Welcome to the beautiful city of Venice, one of the most popular destinations in Italy. A city built on water and rich in history, museums, gothic and centuries-old buildings. The list of things to do in Venice is endless. We’ve spent a lot of time in this beautiful city and we 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 simply wander the bridges and canals, we’ve got some great suggestions for you.
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 – Visit St Mark’s Square
2) Visit San Mark’s Basilica
Once you’ve arrived at Saint Mark’s Square, make a 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.
Venice is literally made up of hundreds of canals that connect all the islands of the city. The largest is the Grand Canal. There are 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’re planning on using public transport to get around Venice, I recommend buying a Waterbus and Mainland Bus Pass. It allows for unrestricted use of public transportation services in the city of Venice; Lido and Murano; and Burano and Torcello island. Also, ride the land buses in Mestre and Marghera.
Best things to do in Venice – Vaporetto Ride on the Grand Canal
The only option to get up to 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 base of the tower. 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 even 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 – Admire the city from Campanile
5) Do a Tapas & Wine Tour of Secret Venice
Join your local guide, Federico and a group of new friends to wander through hidden alleyways to discover the real Venice!
Best things to do in Venice – this Tapas & Wine Tour
On this Tapas & Wine Touryou will visit a total of 3 authentic ‘bacari’ ( traditional bar).
Enjoy 5 Cicchetti (similar to Spanish tapas) and 3 wines, all 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.
Federico 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.
One of the best things to do in Venice – Food Tour of Venice
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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
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, the perfect accompaniment to a traditional aperitivo drink. My favourite is a Negroni or Aperol Spritz, but of course, 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.
The best things to do in venice – Explore Cannaregio area.
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 you possibly can during your time in Venice. My personal 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. Seriously, eating gelato is one of the best things to do in Venice.
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 what is 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.
The best things to do in Venice – Take a gondola ride
Best Gondola Tours in Venice
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Have you visited this beautiful city? What would you add to our list of best things to do in Venice?
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Rach is a self-confessed travelling foodie. Her passion for food and culture has seen her eat her way through 190 countries. She's currently on a big food adventure to visit EVERY country in the world!
When Rach isn't travelling, you can find her at the beach, drinking coffee or wine with friends or chowing down on the best eats around her home city of Melbourne, Australia.