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17 Most Romantic Things to Do in Venice, Italy, for Couples

Ahhh… Venice, Italy… Birthplace of Casanova.

We can’t get over the beauty of the city. Its canals and singing gondoliers. Its bridges. (Did you know Venice has over 400 bridges?) Its gorgeous palaces and museums…

And the light as it plays on the multi-colored hues of the city!

The fact is that Venice is not only one of the most beautiful places in Italy (and one of the best cities to visit), it’s also impossibly romantic.

And there are so many wonderfully romantic things to do in Venice!

There are lots of romantic things to do in Venice, Italy!

Whether seeking a memorable way to spend your honeymoon, celebrate an anniversary, rekindle the feelings that brought you together years ago – or simply get away for a few days together – romantic Venice is the place to do just that.

So if you’re wondering what to do in Venice, Italy, for a romantic trip, read on…

Romantic things to do in Venice, Italy

Westin Excelsior, Venice

To help with planning your romantic Italian getaway, here’s our list of the 17 best things to do in Venice for couples.

1) Take a romantic Venice gondola ride

Picture yourself in one of those postcard-perfect scenes, cozying up to your love as you slowly glide along the dreamy canals of Venice in your own gondola.

Without a doubt, a gondola ride is one of the most romantic Venice activities!

One of the most romantic things to do in Venice, Italy, is to take a gondola ride.

Some 10,000 of these narrow flat-bottomed boats once plied the canals and lagoons, but now there are only about 400 – so the canals aren’t as crowded as they were centuries ago.

For a more romantic ride, avoid the bustling Canal Grande (Grand Canal).

Venture to the Campo San Barnaba and San Polo areas to find a gondola to whisk you off on a quiet ride through the back canals.

Gondolas on a canal in Venice, Italy

The city of Venice sets official rates for gondola rides.

Current rates are 80 Euros (about $87 USD) for a 40-minute ride. You can buy additional time at the cost of 40 Euros (about $43 USD) for each additional 20-minute chunk of time.

Singing by your gondolier costs extra!

A gondola ride is admittedly pricey, but it's probably the most romantic thing to do in Venice, Italy.

A gondola ride is admittedly pricey.

But it’s a unique travel experience in Europe and probably the most romantic thing to do in Venice, right?

2) Explore the Doge’s Palace

The Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) is a palatial waterfront masterpiece, built during the 10th and 11th centuries to serve as the official residence of the doges (elected leaders of Venice).

Its design is a fascinating blend of Moorish, Gothic and Renaissance architecture, with a truly Venetian pale pink façade.

Doge's Palace, Venice

Walk arm-in-arm as you explore the lavish interior, including rooms decorated with marble carvings and frescoes.

Gaze at the famous painting “Bacchus, Venus and Ariadne” by Tintoretto, permanently housed here along with many other precious pieces of art.

Finish up with a walk across the Bridge of Sighs to the old prison.

The best way to see the Doge’s Palace is on a guided tour.

This top-rated Doge’s Palace tour (with skip-the-line tickets) will bring the palace’s history and intrigue alive for you.

It also includes a tour of St. Mark’s Basilica (see #5 below), another of the city’s most important landmarks.

Fancy bundling the Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica with a romantic gondola ride that explores both the Grand Canal and Venice’s narrow waterways (maximum 6 people in the boat)?

Here’s a great “Venice in a day” tour. More than 600 happy reviewers have given it a 5-star rating.

And as you’d want – yours is a romantic trip to Venice, after all! – this guided walking tour of Venice’s top attractions is also a small group tour.

Do you have a passion for palaces? Then read about Sweden’s Drottningholm Palace, inspired by two beautiful strong-willed queens

3) Kiss under the Bridge of Sighs

The Bridge of Sighs is the most well-known of all Venice bridges.

Speaking of the Bridge of Sighs, if there’s one place known to all in Venice, it’s this iconic bridge.

Built in 1600, the white limestone bridge is completely enclosed with latticed windows.

According to Venetian folk tales, those who kiss underneath this famous bridge are bound to find happiness and eternal love.

Take a gondola that passes underneath the bridge to share this romantic moment. Maybe go as the sun goes down and the city is bathed in soft orange light.

No doubt about it. This is one of the most romantic things to do in Venice!

4) Attend an opera at Teatro La Fenice

Be captivated and inspired as you make your way into Teatro La Fenice, a 1792 opera house with a stunning interior.

Catch a performance of “Aida” or perhaps “La Traviata” in this 1,126-seat venue, complete with 23-carat gold leaf details.

Revel in its surrounding beauty as the opera performance comes alive right before your eyes.

Whether this is your very first or your 100th opera, it will long stand out as being one of the most romantic experiences the two of you have together.

5) Feed the pigeons at St. Mark’s Square

Feeding fluttering pigeons as they land on your outstretched arms at St. Mark's Square, Venice

Take in the Renaissance architecture of Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) in the heart of Venice.

While there, feed fluttering pigeons as they land on your outstretched arms. These birds far outnumber Venice residents, so expect a flurry of activity whenever they are near.

Also admire the spectacular views surrounding the square, including domes, arches and turrets of the Basilica di San Marco (St. Mark’s Basilica).

Domes, arches and turrets of the Basilica di San Marco, Venice

6) Linger over lunch on Torcello Island

Drift over to Torcello Island – like the famous writer Ernest Hemmingway once did – for inspiring sights before lingering over a romantic lunch in a quaint restaurant, perhaps on a shady terrace.

This secluded isle, off the beaten track, is one of the most romantic spots in Venice. Here you can escape the crowds, slow down and enjoy each other’s company.

After lunch, check out the Byzantine mosaics in the 7th century Cathedral of Santa Maria Dell ‘Assunta.

Or follow one of the many walking paths through the nature preserve that makes up most of the island.

Relishing unhurried time on the island of Torcello is one of the more charming and less touristy things to do in Venice, Italy!

You can get there by taking a vaporetto boat with a connection in Burano (about a 50- to 60-minute ride) or a private water taxi.

7) Visit the colorful island of Burano

When planning what to do in Venice, Italy, make sure the colorful island of Burano is on your list!

While there are many small islands to visit in Venice, make sure the colorful island of Burano is on your list. Wander hand-in hand-along the narrow passageways, passing colorfully painted houses separated by winding canals.

The island is world-famous for its intricate lace, and artisans create beautiful lace creations you’ll want to purchase as a remembrance of your romantic trip.

Gather up delicate handkerchiefs, scarves, blouses, tablecloths and napkins to take home.

A pleasant 30-minute boat ride across the Venetian lagoon takes you to this part of Venice for lovers.

If you have 2 days in Venice, Burano Island is the perfect Venice day trip for the morning or afternoon of your second day.

8) Sip Bellinis at Hotel Cipriani

One of the best romantic things to do in Venice is to sip Bellinis at Hotel Cipriani.

Another one of the best romantic things to do in Venice is to slip off to the nearby isle of Giudecca for a little romantic retreat – Giudecca is a short boat ride across the lagoon from St. Mark’s Square.

On arrival, make your way to the Gabbiano Bar at the elegant Hotel Cipriani and order a pair of bellini cocktails to sip on while gazing out over the waterway.

These signature drinks of the hotel are a just-right mixture of Prosecco sparkling wine and peach puree or nectar.

It’s the perfect romantic drink to savor together as you enjoy the hotel’s beautiful views of romantic Venice.

9) Get lost in Dorsoduro

Escape to Dorsoduro, a quiet part of the city full of quaint shops and restaurants nestled along cobblestone streets.

With its bohemian atmosphere, you can pass a full day here and never be bored – there are lots of vintage boutiques, galleries and museums to explore.

Be sure to venture along the Dorsoduro Museum Mile, taking in the best of art history in the Gallerie dell’Accademia, Punta della Dogana, Vittorio Cini and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.

Afterward, settle into one of the eateries for authentic Italian treats or a drink at one of the pubs.

For souvenirs, the well-known Venetian Carnival mask shop, Cà Macan, is a must, and there are many other intriguing indie shops in the neighborhood.

A Venetian Carnival mask makes for a great souvenir from Italy.

10) Ride a vaporetto

Take a fun break from strolling the streets of Venice and cozy up next to your partner on a vaporetto (water bus) to soak in the sights. (See this official Venice tourism website link for transportation passes and tickets.)

The Grand Canal is 2.4 miles long, flowing in an S shape and offering spectacular views.

Ride the full length starting at Piazzale Roma (the main transportation hub near the Santa Lucia train station) all the way to St. Mark’s Square on Line 1.

Along the way, you’ll see the Gothic palace Ca’ d’Oro (also known as the Palazzo Santa Sofia), the baroque Basilica de Santa Maria della Salute and the Renaissance-style Palazzo Dario, among many other spectacular sights.

You may want to know: Here’s how to get from the Venice cruise port to the train station (and to St. Mark’s Square

11) Bed down in a romantic hotel

For a romantic weekend in Venice, Italy, stay at a romantic hotel!

To set the scene for a fully romantic experience while in the city, stay in one of the most romantic hotels in Venice catering to couples.

After exploring the city all day, a beautiful room awaits for making like sybarites and spending cherished time together.

Venice is home to many of the most luxurious and romantic hotels anywhere. Look for those with large windows or terraces with gorgeous views of the canals and even a spa bath.

A Venice honeymoon suite is always a good choice – especially if you’re celebrating your honeymoon in Venice.

You don’t even have to go off budget to find lovely but affordable hotels.

We especially like Hotel Palazzo Abadessa.

Located about a 15- to 20-minute walk from St. Mark’s Square, it has 15 rooms and suites in a former Doge’s residence. (We loved having breakfast in the pretty garden.)

Breakfast in the garden courtyard at Palazzo Abadessa, Venice

We’ve also stayed at the Hotel American-Dinesen.

Don’t let the name fool you. Housed in a 17th century Venetian townhouse, it overlooks the San Vio Canal in the Dorsoduro district.

It’s very Venetian. And romantic! And mid-price affordable (not splurge-priced).

12) Share some gelato

Take time out from exploring the city and settle in to share some of the most decadent gelato found anywhere.

Sharing some gelato is one of the best things to do in Venice, Italy!

Gelaterias are sprinkled throughout the city and offer sensational varieties such as those made with Amarena cherries or Sorrento lemons.

You may want to start at La Mela Verde on the Rio di San Provolo canal, indulging in their creamy pistachio or white peach gelato, made with whole Italian milk.

Order two – then find your own private spot with a view of the flower-lined canal to taste the velvety softness and seriously delicious flavors.

Try different gelatos as you stroll around the “City of Love,” and enjoy the romance in Venice at every turn.

The ice-cream and gelato in Venice, Italy, is wonderful!

13) Shop for glass on Murano Island

Hop on a boat for the short boat ride over to the island of Murano, where the art of glass blowing takes beauty to a whole new level.

As a precaution against fires in the city, the Doge of Venice ordered all Venetian glass makers to move their furnaces (fornaci) to the island back in 1291.

This is where they’ve been ever since, providing an entire area for glass shopping.

Watch as artisans mold hot blobs of glass into exquisite bowls and vases.

Venetian artisan blowing glass in a Murano glass factory

Maybe pick up some Murano glass jewelry? Or splurge on a stunning Murano glass chandelier for your home (it can be shipped).

You can learn all about making glass at the Vetreria Artistica Gino Mazzuccato, an ancient glass-making factory and showroom.

As we mentioned, Burano (#7) is another one of the most beautiful islands near Venice. If you’re enjoying a romantic weekend in Venice, you may want to spend some time visiting both Murano and Burano on a guided tour.

During this small group tour by private boat, you’ll watch Venetian craftspeople create Murano glass and also visit Burano’s Lace Museum (Museo del Merletto).

14) Enjoy a romantic dinner in Venice

There’s no shortage of romantic restaurants in Venice, Italy.

When it comes to dining out, there’s no shortage of restaurants in this romantic city.

Venetian cuisine focuses on local seafood, game meat and fresh pasta. And what with ordering some of Italy’s best wines, how can you not fall in love with each other all over again!

For a romantic dinner in Venice in a historical setting, you might like Cantina Do Spade.

This 600-year-old wine bar and trattoria is where the famous lover Casanova is said to have once entertained the women in his life.

Also try Wisteria Ristorante. Serving seasonal and creative dishes, this great spot has a garden courtyard with canal views.

For a romantic dinner in Venice, Italy, head to Wisteria.

Or maybe you’d like to eat and drink like a local on a fun (and tasty!) walking food-and-wine tour?

You’ll follow your guide to several backstreet cicchetti bars in Venice, where you’ll taste cicchetti (Venetian appetizers, like marinated seafood with polenta) and sample regional wines, including Prosecco.

The group size is limited to 12 for a more intimate experience and even includes a gondola ride across the Grand Canal! You can book it for 5:00 pm for an evening experience.

This tour has received 5-star reviews from more than 1,000 reviewers.

If interested, you should do it at the beginning of your Venice visit. You’ll want to find out all the non-touristy restaurants in Venice to go to later from an insider (i.e., your guide).

15) Gawk at the views from the top of San Giorgio Maggiore Campanile

San Giorgio Maggiore on an island in Venice

Share an exquisite view of Venice and beyond, together, as you stroll out onto the top of the San Giorgio Maggiore Campanile. It rises up over Venice

Gawk at the incredible panoramic scenes before you, and get a bird’s eye view of the Doge’s Palace, the length of the Grand Canal and San Marco.

The San Giorgio Maggiore is a Benedictine church built in the 16th century and sits on the island sharing its name. Be sure to share a kiss atop this belltower as the sun sets and casts its glow over the entire city.

This is one of the most romantic places in Venice and the least crowded.

You can get to the island by vaporetto. And there’s a glass-walled elevator up to the top of the bell tower, more than 200 feet high.

16) Stroll Zattere at Sunset

Hold hands and walk along the Zattere promenade at dusk – there’s no better place to take in the golden Venice sunset than this canal-side walkway.

See the last daylight glimpses of the Giudecca Canal and the pastel buildings lining each side as darkness descends, and watch the play of light as it flitters across the water.

A leisurely stroll here is one of the most romantic things to do in Venice at night.

17) Go on a Prosecco wine tasting tour

One of the most romantic day trips from Venice, Italy, is a Prosecco wine tasting tour with lunch.

Italy is synonymous with fine wine – so take your love on a wine tasting tour! One of the most romantic of these is a Prosecco wine tasting day trip with lunch.

Set against a backdrop of the Dolomite Mountains, the lush vineyards of the Prosecco region are an hour’s drive north of Venice. Several companies offer tours.

This lovely semi-private Prosecco tasting tour, for example, visits two boutique wineries.

You’ll tour the cellars, taste various Prosecco versions, learn how this Italian sparkling white wine is made and maybe even meet the winemakers themselves. Lunch is at a traditional trattoria overlooking the vineyards.

You don’t even have to leave Venice.

This unique Venice rooftops walking tour and Prosecco tasting shows you the secret side of Venice from the terraces of private Venetian palaces – all while sipping on a glass of Prosecco.

You can bone up on your wine knowledge in advance by reading about “What is Prosecco?

Now you know all the romantic places in Venice and what to do!

Flower boxes in the window in Venice

Visiting Venice, one of the most romantic cities in the world, is a perfect way to spend quality time with each other – exploring, relaxing and sharing your love.

Whether celebrating your honeymoon in Venice or simply escaping for a romantic getaway, you’ll love discovering all the different nooks and crannies of this enchanting city together.

Is Venice romantic still in August?

When we once stayed in August, we discovered hotels priced at “low season” rates.

Because people think September is slower, more now visit Venice in September, so rates jump at the beginning of that month. July also sees high rates.

But, if you don’t mind the heat, you can find some good hotel deals in August.

Keep an eye out if you’re hoping to bed down in one of the most romantic places in Italy without breaking the bank!

Our top travel tips and resources

Hotels: is great for scoring a “wow” hotel – or at least a decent one. (We especially like their flexible cancellation policy!)

Vacation homes, condos and rentals: We prefer and use Vrbo (Vacation Rentals by Owner).

Tours: For the best local food, walking and other guided tours, plus skip-the-line tickets to attractions, check out Viator (a TripAdvisor company) and GetYourGuide.

Car rental: Renting a car is often one of the best ways to explore off the beaten path. Discover Cars searches car rental companies so you get the best rates.

Travel insurance: SafetyWing is designed for frequent travelers, long-term adventurers and digital nomads. It covers medical expenses, lost checked luggage, trip interruption and more. We also have and recommend Medjet for global air medical transportation and travel security.

Travel gear: See our travel shop to find the best luggage, accessories and other travel gear. (We suggest these comfy travel sandals for city walking, the beach and kicking about.)

Need more help planning your trip? Check out our travel tips and resources guide for airline booking tips, ways to save money, how to find great hotels and other crazy useful trip planning info.

Pssst! If you make a booking or purchase through our site, we may earn a small commission (at no cost to you). Thanks!

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Romantic things to do in Venice, Italy

Photo credits: 2, 6, 14, 16, 26 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase | 13 Hotel Cipriani | 21 Wisteria Restaurant

About the authors

Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George Mucalov are the publishers of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents. See About.

Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, luxury hotel reviews, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, cruise reviews, insanely useful travel tips and more!

Marissa Tejada

Tuesday 30th of August 2016

Oh, Venice is so on my Italy bucket list. Thanks for the tip about visiting in August. Love your pics.

Janice and George

Wednesday 31st of August 2016

Oh, you'll love Venice! One day it will happen, right?


Tuesday 23rd of February 2016

I may be visiting Venice later this year, and I expect to fall in love with it too! Lovely post, glad you had an amazing time! Very cool Truman Capote quote too..

Janice and George

Tuesday 23rd of February 2016

Yes, that Truman Capote quote is right on :-).


Monday 22nd of February 2016

We love Venice. I can't understand those people that bash on the place. It's like a living museum and what is special is that the whole place is like that, there is no 'old town' step in the place and you step back in time.

Frank (bbqboy)


Wednesday 17th of February 2016

Your images are just beautiful. It has been years since I have been to Venice. I believe it is time for a trip back!

Janice and George

Wednesday 17th of February 2016

Thanks so much for the kind comment on our images! You can pack us in your suitcase when you go back to Venice :-).


Tuesday 16th of February 2016

I agree that Venice is a great destination at any time of year, except perhaps for a few days in summer when it can become very hot and humid. But even then, you can still find refuge from the heat in the beautiful churches and palaces around. I would rather go there in winter though, when the crowds are sparse. I could stroll along the narrow streets of Venice for hours and hours without getting mentally tired. Unfortunately, my feet have a new way of saying 'enough!' lately: they develop convincingly painful blisters to remind me they have a finite endurance limit. Gorgeous images of Venice, Janice! Your post made me want to go back for a visit.

Janice and George

Tuesday 16th of February 2016

We sympathize with the blisters :-). With no public transport (except for the vaporetti, which are great!), and pedestrian-only streets, Venice means you have to walk a lot (if you want to really experience the city).