Venice – the city on water – is the stuff of legend. Who hasn’t dreamed of travelling to the almost mythical and mysterious Venice, when he was a kid? Indeed, a city break to Venice is a magical experience. The grandeur of Venice is unmatched all over Europe, with the Grand Canal being one of the most captivating and awe-inspiring sights in the world. And yet, Venice never fails to surprise, outdoing itself time after time. From Palazzo Ducale and Basilica di San Marco to Gallerie dell’Accademia and Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, Venice is literally filled with unforgettable sights, which enhance the charming atmosphere. And then, there are the gondolas – the trademark of Venice. It is once you set your foot aboard a gondola that you’ll understand just how amazing of an experience a city break to Venice is. There is only one thing you can do to make it even more thrilling – visit Venice in time for the Venice Carnival, and you will never forget it!
Top 10 Things to See and Do in Venice
Legendary Venice St Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace
Ensure your entry to some of the most crowded tourist attractions in the city of Venice with this exclusive trip which saves you hours of time waiting in lines with a skip-the-line service. Moreover, you will be granted special VIP access to the first-floor terrace of Saint Mark's Basilica, which is forbidden for most tourists.
Grand Day Tour of Venice with Skip-the-line Doge’s Palace and Saint Mark’s Basilica
A day tour which will take you around the city of Venice with a knowledgeable guide who will show you the most prominent spots in the city. The skip-the-line access to two of the attractions will allow you to save hours of time, and regarding the length of the walking tour you can choose between two different options to meet your needs.
Dolomite Mountains and Cortina Small Group Day Trip from Venice
With hassle-free access to the most iconic places in the Dolomites, this trip takes a whole day and starts the journey in Venice. The trip includes transportation with a comfortable van, which has air conditioning, as well as a guide who will pay a lot of attention to everyone, as only small groups are taken aboard.
Venice Grand Canal Small Group Boat Tour
With a surprising amount of content fitted in a one-hour slot, this boat tour of Venice showcases most of the cityscape in a small window of time. You can take photos from a comfy zippy motorboat while looking at the most popular landmarks of the city from the water, allowing you to get a unique look on them.
Venice Gondola Ride and Serenade
Being the ultimate romantic experience, this tour is the perfect choice for couples of all ages. Take your beloved one on a lovely cruise across the famous canals of Venice on a shared gondola. You will even be provided with an onboard singer who will add to the atmosphere and sing just for the two of you alone.
Murano Glass Experience
Murano glass is a world-renowned material which comes from the island of the same name, and this five-hour tour showcases both that and the Burano Island. You will be taken on a comprehensive lesson on how the Murano glass is made by a professional guide, along with a glass-blowing demonstration to see for yourself.
Venice Food Tour: Cicchetti and Wine
Combining both sightseeing and eating, this tour will take you along five famous bars in Venice which are favoured by locals, and you will be provided with further recommendations if you want. Foods and drinks are included in the price of the tour, and in some places, you might even get tips on how to prepare the food yourself.
Eat Like a Local Food Tasting Tour
This unique tour will take three hours, during which you will be taken through at least eight different stops where you will be served thirteen or more regional specialties. A maximum of eight people is allowed on this tour, which enables the guide to pay more attention to everyone and answer their questions.
Jewish Ghetto and Cannaregio Food Tour
Taste the unique cuisine of the Jewish part of Venice during this four-hour-long walking trip across the Jewish Ghetto and Cannaregio. You will be taken through six different restaurants and bakeries, where you can taste the authentic dishes of the city, all the while learning about the history of the two neighbourhoods.
Valpolicella Day Trip from Venice
Take a trip to the world-famous region of Valpolicella, known for its exquisite wineries. Learn about the history of the region from a local driver-guide, all the while visiting different wineries and churches. As you explore the different wineries, you will be provided with free tasting of a selection of local red wines.
Other Things to See and Do
The Arsenale is the Serene Republic’s shipyard which occupies a large portion of east Venice. It was founded in 1104 and is a huge district of dry and wet docks, workshops and warehouses. During the 16th century, it employed over sixteen thousand people who were together able to construct about one ship each day.
The island of Burano is surely a place worth visiting with an appearance that resembles a child’s drawing. The island is filled with buildings painted over with vibrant shades of colourful paints and holds a bunch of local events which are free to attend. Make sure to also visit its museums and beautiful churches.
Venice isn’t exactly known for its lush greenery, as there are few spaces apart from private gardens and rare spots where plants can be seen. Visit this spot, placed on the eastern end of Venice, which has a park planned into its district layout. The park has a couple of spots for kids to play, as well as gorgeous plant life.
The Jewish community of Venice lives on one of the islands of the city, which was once used for smelting iron. Nowadays, the Ghetto is filled with small craftsman shops where you can buy products from the local artisans, and there are plenty of ancient synagogues which are worth seeing and taking a photo of.
Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore
The Island-monastery of San Giorgio Maggiore is a sight worth seeing with its Palladian church built in 1565. Inside of the church rest two famous canvases by Tintoretto, and you can visit the bell tower of the church for a magnificent view of the landscape, and a better sight of the watery side of the city.
Take a trip to the seaside strip of Venice, which is a living suburb for more wealthy inhabitants of the city. There are also plenty of family resorts, as well as long beaches which are generally free of tourists, making it a great place if you’re looking for a secluded spot to sunbathe and swim in the sea.
Globally renowned for its beautiful glass products, the island of Murano often presents its products to the public in means of shop exhibitions. There are also plenty of spots where you can observe the demonstrations of artisans at work, and a couple of museums showcasing the best of their work.
Being the city's commercial heart, the island of Rialto is the highest and driest isle of Venice. The main market of the city is located on this island, and it is definitely a place to go for the best fruit, vegetables, fish, and meat. After dusk, the island buzzes with nightlife, as numerous pubs and clubs open up to the public.
Santa Maria Della Salute
Being one of the most marvellous masterpieces of Venetian Baroque, this church is located on the final stretch of the Grand Canal, just before San Marco. The church was built between 1631 and 1681 and presents a grand dome which resembles an air balloon, designed in homage to the crown of the twelve stars.
Make sure not to miss this gorgeous church, dedicated as a place of worship to the father of John the Baptist, whose body supposedly lies underneath one of the altars. The church’s construction began during the 1440s and lasted about fifty years, and the interior is fitted with gorgeous works of art by Bellini.
Saint Mark’s Basilica
Located on the eastern side of Piazza San Marco, the basilica actually looks like a grand palace more than a church. It has four, gigantic domes and over a one and a half square miles of picturesque mosaics on the interior. If you want to see the basilica without crowds, come during the mass at 7 a.m. or 8 a.m.
Saint Mark’s Square
Named the drawing room of Europe by Napoleon himself, this colonnaded square is lined with cafés, jewelry, glass shops, and more. The only stationary building on the square is a huge bell tower, which reaches ninety-nine meters high and provides one of the most gorgeous views of the city and its vicinity.
Torcello was once the most populated island in the Venice lagoon but was dominated by the island of Rialto. Today, it is a rural island filled with remnants of its olden days: a few churches, the ancient basilica of Santa Maria Assunta, and Santa Fosca – a Greek-cross church built in the 11th century.
If you’re on your way to the Rialto Island, make sure to cross the Rialto Bridge which is a sight to see in itself. It has been the main bridge crossing in Venice since 1591, and is covered with arches and shops, creating a lively food market with a wide arrangement of little stalls operated by the local population.
San Giorgio dei Greci
Being the oldest church of the Greek Orthodox, the Cathedral of Saint George is also one of the most important ones. It is considered to be one of the most prominent Orthodox temples in the world and was constructed by Greeks in the 16th century, in the Castello district, filled with iconography and gold mosaics.
Museum of Music
Located in the vicinity of the Renaissance Scuola Grande di San Rocco art museum, this free to visit museum presents a wide display of different instruments, used by the local population throughout the years. The museum also provides a lesson on music history, with information on the most prominent composers of Venice.
Filled with an array of gorgeous Venetian art from the 14th to the 18th century, the gallery is sure to provide a fascinating visit to any tourist who appreciates art. The wide collection of Renaissance paintings includes some masterpieces of such artists as Titian, Bellini, Veronese, and can be visited for free on the first Sunday of each month.
While actual shopping surely does take some money, you can always window shop along the streets of Venice. While the shops are pricey and expensive, most have marvellous display windows that are worthy of your attention. Gaze at the wonderful carnival masks, Murano glassware, local jewellery, and replicas of antiques.
Being a remnant of the times of Giacomo Casanova, this Casino is one of the many in Venice built during that time. It was a place of social gatherings of the aristocracy of Venice and was the main gambling assembly of the city. It dates back to 1750 and nowadays presents a display of beautiful architecture.
Scala Contarini del Bovolo
The snail-staircase, as it is called by the locals, is a well-hidden sight in Venice, but still worth tracking down and visiting. It is placed not far from Rialto and is hidden in a maze of small and narrow streets. The staircase is created with swirling arches, leading to an old palace of the Contarini family, built in the 14th century.