Venice Holidays

Discover a golden era of Gothic palaces and Venetian romance on holidays to Venice as you glide by gondola through the floating city.

Sipping macchiatos for breakfast, stopping for cicchetti come lunch and drinking cocktails created by George Clooney at the Hollywood A-list’s favourite waterfront hotel; it’s easy to fit into the Venetian way of life – relaxed, car-free and somewhat otherworldly.

Come summer, Venice heaves with tourists around Piazza San Marco and the Rialto Bridge but slink off to tiny fairytale alleyways and you’ll discover hidden treasures like one of the last few shops in the city where oars are still handcrafted for gondoliers and the almost secret church of San Vidal where world-class chamber concerts are held near-on nightly. Venice holidays are as much about huge marble palaces as they are about getting lost in a maze of storybook canals and pretty bridges, stopping for great food, music and gelato along the way. After all, the city is nicknamed La Serenissma (serene) for a reason.

If you want to escape the stuccoes, frescoes and high ceilings, we can recommend the modern art at Peggy Guggenheim Collection, an iconic Bellini in Harry’s Bar or a Vaporetto ride to Burano Island where you’ll find those Instagram-worthy candy-coloured houses and mouthwatering swordfish pasta. Chat to one of Personal Travel Experts to find out more and craft your ideal Venice holiday.

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Venice Hotels

Our recommendations for the best places to stay in Venice

Hotel Concordia

This warm and welcoming family-run hotel is the only one overlooking St Mark’s Square.

Sina Palazzo Sant'Angelo

A boutique hotel with a private pier on the Grand Canal.

Sina Centurion Palace

This stunning former palazzo on the Grand Canal in Venice’s arty Dorsoduro district offers style,...

Hotel Cipriani, a Belmond Hotel, Venice

An ultra-luxurious hotel located just five minutes by boat from St Mark’s Square.

Ca Maria Adele

This tiny 12-room historic residence sits in the heart of Venice’s modern art district.

Hotel Santa Chiara

Venetian style combines with a great central location at this boutique hotel by the Grand Canal.

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Highlights of Venice

This insightful morning tour will introduce you to some of Venice’s top attractions. Your knowledgeable guide will take you through the history of the ‘Serenissima Republic’ (‘Most Serene Republic’) as you wander through the city’s charming streets. Visit St. Mark’s Square, where you’ll hear about the history and architecture of St. Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, Bell Tower, Clock Tower and Procuratie; then head to Santa Maria Formosa and listen to anecdotes about this characteristic square. In Campo SS. Giovanni e Paolo, see the ‘Pantheon of Venice’ before venturing to Marco Polo’s House and the Malibran Theatre.

• Duration: 2 hours
• Time: 8.15am to 10.15am
• Daily departures from Venice
• Operates year round
• Group experience

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Discover Venice

This afternoon walking tour takes you away from the crowds for a different perspective of Venice. With your expert guide, you’ll explore the less-touristy area between St. Mark’s Square and the Rialto Bridge, strolling through typical narrow Venetian streets and squares. Highlights include Calle Larga XXII Marzo, one of the largest and most picturesque lanes in Venice, lined with high-end shops; Baroque-style San Moisè Church; the dramatic Opera House La Fenice; and the Stairs of Bovolo: a unique spiral staircase that winds up the façade of a tower and offers wonderful views over the historical centre. Your final stop will be the Rialto Bridge, the oldest bridge crossing the Grand Canal.

• Duration: 1½ hours
• Time: 2.45pm to 4.15pm
• Daily departures from Venice
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
This tour does not include sightseeing in St. Mark’s Square.

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Venice Waterways by Gondola

If it’s your first time in Venice, a gondola ride is a must. From the gondola station, hop aboard one of these traditional rowing boats and relax as your gondolier steers you along the canals. You’ll cruise through the city’s most secluded waterways, passing under small bridges and the most charming sights, to appreciate the unique beauty of this floating city.

• Duration: 30-minute gondola ride
• Time: 11am to 11.30am; midday to 12.30pm; 2pm to 2.30pm; 3pm to 3.30pm; 5pm to 5.30pm
• Daily departures from Venice
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
Winter season timings: Noon - 12.30pm, 2.30pm - 3pm, 4.30pm - 5pm

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Venice Waterways by Exclusive Gondola

Add a more romantic spin to your gondola ride on this private boat journey. From the gondola station, hop aboard one of these traditional rowing boats and relax as your gondolier steers you along the canals. You’ll cruise through the city’s most secluded waterways, passing under small bridges and the most charming sights, to appreciate the unique beauty of this floating city. On this exclusive gondola ride, there’s total flexibility, with a choice of departure times to suit you.

• Duration: 30-minute gondola ride
• Duration: 30-minute gondola ride\Times: from 10.30am to 5.30pm
• Daily departures from Venice
• Operates year round
• Private experience

Good to know
01 November to 31 March timings: any time from 10.30am - 4pm.

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Venice Waterways by Night

See the twinkling lights of Venice from the water on a private evening gondola ride. From the gondola station, hop aboard one of these traditional rowing boats and relax as your gondolier steers you along the canals. You’ll cruise through the city’s most secluded waterways, passing under small bridges and the most charming sights, to appreciate the unique beauty of this floating city. On this exclusive gondola ride, there’s total flexibility, with a choice of evening departure times to suit you.

• Duration: 30-minute gondola ride
• Times: 5.30pm to 7.30pm
• Daily departures from Venice
• Operates year round
• Private experience

Good to know
01 November to 31 March timings: any time from 4pm - 6pm.

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Ghosts & Legends of Venice

This after-dark adventure offers fun for all the family. Venice has a fascinating history, and dusk is the perfect time to hear its tales of mystery and intrigue, as told by an expert guide. Head off the beaten track to explore the dimly lit narrow alleys and cross quiet canals while being entertained by ghost stories and legendary tales. You’ll even get to discover a secret passage.

• Duration: evening
• Time: 7.30pm to 9pm
• Departing Tuesday, Friday, Saturday from Venice
• Operates April to October
• Group experience

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Venetian Island Traditions

Jump on board a motorboat and take to the water to explore the charming islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello. From St. Mark’s Square, you’ll cruise out to Murano, where you’ll be able to appreciate the art of glassmaking at a glass-blowing factory. Next up it’s beautiful Burano, known for its colour-pop houses, fishing industry and lace-making traditions. Completing the trio of traditional islands, visit Torcello’s old Cathedral and soak up the atmosphere of bygone Venice.

• Duration: half day
• Times: 9am to 1.30pm; 11.30am to 3.30pm; 1.30pm to 5.30pm; 2.30pm to 6.30pm
• Daily departures from Venice
• Operates year round
• Group experience

Good to know
01 November to 31 March timings: 11am - 3pm, noon - 4pm and 2pm - 6pm

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Historical Venice

Feel as though you’ve stepped back in time as you explore Venice’s top historical attractions with a private guide. Meet your guide in St. Mark’s Square and head to the Basilica, where you can admire its grand domes and glistening mosaics before venturing inside to look around its oldest mosaics – some lined with gold leaf – and remarkable gemstone-studded altar. Visit the Doge’s Palace Prisons and then look out over the enclosed Baroque-style Bridge of Sighs that spans the canal between the Doge’s Palace and the prison.

• Duration: 2 hours
• Times: 9am to 11am; 11.10am to 1.10pm; 3.10pm to 5.10pm
• Daily departures from Venice
• Operates year round
• Private experience

Good to know
This experience includes entrance fees to the Basilica (‘skip the line’ entry included except from 01 November - 31 March) and Doge’s Palace (‘skip the line’ entry included). When visiting the Basilica, we recommend wearing respectful clothing that covers your knees and shoulders. No bags (including handbags) are allowed inside the Basilica. The Basilica may be closed to visitors at certain times.

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Hidden Venice

Spend a memorable couple of hours exploring some of Venice’s lesser-visited sights with a private guide. Your experience begins at the iconic Rialto Bridge, where you’ll walk up to the Grand Canal for the best view of the bridge. On the way to the church of Santa Maria de la Misericordia, we’ll pass many typical canals and small bridges before continuing to the Gothic church of Madonna dell’Orto. Further highlights include passing by Tintoretto’s house and the Palazzo Mastelli – a palace full of myths and legends – until you arrive at Fondamenta della Misericordia and its small canal lined with authentic drinking spots where locals meet for a Campari spritz. The final stop is the city’s oldest Jewish district in the Venetian Ghetto and the Bridge of Guglie that spans the Cannaregio Canal.

• Duration: 2 hours • Times: 9am to 11am; 11.10am to 1.10pm; 1.10pm to 3.10pm; 3.10pm to 5.10pm • Daily departures from Venice
• Operates year round
• Private experience

Good to know
This tour includes entrance to the Madonna dell’Orto and a refreshment.

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Venetian Mask Making

Master a new skill and gain an understanding of Venetian culture on a mask decorating course that’s suitable for all. You’ll get to unleash your creativity while receiving a fascinating insight into the days of Venice past, discovering a wealth of facts, anecdotes and practices that are rarely shared with the public. You’ll be able to choose from over 50 different mask models and embellish your chosen mask with all kinds of decorations, from glitter to feathers and embroidery. It’s the ultimate hand-made souvenir to take home from Venice.

• Duration: half day
• Time of your choice
• Daily departures from Venice
• Operates year round
• Private experience

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Street Food of Venice

Taste your way through Venice and discover some of the best food spots in town on this mouth-watering private guided walking tour. Your first stop is the Rialto Market, where your guide will take you around stalls brimming with fresh produce before stopping off for a glass of wine and a few cicchetti (Venetian tapas) at a local bacaro (bar). Head into the history-rich district of Cannaregio – overlooked by many visitors – to see the house where Marco Polo was born and admire some of the city’s oldest churches. Hop on a gondola to cross over the Grand Canal for a trip to the secretive lanes of San Polo, passing through areas once notorious in medieval times.

• Duration: 2½ hours
• Time: 11am to 1.30pm
• Departing Tuesday - Saturday from Venice
• Operates year round
• Private experience

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Walkways & Waterways of Venice

Get the best of both worlds, exploring Venice from the water and on foot during this private guided tour. Meet your expert guide in St. Mark’s Square, first visiting the exterior of the Doge's Palace and the Bridge of Sighs, constructed in 1602 to connect the palace to the prison. As you wander along Venice’s small passages and over ancient bridges, your guide will share their historical and local knowledge with you, allowing you to form a deeper connection with the city. Campo Santa Maria Formosa is the next stop, where you can learn about Venetian architecture as you admire the church's Baroque and Renaissance façades. Venture through the city’s backstreets into the Cannaregio district, where you’ll see the famous Rialto Bridge before taking to the water aboard a traditional gondola. Steered by a talented gondolier, you’ll have a memorable journey as you glide through the winding canals.

• Duration: 2½ hours
• Times: 9am to 11.30am; 11.10am to 1.40pm; 1.10pm to 3.40pm; 3.10pm to 5.40pm
• Departing Monday - Saturday from Venice
• Operates year round
• Private experience

Good to know
This experience includes entrance fees to the Basilica (‘skip the line’ entry included except from 01 November - 31 March) and exterior of the Doge’s Palace. When visiting the Basilica, we recommend wearing respectful clothing that covers your knees and shoulders. No bags (including handbags) are allowed inside the Basilica. The Basilica may be closed to visitors at certain times.

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Get to know Venice and those important practicalities when planning your perfect holiday.

Capital
TIME DIFFERENCE

GMT +1 hour

CURRENCY

Euro

FLYING TIME TO DESTINATION

Approximately 3 hours

RELIGION

Christianity (Roman Catholic)

LANGUAGE

Italian

Where is Venice?
On the north coast of Italy in the Veneto region, Venice is spread over 118 small islands and is also known as the Floating City. Its S-shaped Grand Canal is the most famous in the city.

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Venice icons
The heart of Venice is found in the San Marco sestiere (neighbourhood), home to famous St Mark’s Square. Bordered by iconic buildings such as Doge’s Palace, St Mark’s Basilica and the clock tower Torre dell’Drologio, this renowned piazza is the place to start for the big attractions, fancy cafés, and evening music. Laced with a criss-cross of pretty bridges, two of the most famous to visit are the Bridge of Sighs and the Rialto. Rows of shops and the famous morning fish market are a joy to peruse on the wide arches of Rialto, and for the perfect photo of the Bridge of Sighs view it from Ponte della Paglia.

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Culture
Museum, art and church highlights include the Galleria dell Academia for Titian and Bellini masterpieces, the Basilica Santa Maria della Salute for jaw-dropping interiors, Madonna dell'Orto for Tintoretto’s exquisite canvases and The Correr museum for a look into Venice’s decadent past. A gondola ride is pretty much a ritual on a visit to Venice, but it’s also fun to take the vaporetto on a Gran Canal tour and over to the islands of Burano and Murano for handmade lace, glass blowing and candy-coloured houses. For the most beautiful of frescoed ceilings, visit Palazzo Grimani, for modern art it’s the Peggy Guggeheim Collection and for Tontoretto’s magnificent paintings of the Bible, step inside the Scuola Grande di San Rocco.

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Getting around
With its traffic-free streets, numerous foot bridges, spacious squares and the small scale of the city, the best way to travel around Venice is by foot. If you tire of exploring on foot there are numerous water buses that make their way along the city’s network of canals. These vaporetto run frequently between a number of stops along Venice’s main waterways and also round the outside of the city to the neighbouring islands located in the lagoon. Various ticket options are available depending on your length of stay and how regularly you use the service. For speedier transfers throughout the city, and between the airport and hotels with their own water entrances, there are water taxis.

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Food & drink
The local custom is to eat small dishes while standing at the bar and meals consist of a number of courses including the traditional and inexpensive tramezzini tapas. Due to its marine location many of the city’s restaurants boast delicious seafood dishes and you’ll also find plenty of pizzerias and gelaterias. Spritzers are the favoured drink of the evening and a Bellini at the original Harry’s Bar (Hemingway was a fan) is a must. We recommend veering away from the overpriced tourist-trap restaurants around Piazza San Marco and the Rialto and instead focusing on family-run trattorias and wine bars offering cicchetti.

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Venice Weather

Feb, Apr - Aug

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