Venice is one of the most beautiful and romantic travel destinations in Europe. It's no wonder that cruise ships like to stop off in Venice on their tours of the Eastern Mediterranean. A shore leave in the lagoon city is definitely part of the cruise program.
Venice Canal - Grande Palazzo Balbi
Location of cruise terminals
Since 2021, various restrictions have applied to cruise ships for environmental reasons and to limit “overtourism”. In the past, many people found the huge cruise ships gliding past St. Mark's Square a nuisance. Following protests and interventions by the Italian government, the number and size of cruise ships arriving in Venice were restricted. Large ships have recently started calling at the Marghera terminals on the mainland just outside the city. The terminals near the center of Venice are only open to small cruise ships.
From Venice's cruise terminals it is not far to the center of the city. With the People Mover cable car guests of the city can quickly reach Piazzale Roma, which is the starting point for beautiful walks. – The situation is somewhat more difficult when the ships dock in Marghera. But where there is a will, there is also a way. Taxis and shuttle buses are well organized. There is no difficulty in starting your tour of historic Venice at Piazzale Roma.
The route to the Rialto Bridge, the first highlight during a walk through Venice, is well signposted. The bridge leads over the Grand Canal, which many visitors enjoy take a traditional gondola ride. The offer ranges from romantic tours for two people to group trips. The best thing is probably a sunset ride with the gondolier singing.
Venice Rialto Bridge
The costs depend on the services. A romantic trip for two is significantly more expensive than a group trip where several tourists share a gondola. For two people and a 30-minute gondola ride, the price is currently 140 euros. This really isn't cheap. But what would a visit to Venice be without a gondola ride?
As an alternative to the Grand Canal, there are excursions on the smaller waterways. There are enough surprising things to discover here that are not listed in every travel guide. The starting points for such gondola rides are the Riva del Vin near the Rialto Bridge or the Doge's Palace.
Things to see at St. Mark's Square
St. Mark's Square is easy to reach from the Rialto Bridge. It forms the center of the city with numerous sights. The already mentioned Doge's Palace can also be found here. It was the symbol of the power of the former Republic of Venice, which had influence far beyond the city limits. At the back of the Gothic-style building is the famous Bridge of Sighs, but before we see it, we first explore St. Mark's Square.
Venice St. Mark's Square
An impressive example of Italian architecture is St. Mark's Basilica, which amazes visitors with its gilded interior vaults and beautiful mosaics. In front of it is St. Mark's Tower, which offers a wonderful view over the city and the lagoon. The best way to enjoy this wonderful square is to visit one of the cafés and restaurants under the arcades. However, a cappuccino in such a remarkable place comes at a price. And yet a visit to Caffè Florian is highly recommended. It is considered one of the oldest cafes in the world.
Other sights in Venice
This is west of St. Mark's Square famous Teatro la Fenice. After a fire in 1996, it was rebuilt according to 18th century designs and photos. After reconstruction, it retained its unique acoustics. At the same time, new, modern technology was installed to further improve the music experience.
Also worth a visit is the Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo, known for its impressive spiral staircase. It ends under a dome from which visitors can enjoy a wonderful view over Venice. The Gothic palace was once used as a filming location for Orson Welles' film "Othello".
A shore leave in Venice during a cruise is definitely worth it. The lagoon city has much more to offer than visitors can experience in one day. Venice can easily tolerate a few more days of visiting.