A Venice travel guide is the ultimate tool for exploring this popular and enchanting city. Located in the Veneto region in the north, Venice Italy is one of the world’s most romantic cities. Its unique architecture, canals, and bridges make it an essential stop on any European vacation.
Whether you’re looking for cultural attractions or just want to take a romantic gondola ride through winding waterways, Venice offers something for everyone. Read on to learn more about what makes this historic city so special.
How to Visit Venice
Visiting Venice is easy, as the city has excellent international transportation links. If you are coming from abroad, you can fly directly to Marco Polo Airport (VCE), which is located on the mainland and about 10 miles from downtown Venice. From there, you can take a bus or water taxi to get to your destination.
Alternatively, if you’re coming from another Italian city like Rome or Milan, there are direct trains to Venice Santa Lucia Station in the heart of the city. You can also take one of our guided tours which include high-speed trains to Venice from Rome or Florence.
How to Get Around Venice
Once you’re in Venice, the best way to get around is by walking. The city’s winding streets and unique architecture make it perfect for exploring on foot. Wear comfortable shoes and take your time strolling through the various neighborhoods. Venice weather is also pretty mild year-round, which makes it great for walking at any time of year. To get your bearings, a walking tour will give you a perfect overview of the city.
If walking isn’t an option, there are public transport alternatives like vaporetti (water buses) or trams. Taxi boats are another option if you need to travel quickly, although they are, of course, more expensive. You can also take a traditional gondola ride down some of the famous Venice canals for a truly romantic experience. If you want to make the most of your transportation experience, book a tour and be led through the streets by an expert.
Neighborhoods of Venice
Venice is made up of several distinct neighborhoods, each with its unique atmosphere and attractions. The most popular area for tourists is the historic center located on the main island of Venice. Here, you’ll find iconic spots like St. Mark’s Square and the Rialto Bridge.
Just south of this area lies Dorsoduro, a charming neighborhood known for its art galleries and Venice cafés. Another popular area is Castello, which is home to some of Venice’s oldest churches, palaces, and public parks. Cannaregio in northern Venice has plenty of shops and restaurants to explore, while San Polo is a great spot to find traditional Venetian cuisine. Right off the coast, Murano and Burano are two of the most picturesque locations accessible by boat from Venice. Your trip would be incomplete without giving these two islands a tour. More specifically, you should see the glasswork of Murano and taste the seafood of Burano.
Food, Drink, and Nightlife
When it comes to food, Venice is a paradise for lovers of Italian cuisine. The city’s restaurants specialize in seafood and pasta dishes, as well as traditional Venetian fare like risotto and polenta. If you’re looking for an authentic taste of local culture, don’t miss the cicchetti bars located throughout the city. These small eateries offer delicious tapas-style plates of fried fish or vegetables at very reasonable prices.
For those who want to learn more about local ingredients and recipes, or those who are tired of eating out, there are plenty of cooking classes available in Venice. There are also many food markets where you can purchase fresh produce and other locally-farmed products.
Venice is also known for its excellent wines and prosecco, so be sure to sample some of the local varieties while you’re here. If you love food and wine, you can take a tour that highlights both. These are available just in Venice or throughout Italy. When night falls, there are plenty of bars and clubs where you can dance the night away or simply enjoy a romantic evening with your significant other. Not sure where to go for the best grub? Try out this helpful restaurant guide, curated by local experts.
Shopping is one of the best things to do in Venice, as the city has plenty of unique stores offering everything from local artisan crafts to designer labels. For traditional Venice souvenirs, you can’t go wrong with Murano glassware or leather goods from local vendors. You’ll also find some great deals on clothing at Frezzeria Street and Calle Larga San Marco. If you’re looking for luxury items, head to St. Mark’s Square where you’ll find high-end boutiques like Gucci and Prada.
If you prefer to shop at a market, Venice has it all. Campo delle Beccarie and Rialto Market are two of the most popular, offering everything from fresh produce to handmade crafts and clothing. For an authentic market experience, join our 4 day Venice city break tour and be escorted through the stalls with an insider.
Venice is one of the most culturally rich cities in the world, and there are plenty of sights to explore. One of the places that you must visit is Piazza San Marco, where you can admire the stunning Basilica di San Marco and Doge’s Palace. Take a romantic gondola ride along Canal Grande, which winds its way through the city center and offers breathtaking views of Venice’s many bridges and canals.
Other popular attractions include St Mark’s Campanile bell tower, Rialto Bridge, Murano glassblowing factory tours, and a variety of museums showcasing works by famous Venetian artists like Titian and Tintoretto.
When it comes to sleeping arrangements, Venice has something for everyone. There are plenty of big chain hotels in Venice Italy, as well as boutique Venice hotels and hostels for those on a budget. To guarantee a good night’s sleep, choose any of the options on our carefully curated list of Venice hotels. For extra privacy, stay in one of the many Airbnb apartments or rent a traditional Venetian home. Too many choices? Try this handy “Where to Stay” guide to see all the best options in Venice. No matter what type of accommodation you choose, make sure to book ahead during peak season (April-October) since prices can rise quickly.
What to See Near Venice
If you’re looking for something outside of Venice, head north towards Verona to visit the famous Arena di Verona, a Roman amphitheater. You can also take a day trip to the romantic city of Padua, known for its frescoes and university. To the south lies Tuscany, one of Italy’s most beautiful regions with its rolling hillsides, vineyards, and beautiful Tuscan countryside. If you want to get away from it all, Rome is a few hours away by train or car, while Florence is even closer.
To make your travels between these locations less of a hassle, there are plenty of tours that allow you to see Venice plus other attractions throughout Italy. The most popular packages are our action-packed thirteen and fourteen-day tours of the country.
Make a Splash in the City of Water with a Tour from Tourist Italy
Venice is a stunning destination and no visit to Italy would be complete without exploring its timeless streets and canals. From the iconic Rialto Bridge to St. Mark’s Square, you’ll find plenty of unique sights in Venice that will stay with you long after your trip has ended.
And while the answer to “Is Venice sinking?” is an unfortunate yes, this charming city has proven time and again to be a resilient destination with much to explore. Preventative measures are being taken to stop this from impacting current and future visitors.
If you want to get the best experience of one of the most beautiful and unique cities in the world, why not take a tour with Tourist Italy? Our Venice tours and other tours throughout Italy allow you to travel through must-see and rarely-seen sites with an experienced guide. Alternatively, if tours aren’t for you, have a look at our Venice travel guide section for sample Venice itineraries and much more.