Want the insider scoop on the best things to do in Venice? Make the most of any visit to this wonderful city with my hints and tips!
Venice is one of those places we love so much that we return to it time and time again. Each time we visit we discover something new, and we enjoy returning to our favourite places as well. Here are some of the best things to do in Venice, to help you make even more of a visit to this iconic Italian city.
Arrive in Style
While it is cheaper to use one of the many public water taxis available to make the transfer from Marco Polo airport to the main part of Venice, I highly recommend splurging on a private water taxi transfer if your budget allows. It cuts down on the journey time and there’s nothing like arriving at your hotel like one of the jet set!
Many hotels have an entrance off the canals, so you can step directly from the launch into the hotel lobby.
We generally arrange a private water taxi directly with our hotel, but we’ve also used Viator.com in the past.
Stay in a Beautiful Historic Hotel
Most of the hotels in Venice are historic properties, but some are nicer than others. There are many luxury hotels dotted throughout the islands of Venice, but The Hotel Danieli is my favourite.
The Hotel Danieli is just steps away from St Mark’s Square and has been welcoming visitors for the last 200 years. Before that it was a very grand family home dating back to the 14th century. With priceless artworks lining the walls, rich tapestries and luxurious surroundings, you could spend hours exploring just the hotel! That said, it’s not in the least pretentious, and we always feel very at home here.
Explore Venice By Gondola
I firmly believe that the best way to see this remarkable city is to Explore Venice by Gondola. Most of the transportation in Venice is by gondola, and travelling in this way gives a unique perspective on this very historic city. Find out more here.
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Visit the Islands
The main part of Venice is composed of 118 islands all separated by canals and linked by bridges. Murano, Burano and Torcello are three of the most popular outlying islands, all with distinct personalities.
Murano is famous for its ornate blown glass. We toured a glass factory and watched a demonstration of how blown glass was made. There was also a shop, where it did feel like a bit of a hard sell, although we resisted the temptation to buy!
Burano is known for its colourful houses and original Burano lace. My favourite of all three islands, the relaxed vibe and welcoming local people, great restaurants and shops on Burano make it a real delight to visit. It’s fascinating to watch the beautiful lace being made, often by quite elderly ladies. Although I did not buy any lace, I did come home with two beautiful woven scarves which I wear regularly.
The most remote of all the islands, Torcello has a ruggedness to it that can make it appear almost bleak. Our visit was late in the season so things may be brighter in the summer months, although I did find it beautiful in its own way.
We took a half day boat journey to all three islands booked through Viator.com, a whistle stop tour to give us a taste their unique personalities. Of the three, Burano was my favourite island, and I highly recommend a visit.
Take a Walk
The most inexpensive way to experience Venice is on foot. Most hotels can provide you with free maps and our concierge has always been happy to give directions and recommendations for walks. (The ancient buildings mean that data coverage can be a bit sketchy in places which can make it difficult to use your phone for directions.)
There are amazing buildings and lovely little discoveries around nearly every corner. Be sure to keep an eye out for the gates in the walls. You can often see into private gardens and courtyards.
Whether you have been to Venice many times before or are planning your first trip, my list of Best Things to Do in Venice will help make your visit a very special one.
Disclosure: I have been to Venice on many occasions, always on private holidays with my husband. We paid all our own expenses. All of the above insider tips and opinions are my own, and have not been solicited by any business or tourist attraction.