With millions of tourists every year and a local population of only 55,000, Venice can get a little cozy — particularly during high season. All it takes is a little research and know-how to easily dodge the crowds by visiting some hidden treasures and escaping to wondrous nearby places.
Venice’s tourist season peaks between May and September. If you can plan your visit outside the busiest season, you’ll already be off to a head start. And if you truly want to avoid the crowds, do not schedule your trip to Venice during Carnival, Mardi Gras or Redentore.
The good news: there are plenty of fascinating things to do just outside Venice. The city is situated in a series of islands. Simply traveling to an island for the day can give you a needed break from the crowds in Venice.
One of the most fascinating nearby Venice excursions is a visit to nearby Burano Island. Burano is one of the most colorful sectors of the city; its houses are painted in all the colours of the rainbow. A working fisherman’s island, you’ll enjoy some of the best seafood in Venice while you explore the island. Burano has long been an artisan hub in the archipelago and home to the region’s traditional lace makers.
If discovering Venice off the beaten path is what you’re after you might want to visit the campanile of San Giorgio Maggiore. The most famous campanile (bell tower) is the one in San Marco, but it is usually swamped in a sea of visitors. San Maggiore provides a complete view of the city. Climb the tower for stunning views of San Marco square, the Palazzo Ducale and the Canal Grande.
Venice day trips
Looking for things to do outside Venice? Perhaps some Venice day trips are in order.
For a taste of canals, beautiful architecture, and delicious food without fighting the crowd, try Treviso — a half hour trip from the city. Also known as ‘little Venice’, Treviso features many stunning canals… and it happens to be the home of the well-known Italian dessert of tiramisu. Be sure to drop by Le Beccherie; rumour has it this is where the delicacy was invented.
About an hour from Venice you can find fair Verona, the city made famous as the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. With a more relaxed atmosphere, a Colosseum in the style of the one in Rome, and peaceful walks along the Adige river, Verona is a great stop for a day or two.
Last of the day trips from Venice Italy that we will mention is Trieste. A city that has belonged to many countries and empires over its lifetime, Trieste is oft-forgotten as a place to visit but possesses a unique cross-cultural charm. A very cosmopolitan city, Trieste has long been a center of arts and culture in a region that brings together Italian and Eastern European traditions. A two-hour train from Venice, Trieste is definitely worth the jaunt.
Mix big sights with off-the-beaten-track adventures
Of course you want to explore all the famous sights Venice has to offer. We recommend a day-on, day-off approach. Spend one day immersed in the crowds, taking in the city’s famous sights. Then opt for a quieter day exploring hidden treasures or day-tripping outside the city. This way, you get a fuller picture of the city and its surroundings, while making sure you see all Venice’s bucket list attractions.