Not convinced? There are alternatives. Venice’s vaporetti waterbuses are a means of getting from A to B, certainly, but they can also be an attraction in themselves, especially if you climb aboard at quieter moments and grab an outside seat. The 4 and 5 lines circumnavigate the city centre, passing along the wide Giudecca canal and out into the northern lagoon, where the dramatic cemetery island of San Michele rises into view. Line 12 plies across the wide lagoon to the smaller islands of Murano, Burano, and impossibly atmospheric Torcello, with its few fascinating reminders of a once thriving community. A three-day vaporetto pass (€40/£34) makes it easy to hop on and off the boat wherever you spot something too fascinating to miss.
There are eating options, too, at the end of a watery ride. La Palanca, by the vaporetto stop of the same name on Giudecca island, is a local bar with excellent food (lunch only) and the best city-encompassing view from its quayside tables. For greater sophistication, Venissa, on the island of Mazzorbo, offers Michelin-starred treats in a sprawling walled garden.
How to do it
For a return to travelling, the perfect accommodation is a must. Recently restored, the St Regis (marriott.com; doubles from around €700/£589 a night) offers a lighter, airier take on traditional luxury, especially if you splash out on a Grand Canal-facing room. What the Hotel Flora (hotelflora.it; from €160/£135) lacks in panorama it makes up for in its leafy garden and homely atmosphere. For a quieter option, head to Burano, where CasaBurano’s (casaburano.it; from around €140/£118) suites are designer-sleek.
Numerous airlines, including BA (ba.com), EasyJet (easyjet.com), Ryanair (ryanair.com) and Wizz (wizzair.com), offer direct flights to Venice. For more travel inspiration, read Telegraph Travel’s guide to the best hotels in Venice.
6. The ultimate family holiday… in California
By Chris Leadbeater
A brilliant family holiday requires a careful balance of elements. It needs a hearty dose of fun to keep the younger members of the group happy. It warrants a pace of itinerary that won’t exhaust everybody involved. It doesn’t have to contain a beach and a comfy hotel next to it, though this tends to help. Equally, while it’s impossible to arrange fair weather in advance, sunny days and pleasant temperatures will always make a getaway go better.
Most important, though, is a sense of adventure – that magic extra something, sprinkled on top, which turns a good holiday into a great one. This can be provided by epic geography and a sense of scenic wonder. It can be served up by the gravity-taunting rush of a thrill ride in motion. But it has to be there, to avoid that clarion call: “I’m boooored.”