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Plan Your Trip to Venice: Best of Venice Tourism

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Venice, Italy

Centuries-old architecture, cobblestone alleys, a maze of eye-catching islands, and of course, the famous canals that run through it all—Venice is quite literally unlike anywhere else. While the capital of the Veneto (one of the 20 regions in Italy) is undoubtedly a stunner, it’s also a very real city. The Grand Canal and Piazza San Marco are hotspots for visitors: Their winding streets are filled with cafes, gelaterias, and boutiques interspersed among Renaissance palaces and Gothic churches. But once you’ve ticked off the must-see landmarks (like St. Mark’s Campanile and the Gallerie dell'Accademia museum), explore lesser-known neighborhoods like Cannaregio, Dorsoduro, and Castellom, where locals crowd low-key trattorias for afternoon aperitivo. And don't miss the nearby islands. Just a short ferry ride away, you'll find Burano, which is known for its intricate lace and brightly colored houses, and Murano, world-famous for its vibrant, hand-blown glass. Explore more recs below.

Travel Advice

Essential Venice

How to do Venice in 3 days

Museums, gondola rides, and—yes—the best gelato
Read on

A tour of Venice’s most fabulous hotel bars

During my many trips to Venice, I’ve discovered that the aperitivo is the standout meal of the day for both Venetians and tourists. For the uninitiated, the aperitivo is an elevated happy hour. Think of it like an Italian pre-dinner ritual of delicious drinks and snacks. For the best aperitivo, I highly recommend visiting the city’s swanky hotel bars and ordering a Select Spritz instead of the more Americanized Aperol to blend in with the locals.
Laura Itzkowitz, Rome, Italy
  • Violino d'Oro
    Stepping inside Violino d’Oro feels like entering the living room of a sophisticated art collector. Original cocktails by award-winning bartender Francesco Adragna are served on silver platters and come with light bites from the hotel’s excellent restaurant. Settle into one of the comfy sofas or armchairs to enjoy the drinks and the people-watching.
  • Nolinski Venezia Evok Collection
    The Library Bar at Nolinski Venezia is the kind of warm, cozy bar you want to hide out in on a cold or rainy day. Grab a seat on one of the burgundy velvet banquettes under the aquatic-themed ceiling mural by French artist Simon Buret and sip on one of the creative cocktails by lauded bartender Jérémy Bacquet.
  • Ca' Di Dio - Vretreats
    On a nice day, you can enjoy an aperitivo outside on the terrace of this luxury boutique hotel near the artsy Arsenale district. Still, I love the atmosphere inside the wood-paneled Alchemia bar, which feels a bit like being on a fancy yacht. In keeping with the hotel’s sleek design by famed architect Patricia Urquiola, the bar menu offers modern takes on classic cocktails and a plentiful selection of cicchetti (the Venetian version of tapas).
  • Hotel Cipriani, A Belmond Hotel, Venice
    The Bellini was invented by Harry’s Bar owner Giuseppe Cipriani, who opened this glamorous hotel in 1958, and it tastes incredibly refreshing here on a hot summer day. When you want to escape the maddening crowds around Piazza San Marco, I recommend taking a boat to Giudecca Island and relaxing at the Gabbiano Bar, a verdant poolside oasis. You never know who you might spot there.
  • The Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Venice
    The legendary Gritti Palace may be one of the city’s most historic gems, but it still feels intimate and special. The décor is best described as Renaissance-chic, with ornate chandeliers, gilded mirrors, and heavy drapery, all of which are on full display in the Bar Longhi. On a warm day, it’s hard to beat the Riva Lounge, which is decked out in sleek furniture inspired by Riva speedboats and has unbeatable views of the Grand Canal.

Venice Travel Guide

Travelers' pro tips for experiencing Venice

Mike M

Venice is also the Lido, Murano, and Burano. Move out and (away) from the train and cruise ship area to find surprises.


Use the vaporettos and buy a three-day trip ticket at the bus station. Walking from the Arsenale vaporetto stop to the Biennale Gardens is reasonably easy. The Biennale is expensive.


Take a supply of one euro and 50 euro cent coins for toilets for the 1.50 cost to "spend a penny."


Venice is a magical place with tons of things to see and do. Many activities are free, others have a modest (and occasionally not-so-modest) cost. We love to wander the streets, poke among the incredible food markets, see the incredible architecture and still get away from the crowds. La Serenissima!


Art lovers, Venice awaits you! This magnificent city boasts an exceptional cultural, architectural and artistic heritage! You’ll be delighted as you don’t need to spend a fortune to admire the great Venetian Masters’ paintings! Forget galleries, museums and entrance fees, and visit the city’s churches. You’ll be surprised to discover how many of Titian's, Tintoretto's or Veronese's masterpieces adorn their walls and ceilings.


Venice is like no other place. It's a location where you can immerse yourself in history, marvel and enjoy the art and architecture, enjoy a car-free environment, people watch and above all, get purposely lost and find the true hidden gems around every corner.

What is the best way to get there?


The main airport in Venice is Marco Polo International Airport (VCE), which offers service to/from many destinations across the globe on most major airlines. Treviso Airport (TSF) in nearby Treviso is another option for smaller carriers.


Venezia St. Lucia is Venice’s main station, offering domestic and international train service. Venezia Mestre station offers local and regional service.


Omio and Flixbus offer service to Venice from several European cities.

For more info on getting to Venice, visit here.

Do I need a visa?

Since Italy is one of the 26 Shengen Area countries, tourists from those countries do not need a visa for visits less than 90 days, but passports must be valid for at least six months after departure dates. The same goes for Americans.

When is the best time to visit?

Winter: Winter in Venice sees crowds thin, the mercury drop, and “acqua alta” (high water) potentially flood the canals — but it’s also a prime time to snag a deal. Average daily temperatures this time of year are highs of 43 Fahrenheit (6 Celsius) and lows of 32 Fahrenheit (0 Celsius). To experience the city at its most atmospheric, coincide your trip with November's Arte Biennale or March's Carnevale.

Get around

public transport

While walking is a wonderful way to get around Venice and its 118 islands, ACTV operates the city’s public transportation, Download its daAab app to buy tickets for vaporettos (waterbuses), buses and the airport shuttle here. For more info on ACTV, including schedules, routes, and fares, see here.


There are more than 150 vaporettos and larger vessels (battelli foranei) that travel to dozens of locations along the Grand Canal and islands.

people mover

This monorail offers connections to PIazzale Roma transit hub, Marittima cruise ship terminal and Tronchetto parking island.


Two tram lines make 36 stops between mainland Venice and the city center


Buses can be found on mainland Venice as well as some of the smaller city islands.

taxis/water taxis

With many parts of Venice closed to traffic, taxi service is limited to Mestre and Lido. However, water taxis can be hired at several points in the city and can be expensive.


Uber and Lyft do not operate in Venice


Venice’s iconic gondolas are another way to get around, but they can be expensive, even before you tip your gondolier. Additionally, Gondolas 4 All offers service and wheelchair-accessible access for passengers with mobility issues.

For info on Gondolas 4 All, visit here.


While BicinCitta is the city’s bike-share, and there are several bike rentals companies, biking is prohibited in central Venice, but you can bike around its larger islands.

For more info on BicinCitta, visit here.

On the ground

What is the timezone?

Central European Summer Time

What are the voltage/plug types?

Plugs and sockets are type F and L with standard voltage 230V and frequency 50 Hz.

What is the currency?


Are ATMs readily accessible?


Are credit cards widely accepted?


Is it easy to find a bank?


How much do I tip?


Tipping in Venice restaurants is not as common as it is in the U.S., though some eateries do add a service charge to your tab. In that case, you won’t need to give more, but obviously, if you were well-cared for, an extra few euros are certainly in order.


Italians generally tip their bartenders by rounding up their tabs to the nearest euro. (If you ate at the bar, though, throw down a few extra euros.)


Tipping drivers is not common in Venice, though many passengers often round up to the nearest euro. But, if your driver is super helpful, one to three euros would suffice.


Tip five to 10 euros if you sought their expertise to explore Venice or land a restaurant reservation (do give more if they got you into a hotspot or went above and beyond).


It’s standard to give one euro per bag.


It’s common to tip at least one euro per each day of your stay. Some hotels leave envelopes for such tips, but if they don’t, a quick note saying “Thank you” will suffice.

Tour guides

Tipping a tour guide is one of the only tipping customs in Italy, and how much depends on the size and length of your tour. Per person, five euros is standard for a half-day excursion or 10 euros for full-day. It’s customary to give at least 10% of the total cost of a private tour.


About 10% of the ride is common.

Are there local customs I should know?


The legal drinking age in Venice is 18.


Cannabis is legal for medical use in Italy.


Some common greetings to know in Venice is “buongiorno” (hello/good morning), “ciao” (hello/goodbye) and “Buonasera” (good afternoon/good evening).


Be sure to keep right when walking in Venice (and anywhere, really).

Frequently Asked Questions about Venice

We recommend staying at one of the most popular hotels in Venice, which include:

Some of the most popular restaurants in Venice include:

Venice is known for some of its popular attractions, which include:

If you're a more budget-conscious traveler, then you may want to consider traveling to Venice between December and February, when hotel prices are generally the lowest. Peak hotel prices generally start between September and November.