A city built on water - where the locals commute via boat and culture, art and mouth-watering cuisine waits around every corner. If you haven’t considered Venice as your next European city break then this post is for you. From a tour of Burano island to discovering St. Mark’s Basilica after-dark, there is so much magic to be discovered in the fascinating Floating City of Venice and with the help of this Venice bucket list, you’ll get to see it all. Get ready to be inspired with this list of must-sees while in Venice.

1. Discover Doge’s Palace

Doge's Palace

The rise and fall of the Venetian Republic centers around the stunning Venetian Gothic structure that is Doge’s Palace. If you want to really get under the skin of the Floating City, then be sure to add a tour of Doge’s Palace to your travel itinerary.

This impressive structure is a combination of mesmerizing ornamentation through the eras, with echoes of its 14th and 15th century origins to the opulence of the Renaissance era. History aside, this breathtaking edifice is worth visiting for its sheer beauty along.

One of Venice’s biggest claim-to-fames is that it's one of the world’s oldest republics. Its government was led by the chief magistrate or Doge. From debating city taxes to condemning criminals, the Doge’s Palace was the powerhouse of rule, keeping civilians of the city in order. From Venetian masks, created to protect anonymity at ballot stations, to the creation of different classes and guilds within their closed society – everything in Venice comes back to the protection of the Republic and in-turn this prestigious palace.

Discover the chambers where senior council deliberated and cells where convicts were incarcerated during a fascinating walk through this building’s history on a Doge's Palace secret tour.

2. Explore St. Mark’s Basilica

Interior of St. Mark's Basilica

After your Doge’s Palace tour, take the short walk around the corner to marvel at the magnificence of St. Mark’s Basilica. This stunning architectural masterpiece and crowning dome is one of the most-visited sights in Venice. Its history stretches back to the 9th Century A.D. and a must-visit on your tour of Venice.No matter how stunning the basilica appears from the outside, it is even more breathtaking when you explore its interior on a tour of St. Mark’s Basilica. This basilica, which was once the chapel of the Doge, is bejeweled with 85,000 square feet of golden mosaics.

In 1075, the Doge passed a law requiring all boats docking at the Grand Canal to bring back a precious gift from their travels, to decorate the basilica. This law resulted in more than 500 columns of rare marble, porphyry, alabaster, and jasper brought back from the East. And of course, the awe-inspiring golden mosaics that decorate its ceiling.

As one of Venice’s most popular attractions, long lines can form outside the basilica and the chapel can get pretty crowded during busy spells. Discover the mysteries of St. Mark’s without the crowds on this exclusive tour of St. Mark’s Basilica after-hours.

3. Bask in the Beauty of Burano

Burano Island

No trip to Venice is complete without spending a few hours on the beautiful island of Burano. This iconic island is best known for its row-upon-row of vibrant colored houses. Centuries ago, even before the founding of the Venetian Republic, the colorful hub of Burano was a fishing village. Locals painted their homes different hues of vibrancy so that the man of the house could easily recognize his home while away at sea.

Whether it’s local Venetian history or the perfect backdrop for your vacation photos you're after, Burano is a must-visit during your stay in Venice. With round-trip transportation and commentary from your expert guide, discover the very best of this island on a Burano island tour.

4. Marvel at Glassblowing in Murano

Glassblowing in Murano

If you’re looking for a truly fascinating experience while in Venice, then look no further than a tour of Murano, Italy. Murano is another of Venice’s most bewildering islands, famed internationally for its craft of glassblowing.

Glassmaking in Venice dates as far back as the 8th century. By the late 1200s glass production was the city's most fruitful industry. So, in a bid to protect the secrets of the craft and safeguard it's future the Glassmaker's Guild was established. In 1291 the Guild decided to move all furnaces used for glassmaking from Venice to the island of Murano. Although the Guild insisted this move was purely to reduce the risk of fires in the city, many believe its real motive was to move the craftsmen to an isolated location, where they would be unable to disclose trade secrets.

With transportation via water taxi, you can marvel at the highly-skilled glassblowers of Murano on your Murano island tour from Venice.

5. Get a Go on a Gondola

Gondola ride in Venice

Is any trip to Venice complete without a gondola ride? Definitely not! This symbol of Venice originated in 1094. The boat is perfectly constructed to fit through the city’s narrow canals and low footbridges. Surprisingly enough, there is only 400 gondolas in all of Venice. As the transport of choice for tourists to the city you might be shocked to discover that securing your gondola ride can be a little tricky and pricey. Take the hassle out of your gondola ride when you book a gondola experience with us in advance. Explore Venice’s most iconic landmarks as you cruise by them in the comfort of your luxurious gondola.

With stunning architecture, fascinating history and captivating art, Venice is the perfect city break. Tick these top Venice experiences off your bucket list with our range of best Venice tours.