Venice Essentials:

How big is Venice?
Venice covers an area of approximately 458 square kilometres. This includes greater Venice (Mestre).
How many people inhabit it?
Approximately 65,000 enjoy the privilege of calling themselves Venetian.
What are the language and currency?
Italian and Euro.
  • Looking on to St Marks Basilica
Looking on to St Marks Basilica Doges Palace Dusk on Venice Parked up gondolas Looking onto the canal On a gondola The most popular means of transport Rialto Bridge St Marks Basilica Venice by night Streets of Venice Venice traffic View of Venice

Things to see in Venice

St Mark's Basilica
What is Venice’s number one attraction?
Venice's number one 'paid' attraction is Doge's Palace, the residence of the doge (duke) up to the fall of the Venetian Republic in I797. Today it is open to the public and is home to some of the most ornate rooms in Europe.
Anything else that shouldn’t be missed?
The city’s most emblematic building is the Rialto Bridge, one of only three bridges that cross the Grand Canal. Even though it is constantly crowded with tourists, it is a 'must-see' and you’ll definitely come across it (no pun intended) at some stage. Another place you can't miss is St Mark's Basilica, the city's most imposing building which dates back to the 9th century. It looms over a majestic square of the same name. Art lovers need to pencil in Gallerie d'Accademia to their itineraries which is home to Venice's most important art collection.
On average, how much does it cost to gain entry to Venice’s main attractions?
In order to get into Doge’s Palace you’ll need to perform an exchange of €11 at the ticket desk. I know what you’re thinking: this sounds expensive. But don’t fret. This €11 is for the 'San Marco’s Museum Card' which permits you entry to Doge's Palace, Museo Correr, the National Archaeological Museum and the Monumental Halls of the Marciana National Library.
Anything else I need to know?
Try and explore the city’s districts. Cannaregio across the Rialto Bridge from Santa Croce is extremely beautiful, full of hidden lanes and canals. Then again most of the city is full of hidden canals and lanes. Remember that Venice is extremely compact so you should try to cover as much of it as possible - once you’ve seen Rialto Bridge and St Mark’s Square you haven’t seen the city. One other thing – if the weather is nice catch a vaporetto (see 'Transport' section below) out to Lido, home to city’s beach.

Going out in Venice

Venice at dusk
Is it expensive to go out in Venice?
That all depends on your preferred tipple. If you like red wine you’re in for a treat as it only costs €1 to €1.50 a glass. Glasses of ‘spritz’, a Venetian speciality made up of sparking white wine, soda water and a bitter (Campari, Amaro, Aperol or Select) are also a mere €1.50 a glass. This is what the locals drink.
Where are most of the bars found?
Make no mistake about it; Venice is a quiet city after dark. People say all Viennese are in bed by 2am. That isn’t true – the Venetians are. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t any one place where all the bars are found. Campo Santa Margherita is where they can be found.
Any particular bars / clubs worth singling out?
Café Noire on Calle San Pantalon attracts a big crowd on most nights. It's just minutes from Campo Santa Margerita. Of all the bars actually on the aforementioned square, Orange deserves most of your attention. The tunes playing are cool, as are the people who frequent it. Over in Cannaregio, Paradiso Perduto (Fondamenta della Misericordia) is a lively jazz bar that has live music at weekends.
Is there anything to do that doesn’t involve alcohol?
Go for a wander! Venice is just as beautiful at night as it is during the day. Plus it’s extremely safe so, even if that lane ahead looks extremely narrow, and maybe a little too dark, you can be pretty sure you won’t get yourself into trouble by walking down it. Standing on the southern end of the Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal after dark is unforgettable, while if you like classical music make your way down to St Mark’s Square. Outside various cafés quartets entertain both customers and passer-bys alike.
Anything else I need to know?
If you feel like a few glasses of wine, but you're on a budget as tight as your jeans after one too many pizzas, bring your empty water bottles to one of the numerous wine shops around Venice. Here you can get different types for €2 per litre! One of these is Nave d'Oro on Campo Santa Margherita.

Eating Out in Venice

Rialto food market
Is it expensive to eat out in Venice?
That depends on what you decide to fuel your body with. There are endless snack bars around Venice’s labyrinthine streets where you can pick up paninis for €3. Pizza slices cost less. The average main in a restaurant can vary, but they are usually around €8-€10. Pizzas are between €5 and €10.
Where is the best selection of restaurants in the city?
If you want to eat out, again, avoid the more popular touristy areas. Head for other areas such as around Camp Santa Marghertia and Campo San Stefano. Remember that there are different types of eatery in Venice. The most formal is the 'ristorante' which is where you will find candle-lit tables. These are the most expensive. 'Trattorias' are less formal and not as costly. Many trattorias are pizzerias. The final type is the 'osteria' which are great for snacks as they all serve 'cicchetti', an Italian version of tapas. These small snacks, usually some type of seafood, are €1 or less each and go down beautifully with a glass of red wine.
Are international cuisines well-represented?
No. You’ll find some Chinese restaurants, but other than that it’s all Italian restaurants here.
What times do restaurants close?
If you find yourself in Venice late at night and want to eat something you should be able to find somewhere serving food up until 11pm.
Anything else I need to know?
Everywhere you go in Venice you’ll see ‘menu touristic’ which are, you’ve guessed it, menus for tourists. They consist of a starter (usually pasta), main course (meat, chicken or fish) plus salad or potatoes. They range from €13-€18. Whatever it is, add another €3 or €4 on top of that. For instance, if you get a set-menu for €13 you’ll have to pay another €3 for a drink, plus a service charge (usually €2) will be added to that also. A lot of time it works out cheaper to simply get a pizza and a drink.

Transport in Venice

A traghetto in motion
How many different modes of public transport are there in Venice?
Three – vaporettos, traghettos and water taxis.
Eh, isn’t there one missing?
Oh yes, the gondola. They don’t really fall under the category of transport though. They are only used by tourists and never as a means of getting from one place to another. They are solely for novelty purposes. If you are thinking of getting one, here are the facts – they usually cost €70 (although some gondoliers charge much more than that), they fit 6 people max and the journey lasts 30 minutes.

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