The city of Venice is an absolutely unique place in the world: its unique urban structure – consisting of hundreds of islands separated by channels and connected by bridges – and its magical landscapes attract every year thousands of tourists from all over the world.
The city offers a lot of things to see and do, and if you’re going there for the first time you might want to know what the real top sights in Venice are, so that you don’t miss anything, especially if you only have a short time to spend in the city and you want to avoid being tricked into some kind of tourist trap.
So, here is a list, brought you by ItalyXP, of the top 5 things to do in Venice. In other words, below you’ll find all the must-do experiences that will help you to immerse yourself into the authentic Venetian atmosphere.
It’s such a pleasure to get lost in the historic centre of Venice, wandering aimlessly through its streets and alleys. By exploring you can find Venice’s many charming squares, churches and monuments, which testify the incredible historic heritage of the city.
But the very heart of Venice is represented by the magnificent Piazza San Marco, a vast square filled with nice cafés and restaurants under the portico, which provide a lively atmosphere at any time of the day or night. Here stand some of greatest monuments of Venice, such as the Basilica of Saint Mark (“San Marco” in Italian), which is the largest and most important church in the city; the Doge's Palace, the former residence of the Doge, with its unmistakable, unique architecture; but also the imposing St. Mark's Campanile, the National Library of St Mark's and the Correr Museum.
However, apart from universally-known major attractions of Venice you will be able to find a lot of other interesting sights, wandering around the hidden corners of the historic centre. And there is no better way to do it than with a guided tour with a professional accredited guide.
Your trip in Venice wouldn’t be complete without an excursion of the city's picturesque canals aboard an iconic gondola. You can ride along the Grand Canal, which is the main water way in the city, lined up with some of the most enchanting royal residences in Venice. Or, you can ride along the narrower canals in the hidden corners of the historic centre.
Gondolas represent the most representative picture of Venice: in the past, these slender and shallow boats steered by a single, trained and respected gondolier were the main mode of transportation. Today, they are mainly for tourists and are a essential eXPerience to enjoy the romantic atmosphere of Venice, especially at dusk is dusk.
To avoid tourist traps and overpriced fees, we suggest booking a private gondola ride directly from our website. You can also choose the gondola ride with serenade, for a more typical and suggestive eXPerience you will never forget.
Venetians are assiduous frequenters of their favourite bar for an evening aperitivo, a tradition that consist in a drink before dinner, often accompanied by typical finger food (the classic “cicheti”). From 6 to 8 pm, Venice’s bars and taverns get crowded, and Prosecco wine is served copiously.
The most popular bars for the aperitivo are in the districts of San Polo and Cannaregio, but they are often overlooked by tourists: by choosing our aperitivo tour, instead, you will discover this interesting Venetian tradition as a local! An expert guide will take you along the Grand Canal, giving you the opportunity to admire the Rialto Bridge, one of the most famous attractions of the city, up to the Fish Market. Once in the San Polo district, you will be taken to the discovery of the best bars taverns of this kind, where you will taste delicious wine and cicheti, living at its fullest the aperitivo tradition.
The city of Venice has a unique urban structure, as it’s spread over 118 small islands separated by canals and connected by bridges and walkways. However, besides the islands that compose the historic centre, there are still numerous beautiful outer islands that are definitely worth a visit.
After exploring the main city, you might enjoy a water-bus ride to some of those islands: the enchanting island of Murano, internationally renowned for the art of glass making, an ancient craft tradition, handed down from generation to generation, that represents an inestimable richness for Venice; the cemetery island of San Michele, not to be missed; the Burano Island, famed for its brightly colored houses lined with the canals, which create a sort of urban rainbow, boasting a unique cheery atmosphere; and the Torcello Island, the oldest settlement of the archipelago and it represents the ideal refuge for those in search of a nice short, peaceful excursion nearby Venice.
Carnevale, the world's largest and most famous masked ball, has existed since the Middle Ages, but it came into its own in the 18th century. Today, visitors to the pre-Lenten event flock to Saint Mark's Square, where professional poseurs in ornate (and exorbitant) costumes occupy prime spots and wait for the world's press photographers to immortalise them. Venetians, on the other hand, organise private masked and costumed celebrations, or gather in smaller squares.
So, if you're going to be in Venice in February, make sure to buy a traditional, suggestive mask and immerse yourself into the baroque atmosphere of this National festivity. And don't forget to bring your camera with you, as there will be a lot of cool stuff you might want to immortalize.