Venice (Italy)
Cruise Port Must Know, See and Do

Photo of Canal Grande in Venice
Photo of Canal Grande in Venice
Photo of Canal Grande in Venice Cruise Ship Port

The Port of Venice
an Introduction for Cruise Travelers
- What to See and Do, Where Cruise Ships Dock, Top Highlights
Lunch and Quick Bites, Shopping and Best Buys.

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Venice is one of the most popular destination cities in the world and one the most visited cruise ports in Italy and in Europe. After more than 1500 years of change since first being inhabited, the city is built upon 117 separate islands and held together by wooden beamed structures below the water, which are as strong today as they were all those years ago.

Over the years the history of Venice has become famous thanks to its grandmasters' painters, and for being a magnet for some of the most famous artist ever gathered in the world. The maze of tiny cobbled streets and courtyards seem to go on and on forever, with ancient history to be found around every corner. It remains a city that all cruise travelers should have on their bucket list'.

Photo of Gondolas in Venice.

Gondolas in Venice

Photo ©

Who doesn’t have in their mind the impression of gondolas being guided along one of the many canals by a singing troubadour? After all, Gondolas, water taxis and water buses (Vaporetto) are the only means of travel in Venice.

What to See and Do

There is so much to see that cruises calling at Venice for one day will force the cruise travel to choose carefully. The good news is that many cruise lines do stay at least two days in Venice, which allows more time to explore this unique city. Even so, for those embarking in Venice, and traveling from America - be it the US or Canada - we would recommend to fly at least one day ahead and stay in a hotel so to fully enjoy the city.

Top Highlights

St Mark Square is, undoubtedly, the top highlight of Venice. Besides the fact that this is one of the most beautiful Squares in the World, here you will find some other top highlights: St. Mark's Basilica, the Bell Tower (Campanile), the Clock Tower (not to be confused with the previous one, the Correr Museum, the Doge’s Palace and just around the corner the famous Ponte de Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs). Also in St Mark Square, the cruise traveler will find 3 famous cafe-restaurants: the Cafe Florian, the Cafe Lavena and the Ristorante Quadri.

Photo of St. Mark's Square in Venice.

St. Mark's Square, Venice

Photo ©

Landmarks Beyond St Mark's Square

But there is much more to see in Venice beyond the Piazza San Marco. The Rialto Bridge is an iconic landmark - and the walk from San Marco to Rialto a must do. The Galleria dell’Accademia and the Scuola Grande di San Rocco are two must-see museums. The Teatro La Fenice, the Jewish Ghetto (and Museum), the Arsenale, the Riva degli Schiavoni (Waterfront Promenade) are among top landmarks to view.

Churches and Museums

A look inside the churches of Venice will be a surprising experience as in most cases the exuberant interiors do not match what could be described as humble exteriors - in particular, the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari and the Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo. Museums like Peggy Guggenheim Collection, the Ca’ Rezzonico and the Museum of Naval History should also be on any cruise traveler's list. Finally, a visit to Venice would never be complete without a tour to Murano, Burano and the Lido.

Where Cruise Ships Dock

Photo Cruise Port in Venice.

Cruise Port, Venice

Photo: Public Domain

With very few exceptions, all cruise ships dock at the Venice Passenger Terminal. Located in an area connected to the mainland by road and train, the terminal has excellent accesses for all cruisers embarking and/or disembarking in Venice. The terminal also has good connections to the historical center - namely by Vaporetto or Water Taxi and the City Sightseeing boat has a stop close by. The terminal is less than 3/4 of a mile (1 km) from Piazzale Roma the main transportation hub of Venice and within walking distance of a few major highlights.

Lunch, Quick Bites and Flavors

Photo of Cafe Florian in Venice.

Cafe Florian, Venice

Photo ©

Do not expect to have the best gourmet cuisine in Venice as this is hard to find. Unlike most Italian cities, Venice is known for not offering as good a cuisine as visitors would expect. But the settings are unbeatable - be it by one the main canals, under an arcade, on a side street or on an off the beaten track square, the cruise traveler will be constantly stumbling upon great scenic choices.

Shopping and Best Buys

Photo of Murano Glass Shop in Venice.

Murano Glass Shop, Venice

Photo ©

Very few people do actually live in Venice itself (population rounds fewer than 40,000), which means that most shops the cruise traveler will come across are obviously oriented to the millions of tourists that visit the city. However, this doesn't mean that shops are tourist traps but that most are very high quality.

Photo of Carnival Costume Shop in Venice.

Carnival Costume Shop, Venice

Photo ©

In Venice you will find all the high fashion designers, amazing handmade glass, great leather works, art galleries with the most famous contemporary artists and even souvenirs are of very good quality. Some of these shops are just a delight to look at, in particular, the stores selling Carnival costumes and masks.

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