The Best of Venice Italy – Why visit Venice? Venice is enchanting. Once you see the city on the water for yourself, you’ll surely agree. See the breathtaking Grand Canal, with water taxis cruising along, pass underneath the Ponte degli Scalzi (Bridge of the Barefoot) and you might hear the faintest hint of a serenading violin. Take a romantic gondola ride and glide through the city’s many waterways, and gondola drivers are known to sing when the moment feels right. On land, narrow passageways twist past Old World storefronts and residences, and over bridges. You should note that maps aren’t all that helpful here and getting lost is the norm – embrace the disorientation!
This canal-clad city’s main draw is its magical atmosphere, but you’ll also find quite a few diversions, too: The tour guides at St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace give some great historical insight; the Gallerie dell’Accademia hangs works by Titian, Veronese and other famed Venetians; and the Teatro La Fenice puts on some world-renowned operas. You can also travel to nearby islands like Lido for the beach, Murano for the well-known glass and Burano for its lace.
Don’t stick to the city, though – that getting lost should also be done in the lagoon, taking the vaporetto (ferry) to the beach-filled Lido, island of glass Murano, and, further out, Torcello and Burano, where Venice began 1600 years ago. You could spend a lifetime here and never do Venice justice. But with just a few days, it can touch your soul. Learn more about the Best Beaches of Italy here, or visit us on Pinterest.
Venice Italy – When to Visit Venice
The best time to visit Venice is from September to November when tourists desert the city. Although the temperatures – which range from the upper 30s to mid-70s – necessitate some layers, the lowered hotel rates and the barren canals make it worth it. Winters are cold with temperatures in the 30s and 40s, while spring brings Venice’s most beautiful weather. Summertime is peak season and is characterized by high hotel rates, high temperatures and – you guessed it – plenty of crowds. Although acqua alta (high water) can occur anytime between late September and April, it’s most likely to happen in November and December, so make sure to pack a pair of rain boots if you plan on traveling then.
Best Venice Beaches
Isola delle Rose
One of the closest beaches to Venice is Isola delle Rose, a 25-minute ferry ride from San Marco freely accessible by island patrons. The JW Marriott rehabilitated the entire island a while back, adding a Michelin-star restaurant and an outstanding spa to the local experience. You can spend the day here indulging in some of the island’s posh services and enjoy the quiet of the private beach waterfront where very few tourists are found.
You have to pay to enter some of Lido’s beaches, but Alberoni, the barrier island’s farthest beach, is free to enter. Set in a nature reserve, Alberoni is popular with beachcombers and naturalists who revel in the complete serenity of it all: the space is unencumbered by beach umbrellas and chairs. In late summer, the clear waters swell with moored boats and water sports enthusiasts. We promise the scene becomes tolerably crowded.
This is a lively port on the west coast of Cavallino-Treporti filled with chill (and undeveloped) beaches and aided by frequent ferry traffic to and from Venice. The lighthouse here is a spectral, key attraction that adds character to the nearby ruins of historic Venetian forts that were vital in protecting the city.
Lido di Jesolo
Venice’s most popular nearby beach is, hands-down, Lido di Jesolo. Why? It’s close to Venice and suits family vacations. That being said, the beaches here can be crowded and, during the summer months, traffic becomes a problem. It’s also worth noting that the nightlife scene here is much more varied and exciting than Venice’s own – expect bars open until later at night with prices that will be more in your favor as well.
In Venice’s northern lagoon, the private island Santa Cristina is the ultimate beach experience for those seeking absolute privacy. The former Swarovski family compound boasts private beach access and a stunning pool and outdoor lounge for those who prefer experiencing the beach from a distance. The island is filled with vineyards and flowering gardens where wild peacocks and grouse scurry and roost.
The Best Venice Restaurants
Osteria Campo Santa Marina
This is one of the city’s most creative dining experiences. During the warmer months, expect a good amount of outdoor seating, but the indoor seating is where the atmosphere is cozy, warmly lit and always bustling. They specialize in raw fish, but the house-made pasta is excellent. You might want to entrust your palate to the chef completely, ordering the tasting menu to get a comprehensive sense of the restaurant’s lagoon fare. Telephone: 39 041 5285239 Web: Osteria Campo Santa Marina
To see these opulent dining rooms overlooking St. Mark’s Square would be reason enough to visit, but seasonally-inspired three- or five-course tasting menus are the true attraction – with every bite of asparagus and green pepper risotto and accompanying beetroot foam, you will taste the promise of spring. This is one of the rare Venice menus that includes gluten-free options. Telephone: 39 041 5222105 Web: Quadri
Al Covo has a menu that skews towards Venetian and Veneto regional cuisines. Al Covo is a rustic little restaurant with some outdoor seating on warmer days. The portions are hearty, fresh and beautifully presented. You’ll be surrounded by master makers, so order the linguini with local clams and chicory sprouts. Ask your waiter about the great wine pairings on offer. Telephone: 39 041 5223812 Web: Al Covo
Venissa $30 & Over
Half of the experience at Venissa is the journey to Mazzorbo Island in the northern lagoon. Smoked eel, beetroot, kombucha and sorrel or turbot with potatoes, porcini mushrooms, black summer truffle and bay leaves are just a few of the items you’ll enjoy when ordering the tasting menu, which you can customize to include five, eight or ten plates. While sitting outside, gaze at the restaurant’s vineyards and vegetable gardens. Telephone: 39 041 527 2281 Web: Venissa
The small, canal-side dining room of La Zucca offers a romantic setting and one of Venice’s most unique menus. Vegetables play the starring role – the signature pumpkin and ricotta flan are not to be missed – yet the rotating menu also includes succulent specialties like roasted rabbit with chestnuts. Reservations are essential , and service can be rushed, even burly – but one taste of the house-made pear cake with ginger and those quirks will hardly linger. Telephone: 39 041 5241570 Web: La Zucca
The Best Venice Bars
A cool, neighborhood vibe permeates this tiny canal-side bar in Cannaregio, offering a glimpse into local life far from the tourist trail. Hip, young Venetians spill outside onto the fondamenta from early afternoon until wee hours, sipping Spritz or sampling craft brews while devouring delicious Cicchetti and hearty sandwiches. Order at the bar and snag a wooden bench inside or a coveted outside table. Telephone: 39 041 4762347 Web: Birreria Zanon
Il Santo Bevitore
For beer lovers, “The Holy Drinker” is a holy grail. With 20 beers on tap, including a good selection of regional craft brews, sports on TV and free Wi-Fi, this Cannaregio-favorite offers a uniquely Venetian twist on the classic pub experience. Travel around Italy with Lambrate from Milan or Elav from Bergamo, or stay local with Lucky Brews. Whiskey lovers rave about the spirit options as well. Telephone: 39 335 8415771 Web: II Santo Bevitore
Venice Jazz Club
Venice’s best bar dedicated to showcasing local jazz musicians is a low-lit, romantic spot attracting jazz aficionados and music-lovers from around the world. Sets at Venice Jazz Club start around 9pm, five nights a week and feature the VJC-house quartet, usually joined by special guests. Telephone: 39 041 5232056 Web: Venice Jazz Club
This canal-side Cannaregio spot named “true wine” takes its expertly-curated, ever-changing selection of wine offerings seriously, yet without any sip of pretense. An sign highlights the passion, “No Spritz because we love wine,” and playfully sets the tone. Grab a window seat at Vino-Vero for a view of the main attraction, wine bottles stacked all the way to the ceiling, along with a peek into life along the canal. Telephone: 39 041 2750044 Web: Vino-Vero
A changing selection of wines by the glass is scribbled on a chalkboard, oysters on half shell top the counter and other specialties are often written on wine cartons, setting a casually delicious tone for this Cannaregio wine bar. Grab a seat out front, around a wine barrel-turned-table, with a cool glass of Prosecco or Soave to while away a hot Venice afternoon. At La Cantina, the raw fish platter is a Venetian specialty not to be missed. Telephone: 39 041 5228258 Web: La Cantina