Trip Ideas

14 Best Things to Do in Venice

Venice is a very petit city with a population of more than 260 thousand people. Its historical center is 118 islands in the Adriatic Sea. The city streets are canals through which citizens and guests travel by water transport instead of cars. Venice consists of many islands, the most famous of them are Murano, Burano, Giudecca, San Giorgio Maggiore, Lido, etc.

Its glorious history has left an outstanding legacy. The rise took place in the Renaissance – the period of the highest cultural dawn. Venice is one of the centers of world tourism. Thousands of tourists visit this romantic city every year. Walking through the streets, riding in a vaporetto, climbing to the observation deck, visiting the palazzo and churches, you will gain amazing impressions and new knowledge. The entire old part of the city and the Venetian Lagoon rightfully occupy a place in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The sights of Venice, created by masters of architecture and fine art, have become outstanding masterpieces of human civilization.

In this guide we highlight the 13 best things to do in Venice.

13 Best Things to Do in Venice

Venetian Gondola Ride:A Must-Do for Every Visitor

13 Best Things to Do in Venice
Gondola ride

The gondolas in Venice are truly one of the most iconic symbols of this magnificent city and not only 🙂 it is also one of the best things to do in Venice. And the boats are operated by famous gondoliers. Glide down the canals, under the bridges and past the stunning architecture of Venice. You can rent out the gondolas entirely, like a taxi. Pay a certain amount. If you need a whole boat, you may well look for a gondola on the spot. In Venice, they are at every turn. If you are traveling alone or with someone else, it is most profitable to buy tickets in advance online.

Only 33 euros per person, and you can ride a shared gondola through the most beautiful places of Venice for 30 minutes. If you want a private gondola ride is around €80-120$ for 30 minutes, with a maximum of six people per gondola. Addition to this you can add serenade experience and a bottle of Prosecco. Official website to buy a gondola ride online, where you can choose private or shared options.

St. Mark’s Basilica: An Architectural Masterpiece

13 Best Things to Do in Venice
St. Mark’s Basilica

Basilica of San Marco is one of the best things to do in Venice as this majestic temple is a place of tourist pilgrimage. Its famous not only for its magnificent architectural appearance, but also as the location of the ashes of St. Mark- the patron saint of Venice. According to legend, an angel appeared to the saint in a dream and prophesied that it was near the island of Rialto that his ashes would rest. This cathedral is located in the heart of Venice.

  • The entrance fee is €3. You can clumb to the bell tower of St. Mark’s Basilica where you will be amazed by the buetiful view of the city.
  • Admission costs €8 for adults and €4 for children.

Venetian History at the Doge’s Palace

13 Best Things to Do in Venice
Doge’s Palace

This monumental and majestic building is not only an undoubted architectural masterpiece, but also a historical monument. Conceived as the residence of the doges (supreme rulers of the mini-state), the palace was first built on the remains of ancient Roman walls. After the fire in the late 14th-early 15th century, a new U-shaped building was erected with the preservation of its former appearance, but more luxurious and rich, made of white, gray and pink marble. A cursory glance at all 3 facades is enough to determine that the palace is a real architectural masterpiece, the embodiment of the boundless work and talent of master stonemasons and architects. Arched vaults, figured spires, sculptures, balcony railings – everything is done with filigree grace.

Above the front gate (Porta della Carta – Paper Gate) stands a sculptural image of a winged lion and a kneeling Doge Foscari. The interiors amaze with majestic statues, massive marble staircases, luxurious decoration of walls and ceilings. It’s worth coming here to appreciate the greatness of the past. Visitors can explore the lavish state rooms and admire the art and architecture. Admission costs €19 and includes access to the Correr Museum, the National Archaeological Museum and the Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Marciana.

Rialto Bridge: The Heart of Venice’s Waterways

13 Best Things to Do in Venice
Rialto Bridge

Venice is not only the “city of canals” but also “bridges”, because there are almost 400 of them. The most ancient history of them has the Rialto Bridge. The Rialto Bridge is the well-known landmarks in Venice. It’s a must-visit attraction for anyone exploring the city. In 1281, they built the first structure, which did not last long. The architect de Ponte’s magnificent project received approval, and in 1591, a grandiose structure emerged, situated on 12 thousand piles. The newly built bridge looked like the very first one — Ponta della Moneta, but they called it “Rialto” by analogy with the nearest market. You can stroll across the bridge to see the wonderful views of the canal and surrounding architecture. Also you can explore the shops and restaurants that line the bridge and the surrounding area. Admission is free.

Murano Island:A Haven for Glass Art Lovers

13 Best Things to Do in Venice
Island Murano

Murano consists of seven tiny islands, the total area of which is slightly more than 1 km2. But the significance of the glass products produced here makes them one of the achievements of human civilization. The dawn of Murano begins in 1291, when glass production was brought to the island territory due to fire danger. Having borrowed a significant part of the secrets of working with glass from Byzantium, Venetian masters from Murano brought its process to perfection.

Murano Glass: From Historical Prestige to Modern Allure

During the XIV-XVI centuries, Murano glass products were very popular all over the world. Despite the high prices, for wealthy people they were one of the symbols of prestige and good taste. Fashion does not last forever. The popularity of glass in the XVII century ended, which led to a significant decline in production. Fortunately, the traditions of glaziers were not completely lost. The XIX century brought an increased demand for Murano glass, which has survived to the present day. As many centuries ago, Murano has become a full-fledged glass center, attracting tourists with its products. Visitors can take a stroll through the island’s colorful streets, watch artisans at work in the glass factories and explore the numerous shops and galleries selling unique glassware and souvenirs. The island’s canals and bridges also make for a picturesque backdrop for a leisurely stroll or bike ride.

How to Visit Murano Island?

To visit Murano, visitors can take a vaporetto from various stops in Venice, including Fondamente Nove and San Zaccaria. The journey takes approximately 10-15 minutes, and vaporetti run regularly throughout the day. A single journey costs €7.50. Once on the island visitors can explore on foot or rent a bike to get around. You can also get guided tours which help you look in-depth at the island’s glass-making history and culture.

Admission to Murano is free, and visitors can explore the island at their leisure. However, some of the glass factories and museums may charge admission fees.

Burano Island: A Colorful Escape

13 Best Things to Do in Venice
Burano Island

The Burano is a fishing island located 7 km from the center, famous for its colorful houses and lace-making tradition.

This island is a popular day-trip destination and offers a charming escape from the city. You can take a stroll through the island’s narrow streets with colorful buildings and lacework on display in the local shops. Also, you can enjoy a delicious meal at one of the island’s many seafood restaurants. You can go to the local pasticeria (bakery), where you can buy delicious shortbread cookies – buranelli.

Coming here, you get into a colored fairy tale, like a children’s cartoon, where each house is painted in its own, non-repeating color. Reflecting in the water of the canal, the houses create a truly fantastic kaleidoscope picture.To visit Burano, visitors can take a vaporetto from various stops in Venice, including Fondamente Nove and San Zaccaria. The journey takes approximately 45 minutes, and vaporetti N 41, N42 and 52 depart to Burano every 2 hours. A single journey costs €7.50.

Admission to Burano is free, and visitors can explore the island at their leisure. However, some of the lace shops and museums may charge admission fees.

Legendary Teatro La Fenice in Venice

Audience enjoying a live performance at Teatro La Fenice in Venice.
Beautiful experience at the Teatro La Fenice.

The La Fenice located in the San Marco district of San Fantine. It is the main opera house that’s why we can’t exclude it from the list of best things to do in Venice. It’s a must-visit destination for any music lover. The theater has a rich history dating back to the 18th century. Twice demolished and rebuilt, it was home to important opera, symphony seasons and the International Festival of Contemporary Music. This historic opera house has hosted some of the most famous performances in the history of the opera and classical music. 

Must-See Venice Biennale

Venice Biennale

The Venice Biennale is one of the most prestigious art exhibitions within the global. It presents works by modern artists from around the globe. The event helds every 2 years and is a have to-go to for everybody interested by contemporary artwork and culture. The exhibition is held in various places in Venice, for example in the Giardini and Arsenale. The showcases a diverse variety of art, such as painting, sculpture, overall performance artwork, etc.

In order to visit Venice Biennale you can purchase tickets on-line or at the various exhibition venues. This event normally runs from May to November. It’s recommended to check the event schedule in advance and plan to ensure you have sufficient time to look everything you want to peer.

Admission fees for the Venice Biennale vary depending on the exhibition and what type of ticket you buy. For students and senior citizens discounts are available. Some exhibitions can also require advance reservations, so it is essential to check the event website for up-to-date data. Overall, a visit to the Venice Biennale is a fantastic possibility to enjoy modern artwork and culture, and should be on each art lover’s bucket list.

Ca’ Rezzonico: Art Palace

13 Best Things to Do in Venice
Ca’ Rezzonico

It is located in the Ca-Rezzonico Palace on the Grand Canal in the Dorsoduro district. The history of the palazzo begins in the XVII century. The city prosecutor Filippo Bon decided to build a luxurious mansion in this place.

It became a museum in 1936. It hosts works by famous artists such as Canaletto, Francesco Guardi, and Pietro Longhi, as well as beautiful examples of Venetian glass and lace. You can explore the palace’s rooms with expensive furniture, paintings and sculptures which give a flashback to the city’s golden era. You can also explore the big ballroom, which was once used for extravagant parties and events.

To visit Ca’ Rezzonico, you can take a vaporetto (water bus) to the Ca’ Rezzonico stop. It opens from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm every day, with the last admission. Admission fees depend on the age. Tickets can be bought online or at the entrance.

Santa Maria: Historical Masterpiece

13 Best Things to Do in Venice
Santa Maria della Salute

The Santa Maria della Salute is another best thing to do in Venice. It is located at the entrance of the Grand Canal, this magnificent church was built in the 17th century as per project of the young extraordinary architect Longen as a dedication to the Virgin Mary, who was believed to have protected the city from the plague.

The masterpiece of architecture is a round octagon of Baroque style, lavishly decorated with elegant sculptures, openwork binding of stucco patterns and many other decorative elements. The hemispherical central dome with a columnar spire crowning it rests on a drum with large arched windows. A smaller dome is installed a little further away, next to the bell towers. The luxurious interior decoration can compete in beauty and wealth with the most famous temples in the world. To visit Santa Maria della Salute, you can take a vaporetto to the Salute stop. Admission is free. Also, you can explore a panoramic vista of the city  from the dome for an additional fee.

Scala Contarini del Bovolo

13 Best Things to Do in Venice
Scala Contarini del Bovolo

This is one of the most unusual and amazing places. It is very compact and occupies a small area. The palazzo was built in the XV century by the architect Giovanni Candi. Many arches with elegant columns make the facade of the palace slim and light. But its real highlight is the external spiral staircase located in the corner round tower.The spiral staircase has recently undergone restoration, and in 2014 it was reopened to the public. Admission fees are €7.

It has the appearance of a beautiful white spiral, thanks to which the word “bovolo” appeared in the name of the palace, which translates as “snail”. To visit Scala Contarini del Bovolo, you can take a vaporetto to the Rialto stop.

Peggy Guggenheim: Modern Art Haven

The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is one of the most popular things to do in Venice and highly regarded museum. Its located on the Grand Canal in the Dorsoduro neighborhood. It dedicate to modern art from the first half of the 20th century. The location fo the Museum is near by Peggy Guggenheim’s former home at the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni. The collection features works by some of the most influential artists of the era, including Picasso, Kandinsky, Chagall, Dali, Pollock, Ernst, Modigliani and other authors. In total, about 400 canvases are exhibited. The hostess herself rested in the garden of the palace among the works of modern sculptors presented. To visit the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, you can take a vaporetto to the Accademia stop and walk to the museum, which is located on the Grand Canal. Admission fees are €18 and it is prohibited to make photo inside the museum.

Venice’s Historic Accademia Gallery

13 Best Things to Do in Venice
Gallerie dell’Accademia

To complete this list of best things to do in Venice visit the Gallerie dell’Accademia which is one of the most important and regarded museum in the city. It has finest art from the 14th to the 18th century.

The gallery houses the main works of Carpaccio and Bellini and represented by paintings by Giorgione, Conegliano, Tintoretto and Titian. Artists of the XVIII century – Tiepolo and Canaletto. Many canvases occupied entire walls of buildings, so they are large.

The collection has an extensive collection of graphic works. In order to visit the Gallerie dell’Accademia  you can take a vaporetto to the Accademia stop. An then you can have a short walk to the museum.

  • Admission fees are €15.

Visitors to Venice can purchase a Venezia Unica City Pass. City Pass which offers discounts on various attractions and public transportation. As a example you can visit St. Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace and many other museums and attractions with this card.

  • The cost vary €28-€65 depending on the length of validity.

Experience the Venetian Cuisine

Venice is known for its unique and delightful cooking, which highlights new seafood, traditional pasta dishes, and sweets. Here are a few recommendations for must-try Venetian nourishments and why you ought to give them a try:

Sarde in Saor: This is often a classic Venetian dish made with browned sardines, onions, vinegar, and pine nuts. The combination of sweet and acrid flavors is delightful and the dish is an ideal illustration of Venetian cuisine.

Bigoli in Salsa: Typically a prevalent Venetian pasta dish made with thick spaghetti-like noodles and a sauce of onions, anchovies, and spices. It’s a healthy and flavorful dish that culminates with a filling meal.

Risotto al Nero di Seppia: This dish is made with squid ink, which gives the risotto its dark color and interesting flavor. It’s regularly served with fresh fish, like shrimp or calamari, and it’s a must-try for any fish lover.

Cicchetti: These are little nibbles or snacks that are served in bars and eateries all through Venice. They’re comparable to tapas in Spain and can incorporate anything from fish to cheese to crostini. It’s an incredible way to test an assortment of diverse flavors and dishes in one sitting.

Tiramisu: This classic Italian dessert is a must-try in Venice. Made with layers of coffee-soaked ladyfingers and velvety mascarpone cheese, it’s a wealthy and wanton treat that’s beyond any doubt to fulfill your sweet tooth.

Venetian restaurant tables by a canal.
Savor Venice’s flavors at a canal-side eatery.

Venice Travel Advice: Do’s and Don’ts.

We want to remind you that the city can get very crowded, especially during peak tourist season. In order to avoid the crowds, it’s recommended visiting in the off-season or arriving early in the morning to the places.

In terms of getting around, the best way to explore Venice is on foot or by vaporetto. The water buses are a great way to get around the city and offer a unique perspective on Venice’s canals and architecture. You can purchase tickets at the vaporetto stops or online in advance.

We want to highlight that Venice has several rules and regulations to help preserve the city’s unique heritage. For example, feeding the pigeons is strictly prohibited which can result in a fine.Overall, Venice has a exclusive atmosphere and charm. Venice is so special is its incredible history and culture. It offers a lot things to see and do. Your visit to Venice is sure to be unforgettable and memorable. So why not plan your own Venetian adventure today?

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