Venice Holidays

Search Venice Holidays

Flights Hotels Flight + Hotel
Room 1
Ages of children at time of trip (for pricing, discounts)

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.

Best time to take a vacation 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.

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.

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.

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.

How to move around in Venice

  • 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.

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.

Venice Holiday Packages

Hotel only £44.21

1 Bella Venezia Hotel Venice

4 stars
3.6 / 5 43 reviews

Calle dei fabbri 4701/11 Map

3 Nights Special Offer

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,... More

Hotel only £22.96

2 Le Boulevard Hotel Venice

4 stars
3.9 / 5 13 reviews

Gran Viale S.M.Elisabetta 41 Map

Stay 4 Nights & Save up to 25%

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... More

Hotel only £48.09

3 Santa Marina Hotel Venice

4 stars
3.7 / 5 11 reviews

Campo Santa Marina 6068 Map

Great Deal Not Refundable

Ancient Venice convent now a quiet retreat, near St. Mark’s SquareThe Santa Marina Hotel Venice is in two adjoining buildings that once served as a convent. Guests appreciate the... More

Hotel only £45.94

4 Canaletto Hotel Venice

3 stars
3.8 / 5 13 reviews

Castello 5487 Map

The Hotel is situated in the heart of the romantic city of Venice, in a very quiet position despite the fact it is just 200 m from the beautiful St. Mark's Square and the famous Rialto Bridge. It... More

Hotel only £54.47

5 Carlton On The Grand Canal Hotel Venice

4 stars
3.8 / 5 37 reviews

Santa Croce, 578 Map

Stay 2 Nights and Save

Luxury hotel’s 100 windows overlook Grand Canal in Venetian styleThe Carlton On The Grand Canal Hotel Venice features 100 windows that overlook the Grand Canal, where... More

Hotel only £79.36

6 Carnival Palace Hotel Venice

4 stars
4.3 / 5 13 reviews

Fondamenta di Cannaregio 929 Map

Special Offer - Save 10%

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... More

Hotel only £39.65

7 Albergo Commercio and Pellegrino Hotel Venice

3 stars
4.0 / 5 1 reviews

Castello 4551 Map

Only 2 minutes from Saint Mark's Square and Palazzo Ducale, with excellent services and refined rooms, Hotel Commercio & Pellegrino and its very friendly staff welcome you to the heart of... More

Hotel only £39.65

8 Domina Giudecca Hotel Venice

4 stars
3.7 / 5 10 reviews

Corte Ferrando 409/c Map

Save with Not Refundable up to 10%

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... More

Hotel only £37.60

9 Ca d'Oro Hotel Venice

3 stars
3.9 / 5 7 reviews

Cannaregio 4604 Map

Among the hotels in Venice in the historic center Hotel Ca' d'Oro stands out with its entranceway in a picturesque Venetian courtyard with a well, its ambiance and its classical furniture as well... More

Hotel only £35.54

10 Campiello Hotel Venice

3 stars
3.6 / 5 18 reviews

Castello 4647 Map

Free WI-FI Internet Connection

In Venice, just a few yards away from St. Mark's square, elegance, comfort and kindness make Hotel Campiello the ideal site to have a wonderful holiday in the most magical city in the world. You... More

Hotel only £39.04

11 Antico Panada Hotel Venice

3 stars
3.2 / 5 27 reviews

Calle Degli specchieri , 646 Map

10% off on 2 nights stay

Cozy hospitality in an historic building just off St. Mark’s SquareThe Antico Panada Hotel Venice is housed in a historic 17th century building, just 20 meters from St. Mark’s Square, Venice’s... More

Hotel only £67.82

12 Liassidi Palace Hotel Venice

4 stars
4.3 / 5 9 reviews

Castello 3405 Map

Gothic splendor in Venice The Liassidi Palace Hotel is a charming and civilized palazzo in the heart of Venice. The hotel frequently hosts live concerts and events both inside and in its tranquil... More

Hotel only £69.73

13 Antiche Figure Hotel Venice

3 stars
4.6 / 5 27 reviews

Santa Croce 687 Map

Special Rate

15th century Venice hotel on Grand Canal by gondola workshopThe Antiche Figure Hotel Venice is in a 15th century palazzo overlooking the Grand Canal, near the main entrance to the... More

Hotel only £45.23

14 Panorama Hotel Venice

4 stars
4.0 / 5 8 reviews

Piazzale Santa Maria Elisabetta, 1B Map

Stay 4 Nights & Save 20%

The Panorama Hotel, located at Venice Lido, in front of the beautiful Venetian lagoon, is an historical building from the beginning of the century. It offers its Visitors hospitality and welcome in... More

Hotel only £36.81

15 Giardinetto Hotel Venice

3 stars
4.1 / 5 13 reviews

Piazzale Santa Maria Elisabetta, 3 Map

Save with Not Refundable

The Hotel Giardinetto, completely renovated in March 2013, is located in the famous island of Lido di Venice which has a fabulous position. Located opposite the Lagoon of Venice, a few minutes... More