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Venice travel guide

Magical, romantic, charming - these are just a few words that describe this floating city. Get lost among alleyways of art galleries and coffee shops, old-world buildings mixed in with grand palaces and gothic architecture, listen to musicians on the streets, or watch local artists paint their surroundings. Good coffee and indulgent fresh food included.

The charming neighborhoods of Venice...

Piazza San Marco at dusk

San Marco

Chaotic, iconic and classic, San Marco is right at the heart of Venice, offering up all of the famous sights, sounds and tastes. Have a wander through the grand St Mark's Basilica, explore the ancient museums, take a romantic ride along the canals in a gondola, or sip a coffee in one of the centuries-old cafes.
Several gondolas in the grand canal and the Rialto Bridge

San Polo

Home to the most visited bridge in Venice, the Rialto Bridge, San Polo offers up a whole host of Venetian culture - from drinks along the Canale Grande, shops selling handmade Venetian masks for the carnival, food markets so you can sample all the fresh goodness you can manage, plus plenty of those charming laneways to get lost in.
A typical marble bridge infront of a brick colored building in Giudecca

Giudecca

Giudecca is a little slice of promenade opposite Dorsoduro and a quick five-minute water taxi to San Marco. It's popular among young travelers and locals because it takes you out of the hustle and bustle and into a laid-back atmosphere. Sip an Aperol Spritz looking out to the canal, or watch the sunset as you munch on some fresh pasta at one of the few restaurants.
Two carnival masks mannequin heads for sale outside a shop

Dorsoduro

If you're an artsy type then Dorsoduro should definitely be on your to-do list, located between Giudecca and San Marco, this beautiful neighborhood boasts some of Venice's best known art academies and Gothic churches. Locals love this area because it has more of an 'Italian' feel - steering away from being gentrified like the other neighborhoods.

Things to do in Venice

  • Murano
    Birthplace of the Murano blown glass, this little island, combined with Burano, is the perfect day trip from Venice. Pick up some unique glass art, sip a spritz in the sunshine and then hop on the Vaporetto to Burano.
  • Burano
    Burano gives the perfect Instagram shot - brightly colored houses sitting side by side in a picturesque setting. The island is also known for its lace-making so pick up some quality lace while you're there.
  • Venice Biennale
    Soak up international arts culture at this biannual international arts festival, which showcases art, architecture, film, dance, music and theatre from around the globe.
  • Sip a spritz
    Wherever you fancy picking up on alcoholic bevvy, definitely give the local Aperol Spritz a try: a bitter, tangy and refreshing orange drink. 
  • Piazza San Marco
    Right in front of the St Mark's Basilica is the Piazza San Marco - stand in the middle and you'll get a great view of three of Venice's most iconic sights: the Basilica, Doge's Palace and the Torre dell'Orologio clock tower.
  • Eat all the food
    We shouldn't need to encourage you to stuff your face while you're in Venice, but just in case. Think of all of the creamy gelato, indulgent pastries, fresh pasta and tasty pizza... our mouths are watering just talking about it.
A two gondola riders kissing while a gondolier paddling them down a typical neighborhood canal in Venice
Venice

Adventure tours

A view of buildings and canals of Venice during sunset

Winter in Italy with Venice Carnival

Peel back the mask and uncover the secrets of Venice during the legendary Carnival. From the marvels of St Mark's Square to the exuberant crowds in full costume, Venice is a feast for the senses. Feel the pull of mystery at the Bridge of Sighs and visit the tiny fishermen's island of Burano, known for its lace-making and painted houses. Explore Byzantine basilicas and the famous traditional glass-blowing studios of Murano. And of course, immerse yourself in the sounds and energy of the crowds on festival night. 
9 days
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three young adults sitting on the rocky shore of a canal with colorful buildings in the background

Simply Italy

Discover the big cities and some of the less famous destinations in this fabulous country. This is the only Contiki tour to stay in Milan, Italy's fashion capital! You'll also visit the picturesque village of Sirmione at Lake Garda, and re-enact the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet in fair Verona where the story was set, before exploring the floating city of Venice. Simply Italy, simply perfect!
12 days 
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colorful houses lining a cliff in the Cinque Terre National Park

Iconic Italy

Connect with some of the world’s greatest cultural highlights on a two-week exploration of Italy. Get in touch with the ancient past alongside an archaeologist amid the ash-preserved ruins of Pompeii, marvel at Renaissance treasures in iconic Venice and enchanting Florence, and stop and smell the lemons in the quaint cliff-side villages of the Amalfi Coast. La dolce vita is sweet indeed.
14 days 
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Our favorite Venice hotels and hostels

A line of wooden cabins under the shade of trees at the Jolly Camping site

Jolly Camping

• Set in Marghera, 25 minutes from the center, if you're looking for a respite from the hustle and bustle
• Easy-going campsite with dorms, bungalows, mobile homes and camping spots
• Enjoy a swim in the outdoor pool, a chill in the hot tub, a drink on the sun terrace & a boogie to one of the nightly DJ's
A brown leather couch and a pool table in the lobby of the Generator Venice Hostel

Generator Hostel, Venice

• This glampacker hostel is situated on the laid-back slice of Giudecca, minutes away from the center
• Housed on the riverside in a 200-year-old Venetian Palazzo!
• Grab a dorm or a private room, then head down to the bar downstairs for a cheap Aperol Spritz!
A bedroom at the Hotel L'Orologio with white bedding, a wooden desk and two windows

Hotel L'Orologio

• Right next to the Grand Canal, a five-minute walk from Rialto Bridge
• A gorgeous mix of contemporary chic and classic Venetian tones.
• Get a single or double/twin room, sip drinks on the terrace and make use of the room service!

What's the weather like in Venice?

Venice is a good destination to visit all-year, although if you're looking for more sunshine than chilly nights we'd recommend heading out there between April-June or September-October. Peak summer is June-August, but this is also when tourists tend to hoard the city - so go for the milder, yet still warm, months outside of peak season.

Where is Venice?

Veneto is a region in the northeast of Italy, and Venice is the capital of that region. It's also fairly close to Verona, which makes a perfect day trip, or vice versa - it only takes approx 1.5 hours on the train!

Has Venice wooed you? Look at some more of our blogs for inspiration...

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