Sightseeing is the main pastime of visitors to Venice and with so many amazing sights to see it can be hard to cram them all in to one holiday. Stunning renaissance architecture is everywhere you look with some of the most popular sites to visit being the Basilica di San Marco and the Doge's Palace.
The Basilica di San Marco is truly breathtaking and famous for it's wealth of history, beauty of façade and the glorious art work and mosaics commemorating the life of St. Mark. The Doge's Palace is a gothic style palace constructed in the 14th and 15th centuries. The palace was home to the Doge of Venice and is lined on walls and ceilings with beautiful paintings and portraits.
The Ponte di Rialto Bridge is the oldest and probably the most famous in Venice and spans across the width of the Grand Canal. It is lined with tourist shops so is a great place to grab a memento or present to take back home and is a great place to watch the gondolas skim across the water.
There are dozens of churches to visit in Venice, each with its own history and charm, the Chiesa della Salute in particular is beautiful both inside and out. Outside the church is adorned with carvings and decoration around its large dome, inside you will find the famous Pentecostes by Tiziano among other dazzling paintings and decorations.
Across Venice the main core of activity can be found around its bustling market squares. The Rialto markets in Piazza Rialto are where you can find fresh fruit, vegetables and fish or else admire the colourful stalls. The Piazza San Marco is also a busy town square; it is famously a hub for pigeons which only add to the charm of the square which is lined with shops and cafes and comes alive at night when the columns and archways surrounding the square are lit up.
You are spoilt for choice for Museums and Art Galleries to visit including the Gallerie dell'Accademia, the Peggy Gugenheim Collection and the Museo Civico Correr. They all have both temporary and permanent exhibitions of Venetian history and art.
The best way to see the city in one go is to take a gondola ride along the Grand Canal, from here your guide will point out to you all of the major landmarks and provide you with local knowledge to make your trip a little more unique.
Fun Seekers in Venice
Venice holds many carnivals and festivals throughout the year. Venice International Film Festival takes place every year between August and September. It is a great time to celebrity spot and catch screenings of the latest blockbusters to hit the screens at the famous Palazzo del Cinema.
Venice Carnival takes place every February and at this time Venice becomes even more alive as the streets are filled with people in costumes and Venetian masks. There are shows and music and many refreshment stalls where you can get mulled wine, local Bellini cocktails and a local speciality, Fritelle.
If you venture out of Venice and into the surrounding areas you will find activities to satisfy those of you who prefer even more action. Trips and tours to the Dolomite Mountains are run everyday where you can go hiking and mountain climbing. Also visit Lake Garda which is set in some magnificent scenery and where you will be able to try your hand at sailing, rafting, diving, waterskiing and many more.
During the day head west of the Piazza San Polo and you will come across a collection of designer boutiques including favourites such as Armani, Gucci and Prada, also around the vicinity are a number of other boutiques that are well worth a visit.
"Vino" is almost more popular than water in San Marco so a popular activity is to take a tour and go wine tasting. There are a number of facilities in the area to do this and you have a choice of taking a private tour or going with other visitors and sitting down to a meal afterwards which is of course accompanied by a selection of fine Italian wines.
There isn't much of a conventional nightlife in Venice in the way of nightclubs and parties but there are plenty of trendy bars and restaurants where you can spend your evenings. Centrale in San Marco is a fashionable late night restaurant and lounge bar for a relaxing yet contemporary evening and La Mascareta, a wine bar has a vast choice of wines to choose from so there is always something to tempt every palate.
Activities in Venice
Top Tours in Venice:
Romantic Venice - Gondola Cruise
Admire a boulevard of baroque buildings as you stream down the Grand Canal in a gondola...
Hidden Venice Walking Tour
See a different side of Venice on this tour of the not-so-frequented areas of the city...
Grand Canal Boat Tour
Get a different perspective on Venice as you cruise down the Grand Canal...
Private Cookery Lessons in Venice
Shop for ingredients at the Rialto Market and whip up a mouth-watering variety of Italian...
Venice Photography Tour
Explore Venice not as a tourist but as a Venetian, photographing some of its most famous attractions...
View all tours and activities here
Family Fun in Venice
The waterways are always of fascination to children so why not take them on a tour of Venice along the Grand Canal in a waterbus, it's safer than a gondola but just as fun. Spin them tales about the romantic history of Venice as you go along and they will fall in love with the place just as much as the adults.
The Giardini Pubblici is a public garden and a perfect place to take the kids along for a relaxing picnic in the park. There are swings and games to keep them entertained if you want to take time out from sightseeing.
Of course there are plenty of things to see and do in Venice but if those little legs need a bit of persuasion to keep up with the pace then bribe them with exquisite Italian ice-cream and they're bound to keep going just that little bit longer.
Romantic Breaks in Venice
As one of the most romantic cities in the world Venice is the ideal destination for couples in love. A perfect place to pop the question how could anyone say no whilst surrounded by beautiful scenery, lapping water and a twilight dinner serenaded by local musicians. Also a popular location for honeymooners Venice caters perfectly for romantic couples and you may never want to leave. You can take a private gondola ride along the Grande Canal whilst the gondolier sings traditional Italian songs providing the perfect background as you take in the magnificent Renaissance architecture and sail under traditional historic bridges.
Dine at the famous Antico Martini restaurant in San Marco where the former clientele includes Voltaire, Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemingway and many members of the Italian aristocracy.
For a day of pampering and relaxation take an excursion to Lake Garda where you can be treated to an array of Spa treatments or else travel to Verona the setting of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and act out your very own love story.
Top Tips for Venice
Transport There are no cars or buses in Venice, all travel is done via the waterways so bring good flat shoes for hopping in and out of boats.
Be prepared as bridges and boats are not pushchair friendly so you may need another means of carrying around the little ones.
Don't be afraid to get lost in the city, you will find some of the best and most memorable sights in Venice this way to make your holiday even more special.
- Yes - Si
- No - No
- Excuse me – Mi scusi
- Hello – Buon giorno
- Goodbye – Arrivederci
- Thank you – Grazie
- Please – Per favore
- Where is the nearest…? – Dov'e il…piu vicino?
- Do you speak English? – Parla inglese?
- How much is this? – Quant'e per favore?
- What time do you open/close? - A che ora apre/chiude?
- I would like… – Vorrei…
- Do you have…? – Avete…?
- Do you have a vacant room/double room? – Avete camere libere/una camera doppia?
- I have a reservation – Ho fatto una prenotazione
- Do you have a table for two? – Avete una tavola per due?
- I am a vegetarian – Sono vegetariano/a
- The bill please – Il conto, per favore
Cost of a pint of beer:£3.00