So, 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: September, 2023)
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.
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…
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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!
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!
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.
Basically, it consists of models of Leonardo’s ideas and inventions. Some of which were realized (you will be surprised how many things that he invented are still in use today). Others which never were realized.
Many of the exhibits are interactive and most also showed an explanation or history of the invention.
A cool way to find out so much more information about Da Vinci.
In all the big and even small cities in Europe offer the famous Hop-On Hop-Off bus.
There is one as well in Venice.
The difference? It is a boat, not a bus. You can hop-on whenever you want, and you can hop-off whenever you want. There are different packages available, suitable for your length of stay.
I think I mentioned it before but I would recommend staying 2 nights, 3 days in Venice.
24. Venice in one Day (skip all lines)
Venice can be „done“ in one day, this is true! Many people do it, and so can you.
However, you need to prepare this a bit. Get the Skip-all-line ticket to… Well… You know why.
The main landmarks are usually busy and you can lose your time in lining up. Get the skip-all-line tickets and you can go ahead – literally.
Get the Spill all line VIP one Venice tour and get an 8-hour tour to Marvel at the city’s Byzantine bridges, palaces, villas, and churches. You will also skip the long lines to St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace. And go by a water taxi through the canal.
It is the highlight of Summer in Venice. Located on the Lido beach, the Aurora Beach Club contributes to the fun night atmosphere with colored lighting, popular DJs, large white sunbeds, and fruity cocktails.
I recommend staying at the very least 1 night in Venice. It is simply too beautiful and too much to see as a day trip.
A great time frame would be 2 nights and 3 days. When you are staying 3 nights, it’s absolutely perfect to see all Venice with no rush at all. It is really up to you.
How to get around Venice?
You can take the Hop-On Hop-Off Boat. There are several, flexible packages available, depending on your length of stay. Venice is really walkable.
Bikes and Segway are no option at all since you have numerous stairs and bridges you will not be able to cross.
You can also take the public boats. There are several stops even around the islands. It is easy to get around.
In between the islands you can take a private boat or public boats as well. To get from Piazza San Marco to Burano, Murano… you can take a ferry.
It is really easy to get around Venice. Walk and get the Hop-On Hop-Off ticket and you are ready to go.
Summary: Cool Things to do in Venice Italy
There you have it. I just gave you a bunch of cool activities for Venice. Some are for rainy days, other a bit touristy, I’ve to admit. Make sure you plan a bit ahead of time and have a look on what is available.
Remember to read my detailed guide for the perfect Venice itinerary. I included the best perks as well as some preparing you need to do beforehand.
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