Rather than visiting a museum filled with wonderful artwork (of which there are many in the city of Venice) or getting a dose of history – roaming the streets and canals of the city and getting lost in a tiny alley away from tourists is a quintessential European experience. Because of its small size, you can walk across the city within an hour even with getting lost – and because it is an island, you will eventually find your way to your destination.
If you are doing a day trip in the city I recommend taking the vaporetti from the Santa Lucia train station to St. Marks Square (use Rick Steve’s Grand Canal Tour to get a guided tour while riding the boat – Map) -where you can visit the main sites around the square. Rather than taking the boat back; take the scenic walking route. You can follow the crowds and signs to the train station but we recommend losing the crowds and making your own path. Most roads will lead you to the Rialto Bridge – from there you can continue wandering North until you get back to the train station . Because of the city’s size you cant get that far off of the correct path. Venice is known for having some of the worst tourist traps for restaurants – by escaping the crowds you can find some of the hidden gems – which will give you much better service and a more authentic meal.
You will certainly find a dead end on your trek but you will also find smaller bridges that cross the canals and a completely different side of Venice which you would miss if you followed the crowds. You can escape the endless street merchants hassling you to buy trinkets and step into an authentic Venetian glass shop or stumble on a hidden museum – whatever you do escape the rush of tourists and Get Lost in Venice!
What are your quintessential experiences in Venice and Italy? Leave a comment below!