Things to do in
Venice

Remnants of medieval might are just the tip of the iceberg in this 1600-year-old port city.

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Our most recommended things to do in Venice

Venice: Grand Canal by Gondola with Commentary

1. Venice: Grand Canal by Gondola with Commentary

Explore the canals in the city of Venice aboard a gondola. Your gondolier will take you down secluded canals, passing under small bridges and along the Grand Canal. Listen to the guide as they explain all about the palaces, churches, and attractions around you. Hear stories known only by Venetians, and about the fascinating history of the gondola and gondoliers. During your journey, admire Desdemona’s House and Mozart’s House. You'll also pass by the magnificent La Fenice Theatre and the “De le Ostreghe” Canal. Continue on to the most important canal in Venice, the Grand Canal. Make your way towards the Salute Church, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and some of the stunning Venetian palaces that run alongside the canal, like Ca'Dolfin, Ca'Loredan, Grimani Palace and many others. You will also see Punta de la Dogana and Saint Mark’s basin before making your way back to Campo San Moisè. At the end of the tour, you will receive a QR code to download a digital map with 2D images of Venice from the Middle Ages until the 18th century.

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Venice: Doge's Palace Reserved Entry Admission Ticket

2. Venice: Doge's Palace Reserved Entry Admission Ticket

Visit the Doge's Palace, an important historic landmark that served as the seat of Venetian political power for centuries. As you explore the seat of a 1,000-year republic, you’ll travel back in time to the Middle Ages. Marvel at the rich details of the magnificent gold staircase and spectacular works of art. Relive the anguish of the prisoners as they crossed the famous Bridge of Sighs. Your admission ticket also includes entry to the Correr Museum on St. Mark's Square. The building was originally designed as a residence for Napoleon, and later became the Venetian residence of the King of Italy.

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Venice Marco Polo Airport Transfer: Shared Water Taxi

3. Venice Marco Polo Airport Transfer: Shared Water Taxi

Take an exclusive shared water taxi service from Venice Marco Polo Airport to central Venice hotels, and back. Depart straight after you find your luggage and get whisked across the lagoon to your hotel. This is the most romantic and direct way to travel to the city. The water taxi stops directly for some hotels located along the Grand Canal, or hotels such as Hilton Stucky and San Clemente. For less-accessible destinations on the inner canals, you will be dropped off within easy walking distance.  For JW Marriott - Isola delle Rose, you will be dropped off in San Marco nearby the Marriott hotel shuttle boat.

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Venice: Murano, Burano and Torcello Islands Full-Day Trip

4. Venice: Murano, Burano and Torcello Islands Full-Day Trip

Discover the most charming and famous islands of the Venetian Lagoon on this full-day excursion. Marvel at the beautiful surroundings of Venice and learn more about Venetian life and traditions. Start your journey in a comfortable motorboat leaving from the St. Mark's area, and move toward your first stop, the island of Murano. Stay for approximately 1.5 hours on the island and take your time to explore it on your own. Visit a glass factory and learn how glass masters create their masterpieces with a glass-blowing demonstration. Don't miss the massive Basilica of Santi Maria e Donato, one of the oldest Churches in the Venetian lagoon originally built in the 7th Century. Return to the motorboat and head to Burano Island. Immerse yourself in its quaint and colorful houses for around 2 hours. According to a local legend, Burano gets its rainbow appearance from the fishermen who painted their houses in bright colors to find their way home when returning from sea. The island is also known internationally for its rare artisan lace. Hop back on the motorboat, and ride to the last stop, Torcello, the first settlement in the Venetian Lagoon. During your 1-hour unguided stop, be sure to visit the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, founded in 639. Take a selfie with Attila's Throne in the background, an ancient stone chair where chief magistrates were inaugurated, or go up the Bell Tower and take a beautiful picture of the surrounding area. At the end of the tour, ride back to the point of departure.

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

5. Express Bus: Marco Polo Airport to/from Venice City Center

The airport express bus provides a non-stop service to central Venice and in just 20 minutes you’ll be dropped off at Piazzale Roma. This is the quickest and cheapest way to reach Venice from the airport, without sacrificing comfort. From Piazzale Roma you can continue to your final destination on foot, or by water-bus or water-taxi. If you will eventually be heading back to the Marco Polo Airport you can purchase a round-trip ticket, saving money and time. Buses from Piazzale Roma depart from the same place you were dropped off, at the ATVO bus platforms in the middle of the square. Dedicated staff are at your disposal to provide assistance and information.

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Venice: Shared Gondola Ride Across the Grand Canal

6. Venice: Shared Gondola Ride Across the Grand Canal

Share a gondola ride with up to 5 other people and a master gondolier through the canals of Venice. Glide gracefully through the mysterious canals of Venice on a peaceful 30-minute ride. Discover the quaint and charming canals of Venice that have different charms and appeals, which you'll experience on this tour. Float down the iconic Grand Canal, ride down minor waterways, and pass by the famous theater, La Fenice, to soak up the atmosphere.

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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.  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.

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Boat Trip: Glimpse of Murano, Torcello & Burano Islands

8. Boat Trip: Glimpse of Murano, Torcello & Burano Islands

Spend some time on the most famous Venetian islands, known throughout the world for their picturesque scenery, craft traditions, and unique history. See the glass factory of Murano, lace shop on Burano, as you visit 3 different islands. Depart from near Saint Mark’s Square or Santa Lucia Train Station, and take an enjoyable trip across Saint Mark’s Basin. On the boat, a live guide will illustrate the history of the lagoon and the three islands you will visit.  Your first stop will be the island of Murano. Sometimes referred to as the “Island of the Glass,” you will visit one of its famous glass factories and see the glass being manufactured and blown. Afterward head to Torcello, the most ancient of the inhabited islands. Continue to Burano, admiring the natural environment and the minor islands spread all around you. Enjoy some free time in Burano, a typical fishing island with colorful contrasts and chocolate-box painted houses. Look out, too, for much evidence of its renowned lace making and embroidery industry and try some of Burano’s notable homemade cakes. Please note that once on the ground, this is not a guided tour. The guide will escort you to the glass factory in Murano and the lace shop in Burano. Afterward, you will have time to explore each island on your own.

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Doge Palace and St. Mark's Basilica: Skip The Line Tour with Terrace Access

9. Doge Palace and St. Mark's Basilica: Skip The Line Tour with Terrace Access

Discover two of Venice’s most iconic buildings on a guided tour with skip-the-line access to the Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica. See impressive artworks and magnificent interiors and admire panoramic views of Venice from the basilica’s terrace. Meet your expert guide and enjoy priority access to Doge’s Palace, the seat of Venetian political power for centuries. Immerse yourself in the European Middle Ages and see masterpieces of art adorning the walls of the palace. Relive the anguish of the prisoners that crossed the Bridge of Sighs at the palace and experience the inside of the prison cell that once hosted Giacomo Casanova. Step inside St. Mark's Basilica, a unique cathedral displaying some of the finest examples of Byzantine art in the world. Uncover the biblical symbolism behind the artworks. Witness beautiful golden mosaics and marble floor inlays. Listen as your guide tells you the history and the special features of this architectural wonder. Lastly, go up to the basilica’s terrace and take in stunning panoramic views of the lively St. Mark’s Square and its surrounding monuments.

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Venice: Traveling Opera in a Historic Palace on Grand Canal

10. Venice: Traveling Opera in a Historic Palace on Grand Canal

Experience Italian Opera in one of the most important Venetian-Gothic style palaces in Venice, Palazzo Barbarigo-Minotto. Within this historical venue, an innovative approach to opera has been conceived, with a formula that focuses on the interaction between the singers, the musicians, and the audience. This gives spectators the feeling of living Opera ‘from the inside’. This sensation is amplified by the clever 360-degree use of the ‘stage’ and by having the guests move through 3 different rooms within the Palazzo, one for each act of the show. The whole setting changes, not just the background. Reviving a tradition dating back to the late 1800s, this reimagining is brought to life by some of the finest lyrical voices, accompanied by a talented small group of strings and a piano: a virtuoso ensemble who performed in some of the most prestigious concert halls in the world. Opera offered: • La Traviata - Melodrama in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi (Mon - Tue - Thu - Sat) • Il Barbiere di Siviglia - Light-hearted melodrama in two acts by Gioachino Rossini (Wed - Sun) • Rigoletto - Intense drama about love and vengeance by Giuseppe Verdi (Fri)

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Frequently asked questions about Venice

Planning Your Visit

  • Save money on transport

    The way the city is built, you’ll find yourself using the waterbuses (“vaporetti”) a lot more than expected. These trips can eat into your savings if you’re not careful. Bundle tickets are a great way of avoiding nasty surprises. The price of a 12-hour ticket is roughly equivalent to 3 singles and the relative cost keeps dropping for longer periods (tickets are available for up to a week).

  • Counters are your friends

    Eating and drinking can be very expensive in Venice. Bars and restaurants generally charge more for sitting at a table, so a great way of cutting costs is opting for the counter instead. Surcharges vary with some restaurants charging up to 500% in the busiest tourist areas!

  • Enjoy the view

    The view of the entire city from atop the bell tower on Piazza San Marco, which costs 8 EUR, is one of Venice’s most popular attractions. An insider tip is heading over to San Giorgio Maggiore – the view is arguably better and the privilege only costs 3 EUR.

Good to know

  • Language
    Italian
  • Currency
    Euro (€)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+01:00)
  • Country Code
    +39
  • Best time to visit
    From September to November the city is most pleasant.

Other Sightseeing Options in Venice

Want to discover all there is to do in Venice? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Venice

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 85,652 reviews

If your time is limited, a 30 minute ride thru so.e of the canals will give you a good experience. Try afternoon rides in December as mornings and late in the afternoon might be foggy and you'll only see the canals I stead of the surroundings. Guide was speaking English as well as Italian and French. Remember daylight in December is short. 4:30 to 5:00pm and it starts to get dark. Definitely not Florida. Gondolier was funny and informative trying to explain and answer questions in English. There is up to 5 people per gondola, so don't expect to be alone with the entire gondola to yourself at this price rate. Great value, we have fun and can check this out of our bucket list. There will be many people and many gondolas leaving the same bridge at the same time but it is well organized, the guide may be in gondola 6 or 7 depending on how many gondolas are hired with the company at that time, you may lose signal with your hearing devices at times, but it is to be expected. Thank you!

The cathedral is very beautiful they did a wonderful renovation. The glassblowing show is fantastic you can watch every step to create different objects. You can have a drink while watching the show and also buy beautiful objects made buy them

Sarah was a great guide. She had patience with family, my mom in-law walks slowly with a cane. She was a very knowledgeable and easy to understand.

Very passionate guide showing us the palace and some interesting stories about venice. Highly recommended.

Gondola ride at night. Very nice. Next time we will book at least 45 min. 30 pass very fast.