Venice Holidays

Your Venice holiday

There aren’t many breaks more romantic than a weekend in Venice—a city of winding canals and mystical alleyways. For a long time a world leader for art and design, Venice is now able to proudly display its architectural treasures and museum collections to the hordes of tourists that visit the city’s squares and waterways.

It’s easy to catch a cheap flight to Venice, so don’t wait any longer to visit this unique ‘floating’ city.

The story of this unlikely city built on water began sometime around the 5th century, and on another island in the lagoon, Torcello. Early settlers were refugees trying to escape the mainland and a barrage of attacks by Germanic tribes.

Torcello island thrived as a major trading hub and port for the Byzantine Empire, and some of the earliest constructions in the whole lagoon can still be found there. Eventually, an increase in sediment in the rivers and a dangerous rise in the mosquito population sent all inhabitants over to Venice.

After gaining independence early in the 9th century, Venice expanded its commercial and military activities rapidly. Upon joining the Christian crusades, Venetian fighters began to bring back scores of looted treasures to adorn the ornate buildings under construction on the island.

In its heyday around the 14th and 15th centuries, Venice was a world leader in architecture, maritime activity and printing. However, the discovery of the Americas weakened its commercial position and then successive bouts of the plague decimated the population.
Napoleon ended almost a millennium of Venetian independence at the close of the 18th century. Then, after a brief spell under Austrian rule, the islands became part of Italy in 1866.

Venice mercifully avoided serious damage during the two world wars, with concerns more focused on the threat of flooding and the possibility of the city sinking into the swamp on which it is built. Still surviving the dangers that have faced it, today it is one of the world’s premier tourist destinations.

Holidays Deals

Venice Holidays

Bella Venezia Hotel Venice

4 stars
3.7 / 5 35 reviews
The sixteenth century palace in which Hotel Bella Venezia is sited in, has been completely respected and restored in accord with the Italian Belle Arti. The works, ended by the middle of year 2006, have gifted back the ancient splendour to each Venetian bedrooms, rooms that offer precious views over canals, streets, and suggestive roofs with the Saint Mark bell tower as picture on the ground. All the wide rooms and suites contain elegant Venetian furniture and glasses, but in the same time they offer all the contemporary technology comforts. The highly formed hotel staff and professional manners will enrich your stay much more comfortable and unforgettable as well.A tax has been imposed by the city for stays beginning 1 October 2012, and will be collected directly at the property. The tax ranges from EUR 1 to EUR 5 per person, per night. The amount has been determined by the local administration, depends on the star rating of hotel and the season of travel. This tax does not apply from the 6th consecutive night of stay onwards, to residents of Venice City and children under 10 years of age. Please note that further exemptions may apply. For additional details on this tax please check with the hotel property at check-in. The Hotel has Depandance called Palazzo La Scala and Residenza Ca` San Marco , located only 100 meters from main building with 10 rooms called ANNEX : rooms are smaller than those located in main Hotel, but with all comforts : Minibar, LCD TV, heating control, safebox ,internet wi-fi. Check-in Check-out and breakfast are within the main Hotel.
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Nightly rates from £78.20

Nazionale Hotel Venice

3 stars
3.4 / 5 36 reviews
Hotel Nazionale is situated just 100 meters from the Santa Lucia railway station and only a few minutes' walk from Piazzale Roma. The hotel plays host to 92 guest rooms, all equipped with every imaginable comfort and featuring stylish decor that is enriched by paintings depicting some of the most delightful views of this lagoon city. In the evening after a day wandering along the calli (streets) and through the campielli (squares), enraptured by the bright colours of the paintings displayed in the churches Venice embraced me once again within these evocative surroundings.A tax has been imposed by the city for stays beginning 1 October 2012, and will be collected directly at the property. The tax ranges from EUR 1 to EUR 5 per person, per night. The amount has been determined by the local administration, depends on the star rating of hotel and the season of travel. This tax does not apply from the 6th consecutive night of stay onwards, to residents of Venice City and children under 10 years of age. Please note that further exemptions may apply. For additional details on this tax please check with the hotel property at check-in.
Value Save 20% on 3 nights stay
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Nightly rates from £100.80

Le Boulevard Hotel Venice

4 stars
4.2 / 5 9 reviews
The Hotel Le Boulevard was built as a hotel during the 1930's and was famous during the golden era of Lido up to the 1950's. It was completely rebuilt in 1985 and restored throughout in 1998. Its magnificent position between the sea and the lagoon makes it the perfect spot for an unforgettable holiday or a tranquil place to stay on businnes. All 45 rooms are tastefully furnished and have every modern amenity exected of a 4 star estabilishment: air conditioning, minibar, satellite TV , telephone, multi channel radio, safe, private bathrooms with bath or shower and hair dryer. The Hotel offers 2 splendid dining-rooms, a bar with spacious terrace for sun-baking in summer, a large room for meetings and riunions for up to 40 people, confortable reading rooms and a convenient car-park. During the summer season the Hotel's clients will be able to enjoj the magnificent Lido beach, famous for its golden sand and crystal clear water of the Adriatic Sea. The hotel offer deck chairs and umbrellas for a period of complete relaxtion for its guests. 100 meters from the hotel are the transport connections to venice. 4 boat lines connect Lido and venice every 10 minutes, the triptaking only 12 minutes. The Golden island of Lido is so close to the world famous St. marks Square, the historical, cultural centre of Venice. It is also easy to arrive at the Hotel from the Motorway, railway Station and International Airport marco Polo, with regular public transport connections or private water taxis. Take a virtual tour of the hotel (QuickTime needed). Amenities - Bar, Concierge, Currency exchange, Internet access High-Speed, Internet access Wireless, Lift/Elevator, Lobby, Non-smoking rooms, Pets allowed, Reception, Room service and Safe deposit box.A tax has been imposed by the city for stays beginning 1 October 2012, and will be collected directly at the property. The tax ranges from EUR 1 to EUR 5 per person, per night. The amount has been determined by the local administration, depends on the star rating of hotel and the season of travel. This tax does not apply from the 6th consecutive night of stay onwards, to residents of Venice City and children under 10 years of age. Please note that further exemptions may apply. For additional details on this tax please check with the hotel property at check-in.
Value Stay 4 Nights & Save up to 25%
Flight + Hotel
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Hotel only
Nightly rates from £40.32

Belle Epoque Hotel Venice

3 stars
3.5 / 5 15 reviews
Welcome to the Hotel Belle Epoque, one of the friendliest, most elegant and accommodating hotels in Venice. Located in a strategic area of Venice, a few walks from Santa Lucia train station and in the middle of the bustling Cannaregio district of Venice. The prestigious Hotel Belle Epoque offers comfortable 3 star rooms close to all the important Venetian landmarks. Complementing the grand palaces and illustrious canals that make Venice famous, the Hotel Belle Epoque bathes guests in the radiance of classical Venetian design. Decor is in the style of the Belle Epoque (French for Beautiful Era) - a golden age of peace in 19th century Europe. Hotel also offers free breakfast to its guests! Not included: Turistical tax 3 euro per person per night
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Nightly rates from £59.74

La Fenice et Des Artistes Hotel Venice

4 stars
4.1 / 5 14 reviews
The Hotel La Fenice et des Artistes, close to the well-known "Teatro La Fenice", has been for more than a century the preferred hotel of artists and people looking for the typical atmosphere characterizing the "hotels de charme". The extremely bright entrance is in the form of a triangle connecting the original building on the left with the newly-built wing on the right. All guest rooms are different from one another, each with its own specific charm, but all in a typical Venetian style. They all have private bathroom, with either a tub or a shower, hairdryer, direct dial phone line, Sat TV and safe. The restaurant "La Taverna", which Gabriele D'Annunzio first called after this name, is one of the most elegant Citys restaurants and is part of the hotel building. This allows our guests to take advantage of the restaurant and benefit from special prices. The position of the Hotel La Fenice et des Artistes is extremely privileged: it is a real house in the middle of the city which is nevertheless located away from mass tourist circuits; it represents a unique chance for a pleasant and relaxing stay. Visit the Web Site of the restaurant Taverna La Fenice: www.ristorantelafenice.it Our guests can also take advantage of the courtyard garden and of beautiful common halls to relax. Our staff is available 24 hours a day to meet all your needs.A tax has been imposed by the city for stays beginning 1 October 2012, and will be collected directly at the property. The tax ranges from EUR 1 to EUR 5 per person, per night. The amount has been determined by the local administration, depends on the star rating of hotel and the season of travel. This tax does not apply from the 6th consecutive night of stay onwards, to residents of Venice City and children under 10 years of age. Please note that further exemptions may apply. For additional details on this tax please check with the hotel property at check-in.
Value Special 10% off
Flight + Hotel
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Hotel only
Nightly rates from £90.12

Venezia 2000 Hotel Venice

3 stars
4.5 / 5 2 reviews
Recreated following painstaking restoration of the Hotel Bortoli, a historic hotel in Lido di Venezia, the Hotel Residence Venezia 2000 offers a range of accommodation including double and triple rooms and one and two bedroom suites sleeping from two to five. The terrace offers an exceptional view from the San Marco Basin out to the open sea. The historic city centre of Venice is just a few minutes away by boat or one can enjoy the vast range of sports and cultural activities offered by Lido. Hotel services include Restaurant, beach facilities, solarium and bicycles to make your stay even more enchanting. The hotel Residence Venezia 2000 is part of the GITAV group,providing tourist with various types of accommodation on the Tyrrhenian coast between Monte Argentario and Capalbio.The wide range of accommodation available enables hotels group to satisfy the demands of all there guest.Young people,families with children,groups and the third age will all be oriented towards the accommodation which best satisfies their needs.The inclusion of the Hotel Residence Venezia 2000 located in an area with completely different characteristics makes the GITaV group even richer with an even more far ranging offer. Baby sitting,Ballroom, Banquet facilities,Bar, BVusiness Centre,Concierge,Conference facilities,Doctor On Call,Gym/Fitness Facilities,Internet access_high speed,Internet access-Wireless,laundry service,Lift/elevator,Lobby,Non smoking rooms,Parking facilities-for free,Pets allowed on request,Reception,Restaurant,Room service at cost,Safe deposit box,Secretarial services,Smoke free hotel,Solarium,Jacuzzi swimming pool in season.A tax has been imposed by the city for stays beginning 1 October 2012, and will be collected directly at the property. The tax ranges from EUR 1 to EUR 5 per person, per night. The amount has been determined by the local administration, depends on the star rating of hotel and the season of travel. This tax does not apply from the 6th consecutive night of stay onwards, to residents of Venice City and children under 10 years of age. Please note that further exemptions may apply. For additional details on this tax please check with the hotel property at check-in.
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Nightly rates from £56.49

Le Ville Del Lido Suite Residence Venice

4 stars
4.0 / 5 3 reviews
Welcome to "Le Ville del Lido", 1st category suite residence located only 10 metres from the famous Lido's beach and 15 minutes from S. Marco Square by waterbus. Enjoy your holiday in this beautiful surroundings, where you can spend wonderful holidays or simply relax for a few days doing any activity and sport like golf, horse riding, relaxing by the sea coast or visiting Venice with all that it offers. The Residence feature 22 suites with double bedroom with en-suite bathroom, one twin bedroom, a second bathroom, lounge with kitchen unit and sofa bed; the suites on the first floor have a terrace while the ones on the ground floor a private garden. The Residence has a wonderful swimming-pool with Jacuzzi (open from June to mid September) and a private parking.A tax has been imposed by the city for stays beginning 1 October 2012, and will be collected directly at the property. The tax ranges from EUR 1 to EUR 5 per person, per night. The amount has been determined by the local administration, depends on the star rating of hotel and the season of travel. This tax does not apply from the 6th consecutive night of stay onwards, to residents of Venice City and children under 10 years of age. Please note that further exemptions may apply. For additional details on this tax please check with the hotel property at check-in.
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Nightly rates from £73.93

Carnival Palace Hotel Venice

4 stars
4.4 / 5 7 reviews
Brand new Palace Hotel opening August 2012. Overlooking the Cannaregio Canal in historic downtown Venice, the Carnival Palace is an exclusive, sophisticated 4-star boutique hotel, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city, perfect for those who would love to discover the real Venice. The sophisticated elegance of Carnival Palace Hotel is clear from its captivating and romantic contemporary design, which brings to mind the most elegant and authentic Venetian furnishings. The hotel offers 67 comfortable and spacious rooms, all with their own unique style and charm with views of the garden or the Cannaregio Canal. Amenity - Free Breakfast.A tax has been imposed by the city for stays beginning 1 October 2012, and will be collected directly at the property. The tax ranges from EUR 1 to EUR 5 per person, per night. The amount has been determined by the local administration, depends on the star rating of hotel and the season of travel. This tax does not apply from the 6th consecutive night of stay onwards, to residents of Venice City and children under 10 years of age. Please note that further exemptions may apply. For additional details on this tax please check with the hotel property at check-in.
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Nightly rates from £106.86

Domina Giudecca Hotel Venice

4 stars
4.0 / 5 9 reviews
Domina Home Giudecca, situated on the island of the same name, was made famous over the years by the local nobility and aristocracy who transformed it into a haunt and refuge for intellectuals and artists. Hospitable and silent rooms, inviting with their unmistakable style and impeccable service: experiencing Venice at Domina Home Giudecca really means stepping back into the past to be welcomed with all the care and pampering that elsewhere have long been sacrificed on the altar of mass tourism. Venice is crowded and packed with tourists, wrote a couple of British travellers who stayed here. If you really long for a romantic Venetian holiday, Domina Home is the ideal place. It feels like home. That's right: it is a home in Venice. A dream but also a reality that can be achieved today. A tax has been imposed by the city for stays beginning 1 October 2012, and will be collected directly at the property. The tax ranges from EUR 1 to EUR 5 per person, per night. The amount has been determined by the local administration, depends on the star rating of hotel and the season of travel. This tax does not apply from the 6th consecutive night of stay onwards, to residents of Venice City and children under 10 years of age. Please note that further exemptions may apply. For additional details on this tax please check with the hotel property at check-in.
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Nightly rates from £59.14

BEST WESTERN Hotel Bisanzio

3 stars
4.0 / 5 5 reviews
Venice hotel on Riva degli Schiavoni was once studio of famous sculptorRenowned 16th century Mannerist sculptor Alessandro Vittoria once had his studio in what is now the Best Western Bisanzio Hotel Venice, which has been managed by the Venice family since 1969. Situated along the Riva degli Schiavoni just east of St. Mark's Square, the hotel looks out over beautiful St. Mark's Basin -- an inspiration for Vittoria and now for hotel guests -- and is within easy walking distance of most popular Venice landmarks. A recent restoration added modern amenities while preserving the building's ancient character. HighlightsOn-site barTwo reading roomsWithin easy walking distance of most popular Venice attractions LocationThe Best Western Bisanzio Hotel Venice is located along the Calle de la Pieta and the Riva degli Schiavoni, overlooking St. Mark's Basin in a quieter Venice neighborhood just east of St. Mark's Square. Immediately to the west is the Church of San Zaccaria and to the east is the Chiesa della Pietà. Nearby to the west are the Ducal Palace, the Correr Museum and the Fenice Theater. To the northwest is the Rialto Bridge and the shopping district of the Mercerie. RoomsThe 40 rooms of the Best Western Bisanzio Hotel Venice are decorated in 18th century Venetian style surrounded by well-preserved Renaissance architectural details. The rooms are air conditioned and include Wi-Fi, LCD TV, mini-bar and safe. The hotel also manages nearby apartments, complete with kitchen, for guests in search of a more independent experience. Non-smoking rooms are available. FeaturesGuests arriving at the Best Western Bisanzio Hotel Venice find ancient open beams, walnut wainscoting, marble, Murano glass lamps and antique furnishings, all lovingly preserved and updated with modern conveniences. The hotel features two reading rooms and a bar. TransportationMarco Polo Airport (12.7 mi/20.5 km)San Marco-San Zaccaria vaporetto (waterbus) docks (0.1 mi/0.2 km)Venice Santa Lucia railway station (1.7 mi/2.7 km) AttractionsDucal Palace (0.2 mi/0.4 km)St. Mark’s Square (0.3 mi/0.5 km)Correr Museum (0.4 mi/0.6 km)Fenice Theater (0.7 mi/1.1 km)Rialto Bridge (0.7 mi/1.1 km)
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Nightly rates from £158.68
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Hotels

Venice Hotels

Nightly rates from £78.20

Bella Venezia Hotel Venice

4 stars
3.7 / 5 35 reviews
The sixteenth century palace in which Hotel Bella Venezia is sited in, has been completely respected and restored in accord with the Italian Belle Arti. The works, ended by the middle of year 2006, have gifted back the ancient splendour to each Venetian bedrooms, rooms that offer precious views over canals, streets, and suggestive roofs with the Saint Mark bell tower as picture on the ground. All the wide rooms and suites contain elegant Venetian furniture and glasses, but in the same time they offer all the contemporary technology comforts. The highly formed hotel staff and professional manners will enrich your stay much more comfortable and unforgettable as well.A tax has been imposed by the city for stays beginning 1 October 2012, and will be collected directly at the property. The tax ranges from EUR 1 to EUR 5 per person, per night. The amount has been determined by the local administration, depends on the star rating of hotel and the season of travel. This tax does not apply from the 6th consecutive night of stay onwards, to residents of Venice City and children under 10 years of age. Please note that further exemptions may apply. For additional details on this tax please check with the hotel property at check-in. The Hotel has Depandance called Palazzo La Scala and Residenza Ca` San Marco , located only 100 meters from main building with 10 rooms called ANNEX : rooms are smaller than those located in main Hotel, but with all comforts : Minibar, LCD TV, heating control, safebox ,internet wi-fi. Check-in Check-out and breakfast are within the main Hotel.
Value 3 Nights Special Offer
Nightly rates from £100.80

Nazionale Hotel Venice

3 stars
3.4 / 5 36 reviews
Hotel Nazionale is situated just 100 meters from the Santa Lucia railway station and only a few minutes' walk from Piazzale Roma. The hotel plays host to 92 guest rooms, all equipped with every imaginable comfort and featuring stylish decor that is enriched by paintings depicting some of the most delightful views of this lagoon city. In the evening after a day wandering along the calli (streets) and through the campielli (squares), enraptured by the bright colours of the paintings displayed in the churches Venice embraced me once again within these evocative surroundings.A tax has been imposed by the city for stays beginning 1 October 2012, and will be collected directly at the property. The tax ranges from EUR 1 to EUR 5 per person, per night. The amount has been determined by the local administration, depends on the star rating of hotel and the season of travel. This tax does not apply from the 6th consecutive night of stay onwards, to residents of Venice City and children under 10 years of age. Please note that further exemptions may apply. For additional details on this tax please check with the hotel property at check-in.
Value Save 20% on 3 nights stay
Nightly rates from £40.32

Le Boulevard Hotel Venice

4 stars
4.2 / 5 9 reviews
The Hotel Le Boulevard was built as a hotel during the 1930's and was famous during the golden era of Lido up to the 1950's. It was completely rebuilt in 1985 and restored throughout in 1998. Its magnificent position between the sea and the lagoon makes it the perfect spot for an unforgettable holiday or a tranquil place to stay on businnes. All 45 rooms are tastefully furnished and have every modern amenity exected of a 4 star estabilishment: air conditioning, minibar, satellite TV , telephone, multi channel radio, safe, private bathrooms with bath or shower and hair dryer. The Hotel offers 2 splendid dining-rooms, a bar with spacious terrace for sun-baking in summer, a large room for meetings and riunions for up to 40 people, confortable reading rooms and a convenient car-park. During the summer season the Hotel's clients will be able to enjoj the magnificent Lido beach, famous for its golden sand and crystal clear water of the Adriatic Sea. The hotel offer deck chairs and umbrellas for a period of complete relaxtion for its guests. 100 meters from the hotel are the transport connections to venice. 4 boat lines connect Lido and venice every 10 minutes, the triptaking only 12 minutes. The Golden island of Lido is so close to the world famous St. marks Square, the historical, cultural centre of Venice. It is also easy to arrive at the Hotel from the Motorway, railway Station and International Airport marco Polo, with regular public transport connections or private water taxis. Take a virtual tour of the hotel (QuickTime needed). Amenities - Bar, Concierge, Currency exchange, Internet access High-Speed, Internet access Wireless, Lift/Elevator, Lobby, Non-smoking rooms, Pets allowed, Reception, Room service and Safe deposit box.A tax has been imposed by the city for stays beginning 1 October 2012, and will be collected directly at the property. The tax ranges from EUR 1 to EUR 5 per person, per night. The amount has been determined by the local administration, depends on the star rating of hotel and the season of travel. This tax does not apply from the 6th consecutive night of stay onwards, to residents of Venice City and children under 10 years of age. Please note that further exemptions may apply. For additional details on this tax please check with the hotel property at check-in.
Value Stay 4 Nights & Save up to 25%
Nightly rates from £59.74

Belle Epoque Hotel Venice

3 stars
3.5 / 5 15 reviews
Welcome to the Hotel Belle Epoque, one of the friendliest, most elegant and accommodating hotels in Venice. Located in a strategic area of Venice, a few walks from Santa Lucia train station and in the middle of the bustling Cannaregio district of Venice. The prestigious Hotel Belle Epoque offers comfortable 3 star rooms close to all the important Venetian landmarks. Complementing the grand palaces and illustrious canals that make Venice famous, the Hotel Belle Epoque bathes guests in the radiance of classical Venetian design. Decor is in the style of the Belle Epoque (French for Beautiful Era) - a golden age of peace in 19th century Europe. Hotel also offers free breakfast to its guests! Not included: Turistical tax 3 euro per person per night
Value Save wiith No Refundable Rate
Nightly rates from £90.12

La Fenice et Des Artistes Hotel Venice

4 stars
4.1 / 5 14 reviews
The Hotel La Fenice et des Artistes, close to the well-known "Teatro La Fenice", has been for more than a century the preferred hotel of artists and people looking for the typical atmosphere characterizing the "hotels de charme". The extremely bright entrance is in the form of a triangle connecting the original building on the left with the newly-built wing on the right. All guest rooms are different from one another, each with its own specific charm, but all in a typical Venetian style. They all have private bathroom, with either a tub or a shower, hairdryer, direct dial phone line, Sat TV and safe. The restaurant "La Taverna", which Gabriele D'Annunzio first called after this name, is one of the most elegant Citys restaurants and is part of the hotel building. This allows our guests to take advantage of the restaurant and benefit from special prices. The position of the Hotel La Fenice et des Artistes is extremely privileged: it is a real house in the middle of the city which is nevertheless located away from mass tourist circuits; it represents a unique chance for a pleasant and relaxing stay. Visit the Web Site of the restaurant Taverna La Fenice: www.ristorantelafenice.it Our guests can also take advantage of the courtyard garden and of beautiful common halls to relax. Our staff is available 24 hours a day to meet all your needs.A tax has been imposed by the city for stays beginning 1 October 2012, and will be collected directly at the property. The tax ranges from EUR 1 to EUR 5 per person, per night. The amount has been determined by the local administration, depends on the star rating of hotel and the season of travel. This tax does not apply from the 6th consecutive night of stay onwards, to residents of Venice City and children under 10 years of age. Please note that further exemptions may apply. For additional details on this tax please check with the hotel property at check-in.
Value Special 10% off
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Flights

Flights to Venice

Departure Arrival Travel dates Round-trip fares
London Venice Tue, 3 Jun - Wed, 4 Jun £57
Rome Venice Mon, 16 Jun - Thu, 19 Jun £98
Barcelona Venice Thu, 22 May - Mon, 2 Jun £83
Paris Venice Mon, 12 May - Wed, 14 May £61
Manchester Venice Thu, 8 May - Tue, 13 May £78
Birmingham Venice Tue, 10 Jun - Thu, 12 Jun £100
Naples Venice Sat, 17 May - Mon, 19 May £94
Athens Venice Tue, 13 May - Sat, 17 May £139
Madrid Venice Tue, 20 May - Tue, 27 May £127
Frankfurt Venice Tue, 6 May - Tue, 13 May £52
Amsterdam Venice Sat, 24 May - Tue, 27 May £132
Helsinki Venice Mon, 2 Jun - Wed, 11 Jun £190
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Best time to take a holiday to Venice

  • Like many destinations, Venice's high tourist season is during the summer months, when the weather is warm but not oppressive, usually topping out at 27°C. The crowds can be daunting, though, and the cost prohibitive. Consider visiting between September and November. Temperatures may fluctuate between 4 and 14°C, but you'll be gifted with thinning crowds and lower rates. The city doesn't miss a beat when the crowds leave, as there are several major festivals that take place in the fall, such as the RegataStorica in September and the Festadella Salute in November. No matter what season you choose to make the journey to Venice, remember to use ebookers to get access to some of the lowest prices available on airfares and hotels.

Venice highlights

  • Lose Yourself

    It might sound like zany travel advice, but losing yourself in Venice’s labyrinth of canals and alleyways is the best way to escape the hordes and find the city’s hidden treasures. You’ll never be too far away from a major landmark and reference point, and you can’t stray too far anyway because you’re on an island. So put the map away, pick a direction, and walk—it’s probably the thing you’ll talk about most when you get back.

    View Venice from Above

    Take the lift to the top of Venice’s tallest building, the campanile (bell tower) on St Mark’s square. Just barely shy of 100 metres, the viewing platform has an unbeatable panorama of red roofs, winding canals, and the surrounding lagoon. The tower was built in the 16th century, and then rebuilt brick-for-brick in the early 20th century after it collapsed, mercifully causing little damage to the square. In an effort to avoid a repeat of history, today’s tower is still undergoing sporadic restoration work, so sometimes access to the top is limited.

    Cruise the Grand Canal

    Some of Venice’s most lavish façades can be found along the main waterway, which is nearly always full of boats carrying people in and out of the city. Vaporettos—water buses—run up and down the canal, providing the nearest equivalent to a city bus tour to introduce you to your surrounds. Keep an eye out for the resplendent Ca’ d’Oro (Gold House), the supposedly cursed Ca’ Dario, and the Palazzo Pisani, which James Bond dramatically helped destroy during the finale of the film Casino Royale.

    Relax on a Lido Beach

    To experience an altogether different side of the city, jump on a waterboat and cross the lagoon to the island of Lido, Venice’s primary beach spot. Around a dozen kilometres of sandy shores draw the tanning crowds in the summer, especially on the side facing the impossibly blue Adriatic Sea. The most popular option for visitors is to hire a beach hut, which offer great places to shelter but tend to be booked up early.

Top Venice attractions

  • Murano Island

    Boat tours are available that will take you out to Murano Island, where you can watch a glass-blowing demonstration at one of the island's many studios.

    Burano Island

    After visiting Murano Island, continue on to Burano Island; there, you'll be able to see some of Italy's finest handmade lace.

    Rialto Market

    Foodies will find a stroll through the Rialto Market to be a very cultural experience, as you will see how the locals source their own food.

    Torcello Island

    If you want to spend some time away from the crowds, have a vaporetto take you to Torcello Island, where the bulk of the island is actually a nature preserve.

    The Campanile

    Take the elevator to the top of the Campanile, one of the most recognizable symbols of the city. There, you can have a bird's-eye view of the domes on St. Mark's Basilica as well as the piazza.

    Doge's Palace

    The Doge's Palace, located next to St. Mark's Basilica, is one of Venice's most popular attractions. Make sure to take a walk across the Bridge of Sighs while you're there.

    Collezione Peggy Guggenheim

    Considered to be one of the most impressive art collections in the world, the Collezione Peggy Guggenheim was assembled by American Peggy Guggenheim.

    Squero di San Trovaso

    This boatyard, which originated in the 17th century, is the perfect photo opportunity and also allows you to see gondoliers behind the scenes.

    Carnevale

    Carnevale is one of the most important annual events in Venice. The party goes on for 10 days prior to Lent.

    Osteria Oliva Nera

    Although you really can't go wrong with any restaurant in Venice, Osteria Oliv Nera gives a modern twist to Venetian classics.

  • Venice

    St Mark’s Square

    Everyone who’s been to this magnificent 9th century piazza—from Napoleon to today’s tourists—has been blown away by its jaw-dropping architecture and carnival atmosphere. Ornate arcades enclose the square on three sides, while St Mark’s basilica dominates the eastern edge. The square backs onto the Venetian lagoon, where transport boats pick passengers up and drop them off under the gaze of the city’s patrons, St Mark and St Theodore. During the day the square is a circus of day-trippers, pigeons and salesmen, so it is best to admire early in the morning or late at night.

    St Mark’s Basilica

    A throwback to Venice’s Byzantine era, this majestic church is one of the world’s finest. The basilica incorporates a mesh of architectural styles and forms, laid out in a Greek cross but with onion-shaped domes and a Gothic facade. The interior is covered almost in its entirety in elaborate gold and bronze mosaics, while the majestic high altar contains St Mark’s relics. The main area of the church is free to enter, but there are three paid museums—Treasury, Pala d’Oro and Museo de San Marco—that are worth a visit for the vast array of treasures looted during the Crusades.

    Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace)

    The political nerve-centre of Venice for centuries, this palace is now an unmissable stop on any itinerary. The inside is full of grand staircases and important-looking halls, where Venetian art history is laid out in a masterful collection of canvas paintings and sculptures. Tours of the palace also visit the criminal court and adjoining prison, crossing the famous Bridge of Sighs, where the condemned were said to take their last look at the sun before heading to the dungeon.

    Accademia Gallery

    Originally an art school, this gallery museum now contains a remarkable collection of Venetian art dating from the 14th to the 19th century. Standing head and shoulders above the list of household names is Leonardo da Vinci, and his sketches of the Vitruvian Man.

Venice holiday travel tips

  • When to Visit

    The constant stream of tourists shows that Venice doesn’t really have an off season. But it does have a clear change in seasons, with hot, humid summers and sometimes bitter winters.

    The rainfall is highest during winter, and the rising tide of water sometimes leads to extensive flooding. While this can be a novelty—those ornate buildings look just as good reflected on the floor—it also means you should check the weather forecast in advance, and think about bringing a pair of wellington boots.

    If you want to see the elaborate masks of carnival, time your visit to coincide with the two weeks before Lent begins. Be aware that prices at this time, and during the Venice film festival, will be higher than usual.

    Arrival

    Marco Polo is the nearest airport, at a little over 10 kilometres from the centre of the city. However, some airlines use the San Giuseppe airport, which is around an hour away by road. Frequent, comfortable buses connect both terminals with the island.

    Getting Around

    Aside from walking, the only way to get around Venice is by boat. Private gondolas are a popular tourist activity, though the prices can be extortionate, especially if you want someone to do the punting.

    Vaporettos (water buses) are the most convenient way to traverse the city, though they are by no means cheap at around £5 for a single journey. There are a handful of boats that run through the night, in case you don’t fancy the walk back to your hotel in the dark.

    Obviously, with no roads to speak of in the city itself, having your own wheels is unnecessary if you plan to stay put. However, if you have a bit more time and want to explore the mainland region—perhaps to visit Juliet’s balcony in ‘fair’ Verona—consider a cheap car hire in Venice.

Insider tips for Venice travel

  • Ride a Gondola

    Taking a ride on a gondola is the ultimate Venetian experience, but be sure to ask your gondolier to get off the Grand Canal and take you through the back waters so that you can get a more intimate look at the city.

    St. Mark's Square

    If you're an early riser, grab a coffee and head out to St. Mark's Square before the crowds get there, and you'll swear you're a local.

    Visit a Mask Shop

    Plan to visit one of the city's many mask shops, such as La Bottega dei Mascareri; you'll be amazed at the craftsmanship and variety of masks that you simply won't see anywhere else.

    Drink a Bellini

    The classic Bellini, made from peaches and champagne, is a product of the infamous Harry's bar on Calle Vallaresso. Even if you choose not to imbibe, you'll find yourself in surroundings that have hosted people like Ernest Hemingway and Woody Allen.

    Loggia dei Cavalli

    The Basilica di San Marco is certainly impressive, but the Loggia dei Cavalli is less crowded, and you are able to get a much more up-close view of the mosaics.

Where to stay in Venice

  • There are so many options when looking for a hotel in Venice. Remember that anything too close to St Mark’s Square will come with a premium price tag, which is often unnecessary given how easy—and pleasant— it is to walk around the city.

    For a no-holds-barred Venice experience, try the Canal Grande Hotel, which backs on to the city’s main watery thoroughfare. The restored palace building takes you straight back to the 18th century, when the city was basking in the glory of its world-renowned Renaissance artists. It’s a bit of a walk from the main piazza, but that could be considered a benefit in a city made for strolling.

    In a prime spot within earshot of the campanile in St Mark’s square, La Fenice et des Artistes Hotel is a charming hotel with a bohemian soul. A handful of rooms are each decorated differently, though all follow a typical Venetian theme.

    A short ride across the lagoon on the Murano Island, the Locanda Conterie Hotel offers a more tranquil location that is still within easy reach of the city’s main attractions. Offering simple comfort and cleanliness, the hotel is well suited for budget travellers, though nightlife lovers should bear in mind that Murano can get pretty quiet later on.

    In close proximity to the legendary Rialto Bridge, the Santa Marina Hotel is an elegant four-star lodging with a cheery yellow exterior. Common areas are lavishly decorated with old-world fabrics, while the rooms have a slightly more contemporary feel.

Venice restaurants

  • There are plenty of eateries to choose from in Venice, but too many offer mediocre imitations of Italian—not Venetian—classics to tourists who don’t have the time or inclination to find anything more authentic. To get the real experience you should wander off the main trails, look for queues of Italian-speaking people, and never, ever choose somewhere with an English tourist menu.

    If you manage to find Antiche Carampane (San Polo 1911), the ‘no tourist menu’ sign will make it immediately obvious that this isn’t one of the city’s disappointing eateries. The staples here are strictly Venetian, so forget any cravings for pizzas or pastas and tuck in to some well-prepared seafood dishes. Though the prices are quite high, the quality of the food means this is a good place to treat yourself.

    Sample some exotic catches from the lagoon at Trattoria Alla Madonna (San Polo 594). For over 50 years this cosy place has been serving fried eels and cuttlefish eggs to local and inquisitive tourists. There are also more basic options for those not feeling adventurous: try the grilled fish of the day or a tender cut of veal.

    Stopping for a gelato is an essential part of any Venice trip, and at the Alaska Gelateria-Sorbetteria (Santa Croce 1159) you can find all the classic flavours alongside some more unusual options like artichoke and asparagus. Almost as popular as the ice cream is the man who makes it: owner Carlo Pistacchi is a local legend and always available to talk about his twin passions of football and ice cream.

Health & Safety

  • Vaccinations

    No specific vaccinations are required to enter Italy, though you should always make sure your basic boosters are up to date before you travel.

    Malaria is not a risk, though mosquito bites on some of the outer islands can be a problem so take repellent and cover up if you are outside during the twilight hours.

    Health and Hygiene

    Tap water is drinkable throughout Venice, though bottled varieties are also widely available. The water in the canals, however, can often be dirty and is not suitable for bathing in.

    In case of an emergency, dial 118. The health infrastructure is excellent though bear in mind that ambulances cannot travel around the city centre.

    Safety and Security

    Venice is largely a very safe place to walk around, though it is unwise to stray too far from your hotel at night. It is also wise to carry a torch around at night, as some alleyways are uneven and not lit very well.

    The sheer number of tourists means that pickpockets are commonly found, especially around the main attractions. You might want to consider storing cash in a hidden money belt rather than pockets.

Your trip

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