Venice Travel Guide
Venice attracts visitors with the beauty of its canals, its architecture and its works of art. It seduces with its magnificent craftsmen and enchants with its food and drink, available in such delicious places as Versus Meridianem, All’Arco and Impronta Cafè.
Made up of hundreds of islands located in the Venice lagoon, the city can only be visited on foot or by boat. Venice has a peaceful atmosphere that allows visitors to concentrate on enjoying its sights and attractions, such as St. Mark’s Basilica, the Arsenal or the Torre dell’Orologio.
Venice is a city for lovers, with its intimate gondolas and romantic corners, such as the Bridge of Sighs. If you are interested in art, cinema, music or architecture, or simply want to be seduced by a magical destination, you will love Venice.
- Top 5 reasons to visit Venice
- What to do in Venice
- When to visit Venice
- How to get to Venice
- Where to stay in Venice
- How to get around Venice
- Cost of living in Venice
- Where to eat in Venice
Top 5 reasons to visit Venice
The most romantic city in the world
What could be more romantic than gliding in a gondola under the bridges of the Grand Canal with the person you love? Venice has always been associated with lovers, since the days of Casanova.
Thousands of years of history
Venice is one of the most fascinating cities in Europe. For centuries it dominated the Mediterranean, developing a sophisticated culture and creating architectural masterpieces.
Beautiful works of art and artistic festivals
If you like art, you’ll love Venice. Discover spectacular masterpieces such as Titian’s Assumption of the Virgin in the church of Santa Maria dei Frari, Tiepolo’s frescoes in Santa Maria della Pietà and the Art and Architecture Biennale, as well as the Venice International Film Festival.
Excellent food and wine
Venice is delicious to the palate and the eyes. Venetian restaurants, like the Trattoria Dalla Marisa, will fascinate you. Accompany your meals with Prosecco, one of the local specialities of the Veneto region, and top them off with a Bellini, a cocktail originating from the city.
Music and film events
Venice is to classical music as Milan is to fashion. At any time of the year you can enjoy concerts. It is also possible to make your trip coincide with the Venice Film Festival, one of the most prestigious events in the world.
What to do in Venice
Visit the Piazza San Marco
A symbol of Venetian wealth, this legendary square is home to the high tower of Campanile, the Basilica of San Marco and the Doge’s Palace. The latter offers a fascinating tour.
Sailing on the Grand Canal
The Grand Canal is the main “water” avenue of Venice. A permanent spectacle where public boats called vaporetti cross the private docks of opulent palaces, such as the Ca’ d’Oro, with direct stops at museums such as the Gallerie dell’Accademia and Peggy Guggenheim, home to international masterpieces.
Admire the Rialto Bridge
The jewel of the Grand Canal is the Rialto Bridge, one of the 400 connectors needed to cross the endless waterways of Venice. Built in the 16th century to provide access to the market of the same name, its stone steps feature stalls offering trinkets, jewellery and Venetian masks. From the top, the views of the Grand Canal are wonderful and very photogenic.
Buy Murano glass
Far from San Marcos and Rialto are Burano, Murano and Torcello. Burano, the centre of lace manufacture, is very popular for its brightly coloured houses at the water’s edge. The famous Murano stands out for its impeccable glass-blowing, although you may find it crowded. Torcello is the furthest enclave of the three, whose ancient mosaic church is one of the oldest settlements in the lagoon.
Attend an opera at La Fenice
Three times resurrected from the ashes, this operatic stage still retains its full reputation. La Fenice is one of the many places that program concerts and musical shows in the city. If you ever want to hear Verdi or Vivaldi live, do it in Venice!
When to visit Venice
If you want to enjoy Venice more quietly, visit it in autumn or early spring. September and October are warm, as are April and May. In the summer the sun is hot, the highs are up to 28ºC and there are many people, so making reservations can be difficult.
How to get to Venice
Venice’s Marco Polo Airport (VCE) is located about 13 kilometres from the historic city centre. To get to the city, one option is to take the Alilaguna water taxi, which takes about an hour and costs 15 EUR. Another possibility is to take the bus number 5, which costs 8 EUR and takes about half an hour to reach Piazzale Roma.
It can be easily reached by train from other Italian or European cities. For example, a ticket from Paris to Venice, operated by Trenitalia, costs 118 EUR. The main station, Santa Lucia, is located in the north of the city, but has excellent water bus connections.
Although driving through the centre of Venice is not an option, getting to Venice by car is possible. To do so, you must drive along the E70 from Milan and the A13 from Florence. There are also car parks on the mainland from which you can travel by boat to Venice itself.
Buses are a popular way to get to Venice. Companies serving the city include Baltour and FlixBus, which offer connections to Milan, Florence, Rome and European capitals such as Berlin and Paris. The main bus station is in Piazzale Roma, where the Grand Canal begins. A single journey from Paris costs from 98 EUR.
Airports near Venice
VCE Venice Marco Polo International Airport
BLQ Bologna Guglielmo Marconi
Where to stay in Venice
The most exclusive accommodation in Venice is usually in the main island districts, such as Dorsoduro and San Marco. Some of the main options available in this area are the Duodo Palace Hotel and the Hotel Giorgione. If you are looking for a more economical accommodation, Mestre, a nearby dormitory town, is the perfect place, as it includes such good options as the Hotel Venezia and the Novotel. In addition, there are many charming, inexpensive family guesthouses such as Antico Fiore. As a guideline, a night for two at the Camping Village Jolly costs 30 EUR, while the Hilton Molino Stucky Venice costs 291.74 EUR per night.
Interesting neighborhoods in Venice
The Sestieri is the heart of Venice, where its main districts are located: San Marco and Santa Croce. Here you will find the main religious buildings of Venice, such as St. Mark’s Basilica, the Bridge of Sighs and the Grand Canal. To stay in this area, Palazzo Selvadego, Hotel ai do Mori and the luxurious Hotel San Gallo are ideal.
Murano is a group of islands situated north of the centre of Venice, which is home to the community of master glaziers. Next to beautiful churches, restaurants such as Osteria al Duomo, La Perla Ai Bisatei or B Restaurant alla Vecchia Pescheria, and family shops make it a special destination. Remember to buy locally made glass ornaments and visit the Glass Museum.
Giudecca, south of Sestieri, is an exclusive and less touristy area characterized by small art galleries, fabric showrooms such as Fortuny and the small fast food kiosks located in Fondamenta. If you love boutiques, Giudecca is a great destination.
How to get around Venice
Mobility in Venice depends on water buses. Known as vaporetti, they navigate the city’s canals and cost 7 EUR per trip. In addition, there are tourist cards at 20 EUR per day or 60 EUR per week. Outside the islands, land buses cost EUR 1.50 per trip and 10-trip tickets EUR 14.
Conventional taxis are not useful in Venice, but their aquatic equivalent: gondolas. The official cost of gondola rides is 80 EUR for every 40 minutes and 40 EUR for every additional 20 minutes, but gondoliers may charge extra for extra services. Motorized water taxis are also useful, but their rates are high: about 70 EUR for a short trip.
Although driving through the centre of Venice is not possible, visitors can rent a vehicle to explore the Veneto region. Avis, Sixt and Europcar have branches in Venice with rental rates from 12 EUR per day.
Cost of living in Venice
Venice has a wide variety of places to shop. If you are looking for jewelry and glass ornaments, Murano is ideal. The Mercatino dell’Antiquariato is the main antique market, while shoemakers like Mori & Bozzi are in Cannaregio. San Marcos is a good area to buy leather accessories in shops such as Raggio Veneziano, while Atelier Marega offers exclusive native masks.
Groceries and others
Venice has supermarkets like Coops and Conad. The Rialto Market is a good place to get fish, meat and fresh produce on Fridays and Saturdays. As a guideline, half a litre of beer, in a supermarket, will cost you 1 EUR.
Where to eat in Venice
Among the best Italian restaurants in the city are Antico Martini and La Caravella, near San Marcos. In Castello, Trattoria alla Rampa serves fresh fish, Le Spighe vegetarian dishes and Trattoria dalla Marisa an excellent roast rabbit. Lunches usually cost 20 EUR and dinners about 30 EUR per person. On the street, the so-called cicchetti bars offer small portions of food for only 2 EUR.