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Venice somehow surpasses its colossal reputation. Seemingly not content with having inspired artists and poets and great playwrights over the centuries, the conglomeration of winding canals and bobbing gondolas is now reigning as one of the world's most-visited cities. Legions make the pilgrimage to its maze-like Medieval centre every year. Most spend their days gawping at the gilded domes of St Mark's Basilica, or seeking out the handsome Rialto Bridge where lovers meet and shoppers duck into grotto-like shops. Away from the Grand Canal and Venice becomes a medley of hidden trattorias that serve up cuttlefish and polenta, enchanting bars where spritz cocktails are poured with abandon, and empty streets where the ghosts of old explorers can be imagined as you stroll.
With so many visitors jostling for the best hotel rooms in Italy's city of canals each year, it might be better to simply leave them to it and opt for Venice holiday rentals instead. You'll be able to search ebookers for a range of quirky, cool places to stay – including cosy flats hidden in old Medieval casas or canal-side boltholes that ooze historic charm. You’ll also benefit from the extras that come with holiday apartments in Venice. That means enjoying private gardens to unwind in, having your own kitchen to cook in, and getting plenty more space than you would in most traditional hotel suites.
Just stepping out of the door of Venice holiday apartments is a major event in this ravishingly picturesque city. Canals weave this way and that, hidden bridges lead to serene squares, and the best thing to do is just lose yourself in this shabbily grand labyrinth. Don’t worry, the looming sights of St Mark's Square and the great Doge's Palace are bound to reveal themselves at some point. Of course, museums and art galleries are also often top of the to-do list. There's the Peggy Guggenheim for all things Modernist and mind-boggling, or the many galleries showcasing opulent glassworks on the nearby island of Murano. At night, trips down to the buzzing bars that line the Grand Canal or the raucous dives of Campo Santa Margherita promise to entertain.
Medieval Venice is totally pedestrianised. While the tight-knit streets and alleys, canals and piazzas are hardly the place for a rental car, they are excellent for travellers who love to explore on foot. In fact, getting lost while strolling the various districts of old Venice, over the waterways and across the bustling squares, is one of the best ways to really see the town. The only option for speeding things up are the water taxis and water buses, which run regularly on loops around the city, connecting out to the Venice Lido and intriguing Murano alike.