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  • Venice, Veneto, Italy

Last updated: 19 June, 2023
Expert travel writer: Nicky Swallow

La Serenissima is one of the world’s great romantic destinations, a unique and exotic city built on water by architects who looked to Constantinople, Cairo and Aleppo rather than Rome or Florence.

Home to some of the world’s finest painters – Bellini, Titian, Tintoretto – barely a church is without a masterpiece. Yet so spectacular is the city with its narrow calle (streets) and quiet campi (squares), polychrome marble palaces and gondola-dotted canals, it’s a pleasure just to wander and observe.

What’s more, Venice is no mere floating museum; the Biennale and Punta della Dogana contemporary art centre add a thoroughly 21st-century vibe.


A fish-shaped island bisected by the serpentine Grand Canal, Venice is divided into six sestieri (neighbourhoods), each of which possesses its own unique charm.

St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco), with its serried arcades and exquisite basilica, is still the city’s beating heart but is often flooded with tourists; it’s at its best after dark.

For world-class art, including the Accademia Gallery and Peggy Guggenheim Museum, head for elegant Dorsoduro. For a picturesque, local feel, head to Cannaregio and Castello.

Tours, tickets & transfers


Our selection of the best Viator tours of this destination, plus helpful tickets and transfers

Venice in 1 Day: Walking Tour, St Mark's basilica & Boat tour

  • Venice

If it’s your first time in Venice, see all the highlights of this magical city on a combination walking including St Mark's Basilica and a boat tour on the Grand Canal. From Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square) to the Rialto Bridge, your informative guide will offer historical perspectives on this fascinating medieval city. Plus, you'll skip the long lines at St Mark's Basilica – there’s no need to waste time waiting in lines when you're on vacation!

Price €107

Min age 0

Rating 4.15 / 5 [3331 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Venice In a Day: Basilica San Marco, Doges Palace & Gondola ride

  • Venice

First time in Venice? Maximize your time in the city with a full-day itinerary that ticks off all the most memorable attractions. Stroll across the Rialto Bridge and browse the lively Rialto fish market, then hop aboard a traditional gondola for a romantic cruise along the Grand Canal. Next, access St. Mark’s Basilica and gaze in awe at the stunning gold mosaics. Finally, enjoy skip-the-line entrance to the grandiose Doge’s Palace. This small-group tour is limited to 20 people ensuring a personalized experience.

Price €125

Min age 0

Rating 4.78 / 5 [1682 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Tour of The Real Hidden Venice

  • Venice

Discover the real Secret Venice on a special walking tour with a native Venetian guide! The experience to live the uniqueness of the most authentic local districts. From Cannaregio, admiring its small canals and millenary legends, the tour will take you back in 1400s, learning the stories of the Venetian Republic, full of secrets and mysteries. During this exciting walk you will breathe a 100% local atmosphere, out of the beaten tracks, to admire the real life of Venice with its locals and crafts. The experience will arrive up to Rialto bridge where your guide will show the old trade center from completely a different perspective! Last but not least, an insightful exploration of San Polo where the oldest "mascareri" (creators of Carnival masks) are still working following the tradition of centuries ago. Histories, Legends and Secrets.. from the Venetian eyes!

Price €39

Min age 1

Rating 4.89 / 5 [1097 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Venice Sightseeing Walking Tour with a Local Guide

  • Venice

Explore the most fascinating city in the world with a local guide that knows every corner and secret of it. You will meet your guide in Dorsoduro,at Campo san Pantalon,see the Scuola Grande di San Rocco and the Basilica de' Frari where painter Titian is buried. You will cross Rialto Bridge and walk by Marco Polo House, Campo San Giovanni e Paolo and San Marco Square. The tour lasts approximately 2 hours, it is all outdoor and is available private or in small group. It is a great experience to explore the highlights of Venice in short time led by a local expert that will give you precious suggestions on your holiday in the city. The Small group tour is offered in English language , if you choose the private option it can be offered in English, Italian, Spanish and German.

Price €40

Min age 0

Rating 4.72 / 5 [785 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Website >

Venice: St.Mark's Basilica & Doge's Palace Tour with Tickets

  • Venice

Join a small group guided tour for a more personalized and interactive experience. Benefit from pre-reserved tickets to make the most of your valuable vacation time. See the major highlights of the city St. Mark's Basilica and Doge's Palace in one 3-hour tour. Explore Venice and its major monuments with an expert local guide with insider knowledge. Leave your tour and guide with enough knowledge to enrich the rest of your visit to this unique Italian city.

Price €97

Min age 0

Rating 4.56 / 5 [273 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Travel advice

When to go

Venice is a busy tourist destination all year round, apart from January; that’s the time to visit if you want the city to yourself in all its misty, ghostly glory. From November to February, and occasionally at other times of the year too, acqua alta (high water) sees the city flooding from water coming up through the paving stones.

It’s jammed for the Carnivale (the two weeks prior to Lent). July is hot, but the Redentore festival on the third weekend, with a sea of boats in St. Mark’s Bay and a stunning fireworks display, is worth the trip. Forget August unless the beach appeals.

May and September are idyllic thanks to clement weather, and the Film Festival is an added bonus in early September.

Getting there and away

Marco Polo Airport, Venice’s international gateway, is just north (4 miles) of the city. The easiest way to get to the city from the airport is via the ATVO bus, which stops at Piazzale Roma on the west of the city.

Alternatively, a taxi to Piazzale Roma costs around EUR30. If you’re staying on the eastern side, near San Marco, consider the Alilaguna waterbus.

Getting around

Due to the city’s diminutive size – you can walk from one side to another in under an hour – and its extraordinary beauty, the best way to get around is on foot (cars are banned). Get a copy of Calli, Campielli e Canali, the only comprehensive map of this labyrinthine city. But at 22cm x 23cm, it’s too big for pockets. Smaller but also accurate is the Italian Touring Club’s 1:5000 Venezia map.

Otherwise, vaporetti (waterbuses) depart from stops throughout the city. For crossing the Grand Canal (there are only four bridges), there are traghetti – public gondolas rowed by two oarsmen that shuttle back and forth at various points. No need for a ticket; you pay the boatman as you board.

Water taxis, available throughout the city and at the airport, are exorbitantly expensive but fast and fun. They’ll also drop you exactly where you want to go.

Where to stay

Venice is small, so rather than stay near the two central hubs of Piazza San Marco and Rialto – both of which are disagreeably touristy – consider the quieter districts.

Castello is truly popolare (local), with a little market on Saturday mornings at Via Garibaldi and washing still strung across the narrow streets.

Lively bars, some with music, line the long canals of Cannaregio, making the area a favourite with younger visitors.

Dorsoduro, home to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and Punto della Dogana contemporary art space, is classy and cultured.

Where to eat or drink

In Venice, it pays to steer clear of the most touristy areas to avoid inflated prices and mediocre food.

Instead, wander through some of the quieter neighbourhoods (along the Fondamenta Misericordia in northern Canareggio, in and around Via Garibaldi in Castello, the area in and around the Zattere in Dorsoduro) to find places where Venetians go to eat and drink.

Venetian resident Monica’s blog about life and food in Venice is a reliable and interesting source of information about the city, and has excellent foodie recommendations.

A fun way to enjoy the ciccheti tradition and to sample the wide variety on offer is to take a ciccheti crawl.

Where to shop

The major international A-list brands such as Gucci and Chanel cluster around Piazza San Marco. A colony of Venetian artisans has set up shop in Castello, near Campo alla Bragora.

Higher up the luxury scale are the galleries, Murano glass and homewares stores close to Palazzo Grassi in the area known as San Samuele.