Welcome to our Venice Guide
Full of handy hints and information, our Venice travel guide will help you plan a terrific short break in this incomparable Italian city. Fall in love with the fascinating history, the shopping and the cuisine, and discover what makes the city special – there’s nowhere quite like Venice.
Enjoy island-hopping and exploring Venice on its vast network of pretty waterways, or take to the streets and walk around the city’s highlights; new visitors to Venice invariably get lost – but it’s all part of the fun. Be sure to find the beautiful St Mark’s Basilica, impressive monuments and the great shopping at Piazza San Marco. The Rialto Bridge is also well worth seeing, as are the market and the trendy bars and restaurants in its vicinity. In the spring, the city is taken over by the spectacular Carnevale – the famous, annual masked ball makes for a unique experience if you’re lucky enough to be in Venice at the right time. For another extra-special experience, superb at any time of the year, try to catch a breath-taking Ballet or an outstanding Opera at the world-class Teatro La Fenice.
The romance capital of Southern Europe, Venice’s dreamy architecture and serene gondola rides are the stuff of legend – it’s the perfect city in which to make unforgettable memories. Round off your short stay in Venice at a gorgeous canal-side trattoria, listening to the strains of the city’s endless street music and soaking up the history and the ambience that makes it such a magical holiday destination.
Must do's by day
Visit the gorgeous St Mark’s Basilica and see the famous gilded bronze horses
Visit Rialto Market or Piazza San Marco for some retail therapy
Soak up the sunshine and enjoy some gelato at Piazza San Marco
Must do's by night
A must at any time of day, but more romantic by night, take a gondola ride
Find a Trattoria near the Rialto Bridge for a canal-side dinner
Catch a magical Opera or Ballet at the Teatro La Fenice
Travelling to Venice
Travelling to Venice
In all likelihood you’ll be flying into Venice – a mere 2 hours from London direct flying time; it’s incredibly easy to catch a connecting bus into the centre, with regular shuttles from both main airports.
Be sure to get tickets to Venezia Santa Lucia for the main train station out on the lagoon; Venezia Mestre is the last stop on the mainland side
There are no roads in Venice, but if you fancy driving there anyway, park up at Europe’s largest Car Park at Tronchetto and ferry over to the city’s centre
Regular flights from London to Venice are operated by several airlines – being a popular destination, flights are also available around the UK, including from Manchester, Birmingham, Southend, Leeds & Bristol.
Getting Around in Venice
Getting around Venice
Exploring the magical waterways of Venice is sure to be the highlight of any trip to the city – take a gondola on special evenings, and get about on the handy water taxis and on foot the rest of the time
By Water Bus
Vaporetti, or water buses, are perhaps the most convenient way to get around, and much cheaper than lots of individual water taxi rides.
Naturally the most romantic way to get around Venice, gondola rides are a must – practically though, there are better ways to get from A to B.
Venice isn’t an especially large city – you can certainly get around easily on foot, take a walking tour of the main sights in just a couple of hours.
Getting There Introduction
Naturally enough, the easiest way to get to Venice from the UK is by flying into one of Venice’s two main airports – Venice Marco Polo Airport or Treviso Airport. Venice Marco Polo Airport is a mere four miles from Venice, whilst Treviso is around 12 miles outside the city – transfers from both airports to Venice’s most popular spots run throughout the day.
By AirFlights from several London airports are available daily, and given that Venice is such a popular destination, regular flights are also available from airports around the country. Airports with links to Venice include; Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds-Bradford, Newcastle, Bristol and Edinburgh.
Getting Around Introduction
A highly romantic special treat, no trip to Venice is complete without a gondola ride. Unless you’re especially fantastic at negotiating prices with the gondoliers however, getting around Venice by gondola alone would cost a small fortune. A cheaper and much quicker way to explore the waterways is on the Vaporetto, or water buses, and getting lost exploring Venice on foot is as much a rites of passage here as any gondola ride.
By VaporettoThe Vaporetto are easily the most cost-efficient way to get around the city and between the islands – a two day unlimited pass costs around €30, single journeys usually around €7. The most useful routes – numbers 1 & 2 – take you down the must-see Grand Canal.
By FootThe city isn’t all that big – you can walk from one side of the city to the other in just a few hours. The main paths are handily signposted for the main attractions, but you’ll almost certainly get lost at some point – be sure to have a map handy and your best pidgin Italian!
By GondolaMore of an experience than an actual mode of transport, try to negotiate a price with the Gondolier and agree on a figure before you set off – expect to pay anything from €80 upwards.
Venice is renowned for being romantic, but it’s also supremely cultured, sophisticated and thoroughly charming – not least when it comes to its shopping. Being in Italy, you’re never too far from one of the major Fashion Houses, but the real charm of Venice is in its unique trades – the beautiful furnishings, the distinctive Murano Glassware and the famous Venetian Carnevale masks are all worth seeking out. No trip to Venice is complete without a visit to the famous Rialto Market, and Venice’s plethora of cavern-like antique stores and bookshops are ideal for finding unusual gifts and souvenirs.
Il Baule Blu, 2916/AS Polo, Venice, Italy
Full of charm and quirky treasures, this little curiosity shop is full of antique toys, vintage clothes and odd bits of bric-a-brac. This very sweet store is perfect for a good value gift.
Top 5 Shopping Destinations in Venice...
The perfect place to grab a bargain find, and try the fresh and local produce too; close to the famous Rialto Bridge, this market is not to be missed.
Chiarastella Cattana, Salizada San Samuele 3357, Venice, Italy
Take a slice of Venetian style home with you and marvel at the colourful and smartly-designed soft furnishings at this trendy store.
Gilberto Penzo, Calle 2 dei Saoneri 2681, Venice, Italy
A wonderful souvenir from the city of canals, this craft shop’s incredible model boats are an ideal gift for the kids back home.
Ca' Macana, Sestiere Dorsoduro, 3172, 30123 Venice, Italy
Authentic Venetian Mask shops are surprisingly hard to find – but this one comes highly commended by an impressive celebrity clientele.
Luigi Camozzo, Fondamenta Venier 3, Murano, Venice, Italy
Murano glassware is a bit special – the perfect addition to your home, check out this designer store for the very best of the best.
Eating Out Introduction
Typically Italian, Venice draws visitors for its fantastic cuisine. Brimming with traditional bars, intimate osterias and fine restaurants, the city has an impeccable reputation for being a food lover’s paradise. When you’re out and about sightseeing, be sure to make a few pit stops for a Panini or some Gelato. There are some wonderful bars and eateries near the popular Rialto Bridge, but if you’re looking to get away from anywhere overly touristy, be sure to stray into the backstreets and seek out one of our recommended restaurants.
Al Timon, Sestiere Cannaregio, Venice
Perfect for an authentic Venetian experience – the Italian-only menu and local clientele speak volumes about this hidden gem.
Top 5 Foodie Spots in Venice...
Caffè Florian, Piazza San Marco, Venice, Italy
Italy’s first coffee house is the ideal treat when you’re feeling decadent; Proust, Byron, Dickens and Hemmingway have all graced this famed café.
Bacareto Da Lele, Fondamenta dei Tolentini, 30135 Venice, Italy
Something of a Venetian institution, this little bar is the perfect stop-off point for a pick me up.
El Sbarlefo, Sestiere Cannaregio 4556/c, 30131 Venice, Italy
With a jazzy vibe, and a buzzing ambience, sit down and enjoy tasty food and an extensive wine list at this popular Cannaregio bar.
Osteria Bancogiro, Campo San Giacometto, 122, 30125 Venice, Italy
Enjoy a great view of the Grand Canal and enjoy fantastic wine and a delicious aperitivo al fresco; all the food is incredibly fresh and locally sourced.
Osteria Alla Ciurma, Calle Galeazza 406 - San Polo, Venice, Italy
A number of great bars and eateries can be found at the Rialto Market – the bar snacks and sharing platters here may well be the best.
Ever a hub of cultural excellence, Venice is simply perfect for a sophisticated night of music or theatre. The Teatro La Fenice is one of the world’s finest opera houses, and is only one of many fantastic theatres and music venues Venice has on offer. Be sure to check out the world-famous Harry’s Bar, or simply wander through Venice’s backstreets listening out for the soft strains of summertime Jazz coming from the lively and most popular osterias.
Top 5 Venice Nightlife
Teatro La Fenice
One of the World’s finest Opera venues, their programme of sublime Opera and Ballet performances is sure to offer an inspiring night out.
Venice Jazz Club, Dorsoduro 3102, Ponte dei Pugni, Venice, Italy
An intimate and lively venue, this fantastic club has nightly performances of the highest quality jazz, usually around 9pm.
Orange Bar, Dorsoduro 3054A, Campo Santa Margherita, Venice, Italy
A popular haunt for Venice’s bright young things, Orange Bar is both sleek and stylish – perfect for a cocktail or two.
Harry's Bar, Calle Vallaresso, 1323, 30124 Venice, Italy
Since 1931 Venice’s most famous watering hole has pulled in famous faces; Hemmingway, Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles and Truman Capote to name a few.
Bacaro Jazz, San Marco, 5546, 30124 Venice, Italy
Better for meeting fellow tourists than locals, Bacaro Jazz is a friendly late night bar with decent cocktails and a good Jazz soundtrack.
The people of Venice adore their wine. There’s nothing like kicking back with a glass of Spritz – best made with Prosecco – whilst the sun goes down on a perfect day of sightseeing. Head to the central hub of nightlife in the Rialto Market area for a number of bars within stumbling distance of each other or, if you’d prefer a quieter evening, the Skyline Rooftop Bar on Giudecca has the most breath-taking view of Venice by night.
Top 5 Venice Bars
Al Prosecco, Sestiere Santa Croce, 1503, 30135 Venice, Italy
Easily one of the most picture-perfect streets in Venice, enjoy a refreshing glass of wine on the terrace at this terrific bar.
Al Mercà, Fondamenta Riva Olio, 30125 Venice, Italy
This tiny, hole-in-the-wall bar is right in the heart of the thriving and vibrant Rialto Market area.
Vincent Bar, 36 Viale Quattro Novembre, Venice, VE 30175, Italy
Simply a friendly neighbourhood bar, set away from the busiest of the tourist areas, enjoy the breathing space and a nice Italian beer here.
Il Santo Bevitore, Sestiere Cannaregio, 30121 Venice, Italy
Venice isn’t exactly known for its craft beer – it’s much more of a wine-drinking city – but this is the place to be for a good Italian pub.
Skyline Rooftop Bar, Molino Stucky Hilton Venice, Giudecca 810, 30133 Venice, Italy
It’s worth the trip over to Giudecca for the views from this fantastic bar alone – sip cocktails and watch the sunset here at least once.
Venice is a remarkably photogenic city; the romantic canals and waterways aren’t the only world-famous sights on offer in this cultural and historical city. St Mark’s Basilica and The Doge’s Palace are must-see attractions, and both are handily situated just off the vibrant San Marco’s Palazzo where you’ll also find fantastic shopping and the world-famous Caffè Florian. Be sure to see Venice from the water, and if you can make it out to Murano, Giudecca or another of the islands, be sure to get up high for wonderful views of the Venice skyline.
Top 5 Venice Attractions
St Mark’s Basilica
Incredibly pretty, this striking cathedral is Venice’s most-visited attraction – full of prized artefacts and treasures, it’s not to be missed.
The Grand Canal
Don’t leave Venice without seeing it from the water – a gondola ride is the most romantic way, but a good seat on a water taxi will do.
The most iconic of all the bridges in Venice, this stone construction was built in 1591, and is well worth the visit for the nearby market alone.
The Doge’s Palace
Home to a terrific art gallery which attracts over 1 million visitors every year, this gorgeous Gothic building is perhaps Venice’s most distinctive.
San Giorgio Maggiore
Take a boat trip over to the church on this island and check out the magnificent views over Venice from the Bell Tower.