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Things to do in Venice

Things to do in  Venice

Welcome to Venice

Built on more than 100 islands and devoid of cars, Venice is a walker’s paradise. Even when crowds reach their maximum, a stroll down the Floating City’s winding passageways reveals the city’s abundant charm. The architectural splendor of Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica in Piazza San Marco reign supreme, while the Grand Canal splits the city in two like a lightning bolt. Glide beneath Rialto Bridge during a sunset gondola ride, admire brightly colored buildings on the water’s edge, plan a visit to the glassblowing factories on the island of Murano, and flock to the craggy peaks of the UNESCO-listed Dolomites on a day trip.

Top 15 attractions in Venice

St. Mark's Basilica (Basilica di San Marco)

The crown jewel of Venice, St. Mark's Basilica (Basilica di San Marco) is an ornate cathedral which blends elements of Gothic, Byzantine, Romanesque, and Renaissance architecture. Topped by soaring domes and replete with astonishing golden mosaics, the church is so opulent it is known as the Chiesa d’Oro, or the Golden Church.More

Doge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale)

The powerful Doges ruled the Venetian Empire from the Gothic fantasy palace that is Doge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale) until 1797. The site was one of the first things those arriving in Venice saw as their ships sailed through the lagoon and landed at St Mark's Square, and the doges ruled with an iron fist—justice was often meted out here. Today, the site is one of the most well-known attractions in Italy.More

St. Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco)

St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco), often referred to as “the drawing room of Europe,” is one of the most famous squares in Italy. The geographic and cultural heart of Venice—with St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace at one end, the campanile in the center, and the colonnaded arcade topped by the Procuratie palaces lining three sides—this elegant piazza is also steeped in history. Settle in at one of the many coveted café tables and watch tourists (and pigeons) pose for photos while you sip a Bellini and soak in the square’s Renaissance splendor.More

Grand Canal

Venice is a city built on water, and the Grand Canal (Canale Grande) is its bustling main street. Lined with sumptuous Venetian palaces and crowded with gondolas, water taxis, and vaporetti (public ferries), this thoroughfare is a feast for the senses. The Grand Canal winds its way through the central neighborhoods of Venice from the Santa Lucia train station to St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco), passing under the iconic Rialto Bridge along the way, and functions as the scenic main artery for transporting both people and goods around the City of Canals.More

Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto)

The Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto) was the first to span Venice’s Grand Canal (Canal Grande) between its two highest points above sea level. The original 12th-century wooden bridge was replaced in 1592 by a stone structure resting on wooden pilings—a bold design by Antonio da Ponte featuring a single central arch over the water that allow ships to pass. Today, the bridge is among Italy’s most famous, carrying an endless stream of tourists and locals across the canal while countless gondolas and vaporetto water buses pass beneath.More

Venice Islands

Venice is made up of over 100 small islands, but generally “the Venice islands” refers to the three most famous outlying islands in the Venetian lagoon: Murano, Burano, and Torcello. Murano, just north of Venice proper, has been the center of Venice’s famous glass-making industry since 1291, and the island’s expert glassblowers still handcraft stunning pieces of Murano glass today. Farther north, Burano has quiet canals lined with brightly painted fishermen’s houses and is home to Venice’s traditional lace artisans. Its neighboring island of Torcello, first settled in 452, is believed to be the first populated island in the Venetian lagoon.More


Of Venice’s 100-plus outlying islands, the group that forms Murano is the most famous. This tight cluster of small islands has been the center of the Floating City’s historic glassmaking industry since 1291, when the city center’s glass factories were forcibly moved across the lagoon—just north of Venice proper—after a number of devastating fires. Today, travelers visit Murano to see how expertly trained artisans blow glass into exquisite stemware, chandeliers, vases, and sculptures. Those particularly interested in the history of glassmaking should stop by the Museo del Vetro, which traces the art back to ancient Egypt.More

Bridge of Sighs

As poignant as it is beautiful, Venice’s 17th-century, white-limestone Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri) spans the narrow Rio di Palazzo canal between the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) and the New Prisons just opposite. It’s one of the most famous bridges in the Floating City.More

Marco Polo's Home (Casa di Marco Polo)

In a quiet corner of Venice ,the Venetian palace (palazzo) believed to be explorer Marco Polo’s former residence is easy to miss. Stop by Corte Seconda del Milion, a square named for Marco Polo's travel memoirs, Il Milione, to honor Italy's most famous adventurer while visiting the Floating City.More

Venice Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo

Burial place of 25 Venetian doges and one of the largest churches in Italy, the Italian Gothic–style Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo is among the most important churches in the city. Known as San Zanipolo to locals, it is home to works by Bellini, Veronese, and two generations of Lombardo sculptors.More

Rialto Fish Market (Mercato di Rialto)

To get a glimpse into authentic Venice, a visit to the city’s historic outdoor Rialto Fish Market (Mercato di Rialto) is a must. Venetians have been purchasing their fish and seafood, fresh fruit and vegetables, and other foods at the Rialto Market since 1097, making it one of the most long-lived aspects of daily life in the Floating City.More


Venice is made up of a group of islands that is crowded with opulent churches and sumptuous palaces. The humble island of Burano, though, in the outer reaches of the Venetian lagoon, shows a completely different side of the city, with its jumble of technicolor fishers’ houses and a long tradition of lace-making.More

Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute

With its ornate facade and towering dome, the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute is one of the most beautiful sights along Venice’s Grand Canal. Known simply as La Salute, the church dominates the mouth of the canal and its steps seem to rise directly from the water, inviting visitors to explore its soaring interior.More

La Fenice Opera House (Teatro La Fenice)

Of the many historic opera houses in Italy, few are more legendary than Venice’s Teatro La Fenice. Opened in 1792, the theater quickly became a major venue for opera and ballet. Today you can view the sumptuous 19th-century-style interiors during a musical or dance performance, or join a guided tour of the theater.More

Campo Santa Maria Formosa

Tucked away from the crowded piazzas of Venice, Campo Santa Maria Formosa is a charming little square in the Castello district. With a handful of cafés, a co-op market, and local shops, Campo Santa Maria Formosa offers a nice reprieve from the tourist hustle of Venice and allows a glimpse into local life.More

Trip ideas

Top activities in Venice

Legendary Venice St. Mark's Basilica with Terrace Access & Doge's Palace
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Murano, Burano and Torcello Half-Day Sightseeing Tour
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Venice Walking Tour and Gondola Ride

Venice Walking Tour and Gondola Ride

Venice Gondola Ride and Serenade

Venice Gondola Ride and Serenade

A day among the most beautiful mountains in the world, the Dolomites and Lake Braies
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Skip-the-Line: Doge's Palace & St. Mark's Basilica Guided Small-Group Tour
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The Real Hidden Venice

The Real Hidden Venice

Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in Venice

Perfect tour to see the highlights of Venice
Colin_T, Nov 2022
Skip the Line: Best of Venice Walking Tour with St Mark's Basilica
Perfect tour to see the highlights of Venice.
Venice walking tour
John_F, Nov 2022
Venice Walking Tour and Gondola Ride
Mark’s busier area, it was nice to see Venice through the eyes of a Venetian.
Wonder tour experience
Greg_B, Nov 2022
Venice In a Day: Basilica San Marco, Doges Palace & Gondola ride
He spoke very good English and he provided us with exceptional history of the city and the key things to see.
Fun Walk Through Venice
MadelineMurtin, Nov 2022
The Real Hidden Venice
We toured so many historical sights, getting to see glass making and ending at the Rialto Bridge to take photos.
Meander the canals by gondola in the evening
Keenan_Y, Nov 2022
Venice: Grand Canal by Gondola with commentary
A great way to see the canals of Venice in the evening!
Very worthwhile day trip to the Dolomites!
Tricia_J, Nov 2022
A day among the most beautiful mountains in the world, the Dolomites and Lake Braies
My husband and I wanted to see the mountains during our Venice stay.
Karen_M, Nov 2022
30-minute Private Gondola Ride in Venice
Our experience was magnificent, the gentleman taking us round gave us English speaking history.
Great experience, would highly recommend.
Rosie_R, Nov 2022
Venice Walking Tour and Gondola Ride
The walking tour was informative and scenic while the gondola ride allowed us to see Venice from the numerous water passages.
Fun activity
Roxy_S, Nov 2022
Venice Carnival Mask-Making Class in Venice, Italy
Venetian mask making has been one of my favorite activities while I was in Venice (and just Italy in general).
Loved, loved Venice in a day Tour!
Paula_K, Nov 2022
Venice In a Day: Basilica San Marco, Doges Palace & Gondola ride
Spoke fluid English and was an expert on Venice history.
A taste of Italy
Trudy_H, Nov 2022
Experience Venice like a Local: 5 Cicchetti & 5 Wines
The tour guide Geovoni was lovely and it was a great way to visit a part of Venice we probably wouldn’t have experienced.
Very interesting tour
Sherri_P, Nov 2022
The Real Hidden Venice
It was a pleasure to see "hidden" Venice without getting lost!
A trip of about 5h, in...
Ruben_L, Oct 2022
Murano, Burano and Torcello Half-Day Sightseeing Tour
A trip of about 5h, in which i could: - admire Venice frome the Lagoon - see glass modeling in Murano - discover the pictoresque Torcello and the colourful Burano Besides, a guide explained history and interesting anecdotes of these places, in three different langueges (German, Italian and English).
Great experience
Grant_G, Oct 2022
VCE Venice Airport to Mestre HOTELS OR VICEVERSA
Great to see our name when we arrived at the airport.
We were in good hands
Don_S, Oct 2022
Murano by Private Watertaxi Including Glass Blowing Demo with Hotel Pickup
He picked us up on time at our hotel, was very informative about the history of Venice, and spoke perfect English.
Good experience
Jennifer_H, Oct 2022
Classic 30-Minute Gondola Ride in Venice
It was a good way to see the canal and experience Venice.
Perfect snapshot, priced right
Melissa_W, Oct 2022
Classic 30-Minute Gondola Ride in Venice
Amazing opportunity to see Venice by gondola in a snapshot decently priced!
Herding cats!
Abid_H, Oct 2022
Skip the Line Venice Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica Tour - T23
With so much to see in Venice, this was a great way to experience the cathedral, palace and history of Venice.
Highly recommended!
Elisa_R, Oct 2022
Skip the Line Venice Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica Tour - T23
We were able to see a lot given our limited time in Venice.
Awesome 90 mins tour for the family.
Sharon_B, Oct 2022
Venice: The Hidden Canals on Electric Boat
Fantastic way to see the city from the water and to cruise through the canals to see the hidden treasures.
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All about Venice

When to visit

Winter in Venice sees crowds thin, the mercury drop, and “acqua alta” (high water) potentially flood the canals—but it’s also a prime time to snag a deal. Summer is when the sun's at its hottest and the crowds most dense, while spring offers moderate temperatures with a chance of rain. To experience the city at its most atmospheric, coincide your trip with November's Arte Biennale or March's Carnevale.

A local’s pocket guide to Venice

Alvise Fornasier

One of those rare born-and-raised Venetians, Alvise now lives in London but retains an (entirely unbiased) love for his native city.

The first thing you should do in Venice is...

get lost in the districts of Santa Croce, Cannaregio, Castello, and Dorsoduro where you can experience the most authentic side of the city.

A perfect Saturday in Venice...

starts with breakfast in a café, is followed by lunch in the famous bacari where you can try Venetian tapas (cicheti), and ends with dinner at La Porta d’Acqua.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

the Ducal Palace, where you can discover the history, art, and culture of Venice all in one place.

To discover the "real" Venice...

visit the Cannaregio district. It’s the best spot to experience true local life and food.

For the best view of the city...

head to the rooftop of Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Rialto. Not only is it free, the views over the Grand Canal and Rialto Bridge are incredible.

One thing people get wrong...

is thinking that Venice is expensive. In non-touristic areas, even just a 10-minute walk from Rialto or San Marco, you can get an espresso for €1 ($1) and a Spritz for €2.50 ($2.50).

People Also Ask

What is Venice best known for?

Picture Venice and one thing immediately comes to mind: its legendary canals. The Floating City was built more than 1,000 years ago directly in the waters of the Venetian lagoon, and its vast network of canals is still used today to move people and goods through the city.

Can you do Venice in 3 days?

Yes. Tour St. Mark’s Square and Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, and Bridge of Sighs on the first day. Then, get lost in Venice’s warren of canals and lanes and cruise along the Grand Canal under the Rialto Bridge. On the third day, visit the islands of Murano and Burano.

Why is Venice a popular tourist attraction?

There is truly no other city on earth like Venice. Its vast network of canals, spanned by hundreds of pretty footbridges and lined with opulent historic palaces, is irresistibly picturesque. Add lavish Carnevale celebrations, a storied glass industry, and iconic gondolas and you have a captivating vacation.

What there is to do in Venice?

Visitors to Venice make a beeline for St. Mark’s Square to admire the cathedral, Doge’s Palace, and Bridge of Sighs. A Grand Canal cruise past the Rialto Bridge is another must, as is a boat trip across the lagoon to the glassblowing island of Murano and colorful Burano.

What can couples do in Venice?

Venice is one of the most romantic destinations in Italy, especially when seen by gondola while gliding along the quiet canals. The city is especially lovely after sunset, a great time to take an after-hours tour of St. Mark’s Basilica or visit bacàro wine bars to sample traditional cichetti appetizers.

What should you not miss in Venice?

No visit to Venice is complete without a stroll through St. Mark’s Square to marvel at the cathedral and Doge’s Palace. While there, climb the bell tower to take in the City of Canals from above and splurge on a Bellini cocktail at one of the historic cafes lining the square.

Frequently Asked Questions
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