19 Best things to do in Venice (Italy): Canal gondola rides, Saint Marco walks and more
In this article
Read more about Venice
Book a Tour in Venice
Are you wondering what to put on your Venice bucket list? When it comes to the best things to do in Venice, we know what’s worth your time (and money). And we’re going to tell you everything, from the best attractions to visit and the most fun activities to do to the top places to eat. All you have to do is read on.
Let’s get started!
In a nutshell: The best things to do in Venice
Take part in the festivities of the iconic Venice Carnevale
Join a free walking tour to see all the main points of interest in Venice
Visit the Doge’s Palace for a royal experience in the center of the city
Enjoy a gondola ride through the scenic canals of Venice
Go to St. Mark’s Basilica to marvel at its stunning architecture
Day-trip from Venice
Go to Burano island for the most picturesque houses and vintage vibes
Enter you email to download the PDF file!
The best fun things to do in Venice
If Venice is famous for one thing, it’s its fabulous Carnival! The Venetian Carnival usually starts in February, but the festivities last for several weeks. During these weeks, the narrow alleys of the city overflow with locals dressed in period costumes and wearing elaborate Venetian masks (which you can purchase almost everywhere in Venice all year round, in case you miss the Carnival). The Carnival festivities include parades, free performances, and tons of local delicacies -you’re going to have the time of your life!
Best Venice carnival tours
No visit to Venice is complete without a gondola ride! Especially if you’re planning to visit Venice with your significant other, sailing through the canals on a gondola is a must experience to check off of your bucket list! Keep in mind that a 40-minute gondola ride costs about 75 euros, so it’s better to consider pre-booking a private or a shared gondola ride. From our experience, a shared gondola ride is the best way to save money and save yourselves from haggling with the gondolier.
Have you ever thought that your trip to Venice might be your chance to master a new skill? Neither have we. But, it turns out taking a rowing lesson at the Venetian canals is a very fun activity to do in Venice! During the lesson, an experienced instructor will teach you the basic rowing techniques and get you through the most beautiful canals and lagoons of Venice. It’s one of the most rewarding and fun things we’ve done in Venice!
The best things to do in Venice for free
Since there are no public means of transportation in Venice, the best way to explore the city is on foot! But, if you’re not familiar with the labyrinth of the city’s narrow streets, finding your way through them might not be the easiest thing. A free walking tour is an answer to your prayers!
The best free walking tours in Venice
The Jewish Ghetto, in the Cannaregio district, is arguably one of the most interesting areas to visit in Venice. Established in 1516, the Jewish Ghetto is believed to be the world’s oldest ghetto. Today, this part of the town, which consists of the New Ghetto and the Old Ghetto, is full of shops, cafes, and restaurants, but it keeps its vintage charm. The Jewish Ghetto is one of our favorite places to visit in Venice, as it is not as crowded as other parts of the city!
Tip: If you want to learn more about the history of this neighbourhood, visit the Jewish Museum and the Ancient Cemetery.
Rialto Bridge is one of the most charming attractions in Venice. Constructed in 1588 by the architect Antonio da Ponte, the bridge stands out for its design and its 7.5-meter arch, which was originally made to facilitate the passage of galleys. Today, Rialto Bridge is one of the most iconic spots in Venice and receives many tourists daily. The city views from the bridge are second to none!
Tip: To avoid the crowds and enjoy a unobstructed view of the city from the Rialto Bridge, we suggest visiting it either before midday or after sunset.
Things to do in Venice with family and friends
Introducing yourself to the Italian gastronomy is one of the top things to do in Venice! Cicchetti, pizza, pasta, and, of course, wine are some of the local specialties you need to taste on your trip to Venice. However, the city is full of tourist traps, aka low quality and often overpriced restaurants that you have to avoid at any cost! Going off the beaten tourist trail is the best option if you want to enjoy the authentic Venetian cuisine. So, having a local expert guide you through the hidden culinary treasures of the town is a life-saver, especially if you’re traveling with your family or friends. You can thank us later!
The best food tours in Venice
When the sun goes down, the mysterious alleys of Venice fill with mysteries! If you love legends, spooky fairy tales, and haunted houses, then do yourself a favor and go on a night adventure. Going alone, though, is not the best idea. Quite the opposite. Joining an organized tour is the best way to discover the hidden treasures, quiet corners, and secret spots of Venice!
Taking photos is the best way to remember the fun moments of your holiday in Venice forever! We know that gathering all the members of your family for a family photo is not the easiest thing, let alone finding the perfect spots for photo shooting. That’s why you need an experienced photographer to save the day! Hiring a professional photographer is also a must for groups of friends who want to capture their crazy holiday moments and couples that want to cherish the memories of their trip to Venice forever.
Best photo shooting sessions
The best places for sightseeing in Venice (Top attractions and monuments)
Doge’s Palace is one of the most imposing and popular buildings in Venice! This Venetian Gothic style palace, which was built in 1340, initially served as the Doge’s residence. However, it has been operating as a museum since 1923. The interior of Doge’s Palace is impressive -it consists of a courtyard, Museo dell’ Opera, the Doge’s apartments, Institutional chambers, and the Old Prison. Make sure you see them all!
However, Doge’s Palace is not only one of the most famous attractions in Venice but also one of the most crowded ones. Our suggestion is to skip the long line and the hassle that comes with it by joining a tour or purchasing skip-the-line tickets.
St. Mark’s Basilica is arguably one of the city’s most important landmarks! Located in St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco), in the heart of the city center, this 11th-century basilica boasts a unique Italo-Byzantine architecture. This means ornate details, frescoes, sculptures, golden mosaics, and an overall stunning interior and exterior ornamentation.
The entrance to St. Mark’s Basilica is free, but there’s an entrance fee for some parts of the complex, like the Bell Tower and the St. Mark’s Museum. Like most attractions in Venice, St. Mark’s Basilica is usually very crowded, so a skip-the-line ticket is strongly recommended, unless you’re willing to wait for an hour or so in the line.
Best St. Mark’s Basilica tours
St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco) is the largest the most popular square (piazza) in Venice! The square boasts a great location, right by the Grand Canal, and hosts some of the best attractions in Venice: St. Mark’s Basilica, Torre dell’ Orologio, and Doge’s Palace. What’s more, the square is lined with sidewalk cafés and bistros with live music, where you can sit and enjoy an authentic Italian espresso, taking in the scenery! Our favorite time of the day to do that is in the evening, just before sunset, when the square is not overflowing with crowds.
Best day trips from Venice
Murano island is long-famed for its blown glass production. The origins of the glass blowing tradition are traced in the 13th century and are implemented until today at the glass factories in Murano. Watching the process of glass blowing is super-fascinating! The only way to reach Murano island is by boat. There are several organized tours to Murano from Venice throughout the day, so you can visit it whenever you want.
Tip: Don’t forget to buy a blown glass creation to take back home!
Best day-trip to Murano Island
Burano island is one of the most charming places to visit in Venice! One of the things that will stand out to you the most in Burano is its pastel houses. Thanks to them, Burano is considered one of the most colorful places in the world and -according to us- one of the most photogenic ones, too! Apart from the crayon-like houses, Burano is also known for lace, glass making, and Bussolà (Burano’s cookies), a delicious local pastry.
Best day trips to Burano Island
The Dolomites mountain range is one of those places that take your breath away with their beauty! Part of the Southern Limestone Alps, the Dolomites consists of 18 stunning peaks and belongs to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. If you are a nature lover or an avid climber, you’re gonna love this place. It’s one of our all-time favorite places for nature exploration near Venice and we bet it will be one of yours, too!
Best day trips to the Dolomites
The top places to eat in Venice
All’Arco is the ultimate place to enjoy an authentic Italian breakfast or an afternoon aperitif. The highlight of this restaurant is cicchetti, a Venetian delicacy that consists of cold cuts and cheeses on thin slices of crostini (mini toast). In the afternoon, we like to pair cicchetti with a glass or two of local Prosecco wine!
Info: Calle Arco, 436, 30125 Venezia VE, Italy, Tel: 390415205666
If you’re searching for the best place to taste the authentic Venetian tiramisu, I Tre Mercanti is a one-stop destination. There, you’ll find 25 different kinds of tiramisu (all based on the original 1960s recipe) that include strawberry, limoncello, and passion fruit variations. Our personal favorite is the authentic cacao-based recipe, but if you’re feeling adventurous opt for the limoncello one!
Info: Calle al Ponte de la Guerra, 5364, 30122 Venezia VE, Italy Tel: 390415222901
Caffè Florian is the oldest café in Italy and one of the oldest cafés in the world! Having a long history and a list of clients that includes Charlie Chaplin to Andy Warhol, this café is a unique place to savor an espresso. Also, its decoration, which stays true to the original 18th-century setting, will make you feel teleported to another era.
Info: P.za San Marco, 57, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy Tel: 390415205641
Where to have a drink in Venice
Although Venice is not renowned for its nightlife, a place like this is worth a visit! Venice Jazz Club hosts live performances five times per week (on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays). If you are a jazz lover -like us- don’t miss the chance to attend at least one jazz night!
Info: Dorsoduro, 3102, 30123 Venezia VE, Italy, Tel: 393401504985
How to get to Venice?
You can get to Venice by train, plane, bus, or ferry from other European cities. Getting to Venice by plane is the easiest and fastest option. The main airport of Venice is Marco Polo Airport, which receives flights from several countries including the US, UK, France, and Germany.
Where to stay in Venice?
The best areas to stay in Venice are San Marco (ideal for sightseeing), San Polo (great for families), Cannaregio (for travelers on a budget), and Dorsoduro (for art lovers).
Explore more: Check all the hotels in Venice | Find out Venice best hotels
Read about: Best hotels Rome | Best hotels Florence | Best hotels Paris | Best hotels Amsterdam | Best hotels London
What is the best time of the year to visit Venice?
Venice has a subtropical/ Mediterranean climate and a humid atmosphere due to the fact that it is built on the water. This means rainy winters and steaming hot summers. Venice is more crowded during the summer and less crowded in winter. If you want to take advantage of the good weather, but skip the excessive crowds, your best bet is to visit Venice in spring or fall.
What are the best attractions in Venice?
The most popular attractions to visit in Venice are St. Mark’s Basilica, Rialto Bridge, the Saint Marco Square, Doge’s Palace, and Rialto Bridge.
What are the best foods to eat in Venice?
The must-try foods in Venice are Cicchetti (traditional Venetian appetizer), Baccalà Mantecato (stockfish dish), Polenta e Schie (shrimp with polenta), and Sarde in Saor (sardine-based appetizer).
Find out: Rome best things to do| Florence best things to do | Paris best things to do | Amsterdam best things to do | London best things to do
Now we ‘d like to hear from you
So, are you dreaming of celebrating the Venice carnival along with the locals? Gorging on pizza and gelato? You’re not the only one. There are so many amazing things to do in Venice!
Even if you’re planning to stay in Venice for just a few days, don’t miss doing as many things as you can!
Oh, and if you liked this article, feel free to share it with your friends on Social Media!
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.*