Venice Holidays by Rail

B eautiful and serene, the unforgettable city of Venice still draws visitors from all over the globe as it has done since the days of the Grand Tour in the 18th century. The city is made up of over a hundred islands connected by ornate bridges or navigated by water taxis, private boats, gondolas and vaporetti. Don’t miss the monumental St Mark’s Square or the views from the Campanile.

Recommended Holiday Ideas

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Destination Venice

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Between the UK and Venice lies the vast chain of mountains that make up the Alps. You avoid the mountains when you take the sleeper train but, if you travel by day, you are rewarded with fantastic scenery and the opportunity to extend your holiday with nights en route in Zurich, Lausanne, Munich or Nuremberg. You can even travel via the Italian Lakes or the jaw-dropping journey aboard the Glacier Express.

Once you arrive in Venice, you can easily get around on foot, or take advantage of the city’s water buses (vaporetti) which chug up and down the Grand Canal or further afield to the Lido and other islands in the lagoon. At the top of the Grand Canal is Santa Lucia Station; at the bottom, St Mark’s Square opens majestically on to the Lagoon. /If you get lost in Venice’s maze of streets (and it’s likely you will so do more than once – don’t worry, it’s part of the experience!) the frequent signs to San Marco will always guide you back to the grand arcaded square, dominated by the ornately beautiful Basilica of the same name. Other iconic landmarks of the city include the Rialto Bridge and the Galleria dell’Accademia – all equally well sign-posted across the island’s narrow lanes.

Other not-to-be-missed attractions include the Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) overlooking the lagoon. It’s probably best to take a tour here to get a real sense of the building’s history. Highlights include crossing the Bridge of Sighs into i piombi – the dungeons. Directly across from St Mark’s Square is the lovely Chiesa di Santa Maria della Salute, built as a votive offering for the city’s deliverance from a devastating plague in 1630.

If you have time during your visit, it’s great to get out and about on the water buses around Venice so that you can visit other islands in the lagoon. The colourful islands of Murano (famous for its glass making) and Burano are well worth a visit, as is the Lido, where Venetians come to sunbathe on the beaches of the Adriatic Coast.

Our Recommended Hotels in Venice

Best Western Hotel Ala

Located just off the justly famous St Mark’s Square, you can arrive at this beautiful hotel in style, taking a water taxi or gondola along the Grand Canal. Rooms are well-equipped with air conditioning, Wi-Fi and a safe, amongst other amenities, and downstairs you will find the fabulous American Bar – the ideal spot to reflect on the magic of Venice.

Hotel Bisanzio

Combining the traditional Venetian style with a great location and modern facilities, the Hotel Bisanzio is a great base in Venice, just 10 minutes’ walk from St Mark’s Square. Guest rooms come with free Wi-Fi, wooden floors and Murano-glass lamps. There is also a delicious buffet breakfast served daily.

Palazzo Giovanelli

With panoramic views over the Grand Canal, Hotel Palazzo Giovanelli dates back to the 16th century. St Mark’s Square is just a few stops away on the water bus. This former palace has been home to the Doge of Venice, and Mozart’s family. The spacious lounges feature Murano-glass chandeliers and elegant Italian furniture.

Hotel Gabrielli

Set in a 14th-century Venetian Palazzo, this elegant hotel overlooks the Venetian Lagoon, and is a short walk from St Mark’s Square.

Rooms feature beautiful Venetian-style furnishings and modcons including flat screen TVs.

Bauer L’Hotel & Il Palazzo

Located just off the famous St Mark’s Square, this splendid hotel is an icon of Venice. The hotel consists of the Bauer L’Hotel, the Casanova Rooms annexe and the palatial Bauer Il Palazzo, which fronts onto the Grand Canal. The De Pisis restaurant is known throughout the city for its quality and service.

Luna Baglioni Hotel

One of the Leading Hotels of the World, the Luna Baglioni is simply the best in Venetian opulence. Housed in a magnificent Venetian Palace, the hotel boasts an award-winning restaurant, Canova, as well as Caffe Baglioni, where delicious coffees and pastries are available throughout the day.

Belmond Hotel Cipriani

A short boat ride on the hotel’s complimentary shuttle to St Mark’s Square, this landmark luxury hotel boasts elegant rooms with garden or lagoon views, free Wi-Fi and iPod docks. There is also a local area shuttle boat, restaurant, waterfront bistro, Olympic-sized outdoor pool, spa and tennis courts.

Featured Trains

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Venice Simplon - Orient-Express View More

Suggested Tours in and Around Venice

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Venice Transfers

As Venice has canals for roads, private transfers will be boats that can meet you at the station or airport to take you to your hotel (or as near as it's possible to get on the water).

from £150 per transfer
Skip the Line Doge's Palace Ticket and Tour

Dating back to 1340, the Doge’s Palace was the home of the Venetian Republic’s supreme authority for 400 years. Find out more about this mighty European power and cross the Bridge of Sighs to the famous dungeons.

from £44 per person
Murano, Burano & Torcello Half-Day Tour

Enjoy a half-day cruise to three of the most enchanting islands in the Venetian Lagoon. Watch a glass-blowing demonstration in Murano, see the lace workshops and colorful fishermen’s homes in Burano, and set foot on Venice's oldest settlement in Torcello. It’s a convenient way to venture off the beaten path without the hassle of navigating Venice’s public transport.

from £18 per person
Small Group Prosecco Wine Tour

Love prosecco? Then this tour is for you! Head out of Venice into the countryside of the Veneto region with stops at Valdobbiadene and Conegliano. There are, of course, opportunities to taste the local prosecco at a winery with lunch in a local restaurant to finish your tour.

from £80 per person

Blogs About Venice

3 Apr, 2019
A good holiday, for me, always starts with a good train journey. However, when time is short, a quick flight has to do. Emily takes the Brenner Pass route through the Alps to Venice from Munich.
3 Apr, 2019
Last weekend I did three things I’ve never done before – travelled through the Alps by train, visited Venice (somewhere I’d wanted to go for ages) and limited myself to just 24 hours in two amazing places.
2 Apr, 2019
The Orient-Express (first called by its French moniker, Express d’Orient) began in 1883 as a long distance passenger service from Paris to what was then Constantinople, now Istanbul.
3 Apr, 2019
The cream and brown liveried carriages of the British Pullman looked rather out of place on a Saturday morning in London Victoria station. This though was where we were beginning our luxurious train journey to Venice, an over-dressed group of commuters waiting at Platform 2.
2 Apr, 2019
Looking for some sightseeing inspiration? Have a look at our top tips for must-see museums in Continental Europe.