Top 10 Things to Do in Venice

If you were to ask the Venice tourism office what there is to see and do in the city, you’d likely be given a long list of “must-see” sights and attractions – but only a fraction of those are actually what most people would consider “must-see.” You want to know what the real top sights in Venice are so that you don’t miss anything – especially if you only have a short time to spend in the city – but you don’t want to be tricked into paying a hefty admission fee for some tourist trap.

So here are my recommendations for the Top 10 Things to Do in Venice. I’ve listed them in descending order from the one I think is most critical, so if you’re on a really tight schedule you can check them off from the top down and get as far as you can. And if you think I’ve missed something important here, or that I’ve got them in the wrong order, I welcome your input. It’s still a list of my recommendations, so I can’t guarantee I’ll agree with you, but I do welcome your input nonetheless!

>> Wanna know what’s fabulous? You can do all of these things in (and more) in my suggested 2-day itinerary in Venice.

Top 10 Things to Do in Venice (According to Jessica)

  1. Get Lost in Venice
    There is nothing, I repeat nothing, that is as important when you’re visiting Venice than just wandering aimlessly through its streets and alleys. If you only had 3-4 hours in the city, I’d recommend that you do this before you set foot inside a single museum or attraction – it’s that critical to enjoying your visit. By wandering (especially if you point yourself in the exact opposite of the direction where the herd is going) you can find Venice’s many charming and often-empty squares and streets, which goes a long way toward helping you appreciate the city. I’d almost say you could ignore basically everything else on this list and just stroll around without a map… But although I might not go that far (again, unless you’ve only got 4 hours or less), I do consider the sentence “get lost in Venice” an order, not a suggestion.

  1. Visit St. Mark’s Basilica
    I love visiting churches in Italy, but this is – by far – my favorite church in the country. It’s beautiful outside, with its big onion domes and multi-colored marble pillars, and the interior is floor-to-ceiling mosaics. There’s no fee to tour the main part of the basilica, and even booking an entry time online (so you don’t have to wait in the sometimes-long line out front) is free, so after you’ve wandered the city this should be your next stop. There are three smaller museums within the basilica which you’ll have to pay an entry to see; your budget and overall interest should dictate whether you visit all of them, but if you’re just going to pick one then by all means take the narrow and steep staircase in the entry alcove up to the museum that has the original horses which used to overlook the square – in addition to seeing the horses, you’ll also get to go out on the roof and overlook the square yourself.



  1. See St. Mark’s Square When it’s Empty
    I know in #1 I said that you should point yourself in the opposite direction to where all the tourists are going, and since 99.9% of them are headed for St. Mark’s Square you may find it a little surprising to find this piazza so high on my to-do list in Venice. But the key here is to visit the square when everyone else isn’t there. Of course, in order to do this you’ll probably need to spend at least one night in Venice, but I can think of worse things to “need” to do. The best times to catch St. Mark’s Square at her most vulnerable are early morning and late evening, before the day-trippers arrive or after they’ve left. Venice isn’t a nightlife town, so it doesn’t take long after the restaurants close for the square to be emptied of much of the crowd. Personally, I like it best at night, but I’ll leave the choice to you.

  1. Take the #1 Vaporetto for a Grand Canal Tour
    I think the easiest and most pleasant way to get around Venice is on foot, but the Grand Canal only has a few bridge crossings and taking a ride on Venice’s water-buses is a fun transport method. Even beyond the practical reasons for taking a vaporetto, however, there’s the fact that the slow #1 vaporetto that runs the length of the Grand Canal is the ideal equivalent to a city bus tour. I’d recommend either bringing along a self-guided tour (Rick Steves has a good one in his guidebook) so you can pick out the sights along the way, or just sitting back and enjoying the view no matter what the significance of the buildings is. You’ll enjoy the ride either way, even more so if you’ve got a good seat and some gelato.

  1. Watch a Glass-Blowing Demonstration on Murano Island
    This is kind of a tricky one, because so many of the glass-blowing demonstrations on nearby Murano Island are very tourist-trappy, but I have it on this list for a couple of reasons. First, most people I know have never seen anyone do glass blowing or glass sculpture, so it’s entertaining and educational even if it is touristy. Second, visiting another island in the Venice lagoon is a great idea during your stay, and since Murano is closest it’s the easiest one to visit (especially if you’re short on time). If you want to avoid the overly touristy glass demonstrations, catch a vaporetto to Murano (instead of a boat booked by your hotel or a particular glass shop) and walk around the streets until you find a studio that looks relatively open. There are more glass-blowing studios on Murano than just the touristy ones.

  1. Tour the Doge’s Palace
    Right next (and partly connected) to St. Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace is arguably the second most important “attraction” in Venice after the basilica (if you don’t count the city itself as an “attraction”). While there are several good reasons to pay the hefty admission fee to tour the Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale in Italian), probably the most popular stop on the tour is when you get to walk over the famous Bridge of Sighs. You can see the bridge from the outside without buying an entry ticket, but the only wa to walk on the bridge yourself is as part of a Doge’s Palace tour.

  1. Take the Elevator to the Top of the Campanile
    While you can get a great view of St. Mark’s Square from the roof of St. Mark’s Basilica, you can’t get a great view of the church’s roof when standing on it. For a view that includes both the basilica and the piazza, buy a ticket for the short elevator ride to the top of the Campanile, or bell-tower, that’s in front of the church. The views are great, and you get an up-close-and-personal look at the big bells that you’ll hear ringing out the time all over the city. If you want to avoid getting your ears blown off, I’d advise making the trip to the top of the tower at something other than the hour mark.

  1. Wander the Streets of Burano Island
    With a little extra time in Venice, after your visit to Murano take a vaporetto further into the lagoon for a trip to Burano Island. In general, the further you get into the lagoon from the core Venetian islands, the less crowded they get – Burano is usually less crowded than Murano, for instance. And with its almost cartoon-like brightly colored buildings, it makes the perfect backdrop for a stroll. Seriously, the colors are so brilliant and cheerful, I defy you to walk around Burano for even a half-hour and not have a smile on your face. Go ahead, try it.


  1. Take a Hike on Torcello Island
    Got even more time? Even more sick of the crowds in Venice? Then get back on the boat and take the trip to my favorite of the lagoon’s islands – Torcello. It’s a short trip from Burano, but can take up to an hour if you go straight to Torcello from Venice. Either way, it’s the ideal spot if you’re in the mood for less structure and more nature. Most of Torcello is a nature reserve, and while you can’t actually go hiking out in the fields, you can certainly get away from the tourist hordes and enjoy the tranquil view. There are roughly 20 people who still live on the island, and there’s only one (super expensive) hotel, although there are a few places to eat. The main “sight,” which I happen to just adore, is a 7th century church on the island with more exceptional mosaics (a must if you liked St. Mark’s).

  1. “Window” Shop at the Rialto Market
    If you’re not a foodie, this may not be something you’d put in your top 10 Venice experiences… But I love food, and I love food markets. In Venice particularly, I think a food market is as culturally interesting as it is food-related. After all, this network of islands isn’t exactly teeming with vegetable gardens or grocery stores (not sure if you noticed, but there’s a lot more water than earth going on here). So visiting the famous Rialto market is a great way to see how real Venetians get their food supplies. All the locals shop here, from restaurateurs to ordinary folk just stocking their kitchens. The Rialto market is particularly known as a fish market, but there’s plenty of fresh veggies and fruit for sale as well. If you’re doing more than just browsing, remember that you don’t handle the merchandise until after you’ve paid for it – point at what you want and the vendor will choose and bag it for you. (As a bonus, it’s within sight of the Rialto Bridge, which is certainly worth a little bit of space on your camera’s memory card.)

You may have noticed that going for a gondola ride in Venice isn’t on my list. I know that for many people it’s one of those things that they feel like they have to do in Venice or they’ll feel like they haven’t been to Venice. I may be in the minority on this one, but I feel like gondola rides are way overpriced, and not nearly the quiet/romantic experience you might expect them to be. So not only isn’t a gondola ride in my top 10, it’s not on my Venice to-do list at all.

>> Find out more about what to do in Venice

>> Be sure to read my 5 best Venice travel tips, too.

original photos, top to bottom, by: Janrito Karamazov, penner42, mookiefl, sharedferret, VaakOpStap, Mr G’s Travels, Eustaquio Santimano, Paweł Stankiewicz, dachalan, Argenberg, and Diana Havenhand

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78 thoughts on “Top 10 Things to Do in Venice

  • Jessica

    Great article! I especially agree with getting lost and seeing Piazza San Marco at night. If you have to get lost anywhere, I’d suggest my favorite neighborhoods, which are Canareggio, Dorsoduro, and a spin on the Giudecca. A few things I would add to my list would be a visit to the Frari church and Scuola di San Rocco to see the great masters Titian and Tintoretto and at least one experience at a wine bar to sip on some wine and snack on cicchetti.

  • Jessica Post author

    Great suggestions, Jessica! And Rene, I would expect nothing less from you than a kayaking suggestion. 🙂 Perhaps after I take you up on your offer to go kayaking in Venice I’ll have to revise my list!

  • Eva

    Yes, Yes, YES! I love this list. I missed out on #6 and #7 (the result of being cheap and scared of heights, respectively) but managed all the rest. You’ve absolutely nailed Venice with #1, and I loved my day trip to the other islands!

    For people who want a bit of structure to their wandering, I used the Chorus Pass (5 euros if you have a “Rolling Venice” pass already) to get me out and wandering aimlessly in all the different neighbourhoods. It grants admission to 16 (16!) churches, and I know not everyone’s as big a church nerd as I am, but hunting for the various spots, in obscure parts of the city, was absolutely wonderful.

  • Jessica Post author

    I’m terrified of heights, Eva, but I liked the trip to the top of the Campanile. I didn’t go up to the edge, but the view is still pretty incredible. 🙂 And that’s a great tip about the Chorus pass, I need to write about that soon…

  • rosaria

    Great article. I would suggest that someone do a list of sights for ‘senior’ travelers, for people who can’t navigate stairs and difficult terrain. I like the idea of skipping gondola rides. One can find all the romance one needs just by walking along the Grand Canal.

  • David

    Find house number 1 and house number 2009 (i.e. the year you visit). This is an advanced form of getting lost/wandering.

    My favourite part of Venice, however, was the “embassy” buildings sitting in the forest at the western end. Spooky!

  • Jessica Post author

    David, that’s a really fun idea! I’ll have to try that next time I’m there. You could also add finding the house of the year you were born, got married, etc. What a fun game! 🙂

  • Bob

    Just back from a week in Venice. I would recommend going off-season to avoid the heat and the crowds. A 12 hour vaparetto pass is all you need to visit the islands and a 50 cent traghetto ride across the Grand Canal is a more authentic and infinitely cheaper alternative to the gondola experience.

    As Jessica and others suggest, don’t be afraid to wander off the beaten path. As an example, set yourself the task of finding Calle Varisco, the narrowest lane in Venice.

    Venice is ruinously expensive and the pound/euro rate doesn’t help right now but it’s still possible to eat well if you are careful. My top 3 recommendations are the kosher restaurant Gam Gam near the Ponte Guglio and the Jewish Ghetto (make sure your order includes the Israeli starters and latke), La Zucca in Santa Croce (reservations essential) and Trattoria Busa alla Torre, Da Lele on Murano (open for lunch only).

  • Jessica Post author

    Thanks for the tips, Bob! I also prefer going to Venice in the off-season, but I maintain that it’s possible to get away from the crowds even during the high season if you just wander enough. (This is probably infinitely more challenging during the Carnival, but that’s another story!) The overall expense of Venice can be a difficult pill to swallow, however, and going in the off-season does mean you’ll be faced with lower prices on hotel rooms and such. So, yet another vote for avoiding the peak season!

  • psykhe

    Well, I live in Treviso (half an hour by train from Venice) and been more then 10 times to Venice. I agree with number 1 on your list… there is nothing like getting lost in Venice! When I go to Venice and don’t get lost, I don not enjoy it so much… if you get lost, there is so much there to discover, from beautiful views on the canals to small monuments, stores and so on.
    Anyway, I think that one should see Rialto, San Marco and Ponte dei Sospiri, even if they are extremly turistical.
    Also, there is nothing like spending a night in Venice. I stayed once until 5am and really enjoyed it. It was still crowded as there is a big party at Redentore (3rd Sunday of July, traditional party, focus is on Giudecca).
    I have also visited some islands around and I loved Burano. If you have time it is really worth visiting. I was less impressed by Torecello (it was windy and rain, maybe this ruined it a bit).
    The view from Campanile it is also worth it… beautiful and you get the real dimension and feel of the city.
    I agree that gondola ride is not a must, I did not do it yet: expensive, crowded and everybody will make pics when you pass under the bridges, so deffinetly not romantic. Of course, if you are not on a low budget, in “off season” (if there is any) it could be nice.

    • chamicrac

      I have just started researching our family visit (first time) to Italy in April 2011 and am very interested in all the comments on this blog especially your’s. My husband is trying to track down his blood relatives in San Fior who he has never met being that he was adopted at birth to an Australian family. We would like to make a day trip to the village but we are unsure how to get there from Venice or if there is a bus service in and out of the village? I believe it is North East of Treviso..Are you familiar with the area? If not can you suggest where I may go to arrange some transport?

  • Amy

    Uhmmm . . .i just have one question for Jessica. Who are you suppose to be? Like a world traveler that figures out the top things to do where and post it for people to read?

    I mean don’t get me wrong, this is great but it’s just that some people may not have the same tastes as you do. I was looking for a full list of attractions in Venice, not a top ten list from someone who I don’t know and don’t have the same likes and dislikes as.

    • Robyn

      Well, if you don’t want to do what Jessica has said then look somewhere else where it says the top 10 things attractions where every other person is going! Life’s about exploring and doing the unexpected in my mind and Venice is perfect for this! I think she’s got it pretty perfect! Also, Venice is a place of exploring, if you want All Inclusive 5* Spa with Swimming Pool then don’t go to Venice!

    • LeeJS

      This must surely be the dumbest comment, in any forum, on any website, on any subject in any language, EVER.

      haha my girlfriend just posted me a link to this and said read it. I barely could for laughing at your stupidity.
      Thanks for making my day, pls post more links to your comments for when i need a laugh.

  • Jessica Post author

    Hi, Amy:

    I’m not sure you actually read the top of this post, where I say that these are *my* recommendations for the top things to do in Venice, and that they won’t be everyone’s top things to do. I’m also guessing you missed the long list of other Venice-related articles linked on the menu on the right near the top of the page, and the main Venice page where you’ll find lots more articles I’ve written about this city I dearly love: 🙂


  • Adam

    im planning a trip to venice, would you reccomend how long for? was thinking 4 days. will that leave me enough time to experience the best of venice?

  • Mike Hill

    This site was way more informative and fun to follow and the advice would be applicable to people of any age. The recommendation on “getting lost” (this could also be expressed as rambling aimlessly) introduced us to some unlikely sites, that get no or little mention in any of the guide books. Basically if you wanted one place to find information and useful tips (especially about the food) upon visiting Venice, then look no further than this site.

  • Dylan Marsh

    Hi Jessica, thanks for your fantastic site,probably the best recommendation site I’ve read!
    We’re hoping to go to Venice in late December for my wife’s 40th birthday, can you think of anything/anywhere to go/do that would be truly special?

    Thanks Dylan

    • Jessica Post author

      Venice is, as I’ve mentioned, quite crowded year-round – even when it’s cold in December. You didn’t say what your budget was, but one thing you might consider (and you’d have to book it soon) is an overnight on the island of Torcello in the Locanda Cipriani. It’s a small boutique hotel run by the same family that runs the extremely posh Cipriani Hotel in Venice, and since Torcello is further out and pretty quiet even during the day it would be especially romantic at night when the day-trippers leave. There’s a very good restaurant at the hotel, too, and if you get lucky and see snow falling while you’re there it’s even more dreamlike.

  • Deb DiPreta

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  • Marta Ruiz

    Loved you reccomendations on Venice.
    I never would have dared to print that that was number one in Venice “getting lost” though I truly felt that way as well.
    I also live close by, in Trieste.
    I read your blog this morning after spending yesterday wandering with my daughter.
    Your blog inspired me to go to Murano today with my daughter which I never would have thought to do otherwise, dismissing it as too touristy.
    But with the attitude of getting lost that you put forth, it took the pressure off and my daughter loved it.
    So thanks, I will share your great website with other friends that come to visit.

  • Charlene

    Jessica, you mention that you need to book a Doge’s Palace tour to cross the Bridge of Sighs. Is it the regular tour or the “Secret Tour”? I’ve read good and bad about the Secret Tour. We’re going to Venice in August before our Med cruise and my husband wants to walk across the Bridge of Sighs so I need to know which tour to book.


    • Jessica Post author

      I’ve not heard of a “secret tour” for the Doge’s Palace, Charlene – the tour I took was the normal guided tour of the palace and adjacent prison, which is accessed via the Bridge of Sighs. I joined the English tour that was listed at the ticket window of the Palace itself, too, so check there to see if there’s one that leaves when it’s convenient for you – then you don’t have to book anything in advance.

  • Tiffany Hamilton

    Hi Jessica, thank you so much for your list of top 10. I lived in Italy when I was very young and although memories are kind of foggy, Venice was a must see/do again. My husband and I are doing a Med cruise in September for our 10 year anniversary and we fly into/start in Venice. We will only have about 4-5 hours to take it all in so your top ten list is really helpful. I am thinking 2, 3 (during the day) and 6 would be great to get the feel with a possible 1 if time permits. Do you think this is doable in that amount of time? I would love to do 5 as I went on a tour when I was a kid and still have some pieces of glass but I am not sure of the time. Also, where would you recommend we go for an amazing bite to eat – this is the first time my husband will have gone overseas so I want him to experience it all and authentically 🙂 I am also planning our budget so was wondering what the tour costs would be – I noticed that you said some of them were pricey. Thanks again – now I just need to find info on Barcelona, Black Forest in Germany and Amsterdam LOL

    • Tiffany Hamilton

      Sorry – I forgot to mention that I also want to do 7 as well so 1 and 5 would be alternates if time permitted.

    • Jessica Post author

      With 4-5 hours, I really think your time is best spent visiting St. Mark’s Basilica (which is free to get into) and spending at least an hour wandering aimlessly. You don’t have to spend much time in the Basilica, although sometimes the line to get in is long (especially when you’re part of a cruise ship trip – everyone heads for the Basilica first thing). If you can get in without a huge wait, then you’re in luck.

      After you get out of St. Mark’s, you can certainly do the Doge’s Palace tour (admission fees are listed from the Doge’s Palace link above), but I truly think it’s more valuable to wander into the more remote corners of the city instead. The cafes around St. Mark’s are routinely overpriced and not very good, so you’re more likely to find better food by getting well away from the tourist crowds, too.

      Here’s a list of some places to eat in Venice (these aren’t my personal recommendations, it’s a compilation of many reviewers out there):

  • Nora

    I am so glad I found your articles. I was agonising between spending one night in Venice or one night in Rome given my rushed itinerary, and your articles convinced me. I was in Venice for a brief visit many years ago and being on the steps in St. Mark square listening to the music from the grand piano late in the evening was truly magical. I guess I just have to toss two euros in the Trevi Fountain on my passing stop in Rome and hope to return soon to do the rest. Is it safe for a solo female traveller to stay out and wander alone at night in Venice? Thanks again for the great articles.

    • Jessica Post author

      I think Venice is very safe, partly because it’s not a late-night city – if you’re easily spooked by dimly lit alleys, however, it could be a bit creepy. I’ve always said it’s the ideal city for a murder mystery book (and I’m obviously not the only one who thinks that), but in real life I’ve never felt unsafe there by myself at any hour.

  • lisa

    I really liked this list – we have been to Venice several times and actually rented an apt in Murano on our last stay and it was AWESOME! We always go off season, so maybe that’s we we love it so.
    I agree with most everything you suggested with one exception. We went to Venice for our Thanksgiving one year, and it was the weekend they were putting up all of the Christmas lights – beautiful! Against mostly everyones suggesting that gondola rides were too expensive and not worth it, we did it anyway, and will NEVER regret it. Go as late as you can find someone to take you. The quiet canals, beautiful lights, and shimmering moon on the water did make it one of our most romantic experiences ever. It can happen, I am here to tell you! Take a chance, and enjoy it!

  • Annie

    One thing we did, which was less expensive than a gondola and more fun, was take a water taxi back from Lido. (we took the #1 vaporetto there) We flew through the water, then around the island, where we could see San Michelle and Murano from the boat, then through a few canals. It was great fun.

    The Pope had followed us there from Rome, so unfortunately things were VERY crowded and San Marco’s was closed to the public…It was tough to get around the San Marco area so we didn’t even try for the Doge’s Palace (see also: crowds from cruise ships). We did manage to get lost and enjoyed every second of that, though!

    • Jessica Post author

      That does sound fun, Annie – thanks for the suggestion. And really, how rude of the Pope to follow you… 😉

  • maria

    Hi.i will travel to rome on tueseday.i stay in italy for 3days.i love can i travel to venice?can you help me?

    • Jessica Post author

      With only three days in Italy, I think you should stay in Rome – or spend your entire trip in Venice. But that doesn’t seem like a good idea, if you fly in and out of Rome. Enjoy Rome, and return on another visit to see Venice!

  • Eric

    Hi Jessica, great site. It has provided a lot of information in preparation for our upcoming trip to Rome, Florence & Venice (we leave in 10 days – woo hoo!!!). Do you have any gelateria recommendations for when we are in Venice. Grazie, Eric.

    • Jessica Post author

      I’m glad the site has been helpful to you! When you asked about recommended gelatere, I immediately went to the Tour del Gelato site to see what the Venice listings were like – and found there aren’t any at all!

      So, here are some places that I found with recommendations you might try (I don’t have any personal favorites in Venice):

      • Eric

        Thanks Jessica, it looks like I will need to try as many as I can and do my own taste testing. I know, tough job, but someone has to do it. If I find any that I really like, I will be sure to pass the info along.

          • Eric

            Jessica, just back from an incredible 10 days in Italy. I can’t thank you enough for the great information on your site. It was a huge help (and per your tip, gelato just about every day – had to sample other local specialties too). As for gelato in Venice, Il Doge was excellent, and though we did not get a chance to try, Gelateria Alaska looked great (it was closed the night we went by after seeing it in the afternoon). Also grabbed the sweet treat @ a local GROM location. It was good, but not in the class of Il Doge – my green apple was so fresh, I almost was expecting a “crunch” sound. Also, is it me or does Venetial gelato almost have a bit more of an American ice cream body & texture. It seemed like gelato in Rome & Florence was lighter & creamier. Thanks again!!!

      • Jessica Post author

        I’m so glad you had a good trip, Eric! And thanks for checking back in regarding the gelato in Venice. Grom is a chain in Italy, but it’s an excellent chain – they’re even in New York now – so I would expect the quality of Grom to be roughly the same everywhere. I’ll have to make a note of your Venetian gelato recommendation, however, for my next visit!

  • Gaurov

    Hey Jessica..may I know if there are any hostels or cheap hotels in Venice or near the places of interest as I am heading there by with my gf on a backpacking trip.Kinda on a budget as I am flying from sunny Singapore..might stay for 4-5 days..

  • John P

    Best advice we got anywhere was to plan on getting lost, enjoy getting lost and go with it from your site. First day was a bit frustrating then read your comments and made the next two days in Venice the best time of out Italy trip. Relax, get lost and enjoy! Thanks do much!

  • rohit


    Certainly great article. I have made booking for my honeymoon from 12th march in venice. the hotel is 5mins walk from san marco. seems got that one right. But certainly would need some suggestions in what all to see and typically is weather expected to be welcoming

  • Robyn

    Hi Jessica!

    This is a fabulous page! I am going with my friend in March for 4 days so we can explore and get lost lots!! Can’t wait! Can you suggest any amazing cafes or restaurants?? (That are also not too expensive!!)

    Thanks!! 😀

  • Chitra

    Hii Jessica..

    I am planning to visit Italy from 01,03,12 to 05,03,12. My present plan is to fly from Frankfurt to Rome on 1 March, then travel from Rome to Venice on 02,03,12 night …enjoy Venice for 2 days and leave from Venice on 4th night to Pisa and then from Pisa, back to Frankfurt on 5th MArch.

    Can you please let me know if there is any travel pass in Italy or I should book the tickets between Rome-Venice-Pisa seperately.

    Thanking you in anticipation,


    • Jessica Post author

      I’m not sure what you mean by a travel pass for Italy, do you mean a Eurail Pass? Depending on what country you’re a resident of, you can get a Eurail Pass – but you’ll need to do some figuring to see if it’s the best option for your particular itinerary. Go to this page:

      And go to the section that says “Buying an Italy Rail Pass vs. Buying Train Tickets” – you’ll find more information there about how to figure out which option is best for you.

  • Annabelle

    Hi Jessica,
    thank you for the great Top 10 lists and tips on seeing Venice. Planning a trip in late August – I know peak tourist season, but that can’t be helped this time. Where can I buy a Chorus Pass, and what does it give you access to? 16 churches – anything else?

  • Tara

    Hi Jessica!
    Thanks for the great advice! Im going with my mom and aunt in May and we are so excited! We fly into the airport and we stay at a hotel in Lido – is it easy to get to? Also we will be trying to do as much as we can on your list for the two full days we have, but is there a guidebook you would recommend for while we are walking around perhaps? Thanks so much for your help!

    • Jessica Post author

      Here’s my article about getting from Venice’s airport into Venice:

      The Lido is further away than the main Venetian islands, so that would mean if you took the bus or a vaporetto to the main islands you’d have to switch to a different boat to get to the Lido. And if you opt for a private taxi boat, it’ll be a longer (& therefore more expensive) trip. You should email the hotel where you’re staying on the Lido & ask what they recommend.

      Any good Italy guidebook that has a decent Venice section would be fine for your trip. I’ve used both Rick Steves & Lonely Planet in the past, but there are plenty of other good options.

  • momster

    Jessica, do you have a recommendation for a quaint little bed and breakfast for a girlfriend, 24-hour trip? We’d rather have authentic and charming than trendy hotel and spa feel. Love your recommendations and hope to fit the top five in our quick trip.

    • Jessica Post author

      I don’t do accommodation reviews anymore, but I have a few articles on hotels in Venice that are broken into categories you might find useful ( For such a short trip, the main thing I’d focus on is location – on the islands (not the mainland) for sure, and if you want a place that’s a little off the regular tourist path then look for places not near St. Mark’s Square or the Rialto Bridge!

  • Lionel Jacob

    WE will be in Venice 20th Aug to23rd Aug 2012 and found the hints from Jessica very interesting. WE then have aweek in Manarola, then 3 days in Rome. What is the best way to travel from Venice to Manarola in one day? Thank you, regards Lionel.

  • Suzanne

    For the second time in 18 months have visited Venice .. (stayed in Rome took day trips via fast rail)

    My first visit to Venice Oct 2010 .. Just love Venice. Walking through the streets, enjoying Coffee breaks, the people.

    Visited Rome again March 2012 our trip was highlighted again, by visiting Venice.

    Sydney. Australia

  • Keith

    Hi Jessica. It’s our 3rd day in Venice and what a beautiful place. Very crowded this time of year, but just as fun since I love to “People watch”. Just ran across your article while enjoying a Spritz outside at the Hotel Savoia & Jolanda. I echo the positive comments about your recommendations. They may not be for everyone, but for those who like to explore and not spend all of their time shopping, you hit the mark. It’s our first time to Venice and 3-4 days seems perfect. We’ve gotten lost several times and hoping to do some more of that today. For those of you who like to get in an early morning run, the streets and pathways of Venice are great as long as you are done by 8:00am. Once 8:30-9:00 hits it’s like clock work with the bell towers going off and the boat loads of interesting people show up.

    I totally agree about skipping the Gondola ride, unless you don’t care about spending $100 U.S. for a short 20-30 minute boat ride while thousands of people stare and take pictures of you as you pass under every bridge. If you have to say you did it, I’d recommend finding a few other people to split the cost with since most of the gondolas seat 6 people.

    Well, off to get lost again and then leaving Venice tomorrow. Going to see If you have any recommendations for Rome before we take the train down in the morning.


  • Amy

    I visited Venice a couple of weeks ago and the most amazing part was getting up at 5am one morning and heading out to try and get lost! All the other tourists were still in bed, it was just us and the locals getting ready for the day, setting up stalls and boats bringing in deliveries etc. We found ourselves overlooking Isola di San Michele just as the sun rose – it was just magical! After wandering around, completely lost, we eventually ended up at St Mark’s Square – empty! We then rode the Vaporetto back to our accommodation not far from the train station where it stopped at every stop, taking all the locals to work – took nearly an hour. It was the most perfect morning and a real highlight of my whole 6 week European trip – I highly recommend it! 🙂

  • may

    Jessica – wonderful read! I just lost a whole day of work 🙂
    I decided that beginning next year, each year I will learn the language and travel to a new country for a month. I am planning on traveling to Italy in May, beginning in Venice per your “perfect 2-week itinerary”. If you could add one more week to it, what would it include? I love the agriturismo idea in Tuscany. Maybe a stop/day trip in Bologna, Genoa and Siena? I love food, architecture and nature.

  • SUE

    Visited Venice in Dec 2012 cold but I suspect infinitely quieter than in the warmer seasons. Getting lost in Venice is fantastic. I would suggest a visit to th Accademia, a former nunnery/art school building, now housing some jaw dropping art works. My husband accompanied me to humour me but we ended up spending a good 4 hours there – fab. Also worth a look, the former naval dock yard, the Arsenale, for the impressive sculptures outside alone, worth a visit. Otherwise, just wander, its a real live 15th century, un spoilt theme park. Going back in 3 weeks to celebrate my sons 30rh birthday, can’t wait.

  • TravelerSrb

    Venice is the best place in the world. When you walk through its small streets or even if you are in a boat, you will feel like you are in a middle age! If you visit it during the festival, you will be sure that you are in a middle age! 🙂

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