Venice is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and no trip to Italy would be complete without visiting the city of love. It is unspoiled by modern life and has been a hub for artists, sculptors, musicians, and poets for centuries. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to the best things to do in Venice with the help of frequent Venice visitor Karen Worral
Karen shares the very best things to do in Venice with her first-hand knowledge from many visits, combined with tips from our own travels to the “City of Water.”. So get ready because this extensive Venice guide will give you molto informazione.
Things to do in Venice, Italy
Famous for its intricate and extensive canal system, Venice itself was built over 2000 years ago at the edge of the Adriatic Sea. What we love about the city is that is compact enough that you can see a lot in a few days.
Whether you want to fulfill your dream of admiring the city by gondola or you prefer to stroll the pedestrian-only streets, Venice, Italy is a place that will make your dreams come alive. Most people spend about 3 Days in Venice and these are all the best things to do in this magical city.
1. St. Mark’s Square
While the beating heart of Rome may be the sand of the Colosseum, the beating heart of Venice is its most illustrious piazza, St. Mark’s Square. To feel the essence of Venice, St. Mark’s Square is the place to visit first and is often at the top of people’s list of things to do in Venice.
The large impressive square is flanked on all four sides by ornate buildings, archways, and porticos that host cafes and high-end shops. With the Campanile (clock tower) on one side and the Torre dell Orologio (tower of the clock) on the other and other famous Venetian landmarks such as St. Mark’s Basilica, Doges Palace, and Torre dell’Orologio, it is one of the most iconic squares in Europe.
Dive into Venice’s history with this 2-hour guided walking tour of Saint Mark’s Square. Including skip-the-line tickets to Doges Palace. Find out more and book your ticket here – Free cancellation with refund up to 24 hours before the tour starts. Some of Venice’s most important buildings are located in or around St. Mark’s Square so you will be spending a lot of time here.
- Address: P.za San Marco, 30124 Venice, Italy
- Hot Tip: get up for sunrise to have the square all to yourself before tour buses and boats come in.
2. Doge’s Palace
Located on the Grand Canal in the main part of Venice, Doges Palace is one of the best places to visit in Venice. The Palazzo Ducale or the Doge’s Palace is the most important building in Venetian history. The Doge was the head of state and religion in Venice for centuries. He was like Venice’s Pope, Regent, President or Prime Minister all at the same time.
The Doge’s Palace is tucked in the corner with the statues of St Mark (The Patron Saint of Venice) himself and the winged lion of Venice towards the water. The Venetian Gothic architecture inside and out of Doge’s palace is impressive and I’d recommend at least 90 minutes to see it all properly.
This Doge’s Palace and St Marks Square Tour has skip-the-line tickets to Doge’s Palace and a locally-led guided tour. They have various special exhibits throughout the year that are included with your ticket. The ticket also allows you entry to Museo Correr, Museo Archeologico Nazionale, and Biblioteca Nazionale.
- Address: P.za San Marco, 1, 30124 Venice, Italy
- Hours: Doges Palace Summer (April 1-October 31) Sun-Thur 8.30am-9pm, Fri-Sat 8.30am-11pm. Winter (November 1st-March 31st) 8.30am-7pm. Last entry always 30 minutes before closing.
- Cost of Doges Palace: €25. €13 for children 6-14, students 15-25 and people over 65.
3. St Mark’s Basilica
St Mark’s Basilica holds the prime spot over one whole side of the square. The stunning façade is covered in gold leaf mosaics, grand domes, and elegant equestrian statues. Going inside the Basilica San Marco to see the beautiful multitude of recently renovated mosaics is a Venice must-do. Inside the church, you can also see the Treasury that holds the church’s relics and the Pala D’oro – Byzantine golden cloth.
Take the steps up to St Mark’s Museum, a small museum about the basilica and Venice history, and for an unrivaled view of St Mark’s Square from the terrace by the horse statues. The Basilica of Saint Mark is one of the finest examples of Byzantine architecture modeled after the church of the Holy Apostles.
Tips for visiting St Mark’s Basilica
- A visit inside Basilica di St Mark’s Basilica lasts about ten minutes.
- Lines can be long. especially in summer, but it is worth the wait.
- Go early or late in the day, it is usually much quieter.
- Backpacks are not allowed inside, but there is a locker area where you can store them for free just around the corner
- If you have a group, take it in turns going in and watching the bags outside.
- Also, remember that as in all churches in Italy, modest clothing should be worn with shoulders and knees covered.
- Get your skip the line ticket and take a guided tour with a local guide of St Mark’s Basilica.
- Address: P.za San Marco, 328, 30124 Venice Italy
- Hours: Church Mon-Sat 9.30am-5pm (last entry 4.45pm), Sun 2-5pm (after services). Museum, Treasury and Pala D’oro 9.35am-5pm summer (April 16-October 28), 9.45am-5pm winter (October 28-April 15).
- Cost: Free for the main church, and €5 for the museum, €2.50 children 6-18 years, free under 6. Treasury €3, €1.50 for children, Pala D’oro €2, €1 for children.
4. St. Mark’s Campanile – Climb the Bell Tower
When visiting Venice you must climb the bell tower for a great view of the city.
The 12th-century tower of St. Mark’s Campanile (rebuilt in the 16th century) is a bell tower that stands at 323ft tall and gives a commanding view of the famous square from the loggia belfry. The Campanile San Marco spire used to be a lighthouse for shipping and it was the prototype for the lagoon area Campaniles.
The Bell Tower still has one of its five original bells as the others were destroyed when the tower collapsed in 1902. The other bells have been replaced, and are still rung. A golden statue of the archangel Gabriel holds court on top of the tower.
We highly recommend booking a walking tour and this private tour of St. Mark’s Square shows you the highlights of the square and the majestic St. Mark’s Basilica and the Clock Tower (Torre dell’Orologio).
You’ll then see Doge’s Palace, formerly the Doge’s residence and seat of the Venetian government, the Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri), and learn everything about the history and the romantic legends of Venice. Towards the end of the tour, you’ll take the elevator up to St. Mark’s Bell Tower for a view of the city and the Venice lagoon from 99 meters above.
- Hours: Going up the Campanile Di San Marco can be done from March, April, October 9am-7pm, November-February 9.30am-3.45pm, 13 June-12 September 8.30am-9.30pm.
- Cost: €8, €4 for students.
- Book these skip th eline tickets in advance to St. Marks Basilica with Terrace access and Doge’s Palace.
San Marco is one of the best areas to stay in Venice being within walking distance of top attractions in the city center such as Saint Mark’s Square, the Bridge of Sighs, Doge’s Palace, and St. Mark’s Basilica. Staying in the city center means you can easily enjoy all these Venice attractions early in the morning or late at night when it is quieter. Here are some hotel recommendations.
- Hotel Casanova Just 71 m from Piazza San Marco and 100 m from Harry’s Bar, Hotel Casanova is set in an 18th-century building in the center of Venice. It offers free WiFi throughout. TripAdvisor /Booking.com
- Hotel Caneva Hotel Caneva is set between the Rialto Bridge and St. Mark’s Square, a 5-minute walk from the Basilica. A great choice if you are interested in old-town exploration, culture, and ambiance. TripAdvisor /Booking.com
- GLAMOR APARTMENT AT ST. MARCO SQUARE – Elegant and comfortable apartment, located on the first floor of a historic building, it is a quiet and modern apartment that sleeps up to 4 people, ideal for a family
When looking for things to do in Venice, some of the simplest moments can be the most memorable. Make sure to relax and enjoy a coffee or hot chocolate in the Square. Even though it will probably be the most expensive coffee or hot chocolate you’ve ever had, I recommend it. Quadra Café often has a classical quartet playing in front of it.
5. Ponte Di Rialto
The Rialto Bridge (also known as Ponte di Rialto) is the oldest bridge in Venice, dating back to the sixteenth century. It is the most famous bridge in the city and one of the most famous landmarks in the world. It is the first of only four bridges that span the Grand Canal today connecting the districts of San Marco and San Polo. The other bridges that span the Grand Canal are Ponte di Calatrava a Venezia, Ponte dell’Accademia and Ponte degli Scalzi
Today the Rialto Bridge is full of shops making it one of the most unique bridges in the world. If you are doing a gondola ride you will definitely be starting, ending, or passing by the Rialto Bridge. This Gondola Tour comes complete with a serenade through the canals of Venice and some of its most secluded waterways including a ride under Ponte di Rialto.
- Address of Ponte Di Rialto: Sestiere San Polo, 30125 Venice VE, Italy
San Polo is Venice’s smallest district and one of the oldest neighborhoods in Venice. Located in the city center, this area is well known for its vibrant nightlife and fresh fruit and vegetable markets. It also contains many of the top attractions in Venice but is a little less crowded and expensive..
In San Polo, you’ll find The Church of San Giacomo di Rialto, Rialto market, Ponte de Rialto, and San Marco Campanile. Despite its vicinity to the major tourist attractions, it retains a distinctly local feel. Bordering it is my favorite restaurant for pizza in Venice – Birreria La Corte.
San Polo is a great place to make a base that is a bit more affordable. A couple of hotel recommendations are:
- H10 Palazzo Casanova – Steps to the Grand Canal, modern hotel with great amenities. One of the best hotels in Venice if you are looking for a modern interior. TripAdvisor /Booking.com
- San Polo Star – Quiet hotel, good location and amenities for budget accommodation. TripAdvisor /Booking.com
- Suite Tower Rialto – Located on the third floor of an 18th-century building, it’s the ideal place for those who want to experience a romantic getaway in Venice
6. Mercato di Rialto
The Rialto Market or Mercato di Rialto is located close to the Rialto Bridge and on the other side of Piazza San Marco is a great place for shopping. It started in the eleventh century as the principal food market of Venice.
Rialto Market has two parts. The principal outdoor food market is where fruit, vegetables, fresh fish, and produce are sold. And the souvenir market. It is also a good spot for street food. My favorite thing to do here is to buy a mini bottle of Bellini and sit by the bridge on the San Polo side sipping it while doing some people watching.
- Address: Calle Prima de la Donzella, 306, 30125 Venice, Italy
- Hours: Usually 9am until about 9pm in summer, until dark in winter.
Book this St. Mark’s Square walking tour takes you through many of the top Venice attractions on an informated guided tour. See the old prisons of Piazza San Marco. Learn of Casanova and his jail break, see what life was like behind the prison wall
7. Take a Gondola Ride
When you picture Venice, it is difficult not to think of the gondolas that traverse them. There is no doubt that taking a gondola ride is one of the top attractions in Venice. Gondolas are the small boats that are paddled by a trained gondolier who knows the waterways like the back of their hand. Gondola rides can be very romantic and is a great way to snuggle up to your loved one, especially at sunset. They can also be very expensive. Expect to pay upwards of €100 off-season for a trip.
This Gondola tour is highly rated as your gondolier takes you down secluded canals and tells stories as you pass top Venice attractions such as Desdemona’s House and Mozart’s House, the La Fenice Theatre and the “De le Ostreghe” Canal before reaching the Grand Canal. On the canal you’ll see the Salute Church, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and the Venetian palaces of, like Ca’Dolfin, Ca’Loredan, and Grimani Palace. More details here.
If you’d like to have the experience but aren’t too bothered about it being private, then you can go on group trips with other tourists and lower the cost. Not all gondoliers are the same, and some have fancier boats and clothes, and some sing and some don’t. So check what is included before hopping on, but remember the price will reflect what is included too.
- If you are looking to book romantic things to do in Venice, book a Gondola Ride and Serenade on the Grand Canal. It is one of the best known experiences in Venice for a reason! Read more and book your refundable ticket here.
8. Grand Canal Vaporetto
Taking a gondola ride on the Grand Canal is a quintessential Venetian tourist thing to do, but if you would rather spend your euros elsewhere, you can tour the Grand Canal for much cheaper by simply taking a water taxi – or Vaporetto ride.
Vaporettos like a sort of water bus, or water taxi and are the most common way to travel around Venice if you’re not walking. Hop on the Vaporetto at St Mark’s Square at the San Marco Gardinetti stop taking it all the way to Piazzale Roma. Et voila! Perfect Grand Canal tour for only €7.50!
Although, we loved taking a private Vaporetto tour with our own private guide and boat. It is a splurge, but we visited all of the top attractions in Venice in luxury and comfort. This private Waporetto tour taxi water taxi tour takes you around not only around the Grand Canal, but also, Murano, Burano, and quieter waterways.
- Hours: Public Vaporetto times, usually around 6am-10pm, but check website or timetables at Vaporetto stops to be sure.
- Cost: €7.50 one trip in one direction, or if you’re going elsewhere buy a 24-hour ticket for €20 which will take you out to the other islands too.
9. The Bridge of Sighs
The Bridge of Sighs is located between the Doge’s Palace, the Palazzo Ducale, and Venice’s jail and one of the most popular things to do in Venice is to watch the gondolas paddle beneath. It is a small bridge that can be seen from the waterside by St Mark’s Square that spans the Rio di Palazzo. It may be small, but it is one of the top attractions in Venice. Many gondolas paddle underneath the bridge of Sighs making it a great vantage point to capture that iconic Venice scene.
Legend has it that the Bridge of Sighs got its name because on one side of the bridge is the courtroom of the Palazzo Ducale where people accused of crimes were tried. If convicted, the soon-to-be prisoner would then be walked across the bridge to jail. The last view they would have would be looking out of the small intricate windows of the bridge. And here they would “sigh” at their last glimpse of freedom. (Hence the name Bridge of Sighs)
This Doge’s Palace with Bridge of Sighs Tour takes you into the palace with an expert guide to admire the golden staircases, the rooms of the Doge’s, and one of the largest paintings in the world, the Last Judgment by Tintoretto. You’ll then get to cross the Bridge of Sighs just as the prisoners did in the past and then go into the prison dungeons. This tour also includes an app to let you discover the 5 districts of Venice and their top attractions.
10. basilica di santa maria
Standing proud on the Grand Canal is one of the most renowned churches in Venice, the Basilica di Santa Maria. If you take a Grand Canal tour you can’t miss it. The Basilica di Santa Maria was built to stop the plague that was ripping through the city in the 1600s. The officials promised a church built to honor the Madonna in exchange for her help in stopping the plague. Visiting The Basilica di Santa Maria is one of the best free things to do in Venice with art and frescoes on display.
Address: Dorsoduro, 1, 30123 Venice, Italy
Book this Dorsoduro and San Polo Private Walking Tour. This guided tour takes you on a private walk to explore the area with a local guide to find hidden gems.
11. Gallerie dell’Accademia
This is Venice’s most prestigious art gallery and houses the most comprehensive collection of Venetian art and no art lover’s trip to Venice would be complete without a visit to the Gallerie dell-Accademia. Before it was a museum, the three-building complex was used for religious purposes. The main themes represent Venetian life, historical figures of the city and religion.
There is a multitude of permanent exhibitions with art by Venetian greats including Bellini, Tiziano, Canaletto, Carpaccio, Da Vinci and Veronese. The main theme is traditional Venetian art with subjects mainly including religion, Venetian life, and portraits of important residents. There are also changing temporary exhibits included in the ticket price.
- Address: Campo della Carità, 1050, 30123 Venice Italyy
- Hours: Tues-Sun 8.15am-7.15pm, Mondays 8.15am-2pm.
- Cost: €15 (€1.50 booking fee online), €2 plus €1.50 exhibition fee for 18-25 year olds, free plus €1.50 booking fee for under 18s, people with a disability, students and academics.
One of the top attractions outside the city center is to visit the island of Murano. Murano is one of the beautiful islands in Venice full of colorful houses and small restaurants lining the waterfront. Although tiny, Murano has gained worldwide fame, as this is the authentic home where Murano glass is made. Murano Glass is one of Venice’s most popular souvenirs, and to be sure you’re buying the real deal, you can get at The Museo del Vetro – Museum of Glass. The museum shows tourists how the process is done and afterward, you can purchase some of the goods if you like. There are even glass blowing classes available if you’d like to learn a bit of the art yourself.
- Hours: Murano island: Check vaporetto times for first and last landings as this changes frequently. Glass Museum: Summer April 1-October 31 10.30am-4.30pm, winter 10.30am-4pm.
- Cost: Vaporetto to island: €7.50 each way, or included in €20 24-hour ticket. Museum: €14, €11.50 children 6-14, students 15-25 and people over 65, under 6 years is free.
- It is easy to get there by vaporetto. Just hop on at San Zaccaria if you’re near St Mark’s Square, and also many other stops connect here.
- Tickets are €7.50 each way, or €20 for a 24-hour pass, which you can use to any other stop you like too.
- If you’re staying on the main island be sure to double check the times of the last vaporetto going back in the evening as they don’t run late, and stop earlier on Sundays and holidays.
The art of glass blowing is one of Venice’s signature crafts. It has been practiced in Venice since the thirteenth century, and in Murano in particular. Visiting the island of Murano to see the glass blowing factory is one of the top things to do in Venice. Like champagne in France, Murano glass should technically only be sold if it was created in a factory in Murano. There are many, many “fake” Murano pieces available around the world, and even in Venice itself to buy. Shops selling certified Murano glass will have certifications to proudly show you this.
- Hours: Original Glass factory 9.30am-4pm. multiple private tours available too at set times between 9am-5pm.
- Cost: €5, free for under 14s. Private tours prices vary.
Take this boat tour to the most beautiful islands on the Venetian Lagoon as you explore Murano and Burano on a 4.5 to 6 hour tour. See glass demonstrations by a glass blower on Murano, and then make your way to Torcello to see the Church of Santa Fosca and Ponte del Diavolo. Your stop at Burano includes the ancient settlement of Torcello, lace production and its colorful houses. You then end at Saint Mark’s Square where you can enjoy your dinner.
A great day trip in Venice is to visit Burano and Murano together. Burano is known for its brightly colored houses belonging to local fishermen. Make sure to visit the Church of Saint Martin – Chiesa de San Martino – Beautiful churches to visit and there’s a leaning bell tower from the 1600s.
For something different on your visit to Venice, a trip to Burano is the lesser-known sister island to Murano. It is a stunning island to stroll around, admiring the facades of the building in one of the top ten most colorful towns in the world. The Burano specialty of Burano is lace making and no visit to Burano would be complete without visiting the Museo del Merletto which showcases lace-making in the area with exhibitions on how it has been made there for centuries.
- Hours: Burano island: Check vaporetto times for first and last landings as this changes frequently. Museum: Nov 1-Mar 31: 10.30am-4.30pm, April 1-Oct 31: 10.30am-5pm.
- Cost: Vaporetto to island: €7.50 each way, or included in €20 24-hour ticket. Museo del Merletto: €5, €3.50 for children 6-14, students 15-25, over 65s.
You can also combine this Panoramic Boat Tour that includes stops at Murano and Burano. The half-day trip, takes you to the two traditional islands of the Venice Lagoon. Enjoy a 30 minute boat trip to Murano to see the famous glassmaking process and then purchase your Venice souvenir glass. Burano is famous for lacemaking and you’ll have the opportunity to stroll through its colorful fisherman houses, its main square, and the Church of San Martino. More details here
14. Isola di San Michele
If you’ve been to Venice before and want to visit somewhere a little different than the usual tourist haunts, you can check out the Isola di San Michele – the cemetery island of Venice. This is located in the lagoon and has served as the cemetery since the early 1800s. It used to be two islands, which are now joined together. The island is occupied entirely by churches.
Isola di San Michele is dedicated to the dead with their remains interred in high tombs above ground. There are many famous people buried in San Michele such as Russian composer Igor Stravinsky, American Poet Ezra Pound and Austrian physicist Christian Doppler who invented his principle the Doppler effect. Please remember this is a cemetery that is used frequently by locals. Be quiet and respectful as there could be families there grieving and visiting their recently departed loved ones.
- Hours: Summer (April-September) 7.30am-6pm, winter (October-March) 7.30am-4.30pm. Chiesa di San Michele is open on weekday mornings.
- Cost: Free for the cemetery in general, €1 for the San Michele church. Vaporetto over to the island costs €7.50 each way or included in a 24-hour pass.
15. San Giorgio Maggiore
On one of our trips to Italy, we took a private taxi water tour of Venice with Walks of Italy and it was an amazing way to see Venice. After leaving the Grand Canal, our tour ended with a stop at the island of San Giorgio Maggiore where we took an elevator to the top of the bell tower of the church of San Giorgio Maggiore.
Make sure to go here for the most jaw-dropping view of Venice. It’s the spot where postcards are made and as the bells rang, we looked out and admired our 360-degree view of all the islands surrounding the city. San Giorgio Maggiore can also be reached by water taxi.
16. Classical Concerts
Venice has always been a hub for the arts and still is wonderful place to experience live classical music concerts. The settings for the concerts can often be almost as impressive as the performance as concerts are held in some of Venice’s stunning theatres, old grand palazzos, music school halls, and churches.
Booking online before you go for the Palazzo and Scuola venues is wise as concerts often sell out, especially in summer. However, quite a few of the smaller churches around Venice that don’t have websites do have performances on regularly, so it’s worth keeping an eye out for these as you walk around. You can often find some gems of small authentic performances, which are usually also much lower prices. Or better yet, wander the streets of Venice and get lost while following the sound of music.
Best Places to Watch a Concert in Venice:
- The mansion Palazzo Barbarigo-Monotti
- School Scuola Grande de Teodoro
- Chiesa di San Vidal Church
- Santa Maria della Pieta Church
17. Teatro La Fenice
La Fenice Opera House one of Italy’s grandest opera houses where you can catch a performance but even if you don’t have the time to watch a performance you should make sure to add Teator La Fenice to your Venice Itinerary. The famous Venice opera house has been rebuilt after burning to the ground in 1996.
This skip-the-line ticket lets you admire its sensational avant-garde design while avoiding the crowds. Choose an audio guide in 7 different languages, and explore the secrets of the memorable Teatro La Fenice theatre. Discover the history of the building from its origins to the present day. The most important premiers of international opera take place at the La Fenice, staging more than one hundred opera performances per year.
18. dine along Grand Canal
The Grand Canal is the largest canal that weaves through the main island of Venice. Many of Venice’s most prestigious hotels are located along its banks. There is a glut of restaurants all along the canal, many with price tags higher than the quality of food should allow.
However, right by the Rialto Bridge on the St Mark’s Square side, there are a handful of restaurants with very nice seafood, and reasonably price fixed price “tourist” menus, that actually have good food.
Another way to enjoy the Grand Canal is to simply sit with a coffee by day, or my favorite is to have an Aperol Spritz at the golden hour. This is a great place to watch the sunset as Venice changes from day to night.
19. Venetian Carnivale
The Venice Carnevale has been held for centuries, with it being the most popular carnival in the world in the eighteenth century. The Carnevale takes place in February every year for almost three weeks.
Throughout the festival, there are many grand balls, parties, and gatherings. Many locals spend all year preparing their costumes for it, carefully tending to centuries-old costumes passed down the generations.
Visitors can join in the revelry and can rent or wear locally bought outfits. Beware! jeans will be snorted at! If you’re in Venice while it is on, look up events, dress up and join in! You’ll feel like you’re back in the days of Casanova and the great Palazzos.
Venetian masks were invented in the city and have been used for centuries. Their principal purpose was to protect the wearer’s identity during promiscuous or decadent activities. They re-emerged as the emblem of the Venetian Carnevale. At a masked ball, servants could be mistaken for lords and vice versa, and people could say their opinions on any topic without fear of retribution.
Commedia dell Arte, and Carnivale masks are the Art of Comedy masks that represent trades, characters and ethnic traditions from around Italy dating back to the sixteenth century. Prices vary dramatically depending on quality with plastic factory-made ones starting at about €6, going up to hundreds of Euros for fancier pieces with more ornate designs and decoration. This would be my top pick of a Venetian souvenir to get.
- Hours: Stores and stalls selling masks generally 9am-9pm.
- Cost: From €6 up to hundreds depending on quality
20. Churches of Venice
Venice, like all cities in Italy, is full of beautiful churches. As you stroll around the city, you’ll come across many of them. My advice is to go into any you see that are open and explore. The strong influence of Roman Catholicism in Italy is prevalent within their walls seeing the sumptuous décor, windows, domes, and art around them. Even the smallest, most modest-looking church is intricate and enchanting.
Churches usually open from about 10am-sunset. Closed to visitors during services. I have listed some of the prettiest lesser-known churches in Venice to look out for below.
- Santa Maria Assunta – One church that is not to be missed is Santa Maria Assunta. When you go inside you will be taken aback by its white and green marble.
- Chiesa di San Zaccaria with its glowing altarpiece by Bellini
- Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni with its Carpaccio paintings
- Chiesa della Madonna dell’Orto with its Renaissance art and statue of the Madonna and Child
- Chiesa San Michele di Isola from 1469. It is the largest church and takes time to see.
- The adjoining Capella Emiliani
- The smaller church San Cristoforo is also charming.
21. Peggy Guggenheim Collection
One of the most popular art museums in Venice is The Peggy Guggenheim Collection. It showcases European and American artists of the 20th century and contemporary art. The Peggy Guggenheim museum houses Venice’s most important modern art gallery. Make sure to visit the Sculpture Garden which is truly a highlight, It includes the Wishing Tree by Yoko Ono and Mimmo Paladino’s The Cloven Viscount.
Opening hours: 10am-6pm daily except closed on Tuesdays.
One of Italy’s greatest achievements is pizza. The birthplace of pizza is Naples, but Venice also has a lot of fantastic pizza on offer, with some toppings created for the area with local ingredients.
Two of my favorite places to have pizza in Venice are Birreria la Corte located in Campo San Polo, and has a casual, family feel in an old brick building with a courtyard. And Jazz Club Novecento (900) is tucked into a tiny side street just a 10 minute walk from St. Mark’s Square. The ambiance is a 1940s jazz style with lots of memorabilia around the walls.
- Hours: Birreria la Corte 12pm-3pm, 6pm-10.30pm, seven days a week.
- Hours: Jazz Club Novecento 11.30am-4pm, 7pm-2am, every day except Monday.
- Cost: Around €10-€15 for a restaurant pizza in general in Venice, including in the places mentioned.
24. Fondamenta della Misericordia
The long street Fondamenta della Misericordia – the Foundation of Mercy – is located in the Cannaregio area just a few minutes walk from Piazzale Rome. It is full of small family-run trattorias with priced fix price menus, little stores selling many types of limoncello liquor, souvenirs, and of course, several ancient churches.
The market winds along most of this mile-long passageway and sells everything from leather purses and Venetian masks, to roasted chestnuts in winter and homemade fruit popsicles in summer.
25. Taste Venice
Italy is famous for its food. On my most recent trip to Venice, I discovered some stores that sell lots of local products and give generous tastings! Tastings are free. To buy varies depending on the product, but chocolates are from about €8 a box, and truffle products from about €10.
- Nino and Friends has two stores in Venice and in both friendly staff offering you plates of sweets. They even have a corner of the store dedicated to truffle products. The chocolates make great gifts for friends or yourself.
- La Bottega del Tartufo: The shop of truffles – is all about, you guessed it, truffles! If you are a truffle fan you’ll love this place. If you’ve never tried anything truffle, then this is a great way to sample various products with them in it for free.
- Hours: Nino and Friends 9.30am-8pm. La Bottega del Tartufo 9.30am-8.30pm.
Best Free Things to Do in Venice
Visiting Venice doesn’t have to break the bank, there are plenty of free things to do in Venice that will make for an incredible vacation without needing to book tours. Let’s take a look at the best free Venice attractions.
Exploring St. Mark’s Square
As the city’s principal public square, Piazza San Marco is home to several remarkable structures like the Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica, which can be admired from the outside free of charge. The Square itself is a lively and vibrant location with numerous cafes and live music.
Window Shopping on the Rialto Bridge
Stroll the iconic Rialto Bridge, one of the city’s most well-known landmarks. Lined with shops, it’s a wonderful place for window shopping and for taking in breathtaking views of the Grand Canal.
Visit the Libreria Acqua Alta
Known as one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, this unique shop has books packed into gondolas, bathtubs, and waterproof bins to protect against the frequent flooding. Admission is free, and it’s a great place to take unique photos.
Watching Glassblowing at Murano
While a boat ride to Murano isn’t free, watching the artisans craft intricate glassware once you’re there is. Many studios and workshops offer free demonstrations.
Go Inside the Churches
Venice is home to numerous churches, many of which are free to enter. They often contain works of art by notable Italian artists. The Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari and the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore are both worth a visit.
Walk Along the Zattere
This long, sunny promenade offers fantastic views across the Giudecca Canal. It’s a great place for a leisurely stroll and to take in the city’s maritime atmosphere.
Visit the Jewish Ghetto
As the world’s first ghetto, this historic area in Cannaregio offers deep insights into Venice’s history and culture. While there’s a charge for the Jewish Museum, it’s free to wander the area itself.
Get Lost in its Neighborhoods
Venice is composed of several distinct neighborhoods, each with its own unique character. Visit districts such as Cannaregio, Dorsoduro, and Castello, where you can wander through picturesque alleyways, watch gondolas float by, and enjoy the local life away from the tourist crowds.
Best Things to Do in Venice Map
When visiting Venice, make your arrival truly unforgettable by booking this airport transfer. From Venice Marco Polo International Airport, hop on a water taxi and transfer to your hotel. Your first view of Venice will be in style as you approach by water.
How to Get to Venice
Venice’s main airport is Marco Polo Airport. It is only 8km (5 miles) north of Venice. You can get to Venice from the airport by Public Bus. Bus #5 or the ATVO Blue bus will take you to Piazzale Roma. Regular Taxis cannot get into Venice.
You can also take the Alilaguna waterbus to Piazza San Marco. Water Taxis are expensive but will take you directly to your hotel if you have the budget for it. Or book this airport transfer in advance for a private transfer to your hotel. Your first view of Venice will be in style as you approach by water.
You can book this Shared water taxi to eliminate stress with a private transfer from Venice Marco Polo Airport. Departures are every 90 minutes and boats will let you off at the Grand Canal and St. Mark’s Basin or the nearest available pier to your hotel. This is a good affordable option without the hassle.
Other Parts of Italy: If you are continuing your travels to other parts of Italy like the Cinque Terre or Tuscany, t, one of the best ways to travel is by train. The Santa Lucia train station is just a 30-minute walk from St. Mark’s Square and the city center.
Getting Around Venice
Venice is tricky to get around, but taking a Vaporetto (water bus) is the easiest and most convenient way to get from place to place.
- Water taxis are expensive starting at €12 and then they charge €2 per minute.
- Vaporetto Single ticket: €7.50 – If you’re only one or two journeys on your stay in Venice, get single tickets when you need them.
- 24-hour ticket: €20 If you’re planning on going on more than two vaporetto trips in 24 hours, this is the way to go for this. Remember is it a 24-hour ticket, not a day ticket, so you can use it until the same time the next day, so you can time accordingly to get the most out of it.
- If you want to cross the Grand Canal and you are not near a footbridge, a traghetto is a gondola service that crosses the Canal for €2.
- Walking around – Venice is like a maze. Even if you’ve already been down a little side street, it doesn’t mean you’ll find it easily again. My advice? Use Google Maps.
- You can rent bikes, ebikes and scooters to get around Venice. This is another affordable option.
Stomping grounds of writer and lover Casanova, Venice delights all lovers of beauty filled with art museums, beautiful architecture, and picturesque squares.
Venice, often referred to as the “City of Canals,” is a unique and captivating destination situated in the northeastern region of Italy. It is located on the Venetian Lagoon, an enclosed bay of the Adriatic Sea, and consists of 118 islands, 400 bridges, and 150 canals.
Most of the islands of Venice are natural, but some have been created from the sand and mud that has been dredged from the Venetian Lagoon for centuries. Fun fact, the lagoon is the largest wetlands within the Mediterranean Basin.
One of the most unique aspects of Venice is its means of transport; instead of cars, the city uses gondolas and vaporettos (water buses), offering visitors a uniquely Venetian experience. Be mindful of “acqua alta” or high water tides, which occasionally flood the city, particularly between autumn and spring.
Venice is renowned for its architectural beauty, historical significance, and artistic heritage, with numerous attractions including the iconic St. Mark’s Square, the Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, and the Rialto Bridge so are you ready to visit Venice with us? Let’s go.
So there are my top things to do in Venice! I hope you enjoyed them and that this helps you find a few more places and experiences to enjoy in the stunning city.
Looking for things to do in Italy, read our Italy travel guides to help plan your trip to other cities in Italy.
Venice is beguiling and beautiful. Its light has charmed artists for centuries and I’m sure it will charm you too. To me, this quote about Venice by British poet and critic Arthur Symons sums it up perfectly:
“A realist, in Venice, would become a romantic by mere faithfulness to what he saw before him.”
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