On our third day in Venice, we wanted to be tourists and tick off the typical Venice tourist attractions. That included Rialto Bridge, a gondola ride and visiting Doge’s Palace. We had a really full day of exploring and of course, stopped off for lots of helpings of pizza and pasta. If you are wondering what to do in Venice, then read on.

Rialto Bridge

First, we headed over to the famous Rialto Bridge. This is the main bridge that joins San Marco and San Polo together over the Grand Canal. It has three sets of steps across and features two rows of shops. This is arguably the most famous bridge in Venice (along with the Bridge of Sighs). As you can imagine, it is very busy and crowded with tourists in this area. 

We climbed the bridge and admired the view over the Grand Canal. It is lovely to just watch people going about their day on their boats. There are colourful buildings on either side of the water and restaurants line the embankments. Whilst here you can stop for a photo opportunity and browse the shops that line the central stairway. We personally did not go in the shops as they are very overpriced and busy. 

There are several bars and restaurants that line the Grand Canal on either side near Rialto Bridge. These are great places to sit outside and admire the view. They can be very busy and a little pricey but it is a great location to soak up the atmosphere. We stopped for a morning coffee at Riva Rialto.

Rialto Bridge - What to do in venice

Gondola Ride in Venice

We then wandered over to the Marco Polo side of Rialto Bridge. We wanted to get a gondola ride but in a quieter area with less people. Therefore, we grabbed one by the Rialto Market. There was no queue and super quiet. It cost 90 euros for a 30 minute boat ride. This is so expensive but I think for once in a lifetime Venetian experience, it is worth it to try once! There were other pricing options but they were all for longer times and therefore higher prices.

The gondolier that we had was really friendly, helped us in and out of the boat and gave us interesting facts about the city as we went around. It was interesting to go through the quieter more residential canals and get a sneak peek into what life would be like to live in the city. 

My overall opinion of the experience was that it was good but not amazing. Now, I have been on quite a few similar boat trips during my various travels. I have done punting in Canterbury, Cambridge and Oxford. I have also done a trip on a traditional long tail boat around the residential waters of Bangkok. For some reason, I do not why I thought getting a gondola in Venice would feel like a more magical experience? However, it was no different but actually way more expensive in comparison. However, I am glad that we did it for the experience and memories and I do believe you should try one if you find yourself in Venice. 

Doge’s Palace

Doge’s Palace is a notable tourist attraction in Venice. Situated in St Mark’s Square, you can go inside for €30 per person. Inside you will find a grand building filled with amazing paintings and artwork from centuries before. These paintings cover the majority of the walls and all of the ceilings throughout several different rooms. All are surrounded by thick gold trim. There are also various rooms that are filled with ancient artefacts, such as old swords, armour and pottery from the past. 

Included within your ticket, you can also cross the Bridge of Sighs into the dungeons. These are the complete opposite compared to the grandeur you will have walked through from inside of Doge’s Palace. The dungeons are very eerie, cold and dark but a really good experience to walk through. Being able to see the Bridge of Sighs up close is also much better here, compared to if you were to see it from down on the pedestrianised bridges.

Doge’s Palace is probably best for those that are lovers of art, old architecture and history. The art inside was incredible and it is extremely awe inspiring but that is the extent of what there is to see inside. It was cool to walk through the dungeons and get a different point of view of the Bridge of Sighs (both walking on it and seeing it closer). Again, I felt that it was a bit overpriced.

An Evening At Ristorante Alvagon

For our evening meal, we went to Ristorante Alvagon. It was a lovely little spot that had a seating area along the side of a canal, lined with bright colourful flowers. It was also out of the way of the tourist crowds on the main streets. I had to sample an authentic Italian lasagne and that is exactly what I did. The lasagne itself was tasty, but I thought it was a little bit stodgy and didn’t come out as hot as I think it should have. I definitely feel as though I need to try another lasagne in Italy at some point. After this, we had dessert, where I had a melt in the middle chocolate pudding. Now that was absolutely divine. As a whole I would recommend the restaurant as the location and atmosphere was great.