sites in the city. The bridge connects the Prigioni Nuove to Doge’s Palace and, with the Grand Canal at your back, provides an amazing view. 

According to legend, as prisoners were taken across the bridge from the Palace, they took one last glance over their shoulder at the Venice skyline and sigh before heading off to their fate.

5. Rialto Bridge


Named after its creator Anthony da Ponte, the Ponte di Rialto, or the Rialto Bridge, originally was the only bridge that crossed the Grand Canal. Its creator beat out Michelangelo and Palladio to create the grand structure and, although it was predicted to fall shortly after being built, the bridge is still standing today and considered an engineering marvel.

6. Teatro La Fenice


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Teatro La Fenice (@teatrolafenice)


One of Italy’s most renowned opera houses, Teatro La Fenice or the Theater of the Phoenix is sometimes made fun of by tourists because of its fiery history. The historic theater has caught fire three times since its opening in 1792, and continues to attract crowds and visitors despite nearly burning to the ground. 

The theater has a vintage, Old World vibe with its golden and velvet color interior and high rising seating perfect for enjoying the tunes of the opera or viewing a ballet. Events are still held at the classic theater year-round.

7. Gallerie dell’Accademia


Made of up three buildings, the Gallerie dell’Accademia houses some of Venice’s finest and most beloved artwork. With pieces from some of the region’s greatest art superstars, the Accademia contains Gothic, classical, and minimalist approaches to Venetian art between the 14th and 19th centuries. 

Although most of its best works are found on the first floor of the structure, the Accademia contains show-stopping sculptures, exhibitions, and painting collections depicting the strength and beauty of Venetian history.

8. San Marco Campanile


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Anna (@lilla_7)


Used by Galileo in 1609 for a demonstration with his telescope, the San Marco Campanile is a sight worth seeing while on your visit to Venice. Standing 96 meters tall, the Campanile is the tallest bell tower in Italy, and is only a short distance from St. Mark’s Basilica. The tower was built in 800 and, over time, has been remodeled to withstand time and the elements.

9. Gondola Ride Through Venice

A visit to Venice is not complete without riding a gondola through the historic canals. Gondoliers can be found hanging out all around the city, so it’s easy to get one’s attention and negotiate the rate of your ride.

Most rides begin in the Grand Canal and branch off into the maze of smaller canals connecting the islands. It’s an excellent opportunity to take in the Venezia architecture and to explore the city one last time before your departure.

Related: Venice Will Soon Limit The Number Of Incoming Travelers To Reduce Overtourism