Venice Travel Guide
In this Venice travel guide, I will share all the details about what to do, where to eat, things to know about Venice, where to stay, and a day-by-day itinerary. Venice was the last city we visited in our Italy trip. We went mid-October. Our trip first started in Rome, then Florence, and ended in Venice. Our trip was 12 days long.
October is known to be an extremely rainy season for Venice. Right after we left, Venice made major news because it was raining so much and the tides were high that they experienced one of their worst floods. So if you plan on going in October, I recommend paying close attention to the weather.
We did get lucky and it rarely rained when we were there. If it did, it happened late in the night or sprinkled for half an hour. The weather was mild. Venice was the coolest (in temps) compared to Rome and Florence and that is because it the farthest north amongst the three cities. I share what to wear and pack for Venice in this post. Overall, the key is layers.
Getting Around Italy
The best way to get to Venice from Florence (or any city in Italy) is using the high-speed trains. It took about three hours. You can fly from Florence to Venice, but the thought of getting to the airport seemed a waste of time. When taking the train, you just have to make sure you get to your assigned train before it departs. They’re way nicer than the city trains in Chicago or New York. They’re clean, roomy, comfortable and relatively affordable. If you buy your train tickets ahead of time you have more options regarding the type of seat.
Getting Around Venice
Overall, using trains to get around Italian cities is the best way to go. We bought our train tickets through here. There are two Venice train stations: Venezia Mastre and Venezia Santa Lucia. To get on the Venice island, make sure you get off Venezia Santa Lucia! On our way back home, we took the high-speed train from Venice to Rome, and that took about 4 hours.
Venice is a small island/city and completely walkable. You can see so much in one day and getting lost is part of the charm. However, if you don’t want to walk / or can’t wait, they have ferries and water taxis to get you around. Unless your hotel is right by the train station (Venezia Santa Lucia) I do not recommend walking. Even though the distance is short, there are lots of bridges and steps and it is not ideal with luggage. We learned the hard way. All the ferries and water taxis are lined up in front of the train station. So it is not hard to miss at all!
Venice Travel Guide
Now it’s time for the Venice travel guide!
Places to Stay
This is the hotel where we stayed and it is right next to Ponte Rialto. Overall, we had a pleasant stay and the convenience of Ponte Rialto was a bonus. It gave an opportunity to be on the bridge when it wasn’t crowded. They also have a rooftop terrace that is only available to the hotel’s customers. We loved the size of our room. Again, we got lucky with a large room. There is also free breakfast. The spread was nice and if it is nice in the morning, you can have your breakfast outside along the Grand Canal!
Here are other hotels we considered staying at:
Places to See
This is one of the oldest bridges (out of 4) in Venice on the Grand Canal. It is hard to miss because it is the bridge with the most crowds and is the most well known bridge in Venice. It also looks the most grand too.
Venice has tons of canals. A lot of them are tiny canals. The Grand Canal is the main canal and it is significantly larger. The view from any of the 4 main bridges is beautiful. There are also tons of restaurants along the Grand Canal and walking along it at night is magical. The lights are twinkling and the water looks so peaceful.
Walk and Get Lost!
The best part of Venice is just walking around. There are so many ‘off the beaten paths’ to explore. Every corner has so much charm and character and the entire city has mini bridges.
When I think of Venice, gondolas come to mind. They are pricey and they range from 80-100 Euros. Some call it touristy, but honestly I enjoyed every minute of it. We did it first thing in the morning which meant less crowds and a more peaceful ride. It helped set the mood for the day. You can spot Gondoliers throughout the city. When there’s a canal, there’s usually a Gondolier there as well. They are hard to miss because they are wearing a striped top. You can also ride a Gondola along the Grand Canal as well.
Piazza San Marco
This is the most well known square in Venice. There are shops and restaurants surrounding the square. You’ll also find the Basilica di San Marco, Companile di San Marco, and the infamous Caffee Florian. The luxury shopping street is right by the Piazza San Marco.
Campanile di San Marco
This is the tall tower directly across from the Basilica in Piazza San Marco. This Campanile is 15m taller than the Giotta Campanile in Florence. The good thing is that this campanile does not require climbing the stairs. You get to use the elevator. The view from there is amazing. You can get a panoramic view of Venice.
Chiesa di San Moise
This is a church located just west of Piazza San Marco. The facade has intricate details and it is free to walk in and check out.
There are 4 streets for shopping: Le Mercerie, Salizada San Moisè, San Samuele, Calle Larga XXII Marzo
Basilica di San Marco
This is the most famous church of the island. Backpacks, luggage, and basically any large bags are not allowed. However, you can drop off your bag on a side street right by the church. Right before you enter the church, there’s a sign and directions where to go. The drop off is free. You also must dress appropriately and no photos and videos are allowed. Don’t be alarmed by the really long line. The line is continuously moving. We didn’t wait long before we were able to enter the church.
This is one of the 4 bridges along the Grand Canal. While the exterior doesn’t look as spectacular compared to Ponte Rialto, I personally think the view from this bridge is much better!
Mercatino dell’Antiquariato Campo San Maurizio
This is a flea market we accidentally stumbled upon when we were lost walking around. This was a gem of a find! You’ll find unique Italian trinkets and several of them are vintage. If I had the luggage space, I would have loved to buy several things from the market!
Burano is known to be the most colorful town in the world and a fishing village. It is an island in the Venice lagoon. This place does not look real. Every single house is colorful. I seriously couldn’t believe my eyes when we landed. Burano is an incredible day trip from Venice. You just take a 45 minute ferry ride from Venice.
Murano is another island in the Venice lagoon and it is known for glassmaking and lace. All the glasses and laces there are BEAUTIFUL! I loved all the lace & linen clothes. Even though lace is made in Murano, real lace is still pricey. So if you find one that is really affordable, make sure it is authentic. Murano is another great day trip from Venice. It is a 30 minute ferry ride from Venice. Murano and Burano is a 15 minute ferry ride from each other.
Places to Eat/Drink/Snack
Trattoria Al Ponte Del Megio
If you want authentic Venetian, this is definitely the place to be. The location is amazing because it sits along one of the small canals. So if you sit outside, you can watch Gondolas pass by. Their primary focus is seafood, however, they also have non-seafood as well (such as traditional Italian cuisine). I had the spaghetti and mussels, and it was one of the best I had!
This is the oldest coffee shop in the world and it is located in Piazza di San Marco. Even if you are not into coffee, I definitely think it is worth checking out. This place has been around for 300 years! It has so much charm and the artwork is beautiful. Plus, the food was delicious. We got a few tea sandwiches and their specialty coffee drinks. It’s probably on the pricier side, but the history of it makes it worth it!
This is a famous Venice bar. Several famous people come by this place. It is known to be Ernest Hemingway’s favorite spot in Venice. You can feel the history when you walk in. They’re known for their Bellini. So we only stopped here for bellinis. We’ve heard their food is great but it is pricey. But if you want to dine at a nice place, this could be an option. I will warn you that the bellinis are pricey as well (about 22 Euros each).
Caffe Alla Città Torino
This is a nice place for a quick break after walking around and it’s by all the shopping streets. We stopped here for a glass of wine, coffee, and some snacks.
Osterio Nona Risorta
This restaurant has a cute courtyard. We got there right when it opened for dinner (6pm). So we were able to immediately get a seat. The food was really good but not out of this world. I got the spaghetti squid ink. I really liked my husband’s dish which was the grilled salmon with polenta. The profiteroles for dessert were AMAZING!!
One of my favorite gelato shops in Italy. They also have them in Rome and Florence.
Ristorante Pizzeria Principe
This is the restaurant where we had lunch in Burano. Wow, loved the spaghetti & clams and diavola pizza!
Ai Piantaleon Ristorante & Bar
This is a restaurant in Murano. We stopped here for some coffee and drinks. It has its own pier with outdoor seating. The food looked delicious. Unfortunately, we were not hungry at that time.
Dinner at Ristorante Florida Venezia
This restaurant is located along the Grand Canal. I got the eggplant lasagna (loved it) and the pureed cod fish with polenta (so good).
Gelato at Suso Gelatotect
A very popular gelato place. The line was really long but it did go by fast. Definitely worth it!
Quick Recap of Our Venice Itinerary
- Arrived at Train Station
- Walked around Venice
- Ponte Rialto
- Dinner at Trattoria Al Ponte Del Megio
- Walked along the Grand Canal in the evening
- Gondola Ride
- Piazza San Marco
- Companile di San Marco
- Snacked at Caffe Florian
- Chiesa di San Moise
- Walked shopping streets
- Mercatino dell’Antiquariato Campo San Maurizio
- Basilica San Marco
- Ponte dell’Accademia
- Drinks at Harry’s Bar
- Snacked at Caffe Alla Citta Torino
- Walked Around
- Dinner at Osteria Nono Risorta
- Gelato at Venchi
- Walked along the Grand Canal
- Burano day trip
- Lunch at Ristorante Pizzeria Principe
- Murano day trip
- Coffee & drinks at Ai Piantaleon Ristorante & Bar
- Dinner at Ristorante Florida Venezia
- Gelato at Suso Gelatotect
- Caffe Florian
- Piazza San Marco
Hopefully this Venice travel guide was helpful!