Are you planning to visit Venice, Italy, and wonder all that there is to see and do?
Venice, Italy, is an iconic city of canals that received 4.7 million tourists in 2019 and has much to see and do. To see Venice, Italy correctly, we recommend spending two nights. However, if you have just an afternoon or one night, you’ll be delighted none the less.
Venice, the capital of the Italian region of Veneto, is a strikingly beautiful city that attracts countless visitors from all over the world.
Interestingly, Venice is a city comprised of 118 islands, all united by 400+ bridges. The cobbled streets with cafes and shops and the islands in the shallow Venetian lagoon, connected to the canals, combine to make this floating city truly unique.
The two main areas to walk back and forth, are Rialto Bridge to Piazza San Marco (St. Marks Square in English.) Indeed, it’s a short walk of about 20 minutes between these two main areas. Once you’re familiar with this route, you can start to explore further and further out.
How to Get to Venice
There are many ways to reach Venice, but during the week there are three possibilities: by train, plane, or car.
The local airports in Venice are Marco Polo, and a little further out, Treviso. Beware that it will take about 40 minutes to get to Venice, and you can take a bus or arrange for private transportation. In any event, we recommend Marco Polo.
If you go to Venice by train, you will want to arrive at Santa Lucia station. To be sure, getting to Venice by train is one of the best ways to get to Venice as you will start on the Grand Canal. But, be careful, there’s another train station called Venezia Mestre, which is not the one you want!
If you drive to Venice as Andrea and I often do, you’ll need to park at the edge of the city, at Piazzale Roma. Then, you can take a Vaporetto where ever you like, such as Piazza San Marco.
What Is The Best Month To Go To Venice
In Venice, the winter is short, crisp, windy, and the streets are much quieter than in the summer months. Venices’ peak tourism season is between June and August. Indeed, during June – August, Venice can be hot and humid, with typical temperatures in around 28C / 82F. Furthermore, if you plan to see Venice, Italy during July and August, you can expect a rather large amount of tourists.
Consider Venice, Italy in the Shoulder Season
If your schedule is flexible, consider visiting Venice Italy in the shoulder season. For example, Venice usually has its best weather for sightseeing in April and May, and September and October. Also, you will find fewer tourists during these months, making seeing and doing things in Venice far more comfortable. To be sure, May and September are my favorite months to see Venice.
When does Venice Flood?
Flooding in Venice typically occurs from November to March. During this period, you might expect what locals call “Aqua Alta,” which means “High Water.”
St Mark’s Square has been flooded several times over the years. On one evening in early June 2020, just after the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak, the water was above my ankles. But, Venetians and shopkeepers were used to it. And I didn’t mind.
Flood defenses (MOSE) designed to protect Venice from floods are expected by 2022 at the earliest. Unfortunately, MOSE has suffered from prolonged delays to construction and a lack of funding. An extraordinary flood swamped Venice on November 12, 2019, causing St Mark’s Square to be closed due to flooding as the Italian city had its 2nd highest tide on record.
St Mark’s Square flooded, causing shops and museums to close as traders tried to lift items out of the water and use a combination of barriers, vacuum cleaners, and pumps to keep the seawater out of their shops. Many were disappointed when officials closed the historic site as the wind whipped up the rising water. Nevertheless, tourists in their best suits and high-end shoes came to watch and photograph the spectacle. Shops and museums in Venice closed in the worst-hit areas of the city, such as the Old Town and the Venetian Quarter.
Although the city has struggled with rising water levels since the 5th century, recent floods have fueled concerns about how vulnerable coastal cities are to rising sea levels associated with climate change, and how we can mitigate them. Sea levels in Venice are three to four meters higher than they were 50 years ago, according to the city’s Tidal Office.
If the weather and number of tourists don’t concern you, perhaps consider visiting Venice during a particular celebration.
The most famous event in Venice, Italy, is Carnevale and is something everyone must see and do, at least once! Carnivale is a winter festival held in February or March, 40 days before Easter, and a final party before Lent (or Ash Wednesday).
Carnivale is well known for its masks, costumes, and parties. Indeed, Venice, Italy, will be quite full during Carnivale. However, the celebratory spirit that permeates the air during the festival makes it all worth it.
Where To Stay In Venice
If it’s your first time in Venice, consider staying near the Rialto Bridge or St. Marks Square. To be sure, if you’re going to see Venice, Italy for just one night or two, you’ll want to be in the ideal locations.
A room for two (double room) in Venice can cost upwards of 300 euros a night, but in the low season, the rooms are much less costly. Many of the best accommodations in Venice, including hotels along the Grand Canal, have become more affordable in recent years.
How Much Money Do You Need In Venice
Venice is not a huge city, but it has a relatively efficient public transport network, which means that you can see a lot in a short time, even if you don’t do everything in one day.
3-4 star hotels cost between 100 and 300+ euros a night during high season. Budget another 100 euros a day per person for food and attractions.
So, for one night in Venice, you might need about 200-300 euros per person, including a hotel. For two nights in Venice, you might need about 400-500 euros per person, again, including the hotel. Could you see Venice for less? Sure, but you’ll be missing out on the best things to see and do.
What Is The Best Day Of The Week To Visit Venice
The best day of the week to visit Venice depends on what you want to see. For example, consider opening hours for the attractions you want to see.
For me, when I visit Venice, I think the best day of the week is when there are fewer tourists. So, I will check to see if there are any cruise ships in town. Also, I generally prefer weekdays over weekends. However, in July/August, all bets are off – every day is the best, and worst day to Venice! Why? July and August are peak months. For example, hotels are the most expensive during July and August, it’s hot and humid, and there are too many people.
As a result, I would say the best day of the week to visit Venice is a Tuesday-Friday either in June or September.
What Is The Weather Like In Venice Italy
At the end of spring, the weather in Venice, Italy becomes warmer, the days longer once will see the rainfall becomes less and less frequent. Indeed, the rain subsides and becomes much lighter. The weather is warm and mostly sunny, the temperatures are pleasant and do not have the humidity of the summer. Since Venice is a year-round destination, mass tourism and large crowds begin in the summer in spring and last until autumn.
The peak tourist season extends from June to the beginning of September, although some would argue that Venice no longer has a low tourist season.
Venice has a relatively temperate climate, with temperatures rarely dropping below freezing during the day and rarely rising sharply. In the summer, expect high temperatures in the mid to upper 20s (28 degrees Celcius in July and August are the warmest months).
Does Venice Smell?
I’ve heard people say, “Be careful in Venice; it smells like poo.”
The canals in summer can be almost as overwhelming as the beauty. I’ve visited Venice in February, June, July, August, & September and never smelled anything other than saltwater in a canal.
However, from time to time, sewage in the canals contribute to the unpleasant smell that tourists complain about. Locals often attribute the smell to naturally occurring seaweed and mud in the canal, while sewage is the real culprit.
What to See in Venice Italy
Once the palace and residence of the Doge of Venice, the Venetian Gothic style palace is now one of the main attractions to see in Venice – do visit it if you can! You can even buy tickets to several attractions, giving you access to both the Ducal Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica. If you want to avoid insanely long queues, buy tickets in advance.
While the exterior of the palace is incredibly decorated, you will be surprised at how incredible the interior has become.
St Marks Square
You will find Piazza San Marco in the heart of Venice. Indeed, it’s the Main Square of Venice, Italy where you will see many attractions, including the doge’s palace and Basilico San Marco.
In summer, when the city is busiest, St. Mark’s Square can feel like the drawing room of Europe. Visit the Square to enjoy a beautiful view of the Mediterranean Sea and the magnificent view of Venice from the top of its highest peak.
Although it is a popular meeting place for tourists and Venetians, the swanky boutiques and outdoor cafes here are extremely expensive, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the atmosphere, stroll around and marvel at the outstanding architecture.
The San Marco Basilica is an excellent example of Italian-Byzantine architecture and welcomes visitors and believers alike. The palace, built in Venetian Gothic style, has expanded its range of tours.
The Rialto Bridge, which runs through the heart of Venice, Italy, the city’s most famous tourist attraction to see, and provides an excellent introduction to the city. There are several things for everyone to do, not just for tourists, but for anyone visiting Venice in the summer months.
What to Do in Venice Italy
Take a Gondola Ride
One of the most iconic things to see and do in Venice, Italy, at least once, is to take one of the gondola rides at some point, so why not take a gondola ride with them? There is no more romantic way to explore the city than by gondola at night. If you are in Venice on your honeymoon, you should consider a night ride.
How Much Is A Gondola Ride In Venice Italy
A 40-minute gondola ride during the day should cost about 80 euros (for two people), and a gondola ride at 7 p.m. costs about 50 euros for a 40-minute ride.
Whether you’re crossing the city of Venice, Italy for a romantic date night, a gondola ride is a perfect thing to see and do.
How Do I Get A Cheap Gondola Ride In Venice
Although gondolas are less practical today, they are still a truly unique way to see the canals of the floating city and a top-rated tourist attraction. The cost of a gondola ride in Venice is quite high at around 80 euros, but it is still a pretty exciting experience and a fun way to explore the floating canal towns. Fortunately, if you’re trying to get a cheap gondola ride to see Venice, Italy, there are other ways to take a gondola ride and cross the Grand Canal in Venice on a budget of just 2 euros.
Ride the Vaporetto
A must-do in Venice is to ride the Vaporetto. I recommend buying a 24, 48, or 72-hour ticket, depending on the length of time you plan to be in Venice. For sure, it will save you money and will pay for itself over and over.
The Vaporetto connects downtown Venice to the furthest outreaches, including Burano and Murano.
What is there to do in Venice at night?
Venice is charming and romantic, especially when you can stroll peacefully along its dimly lit canals. While the shops might be closed, there are lots to see and do in Venice, Italy, at night.
In the Rialto area, there are many restaurants where you can have an aperitivo (Evening snack), or dinner.
Take the Vaporetto (Venice ferry) and ideally sit at either at the front or the back of the boat. There, you will get the best views of the canals and gaze out at the incredible buildings that line the canal.
Also, consider a night time Gondola ride, what could be more romantic than that?
Food & Drink In Venice
Coffee In Venice Italy
Italians are very serious about their coffee. For example, there are rules about when and where do have a coffee.
If you’re wondering how much is a cup of coffee in Venice, the answer is, it depends. For example, at a bar, inside a restaurant, expect to pay between 1- 2 euros for a coffee. However, if you’re sitting down at a table, expect to pay significantly more.
If you want to visit a historic cafe, head to Venice’s Cafe Florian, one of the oldest cafes in Italy. As the oldest café in Italy (Opened December 29, 1720), it has had the pleasure of serving famous guests, including Charles Dickens, Goethe, Lord Byron, and even Casanova. Note: expect to spend as much as 15 Euro for a coffee (at a table)!
Another historic cafe is Caffe del Doge, known perhaps for having the best coffee in Venice. You will find Caffe del Doge in a narrow alley that feels pretty deserted, even in the summer!
Common types of coffee in Venice, Italy
Caffe normale: A simple shot of espresso, usually creamy and delicious.
Caffe doppio: Double shot of espresso. Don’t confuse this with a long espresso, which is different.
Caffe Lungo: A single shot of espresso; however, this one is about 100-150ml. A Caffe lungo will be closer to one might expect from North America.
Cappuccino: A coffee made from a shot of espresso and frothy milk. Warning: Don’t try an order a cappuccino after lunch in Italy – the restaurant will likely deny the request!
Those coming from North America might be surprised that “take away” coffee isn’t popular in Italy, yet. As a result, tourists do not carry many drinks with them outside restaurants in Venice, or anywhere else in Italy.
Local Food of Venice Italy
Italian food is regional, and Venice is a coastal city. As such, there’s no surprise that the food of Venice is primarily seafood.
Cicchetti: While Cicchetti might look like Spanish Tapas, don’t even mention it to a Venetian! First, Cicchetti is small bites of meat (fish, pork, etc.) or cheese, usually on a slice of bread. A stable during pub crawls, Cicchetti is inexpensive, and light.
Off The Beaten Path
Once you’re in Venice, consider moving beyond the tourist hotspots, and you will supercharge your visit.
Take a trip to the old district of Dorsoduro, known for its authenticity, fewer tourists, and low prices. The number of shops here for shopping makes this area the perfect place to stop off, as there are also some great museums and galleries.
Dorsoduro is in the center of Venice, so if you want to spend some time in the center of Venice, take a look.
The Galleria dell’Accademia
The Galleria dell’Accademia is packed with Venetian art from the 14th to the 18th centuries and is a captivating place to visit, especially if you’re a fan of Renaissance paintings. The museum’s collection includes more than 1,000 paintings and sculptures, framed by the towering Campanile, which is home to some of the most famous works of art of all time.
If you plan to visit a favorite tourist attraction such as the Grand Opera House (La Fenice), plan to arrive early.
Free (or nearly free) Things to See and Do in Venice
The Free Walking Tour also shows you some hidden gems and is one of our most prominent tourist attractions, so it’s a must-do it for your Venice route.
If an 80 euro gondola ride is too expensive, there are gondolas you can hire to cross the grand canal for just 2 euro. Sure, the trip only takes 5 minutes, but it’s enough to get a taste! Get your camera’s ready!
You will find churches pretty much everywhere in Venice, and abroad in Italy. For the most part, churches are free to visit. However, they do cost money to keep up. So, if you have an extra euro, consider making a small donation in exchange for the photo-taking.
The two most famous churches in Venice are the San Marco Basilica and La Salute. Both are iconic and astonishingly beautiful to photograph from outside.
See Venice, Italy on Foot
Can You Walk Everywhere In Venice?
Venice has over 118 islands and 400+ bridges, one can easily explore the city on foot.
Just remember, the Venetian roads are very narrow and have no logical flow, so it is easy to get lost a bit. The signage is also non-existent.
As a result, it’s easy to get lost in the labyrinth of many canals and narrow streets. Without a map, you might get lost for a short time.
Usually, I don’t mind getting lost, but if you’re only here for a day, you’ll probably miss some things, that’s not the best way to spend your time.
How Long Does It Take To Walk Around Venice?
Venice is one of the most walkable cities in Italy.
From the Rialto Bridge to San Marco Square, walking should take about 20 minutes. Having said that, if you’re in good shape, you can easily walk 20,000 steps a day in Venice without seeing the same thing twice (well, except for the most famous monuments).
If you want to spend a day or two in Venice, I recommend taking your time and not overscheduling. There is certainly lots to see and do in Venice, and as a result, you have to take your time. If you can only spend a single day in Venice but didn’t want to miss out on some of the must-see attractions, you can easily see the most famous monuments.
Two nights in Venice is the perfect amount of time to see everything the city has to offer.
Is It Safe To Walk In Venice At Night
Venice by night is an entirely different experience from the day and my absolute favorite time to see Venice. When the sun has set, the magic of the city has come into its own, and you’ll never get a better opportunity to admire the soft glow of light from the docks and bridges that light up the canals. These fun activities in Venice at night will help you to be enchanted by the magic of the city after dark.
Most people can only imagine Venice in bright sunlight, but the city is just as breathtaking when the sunsets. Visitors to the magical town under the moon can enjoy spectacular views of the canals, and the Mediterranean Sea. In Venice, there is a lot to do at night, and although everyone is generally well behaved to a certain extent, crowds during the day can often put a small dampener on the experience.
Did I miss anything? Comment below!
Andrea was born and raised in Northern Italy. At the age of 30 he moved to Vancouver Canada. Over the years he traveled extensively in North America, Europe, Central America and Asia. He is passionate about traveling, cruising and travel photography. He likes to write about his traveling and shows his travel photos.