Venice is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world for a reason—it’s absolutely stunning. If you find yourself with a few days to explore this city, where do you even start? Never fear, we’ve got you covered with our list of the best things to do in Venice.
From famous landmarks like St. Mark’s Square and the Rialto Bridge, to hidden gems only locals know about, we’ve got something for everyone. So what are you waiting for? Book your flight to Venice today!
Here are some of our top picks for things to do in Venice:
1- Head to St Mark’s Square
St Mark’s Square is one of the most iconic destinations in Venice, and it’s easy to see why. The square is dominated by the massive St Mark’s Basilica, which is home to some of the city’s most sacred relics.
In addition, the square is surrounded by a number of historical landmarks, including the Doge’s Palace and the Campanile. With its grand architecture and stunning setting, St Mark’s Square is a true Venetian gem.
Visitors can enjoy wandering around the square, people watching from one of the cafes, or simply soaking up the atmosphere. Whether you’re visiting Venice for the first time or you’re a seasoned traveler, a visit to St Mark’s Square is a must.
2- Visit St Mark’s Basilica
St. Mark’s Basilica is one of the most iconic landmarks in Venice, Italy. The basilica is located in the Piazza San Marco, and it is known for its distinctive Byzantine architecture.
The interior of the basilica is adorned with marble floors and walls, and it houses a number of famous works of art, including the Pala d’Oro altarpiece. Visitors to the basilica can also climb to the top of the Campanile bell tower for stunning views of the city.
St. Mark’s Basilica is a must-see for any traveller to Venice.
3- Cross the Ponte di Rialto
Ponte di Rialto is one of the most iconic landmarks in Venice. The bridge spans the Grand Canal, connecting the districts of San Polo and San Marco.
It is believed to be the first bridge built across the canal, and it has been an important crossing point for centuries. Today, the bridge is a popular tourist destination, and it is lined with shops selling everything from souvenirs to jewelry.
Visitors can also enjoy stunning views of the canal and the city’s rooftops from the bridge. Ponte dI Rialto is a must-see for anyone visiting Venice.
4- Check out the Grand Canal or Canal Grande
As one of the most famous tourist destinations in the world, Venice is a must-see for anyone traveling to Italy. And no visit to Venice is complete without a boat ride down the Canal Grande. Stretching for over two miles, the Canal Grande is the largest and busiest waterway in Venice.
Along its shores are some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, including the Palazzo Ducale and St. Mark’s Basilica. But perhaps the best way to experience the Canal Grande is simply to sit back and enjoy the ride.
As you glide past graceful bridges and stately palaces, you’ll get a true sense of what it means to be in this unique and magical city.
5- Visit the Doges Palace
In the heart of Venice sits Doges Palace, a magnificent building that has been the seat of power for the city’s rulers for centuries.
Constructed in the 14th century, the palace is a marvel of Gothic architecture, with intricate facades and soaring ceilings. Even today, it remains an imposing sight, and its grandeur is matched by its rich history.
Doges Palace has been the site of some of Venice’s most dramatic moments, from riots and uprisings to lavish balls and ceremonies. It has also been a witness to great tragedy, such as the fire that destroyed much of the building in 1777.
Despite this, Doges Palace remains one of Venice’s most popular tourist attractions, and its beauty and significance continue to captivate visitors from all over the world.
6- Head up the San Marco Campanile
The San Marco Campanile is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Venice. The imposing bell tower stands nearly 300 feet tall, and its base is surrounded by a large plaza that is often filled with tourists.
The tower has an interesting history; it was first built in the early 12th century, but it collapsed in 1902. It was rebuilt using the original plans, and it was reopened to the public in 1912.
Today, the tower is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Venice, and visitors can take an elevator to the top for panoramic views of the city.
7- Visit the San Giorgio Maggiore
San Giorgio Maggiore is one of the major islands in Venice, Italy. The island is home to a number of significant landmarks, including the Basilica of San Giorgio Maggiore and the Campanile di San Giorgio Maggiore.
Both of these landmarks are highly visible from across Venice, making them popular tourist destinations. In addition to its architectural wonders, San Giorgio Maggiore is also known for its tranquil gardens and lush green spaces.
Visitors can easily spend a leisurely afternoon exploring the island’s many peaceful nooks and crannies. Whether you’re interested in architecture, history, or simply soaking up some Mediterranean sun, San Giorgio Maggiore is definitely worth a visit.
8- Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta
The Church of Santa Maria Assunta, located in the Dorsoduro sestiere of Venice, is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. The church was founded in the 11th century, and its impressive Gothic façade dates back to the 13th century.
The interior of the church is equally as stunning, with its ornate marble floors and detailed frescoes. The church is also home to the famous Tintoretto painting, “The Last Supper.”
Santa Maria Assunta is a must-see for any visitor to Venice, and its beautiful setting on the Canal Grande only adds to its appeal.
9- Check out the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute
The Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute is one of the most iconic landmarks in Venice, Italy. The imposing white building is located on the narrowest point of the Grand Canal, making it a popular spot for tourist photo ops.
The basilica was built in the 17th century to thank the Virgin Mary for deliverance from the plague. Today, it houses a number of important works of art, including paintings by Titian and Tintoretto.
The basilica is also notable for its striking architecture, which blends Gothic and Baroque elements. Visitors can tour the basilica for free, making it a popular stop on any Venice itinerary.
10- Take a quick trip to Murano
Murano is a small island off the coast of Venice, Italy, best known for its glassmaking. In the 13th century, the Venetian Republic began to move glassmaking operations to Murano in order to keep the furnaces from starting fires in Venice.
Although Murano’s glassmakers were sworn to secrecy about their techniques, over time they developed a reputation for producing beautiful and innovative glassware.
Today, Murano is home to a number of glass factories and museums, and visitors can watch artisans at work or take lessons in glassmaking.
Even if you’re not interested in glassblowing, Murano is worth a visit for its picturesque canals and colorful buildings.
11- See the Bridge of Sighs
The Bridge of Sighs is one of the most iconic images of Venice, and for good reason. This magnificent bridge spans the Rio di Palazzo, connecting the New Prison to the Doge’s Palace.
It was built in the early 17th century, and its design is based on a bridge that was once located in Constantinople. The name of the bridge comes from the tradition that prisoners would sigh as they crossed over it, knowing that they would never see Venice again.
Today, the Bridge of Sighs is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Venice, and it is definitely worth a visit if you are ever in the city.
12- Enjoy art at Gallerie dell’Accademia
Gallerie dell’Accademia is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Venice, and for good reason.
The gallery houses an incredible collection of Renaissance art, including works by Titian, Bellini, and Veronese. In addition, the galleries themselves are beautiful, with high ceilings and grandiose architecture.
Even if you’re not particularly interested in art, Gallerie dell’Accademia is worth a visit for the sheer beauty of the building and the collections within it.
13- Take a detour to Burano
Burano is a small island in the Venetian Lagoon, best known for its brightly colored houses. According to legend, the painted houses were first introduced by fishermen who wanted to be able to find their homes easily after a long day at sea.
Today, the colors are strictly regulated, and each house must be painted in a unique combination approved by the city government. As a result, Burano is a truly unique place, and it has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Venice.
Visitors can enjoy strolling through the narrow streets, admiring the colorful houses and people-watching from one of the many cafes. Burano is also home to a number of artisans who continue the traditional crafts of lacemaking and glassblowing.
These artisans sell their wares in the shops along the main street, making Burano the perfect place to find a truly one-of-a-kind souvenir.
14- Go on a Gondola Ride
A gondola ride through the canals of Venice is an unforgettable experience. For centuries, these graceful boats have been the primary mode of transportation in the city, and riding in one is like taking a step back in time.
As you glide along the narrow canals, you’ll get a glimpse of daily life in Venice as well as some of the city’s most famous landmarks. The ride is peaceful and relaxing, and it’s a great way to see Venice from a different perspective.
If you’re visiting Venice, be sure to take a gondola ride – it’s an experience you won’t soon forget.
15- Take a Mask-Making Class
Looking for a unique activity to do while visiting Venice? Why not sign up for a mask-making class! You’ll learn about the history and tradition of Venetian mask-making, and then get to create your own beautiful mask.
The class is suitable for all skill levels, so even if you’ve never worked with clay before, you’ll be able to create a beautiful mask. Plus, you’ll get to take your mask home with you as a souvenir of your time in Venice.
So why not sign up for a class today and start creating your very own Venetian mask!
16- Check out Cannaregio
Cannaregio is one of the six historic sestieri (districts) of Venice, Italy. It is the northernmost district of the city, and its name derives from the Canal Grande (literally “Large Canal”), which forms its eastern boundary.
In spite of being a mainly residential area, Cannaregio boasts a number of interesting sights, such as the Ca’ d’Oro palace and the Church of Madonna dell’Orto.
The area is also home to a number of traditional Venetian businesses, such as glassblowing workshops and leather tanneries. With its mix of old and new, Cannaregio is an ideal place to explore the real Venice away from the tourist crowds.
17- Visit Teatro La Fenice
The Teatro La Fenice (“The Phoenix”) is one of the most famous opera houses in the world. Located in Venice, Italy, it is known for its extraordinary acoustics and has been the setting for some of the most important operatic premieres of all time.
The theatre was first built in 1792 and quickly became a leading cultural institution in Venice. It was destroyed by a fire in 1836 but rebuilt just two years later. Since then, it has undergone several renovations but remains an iconic symbol of Venetian culture.
Opera fans from all over the world flock to the Teatro La Fenice to experience its unique atmosphere and see some of the best opera performers in the world.
18- Peggy Guggenheim Collection
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is one of the most visited museums in Venice, and it’s easy to see why. Located on the Grand Canal, the museum is housed in a beautiful palazzo that was once the home of Peggy Guggenheim herself.
The collection features a wide range of artworks from the early 20th century, including paintings by Cubists and Surrealists. There are also sculptures by artists such as Henry Moore and Jean Arp.
In addition to the artworks on display, the museum also has a cafe and a bookstore. Visitors can easily spend a few hours exploring the museum and its grounds.
19- Visit Torcello
Torcello is an island in the Venetian lagoon, northern Italy. It is one of the northernmost islands in the lagoon and is also the site of the oldest known human settlement in the lagoon.
The island was first settled by the Romans in the 1st century AD and remained a prosperous settlement until the 8th century when it began to decline in importance. By the 9th century, Torcello was largely abandoned.
The remains of its Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, which was built in 639, are one of the most important remaining examples of early Christian Byzantine architecture.
Today, Torcello is a popular tourist destination for its tranquility and its evocative ruins.
20- Try Cicchetti at a local cicchetti bar
Cicchetti are small dishes popular in Venice, Italy. There are many cicchetti bars throughout the city, and each one has its own specialties.
Common cicchetti include boiled eggs, fried fish, meatballs, and crostini. Cicchetti are usually served with a glass of wine or beer, making them a perfect snack to enjoy while exploring Venice.
Many visitors to the city make a point of trying as many different cicchetti as they can. With so many delicious options to choose from, it’s no wonder that cicchetti are such a popular food in Venice.
21- Visit the San Sebastiano
San Sebastiano is one of the most iconic churches in Venice. It’s easily recognized by its red brick exterior and Gothic design.
But there’s more to this church than meets the eye. San Sebastiano was built on the site of a much older church that was destroyed by an earthquake in the 12th century.
The current church was completed in the 15th century, and it houses a number of important works of art, including paintings by Titian and Tintoretto. Visitors to San Sebastiano will appreciate its beautiful architecture and rich history.