- Top attractions in Venice
- Mark's Square and Basilica
- The breathtaking Rialto Bridge
- The grand Doge's Palace
- The picturesque Grand Canal
- The artistic Peggy Guggenheim Collection
- Best things to do in Venice
- Take a gondola ride through the canals
- Explore the Venice Lagoon islands of Murano, Burano, and Torcello
- Visit the colorful and lively Rialto Market
- Attend an opera or concert at La Fenice theater
- Go on a food tour to taste Venetian specialties like cicchetti and tiramisu
- Tips for getting around Venice
- Use the vaporetto (waterbus) system to navigate the city
- Walk through the narrow streets and alleys to discover hidden gems
- Buy a Venice City Pass for discounted admission to attractions and transport
- Beware of tourist traps and overpriced restaurants in popular areas
- Take a day trip outside of Venice to nearby destinations like Verona or the Dolomite mountains
- Where to stay in Venice
- Luxury hotels with canal views: Gritti Palace, Belmond Hotel Cipriani, Hotel Danieli
- Mid-range hotels in central locations: Hotel Palazzo Stern, Hotel Flora, Hotel Le Isole
- Budget-friendly options: Hotel Al Piave, Hotel Paganelli, Generator Venice hostel
- Best time to visit Venice
- The shoulder seasons of spring (April-June) and fall (September-November) offer mild weather and fewer crowds
- Summer (July-August) is peak tourist season with hot temperatures and long lines
- However, it is also the time for Carnival and quieter streets
- Cities Nearby
Top attractions in Venice
Mark's Square and Basilica
Mark's Square and Basilica are the most visited attractions in Venice. The square is filled with elegant cafes, museums, galleries, and historic buildings. It is surrounded by elaborate architecture from different periods, including the famous St. Mark's Basilica. The basilica, known locally as the Basilica di San Marco, is a stunning example of Byzantine architecture. Visitors flock here to admire its golden mosaics, intricate carvings, and beautiful marble floors. The basilica also boasts a fascinating history and is home to several important relics, including the remains of Saint Mark, the patron saint of Venice.
The breathtaking Rialto Bridge
The Rialto Bridge is one of the most iconic landmarks in Venice, and a must-see for any traveler. The breathtaking bridge spans the Grand Canal and is one of the oldest bridges in Venice, dating back to the 16th century. The bridge has been the subject in many paintings, and it offers breathtaking views of the surrounding waterways and buildings. Visitors can stroll along the bridge and take in the scenery, or they can explore the shops and markets that line the bridge and offer a glimpse into the local culture. Whether you're looking to take in the history and architecture of Venice or simply enjoy the stunning views, the Rialto Bridge is an unmissable attraction that offers something for everyone. Don't forget to bring your camera to capture this incredible landmark!
The grand Doge's Palace
The grand Doge's Palace, located in St. Mark's Square, is a landmark of Venice's rich history. Once the home of the Doge and the main seat of government, it is now a museum open to the public. Visitors can explore the impressive courtyard, grand staircases, and large rooms adorned with intricate artwork, frescoes, and chandeliers. Don't miss the highlight of the Doge's Palace: the Bridge of Sighs. This iconic covered bridge connected the palace to the prison, and it gets its name from the sound prisoners made as they were led over it to their cells. You can see the bridge from both inside the palace and from a gondola ride on the canal. With so much stunning artwork and architecture to admire, the Doge's Palace is a must-see attraction in Venice. Be sure to book a tour or buy tickets in advance to avoid long lines and make the most of your visit.
The picturesque Grand Canal
The Grand Canal is a picturesque waterway that winds through Venice and is one of the city's most visited attractions. Lined with beautiful and historic buildings, the canal provides a unique view into the city's past while also showcasing its charm and beauty. Visitors can take a leisurely boat ride down the canal and admire the ornate architecture of buildings such as the Ca' d'Oro, the Palazzo Barbarigo, and the Rialto Bridge. Alternatively, they can simply stroll along the canal's banks, enjoying the stunning surroundings and the bustling atmosphere. Whether on the water or on foot, the Grand Canal is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Venice. Few places in the world can match its beauty and history, making it an ideal place to experience the charm of this incredible city.
The artistic Peggy Guggenheim Collection
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is a must-see for art lovers visiting Venice. Housed in Peggy Guggenheim's former home, the museum features a stunning collection of modern art from the likes of Jackson Pollock, Salvador Dalí, and Pablo Picasso. Visitors can admire works from Guggenheim's personal collection, which she began acquiring in the 1930s and continued to add to throughout her life. Take time to wander through the tranquil sculpture garden, which features works by renowned artists such as Alexander Calder and Marino Marini. Make sure to check out the museum's temporary exhibitions, which showcase contemporary artists from around the world. The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is a unique and inspiring attraction that is not to be missed on a trip to Venice.
Best things to do in Venice
Take a gondola ride through the canals
A visit to Venice is not complete without a memorable gondola ride through the city's winding canals. Glide along the waterways and soak in the grandeur of the grand palaces and quaint bridges that stand tall on either side. Gondola rides are worth splurging on, not only for a luxurious experience but also to learn more about the city's culture and history. The gondoliers, dressed in traditional striped shirts and boater hats, are also known to offer musical serenades for added charm. As you sit back and relax on the boat, let yourself get lost in the beauty of Venice and witness the city's romance come alive on your very own gondola ride.
Explore the Venice Lagoon islands of Murano, Burano, and Torcello
Explore the Venice Lagoon islands of Murano, Burano, and Torcello to witness the island's vibrant culture and rich history. Begin at Murano, a small island famous for its glassblowing factories and the colorful glassware crafted there. Visitors can watch a demonstration and tour the glass factories for a unique experience. Next, head to Burano. The island is known for its colorful houses, quaint streets, and lace-making shops. The intricate lacework is passed down from generation to generation, and you can purchase authentic pieces as souvenirs. Lastly, visit the quiet and peaceful Torcello island. Explore the Venetian-style basilica, Attila's throne, and the quiet canals and bridges for a serene end to the tour.
Visit the colorful and lively Rialto Market
The Rialto Market is a must-visit destination for foodies in Venice. The smell of fresh produce and seafood fills the air as local vendors sell their wares. You'll find everything from exotic fruits to traditional Venetian fare like prosciutto and Parmesan cheese. Located in the heart of the city, the Rialto Market is really two markets in one: the Pescheria, or fish market, and the Erberia, or vegetable market. With its colorful displays and bustling crowds, a visit to the Rialto Market is a truly authentic Venetian experience that shouldn't be missed. Don't forget to sample the local street food or take home some unique souvenirs.
Attend an opera or concert at La Fenice theater
La Fenice theater is one of the most famous opera houses in Italy and is located in the heart of Venice. Built in 1792, it has been restored to its former glory after two major disasters, but retains its traditional decor and charm. Opera and classical music enthusiasts should not miss the opportunity to experience a performance at La Fenice, known for hosting the world's most prestigious artists. The theater offers a wide range of events, from opera to symphonies, with a variety of seating options to choose from. For those with a bigger budget, opt for a box seat and enjoy a more intimate experience. Be sure to check the schedule in advance and book your tickets early to secure your spot for an unforgettable cultural experience.
Go on a food tour to taste Venetian specialties like cicchetti and tiramisu
One of the best ways to experience Venice is to savor its culinary delights. Venetian cuisine is a melting pot of flavors and traditions that reflect the city's rich history and geography. From cicchetti (small bites) to tiramisu, there's something for every palate. Going on a food tour is a must-do activity in Venice. You'll be able to taste the city's specialties like the iconic cicchetti, which is a finger-food-style dish, usually accompanied by a glass of local wine. Another must-try is tiramisu, a creamy dessert made with coffee and mascarpone cheese, among other ingredients. A food tour in Venice is not only a culinary adventure but also a cultural one. You'll discover the local markets, traditional bakeries, and hidden foodie gems that you wouldn't find on your own. So, if you want to indulge in the flavors of Venice, a food tour is the way to go.
Tips for getting around Venice
Use the vaporetto (waterbus) system to navigate the city
One of the best ways to get around Venice is to use the vaporetto, the city's waterbus system. With multiple lines and frequent service, the vaporetto can take you to all the main attractions and neighborhoods in Venice. To use the vaporetto, you will need to purchase a ticket either at a ticket booth or at one of the automated machines located at most vaporetto stops. Single tickets can be expensive, so it's a good idea to buy a pass if you plan to use the vaporetto multiple times. Be aware that the vaporetto can get very crowded, especially during peak tourist season. If you want to avoid the crowds, try to ride early in the morning or late at night. And remember to validate your ticket in one of the machines on board the vaporetto to avoid a fine.
Walk through the narrow streets and alleys to discover hidden gems
Venice is a city best explored on foot. Walking through its narrow streets and alleys is an adventure in itself. As you explore the maze-like streets, you'll discover hidden gems that may have eluded you otherwise. With each turn, you'll encounter charming squares, hidden canals, and secret courtyards. The best way to experience the beauty of Venice is to allow yourself to get lost. Don't be afraid to wander off the beaten path and explore the city's lesser-known corners. You never know what you might discover – a picturesque bridge, a hidden church, or an artisan shop tucked away in a quiet alley. Walking through Venice's narrow streets and alleys is a true delight that should not be missed.
Buy a Venice City Pass for discounted admission to attractions and transport
Venice City Pass is an all-in-one sightseeing card that offers significant discounts on transport and admission to various attractions in the city. The pass provides you with an unlimited ride on the public water buses or the vaporettos, which is the most popular mode of transportation in Venice. With the pass, you can hop on and off the vaporetto at any station throughout the day without worrying about the cost of each ride. In addition to unlimited transport, the Venice City Pass also provides discounts on admission to top Venice attractions, such as Doge's Palace, the Correr Museum, and the Jewish Museum. The pass also includes a booklet containing useful information, maps, and discounts for selected shops and restaurants. Purchasing the Venice City Pass can save you both time and money, and it's an excellent way to explore the city's historical landmarks.
Beware of tourist traps and overpriced restaurants in popular areas
Venice is one of the most visited cities in the world, and many businesses take advantage of this by charging inflated prices. Tourists should be wary of restaurants in popular areas, particularly around St. Mark's Square. These restaurants may have high prices and low-quality food. Researching restaurants and reading reviews before dining out can help to avoid these tourist traps. Additionally, tourists should be aware of street vendors and souvenir shops that sell low-quality items at exorbitant prices. Avoid buying from these vendors and instead support local artisans and businesses. Shopping in less touristy areas can not only save you money but also give you a more authentic Venetian experience. With a little bit of research and common sense, visitors can avoid overpriced tourist traps and enjoy everything that Venice has to offer.
Take a day trip outside of Venice to nearby destinations like Verona or the Dolomite mountains
Escape the hustle and bustle of Venice and explore the nearby destinations of Verona or the Dolomite mountains. Verona is just an hour and a half away by train and offers a beautiful medieval old town, ancient Roman ruins, and the famous balcony from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. If you're up for a more adventurous day trip, head to the Dolomite mountains for stunning alpine views and outdoor activities like hiking and skiing. There are several companies that offer guided tours to the mountains, or you can rent a car and explore on your own. These destinations offer a refreshing break from the crowds and provide a unique perspective on the Veneto region.
Where to stay in Venice
Luxury hotels with canal views: Gritti Palace, Belmond Hotel Cipriani, Hotel Danieli
Venice is known for its luxury accommodations with stunning canal views, and there are several options to choose from. Gritti Palace is a historic hotel located on the Grand Canal that offers lavish rooms and suites with a mix of classic and contemporary touches. Guests can enjoy Italian cuisine at the hotel's restaurant, as well as a spa and a rooftop bar with panoramic views of the city. Another option is Belmond Hotel Cipriani, which is situated on Giudecca Island and can only be accessed by boat. The hotel features elegant rooms and suites, many of which offer private balconies with breathtaking views of Venice and its canals. Guests can also enjoy a relaxing dip in the Olympic-sized swimming pool or indulge in a spa treatment. Hotel Danieli, located in the heart of Venice, is a landmark hotel that dates back to the 14th century. Its rooms and suites are decorated in a classic Venetian style and offer stunning views of the city and the lagoon. The hotel also features a rooftop restaurant with panoramic views and a spa with a Turkish bath and sauna.
Mid-range hotels in central locations: Hotel Palazzo Stern, Hotel Flora, Hotel Le Isole
For those looking for a mid-range hotel in a central location in Venice, there are a few great options to consider. The Hotel Palazzo Stern, situated in the Dorsoduro district, boasts stunning views of the Grand Canal and is located just a short walk from the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. With its luxurious decor and comfortable rooms, it's a top choice for those who want a taste of Venetian glamour without breaking the bank. Another great option is the Hotel Flora, located in the bustling neighborhood of San Marco. Built in the 17th century, this charming hotel features a beautiful garden and courtyard where guests can relax after a busy day of sightseeing. The rooms are cozy and tastefully decorated, offering a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city. Finally, the Hotel Le Isole, located near the Rialto Bridge, is another top choice for those looking for a mid-range hotel with a central location. This family-run hotel is known for its friendly staff and warm hospitality, providing a welcoming and comfortable stay for its guests. Its convenient location makes it easy to explore the city's most popular attractions, while also providing a peaceful retreat from the crowds.
Budget-friendly options: Hotel Al Piave, Hotel Paganelli, Generator Venice hostel
For budget-friendly options in Venice, Hotel Al Piave and Hotel Paganelli are great choices. Hotel Al Piave is located in the peaceful and central area of Santa Croce, with comfortable rooms and a cozy atmosphere. Hotel Paganelli boasts stunning views of the lagoon and is just a short walk from San Marco Square. For a more affordable option, Generator Venice hostel offers shared and private rooms in a stylish and modern setting. It is conveniently located near the train station and offers a variety of amenities including a bar, restaurant, and game room. These budget-friendly options allow travelers to experience all that Venice has to offer without breaking the bank.
Best time to visit Venice
The shoulder seasons of spring (April-June) and fall (September-November) offer mild weather and fewer crowds
Venice can be crowded during the peak summer months, and temperatures can soar. To escape the throngs of tourists and enjoy mild weather, the shoulder seasons of spring and fall are an ideal time to visit. From April to June, the weather in Venice is perfect, with blue skies, gentle sunshine, and cool breezes. You can explore the canals, piazzas, and landmarks without the sweltering heat, and the crowds will be fewer. From September to November, Venice feels like a different, more peaceful city. The weather is still warm enough to enjoy outdoor activities, while the crowds rapidly dwindle. You can see the city's landmarks up close and personal without being jostled by large groups of tourists. You can also take advantage of the lower prices on flights and accommodation during the shoulder season. Spring and fall are the best times to visit if you want to experience the best of Venice without battling the crowds.
Summer (July-August) is peak tourist season with hot temperatures and long lines
Venice in the summer (July-August) is bustling with activity. With warm temperatures averaging around 28°C (82°F), it’s the perfect time to take a gondola ride or explore the city’s winding canals. However, be prepared for large crowds and long lines at popular tourist attractions such as St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace. Accommodations and flights are also more expensive during this time. If you plan on visiting during the summer months, it’s advised to book your accommodations and activities in advance to avoid disappointment. Consider visiting in June or September when the weather is still pleasant, but the crowds tend to be smaller. Overall, the summer season is great for those who enjoy the lively atmosphere.
However, it is also the time for Carnival and quieter streets
However, it is also the time for Carnival and quieter streets. The Carnival of Venice is one of the oldest and most popular festivals in the world and is held during February. During this time, the city comes alive as locals and tourists alike don masks and costumes, and celebrate with parades and various events throughout the city. The Carnival period usually leads to a slight increase in tourist numbers, but it is also a time when most Venetians leave the city, resulting in more space for tourists to explore without the crowds. Moreover, visiting Venice during Carnival is also an excellent opportunity to witness the city's rich cultural heritage. The stunning masks and majestic costumes, traditional music, and elaborate decorations transport visitors to a different era, making it an unforgettable experience. If you're looking for a peaceful time to visit, late autumn or winter is the perfect time to explore Venice without the throngs of tourists. The city is less crowded, and restaurants and hotels are cheaper. So, whether you're looking for a vibrant, fun-filled atmosphere or a peaceful one, Venice has something to offer for everyone at any time of the year.
Have a good trip!