5 Must-Do’s in Venice

With the most picturesque streets and houses you can imagine, you’ll be treated to gorgeous views every moment you’re in Venice. There’s no place in the world like Venice.

Venice is small enough to wander in just a few days. I arrived in Venice on a Saturday morning at 10 am and left the next day on a 12 pm train back to Milan. Short on time in this magical city like I was? Here’s 5 things you must see and do, even if you only have one day in this romantic, picture-perfect destination.

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5 Things to do in Venice

Stroll Along the Grand Canal

Ah, the Grand Canal, also known as the main ‘street’ in Venice. Watching the gondolas and boats go back and forth on the canals was one of my favorite ways to pass the time.

Make sure you check out the Rialto Bridge. Albeit usually crowded, its design is beautiful. While on the bridge, I noticed a bunch of people standing on the terrace of a nearby building.

Never one to pass on a great view, we decided to check it out. It turned out to be T Fondaco del Tedeschi, a luxury department store, with a free panoramic view of Venice. The catch? You need to get a ticket with a time stamp, which specifics a time to return. Luckily, our wait was only ~30 minutes, so we headed downstairs and had an Aeprol spritz at the lobby bar while waiting.

So glad we waited because the views were unbelievable. To one side, you saw half of the Grand Canal and the sea in the distance, and to the other side, more of the Grand Canal and city’s red-tile roofs.

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Peruse St. Mark’s

St. Mark’s is often called the heart of Venice- it’s a great place to people watch and admire astounding architecture.

The piazza is home to Basilica San Marco, one of the best known examples of Italo-Byzantine architecture. Lines to get inside the basilica are often long, but you can reserve ahead of time online.

Also in the piazza, the Campanile di San Marco (bell tower). The tower dates from 1912, it’s an exact replica of the previous tower. Unlike a lot of the monuments with aerial views in cities across Europe, there was a lift in the bell tower, which made it super easy to get up and down quickly.

This was one of my favorite things we did in Venice- the views of San Marco and surrounding islands were incredible. Highly recommend if you have nice weather while you’re visiting.

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Eat All the Gelato & Pizza

I’d heard Suso Gelatoteca was the best in Venice, and it sure didn’t disappoint. I tried the tiramisu and stracciatella- so, so good. 

Another time, while wandering, we were hungry and stopped at a small slice window in between the Grand Canal and St. Mark’s. I don’t remember the name of the place, but as a general rule of thumb, if you see a bunch of locals lingering, it’s usually a good sign.

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Spritz

I didn’t drink Aeprol spritzes too much before moving to Europe, but they’ve become one of my go-to’s, both in London and while traveling- especially in Italy. We stopped at nondescript cafes and bars a few times to take a break and enjoy a spritz, but by far, by favorite experience was at Al Remer.

After dinner, we headed to Al Remer to watch the sun set over the Grand Canal. Here, you can walk up to the bar and grab a spritz to take outside to the pier. Literal perfection.

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Wander

When in Venice, I had a few ‘must-do’s’, but had left plenty of time for wandering. We loved getting lost in the alleyways, ambling across bridges and soaking in all the colorful details.

During one of our aimless walks, we found Al Bottegon, a local favorite known for its cicchetti. What are chiccheti? Venetian tapas. We loved this local wine shop, it’s known as one of the last authentic Venetian places- so glad we found it for lunch.

Neighborhood wise, the Dosoduro was my favorite place to explore. Close to San Marco, it’s removed in a good way. Loved the artsy vibe of Dorsoduro, the less-crowded local restaurants, and how picturesque the canals were.

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More Recos for Venice:

  • Take the Doge’s Palace Secret Itineraries Tour
  • Enjoy Venice’s public transport system by water, the vaporetto. We walked everywhere, but the public transport boats zip around Venice and can help save time
  • Indulge in a gondola ride down the Grand Canal. Often hailed as a ‘can’t miss’ experience, we passed on this in favor of wandering side streets and seeing more of Venice on foot
  • Visit Murano: The Island of Murano is famous for its glass furnaces, many of which are free to visit
  • Visit Burano: The Island of Burano may be the further away from Venice, but strolling amongst its colored houses makes it worth the journey

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