Sometimes, an airport layover is a blessing rather than a curse. It allows you to take a quick tour of a location for a future trip. Case in point, a layover at Venice, Italy’s airport. Here are five things to do in this canal-laden city.
1. Leave Your Luggage Behind
You don’t need to tow your luggage along during your layover. Luggage storage at Venice Marco Polo Airport is available for a relatively low cost. If the wait is longer than a few hours, then check-in at your hotel and leave the luggage in the room or at the registration desk.
2. Visit St. Mark’s Square
It takes a bit of time to get from the airport to Venice proper. This is done via express buses from the Marco Polo Airport area to Piazzale Forma. This square, on the city-side of the mainland’s causeway, is the main hub for the region’s public transportation.
From here, it’s a 30-minute walk to the historic St. Mark’s Square, also known as the Piazza San Marco. One of Venice’s top tourist attractions, it gets crowded during peak seasons. Nevertheless, it should not be missed no matter the length of the layover.
Public buildings surround three sides of the square. The fourth is represented by the domes and arches of Basilica di San Marco. Since this is a must-see attraction, skip the long lines and invest in a guided tour of the ninth-century church.
3. Tour the Canals
Venice is famous for its miles of canals. These wind through the city’s most popular areas and quiet neighborhoods. There are two ways to tour these waterways while on a layover.
The first is via Venice’s gondolas. These boats take you on a relaxing 30-minute tour of the well-known canals. This works well if your layover is overnight and you have the money within your travel budget.
An alternative is to climb into a vaporetto (water bus). There are several lines to consider when traveling in Venice. The most popular and convenient of these is the Linea 1 (Line One) water bus. It starts at Piazzale Forma and zig-zags along the Grand Canal.
Along the way, Linea 1 stops at St. Mark’s Square, the Rialto Bridge, and the Piazza San Marco. Its last station is the Lido di Venezia, a beach resort located on the Adriatic Sea.
4. Eat Something
Eventually, you will get hungry during your layover. Don’t bypass the seemingly never-ending variety of food stalls, gelato shops, and cafes. These are located along the Grand Canal and in the cobblestoned neighborhoods.
Expect to pay moderate to high prices in Venice’s high tourist areas. If you have a set budget, head into the less-traveled areas of Venice for local eateries. Many of these locations welcome tourists with entrees that are good or even better than what the high-traffic spots feature.
5. Get a Little Lost
If the tourist areas become too much for you, then consider getting lost. Spend time roaming the alleyways and small streets of Venice’s less-famous areas. These spaces have plenty to explore. After all, the city is over 1200 years old.
Your journey could take you to an out-of-the-way cafe or a unique shop with handmade items. You might find an old church or building to explore. If you do this, make sure you keep track of the time and track the path back to the water bus on your phone’s GPS.
In the end, you don’t need to spend your layover inside the airport. If you have more than two or three hours to space, take a bus to the Piazzale Forma and begin your tour of Venice.