33 Cool Things to Do in Venice [year] - Adventure, Islands and Venetian Food

33 Cool Things to Do in Venice 2021 – Adventure, Islands and Venetian Food

33 Cool Things to Do in Venice 2021 - Adventure, Islands, and Venetian FoodSo, you are looking for the best and fun things to do in Venice? You have just come to the right place. This is our ultimate list of things to do and activities in Venice; outside the tourist box.

We LOVE to explore the world and it’s hidden gems. Nevertheless, we share also the must-dos for Venice. The gondola ride, beautiful Piazza San Marco, this list would not really be complete without them.

We numbered every item and included a description of it.

  • WHY we recommend it
  • HOW to get here
  • WHERE to book

We also give you our best tips for accommodation in our guide to where to stay in Venice. It covers Hostels, hotels, Airbnbs, apartments and even the luxury experience.

Last but not least, here’s our guide to the perfect 7 days in Venice. We share how to get around and how many days we really recommend staying here.

(Last update: April, 2021)

List of Cool Things to Do in Venice

Magical paradise, Venice is a world known for its gorgeous photos, shared all over the internet.

Have you seen those beautiful Instagram photos about Venice? You will get them too through this list. We did, of course, share our experience on our Instagram, check out our Venice stories if you wanna get some more details.

  1. Visit Piazza San Marco
  2. Take a Gondola Ride (but know what you want…!)
  3. Alternative: Take a Gondola Ride for 2€
  4. Stay at a Former Monastery
  5. Seek for hidden squares
  6. Walking Tour to the hidden spots
  7. Visit Libreria Acqua Alta
  8. La Biennale Di Venezia
  9. Try Gelato and more Gelato
  10. Become a local
  11. Try on the Venetian Mask (and get one as a Souvenir)
  12. Or make your own Venetian Mask
  13. St Marks Bell Tower
  14. Exclusive Alone in St. Mark’s Basilica After Hours
  15. Visit the three island: Murano, Torcello, Burano
  16. Admire the popular Doge’s Palace
  17. Join a Free Walking Tour
  18. Peggy Guggenheim Collection
  19. Legends and Ghost tour of Ancient Venice
  20. Teatro La Fenice
  21. Murano Glass Factory Experience: Factory Tour and Workshop – Reviews
  22. Leonardo da Vinci Museum
  23. Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
  24. Venice in one Day (skip all lines)
  25. Aurora Beach Club
  26. Beach Time in Venice!
  27. Get lost in the restaurants
  28. Go for Aperitivo (or 2, or 3…)
  29. Try the Venetian tapas
  30. Join concerts at We Crociferi, a former monastery
  31. Slow down with a coffee (and visit the rest-room)
  32. Escape Room
  33. Photo Tour

Found something in particular that catches your interest? Feel free to jump to the topic or you can just take your time and read all through the lines.

1. Visit Piazza San Marco

Sorry, but we have to start with a very obvious one. Bare with us, this list is gonna get much better, yet we have to cover this one.

This is the number one thing you have to do once you arrived in Venice. Not only is it the main square, the heart of Venice but also the magical place where every single tourist comes together.

Here, at Piazza San Marco, you are surrounded by breathtaking buildings. The cafés are more pricey, and live music is played basically all day long. Bear that in mind. We actually recommend to come here, take a few photos and move on.

There is much more to discover in Venice; with lesser tourists and better prices. Either way, we consider Piazza San Marco an absolute must-do!

Note: It is forbidden to sit down at Piazza San Marco. In the night there is no police, so you can sit down and take beautiful photos. You did not hear this from me…

Book a 75-Minute Walking Tour here

Take your time in the heart of Venice in Piazza San Marco

2. Take a Gondola Ride (but know what you want!)

Yes, yes!! Take a beautiful, romantic Gondola ride. Everybody does it and it is certainly beautiful. There are a few things to consider before hopping in your first Gondola.

It all affects the price.

I seriously recommend taking a Gondola ride combined with you trying it for yourself as well. It is more fun, and certainly a memorable experience.

Is it worth it to take a Gondola Ride in Venice?

The first time I visited, I skipped this experience. I felt it would be too touristy. On my second visit, I hopped on. I found a Gondola a bit of the beaten path and we went along canals with much less Gondolas and boats.

It was great, I loved it! However, do not expect the Gondolier to sing along.

Tip: Make sure you bring your camera, you do want to take plenty of photos!

Book a Gondola Ride with Dinner Experience here

Visiting Venice won't be complete without having a gondola ride

3. Alternative: Take a Gondola Ride for 2€

A cheaper alternative is the regular gondola, being used as public transport. The two main islands are connected by a few bridges. On a few points away from the bridges, you can take Gondolas to cross the river.

It only costs 2€ and it takes around 2 minutes to cross.

This is an excellent option if you feel like the official Gondola rides are too pricey. Or in case you are too sensitive to boat rides, this is my case.

Bear in mind, these regular Gondolas are not the beautiful, decorated Gondolas. Nevertheless, it’s much cheaper and a fun thing to do while in Venice.

4. Stay at a Former Monastery

Venice is a very unique destination. Make sure you pick a unique accommodation for your stay.

Here are a few options:

  • Casa Sant’Andrea near the train station. It has a very simple decoration.
  • San Clement Palace Kempinski: it is on the San Clemente island. You have to take a boat to get there and it is totally worth it.
  • We LOVE Combo Venezia. It is a former Monastery, located on the main island. It’s an enormous building and all rooms come with views of the canal. This is absolutely amazing!

Combo Venezia is a hostel, yet it is recommended for all ages and all types of travelers.

  • solo traveler
  • couples
  • elderly couples
  • groups

The rooms are high-end and you can sleep in comfortable beds with no noise. Combo Venezia also organizes weekly events like Aperitivo, small concerts, wine tastings, cinemas, you name it.

Venice has many tourists coming over only for the day. That is because of the cruise ships on the Mediterranean. Anyway, Venice is gorgeous and I highly recommend staying at the very least for 1 night. Even better for the perfect stay is 2 nights!

5. Seek for hidden squares

Venice is touristy, yes. But it also has many hidden gems and squares all around. Just go off the beaten path and you will explore a few for sure.

The beaten path in Venice? That is the direct street of Ponte Degli Scalzi connecting the Piazza San Marco with the main train station. Strada Nuova, where all the shops are. The Rialto Bridge is also another highlight, as same as the surrounding islands like Burano and Murano.

My three favorite hidden squares are:

  • Campo Dei Gesuiti
  • San Zaccaria
  • Campo Madonna de l’Orto
  • the area around Cannaregio
  • San Zan Degolà
Book Hidden Venice: Unusual Walking Tour here

Find the hidden gems of Venice

6. Walking Tour to the hidden spots

Another way to get around? Get a local tour guide.

But, obviously, we don’t recommend a regular tour guide. Get one that goes beyond the touristy things. We enjoyed With Locals for local tours.

You can find more walking tours in Venice here.

Book Hidden Venice 75-Minute Walking Tour here

Go people watching or take a rest at Piazza San Marco

7. Visit Libreria Acqua Alta

Considered one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world is Libreria Acqua Alta. This library is truly special. You will find the books are kept in bathtubs, gondolas, and boats. Why? You might ask.

Well, if you ever heard about the winter phenomena that hit Venice, High water (Aqua Alta), here you have the answer.

The owner considered that he had to find a solution to save the books in case the bookshop gets really flooded.

If you want to be helpful, then buy a book here or any souvenir. It helps the owner to actually run the shop!

Note: Don’t leave Aqua Alta without visiting also the outside part of the bookshop.

Book a Venetian Sweets Tour here

Considered one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world is Libreria Acqua Alta

8. La Biennale Di Venezia

Huge range of art – to different tastes! For art lovers, you will need a whole day needed to see La Biennale Di Venezia.

The ticket is valid for 2 days. It is thought that the visitor spends one day on the Arsenale and one day on the gardens (Giardini la Biennale)

9. Try Gelato and more Gelato

You are in Italia, you are in Venice.

It actually goes without saying, but here are the absolute must-eats in Italy:

  • Pizza
  • Pasta
  • Aperitivo
  • Gelato

All over Italy, you can find endless restaurants and Gelateria.

My favorite Gelateria is Gelateria Nico. Why this Gelateria? Cause the views and the vibes from the surroundings are great. Gelateria Nico is located at the Zattere Promenade, a popular waterfront walkway along the Giudecca canal.

Get your ice cream, seat around, and enjoy the show.

Grab the perfect gelato in Venice in Gelateria Nico

10. Become a local

Wanna get some real hidden gems? Then check out this guide on the best 6 hidden gems to Venice in a secret guide. You can download the guide for free.

11. Try on the Venetian Mask (and get one as a Souvenir)

The Venetian Mask is world-famous. You may have seen it already in advertising, photos or wherever. It is a common motif to use.

Although Carnival takes place in February/March, you will find the masks all year round. It was quite surprising to me how beautiful they are. The quality was also surprising to me.

Therefore, it is a perfect souvenir. You can also consider this mask for your next carnival party or Halloween party – when mixed up properly with some crazy outfit.

Some of the street vendors allow you to take photos with the mask. At least do that!

Book Carnival Mask Treasure Hunt here

Go mask hunting and find the perfect Venetian mask for you

12. Or make your own Venetian Mask

If buying a souvenir is nothing for you, then make your own one. Make a handmade Venetian mask. There are several shops around, offering this unique activity in Venice.

You can also book your spot directly here.

I’ve to admit: I first thought these masks are cheesy and so touristy. But actually, when I tried one the first time I really liked it. It is quite artistic. I got myself one for carnival. Give it a go!

Book Make-Your-Own Paper Mache Mask Experience here

Be creative and make your own Venetian Mask for the Carnival

13. St Marks Bell Tower

Located directly at Piazza San Marco, St Marks Bell Tower is an iconic landmark. If you are looking for what to see in Venice list, this tower will be on it!

You can join tours to go up the St Marks Bell Tower. It is worth it! But don’t get trapped in the queue. Buy your ticket and skip the line.

You can climb up all the stairs to soak in a wonderful view over Venice and other areas. It is also a unique view from Piazza San Marco right below.

Book St. Mark’s Square Private Tour with Bell Tower View here

Go up St. Mark's Bell Tower and see Venice in a different perspective

14. Exclusive Alone in St. Mark’s Basilica After Hours

After closing time, when visitors have been pushed out, a guard unlocks the doors of St. Mark’s Basilica to explore the city’s most important building completely alone.

With walks of Italy, you will have access to the areas of St Mark’s Basilica with a small group of max 15 people and an expert tour guide who will tell you the stories and help you spot all the details

You will also be able to visit the crypt, where to bones of St. Mark himself are said to lie.

Book Saint Mark’s Basilica After Hours Guided Tour here

Visit St. Mark's Basilica exclusively after the visiting hours