Heading to Venice and want to know where to find the best views in Venice? This post shares 10 of the best views of this iconic city, including many lesser known ones that I’ve researched and visited. While the famous bell towers are well-known and offer amazing views, I’ve shared many cheaper, less busy alternatives on this post. Each location is described in detail and I’ve provided the exact location, cost and a tip for that location.
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You might also find my 3 day Venice Itinerary useful.
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Starting this list with a lesser known bridge (yes, it’s not Rialto but I’ll get there, I promise). Ponte dell’Accademia crosses over the Grand Canal, the main waterway in Venice and the same waterway that Rialto Bridge crosses, but Ponte dell’Accademia is further south along the canal.
I love this bridge because from here you can see the Grand Canal flow out into the harbour which is west. This means you can capture the beautiful sunset from here, with the beautiful Venice canal architecture.
Location: Ponte dell’Accademia, 30100 Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy
Tip: Position yourself towards the south side of the bridge to capture the full curve of the Grand Canal.
St Mark’s Campanile
Probably the most recognisable tower in Venice, St Mark’s Campanile is a 16th Century Tower, rising 99 metres above Piazza San Marco, next to St Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace.
You can climb St Mark’s Campanile for one of the best views in Venice over Piazza San Marco, Doge’s Palace, the Basilica, the canals and beyond. But be warned, this is probably the most popular vantage point in Venice so it gets extremely busy, plus the tower is relatively small so only a small number of people can go up at a time which results in long queues.
You can buy a Skip the Line ticket in advance to secure your spot, this costs 12 euros (as off 2020). If you buy a ticket on arrival, it will be 10 euros and you’ll need to wait for the next available time slot. Note that there is no need to buy Skip the Line tickets from November to March as this is the off season and there is usually no queue.
The tower opening times vary throughout the year depending on the season, but usually the tower closes around sunset and the last entry is an hour before. Check the website for accurate opening times.
Location: Piazza San Marco, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
Cost: 13 euros in advance, 10 euros on the day (2020)
Tip: Visit in the off-season to avoid the crowds and queues.
Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo
In my opinion, this is better than the view from St Mark’s Campanile, because you can actually see St Mark’s Campanile from here.
When I visited Palazzo Contarini three years ago, it was a well kept secret and I was the only person climbing the tower and enjoying the view during peak season in the middle of the day! While I can’t guarantee how busy it is now, I can guarantee one of the best views in Venice with beautiful terracotta rooftop views and beautiful architecture.
Location: del Bovolo, Corte Contarina, 4303, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
Cost: 7 euros
Tip: position your camera/photography on the flat bit of the building and stand in the tower so capture yourself and the view.
San Giorgio Maggiore Campanile
This bell tower is definitely lesser known, located on the island opposite Piazza San Marco and St Mark’s Campanile. This tower will also give you panoramic views of Venice, with the bonus of being able to see the St Mark’s Campanile and Doge’s Palace across the water and the iconic gondolas in the water.
This bell tower is shorter at 63 metres but the cost to go up the tower is just 6 euros. You can access the island by vaporetto, the San Giorgio water bus line 2.
Location: Isola di S.Giorgio Maggiore, 30133 Venezia VE, Italy
Cost: 6 euros
Tip: the church itself is free to enter, only the tower costs, so spend some time exploring this beautiful 16th century church interior.
Riva degli Schiavoni
I never see this place get mentioned, mostly because it’s out of the main tourist area by a little way. The Castello end of Venice island is definitely less touristy and it’s where a lot of locals live as it’s away from the main sights. But Riva degli Schiavoni is a waterfront pedestrianised road with many amazing restaurants that I loved.
Stroll along Riva degli Schiavoni and onto Revi del Sette Martiri after dinner to enjoy sunset and the beautiful view across the lagoon towards San Giorgio Maggiore island.
Location: Riva dei Sette Martiri, Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy
Tip: go at sunset for beautiful colours and make an evening of it with dinner at one of the waterfront restaurants.
Enjoy the best views in Venice from the water
No, I don’t mean a gondola, although fun, they are ridiculously expensive! For a cheaper alternative, take the Vaporetto (water bus) Line 1 which runs the entire length of the Grand Canal. This hour-long journey will take you past many iconic sights and you experience the hustle and bustle of the Grand Canal. The best part is, a single ride ticket valid for 75 minutes costs just 7.50 euros.
The Line 1 water bus runs from Piazzale Roma, the last motorised vehicle point before entering Venice, at the north of the island city. The line runs all the way along the Grand Canal, making 21 stops. I suggest getting off at the end of the Grand Canal, either at San Marco Vallaresso ACTV stop or San Zaccaria (the final stop).
Of course you can do this journey in reverse too and you don’t need to go all the way to Piazzale Roma, with plenty of stops in between and your ticket valid for 75 minutes, you can hop on and hop off as much as you want. Alternatively, if you have one of the 1-7 day tourists cards, you can use that on this line too. Always make sure to validate your ticket when you board.
If you’re buying tickets on the day, you can buy them from the ACTV automated ticket machines at the stop or sometimes from the water bus operator.
Location: Line 1 runs from Piazzale Roma to San Zaccaria along the Grand Canal.
Cost: 7.50 euros (for 75 minutes), or use your tourist travel card
Tip: the great thing about this is you can go anytime of day! Just try and grab a window seat for prime photo opportunities!
The best view of the Rialto Bridge
How could I make this list without including the Ponte di Rialto, also known as the Rialto Bridge? This bridge is always packed and the area is always super busy in general, but I’m always baffled by how many people stand on the bridge to take their photos and selfies, don’t you want to capture the beautiful bridge in your shots?
Instead of battling the crowds to cross the bridge, head down to the east side of the bridge, in front of Hotel Rialto (use Google Maps to find this if you need to). In front of the hotel there are a few wooden docks that you can walk along and they make a perfect spot to photograph the bridge, the canal and maybe a passing gondola or two from!
I managed to get this shot in 2017 during peak season during the middle of the day, but once I took this shot, a queue started forming behind me with more people wanting to do the same!
There are two wooden docks here, so even if one has a boat in the way, hopefully the other will be free to get the angle.
Location: in front of Hotel Rialto, Riva del Ferro, 5149, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
Tip: There’s an amazing ice cream shop right behind the dock, you can thank me later.
Fondaco dei Tedeschi - the best rooftop view of Venice
This really is a lesser known gem and unfortunately it was closed for a private event the day I visited, but I’m sharing this with you all in the hopes that you have better luck than me!
Fondaco dei Tedeschi is a shopping centre which has a roof terrace on the top floor, the best part is that it’s free to visit! It’s located right next to Rialto Bridge so you can easily combine seeing the two and you’ll get one of the best views in Venice, incorporating the rooftops, Grand Canal, Rialto Bridge and beyond.
Visiting is free but you can only stay for 15 minutes due to the popularity and small space. Walk-ins on the day are not guaranteed so I suggest you book a time slot online in advance.
Location: Rialto Bridge, Calle del Fontego dei Tedeschi, 30100 Venezia VE, Italy
Cost: FREE but you’ll need to book a timeslot in advance
Tip: combine this with visiting the Rialto Bridge as it’s right next door.
A different perspective of the Bridge of Sighs
Everyone knows the Bridge of Sighs right? If you’re looking for that famous shot of the Bridge of Sighs looking directly at it, you can get that by standing on the Ponte della Paglia bridge. But, that’s not the view I’m here to tell you about.
Right next to the Ponte della Paglia is Palazzo delle Prigioni, the old palace prison. If you go down these steps, there’s a stone ledge that’s perfect to sit on and capture a photo of the Bridge of Sighs and get a gondola in too!
Location: Palazzo delle Prigioni, next to Ponte della Paglia 30124 Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy
Tip: you can go here anytime of day because all the visitors and tourists are on the bridge above you, most people won’t venture down here.
Ponte della Paglia
While you’re on Ponte della Paglia for your Bridge of Sighs shot, I would recommend you turn around. With the iconic Bridge of Sighs, most people forget the view in the other direction, but from here you can see San Giorgio Maggiore island and the stonework of the bridge makes for a perfect framing of the church and tower.
See my example above. I would have loved to shoot here at night or sunset too.
The bridge is a great example of using the features around you to create framing for a shot and definitely a unique capture of one of the best views in Venice.
Location: 30124 Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy
Tip: careful when you crouch down for this shot, the bridge is busy and someone might not see you and trip over.
I hope this post helps you find the best views in Venice, and a few new ones you might not have heard of before!
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