What to see in Venice: 20 best places to see

What to see in Venice: 20 best places to see

sights in Venice

Many tourists come to one of the most unusual and beautiful cities in the world. What to see in Venice on your own in 1, 2 and 3 days? Learn about the best sights and entrance fees.

St. Mark’s Square

Every city has its own center. In Venice, it’s the ancient Piazza San Marco. Here all the roads that lead to the ancient city on the water converge. The architectural ensemble of the main square is formed by the famous Doge’s Palace, the picturesque St. Mark’s Cathedral, library, clock tower and some other historic buildings.

The spacious square in front of the cathedral dates back to the IX century, and the gray herringbone sidewalk was made in the XIII century. People come to the square to see the slender columns of St. Mark and Theodore, to climb the observation deck of the Campanile, to listen to the melodious chime of the clock on the tower, and to feed the pigeons.

This part of town is easily accessible by vaporetto from Santa Lucia train station or Piazza Roma. Get off at the S. Marco Vallaresso stop.

What to see in Venice in 1 day

St. Mark’s Square and Cathedral (Photo: unsplash.com / @dimush)

St. Mark’s Cathedral

What is a must-see in Venice? The beautiful cathedral, the most popular and famous Christian church in the city, deserves special attention. It gained high status in the early 19th century, and before that was the Doge’s court chapel.

Admire the facades of the magnificent building and look inside. Colorful mosaic paintings cover 4,000 square meters of the temple. The earliest ones were laid out back in the 11th century. The enormous dome of the Creation has 26 mosaic scenes from the Bible. The “Golden Altar” consists of religious miniatures, which were made in the technique of cloisonne enamel. The unique treasury of the basilica has been turned into a museum.

The cathedral stands on St. Mark’s Square. Entrance to the basilica is free. A ticket to the museum costs 5 €, a pass to the “Golden Altar” 2 €, and a climb to the bell tower 8 €.

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The elegant walls of St. Mark’s Basilica (Photo: unsplash.com / @timounesays)

Doge’s Palace

Not far from the Basilica of San Marco is the picturesque residence of the city’s rulers, the Doge’s Palace, or Palazzo Ducale. If you haven’t yet decided what to see in Venice, include in your plan a walk through the museum inside the palace.

The ceilings of the residence are decorated by the famous artists Tintoretto and Veronese. The Hall of Cards leaves a big impression. On its walls are placed ancient maps, which were made by the best Italian masters.

The palace is located in Piazza San Marco. A full ticket costs 20€.

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The inner courtyard of the palace (Photo: cedlambert / pixabay.com)

San Giorgio Maggiore Tower

Venice is built on 118 islands, and on one stands an ancient 17th-century cathedral. The square brick tower of San Giorgio Maggiore is understood to be 60 meters high. It serves as a bell tower and an excellent viewing platform from which there is a wonderful view of the central part of Venice. An elevator takes tourists up to the top. Inside the three-aisled church are several paintings by the famous painter Tintoretto.

The tower is on a small “cypress” island, in the center of the city. Admission to the temple is free and the ascent to the tower is 6€.

Rialto Market

What to see in Venice to experience the daily life of Venetians? Check out the ancient market, which has been operating in the city center since the 16th century. Its name means “high shore” in Italian. Here they sell fish, vegetables, herbs, and fruits. The largest selection of fresh seafood is in the morning hours.

Near the market there is a chocolate store called “Visio Virtu”. Try the different kinds of chocolates that are made according to traditional Venetian recipes. Visit the Parmesan Palace store, where they sell delicious cheeses.

The market is on the right bank of the Grand Canal, just west of the Rialto Bridge. It is open Tuesday through Saturday mornings. Admission is free.

Murano Island

Murano attracts history buffs and art lovers. It was here, in the artisan part of town, that mirrors and glass jewelry were invented, which made Venice famous. Glass souvenirs are still sold in Murano today.

Stroll through the narrow streets and admire the medieval churches and the summer residence of the Venetian rulers, Palazzo Da Mula. During a tour of the factory, see how the famous glass is made.

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The island-town is 1,5 km from the historical center of Venice. Entrance to the Museum of Glass costs 4€.

Torcello Island

The island of Torcello with its oldest churches in Venice is a good place to see for yourself. Since the 7th century Torcello was one of the most prosperous settlements of the lagoon. Trade was active on the island, and wool products were made. Then two rivers flooded the land, and most of the inhabitants moved to the larger islands.

Go to the ancient cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. Look at the massive stone shutters and the golden mosaic depicting Doomsday. Walk over the water on the Bridge of the Devil and peek into the temple of Santa Fosca.

Torcello is north of the Venice Lagoon and can be reached by vaporetto.

Isle of Burano

In Venice, visit the famous colorful island of Burano, the center of Venetian lacemaking. The island is divided into quarters and is famous for the colorful facades of the houses that face the canal. A photographer’s paradise!

Apart from the colorful buildings, the island’s highlights include the San Martino Church and the Museum of Lace. Products of local artisans are sold in many stores. If they are cheap, it is a factory handicraft, which were brought from afar. Real handmade lace works of Burano lacemakers are expensive.

Burano is in the north of the city, near the island of Torcello. Tickets to the Museum of lace cost 5 €.

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Colorful buildings on the island (Photo: juliacasado1 / pixabay.com)

San Michele Island Cemetery

What to see in Venice for lovers of secluded walks? Perhaps the quietest place is on the square island that bears the name of the Archangel Michael. The ancient cemetery is enclosed by a brick wall and occupies the entire San Michele.

The area with cypresses is divided into Orthodox, Catholic and Jewish sections. The graves of many Venetians are located here. Tourists from Russia visit the gravesites of Joseph Brodsky, Igor Stravinsky and Sergei Diaghilev. Out of respect for the deceased people in the cemetery can not be photographed.

The island is reached by vaporetto, which go in the direction of Murano.

Island of Lido

If a walk through the San Michele cemetery makes you feel a little sad, a trip to the island of Lido can help you relax. Here you’ll find luxurious beaches and huge hotels, often referred to as the Venetian Riviera. If it’s summertime, go there for a sunbath!

The beach island is located to the south of the Venice Lagoon. It closes the central part of the city from the Adriatic Sea.

A must-see in Venice

Lido Island – the beach corner of Venice (Photo: somkuti / flickr.com)

La Fenice

Many tourists dream of seeing a performance at the La Fenice opera house. The theater appeared in the late eighteenth century and, like the fabulous Phoenix, was rebuilt three times after fires. If there is not enough time, the visit to the performance can be replaced by a guided tour – the theater has a permanent exhibition about opera diva Maria Callas. A guide will show the temple of the arts and tell entertaining theatrical stories. Don’t forget about the dress code!

The theater is located in the San Marco area. Tickets cost 15€-110€, a guided tour in five languages 13€. Infants up to 6 years old are free.

The sights of Venice

Full house at La Fenice (Photo: wikimedia.org / Youflavio)

Carnival mask store

Where do you buy accessories for the famous Venice Carnival? Colorful paper and plastic masks are sold on the streets, but most are Made in China. To see the real exclusive, go to the old Venetian mask store.

The small store Il Canovaccio makes and sells painted masks for carnival participants. Their traditional materials are leather, papier-mache, ceramics and metal. However, today they often use plastic. Visitors are allowed to take pictures of any items, but you can not take pictures of people in masks!

The mask store is located in the center of the city, at Calle Larga Rosa, 6076. On the street masks sell for 15-20€, but in the store a blank blank piece costs 30€. You can paint it yourself. Prices for large masks in the form of magnificent animal heads go up to 1500€.

Colorful bookstore

For connoisseurs of good books in Venice we recommend a real Aladdin’s shop for book lovers – Libreria Acqua Alta. The unusual store is popular with tourists. The publications in it are displayed in wooden boats and gondolas, and one of the stairs is made of paper volumes. Two-thirds of the books are new. There are cats sleeping on the shelves.

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The bookstore is near Piazza San Marco, at Calle Longa Santa Maria Formosa, 5176 – Castello.

Bridge of Sighs

What to see in Venice for lovers of unusual places? A suitable sight is the small bridge between the Doge’s Palace and the old prison. It was built in the early 17th century in the best traditions of the Baroque and decorated with carvings of marble.

The elegant bridge is enclosed by walls and has only four windows – two on each side. Once upon a time, criminals were led across the bridge. Through the small windows they looked out over the canal waters and bid farewell to their freedom. Urban legends tell of the sad sighs of the prisoners. For today’s tourists, the ancient structure evokes sighs of admiration.

The bridge spans the Rio di Palacio Canal. It is free to visit.

See also:

Bridges and Canals of Venice

Bridge over the Palacio Canal (Photo: unsplash.com / @nickkarvounis)

Scuola San Rocco.

Venice is a veritable Klondike for art lovers! What to see on your own? Connoisseurs of the beautiful are advised to head to the beautiful San Rocco Gallery. The two-story Venetian Renaissance structure was laid out in 1515. Wander through the huge rooms and admire the gilded moldings, decorative panels, and paintings by Tintoretto and Titian.

The gallery is located in Piazza San Rocco. Take the vaporetto to the S.Toma stop and walk to the museum. A ticket with an audio guide costs 11€.

The Old Jewish Ghetto

In 2016, the historic district of Venice turned 500 years old, meaning the city’s Jewish ghetto is older than many countries in the world. Now the land, isolated by canals, is protected by the state. There are almost no Jews left in the ghetto since World War II, but old bakeries, cafes, and a trattoria are still operating. There is also a Jewish museum, two synagogues and a monument to Holocaust victims.

The ghetto is located in the non-touristy area of the city, Cannaregio. Visit is free.

Giudecca Island

A large island separated from the historic part of the city by the Giudecca Canal. People come here to admire the views of the San Marco buildings and see the three medieval churches.

On the Giudecca is a luxury hotel. The Neo-Gothic building was built in the 19th century and was originally intended as a pasta factory. Lovers of Art Nouveau architecture cannot pass by the spectacular Casa dei Tre Oci palace.

The colorful island is part of the urban district of Dorsoduro.

The Peggy Guggenheim Collection.

This is the name of the small museum where 400 paintings by Picasso, Dali, Modigliani, Rothko, Miró, Chagall, Malevich, Ernst, Kandinsky and other famous 20th century artists are on display.

The exhibition occupies the palazzo Venier dei Leoni, which is located in the district of Dorsoduro. A ticket costs 16.5€.

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Palazzo Venier dei Leoni (Photo: wikimedia.org / Jean-Pierre Dalbéra)

Palazzo Cà d’Oro

One of the places on the Grand Canal worth seeing in Venice is called the “Golden House”. In fact, in the XV century gold leaf was used to decorate the palace. Lavishly decorated Gothic walls were visible from afar and reflected in the waters of the canal.

Since the 1920s, the Franchetti Gallery is housed inside, where rare objects of art and ancient paintings are collected. The only downside is that you can’t take pictures.

The elegant palace stands in the district of San Marco. The price of a ticket is €11.

Sightseeing in Venice

Ca d’Oro Palace (Photo: wikimedia.org / Didier Descouens)

The old shipyard

Squero di San Trovaso is a seventeenth-century building where artisans still work. Squero means a team of people who make boats together. The yard makes long gondolas and other types of traditional Venetian vessels. Craftsmen make 10 boats a year. Tourists are not allowed inside, but the entire shipyard is clearly visible from the canal.

The place where the boats are made is in the district of Dorsoduro, 1097.

What to see in Venice in 1 day

Venice is overflowing with sights – we suggest to see only the essentials in 1 day:

  • St. Mark’s Square and the cathedral of the same name.
  • The Doge’s Palace.
  • The Tower of San Giorgio Maggiore – at least from the side.
  • Grand Canal.
  • Bridge of Sighs.
  • Rialto Bridge and Rialto Market.
  • Palazzo Cà d’Oro.
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What to see in Venice in 2 days

If you have 2 days to spend in Venice, it’s a good idea to see the islands and enjoy the vaporettos and targhettos:

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The fairytale city that rose out of the depths of the Adriatic Sea like a living legend beckons visitors from all over the world with its beauty and romance. Venice is often called the open-air museum – but what masterpieces are worth seeing in this museum?

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1. Grand Canal

It is unthinkable to visit Venice without seeing the Grand Canal – it is the largest of its canals, crossing the entire city. The most beautiful buildings and famous palazzos, such as Ca’ Oro and Barbarigo, are on its banks. The city has an incomparable charm at sunset.

Venice Grand Canal

The Grand Canal begins at the train station in Venice and ends at the customs building. The best way to see all the city’s beauty from the water is to take a ride on a river streetcar (vaporetto).

Hint: The price of a single vaporetto ticket is €7, but you can buy passes for 24, 48, 72 or 168 hours (cost €20, €30, €45 and €60 respectively). Or, if you’re under 30, you can buy the Rolling Venice Card, which entitles you to buy a 72-hour pass for €22 instead of €45 (the Rolling Venice Card itself costs €6). All you have to do is show your passport to the cashier at the vaporetto and ask for the Rolling Card and the corresponding fare.

2. San Marco Cathedral

Address: Piazza San Marco, 328

Without a doubt one of Venice’s most popular cathedrals, St. Mark’s Cathedral (or San Marco) strikes the imagination at first glance. Majestic Byzantine architecture, openwork portals and columns, graceful domes – the building impresses with its monumentality and airiness at the same time.

Basilica di San Marco

Inside the cathedral is no less interesting than the outside. Here one can find relics of the Apostle Mark, the city’s patron saint, as well as a variety of artifacts brought back to Venice during the Crusades. The main value is the golden altar (Pala D`Oro) with 80 icons, decorated with gold and precious stones. It took almost five centuries to make it!

Cathedral opening hours: November-April from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays and holidays from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Museum – 9:45 to 16:45. Schedule from April to November: Basilica – 9:30 to 17:00, Sundays and public holidays – from 14:00 to 17:00. Museum – 9:35 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Ticket price: Museum – €5, visit Pala D`Oro – €2, entrance to the basilica – free

How to get to the cathedral: from the Piazzale Roma stop by vaporetto #1; vaporetto #51 and vaporetto #2; from the Santa Lucia train station by vaporetto #1, #2 and 51.

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3. Piazza San Marco

When visiting the majestic St. Mark’s Square, don’t miss the opportunity to stroll through one of Venice’s most beautiful squares, the namesake of the famous cathedral.

In addition to the ubiquitous pigeons, the square is known for the fact that it is surrounded by historic buildings. Doge’s Palace, bell tower, columns of St. Mark and St. Theodore, cathedral, library – St. Mark’s Square alone can be compared to a whole European city in the number of attractions.

ДTo get here From Santa Lucia train station you can take River Tram No. 1 (direction Lido), stop San Marco.

4. Church of San Pantalon

Address: Sestiere Dorsoduro, 3703

The charming and imposing church is not as popular with tourists as St. Mark’s, and for good reason. In fact, here you can find the greatest artistic canvas in the world – ceiling paintings by Giovanni Fumiani. Its area is more than 700 square meters, but it is also a canvas-illusion. The painter didn’t use the traditional frame for the painting, so it seems that the painting goes from the ceiling to the walls.

You can’t take a picture, but you can buy an image of it from the church clerk (costs from €1 to €5, depending on size).

The church is a 10 minute walk from Piazzale Roma. Entrance is free.

Opening hours:Monday, Tuesday, Friday – from 10:00 to 12:30 and from 15:30 to 18:00; Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday – from 10:00 to 12:30 and from 15:30 to 19:00, Sunday – from 09:30 to 12:30 and from 15:30 to 18:00

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San Barnaba Church

5. Academy Gallery

Address: Campo della Carita, 1050

Venice, like a giant treasure trove, is full of works of art and architecture. While the latter can be admired simply by strolling around town, the best place to view masterpieces is the Galleria dell’Accademia.

It has the largest collection of canvases by Venetian painters of XIII-XVIII centuries: Titian, Tintoretto, Tiepolo and many others. And the gallery building itself – it is located in the church of Santa Maria della Carita – is worth a visit.

Opening hours: Monday 8:15 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday 8:15 a.m. to 7:15 p.m. The museum is closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.

Cost of admission: €9 (gallery + palazzo Grimani), free admission for visitors under 18 years old

On a side note: On Valentine’s Day, the museum provides one free ticket for a couple of visitors. On International Women’s Day, admission is free for all women.

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6. Doge’s Palace

Address: San Marco 1, piazzetta San Marco, 2

Situated on Piazza San Marco, the Doge’s Palace is a jewel of the city. The former seat of Venetian government, today it attracts tourists with its rich interiors, majestic halls and, of course, countless masterpieces of painting and more (such as the Hall of Cards, decorated with ancient handmade maps, the Golden Stairs or the Senate Hall, where the walls are painted by great Italian painters).

Cost of admission: you can buy a combined ticket – with it you also get access to the Museo Correr, Museo Archeologico and Biblioteka Nezionale Marciana. It costs €25 (children up to 5 years old free). The ticket is valid for 3 months from the date of purchase, but can only be used for one visit to each of the attractions.

Opening hours: April to October Sunday to Thursday from 8:30 to 21:00, Friday to Saturday from 8:30 to 23:00; November to March from 8:30 to 19:00

You can get there by vaporetto from Santa Lucia or from Piazzale Roma (#1, stop Vallaresso or San Zaccaria; #2, stop Giardinetti).

7. Cà d’Oro

Address: Fondamenta Trapolin, 3932

This magnificent openwork building on the Grand Canal is probably as much a landmark of the city as the Doge’s Palace or the canal itself.

In former times the facade was decorated with gold leaf, for which it was known as the Golden House. Today, this architectural marvel also attracts visitors – not only with the beauty of its facades, but also with the rich collection of works of art housed within its walls.

Opening hours: Monday – 09:00 to 14:00; Tuesday through Sunday – 09:00 to 19:00. Closed on December 25, January 1 and May 1. On Museum Night (Jan. 25), the museum is open from 8:00 a.m. to 24:00 p.m.

Cost of admission: €8.5, free for visitors under 18 years of age

Ca' D Terrace

8. Bridge of Sighs

Address: Piazza San Marco, 1

The name of one of the oldest bridges in Venice has nothing to do with romance. It was not lovers who sighed, as you might think, but the prisoners, who were led to prison on this bridge from the Doge’s Palace.

However, today few people remember this, and the elegant white-marble baroque construction on the Palatine canal attracts crowds of tourists for quite another reason. If the urban legend is to be believed, lovers sailing under this bridge at sunset will keep their feelings eternal and mutual.

Opening hours: 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

9. Santa Maria della Salute

Address: Dorsoduro, 1.

The cathedral impresses with its external beauty and interior decoration – there are many beautiful mosaics, icons and statues and, of course, paintings: paintings by Tintoretto, Titian and Giordano adorn the cathedral.

Santa Maria della Salute is located on the Grand Canal, opposite the Doge’s Palace. It can be reached by vaporetto No. 1 (the stop is right outside the entrance).

The temple is open to the public from 9:00 to 12:00 and from 15:00 to 17:00.

On a side note: On November 21, Venetians celebrate the Festa della Salute (a holiday commemorating the deliverance of the city from the plague in 1630). On this day, a pontoon bridge is laid that can be used to walk from the cathedral to the Doge’s Palace.

Santa Maria della Salute Basilica

10. Arsenale Bridge

Everyone knows that Venice is famous for its bridges no less than canals and palazzos. But to find the oldest of them you can on the canal Rio dell’Arsenale. It is easy to see: two red toothed towers on the canal banks are connected by a wooden bridge, which was built in the 16th century and still stands.

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11. the island of Burano

After enjoying the beauty of Venice you can spend a day on Burano Island. Here you will not find impressive sights (there are only two in the area – the Museum of Lace and the Church of San Martino), but you can relax from the hustle and bustle of Venice.

Island of Burano

Stroll through the narrow streets (or should I say wharves?) of Burano and check out its famous colorful houses. Be sure to stop by the local pasticheria, where you’ll be given a taste of the traditional sandy cookies “buranelli” and, finally, have a delicious grilled fish at the snack bar right on the pier.

To get to Burano For €7 to Burano, take the vaporetto which leaves twice an hour from the Faro Murano stop.

Correr Museum

Another Venice treasure house, the Correr Museum, will delight all aesthetes and lovers of beauty. The museum collection consists of three parts: Risorgimento Museum (collections of paintings, weapons, and arts and crafts), Picture Gallery (paintings of the XII-XVII centuries) and the Archaeological Museum (collections of Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiquities).

In the museum you can also discover the history of the Venetian Republic: the 33 halls contain the personal belongings of the Doge rulers, navigation equipment and maps, weapons, banners and much more.

Address: San Marco, 52, entrance from Piazza San Marco

Opening hours: November 1 to March 31 Sunday to Thursday 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday to Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; April 1 to October 31 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., December 25 and January 1 off

Cost of admission: €25 (on combined ticket), €13 (children 6 to 14, adults over 65)

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13. Murano

Speaking of Venice, it’s impossible to forget the famous Venetian glass that is highly prized all over the world. But to visit the home of the legendary glassblowers you can visit the district of Murano.

This is a real “city within a city”: Murano even has its own churches and palaces. But tourists, of course, are not attracted by them, and the Museum of Glass and souvenir shops, where you can find elegant and amazingly beautiful products of genuine Murano glass. And for just a couple of euros here you can get into the glassblower’s workshop and observe the process of making a fragile miracle!

To get to Murano From Venice city center take vaporettos Nos. 41, 42, 51 and 52 for €7. Get on at the station S. Zaccaria (near San Marco) or at the train station. The vaporettos of these routes stop at Fondamente Nuove and from there it takes about 30 minutes to the island of Murano.

14. Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo

Address:San Marco, 4303, near the Rialto Bridge. The palace is located in a courtyard called the Corte dei Risi or Corte del Bovolo.

This palace stands apart from other famous palazzos. Unlike its Grand Canal counterparts, Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo is not far from Piazza San Marco and away from the main streets, nor can it be called luxurious. The compact building, a mix of Renaissance, Gothic and Byzantine styles, is not ostentatiously chic.

Contarini del Bovolo

What attracts tourists to it is the famous arched spiral staircase, which gave the palace its name (“bovolo” means “snail” in Italian). For a small fee you can climb it to the very roof of the palace, which offers a beautiful view of the city.

The palace is best visited in the morning, when there are still few tourists.

Cost of admission: €8.4; for students and adults from 65 – €7.2

Opening hours: Monday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

15. Cathedral of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari

Address: San Polo, 3072

Venice’s churches are as rich in art masterpieces as its museums. This church is no exception. There are Titian paintings, the only one in Venice by Donatello (a wooden statue of John the Baptist), and, of course, the choir, where each of the 124 seats is carved with the face of a saint. And the 70-meter bell tower offers a magnificent view of the city.

Opening hours: Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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