How to Enjoy Venice in Summer

Aktualisiert am: 26/02/2024

You really have to want to go to Venice a lot if you dare to travel there in August. In general, all of Italy is on the verge of absolute vacation collapse around August 15, the most important and significant of all Italian holidays for travel. On the Assumption of Mary, “Ferragosto”, all of Italy is on vacation – and this does not go unnoticed in Venice. Small stores lower their shutters, quickly written notes announce company vacations (“siamo di ferie”) and wish a nice summer.

vacations in italy

Venice in August: vacation mood in Italy

Instead, the rest of Italy will be visiting Venice, or at least part of it. But they are not really noticeable, because in addition to Italian tourists, half the world from near and far is still a guest. Not to mention the day-trippers from the huge cruise ships that invade Venice every day – yes, you just have to say it. Everything must be seen before the ship departs, quickly a photo between the pigeons in St. Mark’s Square, a short gondola ride with one of the beautiful gondoliers and absolutely an ice cream, in the wafer, with scoops piled so high that the photo of it becomes particularly instagrammable – although it is far too much ice cream for so little time.

Welcome to my travel blog!

Hey, I’m Tatiana, a German-Brazilian living in Berlin & the author behind The Happy Jetlagger. I’ve been writing about my travels since 2014. In addition to my job as a flight attendant, this blog is my passion project!

Channel group gondoliers
Vaporetto at San Marco stop with Campanile

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Especially when the mass of visitors and the summer heat make sightseeing even more arduous. Venice in one day is an impossibility anyway. Therefore, I wouldn’t exactly recommend high summer as a travel month – but still: Even tourist crowds and summer heat couldn’t spoil Venice for me. I just wanted to go to Venice so badly – because although I’ve been around Italy quite a bit professionally and privately, I only knew the city from stories.

Sightseeing in Venice – the tips: Where to start?

There is much to discover in Venice, art, history, architecture; and the fascinating geographical location with all the canals does her by the way. Seeing it all in a few days is a challenging undertaking, there are still the islands around Venice like Burano or Murano or the city beach on the Lido to discover.

Seagull corner Doge's Palace

St. Mark’s Square, St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace in San Marco

The center of Venice and an absolute must. By day as well as by night. Many vaporetto lines stop here, so there’s a good chance you’ll pass by anyway.

venice san marco

At St. Mark’s Square are located the St. Mark’s Basilica (Attention, entrance is free, but you still have to stand in line depending on the number of visitors), the Doge’s Palace with its beautifully romantic facade, the Campanile (which you can climb for a few euros) and various old-established cafés like the Caffé Florian, where you can enjoy probably the most expensive cappuccino of your life and in the evening is still sounded by in-house orchestras with stirring schmaltz. Sounds corny, but it is. But there’s just an undeniable charm to sitting in that pompous seat and listening to the strings play Schlageroldies. By the way, if you don’t want to afford the seat, just stand at the edge of it.

Doves lanterns Doge's Palace
St. Mark's Basilica with St. Mark's Square

On the other side of the Doge’s Palace is the Bridge of Sighs, one of the most famous bridges in Venice. And with hundreds of bridges, that’s saying something.

Visit Doge’s Palace without queuing*

Bridge of sighs night gondolas
San Marco Promenade Night

Finding the way to St. Mark’s Square in Venice is easy even without Google Maps: on many street corners and in many alleys the way to Piazza San Marco is marked, “La Piazza” is simply the central orientation point in the thicket of Venetian alleys and canals.

Gondolier alone
Sign Arrow Rialto San Marco

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Grand Canal: Venice’s biggest street

The lifeline Grand Canal: In Venice, instead of roads there are only canals, and the main means of transport are boats in all variations. In this sense, the Grand Canal is the expressway that runs through the entire city. You’ll probably drive along here one way or another at some point, but it’s worth taking a vaporetto early one day and riding the entire Grand Canal and watching the city awaken. Contrary to my expectations, Venice is an early riser city, nothing with Italian sedateness. Venice is also rather quiet at night, after the daytime visitors have disappeared, there is not much in the way of lively nightlife. Also nice on the Grand Canal: watching sunsets.

view of canal grandeTip: It’s best to time it just right, and go up to the terrace of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi right next to the Rialto Bridge at sunset. Admission is free, but you’re only allowed to stay on the terrace for 15 minutes – so timing is everything. Seats can probably be booked online beforehand here, but when I was there you could just walk up – after putting up with a bit of queuing. But the fantastic view over the Grand Canal is well worth it!

Roof terrace Canal Grande
View Canal Grande roof terrace

By the way, the (luxury) department store is also beautiful from the inside, the building used to be, as the name suggests, the trading place of the German merchants in Venice and later the main post office of the city.

Rialto Bridge and Rialto Market

The Rialto Bridge is both a bridge and a shopping street, similar to the Ponte Vecchio in Florence. Small stores line the bridge to the right and left. On the outside, you have a great view over the Grand Canal – if hundreds of selfie sticks don’t block your view.

Rialto bridge stores stairs
Gondolier gondola Rialto bridge

Right next to the Rialto Bridge is the Rialto Market, where you can buy fruit and vegetables in the traditional way. All very traditional, very nice to look at. And the fish hall first, directly on the canal, under centuries-old arcades – come early is worth it!

Red pepperoni in paper market
Empty fish market hall

Next door at Naranzaria, right on the waterfront and with the Rialto Bridge just around the corner, you can take a break with an Aperol Spritz and watch the gondoliers glide back and forth on the Grand Canal. More Venice is almost impossible.

Don’t miss this enchanted highlight of Venice: the Acqua Alta bookstore.

Dorsoduro: Punta della Dogana, Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute and lots of museums

Just opposite the Doge’s Palace is the promontory Punta della Dogana – and here you can best see the size of the entrance to the Grand Canal, through which all merchant ships used to enter. Next door is the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, where works by Titian hang.

santa maria della salute venice

Even if you’re not a church fan, you can’t avoid seeing the inside of a few of these impressive churches in Venice. Many of them house works by the most famous Venetian painters – so you get a visit to the museum for free.

church interior venice

Here in Dorsoduro there are plenty of museums in general, and those who are interested in art can occupy themselves here in the small space for at least a whole day.

The most important museums in Dorsoduro:

  • Peggy Guggenheim Museum
  • Academia dell’Arte
  • Punta della Dogana

Giudecca – the island of the Venetians

Giudecca is one of the islands off Venice, actually more of a residential area. Meanwhile, some hostels have also settled here. The connection with the vaporetti to San Marco is great, it is worth, despite extra costs for a vaporetti ticket, also to stay overnight on Giudecca to escape a bit from the tourist hustle and bustle and to observe the Venetian everyday life. Sitting on the promenade in the evening with a glass of red wine, the Venetian water at your feet and the view of the sun sinking into the sea – definitely one of the highlights that make a trip to Giudecca worthwhile. Incidentally, the restaurants and cafes here are a lot cheaper and better than in San Marco – despite the spectacular view.

Promenade Giudecca Generator Hostel
Sunset red sun Giudecca

Besides Giudecca, Murano and Burano are two other islands to see!

How to get to Murano and Burano: Book a half-day tour here!*

Venice accommodations

With the accommodations in Venice it is such a thing: It is expensive, it is not particularly beautiful, and especially in the high season at all difficult. (Where I hope that I inspire you with this post rather to visit Venice outside the high season, because Venice really does not need even more visitors in the summer. I would also not go again in August).

gondolier from above

Therefore, many visitors to Venice prefer to sleep in Mestre, on the mainland, then you have to leave every day by train towards Venice. You can do that, but I really wanted that authentic Venice feeling – and in the end, it was infinitely convenient not to have to embark on another big trip every morning or evening.

Also associated with a daily vaporetto ride, but with true Venetian ambiance, I felt Giudecca was a much better choice. There are accommodations for a small budget, such as the new hip Generator Hostel* or the student dormitory Sunny Terrace Hostel*, which was converted in the summer. But you can also find more upscale accommodations like the Hilton Stucky*, a new Hilton hotel in an old factory – best views and flair without end. Giudecca is still quite an insider tip, but that seems to be changing.

dew on the boat

In San Marco you are right in the middle of it all. Hotel Alla Fava* is nothing special, but the location is fantastic due to its proximity to the Rialto Bridge. And very quietly located, quite cozy between a church and a small canal. Almost unbelievable that only two streets the tourist life rages.

The boutique hotel Donà Palace* in typical Venetian pomp is also fantastically located, although of course much more expensive, but even better is their bar Venixino, which is also my absolute secret tip for an evening drink:

Tip: Directly on the canal, which leads a few meters further under the Bridge of Sighs, you can sit here in a romantic garden, completely hidden, and watch the gondolas pass by on the canal while sipping one of the excellent cocktails from the hotel’s own bar. By the way, the bar is not only open for hotel guests!

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