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Hey! We are two Michiganders with adventurous souls looking to explore the beauties and wonders of this spectacular world. Our mission is to provide you with budget-friendly itineraries that inspire and encourage you to get outside, eat delicious foods, and enjoy high-quality brews. Ultimately, there are three key ingredients to any amazing trip: 

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  • Writer's pictureJ&L

Venice, Italy: Top Things to See, Eat, and Drink

Updated: Jun 12

Fun Fact

Venice is home to one of the world's narrowest streets, Calletta Varisco, which measures 21 inches across.

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What you should not miss in Venice

1. St Mark's Basilica

St Mark's Basilica brings in millions of tourists to Venice annually. As the focal point of Piazza San Marco, the line to enter this basilica usually stretches the length of the square. Buy your tickets online ahead of your trip to avoid these long lines and enter during a pre-designated time slot. We recommend booking the first time-slot of the day in order to admire the beauty of St Mark's interior without too many tourists.

St Mark's Basilica and Upstairs Museum: 15€ / Person. Book ahead of your visit

The upstairs museum of St Mark's Basilica contains artifacts and paintings that have been restored over the years. It also provides access to the rooftop terrace overlooking St Mark's Square, the Dodge Palace, and the ever-popular Grand Canal.

Appropriate Attire Required for Entry: covered shoulders and knees

With additional time, you may consider visiting the Dodge Palace. This ornate Gothic palace holds impressive artwork and takes you on a tour through the Duke's rooms and neighboring prison. Tickets are roughly $30 per person. Visible from the exterior is the Bridge of Sighs, a white-stone enclosed bridge where prisoners were allowed one final view of beautiful Venice before entering their prison cells.

2. Fondaco del Tedeschi View Terrace

This was one of the highlights of our day in Venice. The views from this rooftop terrace were magnificent, and the best part, completely free! If time-slots are not available on the day you visit Venice, head to the fourth floor of this mall anyways and see if they have space to add you to the next group. It is certainly worth a try!

Free! Book your 15 minute time-slot here!

There are several other attractions throughout Venice offering views of the city, such as St Mark's Campanile tower and the Scala Contarini del Bovolo. Our advice is to view these attractions from the ground, save yourself the admission costs to scale these towers, and head to Fondaco del Tedeschi instead for equally breathtaking views!

J&L Recommended: Hidden Gem!

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3. Basilica Frari

This 14th century Gothic church is similar in awe to St Mark's Basilica, however, does not have nearly the crowds or long lines for entry. We were amazed by the beauty and relics within this church, making it a true hidden gem.

Entry: 3€ / Person. Appropriate attire required (covered shoulders and knees)


4. Rialto Bridge

Rialto Bridge is an ornately covered 16th century bridge that is filled with shops and restaurants. Near the bridge is Rialto Market, an open-air market with fresh food sold daily.

Food Tip: If you are getting hungry, head to Al Merca for some affordable Spritz and Cicchetti!

5. Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo

This unique piece of architecture is tucked away in one of the narrow streets of Venice and is worth stopping by to admire its beauty. The scala (spiral staircase) leads to the top of the building and provides panoramic views of the city. Admission to climb the stairs is €8 per person, however, we recommend you save the expense and wait for the views at Fondaco del Tedeschi

Tickets: 8€ / Person


6. Libreria Acqua Alta

This vintage bookstore features gondola displays and resident cats. The boat displays are more than just a quirky design choice. The bookstore's proximity to Venice's canals means it is prone to heavy flooding. The gondolas serve a dual purpose to protect these books should the waters start to rise within the store.

Also Read: 7 Essential Tips for Traveling Europe

7. Grand Canal Tour

The Grand Canal is one of the major water-traffic channels in Venice. Some say Venice can only truly be seen from the water, with gondolas lining the canals and gondoliers singing romantic tunes as they pass through narrow waterways.

Although a boat ride is not necessary to see the highlights of Venice, you may consider witnessing Venice from the water by taking the Vaporetto Line No. 1 (water taxi) which travels down the Grand Canal and stops at six neighborhoods along the way. Tickets are 7.5€ and are valid for 75 minutes (allowing you to hop on and off during this duration).

Vaporetto Map: Download the water taxi map here

Selecting a gondola ride in the moment will cost roughly $100 per hour. If getting a tour of Venice via a gondola is high on your list, you may consider booking one of the below tours ahead of your trip to save on the cost:

8. Wander the streets of Venice

Put away your map, turn off your phone, and just get lost! This is how to truly appreciate the beauty of Venice, the narrow winding canals, the buildings suspended above water on wooden pegs, and the delicious eateries around every corner.


What food is famous in Venice?

1. Enoteca Al Volto

If there is only one food you try in Venice, make sure it is cicchetti. Compared to the rest of Italy, cicchetti is only found in Venice and is their equivalent of Spanish tapas. These small plates consist of seafood, meats, cheeses, fried vegetables and breads to create a delicious snack paired with spritz on a hot Venetian day. Enoteca Al Volto provides affordable 2-3€ cicchetti and 5€ spritz.


2. Baci & Pasta

Homemade pasta made to order right before your eyes, Baci & Pasta offers authentic pasta dishes at a reasonable price. The staff is incredibly helpful and informative, explaining the process of picking your pasta, sauce, and parmesan right as you walk through the door.

J&L Recommended: Try their delicious Bolognese meat sauce

3. Farini Pizza

Farini is the perfect place to stop for a quick bite. With a variety of pizzas and pastries on display, you can not go wrong with of their selections. Pair with a refreshing beverage to complete your meal or stop for a cappuccino and croissant to take away.

Also Read: 8 Steps to Plan a Budget Trip

4. Bar Alla Toletta

When in Venice, the food to try is cicchetti. Bar Alla Toletta has a variety of sandwich-style cicchetti. Dine in to keep the cicchetti coming or order take-away and enjoy these small bites alongside a nearby Venetian canal.


Does Italy have craft beer?

1. Birreria Zanon

Serving delicious craft beer and 2€ cicchetti alongside one of Venice's secluded canals, Birreria Zanon is the best place in Venice to find the Noms, Brews & Views trifecta.

J&L Recommended: Although not craft beer, the drink to try in Venice is Aperol Spritz


2. Magna Bevi Tasi

The type of brew that Italy is more well known for is coffee brews, or espresso. Stop at Magna Bevi Tasi to sip a cappuccino and enjoy and Nutella filled croissant to fuel you for a day of exploring.

Planning Your Trip

What are the travel guidelines for visiting Italy during COVID-19?

With travel restrictions constantly changing, we recommend you visit the US Embassy's website for the most up-to-date information.

How many days in Venice is enough?

In order to complete our suggested activities, we recommend spending at least one to two full days in Venice Italy

J&L Recommended: 1-2 Full Day(s)


What is the best month to go to Venice

To take advantage of the pleasant weather while experiencing a minimal amount of tourists, the best time to visit Venice is on the shoulder seasons of April-May and September-November.

J&L Recommended: April - May & September - November

Where is the best part of Venice to stay?

There are two options for lodging when staying in Venice. Some people choose to stay on the island of Venice itself (recommended for shorter stays), however, hotels are limited and prices higher. Others choose to stay outside of the island where there is more affordable lodging but it also requires a tram ride to the island for the day (roughly 1.5€ one way). Use the search box below to select your dates and determine which option works best for you.

We decided to stay on the island due to our limited time in Venice. We stayed at a wonderful Airbnb in the heart of Venice at Doriana's house. Our location was perfect and Doriana was the sweetest, most hospitable host we could have ever asked for. If our travels bring us back to Venice, we would book this Airbnb again in a heartbeat.

J&L Recommended Location: Doriana's House in the heart of Venice

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Getting Around Venice

Is Venice a walkable city?

It is very easy to walk everywhere in Venice. In fact, most places require walking since the island of Venice does not have any cars! Instead, to reach different neighborhoods within Venice you may consider taking the Vaporetto Line No. 1 (water taxi) which travels down the Grand Canal and stops at six neighborhoods along the way. Tickets are 7.5€ and are valid for 75 minutes (allowing you to hop on and off during this duration). The best way to determine the timetable for the water taxi is by searching directions within Google Maps.


How do you get to Venice from the Airport?

There are several ways to reach the island of Venice from Marco Polo Airport. The first and quickest is by bus ACTV number 5 or bus ATVO to Piazzale Roma (15-30 minutes and roughly $10/person). The second, and perhaps more fun option, is the water ferry (40-60 min and roughly $10-15/person).

J&L Recommended: Use Rome2Rio to select your route in real-time.

Looking for affordable International Data?

Want to avoid roaming charges and $10/day international data fees? Airalo allows you to download an eSIM to your phone and activate while in Italy for a very affordable price. We bought 3 GB of data which was valid for 30 days from activation for only $7. It worked great throughout our entire trip and was very easy to install. Airalo offers eSIMs all around the world and we can validate that it works with ease in multiple European countries.

Get $3 off with code NBV8668 by signing up here!

Happy Adventuring!


top things to do in Italy

Travel Planning Resources

Below are the resources we use to plan all of our trips, find great deals, and pack our bags with affordable gear. We received a small kickback whenever you purchase something through a link on our site. But rest assured, there is no additional cost to you. In fact, in some cases you even get a greater discount for shopping through NBV! A Win, Win!

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