City Trip Venice

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City Trip Venice – Venice is a popular destination for a city trip because of its unique character. No other city in the world consists of so many islands, has so many boats and so many bridges. Add to this, colourful houses, narrow alleys and the beautiful Venetian gondolas and you know why tourists from all over the world flock to Venice. Some come on a city trip of a few days others as a daytrip from one of the cruise ships.

Venice is rather an island kingdom in a lagoon than a proper city. With 118 islands, 150 canals, 400 bridges and thousands of streets, alleys and squares, the city is unique and begs to be explored. Venice is so popular that mass tourism has become a problem. Over 28 million tourists come to Venice every year, making it one of the most visited cities in the world. The municipal council is trying to regulate the stream of tourists by charging admission fees for day trippers. Be sure to visit this beautiful city and take in the splendour of the Grand Canal, Ponte Rialto, Piazza San Marco, Palazzo Ducale, the Bridge of Sighs and the islands of Lido di Venezia (beach), Murano (glassblowers) and the colourful Burano.

Venice City Passes and Museum passes

If you want to enjoy Venice to the full without hassle and want to save money at the same time, you should purchase a city pass or a museum card. These city passes provide free access to the most important sights and museums in Venice. What’s more, you have fast-track entry to popular attractions such as the Palazzo Ducale. Some passes also include public transportation or the hop-on hop-off cruise. Several types of passes are available for Venice: Venice City Pass, Venice Pass and Venezia Unica City Pass (access to all municipal museums). Purchase the Venice pass that suits you best online in advance.

City Passes at a glance:

  • The Venice City Pass comes in three types: the Venice City Pass Starter, Venice City Pass Classic and the Venice City Pass Complete. The difference is in the number of free sights that you can visit. A boat trip on the Grand Canal is included in all passes. The Classic and Complete Venice City Passes allow you to opt for a gondola ride.
  • The Venice Museum Card allow you entry to all municipal museums in Venice (11 museums in total), including Palazzo Ducale, Museo Correr, Biblioteca Marciana, Ca’Pesaro, Ca’Rezzonico and the Glass Museum of Murano. The card is valid for six months.
  • The Venice Pass allows you to make the most of your day trip to Venice from campsites or hotels on the Venetian Riviera. Fast-track entry to Palazzo Ducale (the Doge’s Palace), St Mark’s Basilica and a couple of museums on St. Mark’s Square. A classic gondola ride and a 10% discount on other sights and tours in Venice is included.

Compare Venice Citypasses and Day Cards:

Venice City Pass

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  • Choice between Starter, Classic and Complete
  • 8 Attractions (Starter)
  • 28 Attractions (Classic)
  • 35 Attractions (Complete)
  • Skip-the-line entry
  • Boat trip on Canal Grande
  • Gondola ride (Classic en Complete)
  • Excursion to the islands Murano, Burano, Torcelli (Classic and Complete)
  • Discounts

Venice Museum Pass

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  • Palazzo Ducale
  • Museo Correr
  • Museo Archeologico Nazionale
  • Sale Monumentali of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana
  • 10 Municipal museums (including Ca’ Rezzonico and the Glass Museum Murano)
  • 17 Churches
  • Valid for 6 months

Venice Digital Pass

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  • Fast Track Entry to Doge’s Palace 
  • Fast Track Entry to St. Mark’s Basilica
  • Access to Museo Correr, Archaeological Museum and Marciana National Librar
  • Classic Gondola Ride
  • Audio Guide App
  • Discounts on other attractions and tours

Flying to Venice

The most comfortable way to get to Venice is by plane. Many budget and other airlines have direct flights to Venice: Easyjet, KLM, Vueling, Ryanair, Alitalia, Transavia and many more. It takes one to three hours to fly from cities in Europe to Venice. Venice is served by two airports: Marco Polo Airport, and Treviso Airport. Treviso Airport is a small airport and is often used by budget airlines such as Ryanair, Transavia and Wizz Air. It is located 35 kilometers north of Venice. Marco Polo Airport, named after the explorer Marco Polo, is the international airport of Venice and located at 12 kilometers from the centre of Venice.

From Marco Polo Airport to Venice

Marco Polo Airport located at a distance of 12 kilometeres from the centre of Venice. Various public transport options are available: bus, water bus, water taxi or taxi. Two bus lines connect the airport with Piazzale Roma Square in Venice. ACTV bus line 5 (Aerobus) runs every 15 minutes and Venice ATVO Airport Bus Express leaves every 20 to 30 minutes. The journey takes 25 minutes and costs €8 for a single journey and €15 for a return trip. These prices include suitcases. The yellow Alilaguna water buses are a good alternative and take you via fixed routes to different places in the city. The fare is about €15 for a single ticket and €27 for a return ticket. The departure quay is a ten-minute walk from the airport. The Alilaguna stops at Lido (beach), Piazza San Marco and Rialto and more stops. Depending on your destination in Venice, travel time varies between 40 minutes (Madonna dell’Orto) to 70 minutes (San Marco). Water taxis are the quickest way from the airport to the centre because they take you directly to where you want to be. The drawback is the price. Depending on the number of passengers and where you want to be dropped off, expect to pay between €100 and €160, one way. However, if you share a water taxi the fare starts from €32 p.p. to a maximum of eight people and ten suitcases or bags. An ordinary taxi to the city costs about €45.

From Treviso Airport to Venice

Buses run from Treviso Airport to Venice and vice versa. The timetable usually matches arrivals and departures. Alternatively, you can go by bus to Treviso station and then by regional train to Venice: Venezia Mestre station (30 minutes) and Venezia Santa Lucia station (35 minutes). The ATVO shuttle buses go to Piazzale Roma and the journey time is about 1 hour. A single ticket costs € 12, return € 22. A taxi will take you from Venice Treviso Airport to the city in about 40 minutes. The price for a taxi to Treviso is € 15, for a taxi ride to Mestre (near Venice) is about € 60. A taxi for three or four people to the centre of Venice costs on average € 75.

Hotel or B&B in Venice

Venice is fairly small and extremely popular with visitors from all over the world who all want to stay in the centre. There are many hotels but the majority is quite expensive. Therefore, many people prefer to  stay at campsites nearby and go to Venice on a day trip. More affordable hotels and hostels are away from the centre. The advantage is that staying outside the centre is often much quieter than the city centre and definitely more affordable. Mestre, a city within the municipality of Venice on the mainland, has a wide choice of affordable hotels. It is ten to twenty minutes by bus or train from Mestre to Venice.

If you decide to stay in a five-star hotel during your city trip to Venice, you can opt for Hotel Danieli, right in the heart of the city and only 200 metres from Piazza San Marco overlooking the Lagoon (Riva degli Schiavoni 4196). The Hilton Molino Stucky Venice is on the island of Giudecca. A former flour mill has been converted into a hotel with a rooftop swimming pool and cocktail bar offering panoramic views (Giudecca 810). Hotel Palazzina Grassi is near the Grand Canal, 700 meters from the Fenice Theater (Ramo Grassi 3247) it was the first Italian hotel designed by Philippe Starck. The exclusive 5-star Hotel Centurion Palace Venice is located near the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute (Dorsoduro 173). More affordable hotels in Venice include Hotel Ca Zose (Calle del Bastion 193) and Hotel Marconi near Ponte Rialto and Canal Grande (Riva del Vin 729).

In addition to hotels, Venice also offers a fair number of bed & breakfasts, small-scale accommodation where the owners provide you with a good bed and an Italian breakfast as well as tips for events, walks, restaurants and other activities in Venice. B&Bs are often hidden in private homes and apartments – often lavishly furnished with marble floors, chandeliers and traditional Venetian furniture. Others are in simple houses, but with a private garden or a roof terrace.

Venice sights and attractions

Venice is one big open-air museum and together with the lagoon the city has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1987. The characteristic canals and gondolas are the star attraction. Yet, Venice has more to offer: Piazza San Marco and the elegant St. Mark’s Basilica, the Bridge of Sighs, the famous Rialto Bridge and the paintings of Titian in the Santa Maria della Salute – Venice is breathtaking. Venice also prides itself in many museums. Galleria dell’Accademia and the Guggenheim Museum are the most famous. Be sure to include in your visit the neighborhoods of Castello and Cannaregio and the islands of Lido di Venezia (because of the beautiful beach) and Murano, the island of the glassblowers.

Piazza San Marco

Sightseeing piazzetta san marco venice

Piazza San Marco, the most important and famous square in Venice, is surrounded by St. Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale), the slender Campanile (bell tower) and a picturesque colonnade where you will find outdoor cafes and shops. Climb the Campanile and your reward is a sweeping view of Venice. Other sights on Piazza San Marco are the Biblioteca Marciana, the Torre dell’Orologio, Museo Correr and the Archaeological Museum. It is not only imposing buildings that ring the square, you will find here also the most famous café in Italy: Caffè Florian. It opened its doors in 1720 and was then called Caffè alla Venezia Trionfante. Goethe and Wagner regularly came here for a coffee as did Casanova, the Italian adventurer and author. Go for a walk on Piazzetta, the small square that borders the water. Here you have a wonderful view of San Giorgio on the opposite side of the canal, watch the floating gondolas and you can just see the Grand Canal.

Bridge of Sighs

Sightseeing Ponte dei Sospiri venice

The Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri) is the most famous and most photographed bridge in Venice. It connects the Doge’s Palace with the old prison. Legend has it that prisoners crossing the bridge on their way to prison would sigh when they saw Venice through the tiny windows for the last time. The name of the bridge is derived from the deep sighs of the prisoners. Scientist Galileo Galilei and the author Casanova, were among those who caught a last glimpse of Venice before being locked up in damp dungeons. The present-day bridge dates back to the seventeenth century and was designed by Antonio Contino, a cousin of Antonio da Ponte, who designed the Rialto Bridge.

Tip: the best place to take photos of the Ponte dei Sospiri is from another bridge, Ponte della Paglia.

Doge’s Palace

Sightseeing Doge palace venice

The Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) is one of the most beautiful and striking buildings in Venice. The current palace was built between 1309 and 1424, but the foundations date from the 9th century. From the ninth to the eighteenth centuries the palace was the residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority of the former Venetian Republic. Not only were there offices and meeting rooms, there were also prison cells and a court of justice. Today, the Doge’s Palace is a museum where you can visit the private rooms of the doge, meeting rooms, a torture chamber and the ‘piombi’, the prison cells. Other sights in the Doge’s Palace are the Scala dei Giganti (staircase of the giants) in the courtyard, two huge statues of Mars and Neptunu, the Scala d’Oro, a golden staircase designed by Andrea Sansovino, the Sala dello Scudo (Chamber of the Coat of Arms), with a series of maps and two globes from the sixteenth century and the Sala del Maggior Consiglio (Hall of the Great Council). The doge together with some 2.000 councilors held meetings here. The star exhibit in the hall is ‘Il Paradiso’ by Jacopo Tintoretto, an immense painting of 22 metres wide and 7 high. The Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri) connects the Doge’s Palace with the prison behind the palace.


Sightseeing gondulas rivers venice

Venice means gondolas. They sail like elegant ladies over the water of the Grand Canal, steered by a gondolier in Venetian costume. These wooden vessels with a high brow and stern have been sailing in Venice since the eleventh century. At its peak, in the sixteenth century, Venice had more than ten thousand gondolas. This number fell dramatically when motorized vessels were introduced. Today, there are only about four hundred gondolas in Venice. They have all been black since 1562. The gondola has a length of 11 meters and weighs about 600 kilos. Each gondola is made by hand in special workshops called ‘squeri’. As the canals in old Venice were so narrow and several boats had to pass each other without touching, the boats in Venice were not rowed with two straps on either side of the boat, but with one strap on the starboard side (right). A gondola ride usually takes 40 minutes and costs 80 euros. If you pay more you can extend your ride. It is much more fun to ride a gondola on quieter canals instead of busy Canale Grande. This also means that you will see a different side of Venice besides you will not end up in a gondola traffic jam.

Ponte Rialto

Sightseeing rialto bridge venice

Rialto Bridge (Ponte Rialto) is the oldest and most famous bridge spanning the Grand Canal. Until 1854, it was the only bridge across the Grand Canal, the largest and most important canal in Venice. The current stone bridge had a number of predecessors, including a floating bridge (12th century) and a wooden bridge (13th century). The present stone-arched bridge has been here since 1591, after a design by Antonio da Ponte. Souvenir shops and a sea of tourists occupy the middle part of the bridge. Come to the bridge early in the morning or late at night for the best view of the Grand Canal. The largest open-air market in Venice takes place every morning at the foot of the Ponte di Rialto as does a fish market.

Ca’ d’Oro

Sightseeing ca oro art venice

Ca ‘d’Oro (Golden House) on the Grand Canal in Venice is one of the most beautiful palazzi and a fine example of Byzantine influences in architecture. Nowadays it is a museum. The palace was built in Gothic style between 1424 and 1434 for Venetian merchant Mario Contarini. The palazzo owes its name to the fact that the outside was decorated with gold leaf. The first and second floors of Ca ‘d’Oro are occupied by the Galleria Franchetti museum with a huge collection of religious art, including The Death of Mary of Carpaccio and the impressive painting of Saint Sebastian by Andrea Mantegna. The view of the Grand Canal from the windows and loggias of the museum is as impressive as the works of art on display.

Grand Canal

Sightseeing grand canal venice

The Grand Canal is the largest and most important canal in Venice. This waterway is four kilometers long and between 30 and 70 metres wide and winds its way through various areas of Venice. A gondola ride on Canal Grande or a much more affordable water bus (vaporetto) trip is a mini sightseeing tour as you pass many beautiful palazzi such as Ca ‘d’Oro, Pallazzo Foscai, Palazzo Ducale, Ca’Dario, Palazzo Vendramin-Calergi , Ca’Pesaro, Ca’Rezzonico, Palazzo dei Camerlenghi and the Palazzo Vernier dei Leoni with the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. You will also see several churches, of which the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute is the most spectacular. Four bridges span the Grand Canal: famous Ponte Rialto, Ponte dell’Accademia, Ponte degli Scalzi and Ponte della Costituzione.


Sightseeing murano venice

Murano is the most famous island in the Venetian lagoon. It is a miniature version of Venice: islands separated by water and connected by bridges. Murano owes its fame mainly to the production of glass. When in the thirteenth century, the glassblowers’ workshops became fire hazards, the artisans were banned from the narrow streets in Venice and moved to the island of Murano. Another reason for the move was that the secrets of how to blow glass could better be kept on a smaller island. On pain of death, glassblowers were forbidden to pass on their art. Murano glass is especially famous for colorful designs. When in Murano you can watch glass blowers at work and buy glass objects from the many shops along Fondamenta dei Vetrai Street. The Glass Museum (Museo Vetrario) gives an overview of the development of the glass industry. Other points of interest in Murano are two magnificent churches SS Maria e Donato, with a beautiful mosaic floor and an adorable Madonna with Child, and the San Pietro Martire, with two unique altarpieces by Giovanni Bellini. You reach Murano by vaporetto from Venice.

Restaurants and bars in Venice

Italy is known for its iconic food and Venice is no exceptions. Enjoy gastronomical delights: risotto, tortellini and pizza. Be sure to try local dishes such as ‘sarde in saor’, deep-fried sardines in sweet vinegar sauce, or spaghetti alle vongole, spaghetti with clams. The best restaurants serving traditional Venice dishes are often found in the side streets away from the big squares. If you can, try to avoid Piazza San Marco as most restaurants here are overpriced and the food is moderate. They are genuine tourist-traps.

In Osteria Al Bacareto (San Marco 3447) local residents are happy to join you for one of the authentic Venetian dishes, such as bigoli (thick spaghetti) with anchovy sauce, fresh fish or risotto. Il Paradiso Perduto (The Lost Paradise) is another fine osteria in Venice, with many typical Venetian dishes on the menu. The menu changes almost daily, because it depends not only on the offer of fish and vegetable at the market, but also on the inspiration of the chef. Al Bancogiro is close to the Rialto Bridge and has a large outdoor terrace overlooking the Grand Canal (San Polo 122). Antico Martini restaurant is recommended because fish is still prepared in the Venetian way. You can eat tasty pizzas at pizzeria All’Anfora (Calle Larga dei Barri 1223) and pizzeria Antico Forno (Ruga Rialto 973)

Tip: Be sure to try cicchetti, the ‘tapas’ of Venice. Tasty snacks often served in wine bars and during ‘aperitivo.’ If you want to take part in nightlife, clubbing and pubbing, you will have to go to Mestre or in the summer to Lido di Jesolo. You will find a number of bars and cafés with live music and interesting cocktails in Venice but no wild parties or buzzing nightlife.

Shopping in Venice

Venice is not known as a shopping city. Yet, you will be surprised at the world-class shops. Many sell exclusively souvenirs but others sell Italian delicacies and Venetian carnival masks. The best shopping is in Le Mercerie area, various streets that connect the Rialto Bridge with Piazza San Marco. In this maze of alleys, you soon discover funky boutiques and exclusive shops: fashion, shoes, jewelry and souvenirs. Venice also has many quality bookstores, such as Fantoni. The boutiques of the major fashion brands are in Calle Larga XXII Marzo, west of Piazza San Marco. Real shopaholics should go to Mestre on the mainland: Piazza Barche and Piazza Ferretto are famous shopping streets.


Every morning, the Mercato di Rialto, the largest market in Venice, is held at the foot of Ponte di Rialto. It is now a fruit and vegetable market but in the past fabric traders and goldsmiths sold their wares. The fish market is held from Tuesday to Saturday also near Ponte di Rialto. Even if you are not interested in markets the fish market is a must-see. Restaurants, chic Venetian ladies and hobby chefs come to buy all sorts of fish and shellfish to make their favourite dishes. Come very early in the morning to the Rialto market to watch the fishermen bring in fresh fish straight from the sea.