A unique historical storybook that’s how I’d describe Venice if I was only allowed three words to do it! This idyllic tourist destination in the northeast of Italy is like no other place I’ve ever been.
Built on the water, crisscrossed by canals, and immersed in cultural significance, this incredible city is as inimitable and picturesque as you can possibly get.
Oh, and it’s jam-packed with unmissable sights and attractions too!
So much so, in fact, that planning a trip here can be a challenge. With so many amazing things to do in Venice, choosing one thing over another for your Venice itinerary is no mean feat. Are you trying to do exactly that and want some guidance on the best things to do in Venice?
Well, you’re in the right place. Read on to discover 7 essential Venetian activities and attractions.
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5 Venice Travel Tips to Start
First, though, I thought I’d list a few top travel tips to help you stay safe and make the most of your trip! Here are 5 tips and considerations for traveling in Venice:
Be Wary of Pickpockets
The first thing to know about Venice is that it gets busy. And I mean crazy busy. Millions of people come through here every year to see with their own eyes what they’ve only seen before in pictures or on television. Crowds are common as a result, which creates rich pickings for pickpockets!
It pays to take precautions with your money and valuables. Wear a money belt if you have one, try not to flash the cash if you can help it, and be aware of the people in your vicinity. Keep a watchful eye on your belongings and you should be fine.
Get Ready for the Ferry
You should also know that Venice doesn’t have roads! This is a city of water-dwellers, which means it’s basically just foot traffic and boats allowed.
It also means that you don’t take the bus here…
You take the ferry.
And this ferry isn’t as cheap as you might expect it to be- especially when you’re only going short distances. A single ticket costs €7.50, which is ludicrous if you only need to cross a canal or two. Of course, you could walk instead. But that means going on foot to the next bridge, which can soon turn a short journey into something altogether more tiring.
Want my advice? Plan your routes around Venice in advance so you don’t get caught off-guard by a surprise canal crossing!
Wear Comfy Shoes
Comfy shoes are a must in Venice. With no roads, cars, or taxis, you’ll end up walking almost everywhere- from one amazing attraction to the next and one gelato stop to another.
It’s a lovely way to explore the city. But it does get tiring on your tootsies, so be sure to slap on those sneakers and look after your weary feet.
Take Your Time
Venice is amazing and you’re (almost certainly) going to love it. But there’s an overwhelming number of things to see and do there, and, as I said above, it gets crazily busy too (especially in peak season…and when there isn’t a global pandemic causing havoc everywhere).
That’s why I recommend taking your time as you explore here. Going too fast and trying to see too much each day can be exhausting. The best travel is always done at a crawl, not a sprint, anyway. But that fact’s even truer in Venice, where the joy really is in the detail. Rush from one place to the next and you risk missing out on it.
Visit the Non-Touristy Areas Too
Venice has more than its fair share of tourist attractions. From being serenaded on a gondola to visiting St. Mark’s Square, there are famous things to do around every corner.
And they’re all amazing! Do them. However, ask any traveler and they’ll tell you that some of the most enjoyable days to be spent in Venice are found outside the main tourist areas. For instance, Venice is made up of over 100 small islands. Why not spend a day hopping between some of the outer ones (such as Murano and Burano)?
If your itinerary allows it, try divvying up your time between the hotspots and the not-so-hotspots. You’ll escape the hubbub and get a better sense of true Venetian life in the process.
7 Things to Do in Venice
With the tips behind us, let’s move onto my top Venice itinerary ideas! Here are 7 essential things to do in Venice that’ll ensure you have the best possible vacation in this wonderful part of the world.
One of the best things to do in Venice is simply to walk around it with your eyes wide open! I fully recommend spending an afternoon with no set itinerary other than to explore on foot.
This romantic, maze-like destination was made to be seen slowly and perused at a leisurely pace. Go down random streets, delight in crossing the countless bridges, get lost voluntarily, and you’re going to have a good day in Venice.
Visit St. Mark’s Square
You can’t go to Venice and not see St. Mark’s Square (AKA Piazza San Marco). It’s one of the biggest tourist attractions in the city and one that’s fully deserving of the hype.
Host to the awe-inspiring St. Mark’s Basilica (feel free to join the queues to see what’s inside), the square is lined with incredible examples of Venetian architecture, packed full of lovely cafes and restaurants, and right next door to the main waterfront. Take the obligatory selfie for Insta (check out these Instagram captions ideas for inspiration!), chase the pigeons, and enjoy the lively atmosphere here.
Go on a Gondola
No trip to Venice is complete without a gondola ride. These ornate boats are everywhere, with gregarious gondoliers offering to take you out, maneuver you down the canals, and serenade you the whole way.
Alas, this isn’t a cheap thing to do in Venice! Expect to pay around €80 for half an hour during the day and over €100 at night-time. Remember, though, you’re paying for an experience that you’ll probably never forget. Shed it in that light and a gondola ride seems well worth the cost.
Cross the Rialto Bridge
Venice must have thousands of bridges to help you cross its endless system of canals. However, there’s one in particular that tourists flock to in their droves: the Rialto Bridge.
More of a work of art than a simple bridge, this impressive stone structure spans the Grand Canal. Head here at sunset to enjoy a magical image of the city at its finest. You’ll see taxi boats zipping from one place to the next, tourist-laden gondolas bobbing around amongst them, and ferries chugging along all at once. It’s quintessential Venice and an image that’ll stand out in your memory for years to come.
See the Bridge of Sighs
Another noteworthy bridge is called the Bridge of Sighs. A rather melancholic name, this is where prisoners heading for the gallows would catch their last sight of the outside world. They’d walk through the enclosed space, look through the small window and let out, you guessed it, an understandable sigh.
You can see it from the main Venice waterfront. Head there from St. Mark’s Square, turn left, and walk down until you see another bridge with lots of people standing on it and facing away from the beautiful waterfront view behind them. They’re looking at the Bridge of Sighs!
Ascend the Campanile di San Marco
The Campanile di San Marco is situated slap bang in St. Mark’s Square. Tall, red, and with a green pyramid-shaped roof, this ginormous bell tower has to be one of the tallest buildings in the city. You can’t miss it! If you want a good bird’s eye view of Venice, then this is the place to come.
For €13 for adults or €9 for children, you can book a slot online and climb up to the top for spectacular panoramic views. Heads up, you can also turn up on the day and pay a little less, but you’ll have to queue for ages to get inside.
Take a Ferry Down the Grand Canal
Remember earlier when I said that the ferry in Venice is really expensive for short trips? Well, by the same token, it’s also an exceptionally cheap way to tour the city by boat! Known as the Vaporetto, that same €7.50 ticket will take you all the way along the Grand Canal (from the lagoon to the train station).
Sure, it’s a noisy trip and quite crowded. But to get boated down the Grand Canal for under ten bucks is an awesome deal if you ask me. You drift past the iconic Venetian houses, see the sights from the water, and walk away with another amazing experience under your belt.
Include These Activities on Your Venice Itinerary
There you have it: 7 amazing things to do in Venice! This wonderful part of Italy is crammed full of breath-taking attractions and awe-inspiring sights.
In fact, the sheer abundance of tourist opportunities here can be a double-edged sword on your first visit! You’ve got limited time and don’t want to miss anything out, which makes choosing one thing over another a serious struggle.
With any luck, though, the tips and suggestions in this post will make a difference. Keep them in mind and you should find it far easier to plan your Venice itinerary!
Got any questions? Drop a comment below and we’ll try to help.
Guest Author Bio: Danny’s a travel enthusiast who’s determined to make the most of his life. He’s just set up a new blog to help others do the same! Check it out at wisehealthynwealthy.com.