Updated: Oct 25
Rialto Bridge, gondolas, and canals. Though you might have an idea of what to expect from Venice, it turns out that no photograph, no matter how digitally improved, can do justice to the actual city. However, it takes more than an afternoon to get to know it. You should be a block or two away, admiring artists creating products using Renaissance techniques, seeing shimmering reflections dance on bridge arches, and gawking at marble-clad structures, each more fantastical than the last, while day-trippers stampede from the Rialto to St. Mark's Square. They say the joy of Venice is getting lost, yet no matter how far you wander, a Titian or Tintoretto is never more than a few churches away.
Don't limit yourself to the city, though; getting lost should also be done in the lagoon, where you may take the vaporetto (ferry) to Torcello and Burano, where Venice's history began more than 1600 years ago, as well as the island of glass Murano and the beach-filled Lido. You could live here all your days and still not do Venice credit. But it can affect your soul in just a few days.
Time Zone Venice
Central European Standard Time
Best Time to Visit Venice
Winter, when tourist numbers are at their lowest, is the best season if you wish to avoid the throng. While there is romanticism to it, Venice in the winter is hardly the Venice of people's dreams with its bitter cold, swirling fog, and constant wind and rain. The city is congested and hot in the summer, but it's also the ideal time to visit the lagoon or the beach on the Lido. With the exception of Easter, spring and fall typically offer the best of all worlds. If you visit in late March or early April, you should have fair weather and few crowds. Christmas is often a peaceful time of year, but the New Year is hectic and Carnival (approximately from mid-January to mid-February) is crowded.
Public Transportation Venice
Gondola: Gondola rides are synonymous with Venice and shouldn't be missed, even though they are more of a scenic than a practical method of transportation. Without a gratuity, daytime costs are often approximately €80 ($95) or €100 ($120) at night.
Trains: There are two main train stations in Venice, Venezia Mestre and Venezia Santa Lucia, however only long-distance trains stop there, while local trains travel to the former.
Taxis: The airport, train station, bus station, and Piazza San Marco all have water taxis available. Otherwise, reservations must be made in advance. You should be aware that they cost a minimum of €60 ($72). You can get from the airport to Piazzale Roma for a lot less money by taking a ground taxi (a car).
Buses: The city's public transportation system, the vaporetto, runs 20 distinct lines around the city. The Grand Canal is serviced by water buses that cost €7.50 each for rides that last 75 minutes. Additionally, tourists can purchase a Venezia Unica City Pass (€10) to ride various water buses as well as mainland buses. At Santa Croce's Piazzale Roma, buses from the mainland and regional airports come to an end.
Transportation: Hotels can arrange transportation, frequently using water taxis.
Best Hotels Venice
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Things to Do in Venice
Piazza San Marco
The most popular reason for travelers to Venice is the stunning, waterfront St. Mark's Square. Visit the Basilica di San Marco, a church completely decorated in shimmering gold mosaics, have coffee in one of the chic outdoor cafes (we suggest Quadri), and wander down the Riva degli Schiavoni coastline for those iconic lagoon vistas.
The vaporetto (waterbus) services that travel the Grand Canal also provide breathtaking cruises. Alight at San Zaccaria after boarding the number 1 at Piazzale Roma or the station and making your way past marble-covered palaces, each more magnificent than the last. The number 1 will have passed St. Mark's Square and the Doge's Palace on the route.
San Giorgio Maggiore
Take the elevator to the top of the belltower at this island monastery after admiring the Tintorettos in the huge cathedral below. You'll enjoy breathtaking views of Venice from here; come here at dusk to witness the lagoon turn pink below you.
This magnificent castle, which overlooks the river and served as the ancient Venetian Republic's administrative center, is home to the famed Bridge of Sighs as well as an astounding array of artistic marvels. Take the Secret Itineraries Tour to be shown around the jails and other rooms that are not generally accessible to the public; afterward, you are free to explore the rest of the site on your own.
Burano and Torcello
These two islands are 40 minutes by vaporetto (ferry) from Venice. In contrast, semi-deserted Torcello, where Venice originated, is famous for the Byzantine mosaics in the basilica of Santa Maria Assunta. Burano, a fishing village, is noted for its colorful buildings that make it an Instagram dream (visit early or late to discover the actual town).
Querini Stampalia Museum
One museum in Venice in the allotted time? Choose the one with the ground-floor wing and garden created by 20th-century architect Carlo Scarpa, where the canal is encouraged to lap against specifically planned channels, and the upstairs filled with artwork by artists like Bellini, Tiepolo, and Pietro Longhi.
Teatro La Fenice
The majority of visitors explore the well-known opera theater in Venice, which was reconstructed after it burned down in 1996. Instead, purchase tickets to a performance to enjoy the renowned acoustics and up-close views of the gold-drizzled plaster from your own box.
Lagoon of Venice
The lagoon has acted as both a natural sewage system, with the tides cleaning away the city's canals twice daily, and as protection (the Venetians overcame the Genoese in 1380 thanks to their superior understanding of the navigable channels). Enjoy a Boat tour and the stunning view to the city.
Scuola Grande di San Rocco - Secret for your Travel Guide Venice
The best examples of Tintoretto's work can be seen here. He was a well-known artist in Venice throughout the 16th century. This building's top level is totally covered in his paintings, including the ceiling, making the space a work of art in and of itself.
Stroll along Giudecca
Giudecca is an island that squares up against the city center, and a 20-minute walk along its waterfront rewards you with some of the city's most famous sights, with St. Mark's and the round Salute chapel constantly in the distance. Following the locals into pubs for a spritz along the route is a good idea because this is one of the least touristy neighborhoods.
Visit the Beach Lido
If it's sunny, go to the Lido, a long sandbar off the coast of Venice, to let off some steam after all that culture. Head west for the free area, away from the loungers, on this amazing deep-sand beach.
Ride in the Gondola
Yes, it is pricey. Venice was designed to be seen from the water, so yes, it's worth the effort. However, avoid renting one on the Grand Canal; instead, head down the smaller waterways where public transportation is inaccessible and the only sound is the splash of the boat. For an off-the-beaten-path route, start at the train station.
Neighborhoods to Know in Venice
The most frequented of Venice's six sestieri, or districts, San Marco was once the city's political center. The center is Piazza San Marco, often known as St. Mark's Square, and from there, a maze of winding alleyways known as calli leads to the Rialto Bridge. Although there are treasures here, this is undoubtedly a tourist route.
Though less bohemian than it once was, Dorsoduro, the "hard back" of Venice, which forms the lower border of the city center, is nonetheless home to upscale galleries and quaint boutiques near the Guggenheim Museum. Around the large, bar-lined Campo Santa Margherita square, which is a popular hangout for students, people like strolling along the Zattere waterfront, which is always sunny.
This is Venice at its most medieval, with squeezebelly alleyways, sottoporteghi (cut-out passages beneath first-floor houses), and timber-framed palazzos, on the other side of the Rialto from San Marco. Despite being heavily traveled, there are still local artists present, and because Ca' Foscari University is close by, the area has a youthful vibe.
Most visitors' first impression of Venice is of Santa Croce. But one of the city's most relaxed neighborhoods is right outside the cruise terminal or the bus terminals in Piazzale Roma. This is still one of the most residential places, and a stroll along the peaceful canals is recommended. This Grand Canal's top end is less prestigious but more genuine as a result.
The largest sestiere is also the most difficult to identify. Large, café-lined areas where neighborhood children play football emerge from alleyways behind San Marco that are crowded with eateries and bars. Castello has some of the most beautiful churches, such as the marble-covered Santa Maria dei Miracoli, but the area is best explored on foot, particularly along the Riva degli Schiavoni coastline and in the vicinity of the Arsenale, where the Republic of Venice could destroy a fleet in a matter of days.
What was previously an industrial district has been transformed into possibly the most charming sestiere, complete with broader canals, larger lounging areas, and exquisite palazzos. The Fondamente Nove coastline, to the north of the lagoon, offers breathtaking views of the Dolomites as well as ferry boats to the islands. Cannaregio has long been known for its craftsmen. Today, the Fondamenta della Misericordia is the residents' favorite bar strip.
On the islands, where life continues as it always has, a different view of lagoon life is provided. While the Lido is a huge, miles-long beach, Giudecca, the croissant-shaped island across from Dorsoduro, provides some of the best views in the city. Murano, a city renowned for its skilled glassblowers, is located in the north, past the island of San Michele, which serves as a cemetery. Burano, a fishing island famous for its multicolored homes, and Torcello, where two historic basilicas commemorate the founding of Venice, are both located in the north lagoon, 30 minutes apart.
Weather in Venice
The best time to visit Venice is in the spring, before the summer crowds (and heat) arrive. Although it can get up to 55°F (12 Degrees Celsius) in March and 70°F (21 Degrees Celsius) in May, it feels considerably hotter when the sun is out. Even though summertime temperatures are typically in the low to mid 80s (26 C) , the humidity may be oppressive since it makes everything much stickier. Fall is typically still warm, with average highs of 74°F (23 C) in September and 64°F (17 C) in October. These averages feel warmer when the sun is out. Although it rarely gets below freezing in the winter, the city might feel colder than other places with more snow because of the heavy humidity, fog, and strong winds.