With its canals, iconic bridges, ornate cathedrals, towers, and piazzas, Venice is exceptionally photogenic. Whether you are looking for that perfect Instagram shot or you simply want to fill you camera’s memory card with the most picturesque views of Venice, we have a wonderful list of places to share with you.
In this guide, we cover where to get the best views of Venice with practical information on how to get the same photos.
Best Views of Venice
In no particular order, here is our list of the best views of Venice. At the end of this guide, you can see them all on a map.
1. St. Mark’s Campanile
St. Mark’s Campanile (also called the Campanile di San Marco) is the bell tower that looms over St. Mark’s Square. From the top, you are standing at the highest point in Venice and have 360° views over the city. Without a doubt, it’s one of the best views of Venice.
View from St. Mark’s Campanile | Best Views in Venice
View from the Campanile | Best Views in Venice
How to Visit St. Mark’s Campanile
Hours: Hours vary by season. April 16 to September 30: 8:30 am to 9:00 pm (last admission 8:45 pm). Reduced hours the remainder of the year. Get the full schedule here.
Important: During adverse weather conditions (high winds, cold temperatures) the campanile will close.
Pro Travel Tip: Lines can be long to enter the bell tower. Before your visit to Venice, book a time slot on the official St. Mark’s Basilica website. Only 30 tickets are available for each time slot so I recommend you make your reservation as soon as you know your dates of travel to Venice.
2. The Terrace of St. Mark’s Basilica
For one of the best views of Venice, don’t miss the terrace of St. Mark’s Basilica. This terrace runs along the west and south façade of the basilica and from here you get a wonderful view, not only of St. Mark’s Square, but also the bell tower, Torre dell’Orologio, the Doge’s Palace, and the Venetian lagoon.
St Marks Basilica Terrace
St. Mark’s Campanile from the terrace
St. Mark’s Square from the terrace | Best Views of Italy
How to Visit the Terrace of St. Mark’s Basilica
The terrace is accessed on a visit inside of St. Mark’s Basilica. There is a €3 fee to enter the basilica. Once inside the basilica, climb the stairs to Museum-Loggia dei Cavalli, pay the additional €7 fee to enter the museum, and then you will climb a few more steps to get to the terrace.
Hours: St. Mark’s Basilica is open from 9:30 am to 5:15 pm. On Sundays, it is open from 2 pm to 5:15 pm, although you can still visit the Museum and have this view even when mass is being held (9:30 am to 2 pm). Last admission is at 4:45 pm.
Learn More: For more details on how to visit St. Mark’s Basilica, how to skip the line, and to see more photos, read our Guide to St. Mark’s Basilica.
Pro Travel Tip: If you will be taking a tour of St. Mark’s Basilica and want to visit the terrace, make sure the tour includes a terrace visit (it is not included on all guided tours).
3. Riva degli Schiavoni
Riva degli Schiavoni is a wide promenade that runs along the lagoon near Doge’s Palace.
From Riva degli Schiavoni, next to the Doge’s Palace, you can look out across the lagoon to San Giorgio Maggiore. From this spot, you can photograph the gondolas bobbing in the water with the church on San Giorgio Maggiore as a backdrop. Here it is:
4. Ponte della Paglia
From this bridge, look down the canal for the iconic view of the Bridge of Sighs. This bridge is labeled on our map below but if you aren’t quite sure where it is, here are the GPS coordinates: 45°26’01.1″N 12°20’27.5″E
Bridge of Sighs | Best Views of Venice
How to Visit Riva degli Schiavoni & Ponte delle Paglia
This promenade is free to visit and open 24 hours a day. Get here early for fewer crowds. Late afternoon, as the sun is setting, the lighting is beautiful for photos.
4. From the Doge’s Palace
The Doges’ Palace is a palace built in Venetian Gothic styles. For centuries, this building served as the residence for the Doge, the seat of the government, and as a palace of justice. Now, it is a museum.
Touring the Doge’s Palace is an essential thing to do on a visit to Venice. And while you are here, there are two places to get a great view of Venice.
The Bridge of Sighs
The Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri) is a bridge that crosses the Rio del Palazzo. From the windows of this bridge, prisoners on their way to execution would have this final view of the city.
View from the Bridge of Sighs | Best Views of Venice
The View of Riva degli Schiavoni
As you tour the Doge’s Palace, you will have a great view looking out over the lagoon and along Riva degli Schiavoni. It’s not the most stunning view of Venice, but you get a sense of just how busy this place is, with people strolling the promenade and the large number of boats and gondolas coming and going from the docks.
Riva degli Schiavoni from Doge’s Palace
5. The Church of San Giorgio Maggiore
San Giorgio Maggiore is a small island that sits across the lagoon from St. Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace. This island, and the church that is located here, the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, is a focal point when looking across the lagoon from Riva degli Schiavoni.
The views from the island and the bell tower are wonderful. From here, you look across the lagoon to the Doge’s Palace, St. Mark Campanile, St. Mark’s Basilica, and Riva degli Schiavoni.
The view from the bell tower of the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore | Best Views of Venice
Another view from San Giorgio Maggiore
To get to the top of the bell tower, no steps are required. An elevator zips you to the top in just a matter of seconds. And once at the top, you get 360° views of the area.
Not many people venture out this way, so this is a great activity to do if you want to escape the crowds and get an amazing view of Venice.
How to Visit the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore
Cost: Free to enter the church; the bell tower costs €8, cash only
Getting Here: Take the water bus (vaporetto lines 2 and N). It’s best to purchase a daily pass, since your total visit could be longer than 75 minutes. There is no ticket machine for the vaporetto on San Giorgio Maggiore island. You can also take a water taxi, but getting back will be more challenging, since water taxis don’t regularly visit this island.
6. From the Vaporetto
The Vaporetto is a water bus that takes passengers from point to point.
Most people use the vaporetto as a way to travel between the main sites. For a cheap but fantastic way to tour the Grand Canal, and get some beautiful views of Venice, ride the vaporetto from St. Mark’s Square, through the Grand Canal, past the Rialto Bridge, all the way to the train station.
View of the Grand Canal from the vaporetto | Best Views in Venice
The Rialto Bridge
About the Vaporetto
Take the No. 1 vaporetto (ACTV) Linea 1 from Piazzale Roma to Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square). It runs in both directions, so if you are coming from St. Mark’s Square, you can ride the vaporetto up the Grand Canal to the Rialto Bridge and Piazzale Roma. There’s no need to ride the vaporetto this entire distance. Get off when you have seen enough or if something catches your eye.
Learn more about the vaporetto here.
7. The Views of Venice from a Gondola
Gliding through the canals on a gondola is another essential experience to have in Venice.
From a gondola, you get a different view of Venice, now that you are sitting low on the water and drifting past buildings that you can’t see while strolling the bridges that cross the canals.
The busiest place to hire a gondola is on the Grand Canal and on the canals between the Grand Canal and St. Mark’s Square. The canals located a 5 to 10-minute walk north and east from St. Mark’s Square tend to be much less crowded and just as scenic, and with a little extra walking, you can easily hire a gondola without a wait in line.
8. The Rialto Bridge
The Rialto Bridge is the most famous bridge in Venice. Spanning the Grand Canal, you get one of the most iconic views of Venice from this spot.
The view is amazing on both sides of the bridge, so be sure to visit each side.
Grand Canal from the Rialto Bridge | Best Views of Venice
Another view from the Rialto Bridge | Best Views of Venice
This is a very busy spot to visit. Be prepared to join a lot of others as you elbow your way up to the side of the bridge for a view of the Grand Canal.
How to Visit the Rialto Bridge
The Rialto Bridge is free to visit and always open. There are shops that run down the center of the bridge which sell jewelry, leather goods, and souvenirs. Our favorite time to visit the Rialto Bridge is in the evening, as the sun is setting.
9. The T Fondaco Terrace
This amazing viewpoint is located right next to the Rialto Bridge. For one of the best views of Venice, where you can capture the Grand Canal and the Rialto Bridge in the same photo, be sure to visit this spot.
Plus, it’s free!
The Fondaco Dei Tedeschi building sits next to the Rialto Bridge on the Grand Canal. Sitting on top of the building is a rooftop terrace that overlooks the Grand Canal. From here, you look out over the Rialto Bridge and can watch as gondolas, water taxis, the vaporetto, and other boats zip back and forth along the Grand Canal.
View of the Grand Canal and Rialto Bridge from T Fondaco Terrace | Best Views of Venice
T Fondaco Terrace | Best Views of Venice
How to Visit the T Fondaco Terrace
Tickets to visit the terrace are free and can be reserved online in advance. When we did this (July 2022) tickets sold out at least in week in advance, so we recommend making your reservation sooner than that. Tickets are released 21 days in advance. You will be reserving a 15-minute time slot and visitation is limited to 40 people.
For hours, more information, and the link to reserve your tickets in advance, visit the official website.
10. Ponte dell’Accademia
This is one of our favorite views of Venice. The views of the Grand Canal are simply stunning.
The best view is looking east, towards the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, a 400-year-old church that is a famous Venetian landmark, as well as the colorful buildings that line the Grand Canal.
The view from Ponte dell’Accademia | Best Views of Venice
The view from Ponte dell’Accademia at night
How to Visit Ponte dell’Accademia
The bridge is free to visit and always open.
11. The Cupola of Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute
This ornate basilica sits on the Grand Canal and forms the backdrop for the views from Ponte dell’Accademia. The view from the cupola is one of the best views of Venice, and a viewpoint that not many people know about.
From the cupola, you can gaze out over the Grand Canal, the lagoon, Riva degli Schiavoni, and San Giorgio Maggiore.
Here are the views.
How to Visit the Cupola
You can visit the cupola on the hour and the half hour. Your visit lasts 30 minutes. Note: the cupola is not open on Monday or Tuesday.
There is an 8€ fee per person to climb the steps to the cupola (the dome). We purchased our tickets from the attendant but here is a link to purchase them online.
There are 150 steps to the cupola. This is on a spiral staircase and it is very narrow at times. If you suffer from claustrophobia, or don’t think you can climb a tight, twisting staircase, skip this activity. An attendant accompanied us on our visit. It was just Tim and I, the attendant, and one other couple.
To have these views and no lines and no crowds was a spectacular experience.
12. Scala Contarini del Bovolo
The Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo is a small palazzo, or palace, in Venice. This palazzo is famous for its spiral staircase that leads to an observation terrace.
From this palazzo, you will look out over the rooftops of the San Marco Sestiere towards St. Mark’s Campanile and St. Mark’s Basilica. You don’t get the iconic views of Venice like you do at some of the other places we list, but it is easy to visit and you get a unique view of Venice.
Scala Contarini del Bovolo | Best Views of Venice
How to Visit Scala Contarini del Bovolo
Tickets cost €8 per adult (€6 for those 26 and younger). We purchased our tickets onsite and did not have to wait in line when we did this.
Best Views of Venice on a Map
How to Use This Map: Click the icons on the map to get more information about each viewpoint. Click the star next to the title of the map to add this map to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.
Our Favorite Views of Venice
If you have limited time in Venice and can only visit a few spots, we narrowed the list down to our favorite views of Venice:
- Ponte dell’Accademia
- The Cupola of Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute
- T Fondaco Terrace
- St. Mark’s Campanile
- From the terrace of St. Mark’s Basilica
- From a gondola
- The Church of San Giorgio Maggiore
More Information for Your Trip to Venice
BEST OF VENICE: Get the full list of top experiences in our article Best Things to Do in Venice.
ST. MARK’S BASILICA: In our Guide to St. Mark’s Basilica, learn how to plan your visit, how to skip the line, and learn why an evening tour is one of the best experiences in Venice.
VENICE HOTELS: In our Venice Hotel Guide, we cover not only where to stay in Venice, but also the best hotels in each area (or sestiere) that fits your budget.
VENICE PHOTOGRAPHY: Journey through Venice in photos in our Venice photography guide.
If you have any questions about the best views in Venice, or if you want to share your favorite viewpoints, let us know in the comment section below.
More Information for Your Trip to Italy
ITALY ITINERARY: If you have two weeks in Italy, check out our 14 day Italy itinerary, which covers the highlights (Rome, Florence, Venice, the Amalfi Coast, and the Cinque Terre).
BEST OF ITALY: In our Guide to the Best Places to Visit in Italy, we list 20 beautiful destinations to consider for your next trip to Italy.
FLORENCE & TUSCANY: If this is your first visit to Florence, read our guide to the Best Things to Do in Florence. If you plan to visit Tuscany, learn how to spend one day in Siena and the best things to do in San Gimignano.
DOLOMITES: And in our article Best Hikes in the Dolomites, we cover 15 epic trails in the Dolomites. Which ones do you want to do?
We have TONS more information about Italy in our Italy Travel Guide, including Rome, Florence, Venice, Tuscany, the Dolomites, the Amalfi Coast, the Cinque Terre, and Puglia.
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