The Venetian Hotel in Macau is a magical place where Venice meets China in Portugal. Before I lose you completely, Macau is an independent territory in China that used to be a Portuguese colony. Macau is known as the Vegas of China and the Venetian Hotel is practically a replica of the one in Las Vegas.

After visiting real Venice twice and spending a day in Suzhou (the Venice of the East), I was surprised at how impressive Macau’s version was. The canals run through a mall with stores posing as Venetian-themed houses. The faux sky is surprisingly deceptive and the water is crystal clear – the biggest giveaway that you’re not actually in Italy.

The best part is the gondola ride, that is so much cheaper in Macau than it is in Venice! Sure the gondolas aren’t real and not all of the gondoliers are Italian… but they sing Italian songs and tell you all about Macau and the Venetian Hotel. We happened to get a Ukrainian-Italian gondolier with a fascinating life story! I’m Ukrainian too, so it was a pleasant surprise.

If you love Italy, I recommend exploring the entire hotel. There is a hallway that reminds one of the Sistine Chapel and it’s just as impressive on the outside. On the walk from the hotel to Macau’s Hard Rock you will see a convincing St. Mark’s tower. Don’t believe me? Come and see for yourself!