The capital of northern Italy’s Veneto region, Venice is a unique city, filled with tourist attractions, authentic Italian restaurants, and much more in the way of things to see and do. One of the most unique things about Venice is that it has no roads; visitors and locals get around the city on the canals, including the Grand Canal thoroughfare which is lined with stunning Gothic and Renaissance buildings that you simply cannot miss. The perfect destination for a romantic trip, Venice is well-known for its gondola rides, breathtaking architecture, and sumptuous gelato!
If you’re planning a trip to Venice and have recently booked your flights and accommodation, the next step is to plan your itinerary of things to see and do whilst you’re there. We’ve listed some of the best must-see attractions in this stunning Italian city.
#1. Gondola Tours:
Whilst many tourists to Venice are put off by the high prices of the gondola tours, it’s still one of the best ways to see all the main sights of the city. With a gondola tour, you’ll be able to see Venice as it is meant to be; from the water! Since gondola trips are so popular with visitors to the city, you might want to steer clear of the busiest gondola spots in by St. Mark’s Square. Instead, you can head to quieter spots such as San Tomà.
To avoid the queues, you can pre-book your tour online, and with various Venice tours to choose from; there’s no need to see the city from the water alone as many tours also include sightseeing on foot. Along with seeing the main sights from the Grand Canal, visitors who like to get off the beaten path can opt for a trip through the back canals to see more of authentic Venice.
#2. St. Mark’s Square:
Often referred to as the ‘drawing room of Europe’, it’s hard to miss St. Mark’s Square on a visit to Venice. Although it was long known as the symbolic heart of the city, today it’s more likely to be crowded with tourists and pigeons, although this shouldn’t put you off from visiting as it’s the ideal base to explore from.
The sights around this area could take you days to fully explore; along with being one of the main pick-up points for gondola tours along the Grand Canal, you can find the Basilica San Marco, the Correr Museum, Doge’s Palace, and the iconic bell and clock towers amongst many more. Here you can also find a selection of restaurants and food vendors to choose from, whether you’re hoping to enjoy authentic gelato, pizza, pasta, or more!
#3. Rialto Markets:
One of the most popular markets in the region, the Rialto Markets have been going strong for seven centuries! Here you will find stalls and vendors selling a variety of fresh produce and more, from meat to fruits and vegetables, cheese, seasonal produce, wine, and a selection of non-food items such as tourist souvenirs. If you’re stocking up for an authentic Italian picnic during your stay, then this is one of the best places to go for food and more. Just ask – many vendors are happy to give you samples to try on request. The market can be reached by crossing the famous 16th century bridge or by gondola ferry along the Grand Canal. Be aware that the fish market is closed on Sunday and Monday, and the produce market closes on Sundays.
#4. Burano and Torcello:
An hour-long trip from the mainland, these tiny adjacent islands are well worth venturing out for. Burano is a tiny, picturesque fisherman’s village; if you are hoping to return home with some wonderful photos then you will definitely not leave disappointed. Visitors to Torcello will be blown away by the awesome Venetian history, featuring stunning architecture such as a Byzantine church, a small museum, and a bell tower which you can climb to look out at the beautiful lagoon views.
#5. Chorus Pass Churches:
With a Chorus Pass, you will have entry to sixteen different churches in the city, including the hugely popular Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari and Santa Maria del Miracoli, or the ‘jewel box’. If you’re looking for something to do that’s enriched with history, culture, architecture and art, then this is the perfect choice of activity for spending your day in Venice. What’s more, you can even buy passes that last for a whole year, allowing you to use them again and again – perfect for anybody who plans to return soon!
#6. Scuola Grande di San Rocco:
Art-lovers in Venice cannot miss a visit to Scuola Grande di San Rocco, where you’ll find some of the best artwork in the city. A grand Renaissance building, it is home to the lay confraternity and inside you can find walls adorned with the artwork of Venetian schoolmaster Tintoretto, including some of his most famous works such as ‘La Crocifissione’, or ‘The Crucifixion’, which visitors can view hanging in the Sala dell’Albergo side chamber.
#7. Jewish Museum:
Regardless of your religion, the Museo Ebraico di Venezia is a hugely interesting attraction to visit, filled with various archives and artifacts documenting and describing the rich history of Jewish life in Venice. At the museum, visitors can enjoy historic tours exploring the unique high-rise buildings in the city, the old Ghetto, and some of Venice’s historic synagogues. Learn about the culture and more about the different Jewish groups who once lived in Venice for a tourist activity that’s a little bit different from the rest.
#8. Ca’ Rezzonico
History and art lovers will adore a visit to Ca’ Rezzonico, an aristocratic mansion situated on the Grand Canal, where Robert Downing passed in 1889. Today, the building is used as a popular museum, featuring stunning 18th century artwork and offering some unique insights into what life in Venice was once like.
These are just some of the most popular tourist attractions and activities to do in Venice! Would you like to add to this list? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.