Venice and the Veneto region is an area filled with contrast. From medieval towns, incredible feats of architecture, delicious food, awe inspiring landscapes and world-famous landmarks – the Veneto region is a world-famous destination with much more on offer then the admittedly amazing capital, Venice.

Here is my short list of 13 reasons why Venice and the Veneto region need to be on your travel bucket list:


1 – Carnevale di Venezia (Carnival of Venice)

The world famous Carnevale is a must-see spectacle of elaborate costumes and masks, imagination, and performance. Believed to have begun as far back as 1162, the festivities take place in February every year, about two weeks before Ash Wednesday and ends on Shrove Tuesday.

Why not make your own mask in Venice and join the revelry?

Find out about other festivities and events in Veneto here

A performer dressed in costume for the carnevale in Venice
Carnevale di Venezia - (Image by Serge WOLFGANG from Pixabay)

2 – Take the scenic route through Venice’s Grand Canal

The great waterways of Venice may seem touristy, but it is also the best way to see the intricately detailed facades and buildings that make up this beautiful city.

Instead of hiring a gondola (which is still a lovely way to tour the canals), try the vaporetti. It is basically a bus but in boat form. There are 21 vaporetti lines through Venice, but Lines 1 and 2 run the length of the Grand canal.  Take No. 1 as it generally stops at every stop and you can turn it into your own hop-on/ hop-off tour!

The famous canals of Venice
The famous canals of Venice (Image by Neil Morrell from Pixabay)

3 – Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square)

The main square of Venice, and the only one with the title ‘piazza’. This is the central area of Venice, and if you only have a few hours in this incredible city, chances are you won’t wander too far from it. But even if you don’t, it is not the end of the world as Piazza San Marco is considered to be one of the finest piazzas in the world.

Surrounded on three sides by public buildings, with the fourth being the imposing Basilica di San Marco with its domes and spires. Why not take the elevator in the campanile (bell tower) to the top for stunning views across the city?

St Marks Square, Venice
St Marks Square (Image by Hermann Traub from Pixabay)

4 – Hidden Venice

It is amazing how many people visit Venice, yet never wander further than the main square. There are hidden treasures all around Venice just waiting to be found – from small architectural wonders to (real) local cuisine, small campos (squares) and tucked away gardens. The other islands are also well worth exploring, away from the tourist crowds.

Isle of Murano, Venice, Italy
The island of Murano, part of Venice, Italy (Image by TeeFarm from Pixabay)

5 – Architectural wonders

Venice is a marvel of human engineering, built over drained lagoons, man-made canals and closely packed wooden stakes. When you consider that Venice was built long before modern machinery was invented, what was involved is even more incredible.

From the painstaking effort of manually dredging the canals, carving, and packing wood piles (which were shipped over from the forests of eastern Europe to the construction of the incredible stone and marble architectural buildings.

The entire city is a wonder that has to be seen to be believed.

One of the cathedrals found in Venice
A stunning example of architecture in Venice (Image by Pexels from Pixabay)

6 – Venetian cuisine

Venetian cuisine, while carrying the hallmarks of traditional Italian food standards, is very much unique to the area. Venice also has a long and illustrious history as it was once the centre of a large trading empire and had visitors from all over Europe.

While the local cuisine is primarily seafood, there are other specialities that are worth sampling. From Risi e bisi, a risotto believed to have been served to the Doges of Venezia. Fritoe which is similar to donuts and commonly made during Carnevale, and deep-fried mozzarella sandwiches called mozzarella in carozza.

For something different, head to the Rialto market in the mornings to see the day’s catch and the different types of seafood food in the area.

locals buying fresh produce in Venice, Italy
Locals buying fresh produce in Venice (Image by chantal MURE from Pixabay)

7 – Vines and Vineyards

On the mainland there are vineyards aplenty for long lunches and lazy afternoons. For fans of red wines a visit to the lush Valpolicella vineyards is a must. However, if you prefer the bubblier variety, then a visit to the Prosecco hills between the Conegliano and Valdobbiadene can’t be missed. For a variety of white, amber and rose wines then a stop at Soave should also be on the menu.

The vine covered hills of Treviso
The vine covered hills of Treviso, Italy (Image by daniFAB from Pixabay)

8 – The Dolomite Alps

For those who prefer nature over cities, the Dolomite Mountain ranges are the perfect escape. Everything from hiking, paragliding, skiing, rafting, cycling and mountain climbing can be found here.

There are also towns, markets, museums and nature parks here if you prefer to amble around. A UNESCO World heritage site, the Dolomites will take you back to nature where you will truly feel a world away from the rest of Italy.

The Dolomite Mountain Ranges
The Dolomite Mountain Ranges (Image by Harry Burgess from Pixabay)

9 – View the crystal-clear waters of Lake Garda

Framed on one side by the Dolomites, and near the fair town of Verona, Lake Garda is a lovely lake that is surrounded by stunning coastlines. Hire a bike and cycle along the ‘floating’ bike route to explore the archaeological site of Grotte di Catullo, the fortress of Rocca Scaligera, wander through the medieval town of Malcescine or enjoy a picnic at the Sirmione Peninsula stop-off point.

The lake itself is 150km to complete the full round trip, but that just makes it a perfect place to stay for a day or two to make the most of.

Lake Garda, Italy
The stunning Lake Garda (Image by meineresterampe from Pixabay)

10 – Fair Verona

Known as the setting of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, the fair town of Verona is a gorgeous medieval town well worth a stop.  See a show at the Roman Arena, the third largest and best preserved in the world (and still actively used – though not for its original intent!), or explore the piazzas, take in the city views from the Torre Dei Lamberti or stop by Juliet’s House for a photo op with the bronze statue of Juliet.

Verona is made for walking, which is absolutely fine because it just means for stops for gelato!

Juliet's House in Verona, Italy
Juliet's Balcony in Verona, Italy

11 – Visit Padua

An easy day trip from Venice, Padua has an impressive history for both religion and science. Padua has been the home of some of history’s great artists and scientists – from Donatello to Galileo and Giotto. The city is an open-air museum, from the 13th Century Basilica of St. Anthony with its heavy Byzantine influence, and must-see frescoes by Giotto in the Cappella degli Scrovegni, to the impressive Palazzo della Ragione. You can also play student for the day, and visit the historic University of Padua which was established in 1222.

Cityscape of Padua, Italy
The Domes of Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua, Italy (Image by Gerhard Bögner from Pixabay)

12 – Enjoy the waters 

The Veneto region is home to dozens of thermal water springs. From spa towns such as Abano Terme and Montegrotto Terma which sit in the volcanic Euganean Hills, to Bibione on the Adriatic Sea. Visit the thermal park Villa dei Cedri on the edge of Lake Garda, or if you are exploring the Dolomites, take a break in the town of Recoaro Terme.

If you happen to be visiting in summer however, then a visit the aquapark Terme di Giunone is a must – home to two thermal pools which date back to the Middle Ages.

One of the many hotels with thermal spas attached in Abano Terme
One of the many hotels with thermal spas attached in Abano Terme

13 – Go birdwatching

The Po Delta Regional Park is a national park which surrounds Italy’s longest river – the river Po. An area rich is biodiversity and landscape, from sand dunes, fish bowls and forests. Visit the coastal botanical garden of Porto Caleri or join a guided tour on a silent boat into dense reed-thickets.

Bird watchers and nature photographers will find over 300 species of birds scattered throughout the many canals, lakes, dykes, marine coasts and even country roads. No matter the time of day you visit, there is a new landscape to explore.

Po Delta Regional Park, Veneto, Italy
Po Delta Regional Park, Veneto, Italy (Image by chatst2 from Pixabay)

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13 reasons why you must visit Venice and the Veneto region

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