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Plan Your Trip to Venice: Best of Venice Tourism

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Explore Venice

Centuries-old architecture, cobblestone alleys, a maze of eye-catching islands, and of course, the famous canals that run through it all—Venice is quite literally unlike anywhere else. While the capital of the Veneto (one of the 20 regions in Italy) is undoubtedly a stunner, it’s also a very real city. The Grand Canal and Piazza San Marco are hotspots for visitors: Their winding streets are filled with cafes, gelaterias, and boutiques interspersed among Renaissance palaces and Gothic churches. But once you’ve ticked off the must-see landmarks (like St. Mark’s Campanile and the Gallerie dell'Accademia museum), explore lesser-known neighbourhoods like Cannaregio, Dorsoduro, and Castellom, where locals crowd low-key trattorias for afternoon aperitivo. And don't miss the nearby islands. Just a short ferry ride away, you'll find Burano, which is known for its intricate lace and brightly coloured houses, and Murano, world-famous for its vibrant, hand-blown glass. Explore more recs below.

Travel Advice

Essential Venice

How to do Venice in 3 days

Museums, gondola rides, and—yes—the best gelato
Read on

A tour of Venice’s most fabulous hotel bars

During my many trips to Venice, I’ve discovered that the aperitivo is the standout meal of the day for both Venetians and tourists. For the uninitiated, the aperitivo is an elevated happy hour. Think of it like an Italian pre-dinner ritual of delicious drinks and snacks. For the best aperitivo, I highly recommend visiting the city’s swanky hotel bars and ordering a Select Spritz instead of the more Americanized Aperol to blend in with the locals.
Laura Itzkowitz, Rome, Italy
  • Violino d'Oro
    Stepping inside Violino d’Oro feels like entering the living room of a sophisticated art collector. Original cocktails by award-winning bartender Francesco Adragna are served on silver platters and come with light bites from the hotel’s excellent restaurant. Settle into one of the comfy sofas or armchairs to enjoy the drinks and the people-watching.
  • Nolinski Venezia Evok Collection
    The Library Bar at Nolinski Venezia is the kind of warm, cosy bar you want to hide out in on a cold or rainy day. Grab a seat on one of the burgundy velvet banquettes under the aquatic-themed ceiling mural by French artist Simon Buret and sip on one of the creative cocktails by lauded bartender Jérémy Bacquet.
  • Ca' Di Dio - Vretreats
    On a nice day, you can enjoy an aperitivo outside on the terrace of this luxury boutique hotel near the artsy Arsenale district. Still, I love the atmosphere inside the wood-paneled Alchemia bar, which feels a bit like being on a fancy yacht. In keeping with the hotel’s sleek design by famed architect Patricia Urquiola, the bar menu offers modern takes on classic cocktails and a plentiful selection of cicchetti (the Venetian version of tapas).
  • Hotel Cipriani, A Belmond Hotel, Venice
    The Bellini was invented by Harry’s Bar owner Giuseppe Cipriani, who opened this glamourous hotel in 1958, and it tastes incredibly refreshing here on a hot summer day. When you want to escape the maddening crowds around Piazza San Marco, I recommend taking a boat to Giudecca Island and relaxing at the Gabbiano Bar, a verdant poolside oasis. You never know who you might spot there.
  • The Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Venice
    The legendary Gritti Palace may be one of the city’s most historic gems, but it still feels intimate and special. The décor is best described as Renaissance-chic, with ornate chandeliers, gilded mirrors, and heavy drapery, all of which are on full display in the Bar Longhi. On a warm day, it’s hard to beat the Riva Lounge, which is decked out in sleek furniture inspired by Riva speedboats and has unbeatable views of the Grand Canal.