Best things to do in venice - Venice

We’ve spent much time in this beautiful city and want to share some of the best things to do in Venice.

Whether you want to learn about the history, enjoy the local food scene with locals or wander the bridges and canals, we have some great suggestions.

Here are 10 of the Best Things to Do in Venice:

1) Explore Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square)

This has to be one of the most iconic and popular places to visit in Venice. You will see why once you reach this magnificent public square. Bustling cafes and small shops line this grand area. Stroll around the corner and admire the impressive architecture of the Bridge of Sighs.

This is also a good spot to capture a fantastic photo of the iconic Venetian gondolas. 

best things to do in venice st marks square
Best things to do in Venice – Visit St Mark’s Square

2) Visit San Mark’s Basilica

Once you’ve arrived at Saint Mark’s Square, plan to visit the Basilica. Dating back as far as the 11th century, this church is the most famous building in Venice. It is incredibly impressive once you’re inside.

Try to arrive early or later in the day to avoid crowds and queues. Be sure to check the opening and closing times and days before you plan your visit.

An Early Entrance Combo Tour: Doge’s Palace & St. Mark’s Basilica is a fantastic choice.

best things to do in Venice St Marks Church
St Mark’s basilica

3) Take a Vaporetto Ride on the Grand Canal

Venice is literally made up of hundreds of canals connecting all the city’s islands. The largest is the Grand Canal. 200 centuries-old buildings dotted along this 3km canal that curves through this city built on water.

The Grand Canal is always busy with water traffic as it is a major player in keeping Venice’s economy strong. 

I’d recommend visiting the Grand Canal on a Vaporetto in the evening. It’s much quieter and cooler than during the day. If you plan on using public transport to get around Venice, I recommend buying a Waterbus and Mainland Bus Pass.

It allows unrestricted use of public transportation services in Venice, Lido and Murano, and Burano and Torcello island.

Also, ride the land buses in Mestre and Marghera.

best things to do in venice Grand Canal
Best things to do in Venice – Vaporetto Ride on the Grand Canal


4) Admire Venice from above – Visit Campanile

Discover Venice from the tallest and most iconic building in the city. The famous bell tower, Campanile is located in St Mark’s Square. Better yet, book a private tour of Venice highlights with skip-the-line to St Mark’s Bell Tower.

The only option to reach the top of the bell tower (100 metres tall) is to take an elevator. 

The entrance is 10€ and can be purchased directly at the counter at the tower’s base. TIP: Arrive early or late in the day (after 5 pm) if you want to miss the long queues.

The views from the top of the tower are totally worth it! On clear days, the Dolomites mountain range can be seen in the distance. This activity is highly recommended as one of the best things to do in Venice.

best things to do in venice campanile
Best things to do in Venice – Admire the city from Campanile

5) Do a Tapas & Wine Tour of Secret Venice

Join your local guide, and a group of new friends to wander through hidden alleyways to discover the real Venice!  

Best things to do in Venice tapas wine tour
Best things to do in Venice – this Tapas & Wine Tour

On this Tapas & Wine Tour, you will visit 3 authentic ‘bacari’ ( traditional bar).

Enjoy 5 Cicchetti (similar to Spanish tapas) and 3 wines included in your tour.

This is your opportunity to take some stunning photos of the local loved areas of Venice. Leave those tourist traps behind and immerse yourself in the real Venice.

Your guide will tell you fun facts and interesting history and info about his beloved city along the way.

Make your way across bridges and canals with a local Venetian and like-minded travellers on this highly recommended Food Culture Tour of Venice.

best things to do in Venice food tour
One of the best things to do in Venice – Food Tour of Venice

This is by far one of the best things to do in Venice.

CLICK HERE to secure your spot on your desired date. Happy Eating!

6) Day trip to Burano Island

Take a 40-minute Vaporetto ride from the main island and go and explore the colourful island of Burano. It’s worth the day trip!

This island is full of bright, colourful painted homes; a paradise for keen photographers. Burano is famous for lace, beautiful glassware and fresh seafood.

Don’t forget your camera and your appetite for a delicious lunch.

Best Day Tours to Burano Island

7) Aperitivo

Spend an evening like a local Venetian and go for aperitivo. This is one of my favourite things to do in many cities across Italy, but the Venetians do this especially well.

If you head out in the evening to a bar and order a drink, you’ll often be served a small plate of cicchetti (Venetian snacks), or they’ll be available to purchase.

They’re often cheap and delicious, perfect for a traditional aperitivo drink. My favourite is a Negroni or Aperol Spritz, but a big glass of Italian wine or prosecco is ideal too.

My favourite area of Venice to enjoy aperitivo and discover some local cicchetti bars is the Cannaregio district. 

best things to do in venice cannaregio district
The best things to do in venice – Explore Cannaregio area.

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8) Eat Gelato – One of the best things to do in Venice

If you love ice cream, you’re going to love gelato. The best part is choosing what flavour to get. Let me give you the hot tip; it takes ages because there are so many! I’m not talking about 10 or 12 flavours, some gelato shops in Venice have over 100 flavours, seriously! 

You can choose the standard flavours such as chocolate or strawberry; however, I recommend you try as many flavours as possible during your time in Venice. My favourite is pistachio, but don’t miss the fruit flavours such as lemon, mango and passionfruit.

Where to find the best gelato: If you’re exploring the Cannaregio area of Venice, stop by at Gelateria S. Leonardo for some of the best gelatos in the city. Eating gelato is one of the best things to do in Venice.

And if you follow our recommendations to visit these 15 Best Places to Visit in Italy, you can try gelato in each of them!

best things to do in venice eat gelato

9) Wander around Castello 

Want to escape the flocks of tourists and see how the real Venetians live? Castello is a quiet, suburban neighbourhood, only a 20-minute walk from the busy San Marco Square. It’s also budget-friendly, so you can eat, drink and shop for less than you may have experienced in the bustling tourist areas of Venice.

In the serene district of Castello, you’ll find local food markets, peaceful canals and independent businesses selling some beautiful local wares. 

10) Take a Gondola Ride

Ask anyone about one of the best things to do in Venice, and I bet they’ll tell you to take a gondola ride.

A gondola is an ancient rowboat that is steered by a single gondolier (driver) who uses one very long rowing oar to navigate the gondola through the canals of Venice. Once upon a time, this was the only means of transportation in Venice.

The price is about €80 for a 30-40 minute gondola during the day, regardless of the number of people on board (6 people maximum). Prices are fixed, so there is no point in negotiating for a better rate. 

But, if you’re happy to share with other people, you can book this 30 min shared Gondola Ride for around 30 euros!

best things to do in venice gondola ride
The best things to do in Venice – Take a gondola ride

Best Gondola Tours in Venice

Have you visited this beautiful city? What would you add to our list of the best things to do in Venice? Please let us know in the comments below.

Travel Tips for Italy

If you’re travelling around Italy, don’t miss our perfect 3 days in Rome Itinerary and the best Florence in 2 days itinerary too.

Interested in tasting the best pizza in Florence? We’ve done the research, so all you need to do is eat! Italy is all about great food and you need to try these 10 best dishes in Rome.

Interested in visiting one of the most underrated cities in Italy? Then head to Bologna; what a place! Check out these 12 Amazing Things to Do in Bologna.

Ever wondered how many countries in Europe are there? 44, 45 or 49? And, if you’re travelling on a budget in Europe, the 10 Cheapest Countries in Europe to Visit are waiting for you.

If you need a few suggestions for how to save money for travel or want some tips about safe travel in Europe, we’re here to help.

Find our best travel advice, tips, and hints on our Travel Resources Page.