Venice is one of the most popular destinations on Earth, with a well-developed hospitality industry that goes back to the early 1800s. It can seem like the city is little more than a giant museum where visitors far outnumber the locals, but it’s surprisingly easy to lose the crowds. Indeed, getting off the beaten path is the best way to appreciate the enduring charm of “La Serenissima”—find out how below.
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Have just one day in Venice? Plan on starting early. It is possible to get a decent taster of the city’s art and architecture—and still have time to explore the back alleys and quieter canals that make “La Serenissima” so special. From riding the vaporetti to finding that special masterpiece by Titian or Tintoretto, here’s the best plan for spending 24 hours in Venice.
Venice is crammed with attractions, but if this is your second visit or you’re here for a week or more, head across to the mainland. Beyond the causeway lies the Veneto, a vast, historic region rich in culture, vineyards and intriguing medieval towns. Though this was once part of the Venetian Empire, it feels very different from the city: visit Palladian mansions, stand on Juliet’s balcony, and sample bubbly prosecco with these great day trips.
After you've marveled at the Grand Canal and St. Mark's Square, what's next? A short boat ride from central Venice, the island of Murano has long been famous for its glass. Lace is the claim to fame of tiny Burano, and bucolic Torcello contains the huge Basilica di Santa Maria dell’Assunta. Learn more in our guide to island-hopping in Venice.