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Garden islands and lagoon aquaculture yield speciality produce and seafood you won’t find elsewhere – all highlighted in inventive Venetian cuisine, with tantalising traces of ancient spice routes. The city knows how to put on a royal spread, as France’s King Henry III once found out when faced with 1200 dishes and 200 bonbons. Today such feasts are available in miniature at happy hour, when bars mount lavish spreads of cicheti (Venetian tapas). Save room and time for a proper sit-down Venetian meal, with lagoon seafood to match views at canalside bistros and toasts with Veneto’s signature bubbly, prosecco.

Pity the day trippers dropped off at San Marco with a mere three hours to take in Venice. That’s about enough time for one long gasp at the show-stopper that is Piazza San Marco, but not nearly enough time to see what else Venice is hiding. Stay longer in this fairy-tale city and you’ll discover the pleasures of la bea vita (the beautiful life) that only locals know: the wake-up call of gondoliers calling ‘Ooooeeeee!’, a morning spritz in a sunny campi (square), lunch in a crowded bacaro (bar) with friends and fuschia-pink sunsets that have sent centuries of artists mad.

Top attractions in Venice

Planning Your Venice Visit

Save money on transport

The way the city is built, you’ll find yourself using the waterbuses (“vaporetti”) a lot more than expected. These trips can eat into your savings if you’re not careful. Bundle tickets are a great way of avoiding nasty surprises. The price of a 12-hour ticket is roughly equivalent to 3 singles and the relative cost keeps dropping for longer periods (tickets are available for up to a week).

Counters are your friends

Eating and drinking can be very expensive in Venice. Bars and restaurants generally charge more for sitting at a table, so a great way of cutting costs is opting for the counter instead. Surcharges vary with some restaurants charging up to 500% in the busiest tourist areas!

Enjoy the view

The view of the entire city from atop the bell tower on Piazza San Marco, which costs 8 EUR, is one of Venice’s most popular attractions. An insider tip is heading over to San Giorgio Maggiore – the view is arguably better and the privilege only costs 3 EUR.

What people are saying about Venice

★★★★★ Everything about this tour was wonderful!

Claire was very knowledgeable and did a great job! Food was delicious and enjoyed all the wine pairings. I’d highly recommend this tour.

★★★★★ Perfect introduction to Venice! Highly recommend anyone to do this

Loris was great, he showed us areas in Venice that we would never have considered or stumbled across on our own. We did the tour with him right at the beginning of our stay, which was such a blessing, as he gave us tips and recommendations that were invaluable. He showed us areas of Venice that were further away from the hordes of tourists, which is exactly what we wanted. We will now consider doing this sort of thing at the beginning of every city break we do, as it gives you a brilliant insight and quick familiarisation of the city.

★★★★★ Great walking your with a super friendly local

I believe it's a great way to start exploring the city - to discover it with a knowledgeable local. Matteo is a great guide, who's doing his best to accommodate all the wishes. We had a great 2-hour walking tour during which we found out lots of stuff that you don't find in the guides. Highly recommended!

★★★★★ Great service, helpful crew, easy to use.

The waterbuses were a great way to get around as well as a lovely way to see the city - at a pleasant, leisurely pace for us on our holiday. The 'touch-in' system was so easy to use. The staff on land and on the buses were helpful and friendly, as well as being vigilant for people's safety as they boarded and disembarked. The two-day pass we used was good value for public transport in such a special location. A must for every visitor to Venice.

Other Sightseeing Options in Venice

Want to discover all there is to do in Venice? Click here for a full list.

Top Hotels in Venice