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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

#1
St. Mark's Basilica (Basilica di San Marco)

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

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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
#2
Doge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale)

Doge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale)

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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
#3
St. Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco)

St. Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco)

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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
#4
Grand Canal

Grand Canal

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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
#5
Venice Islands

Venice Islands

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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
#6
Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto)

Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto)

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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
#7
Murano

Murano

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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
#8
Bridge of Sighs

Bridge of Sighs

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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
#9
Marco Polo's Home (Casa di Marco Polo)

Marco Polo's Home (Casa di Marco Polo)

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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
#10
Burano

Burano

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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
#11
Venice Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo

Venice Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo

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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
#12
Rialto Fish Market (Mercato di Rialto)

Rialto Fish Market (Mercato di Rialto)

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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
#13
Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute

Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute

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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
#14
La Fenice Opera House (Teatro La Fenice)

La Fenice Opera House (Teatro La Fenice)

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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
#15
St. Mark's Clock Tower (Torre dell'Orologio)

St. Mark's Clock Tower (Torre dell'Orologio)

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Sitting high above St. Mark’s Square and visible from the Grand Canal, the remarkable clock in St. Mark’s Clock Tower (Torre dell'Orologio) has served as Venice’s official timepiece for more than 500 years. Touring this historic symbol of the city is a highlight of any visit, not least for the sweeping views from the top of the tower.More

Trip ideas

Sightseeing on a Budget in Venice

Sightseeing on a Budget in Venice

Top Parks and Gardens in Venice

Top Parks and Gardens in Venice

Top activities in Venice

Legendary Venice St. Mark's Basilica with Terrace Access & Doge's Palace
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Venice Gondola Ride and Serenade

Venice Gondola Ride and Serenade

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Venice In a Day: Basilica San Marco, Doges Palace & Gondola ride
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Skip the Line Venice Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica Tour - T23
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St Mark's Basilica After-Hours Small Group Tour with Optional Doge's Palace
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Private Excursion by Typical Venetian Motorboat to Murano, Burano and Torcello
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The Real Hidden Venice
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The Real Hidden Venice

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Experience Venice like a Local: 5 Cicchetti & 5 Wines

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Experience Venice like a Local: 5 Cicchetti & 5 Wines

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Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in Venice

star-5
This excursion is a must! No other way to see Venice from this perspective!
Christie_E, Aug 2022
Private Excursion by Typical Venetian Motorboat to Murano, Burano and Torcello
We were able to see parts of Venice that we would not have known were there.
star-4
Great fun
Karen_M, Aug 2022
Venice Legends, Anecdotes and Ghost stories tour
Great way to see Venice in the evening
star-5
Great Value
Wallace_C, Aug 2022
Murano & Burano Islands Fully Guided Small-Group Tour by Private Boat
Really cool to see glass making and also different islands around Venice.
star-5
Good alternative in & out of Venice by air
JACK_O, Aug 2022
Venice Marco Polo Airport Link Departure Transfer
Got to see a little more of Venice & the lagoon - nice experience.
star-5
Fabulous
Jason_K, Aug 2022
Secret Venice
I highly recommend, the only way to visit Venice.
star-4
Wonderful tour and fun gondola tour at the end
Franziska_T, Aug 2022
Venice Walking Tour and Gondola Ride
We got to see the behind the scenes of Venice which was great because there were less tourism and we saw the big touristsspots before going on the tour.
star-5
Worth the price of a private tour.
Ryan_M, Aug 2022
The Real Hidden Venice
We were able to see different parts of Venice that we had never heart about and see some beautiful areas.
star-5
A must-see for everyone!
Dawn_S, Aug 2022
I Musici Veneziani Concert: Vivaldi Four Seasons
It was lovely to see the musicians in period costumes as they performed beautifully.
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Great boat tour
Catherine_D, Aug 2022
A Venetian Aperitif on The Lagoon
A great way to see Venice at sunset.
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Great experience with...
Faisal_A, Jul 2022
Venice In a Day: Basilica San Marco, Doges Palace & Gondola ride
A great way to see some Venice's main sights and areas in a day.
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Amazing Tour!
David_S, Jul 2022
Venice In a Day: Basilica San Marco, Doges Palace & Gondola ride
Tour was exceptional- so much to see and our wonderful tour guide was really engaging.
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Excellent tour of two Venetian Highlights!
Yagnesh_P, Jul 2022
Legendary Venice St. Mark's Basilica with Terrace Access & Doge's Palace
Would def recommend this tour as it allows you to see the highlights and skip the lines for a quick entrance.
star-5
The best tour!
Kathryn_J, Jul 2022
Venice Sightseeing Walking Tour with a Local Guide
She also had a substantial list of recommended places to see and eat.
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Totally worth taking the early morning tour!
Sirisha_B, Jul 2022
Legendary Venice St. Mark's Basilica with Terrace Access & Doge's Palace
Would highly recommended this tour if you want to see the Palace and the Basilica together without the crowd.
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Nice day in the alps
Gregory_S, Jul 2022
Dolomite Mountains and Cortina Semi Private Day Trip from Venice
The mountains were impressive and it was nice to see the houses in the alps.
star-5
Great introduction to Venice
Kevin_F, Jul 2022
Small Group Venice Sightseeing Tour
So much to see in Venice.
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Perfect morning in Venice
Benjamin_R, Jul 2022
Best of Venice in 3 hours
She also gave great suggestions for other things to do while we were in Venice.
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Venice from the water
Rock_J, Jul 2022
Private Tour: Venice Grand Canal Evening Boat Tour
As she said at the beginning of the tour - Venice is a city on and of the water, and the best way to see the city is from the water.
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Thank you
Jason_H, Jul 2022
Venice Doge's Palace Ticket & City Self-Guided Tour
But Venice gets quite crowded during summer)
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A wonderful tour! The...
Molly_M, Jul 2022
Venice Ghost & Legends walking city tour
It was a fascinating 90 minutes and a lovely way to see Venice!
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Frequently Asked Questions
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