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Visiting Venice for the First Time? Here's What to See and Do


Visiting Venice for the First Time? Here's What to See and Do
Hi, I'm Jessica!

Jessica Colley Clarke is a freelance writer and curious traveler based in New York City. Her stories have appeared in AFAR magazine, BBC Travel, The Daily Beast, and the New York Times, among other publications.

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When it comes to first impressions, Venice makes a strong statement. From the peaceful canals and historic palaces to narrow laneways and neighborhood markets, the Floating City holds charm around every corner. Here are our top tips for your first time in Venice.


Take a hop-on hop-off tour

Move at your own pace.

Get your bearings in Venice and explore the city at your own pace with a hop-on hop-off boat tour. Move through Venice with ease and hop-off the boat to see top landmarks including Piazza San Marco and Murano Island.

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Get in the carnival spirit

For an insight into Venetian culture.

Connect with local culture through an artistic mask-making class. Every year the streets of Venice fill up with people wearing elaborate masks for Carnival, and a local class offers the opportunity to learn about the process behind making these intricate objects.

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Man stands in front of a wall of Venetian carnival masks in Venice, Italy
Mask-maker Nicolo Galasso poses in his family's workshop. Photo: Silvia Longhi / Viator

Cruise the canals in a gondola

A must for any first timer.

Admire the bridges, palaces, and canals of Venice from the seat of a gondola and enjoy prime views of popular landmarks from the water. Explore Venice beyond the main canals to see smaller waterways lined by charming historic buildings.

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Taste regional cuisine

You can't go to Italy and not eat.

Get to know the traditional flavors of Venice during one of the city’s many food experiences. Choose between market walks, wine tasting tours, and guided strolls focused on Venice’s popular snacks called cicchetti (bite-sized side dishes, like tapas).

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A woman pours wine with cicchetti on a plate in the foreground
Eating "cicchetti" is a must in Venice, especially for first timers. Photo: Silvia Longhi / Viator

View architectural masterpieces

These sights are staples for a reason.

Discover two of Venice’s most famous attractions during a tour to see St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace, including skip-the-line entry. Go for a walk across the Bridge of Sighs and learn about the history of Venice from a local guide.

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Visit the Murano glass factory

Take home the perfect souvenir.

Learn about the famous glass-blowing factories in Murano with a guided tour. Meet a master craftsman and watch a glass-blowing demonstration. Some tours also include a hands-on workshop with the opportunity to make your own mosaic and piece of jewelry using Murano glass.

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More ways to explore Venice

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Hi, I'm Jessica!

Jessica Colley Clarke is a freelance writer and curious traveler based in New York City. Her stories have appeared in AFAR magazine, BBC Travel, The Daily Beast, and the New York Times, among other publications.

Keep exploring
See all Venice tours
1,283 tours & tickets
Things to do in Venice
See all things to do in Venice
How to Experience the Venice Carnival
How to Experience the Venice Carnival