10 best things to do in Venice

Top 10 things to do in Venice

It is difficult to choose just 10 things to do in Venice. From my last whirlwind visit to Venice about 18 years ago, I just remember being serenaded with “Sole Mio” on a gondola ride through the canals and posing for old-fashioned non-digital photos in St Mark’s Square. This time, I spent 3 nights there – 1 night before our cruise and 2 nights after - and although it still wasn’t enough, I tried to do as much as possible in that time. I did my research beforehand and spoke to friends who had been there recently then I planned our activities there carefully based on how much time we had.

Here are my Top 10 things to do in Venice

1. Free walking tours

When researching top activities in Venice on Tripadvisor, I was surprised to see that this was one of the most recommended activities there. So I decided to experience it. It was the first time that I went on a free walking tour anywhere in the world. And although they’re not entirely free as a tip is expected, it was so worth it. Alina was our tour guide and did a great job. The tour was over 3 hours and packed with historic information, entertaining anecdotes and lots of insider tips.

2. Go on a gondola ride

Gondolas are synonymous with Venice but at 80 Euros a ride, they’re not cheap. Our guide, Alina, showed us a place where we could also experience a (very) short gondola ride for 2 Euros each instead. But if you have the time and the money, I would still recommend the longer version to soak in Venice’s ambience. You can even learn how to ride a gondola !

3. Visit the Piazza San Marco

Here you can see St Mark’s Basilica, the Clock Tower, and the Campanile (bell tower), the tallest building in Venice. Or you can sit at one of the alfresco restaurants or on the steps and watch the people and the pigeons.

Piazza San Marco - Things to do in Venice

Piazza San Marco

4. Take a walk on Rialto Bridge

The famous Rialto Bridge is a hub of activity with shops, restaurants and tourists crowding it. It is easy to stand here for hours taking in the sights and sounds of Venice.

Rialto Bridge - Things to do in Venice

Rialto Bridge

5. Visit Libreria Acqua Alta

This is proclaimed as one of the most charming little bookshops in the world. Books are stored in gondolas and bathtubs so that they can stay dry when the Acqua Alta (high tide) arrives. There is even a staircase made out of old books from where once can get great views of the canals.

Libreria Acqua Alta - Things to do in Venice

Libreria Acqua Alta

6. Visit the magnificent Doges Palace

The Doges (leaders) of Venice once stayed here. Here you can admire the ornate works of art. You will also get to cross the infamous Bridge of Sighs and see the prison cell from where Casanova escaped.

Doge's Palace - Things to do in Venice

Doge's Palace

7. Stay in a historic building

I found Residenza Ca' Malipiero on Booking.com . Although it was a bit of a walk from the vaporetto (water bus) stop, once we did find it, it was fascinating. The hotel is set in a beautiful 15th century palace owned by one of the Venetian doges and overlooks a campo (public square) and canals where serenading gondoliers constantly pass by. Here are more places to stay in Venice.

Ca'Malipiero - Things to do in Venice


8. Explore the Grand Canal on a vaporetto.

You will pass beautiful palazzi (palaces), bridges and museums and take endless photos.

Grand Canal - Things to do in Venice

Grand Canal

9. Enjoy Venetian delicacies.

This includes fresh seafood from the lagoon and deliciously refreshing gelato. My kids loved the gelato especially when the pretty young lady behind the  gelato counter told my son , "Ciao Bello" !


Venetian food

10. Explore the nearby islands.

Murano is famous for its stunning glass products and you can observe the ancient art of glass-blowing still being practised. Burano is known as the prettiest little island in Venice. Indeed, when I got there, I felt as though I had walked into a fairy-tale land. Brightly painted houses line the canals as white swans glide by.

Burano - Things to do in Venice


All this exploring also involves a lot of walking, on cobblestones, steps and bridges so if you are mobility-impaired, you may find it a bit difficult to navigate. There is a lot more to do in Venice but these are my top picks.

What are your favourite things to do in Venice ?

Fall in love with Venice here.

Find accommodation in Venice here.

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Things to do in Venice

35 comments on “10 best things to do in Venice”

  1. I haven't been to Venice in decades, but I agree with all your suggestions! It's also nice to see that it's still as beautiful as it was many, many years ago.

  2. I still can’t believe I haven’t made it to Venice yet! There’s lots of things on this list I haven’t heard of before so I’d like to try some of them out - that Palace looks fabulous!

  3. Hello! I just would like to give a huge thumbs up for the great info you have here on this post. I will be coming back to your blog for more soon.

  4. Hello! I just would like to give a huge thumbs up for the great info you have here on this post. I will be coming back to your blog for more soon.

  5. I was reading about Venice and gondolas today. Hope I get to visit in my lifetime. ☺ sounds awesome

  6. Ahh, I'm itching to travel again since I moved back home and settled down! Venice looks amazing, that gondola is so beautiful and I would love just wandering around that city. Thanks for the tips!

  7. I dont see myself visiting venice in future 🙁
    thanks to your post i have a glimpse of venice. truely amazing.

  8. I've never been to Venice but my imagination is in full drive now - *thanks to your images and descriptions*.

    Hope to visit soon in sha Allah.

  9. A gondola ride sounds so heavenly right now!! Until then will live vicariously through your blog ! Lol

  10. Venice has been a dream destination of mine for the longest time 🙂 When you add in the Libreria Acqua Alta, which Ive not known about before, it just moved right to top of my bucket list. Someday soon InShaAllah

  11. I hope that you get the opportunity soon @BritDeshiMummy. You also have the advantage that it is nearer to you in UK than it is to me in South Africa!

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