Our most recommended things to do in Venice

Venice: Grand Canal Gondola Ride with App Commentary

1. Venice: Grand Canal Gondola Ride with App Commentary

Feel the essence of Venice as you explore hidden and picturesque waterways near the Grand Canal with a gondola ride. Listen to in-app commentary to learn more about the city as you admire the sights. Start your activity by meeting the host, who will explain some curiosities about the history of gondolas and gondoliers. Get free access to an app with commentary of your itinerary on the gondola. As you enjoy the beauties of the Grand Canal, admire the marvelous Palaces such as the Peggy Guggenheim Collection Palace, the Gritti Palace, the Salute Church, the Punta della Dogana. Discover the worldwide-famous La Fenice Theatre and the Mozart House along the romantic and hidden waterways. At the end of your ride, enjoy a breathtaking view of the Saint Mark’s Basin with San Giorgio Island.

Venice: Doge's Palace Reserved Entry Ticket

2. Venice: Doge's Palace Reserved Entry Ticket

Skip the ticket line to Doge's Palace in Venice, a historic landmark that served as the seat of Venetian political power for centuries, with this reserved entry ticket. Admire its Gothic architecture. Also get entry to the Museo Correr, National Archeological Museum, and Marciana Library. Enter the Doge's Palace to explore the seat of a 1000-year republic and travel back in time to the Middle Ages. Relive the anguish of the prisoners as they crossed the Bridge of Sighs. Admire the palace's impressive structure and ornamentation, from its 14th and 15th-century original foundations to the significant Renaissance and opulent Mannerist adjunctions. Marvel at the rich details of the magnificent gold staircase and spectacular works of art. Also, enjoy entry to the Museo Correr on St. Mark's Square, a building that was originally designed as a residence for Napoleon, and later became the Venetian residence of the King of Italy.

Venice: Burano, Torcello & Murano Boat Tour w/Glassblowing

3. Venice: Burano, Torcello & Murano Boat Tour w/Glassblowing

Discover some of the most famous islands of the Venetian Lagoon on this full-day boat tour. Travel with your guide through Venice Lagoon on a panoramic vessel and enjoy the islands of Murano, Burano, and Torcello. Start your day of adventure by boarding a comfortable panoramic boat as you set off from St. Mark's. Learn about the islands from your host along the way. Take in the sights of this ancient city for around 30 minutes until you reach your first destination, Murano. Enjoy a glass-blowing demonstration with a glass master accompanied by a historical explanation of the craft. Stop by the souvenir store at the glass factory and enjoy an exclusive 10% discount on your purchases. Your scheduled time in Murano also includes free time to explore on your own. Leave Murano behind as you travel to the nearby island of Burano. Witness the quaint and colorful houses that dot the island and observe the lace makers at work. Become acquainted with their rare skill which is considered some of the finest worldwide. Stop for a bite to eat during your time in Burano and taste some of the local biscotti that are native to the island. Travel to your final stop, Torcello. Enjoy a 1-hour visit to the island and visit historical landmarks such as the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, Attila's Throne, the Devil's Bridge, and the Bell Tower. Finish your adventure with a 1-hour trip back to Venice taking in the breathtaking ambiance of the Venetian lagoon.

Venice: Marco Polo Airport Water Taxi Transfer

4. Venice: Marco Polo Airport Water Taxi Transfer

Enjoy a shared water taxi service between Venice Marco Polo Airport and central Venice hotels. Choose from a 1-way or round-trip service and relax for a scenic ride. Depart straight after you find your luggage and get whisked across the lagoon to your hotel or the nearest accessible point by water taxi. This is the most romantic and direct way to travel to the city. Be picked up or dropped off directly at some hotels located along the Grand Canal, Hilton Stucky. For less-accessible destinations on the inner canals, a designated meeting point will be decided that is within walking distance of your hotel.  For JW Marriott - Isola delle Rose, and San Clemente Island, you will be dropped off in San Marco nearby the Marriott hotel shuttle boat.

Venice: Doge's Palace Skip-the-Line Tour with Prisons

5. Venice: Doge's Palace Skip-the-Line Tour with Prisons

The Palazzo Ducale, or "Doge’s Palace," represented  the seat of Venetian political power for centuries. With this 1-hour tour you will get entry to the splendid rooms, ornately outfitted in hundreds of masterpieces of art, where the Duke and his council controlled the fate of a 1,000-year-old republic. Listen and learn as the palace comes to life in the company of an expert guide, who will show you the halls of power, plunging into a very particular historical context – the European Middle Ages. Be surprised by the rich details of the gold staircase and by the remarkable realism of the scenes created by the many artists who decorated the building. Relive the anguish of the prisoners crossing the famous Bridge of Sighs, and enter the Venetian prisons, famous for hosting Giacomo Casanova, among many others.

Skip the Line: St. Mark's Basilica Guided Tour

6. Skip the Line: St. Mark's Basilica Guided Tour

Together with a tour guide arranged in agreement with the Curia di Venezia, you can take a full tour of the Golden Basilica, once the private chapel of the Doges of Venice, and the only one of its kind in Italy, thanks to the beautiful gold mosaics and marble inlay flooring. Listen to your expert guide describe the biblical scenes represented and the history and particularities of this ancient basilica. Admire the Treasure and the terrace with its wonderful view of St. Mark's Square

Doge's Palace & St. Mark's Basilica with Terrace Access Tour

7. Doge's Palace & St. Mark's Basilica with Terrace Access Tour

Delve deep into Venice’s history with a 3-hour guided tour of St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge's Palace, either as a private tour or shared group experience. Take in two of the city’s most important landmarks while discovering the history of the one-time mercantile capital of the Mediterranean.  Start by exploring St. Mark's Square with your guide before heading into the cathedral. From the first-floor terrace you’ll be able to admire views across the lagoon and see the famous bronze horses up close. Hear how they traveled all the way to Paris and back in Napoleon’s time. St. Mark's Basilica sometimes closes to visitors without warning. If this happens, visit the Church of San Zaccaria or the Correr Museum instead, depending on availability. Take a tour of the beautifully ornate 15th-century church and its flooded crypt or learn about the art and history of Venice. Next, you’ll use the priority entrance to reach Doge's Palace, formerly the residence of the leader of the Republic of Venice. Enjoy visiting the Chamber of the Great Council and courtrooms among other things. Highlights include frescoes by Tintoretto and the Giants’ Staircase.  After this, cross the infamous Bridge of Sighs that links to the New Prisons. Learn how the bridge got its name and the purpose for its construction in the 17th century as you take in the amazing views of the canals. At the end of your tour, feel free to stay and explore the Doge’s Palace with tips from your guide.

Venice: Highlights Tour, St. Mark's Basilica & Doge's Palace

8. Venice: Highlights Tour, St. Mark's Basilica & Doge's Palace

Experience the best of Venice on a small group guided tour that visits two of the city's most iconic landmarks, the Basilica of St. Mark and the Doge's Palace. Skip the long queues with pre-reserved tickets included and enjoy the splendor of these Venetian treasures at your own pace. Start your tour at St. Mark's Square. Admire the Clock Tower and Marble Lions before entering the Basilica with your guide. Marvel at the golden mosaics and opulent design, and learn how it is a symbol of Venetian power and wealth. Next, explore the Doge's Palace, a Gothic masterpiece that was once the seat of the Venetian government. Learn about the life of the ruling Venetian Doges and the 14th-century sculptors who worked on the palace.  Enjoy stunning views across the lagoon as you stroll through this world-famous landmark. Learn about the extraordinary story of Casanova and the significance of the Bridge of Sighs, as well as the Old and New Prisons. Once your tour concludes, continue your exploration of Venetian history and culture with your included entry to the Correr Museum, National Archeological Museum, and Biblioteca Marciana.

Venice: St. Mark’s Basilica with Terrace & Doge’s Palace

9. Venice: St. Mark’s Basilica with Terrace & Doge’s Palace

Combine the top two sights in Venice on one extraordinary tour led by a local guide. With pre-reserved tickets and skip-the-line access, head straight into St. Mark's Basilica and the Doge's Palace for a guided experience. Select the 8 AM tour to enjoy exclusive early entry to the Doge's Palace and have the door opened exclusively for your group an hour before the general public arrives. First, step inside Venice's most important church—St. Mark's Basilica—and gain a full appreciation for its east-meets-west architecture and breathtaking gold mosaics. In the company of a local guide, get up close with some of the basilica’s greatest treasures, such as the millennia-old Quadriga of four gold horses. Have the once-in-a-lifetime chance to admire beautiful views from the balcony over St. Mark's Square. At every step of the way, you’ll hear the fascinating story of how most of the basilica's prized possessions ended up here by less-than-honest means. The second stop on your itinerary is no less beautiful. The Palazzo Ducale, or Doge's Palace, was home to the doge, or duke, of Venice and his seat of government. Skip the long line with pre-reserved tickets and walk straight inside to explore huge council chambers, incredible audience rooms, and a stunning ballroom with larger-than-life works by renowned Venetian masters such as Veronese and Tintoretto. Hear the intriguing history of this building that housed the world's oldest republic—as well as its fascinating government and even an incarcerated Casanova. To finish your morning of discovery, walk in the footsteps of many a less-fortunate Venetian from centuries past. Head over the Bridge of Sighs from the inside and into the grim New Prisons—a stark yet fascinating contrast to the opulent halls and galleries that lie within the palace just across the narrow canal.

Marco Polo Airport: Bus Transfer to/from Venice City Center

10. Marco Polo Airport: Bus Transfer to/from Venice City Center

Travel seamlessly between Venice City Center and Marco Polo Airport with a convenient and reliable 1-way transfer or return ticket, depending on your book option. Head to and from the airport in a comfortable, air-conditioned bus, avoid the hassle of negotiating public transport and enjoy an efficient airport shuttle service that departs frequently and regularly. Store your luggage, jump on the bus, take a seat, relax, and admire the views of Venice. Go to and from the airport with an express bus that provides a non-stop service to and from Central Venice; the pickup and drop-off service in Venice is from Piazzale Roma. Enjoy comfort on board with the cooling ventilation and high-speed WiFi on board; this is the quickest and cheapest way to travel.

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Insider Tips: Planning a trip to Venice, Italy

Indiana Jo has visited over 60 countries but has a special love of Italy and Venice. Her travel blog focuses on destination guides and planning tips, but she also runs wine tours in Italy's famous Prosecco region, located an hour from Venice.

What should I do on my first trip to Venice?

Head to St Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco). It’s touristy, but it’s famous for good reason. On the grand square, you'll find St Mark’s Basilica, St Mark’s Campanile, and the Doge's Palace. The famous Bridge of Sighs is nearby too. Of course, cruising along the Grand Canal and crossing the Rialto Bridge should be on your list too.

What are some hidden gems to see in Venice?

Most visitors only stand outside and take a picture of the Bridge of Sighs, but it gets its name from the sigh-worthy views of Venice seen from inside, so book a tour of the Doge's Palace to walk across it yourself. For an even better view of the city, take a boat to San Giorgio Maggiore — the island offers a spectacular vista across the lagoon to St Mark's Square.

How much time should I spend in Venice?

I’d recommend a minimum of two nights, but make it four if you don't want to feel rushed and visit one of the nearby islands like Murano or Burano. And if you have longer, there are some really great day trips from the city or you can catch a train to the Prosecco wine region.

What food is Venice known for?

Italian food is very regional and Venetian food is heavily based on seafood and polenta rather than pizza and pasta. Famous dishes include Sepe al nero (cuttlefish in squid ink), sarde in saor (sardines with onion), and Fegato alla Veneziana (liver and onions with polenta). Venice is not a good place to order this oh-so-Italian food. Why? Proper pizza ovens are largely banned in the city for fear of fire, making it harder to get the high-quality pizza you’d expect in Italy.

What is the best way to get around Venice?

Venice is a car-free island, which can be difficult to understand at first, but fun once you get the hang of it. Walking is a great option for seeing the sights on the way, but crossing the Grand Canal can take you off-route as only four bridges cross its 2-mile length. The most popular way to get around is Vaporetto, the public water bus service which zips around the waterways. If you want to use the Vaporetto throughout your trip, buy a multi-day pass which is far cheaper than single tickets. There are also private water taxis.

What are the best months to visit Venice?

The best time to visit depends on what you want to do in the city and your tolerance for crowds. February is great for Venice Carnival. July and August are the summer peak season with the warmest weather and the most people. It’s manageable if you are happy to move slowly, book everything in advance, and pay more for hotels. Spring and fall are my favorite seasons with nice weather and fewer people. November and December can bring the acqua alta tidal flooding, which can flood parts of Venice. The city copes well if you’re up for the challenge.

What are the best neighborhoods to visit in Venice?

There aren’t very many locals still living in Venice, but those that remain mostly live in the Canareggio neighborhood, which makes it the best neighborhood to experience "real" Venice. The big-hitting sights are replaced with excellent trattorias, local bars, and a warren of truly Venetian streets. Canareggio is also the old Jewish Ghetto, so keep an eye out for signs in Hebrew. The nearest Vaporetto stop is Ca’ d’Oro.

What are the best neighborhoods for food?

Venice can be a bit tricky food-wise. It’s either difficult or expensive (or both) to get good food and a good view in the same place. The best, most authentic food is in Canareggio. Otherwise, lower your expectations around St Mark’s Square and the Grand Canal, and you’ll have a great time. My best tip is to take a local food tour early in your trip. Not only will you visit a host of great restaurants, you’ll get recommendations for the rest of your stay from a foodie in the know.

What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?

Venice isn’t a major shopping city in the same way as Milan or Rome, but there are plenty of opportunities to spend. Le Mercerie offers more affordable Italian brands, and Salizada San Moisè and Calle Larga XXII Marzo are the main streets for designer boutiques. The rest of the city’s shops are scattered throughout Venice. Look out for traditional Venetian mask makers or other artisan craft shops. If you visit the outlying islands, Burano is famous for lace while Murano is the place to buy Venetian glass.

What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Venice?

My favorite area is Canareggio for small, local hotels and nearby dining options at night. However, if you want to be in the thick of things and don't mind a higher price tag, choosing a hotel in the San Marco area, near St Mark’s Square, will give you a premium location for seeing the sights. San Polo, just across the Grand Canal on the opposite bank from San Marco, is another great option with enough proximity to the major sights.

What's are 4 top tips for someone traveling to Venice?

1) Book at least one guided tour. You’ll see the main attractions, learn about the rich history, and typically get skip-the-line access to some sights.

2) Enjoy aperitivo. This early-evening ritual in Italy involves a small drink (like an Aperol Spritz) and small snacks (cicchetti) before dinner.

3) Buy a Vaporetto pass. Hop on and off the boats and have a great time exploring this unique road-free city.

4) Get lost. Wandering down the small alleys and over the minor bridges will show you a side of Venice you might miss if you’re darting from one big sight to another.

What are your top 5 favorite GetYourGuide experiences in Venice?

1) Doge's Palace & St. Mark's Basilica with Terrace Access Tour

2) Venice: Boat Tour with Grand Canal and San Giorgio Maggiore

3) Venice: Food Tasting Tour with Cicchetti Dishes and Wine

4) Venice: Burano, Torcello & Murano Boat Tour w/Glassblowing

5) Venice: La Fenice Opera House Entry Ticket with Audio Guide

What is one thing that surprised you about Venice?

It’s possible to have bad food in Venice, which is a surprise in a country with some of the world's best food. There is so much excellent food in the city, you just have to look a little harder to find it. Taking a food tour is a good start, as your guide can recommend places to go later in your trip. Check restaurant reviews too.

Other Sightseeing Options in Venice

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What people are saying about Venice

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 138,603 reviews

Had to queue for two hours outside and too crowded inside.

Sadly our general admission ticket was for a Sunday but this was the only opportunity to attend. I have always wanted to visit Versailles but the two hour queue up meandering up and down the pavement in the hot sun was very unpleasant and by the time we entered I had lost interest. Once inside the queues continued and people were squashed against each other, and with the very warm conditions made it even more unpleasant. Too crowded, too hot and not the 'wow' factor palace that I had read so much about. Some of the palace was not even accessible, even more disappointing. There were a few moments of enjoyment, but only a few. I appreciate that it's a very popular tourist attraction and it's the summer season for tourism but I won't return.

clear instructions to desk no. 71, you are grouped with people going to the same area so may be called in different order, they don't explain that so good to know. Lovely way to arrive into Venice on a small boat. told we would be getting out at Todero, no idea what that name referred to, we were brought to san Marco.

An excellent tour that I recommend to everyone, you will be full of energy and good taste. Everything was superlative, the only regret is that it's over. Thank you very much, wonderful Camilla.

This was a very nice concert, excellent musicians, combined with great sound within st Vidal church. A must do we can only recommend if you are in Venise !

Must do! Our guide was fantastic. She made the tour fun and easy to understand !