Venice is just one of those places you have to visit at least once in your life. It’s an incredibly enchanting city, with so much character that you feel a little like you’re floating around in a Disney movie.
The views across the Grand Canal are so beautiful, and the narrow alleys can lead you to get lost in a city of charm. Everywhere you turn is another incredible view, and a gondola floating by in the distance. It’s one of a kind.
That being said, it is highly recommended to go there during a shoulder season. While Venice really doesn’t have a low season, you really don’t want to be there during the summer months, when the tiny alleyways are so packed with people you can’t even walk around.
The best time to go is actually in the winter, when the crowds have thinned out, the weather is much less stagnant, and the water is cleaner.
What Are the Top Things to Do in Venice?
The top things to do in Venice include walking through St. Mark’s Square, riding a gondola through the romantic, narrow canals, wandering through the Doge’s Palace museum, taking the ferry to Burano, eating at cicchetti bars, taking pictures on Rialto Bridge, and watching the sunset with an Aperol Spritz in hand.
With so many great things to do in Venice, you really need to set up a good itinerary before you leave, to make sure you fit everything in. You can pre-book some of the activities listed in our shortcut travel guide to Venice (below), by using the links below from Viator. (Note: These are affiliate links for which we may receive a small commission.)
- Venice Gondola Ride and Serenade – book ahead to make sure you don’t have to wait in long lines to take the ride you’ve been wanting to take forever.
- Venice Food Tour: Cicchetti and Wine – Cicchetti and wine are two of the most iconic things about Venice. You absolutely can’t miss an opportunity to hop around between bars, eating and drinking with other travelers.
- Legendary Venice St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace – these are two of the most popular activities in Venice and the lines can get really ridiculously long. Plan ahead so you can skip the line.
Video: Top 10 Things to Do in Venice
Check out our YouTube video of the top things to do in Venice. It’s such a lovely city, with its many canals and narrow passages. You can spend your time doing the main tourist activities, or just go out and get lost. Either way, you’ll surely fall in love with Venice.
⇒ Want to get lost? Check out this Venice Off the Beaten Path guide (with video).
Where Is the Best Place to Stay in Venice?
The choices of where to stay in Venice are vast, but we can narrow down where to stay in the city to two areas. When you look up hotels on Booking.com, you’re looking at Venice city center. We narrow that down to the areas around Rialto Bridge and St. Mark’s Square. You will be going everywhere by foot, so it makes the most sense to be in the center of everything.
PRO TIP: Once you’ve booked your refundable hotel room, forward your reservation email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let Pruvo monitor rates for you 24/7 to find a lower price and save you money! Learn more here.
Below are the only two places you need to know. The first is an apartment-style rental and the 2nd is a hotel.
If you’re staying for 3+ nights, I highly recommend this apartment. It’s in the perfect location, is incredibly comfortable and clean, and has a kitchenette. We sometimes prefer an apartment to a hotel so we’re not being bothered by housekeeping. This place is a gem.
If you’d rather stay in a hotel because you like the extra amenities, then Hotel Londra Palace is a great choice. It’s in a very good location, only 5 min walk from St. Mark’s Square, with free wifi and a restaurant. Some rooms have a balcony and an incredible view.
When is the Best Time to Visit Venice?
It’s unfortunate, but very true, that Venice is crowded with tourists pretty much year round. The city receives many large cruise ships that help pack out the narrow streets to a level that makes it almost unwalkable. If you want to avoid as much of that as possible, the best time to visit Venice is from late November to February.
The summer months, from June – August, are arguably the worst time to visit Venice. It gets really hot and humid in the city, and with all those people, it can be a nightmare.
Must-Try Foods in Venice
Cicchetti is one of the most popular foods to eat in Venice. It’s finger foods that can be found in bars everywhere. In the afternoons to early evening, locals sidle up to the bar for some cicchetti and a glass or wine, beer, or a spritz. You must give it a try at least once while you’re in Venice.
Aperol (or better yet, Select) Spritz – Aperol is the bright orange, bitter liqueur that you see in the glasses of everyone you see sitting at a cafe in the early afternoon in Venice. A spritz is a tradition. Mixed with Prosecco and tonic water, the aperol’s bitterness is masked and the drink is actually quite sweet. Try it with Select instead, which is less bitter, more spicy, and can only be found in Venice.
Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia (Squid Ink Pasta) – This is a specialty in Venice that you absolutely must try. It doesn’t look extremely appetizing on the plate – in fact, it sometimes looks downright gross – but I promise you it isn’t. After one bite, you’ll be sold.
Pizza – Nothing new here – you’ve all had pizza – but that doesn’t make it any less of a must-eat while in Venice. We adore the pizza at Rossopomodoro and highly recommend getting in line to try their signature pizza at the location near St. Mark’s Square.
Shortcut Travel Guide to Venice
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Laura Lynch, creator and writer of Savored Journeys, is an avid world traveler, certified wine expert, and international food specialist. She has written about travel and food for over 20 years and has visited 70+ countries.