The Best Things to Do in Venice
Collected by AFAR Editors , AFAR Staff
Featured in countless films, novels, and TV shows, Venice can evoke a sense of deja vu in travelers who have never previously experienced the Grand Canal, Bridge of Sighs, and gondola rides. Those are worthy experiences, yet Venice also rewards those who seek out its small islands and give in to getting lost down quaint neighborhood side streets. Museums and a local's cooking class round out the mix of must-do activities.
Riva degli Schiavoni, 30100 Venezia VE, Italy
Riva degli Schiavoni is one of the most crowded areas in Venice—and understandably so. It's a picturesque waterfront in the central Castello district of the city, right along the Bacino di San Marco and the narrow bridge over the Rio di...
Piazza San Marco, 1, 30122 Venezia VE, Italy
Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy
Near the base of the landmark Rialto Bridge, the historic Rialto Market is well worth a wander. Seek it out in the early morning when it provides an authentic local experience (and awesome social-media ops), with fishmongers hawking their fresh...
Piazza San Marco, 328, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
The Basilica San Marco is Venice's crown jewel. Situated at the eastern end of Piazza San Marco, the cathedral was built around 1078 on the site of an earlier house of worship. It is famously the home of the remains of the apostle Mark, which were...
Dorsoduro, 701-704, 30123 Venezia VE, Italy
There's plenty of art in Venice, from the churches to the Scuoli to the Accademia. But when you just can't look at another Caravaggio, and even Titian hair doesn't move you any more, refresh yourself with a visit to Peggy's house. The renowned...
Fondamenta Vin Castello, 30125 Venezia VE, Italy
Two things you need to know about gondola rides in Venice: They're worth it; and the price is agreed beforehand. Knowing those two things, you can happily hop aboard this traditional Venetian mode of transport and relax, because, touristy as it...
Piazza San Marco, 1, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
This pink-marble waterfront edifice in Piazza San Marco dates back to the 14th century, when it was the residence and seat of government for the doges (rulers) of Venice. Today the ornate Byzantine- and Moorish-influenced Gothic Palazzo Ducale is...
Calle Briati, 8b, 30141 Venezia VE, Italy
The Abate Zanetti School of Glass has been home to masters of Murano glassblowing for 150 years, and today it provides an immersive experience into the island’s famed glass artistry. Located at the Glass Museum, a half-day program is offered...
Dorsoduro, 2, 30123 Venezia VE, Italy
Controlled by the François Pinault Foundation, the same trust in charge of Christie's auction house, this is a museum-worthy gallery in the heart of Venice. Set inside a 17th-century customs house, it showcases Pinault's impressive private...
Campo San Fantin, 1965, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
Aptly named after the phoenix, this opera house has risen from its own ashes three times, the last in the 1990s when it was burned in an act of arson. It was rebuilt in the same ornate style as the building that had been destroyed—a choice...
Piazza San Marco, 52, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
Few people know about the Museo Correr and yet it is in plain sight within San Marco square. For those looking for quality time within a museum dedicated to the history of Venice - from ships flags, to visiting Popes, books, maps and old coins (to...
Sestiere San Polo, 30125 Venezia VE, Italy
The Rialto Bridge is the oldest of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal, and without question it's one of the most iconic sights in Venice. There has been a bridge at this site since the 12th century, connecting the districts of San Marco and...
30126 Lido, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy
Campo San Moisè, 1390/A, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
Maria e Susanna Sent has several shops where they sell their glass jewelry, the cutest one of them all just off the Ponte San Moisè in San Marco. This boutique is about as big as a broom closet, and that is certainly part of its charm. The...
Murano, 30141 Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy
Famous for its long history of handblown glassmaking, Murano sits just a few minutes' ferry ride offshore in the Venetian Lagoon. The main attraction is the Glass Museum (Museo del Vetro), which recounts the history of glass through the centuries,...
Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy
The Grand Canal is the no-brainer must-do Venice experience, and the best way to explore the city's main thoroughfare is on a vaporetto, or water bus. For a great introduction to the area, ride the vaporetto from the railway station, at the edge...
Campo San Maurizio, 2671, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
If you’re in the market for a handcrafted handbag, then head to Silvano Arnaldo and Massimiliano Battois’s storefront just off Campo San Luca. The Venetian designers' fantastic leather creations are handmade by local artisans and showcased on...
Venetian Lagoon, 30133 Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy
Cruise the Venice lagoon on one of the few remaining bragozzo boats still working this body of water. The vintage double-masted, flat-bottom fishing boat, once a common type of vessel here, dates back to 1946. The captain and owner, Mauro Stoppo,...
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