Venice Travel Guide

Venice: Everything You Need to Know to Visit in 2024

Fri 28 Jun 2024

Venice: Everything You Need to Know to Visit in 2024

Nowhere in the world is quite like Venice. A city that seems to float on water as if by magic, no description in words can remotely do justice to the city known as the Serenissima. Venice more than earns its reputation as one of the world’s most remarkable destinations, and it’s a key part of any Italian adventure worth its salt. We’ve been welcoming visitors to Venice for years, and are dedicated to ensuring that every traveler experiences its enchanting spell at least once; that’s why we’ve curated this detailed guide tailored specifically to exploring the Floating City. 

And remember, for those seeking deeper insights and expert guidance, Through Eternity offers daily walking tours that visit unmissable highlights like St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace on exclusive after-hours visits, as well as extraordinary lesser known gems hiding in the city’s labyrinth. 

Make sure to bookmark this page to keep this invaluable resource handy as you plan your trip to Venice!


The Complete Travel Guide to Venice



Although chock-full of unmissable sites and landmarks, the historic center of Venice is very manageable. You could walk from one side to the other in little over an hour - although in practice you’ll be stopping to gasp at some new delight every few meters so it’ll take a lot longer than that! But this kind of wandering is arguably the best part of visiting Venice, with eyes wide open and ready to absorb unexpected wonders.

It’s true that the city can become uncomfortably crowded, especially in peak season (this tourist influx has led to the municipality introducing a €5 charge for day trippers). But if you follow some common sense guidelines, you won’t be bothered by the crowds. Try to avoid the busiest downtown area around St. Mark’s during peak daytime hours - visit instead in the morning or around dusk and it will be very peaceful. Go off the beaten path to explore the city’s array of churches and museums during the busiest times of the day, and you’ll be amazed at how uncrowded the vast majority of Venice’s labyrinth is. 


Top Things to See in Venice



Venice is one of those rare places that possesses a virtually inexhaustible supply of things to see and do. I can think of only a handful of cities that can rival Venice for its breathtaking cultural and artistic treasures, glittering testaments to its rich past as one of the world’s most powerful city states and hotbed of artistic innovation. Exploring Venice today, you get the sense that the city is a living museum. Every time you round another corner or cross another canal, you’re confronted with something fabulous - whether it's an opulent palazzo, a stunning church, or a breathtaking view. Surprise is the name of the game here! You could spend months delving into Venice’s wonders and still only begin to uncover its depths, but for the purposes of this article, we’re focusing on the absolute must-see highlights you need to experience on your trip.

For more in-depth advice, check out the range of articles on our website here: Venice Travel Guide.




In Venice, all roads lead to massive St. Mark’s Square. This is the heart of the city, dominated by the unforgettable form of the magnificent St. Mark's Basilica. With its distinctive domes and arches, this iconic cathedral showcases Venice’s unique blend of Eastern and Western influences. The interior, meanwhile, dazzles with 8,000 square meters of mosaics designed to evoke the light of heaven. It’s a sight that will leave you awestruck, making St. Mark’s a must-see when in Venice. To enjoy an exclusive and crowd-free experience, check out our Night Tour of St. Mark's Basilica.





Nestled along a sweeping bend of Venice's Grand Canal, the distinctive pink arcades of the Doge's Palace stand as the quintessential emblem of the city's illustrious and powerful past. From this majestic palace, successive Doges governed the powerful maritime Republic for centuries, and the opulence of those grand days can still be felt in its corridors and galleries, adorned with a seemingly endless array of Renaissance masterpieces by Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, Carpaccio and others. You could easily spend hours visiting the Doge’s Palace, where you’ll also get to explore the forbidding prisons of the Serenissima and walk across the Bridge of Sighs - one of the world’s most beautiful bridges. 




This one is an absolute must for art lovers.  Located in a stunning palace, the Scuola di San Rocco is a 16th-century charitable institution founded by a wealthy confraternity honoring the plague-busting Saint Roch. Although ostensibly dedicated to helping the city’s poor, the school's elite members also sought to burnish their reputation by creating one of the city's most lavishly decorated buildings. Sparing no expense, they called in the renowned Venetian painter Tintoretto, who spent over 20 years bringing their vision to life. Tintoretto filled the scuola's walls with over 60 large paintings of religious scenes, completed using his signature light effects and dynamic perspectives. Ascend the Grand Staircase to the vast Sala Grande Superiore to witness Tintoretto’s dramatic Old Testament cycle, culminating in an awe-inspiring Crucifixion. With some justification the Scuola di San Rocco has been described as Venice’s answer to the Sistine Chapel!




The Grand Canal is Venice's most crucial waterway, winding its way through the heart of the city. The best spot to witness the lively scene is from the Rialto Bridge. From this vantage point, the Grand Canal unfurls like a shimmering Renaissance painting, with colorful palaces, bustling jetties, and diverse boats framed by the beautiful form of Antonio da Ponte's elegant 1591 architectural marvel. The view is mesmerizing, especially at dawn or at dusk, when the skies over Venice transform into a wonderful display of orange, purple and red.




The Accademia is Venice's premier art gallery, showcasing the evolution of Venetian art from the 14th to 19th centuries through masterpieces by Bellini, Titian, Giorgione, Veronese, and more. What makes it a must-visit - and not just for art enthusiasts - is the rich insights the gallery’s works offer into Venetian history and culture. Take Tintoretto’s Stealing of the Body of St. Mark, which vividly depicts the daring 8th-century theft of the apostle’s body from Egypt by Venetian merchants. In Vittore Carpaccio's Miracle of the Cross at the Ponte di Rialto, meanwhile, a bustling scene of gondolas on the Grand Canal is set against a backdrop of Venetian aristocracy, captured in fascinating and lifelike detail - this is a much better way to learn about the story of Venice than a bland guidebook!



Top Things to Do in Venice


1. Take a Gondola Ride



Forget about cars, buses and taxis. In Venice, there’s only one way to get around. By boat of course! The city's extensive network of vaporetti is efficient and budget-friendly, meaning you’ll be using these water buses for much of your transport needs when in Venice, but no trip to the Floating City is complete without at least one gondola ride. You would be forgiven for thinking that the antiquated crafts, with their singing, jauntily clad oarsmen, are nothing more than a tourist gimmick, but there’s a lot more to the gondola than that. Perfectly suited to Venice's canals, these narrow flat-bottomed crafts were the primary mode of transport  here for centuries, and still offer an unparalleled way to experience the city's waterways.


2. Visit the Islands 



When in Venice, don't miss the chance to explore the enchanting islands of the Venetian lagoon. A short vaporetto ride from Fondamente Nove will take you to Murano, Burano, and Torcello, each offering a unique glimpse into a different aspect of Venetian life and history. Burano is famous for its brightly colored fishermen’s cottages, while Murano is renowned for its historic glassworks. Torcello, the birthplace of Venetian civilization, is home to mysterious landmarks that tell the tale of the city's origins. These islands provide a fascinating contrast to the bustling streets and canals of Venice proper, and make for a perfect day trip from the city. Find out everything you need to know about the islands of Venice here. 




3. Tuck into Cicchetti at a Bacaro




Although Venice boasts a well-deserved gastronomic reputation, dining out can be expensive. However, you can enjoy the lagoon's culinary delights on a budget if you know where to go. To eat and drink like a local, visit the city's bacari—traditional hole-in-the-wall wine bars offering a variety of small plates called cicchetti, along with generous pours of local wine and spritzes. Visiting a bacaro is the best way to experience authentic Venetian flavors: check out our guide to the best of them here.


4. Take Part in the Carnival Revelry



Nothing signals the end of winter quite like the Venetian Carnival. Each Spring, people from around the world flock to Venice for this joyful celebration, a dazzling  two-week-long party that unfolds in a riot of color, sound, and spectacle. From masked balls to parades and historical re-enactments, it’s easy to join in the fun, so if you’re lucky enough to be visiting the city in February this is one festival you won’t want to miss! To really get into the spirit you’ll need to visit one of the city’s artisan mask shops to purchase your own disguise. Find out more here.


5. Attend the Venice Biennale



Alongside Carnevale, the Venice Biennale is the most important date on the Venetian cultural calendar. The Venice Biennale is one of the oldest and most prestigious cultural events in the world, alternating each year between showcasing the best in cutting edge contemporary art and architecture. 30 permanent pavilions and dozens more temporary structures display the works of artists from countries around the world, mostly centered around the historic Venice Arsenal in Castello. The curatorial theme for 2024 is “Stranieri Ovunque”, or  “Foreigners Everywhere,” with artworks focusing on migration, refugees, exile and diaspora. 


For more great things to do in Venice, check out our separate articles here:


What to Do on Your First Trip to Venice


10 Romantic Things to Do in Venice

Are Tours in Venice Worth it?



In a word, yes! Ok, we are a tour company, so we would say that, right? Hear us out. Whilst we think it’s almost impossible to have a bad time in Venice - even if you turn up without a plan, the city is so beautiful that you’re going to be blown away - we are being 100% honest when we say that joining some guided tours in the Serenissima can improve your experience here more than it can in most cities.

Venice is a bewildering labyrinth that can be almost impossible to navigate on your first trip to the city, and while you’re likely to be able to successfully find your way to St. Mark’s Square and the Rialto Bridge without too much difficulty, it’s inevitable that you’re going to miss out on a lot of the hidden joys of the city unless you really know what you’re doing. It takes a lifetime to really ‘get’ Venice, and that’s why all of our guides are local Venetians who have spent their lifetimes exploring its endless charms. 


Why take a tour in Venice with Through Eternity?



  • Simplify Your Journey

Our meticulously designed tours remove the stress from travel planning. Forget the hassle of organizing itineraries, booking tickets, and trying to find your way through the impenetrable labyrinth of Venice on your own. We handle the nitty gritty, so you can fully immerse yourself in Venice’s extraordinary and unique culture without any logistical worries.

  • Fast-Track Your Experience

Waiting in line wastes valuable time. With our tours, you'll bypass the long queues at Venice’s iconic landmarks, getting straight to the highlights. Enjoy exclusive skip-the-line access to Saint Mark’s Basilica after it closes to the general public, and kick your sightseeing experience into another gear. 

  • Discover More with Expert Guides

Our knowledgeable guides bring Venice’s history, art, and culture to life. We offer insider insights and fascinating anecdotes via engaging storytelling that brings the city alive. 

  • Personalized, Curated Tours

Opt for a private tour and discover Venice in a way that matches your interests and preferences. Our travel experts craft personalized itineraries tailored to you - whether you're a first-time visitor, a foodie, or committed art connoisseur. Whatever kind of traveler you are, we’ve got you covered. 


The Best Tours of Venice



We've recently compiled a detailed list of Venice's top tours, complete with thorough descriptions. For more information, check out the full article: The Best Tours of Venice to Take in 2024.

If you're short on time, you can quickly access some of our top picks through the links provided below.



Where to Stay in Venice



Venice is divided into neighborhoods known as sestieri, and each possesses its own distinct charm and character. From the iconic grandeur of San Marco to tranquil, locals-dominated Cannaregio, choosing the best neighborhood to stay in Venice is a nice dilemma to have. Here are our top picks.


  • San Marco: Centered on the iconic church of the same name, San Marco is where many of the city’s most spectacular landmarks are located. It’s a great option if you want to be as near to the heart of the action as possible, although prices are high and it gets hectic.
  • San Polo: San Polo is situated across the Grand Canal from San Marco, and is a great option for travelers looking to be within easy walking distance of Saint Mark’s Square but a little away from the constant bustle.
  • Cannaregio: Cannaregio is perhaps our favorite area to stay in Venice. As the largest of the city's six sestieri, it boasts the highest concentration of local residents. If you find the constant tourist crowds in the city center overwhelming, Cannaregio offers a more tranquil alternative.
  • Dorsoduro: Dorsoduro is Venice’s most important cultural district. This area is home to some of the city's most significant museums, such as the Accademia Gallery, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, and the Punta della Dogana, along with numerous small contemporary galleries.


For our full guide to the neighborhoods of Venice as well as the best hotels in the city, check out our dedicated article here: Where to Stay in Venice - Best Hotels and Neighborhoods.

What to Eat in Venice


Whilst you’re probably coming to Venice for its vibrant culture, stunning art and beautiful architecture, the city’s culinary scene is no slouch either. As a city encircled by water, fish in all its forms naturally features prominently on menus. From sardines and anchovies to salt cod, shrimp, and squid, Venice is a haven for seafood lovers. Yet, the city's gastronomy offers much more, including mouth-watering street food and a delightful array of local desserts. Discover the local dishes that you need to try with our dedicated guide here: 10 Dishes You Need to Try in Venice.


What are the best day trips from Venice?


Venice is the capital city of the Veneto region in north-eastern Italy, a part of the country that is extremely rich in fascinating towns to visit and places to see. Here are some of our favorite day-trips from Venice. 


  1. Verona



Spectacularly sited on the banks of the river Adige with the snow-capped peaks of the Dolomites extending off the north and Lake Garda just a stone’s throw away, the easy charms and beautiful monuments of Verona have attracted visitors for centuries. Amongst the many highlights waiting to greet you here are one of antiquity’s finest amphitheaters, Juliet’s balcony, a spectacular Roman bridge and much more. 


  1. Padua



Just a hop, skip and a jump from Venice, it’s something of a mystery why historic Padua doesn't feature on more tourist itineraries. All the better for those travelers who do choose to make the short trip from Venice! Always lively thanks to the local university (one of the world’s oldest), Padua is a beacon for art lovers as a result of its series of superb fresco cycles, including Giotto’s Arena Chapel. A stunning medieval market, a truly enormous church dedicated to local hero Saint Anthony filled with treasures, and Italy’s oldest market provide further reasons to visit.




  1. Vicenza



One of Italy’s most beautiful cities, Vicenza  is famous for its series of extraordinary Renaissance buildings designed by the architect Andrea Palladio, who did more to codify the architectural principles of the era than anyone else. Dominating Vicenza’s sweeping central piazza is the Basilica Palladiana, a massive, harmonious edifice characterized by its series of wonderful Renaissance loggias. Vicenza is a UNESCO World Heritage site thanks to Palladio’s unique architecture, and is just a short train ride from Venice. 

How to Get to Venice



Venice and the surrounding Veneto region is primarily served by two airports:

Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE): Located on the mainland about 8 miles north of Venice, Marco Polo Airport is the main international gateway to the city. It handles a wide range of international and domestic flights, including direct flights from the United States (see below), and is the primary airport for travelers heading to Venice.

Treviso Airport (TSF): Situated approximately 25 miles north of Venice, Treviso Airport is smaller and mainly serves budget airlines and charter flights from other European cities. If you’re coming to Venice from another European destination as part of a multi-country trip, Treviso will probably be the most economical option. Ryanair and Easyjet are the major budget carriers serving the airport. 


Direct Flights To Venice


There are numerous direct flights from the United States to Venice’s Marco Polo Airport. Several airlines offer nonstop routes, primarily from major hubs. These include:


Delta operates daily non-stop flights from both from New York’s JFK and Atlanta to Venice Marco Polo Airport during the peak summer season. These routes typically run until October. 


United Airlines offers a direct flight from Newark Liberty International Airport to Venice Marco Polo Airport all year round.


How to Get to Venice by Train



The main train station in Venice is Venezia Santa Lucia. This station is located in the Santa Croce district, right in the heart of the city. High speed trains are operated by Trenitalia (FrecciaRossa) and Italo from all major Italian cities to Venice. 

Local regional trains are operated by Trenitalia, and service other destinations in the Veneto - the train to Padua takes about 30 minutes, while Verona and Vicenza are located approximately an hour away from Venice by train. 




We hope we’ve given you some inspiration to help you plan your trip to Venice! Through Eternity Tours offer a range of insider itineraries in the Floating City, so if you’re visiting Venice this year check out our website or get in touch with our expert travel planners today! 



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