Guide to Venice: What to See, Do, + More
Heading to Venice? Here is our guide to the city with details on transport, vegan foods, what to see, and more!
We had 3 days in Venice and spent most of our time wandering around the city. We’ve read so much about the overtourism, we were nervous it would all seem overrated and packed with people. Well… we were definitely NOT disappointed. Venice is still so beautiful and in the right season, you can still find areas that make you feel alone in the city.
Since we are not expert travelers, we definitely don’t want to pretend we are “all-knowing” about Venice in this guide. However, we want to share our experiences with as much detail as we think someone like you might find helpful. Here is what we have to share:
Venice Transportation Guide
Getting from the airport to Venice
There are two main options: Bus and Alilaguna Water Bus.
The (land) buses can only take you to one part of Venice since the city is not driveable. The bus station is also a pretty decent walk to Piazza San Marco. However, bus tickets are cheaper (~8 euro) so check your accommodation or planned sites to see if this works better for you.
Alilaguna Water Bus- There is a kiosk and a desk to buy tickets. The kiosk is near baggage claim inside, the desk is outside right near the dock.
The blue line runs almost every hour, is 15 euro one way, and the ride to San Marco is about 45 minutes
Transport around Venice
Taking the “water buses” or vaporettos around Venice is a great way to get around, and necessary if you plan to travel to Burano, Murano, and other small islands out of Venice. ACTV is the company that runs these boat busses around. You can purchase tickets for individual trips or you can buy passes that last 1, 2, 3, or 7 days.
We suggest getting one of the multi-day passes if you are spending more than a day in Venice.
Make sure to validate your ticket, at the small machine at the dock, before getting on each vaporetto. Although we were never checked, we heard there could be fines for not having a validated pass.
Transport to Murano and Burano:
Head to the F. te Nove station and get a ticket for Line 12. Make sure you stop at the ticket booth, this is a small stand near one of the stations, they do not sell tickets at every dock. The vaporetto to Burano took about 45 minutes each way. Murano does not take as long because it is one of the first stops there and one of the last on the way back.
Getting from Venice San Lucia to Mestre
Again, there are a few options you can take – by water or by land. We decided to go by land and take the commuter train from Venice San Lucia to Venice Mestre. The train was about $2 and took roughly 15 minutes. It was a pretty simple process. We bought our tickets online through Omio but you can buy these at the station as well.
There are limited signs at the train station and our tickets were not checked, so make sure you pay attention to the train you get on and the platform number!
Vegan Eats in Venice
In Venice, vegan options seem to be very limited. Vegetarian options are a lot easier to find, pasta, salads, fried rice balls, sandwiches, etc. Even some cicchetti is vegetarian at places like Bacaro Risorto and Osteria Al Squero, although most have meat or fish.
Our vegan eats for Venice are limited, however, we wanted to share the options we did find:
Le Tecia Vegana
This is the only 100% vegan restaurant in Venice and the menu looks delicious! We are so sad to say we did not get to eat here when we were in Venice. The day we planned to go had a rainy forecast and when we showed up they said they were only letting people with reservations dine that evening in case of bad weather. Please go eat there and tell us how great it was!
Budget-friendly and multiple options! This is a takeout only pizzeria with 5 different vegan options. The normal size has 4 large slices for 8.50 euro and was enough to fill both of us up for dinner (twice). Take the pizza and find a square to sit in while you enjoy and people watch!
Dal Moro’s and Baci e Pasta
Pasta to go! Both locations are not too far from St. Mark’s and have at least one vegan option. This will most likely be a plain tomato sauce but ours from Baci e Pasta was great.
Vegan Gelato! There are other gelato shops that have sorbet and most often these are dairy-free, however, Suso has more than plain fruit flavors including a Dark Chocolate and a Raspberry Gelato with thick chocolate fudge running through it, SO GOOD.
We got coffee from 3 different cafes in Venice, Farini’s, Goppion Caffetteria, and Pasticceria Ponte delle Paste Venezia. Each had soy or another nondairy milk for coffee.
Google reviews say that they have vegan baked goods, however, the only one with a specific labeled vegan option is Goppion Caffetteria. We ate there twice because their vegan croissants were delicious and had a raspberry or strawberry filling!
Pasta Fagioli is a soup that is normally vegan. We suggest you check with the restaurant to be sure, however, if you see this on the menu you should be safe to eat it! We had some Pasta Fagioli but it wasn’t good so we don’t want to recommend the restaurant.
Fruits and veggies are plentiful at markets. You can go to the Rialto Market or a smaller one like the one in Campo Santa Maria Formosa
Have some recommendations for vegan places in Venice? Let us know, we’d love to hear them.
Sites to See in Venice
You can find a thousand guides with recommendations to see St. Marks Square, Basilica San Marco, Doges Palace, Rialto Mercato, etc. Don’t skip these, but in addition to those here are some of our other favorites:
Okay so this one might be on every other Venice guide too but it is so worth it! Even if you’re only there for two days, take a half-day adventure to this little charming, colorful, island.
San Giorgio Maggiore
This is a separate island that you will have to take the vaporetto to that holds a beautiful church and the site listed below. There’s also a cafe behind the church too.
Free Glass Art Exhibit – Le Stanze del Vetro
This free exhibition is located behind Church of San Giorgio Maggiore. During our visit, it was glass animals and it was pretty cool!
Rooftop Views from Fondaco Dei Tedeschi
To get these views you need to click the link above to get a ticket and secure a time slot. Don’t let the word “ticket” worry you, it’s completely free! With your ticket, you will have 15 minutes to enjoy the view. The view was absolutely stunning so this is a must do!
Campo Santa Maria Formosa
This is a large square near a couple of food places recommended above, a large church, and a market to get some produce! It is also near the Libreria Acqua Alta (a unique book store with a book staircase photo-op, pictured at the top of this post).
Sotoportego dei Preti
A sweet little alley that holds not only a heart but a legend as well. We were taken to this place and told of the Venetian legend through a tour recommended below!
Things to do
Besides visiting the sites above, here are some things to do while in Venice:
Honestly, this is how we spent most of our time in Venice. We wandered away from the main tourist sites and found empty alleys and beautiful canals. We think this is why we loved Venice so much, we weren’t stuck in the tourist traps and found some unique places all on our own.
Take a tour
Besides wandering around the alleys we have two tours to recommend. The first one is the FREE Walking Tour. Our guide really knew her city and we learned so much.
Sam geeked out over how the water systems used to work and Ty really enjoyed learning about the history of the Venetian Empire. The guide gave great recommendations for what to see and where to eat/shop. This is a great first thing to plan for your trip to Venice.
The second tour we are recommending is the Ghost and Legends tour, found on AirBnB. This was a belated birthday present for Ty because he loves ghosts but it was honestly so interesting to both of us! We laughed a ton and learned a lot so please check it out if this is something that interests you!
Wrap Up: Our Final Tips for Venice
DO: Go during off season. Although in autumn you may have to bring rain boots in case of Acqua alta (high water, flooding), our visit in October allowed us to experience the city without the masses of people. Since COVID there haven’t been the same amount of tourists in the city, but that doesn’t mean next year won’t be super busy again. Spring and autumn are great times to visit the city.
DO: Learn some Italian phrases – although this is a touristy place and most people can speak/understand English, it can help when ordering at a cafe or asking for directions!
DO: Eat standing up at the cafes – Prices often go up if you sit down at a table, we saw two menus at some cafes for the bar vs. a table. There is also a fee for sitting at a restaurant, don’t let this be a surprise on the bill!
DON’T: Wear uncomfortable shoes – This is a walking city after all!
DON’T: Trust the weather forecast, if you read our post about our time in Venice you’ll see we talked about how the forecast wasn’t correct. When we expected rain we had blue skies and when we expected blue skies we had cloudy/rainy days!