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Things to do in Venice

Things to do in  Venice

Welcome to Venice

Built on more than 100 islands and devoid of cars, Venice is a walker’s paradise. Even when crowds reach their maximum, a stroll down the Floating City’s winding passageways reveals the city’s abundant charm. The architectural splendor of Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica in Piazza San Marco reign supreme, while the Grand Canal splits the city in two like a lightning bolt. Glide beneath Rialto Bridge during a sunset gondola ride, admire brightly colored buildings on the water’s edge, plan a visit to the glassblowing factories on the island of Murano, and flock to the craggy peaks of the UNESCO-listed Dolomites on a day trip.

Top 15 attractions in Venice

#1
St. Mark's Basilica (Basilica di San Marco)

St. Mark's Basilica (Basilica di San Marco)

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The crown jewel of Venice, St. Mark's Basilica (Basilica di San Marco) is an ornate cathedral which blends elements of Gothic, Byzantine, Romanesque, and Renaissance architecture. Topped by soaring domes and replete with astonishing golden mosaics, the church is so opulent it is known as the Chiesa d’Oro, or the Golden Church.More
#2
Doge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale)

Doge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale)

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The powerful Doges ruled the Venetian Empire from the Gothic fantasy palace that is Doge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale) until 1797. The site was one of the first things those arriving in Venice saw as their ships sailed through the lagoon and landed at St Mark's Square, and the doges ruled with an iron fist—justice was often meted out here. Today, the site is one of the most well-known attractions in Italy.More
#3
St. Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco)

St. Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco)

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St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco), often referred to as “the drawing room of Europe,” is one of the most famous squares in Italy. The geographic and cultural heart of Venice—with St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace at one end, the campanile in the center, and the colonnaded arcade topped by the Procuratie palaces lining three sides—this elegant piazza is also steeped in history. Settle in at one of the many coveted café tables and watch tourists (and pigeons) pose for photos while you sip a Bellini and soak in the square’s Renaissance splendor.More
#4
Grand Canal

Grand Canal

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Venice is a city built on water, and the Grand Canal (Canale Grande) is its bustling main street. Lined with sumptuous Venetian palaces and crowded with gondolas, water taxis, and vaporetti (public ferries), this thoroughfare is a feast for the senses. The Grand Canal winds its way through the central neighborhoods of Venice from the Santa Lucia train station to St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco), passing under the iconic Rialto Bridge along the way, and functions as the scenic main artery for transporting both people and goods around the City of Canals.More
#5
Venice Islands

Venice Islands

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Venice is made up of over 100 small islands, but generally “the Venice islands” refers to the three most famous outlying islands in the Venetian lagoon: Murano, Burano, and Torcello. Murano, just north of Venice proper, has been the center of Venice’s famous glass-making industry since 1291, and the island’s expert glassblowers still handcraft stunning pieces of Murano glass today. Farther north, Burano has quiet canals lined with brightly painted fishermen’s houses and is home to Venice’s traditional lace artisans. Its neighboring island of Torcello, first settled in 452, is believed to be the first populated island in the Venetian lagoon.More
#6
Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto)

Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto)

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The Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto) was the first to span Venice’s Grand Canal (Canal Grande) between its two highest points above sea level. The original 12th-century wooden bridge was replaced in 1592 by a stone structure resting on wooden pilings—a bold design by Antonio da Ponte featuring a single central arch over the water that allow ships to pass. Today, the bridge is among Italy’s most famous, carrying an endless stream of tourists and locals across the canal while countless gondolas and vaporetto water buses pass beneath.More
#7
Murano

Murano

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Of Venice’s 100-plus outlying islands, the group that forms Murano is the most famous. This tight cluster of small islands has been the center of the Floating City’s historic glassmaking industry since 1291, when the city center’s glass factories were forcibly moved across the lagoon—just north of Venice proper—after a number of devastating fires. Today, travelers visit Murano to see how expertly trained artisans blow glass into exquisite stemware, chandeliers, vases, and sculptures. Those particularly interested in the history of glassmaking should stop by the Museo del Vetro, which traces the art back to ancient Egypt.More
#8
Bridge of Sighs

Bridge of Sighs

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As poignant as it is beautiful, Venice’s 17th-century, white-limestone Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri) spans the narrow Rio di Palazzo canal between the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) and the New Prisons just opposite. It’s one of the most famous bridges in the Floating City.More
#9
Burano

Burano

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Venice is made up of a group of islands that is crowded with opulent churches and sumptuous palaces. The humble island of Burano, though, in the outer reaches of the Venetian lagoon, shows a completely different side of the city, with its jumble of technicolor fishers’ houses and a long tradition of lace-making.More
#10
Marco Polo's Home (Casa di Marco Polo)

Marco Polo's Home (Casa di Marco Polo)

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In a quiet corner of Venice ,the Venetian palace (palazzo) believed to be explorer Marco Polo’s former residence is easy to miss. Stop by Corte Seconda del Milion, a square named for Marco Polo's travel memoirs, Il Milione, to honor Italy's most famous adventurer while visiting the Floating City.More
#11
Venice Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo

Venice Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo

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Burial place of 25 Venetian doges and one of the largest churches in Italy, the Italian Gothic–style Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo is among the most important churches in the city. Known as San Zanipolo to locals, it is home to works by Bellini, Veronese, and two generations of Lombardo sculptors.More
#12
Rialto Fish Market (Mercato di Rialto)

Rialto Fish Market (Mercato di Rialto)

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To get a glimpse into authentic Venice, a visit to the city’s historic outdoor Rialto Fish Market (Mercato di Rialto) is a must. Venetians have been purchasing their fish and seafood, fresh fruit and vegetables, and other foods at the Rialto Market since 1097, making it one of the most long-lived aspects of daily life in the Floating City.More
#13
Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute

Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute

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With its ornate facade and towering dome, the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute is one of the most beautiful sights along Venice’s Grand Canal. Known simply as La Salute, the church dominates the mouth of the canal and its steps seem to rise directly from the water, inviting visitors to explore its soaring interior.More
#14
La Fenice Opera House (Teatro La Fenice)

La Fenice Opera House (Teatro La Fenice)

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Of the many historic opera houses in Italy, few are more legendary than Venice’s Teatro La Fenice. Opened in 1792, the theater quickly became a major venue for opera and ballet. Today you can view the sumptuous 19th-century-style interiors during a musical or dance performance, or join a guided tour of the theater.More
#15
St. Mark's Clock Tower (Torre dell'Orologio)

St. Mark's Clock Tower (Torre dell'Orologio)

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Sitting high above St. Mark’s Square and visible from the Grand Canal, the remarkable clock in St. Mark’s Clock Tower (Torre dell'Orologio) has served as Venice’s official timepiece for more than 500 years. Touring this historic symbol of the city is a highlight of any visit, not least for the sweeping views from the top of the tower.More

Trip ideas

Sightseeing on a Budget in Venice

Sightseeing on a Budget in Venice

Top Parks and Gardens in Venice

Top Parks and Gardens in Venice

Top activities in Venice

Legendary Venice St. Mark's Basilica with Terrace Access & Doge's Palace
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Venice Gondola Ride and Serenade

Venice Gondola Ride and Serenade

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Murano & Burano Islands Fully Guided Small-Group Tour by Private Boat
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Venice In a Day: Basilica San Marco, Doges Palace & Gondola ride
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Skip-the-Line: Doge's Palace & St. Mark's Basilica Guided Small-Group Tour
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St Mark's Basilica After-Hours Small Group Tour with Optional Doge's Palace
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The Real Hidden Venice

The Real Hidden Venice

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Skip the Line Venice Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica Tour - T23
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Things to do in Venice this...

Recent reviews from experiences in Venice

star-5
Best way into venice
Richard_B, May 2022
Venice Marco Polo Airport Link Arrival Transfer
cut through centre Venice so got to see lots of sights really recommend.
star-5
So much history in one day
Sharon_R, May 2022
Venice In a Day: Basilica San Marco, Doges Palace & Gondola ride
As the description of the tour suggests, if you're in Venice for a short time and want to see the highlights in one day, this is an excellent tour.
star-5
Very enjoyable highly recommend
Kevin_S, May 2022
Unusual Venice Walking Tour
It was really nice to see a different side of Venice and not just the usual tourist attractions.
star-5
Very good introduction to Venice.
tdmcleod, May 2022
Venice: Private Tour with a Local Guide
Guide was very pleasant and spoke excellent English.
star-4
Great Summary of Venice
Paul_V, May 2022
The Real Hidden Venice
We got to see some highlights of certain parts of Venice in a condensed timeframe.
star-5
An enjoyable walk.
CAROLYN_M, May 2022
Venice Sightseeing Walking Tour with a Local Guide
Our guide Denise was a cheerful pleasant girl who spoke good English.
star-5
Easy transportation from airport
Donna_J, May 2022
Venice Marco Polo Airport Link Arrival Transfer
We got to see some sights along the way and the boat was not very crowded - only about 8 of us on board.
star-5
I recommend!
Hailee_A, May 2022
Venice Ghost and Legends Walking Tour
We were able to see so many areas of Venice we never would have seen without this tour.
star-5
Great way to see a lot in just a few hours!
Grant_K, May 2022
Murano, Burano and Torcello Half-Day Sightseeing Tour
Venice is a magical place but getting to see ‘all’ of it is near enough impossible without an experience like this.
star-5
Quick way to see the essentials
Denis_L, May 2022
Legendary Venice St. Mark's Basilica with Terrace Access & Doge's Palace
Quick way to see the essentials of Venice.
star-5
Hidden Venice
Judith_H, May 2022
The Real Hidden Venice
We got to see & experience parts of Venice we never imagined existed.
star-5
Fun & informative tour
Heather_N, May 2022
Murano & Burano Islands Fully Guided Small-Group Tour by Private Boat
Very informative, fun trip to see two of the islands outside Venice.
star-5
Great way to start your trip!
Luke_F, May 2022
Venice Sightseeing Walking Tour with a Local Guide
Also gave good tips on local restaurants and top places to visit.
star-5
It was a very well...
Antonio_M, May 2022
Murano & Burano Islands Fully Guided Small-Group Tour by Private Boat
The weather was fine and it was a good option to visit the two islands next to Venice and to have a close contact with their history and crafts.
star-5
Great introduction to Venice
steven_c, Apr 2022
Small Group Venice Sightseeing Tour
Our guide was fantastic, great interaction and her English was superb....
star-5
MUST BOOK!
Frank_R, Apr 2022
Yummy Cooking Class in Venice with Professional Chef
I’d recommend doing it earlier in your trip since she gives great recommendations on what to see and do around Venice.
star-5
Perfect tour of the 2 must see attractions in Venice
Nazha_A, Apr 2022
Skip-the-Line: Doge's Palace & St. Mark's Basilica Guided Small-Group Tour
Great tour of the 2 most important things to see in Venice!
star-5
Memorable experience-value for money
Marilena_A, Apr 2022
Murano, Burano and Torcello Half-Day Sightseeing Tour
3 different islands to visit.
star-5
Great Show
Joleena_L, Apr 2022
I Musici Veneziani Concert in Venice, Italy: Baroque and Opera
It was amazing to see opera in Venice and the show was perfect.
star-5
Great fun!
marissabramlett, Apr 2022
Venice In a Day: Basilica San Marco, Doges Palace & Gondola ride
This is a great way to see a lot of Venice and learn a lot!

All about Venice

When to visit

Winter in Venice sees crowds thin, the mercury drop, and “acqua alta” (high water) potentially flood the canals—but it’s also a prime time to snag a deal. Summer is when the sun's at its hottest and the crowds most dense, while spring offers moderate temperatures with a chance of rain. To experience the city at its most atmospheric, coincide your trip with November's Arte Biennale or March's Carnevale.

Frequently Asked Questions
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