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10 of the Very Best Things You Must See in Venice

There are so many incredible things to do in Venice, one of the best cities in Europe, but there are certain ones that you must check out during your visit.

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A visit to St Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco) Venice #1

Why? Because it is the central hub of Venice and home to the St Marks Basilica, the Doges Palace, the Bridge of Sighs, the Campanile and the Clock Tower.

  • People watch from one of the bars around the square.
  • Watch the water flood the square at high tide and have a paddle.
  • Be mesmerised by St Mark’s Basilica and the Doges Palace.
  • Enter the square at the promenade of Piazetta and Libreria Sansoviniana for a breathtaking arrival from the Grand Canal.

Climb the Campanile (St Mark’s Bell Tower) #2

Why? Because the view from the top is the best in Venice.

  • Rebuilt in 1912 after collapsing, this is an engineering masterpiece.
  • Put your walking shoes on to climb the 323 feet to the top for incredible views.

A night tour of St Mark’s Basilica and the Doges Palace #3

Why? Because you will avoid the thousands of tourists that pack into them during the day.

  • Be in a group of only 15 with a local tour guide who will take you around both sites.
  • They guaranteed only three other groups inside with you.
  • Enter the Basilica and feel as if you have it to yourself.
  • See the Basilica lit up from the dark in front of your eyes.
  • Be taken to the catacombs where St Mark’s body was laid to rest.
  • Learn about the Doges of Venice and their role in society.
  • Marvel at the interior of the palace.

Join a free walking tour of Venice #4

Why? Because although you will end up tipping the guide so it won’t be “free,” you will be shown the less touristy parts of Venice.

I booked through the Free Venice Walking Tour.

  • There is no obligation to pay, but you are encouraged to tip if you feel that you have enjoyed the tour.
  • You are taken away from the central tourist hub and shown parts of Venice that you may not have known existed.
  • The tour will orientate you to the city and its history within a couple of hours.

Head for the rooftop at the T fondaco Dei Tedeschi store in Venice #5

Why?  Because from here you will get a 360-degree view of Venice.

  • It is free to enter. Book online for a complimentary 15-minute slot.
  • Take in the panoramic views from the rooftop.
  • Get your retail therapy fill in this historic department store.
  • The store is steps away from the famous Rialto Bridge.

Jump on the Number 1 Vaporetto from Piazzale Roma, Venice #6

Why? Because it will take you along the Grand Canal.

  • Hop aboard the number one Vaporetto at Piazzale Roma (where the buses arrive) and end up in Lido.
  • Costing only €7.50 this is a great way to take a tour of the Grand Canal.
  • Cross beneath the Rialto Bridge and the Academia Bridge.
  • See the sights and sounds of the most famous canal in the world.

Eat Cicchetti like a local in Venice #7

Why? Because it’s tasty, cheap and traditional.

  • enjoy small pieces of bread with different toppings on them and priced at €1.50 each. This is a great way of eating like a local Venetian.
  • Wash it down with wine for €2 a glass.
  • Stand with friends by the bar or take your snack outside and sit on a wall to eat it.

Wander around Dorsoduro, the quieter side of Venice #8

Why? Because it is a quieter and quainter area of Venice with a bohemian vibe.

  • Lose yourself in the winding alleyways.
  • Stop at a bar and enjoy an Aperol spritz, the famous orange-coloured Italian aperitivo.
  • Find Squero di San Trovaso, and you will see the gondola workshop.
  • Pop into Cà Macana, a famous Venetian mask shop, and buy yourself one to take home.
  • Visit one of the many museums and churches in the Dorsoduro.

Take a trip to Burano, Venice #9

Why? Because it is a complete contrast to the architecture in Venice.

  • Jump on a number 12 Vaporetto and head to Burano.
  • Wander its tiny streets and marvel at the rainbow-coloured buildings.
  • Check out the church and its leaning bell tower.
  • Visit the lace shops along the main street and buy a souvenir.
  • Enjoy a freshly caught fish supper in this fisherman’s village.

Go for a gondola ride in Venice #10

Why? Because you are in Venice, so why not!

  • Expect to pay €80 for a 40-minute daytime ride but less if you share with others.
  • Meander along the canals of Venice and soak up the atmosphere.
  • See parts of Venice only accessible by gondola.