view from campanile san marco - not what to do in Venice when it rains

Venice bucket list – best things to do according to travel bloggers

Venice should be on anyone’s bucket list. But what should be on your Venice bucket list?

Well, I’ve asked travel bloggers what are their favourite things to do and see in Venice. So you could say I’ve compiled the ultimate Venice bucket list!

These are our favourite Venice attractions and things to do. Enjoy!

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Things to do in Venice that must be on everyone’s Venice bucket list

When visiting the floating city, you can just leave these things to do in Venice off your itinerary. These should be the staples of every visit, you know?

Visit St Mark’s Square and the miracles it holds

san marcos campanile and the basilica should be on every single venice bucket list

Quite a staple of Venice, wouldn’t you say?

It’s the most famous square in Venice, and for a very good reason.

Piazza San Marco is home to the most famous buildings in Venice – the Basilica San Marco and Palazzo Ducale.  And of course, it houses the Campanile San Marco, as well as Torre dell’Orologio.

After marvelling at the buildings from the outside and playing with the pigeons (just don’t feed them!), make sure to enter the Basilica and the Doge’s palace.

St Mark’s Basilica is almost a millennium old and remains one of the most important religious buildings in Northern Italy. Its architecture from the outside is beautiful, but make sure to enter the building itself. The inside is just incredible, with high ceilings and breath-taking mosaics.

The Doge’s Palace, once the home of the seat of the Venetian Government and a palace of justice, is now accessible to the public. Make sure to go inside to check it out as well – the Palazzo Ducale hosts the best museum in Italy where you can see artwork by such artists as Titian, Veronese, Tintoretto, Vittoria and Tiepolo.

Piazza San Marco should definitely be on everyone’s Venice bucket list. Even if you just scare the pigeons or have an overpriced coffee in one of the cafés.

Go up on the San Marco’s Campanile

view from Campanile San Marco - easy things to do in Venice bucket list

If it’s a nice sunny day, make sure to add going up the San Marco’s bell tower to your Venice itinerary. It’s a free-standing bell tower on St Mark’s Square, just between the Basilica and the Palace.

From the top of the tower (there’s an elevator, don’t worry) you can see the whole of Venice, including the San Giorgio Maggiore and other islands, as well as San Marco’s square, Doge’s Palace, Santa Maria della Salute church, and so on, and so on…

Why do I say that you have to go on a sunny day, you wonder?

Well, because on rainy or cloudy days, you can’t see anything, just, well, clouds.

And you should probably know that the bells, around which you are walking when you are on top of the tower, actually ring occasionally! And yes, it is as loud as you imagine, haha.

Visit the incredible Libreria Acqua Alta

libreria acqua alta
Image courtesy Dan from Venice Travel Tips

By Dan & Maddy from Venice Travel Tips

The bookshop Libreria Acqua Alta in Venice is a more recent tourist attraction in the city.

“Acqua Alta” literally means “high water” and it’s been named like this as one side of the shop faces the canal and it’s subject to flood during those winter days when Venice experiences high tide.

For this reason, it’s recommended to visit it when the high tide is not expected – ideally from spring to early autumn.

The bookshop is located in the Castello neighbourhood and more precisely in Calle Longa Santa Maria Formosa. It’s not far from some of the top attractions in Venice such as St. Mark’s Square and the Rialto Bridge. For this reason, you should definitely stop by when you’ll be around these areas.

Inside the bookshop, you can find both new and second-hand books, stationery items, large prints, and souvenirs.

What makes Libreria Acqua Alta such a unique place is the way the books are presented! As soon as you get here, it’s impossible not to spot the big gondola in the middle of the room and inside it, a large number of books.

Another highlight of the libreria is the book staircase from the top of which people love getting a picture!

Even though it’s a small book store, you can really spend a good amount of time hanging around it. There’s no cost involved to visit it and it can take 20 minutes to more than an hour to explore the shop, depending on your interest in literature and books in general.

See the Grand Canal

grand canal in venice
Image courtesy Dymphe from Dymabroad

By Dymphe from Dymabroad

A great thing to do in Venice is to see the Grand Canal – the most famous and beautiful canal in the city. It is the most significant waterway that goes through the city, and it connects the railway station of the city with the Venetian Lagoon. The Grand Canal played an important role in the city’s history.

Along the way of the canal, you can find a lot of beautiful typical Venetian houses next to the water that are great to see. Also, there are four bridges in total that cross the canal.

For example, the Rialto Bridge is one of these. You can get a wonderful view of the Grand Canal and the houses next to it from this historic bridge.

Another bridge is the Ponte dell’Accademia, from where you can enjoy an amazing view of the canal as well.

Besides that, it is possible to cross the canal by taking a paid ferry on a gondola at various points of the Grand Canal.

Also, it is possible to ride a water bus, or Vaporetto, or a water taxi on the Grand Canal. Not only is it a great way to see all the Venice’s sights and architecture but it is also a convenient way to travel through the city.

Go to Burano

burano
Image courtesy Tori from Tori Pines Travels

By Tori from Tori Pines Travels

You probably already know that Venice is located just off the coast of Italy, but did you know it’s actually made up of over 100 different islands? You can visit most of them just by wandering over the bridges that connect many of them, but my favourite thing to do in all of Venice is to visit the island of Burano, the most colourful place in Italy.

Getting to Burano by vaporetto is inexpensive and easy, but can take a very long time. Tickets are 7.50 euros each way or 20 euros for a 24-hour pass.

Otherwise, book a tour that visits both Burano and its neighbour island, Murano. Doing a tour will mean much less travel time, but less flexibility for how you spend your day.

Related: Check out tours that visit different islands in Venice!

The best part of Burano is the fact that every single house is painted a different bright colour and is just beautiful to look at and photograph. The island is small so you can easily walk the whole thing on foot, wandering and just enjoying the beauty around you. You’ll likely want to spend at least 2 to 3 hours on the island.

The island is known for the handmade lace that the locals make, so check out a few shops and buy something to support them. Additionally, Burano is known for its seafood, specifically the fried variety. Sit down for a gourmet meal along the canal at Riva Rosa or grab something quick and cheap at Fritto Misto.

Go on a gondola ride

gondola on the grand canal in Venice bucket list
Image courtesy Mayuri from ToSomePlaceNew

By Mayuri from ToSomePlaceNew

When in Venice, a gondola ride is a must! A leisurely ride through the city’s canals is a great way to see the sights and get a feel for Venice’s unique atmosphere.

These unique boats have been used for centuries as the main form of transportation in the city.

Today, gondola rides are primarily used as a tourist attraction. However, they are still a great way to get around Venice. If you are looking for a romantic experience, a gondola ride is a perfect way to spend an evening.

Related: Unique things to do in Venice

There are a few things to keep in mind when taking a gondola ride. First, be sure to confirm the price before getting on the boat. These prices are fixed and cannot be negotiated. But depending on the time of day, prices can vary. Like sunset rides are pricier than daytime excursions.

It is important to know that there are two types of gondolas in Venice: the standard gondola, which seats up to six people, and the traghetto, which is a smaller gondola that only seats two.

Traghettos are typically used for crossing canals, while standard gondolas are used for leisurely rides. The latter can be booked as a private tour or shared by 5 guests.

Also, be aware of the route your gondola will take. There are set routes that all boats must follow, so you will not be able to explore Venice at your own pace.

Despite these considerations, a gondola ride should be on everyone’s Venice bucket list. There is no better way to see the sights of this legendary city and get a feel for its unique atmosphere.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride!

Check availability

Venice food bucket list

If you’re like me, you probably like trying some food that’s typical for the place that you’re going to.

Well, in Venice, there are a few things that you should definitely try out!

Visit Rialto Food Market

By Megan from WanderToes

rialto food market
Image courtesy Megan from Wandertoes

There are so many wonderful things to do in Venice it’s hard to choose! But if I have to pick one it would be to shop at the Rialto Market in Venice.  It is a feast for the senses and, dating back to 1079AD, has a long and proud history.

The food market is home to stall after stall after stall of fruits, vegetables, berries, fresh and dried herbs, flowers, and probably more that I’m forgetting.  There are also butcher shops in the brick-and-mortar shops beside the market if you are lucky enough to have a kitchen and want to make a full meal.  Bring a shopping bag with you, and your camera for photos you can taste.

Then there is the Venice Fish Market, or Pescheria, which is an experience.  All the fish here is locally caught and fresh, and even the restaurants come to purchase their fresh catch at this market.  The vendors are yelling out what they have, tossing freshly wrapped items to those purchasing, and there is a lot of activity.

If you have a kitchen, find a simple recipe and make an incredible meal.  I try to do this at least once in any city I’m able.  Even if you don’t have a kitchen, pick up some fruit and berries for fresh snacks for your room, and maybe a dried soup mix to take home and remember your visit.

Food Market: Monday-Saturday, 7:30am-3:00pm
Fish Market: Tuesday-Saturday 7:00am-2:00pm
*Stalls low on inventory will close early

Eat Tiramisu at I Tre Mercanti

tiramisu in Venice is definitely a bucket list item
Image courtesy Lucy from Lucy Lives Here

By Lucy from lucyliveshere

If there’s one thing that’s always front of mind when you visit Italy it’s the food, right? Fresh pizza, pasta, and gelato (and the rest) are what making memories in Italy is all about, and that’s why my ears pricked up when I heard about a specialist tiramisu shop in Venice, I Tre Mercanti. This little gem of a place is known for its tiramisu and I would highly recommend adding it to your Venice bucket list!  

So what makes it so special? Well, the shop is run by three local Venetians and has been around for fifteen years, since 2007. It specialises in serving this classic Italian dessert in a variety of flavours. They take everything everyone loves about a classic tiramisu – rich mascarpone cream layered with deliciously light ladyfingers – and give it a fresh twist.  

You can try it a number of ways – limoncello, pistachio, and peach and prosecco flavour are a few of the headliners, but there are different varieties to try every day. I went for the amaretto version while my partner had chestnut and vanilla and, wow, were they good. And, of course, you don’t have to mess with the classics if you want to. OG tiramisu is also available.  

You can eat in and watch them make it fresh each day. Alternatively, take your pot of tiramisu away to devour al fresco. There are nearly 2000 posts under the hashtag #itremercanti on Instagram, characterised by their signature pots being held aloft against various Venetian backdrops.

Where will you strike a pose?  

Drink Aperol Spritz and eat Cicchetti

Aperol spritz in venice
Image courtesy Paul from Paul Marina

By Paul from Paulmarina.com

Venice is known for great food and drinks.  And the first thing you will notice on every menu in Venice is Aperol Spritz and Cicchetti. These two should definitely go on your Venice bucket list.

Aperol Spritz is the Venetian signature drink and the classic version is called Spritz Veneziano. The orange-hued alcoholic cocktail consists of bitter orange flavoured Aperol liqueur, a spritz of prosecco, club soda, an orange slice and olives. It’s always served in an old-fashioned glass or a so-called Aperol glass.

Cicchetti are small bite-sized tapas, served with drinks. These can be small meat or fish cutlets, small sandwiches, olives, meatballs, half-cut boiled eggs and croquette-like fried mashed potato balls stuffed with meat ragu or cheese and ham.

Cicchetti and Aperol Spritz go hand in hand, and they are served in local taverns known as Bacaro. They are all over the city, in small alleyways, in front of bridges and canals and on the way to busy intersections in Venice.

Aperol Spritz is usually priced at €4 and Cicchetti cost about € 1-3 per piece.

We loved hanging out in the evening at a Bacaro, with a beautiful view of the city, while enjoying good food and talking to locals.

Discover more Venetian Food Specialties that you shouldn’t miss on your visit to Venice!

Eat a gelato

gelato in Venice
Image courtesy Krystianna from Volumes & Voyages

By Krystianna from Volumes & Voyages

With so many things to do in Venice, it can be hard to choose! However, one of the can’t-miss activities is to try some incredible gelato. Luckily, there are many places around the city to do so because it’s one of the top foods to eat in Italy.

Gelato is a frozen treat, kind of like the Italian version of ice cream. It can be served in a bowl or even on a cone; it’s completely up to you! Some shops will even throw a nice little wafer or chocolate piece on it.

The best place to grab gelato in Venice is at Gelato di Natura. They have tons of incredible flavours, and you know it’s authentic because it’s not stacked high or vibrant; instead, it’s all-natural colours with natural flavours, too. If you’re not sure what to try, they do samples, but the dulce de leche is one that you definitely can’t miss.

The average cost of gelato here is about €3, but that’s because it is in Venice, which is one of the more touristy places to visit in Italy. Their location is right by the water though, so you can grab a gelato cone, sit by the water, and snap an Instagram photo. The line normally isn’t that long, so you can grab it rather quickly.

Unique Venice bucket list items

If you want your Venice bucket list to differ from other people’s, consider these things to do in Venice for it!

Make your own jewellery in a glass jewellery-making workshop on Murano

glass making workshop
Image courtesy Faith from 3 Tickets Please

By Faith from 3 Tickets Please

Any trip to Venice should include a day trip out to the island of Murano where glass artisans have been blowing and sculpting glass since the 8th century. Most visitors to Murano select one or two factories to visit where they experience a glass blowing demonstration and pursue the wares on offer in the retail shop.

As budget travellers, we are always seeking experiences that are richly unique but don’t cost a fortune. And taking home Murano glass is not typically budget-friendly which is why we loved our time at the glass-making workshop at Ferro Toso.

During the workshop, Cesare and his father-in-law, who has owned the shop for generations, demonstrate how to place small pieces of cut glass into a ring that becomes a piece of glass jewellery. After the quick demonstration, you are given all the time and glass you want to arrange into your own unique piece.

The workshop takes around 30 minutes to make your piece. However, you’ll need to return in an hour to pick up your work after it is finished in the kiln.

This gives you just enough time to get some delicious gelato.  

But here is the most amazing part, the workshop cost around 10€. So you get a piece of Murano art and you have the unique experience of making it yourself. Perfetto.

Learn how to row a gondola

learning to ride a gondola - unique thing to do for a venice bucket list
Image courtesy James Ian from Travel Connector

By James Ian from Travel Collecting 

One of my absolute favourite things to do in Venice is to learn how to row a gondola.   

Venice is famous for its gondolas and taking a gondola ride around the canals is one of the most common things to do there, but did you know that you can also learn how to row a gondola yourself?! 

An organization of women rowers has created the opportunity for travellers to learn how to be a gondolier themselves.  Technically the traditional boats are handmade batellina, not gondolas, but they are similar in size and style.  You row standing up while balancing on the moving water and navigating around other boats in the narrow canals.  This is a way for this traditional craft and these boats to be maintained, so not only you are having a fun experience but you are also helping preserve this important aspect of Venetian culture. 

The lessons are 1.5 hours each, are offered year-round and cost from $62 per person.  They start at the marina in the Cannaregio Sestiere section of Venice, which is less touristy and where Venetians actually live.  The first part of the lesson is in the narrow canals around the marina as you learn the techniques and gain confidence. Then you venture out into the (often choppy) lagoon to get more practice – and views of Venice from a different perspective. 

To be honest, I found balancing on the choppy waters there quite challenging and was happy to head back into the relatively calm waters of the canals.  

This is a really fun activity to try when you’re in Venice! 

Season-specific Venice bucket list items

Depending on the season you’re visiting, there are things to do in Venice that you can scratch off your Venice bucket list.

Attend Venice Carnival

Venice carnival
Image courtesy Milijana from World Travel Connector

By Milijana from World Travel Connector

It is a well-known fact that Venice is one of the most magical cities in the world.

But, there’s a time of year when Venice gets even more magical.

That time is during Venice Carnival.

The magic of Venice during the Venice Carnival is simply unparalleled. Spectacular Venice Carnival is one of the most famous carnivals in the world and a must-see in a lifetime – so definitely add it to your Venice bucket list.

Fabulous Venetian masks and costumes are some of the most incredible masquerade masks and costumes ever seen. But what makes Venice during the carnival special is that the entire city serves as an enormous stage for various shows, parades, processions, performances, and exhibitions. The streets of Venice get flooded with masked performers, acrobats, dancers, singers, and different artists during the carnival.

To cut a long story short, Venice Carnival is a spectacular event that transforms Venice into s a city of joy and laughter.

The origins of the Venice carnival trace back to the Middle Ages and the Venice Republic when the lower class masked and dressed in masquerade costumes publicly made fun of the authorities and aristocracy of Venice Republic every year just before the 40 days of Lent started. 

The magnificent Venice Carnival happens in February or early March every year. It lasts ten days and traditionally ends on Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras).

If you want to experience the most magical moments in Venice, visit Venice during the spectacular Venice Carnival.

Celebrate the New Year’s Eve in Venice

new year's eve fireworks in Venice
Image courtesy Pamela from Directionally Challenged Traveler

By Pamela, of the Directionally Challenged Traveler

From delicious local food to fireworks over the lagoon and some late-night Bellinis in St. Mark’s, celebrating New Year’s Eve in Venice is a bucket list experience.

New Year is a full night of celebrating. Start your evening with a delicious dinner, usually served between 8 and 9 pm. If you book early, you can take a dinner cruise so you also get to see some key locations of the city including St. Mark’s Square and Rialto bridge.

If you prefer to have dinner at a restaurant, be sure to get a reservation a few weeks in advance. The traditional Venetian New Year’s Eve dish is cenon di capodanno, or sausages and lentils.

After dinner, it’s time to celebrate. Each year, the Piazza San Marco hosts a “Love” event. It’s intended to celebrate love in all its forms. A huge blow-up Bellini bottle balloon marks the entrance of the event. Admission is free and you can even get a small bottle of bubbly to toast at midnight! 

Related: Venice packing list for all seasons

After dinner, head to Piazza San Marco for the annual “Love” event. A giant blow-up Bellini bottle marks the entrance – and you get a small bottle of bubbly to toast with at midnight. Street performers and live musicians set the atmosphere for a lively celebration. Around 10:30 pm musicians head to the stage to really get the party started. 

Around midnight, everyone heads to the water for the fireworks. For great views head to the Riva dei Sette Martiri near the Grand Canal.  Near St. Mark’s Square, Riva degli Schiavoni, also offers unbeatable views of the waterfront.

Be sure to dress in layers so you’re comfortable all night. While the restaurants are warm, the piazza gets chilly. 

Venice bucket list conclusion

I think with the help of my blogger friends we’ve created quite the ultimate Venice bucket list, haven’t we?

What’s your favourite thing on the list? Would you add something else? Let me know in the comments!


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