Famously known as La Serenissima, or the Most Serene, Venice is truly a city unlike any other.
Located in northeastern Italy, Venice is a fever-dream maze of canals, bridges, and historic architecture.
A floating city possessing more treasures than could ever be adequately appreciated in a single lifetime.
It is one of humanity’s greatest artistic and engineering triumphs.
We hope the guide below provides the inspiration and encouragement to begin your journey to the most magnificent city you’ll ever see.
The primary gateway to Venice is the Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE), located on the mainland in Tessera. It’s about 13 km from Venice and offers numerous international and domestic flights.
A smaller option, Treviso Airport, is about 31 km away and caters mainly to budget airlines. (It’s worth noting that Treviso is a beautiful city, well worth exploring if you travel in or out of this airport).
Venice’s Santa Lucia Station is well-connected with other Italian cities like Milan, Verona, Bologna, Florence, and Rome. The scenic train ride offers glimpses of the beautiful Italian countryside before culminating in the heart of Venice.
Upon arriving, one can take a Vaporetto, or water bus, to various parts of the city. It’s not only a mode of transport but also a delightful way to see the city from its canals.
Venice offers many accommodation options tailored to every traveller’s budget and preference.
From luxurious establishments overlooking the Grand Canal to quaint boutique hotels tucked away in narrow lanes, there’s something for everyone.
Bed and Breakfast accommodations provide a homely atmosphere. Locals often run them and offer a unique insight into everyday Venetian life.
Ideal for more extended stays or those wanting a home-away-from-home experience, various apartments, both modern and historic, are available for rent.
Budget travellers can find several in and around Venice, offering a mix of dormitories and private rooms.
For a truly Venetian experience, consider staying in a historic palazzo or a waterside accommodation with a private jetty.
Nicknamed the drawing room of Europe, this iconic and enormous square is the heart of Venice. It’s surrounded by historic structures, including the St. Mark’s Basilica with its stunning golden mosaics and the Campanile, which offers panoramic city views.
The main artery of Venice, this winding canal is lined with palatial historical homes. A gondola ride here will be a must for many travellers (you can book a Classic Gondola Ride for Two with Italy on a Budget).
These iconic landmarks of Venice boast Byzantine mosaics, soaring bell towers, and a historical narrative deeply intertwined with the city’s history and colourful legends.
A symbol of Venice’s ornate architectural splendour, the Rialto Bridge is the oldest bridge spanning the Grand Canal. Nearby, the busy Rialto Market offers a taste of local life, with vendors selling fresh seafood and other Venetian specialities.
This masterpiece of Gothic architecture once housed the Doges, the rulers of Venice. Today, its grand rooms and halls are home to priceless artworks and artefacts.
Venice’s surrounding islands offer unique day trips. The two most popular island destinations are Murano (famous for its glass blowing) and Burano (famous for its lacework). Burano is especially beautiful, with its tiny island streets lined with multi-coloured houses.
Italy on a Budget offers a 4-hour Tour to Murano, Burano, and Torcello – an affordable and convenient way to see 3 of Venice’s notable islands in a single day.
Venice offers an array of unforgettable sights, and whole books could be written on the city’s hidden gems, but below are some of our favourites.
Found on the south bank of the Grand Canal, this world-class art gallery houses a rich collection of Venetian art from the Byzantine and Gothic eras to the Renaissance.
Masterpieces by artists like Bellini, Canaletto, and Tintoretto line its walls, offering a thorough exploration of Venice’s singular artistic legacy.
If you want an extra special experience, book our Guided Visit to the Gallerie dell’Accademia di Venezia.
Often voted the most beautiful bookshop in the world, this book lover’s dream features books stacked in gondolas and bathtubs, a whimsical response to the city’s frequent flooding (acqua alta).
Here, you can also purchase classic literary works about Venice, such as Jan Morris’ Venice and Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities.
Often overshadowed by the more prominent attractions, this historic building houses an impressive collection of Tintoretto paintings.
A window into Venice’s quirky history, this bridge was once the site of fistfights between rival clans, a tradition with its own rules and a dedicated audience.
This was once Venice’s shipbuilding centre and armoury. The Venetian Arsenal is even mentioned in Dante’s La Divina Commedia.
Pay particular attention to the stone lions at the Arsenal – plundered from Piraeus, Greece, in the 17th century, one lion bears runic graffiti from a visit a Viking raid party paid Piraeus in the 11th century.
Venetian cuisine is a delightful mix of flavours, deeply influenced by its maritime history and expansive trade routes:
Located at Calle de la Casseleria, 5324, 30122 Venezia VE, Italy, this takeaway spot serves delicious pots of pasta, freshly made and perfect for a quick, scrumptious meal as you explore the city. It can be a little difficult to find, but you won’t regret the extra effort!
The best bar for craft beer in Venice, this pub sits on the edge of a canal at Fondamenta Diedo, 2420, 30121 Venezia VE, Italy. Its relaxed ambience, hip staff, and excellent outdoor seating make it the perfect place to wind down and soak in the Venetian vibe.
Savor first-class pizza in a setting steeped in history. Located at S. Polo, 2168, 30125 Venezia VE, Italy, this former brewery overlooks a picturesque courtyard, offering a delightful dining experience. This is some of the best pizza in Venice.
While in Venice, don’t miss out on trying local favourites like Cicchetti (small snacks), Risotto Nero (squid ink risotto), and Bigoli in salsa (thick spaghetti with anchovies).
Venice is renowned for its drinks like Spritz and Bellini, a delightful blend of Prosecco and peach purée.
While Venice offers a multitude of shopping opportunities, some stand out for their authenticity:
Murano Island has been the heart of Venetian glass-making for centuries. Here, you can buy exquisite glass artefacts and witness live demonstrations of this intricate craft.
Integral to the famous Venetian Carnival, these masks are available throughout the city, each piece telling its own story.
Burano Island is renowned for its lace-making tradition. A piece of this finely crafted fabric makes for a treasured souvenir.
To truly appreciate Venice, a few considerations can enhance the experience:
While gondolas and Vaporetti are quintessential to the Venetian experience, walking is one of the best ways to explore the city.
However, remember to stay on marked paths and respect private property. Also, it’s easy to get lost, so always leave yourself extra time if you have an appointment or transport to catch.
Spring and fall offer milder weather and fewer crowds. Travellers should keep Acqua Alta in mind, the high-water phenomenon that can flood parts of the city, especially in late fall.
Venetians take pride in their heritage. When visiting churches or other religious sites, dressing modestly is recommended. Additionally, greeting shop owners upon entering and leaving stores is a common courtesy.
Venice’s delicate ecosystem demands responsible tourism. Avoid littering, especially in the canals, and opt for eco-friendly accommodations and tours.
While Venice never fails to enchant guests, the surrounding regions also have a lot to offer:
Just a short train ride away, Padua boasts one of the oldest universities in the world. The Scrovegni Chapel, with its Giotto frescoes, and the Basilica of Saint Anthony are must-visits.
The city of Romeo and Juliet, Verona is renowned for its Roman amphitheatre, medieval old town, and romantic vibes – unquestionably one of Italy’s most beautiful cities.
For wine aficionados, a trip to the rolling vineyards of the Prosecco region promises delightful tastings and picturesque views.
Venetian Lido (home to the Venice Film Festival) offers sandy beaches and a relaxed ambience, perfect for a sunny day outside the bustle of the central city.
With its unique ecosystems, the Po Delta Regional Park is a haven for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts.
Venice remains one of the world’s great tourist cities with its floating palaces, meandering canals, and gigantic art collections. From the bustling Piazza San Marco to the serene canals of its lesser-travelled neighbourhoods, Venice promises memories that last a lifetime.
While its famous landmarks attract tourists from across the globe, remember that the city’s soul lies in its hidden corners, local eateries, and age-old traditions. Explore our Venice Day Tours and Multi-Day Venice Tours to begin your epic Venetian adventure.
If you have any questions, please get in touch.