The Grand Canal
As a city built entirely on water, it is little surprise that the Grand Canal features so prominently on top sights to see in Venice. Snaking through the heart of the city, the Grand Canal, flanked by magnificent Gothic, Moorish and Renaissance palaces, is where you'll find most of the action and some of the top sights.
For most people, a trip down the Grand Canal whether it be by a singing Gondolier or by one of the city's Vaporetto boats is the highlight of their trip.
St. Mark's Square
Piazza San Marco, known as St Mark's Square in English, is the principal square in Venice, home to some of the city's top sights. With so many world-class attractions in one place, tourist density is high here, especially during the summer months. But who can blame them?
Home to the Basilica di San Marco, Palazzo Ducale, the clocktower and not forgetting the Museo Correr, this where the action takes place, socially, religiously and politically. No wonder Napolean once called the square, "the drawing room of Europe!".
Islands of Murano & Burano
With 118 islands, it would be impossible to explore them all in one trip. While there is certainly more than enough to keep you occupied on the main island for weeks, a trip out to Murano and Burano provides visitors with a much-needed break, away from the frenetic center.
Famous for its traditional way of using glass to make works of art, Morano has been occupied by master glassmakers from as early as the 13th Century. Less well known and also quieter, Burano is noted for its colorful houses, all painted in vibrant colors, and its hand-made lace.
The district of San Marco is much more than just St Mark's Square. It's also home to some of Venice's more unusual churches and stunning al fresco artwork, some attractive squares and leading palaces.
Here you'll also find the world-famous concert venue, La Fenice, that you can visit during the day prior to performances.
The lesser visited district of Dorsoduro is home to some of the city's most cultural sights. Just a hop, skip and a jump from the tourist hoards of San Marco. this charming and more peaceful area of the city provides visitors with a more authentic locals experience.
Both the famous the Gallerie dell’Accademia and the Peggy Guggenheim Gallery are located here as well as the Ponte dell'Accademia, a spot well known for taking the iconic picture of Venice's Grand Canal.
Rialto Bridge & San Polo
The graceful arch of the Rialto Bridge is perhaps the single most iconic sight in Venice since everybody must pass under it at least once or twice on their way along the Grand Canal. The thriving Rialto Market next to it was once the scene of Medieval Europe's busiest financial and trade market.
Meanwhile the San Polo district nearby contains the next most fabulous basilica in Venice after St Mark's, the Frari, as well as the incomparable trade fraternity house, Scuola Grande di San Rocco, with its original paintings by Tintoretto.
Jewish Ghetto & Cannaregio
Cannaregio is the true off-the-beaten-path area in Venice and is, therefore, one of the more 'authentic' parts of the city where you can see Venetians at work and play.
It's also where you'll find the former Jewish ghetto where you can visit the Jewish Museum and Spanish Synagogue. Plus you can find out about the roots of the word 'ghetto', which originated in Venice.
Arsenale & Castello
The Venetian navy once ruled the waves in the Adriatic Sea and helped defeat the Ottoman Empire in the last great sea conflict fought by galleys in the Battle of Lepanto. You can find out more about the Venetian navy's rich and colorful history at the Navy History Museum beside the great naval dockyards at the Arsenale.
Nearby is the venue of the famous Biennale Arts Festival venue, while the rest of the Castello District has some wonderful gems hidden away in its back alleys and canals.