Venice away from mass tourism: activities, food, views

Venice is one of the most visited cities in the world. However, you can escape the tourist crowds either by avoiding the main tourist season or by going to places that are not so much on the route of the often day-tripper-only crowds. Let’s see a few tips to walk and live Venice away from mass tourism!


In general, Venice is worth a visit at any time of year, but if you want to avoid the exhausting hot and humid climate of summer, for example, a visit at another time of year is recommended.

A hot tip: Venice is definitely worth a visit in December in the weeks before and in January after the Christmas holidays – but before(!) the start of Carnival: although many restaurants, bars and shops are on holiday, you can avoid running through crowds of people. At this time it’s winter here and the temperatures are already cold and humid, but not overly frosty – and you can dress warmly! In the bright winter sun under a blue sky, you can enjoy Spritz and cichetti outdoors as well as let the mystical atmosphere of the Serenissima work its magic on you in damp foggy weather.

Venice foggy views
A slightly foggy view in San Giovanni e Paolo

Venice spritz


5 Activities in Venice away from mass tourism

La Casa dei Tre Oci – Mostre fotografiche

The palazzo with the “three eyes” (ocio = veneziano for “occhio”) is located on the island of Giudecca and is home to grandiose photo exhibitions. On three floors you can admire not only special light pictures but also the spectacular view of the opposite side – Santa Maria della Salute, Piazzetta, Palazzo Ducale, Campanile di San Marco. The “three eyes” form a wonderful “photo frame” for this when looking from the inside to the outside.

ATTENTION NEW: The photo gallery has moved and is now located on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, right in the neighbourhood, under the name Le Stanze della Fotografia.

Exhibition programme and further info:

Quarter: Giudecca / San Giorgio Maggiore

Access: Vaporetto linea 2 from San Zaccaria or Zattere to stop San Giorgio


Isola San Giorgio Maggiore:

Guided Tour Fondazione Giorgio Cini & Campanile di San Giorgio

Some activities you may like, before going on with the article:

The former Benedictine monastery is home to the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, which awards scholarships for Venice researchers in the fields of history, music, theatre studies and art. In addition to Baldassare Longhena’s library, Andrea Palladio’s cloister is particularly impressive.

Individual or combined tours of different areas of the site can be booked in different languages (audio guides).

On this occasion, it is also worth taking a look at the Basilica San Giorgio Maggiore and especially paying a visit to the church tower, the Campanile di San Giorgio. From the top, you have a spectacular panoramic view of the lagoon on all sides and an unobstructed view of beautiful sunsets. In winter, on a clear day, you can see the Carnic Alps on the mainland, with the city of Venice in the foreground.

Price for visiting the church tower (with elevator): EUR 6 (as of January 2022) and thus much cheaper than the Campanile di San Marco.

Guided tours Fondazione Giorgio Cini:

Quarter: Giudecca / San Giorgio Maggiore

Access: Vaporetto linea 2 from San Zaccaria or Zattere to stop San Giorgio

Venice away from mass tourism - Palladio's Cloister
Palladio’s Cloister
Venice away from mass tourism - La Giudecca
Sunset view from San Giorgio Maggiore


Voga alla Veneta with “Venice On Board”

An absolute must-do for all those who want to get to know the authentic side of Venice! You go on an excursion with a traditional Venetian rowing boat and can get to know Venice from the water perspective. You’ll get a very special impression of the city away from the tourist water paths that gondolas and vaporetto usually take – and best of all, you’ll get to try out Venetian rowing for yourself! They will of course also teach and assist you if you’re a newbie. 🙂

Contact & information:

Quarter: Cannaregio

Access: Vaporetto linea 4.1/4.2 or 5.1/5.2 to stop San Alvise, then 5 min. walk

See Venice away from mass tourism by Rowing
Rowing between quiet corners of Venice


A trip to the beach: Lido di Venezia

Who doesn’t love the sea?

The best way to recover from a hot Venetian summer day among the stones that make up the city, is to go to the beach a bit before sunset, take a refreshing dip in the sea and watch the moon rise over the water. On the way back to the Vaporetto, treat yourself with a Spritz in the outdoor area of one of the many bars along the road. (Tip: Pack some Mosquito spray for the way back!)

During winter, a walk on the beach promises fresh sea air and beautiful shells! Even in the fog, a walk on the beach has its own special charm. Here too, cake and cappuccino or delicious panini are good refreshments on the way there or back!

Quarter: Lido di Venezia

Access: Vaporetto linea 1 to stop Lido (Santa Maria Elisabetta).

Directions: Directly from the Vaporetto station you find the street Gran Viale Santa Maria Elisabetta with numerous cafes and bars, which leads to the other side of the Lido. To get to the free beach, turn left at the roundabout along Lungomare Gabriele d’Annunzio and, after a small kiosk on the right, take the entrance to the free beach (beach bar, toilets and changing rooms are available).

Venice Lido beach with rising moon
Venice Lido beach with rising moon


Venice Jazz Club

For music lovers, an insider tip: the Venice Jazz Club with its living room atmosphere is located behind Campo Santa Margherita, on the Rio di San Barnaba. Federico, the friendly owner of the club, not only takes care of the company, the bar and the ticketing – as the pianist of the Venice Jazz Club Quartet, he personally plays the piano for his guests!

Quarter: Dorsoduro

Address: Dorsoduro 3102, Ponte dei Pugni, 30123 Venezia

Dates & Tickets:

Venice away from mass tourism - Jazz club
Venice away from mass tourism – Jazz club


Culinary delights

Culinary delights are also a must in a city by the sea! Venetian cuisine, however, offers not only fish dishes but also hearty cuisine, and the city also supplies itself with fresh vegetables and fruit from the island in the lagoon, Sant’Erasmo. A visit to the Mercato di Rialto is worthwhile not only to buy ingredients for cooking yourself, but also for its visual appeal.

If you want to treat yourself to fresh fruit and vegetables, the family-run market stall around the corner from the main area towards the long fish hall is highly recommended. Better going before 9.30 in the morning to avoid crowds (fruit market closed on sundays, fish market closed on sunday and mondays).

Venice mercato

Lunch and Dinner

  • Il Paradiso Perduto
    Traditional Venetian fish restaurant – reservations recommended!!!
    Quarter: Cannaregio
    Contact ilparadisoperduto
  • Osteria Antica Adelaide
    Traditional Venetian mixed cuisine with charm
    Quarter: Cannaregio
  • Pizzeria da Alvise
    Pizzeria and Venetian cuisine
    Quarter Cannaregio/Fondamente Nove
  • Cantina do Spade
    Small traditional menu and small restaurant, but at the same time a real Venetian bacarocichetti and Spritz at is best! Reservation for restaurant recommended.
    Quarter: San Polo
  • Osteria Al Nono Risorto
    Traditional Venetian mixed cuisine, large menu, beautiful guest garden in summer. Reservations recommended.
    Quarter: Santa Croce
  • Gam Gam Kosher Restaurant
    A mix of traditional Venetian and kosher cuisine, very tasty!
    Quarter: Cannaregio, Ghetto

Snacks inbetween

Numerous bars offer a wide range of tramezzini and panini in all varieties.

  • Bar Ai Nomboli
    Family business, delicious panini, tramezzini and small lunch dishes for in between, the specially selected prosecco here also makes the Spritz taste dreamy!
    Quarter: San Polo 2717B, Rio Terà die Nomboli, 30125 Venezia
    More delicious panini and tramezzini:
  • Latteria2465
    Quarter: San Polo, 2465F, 30125 Venezia
  • Pasticceria Rosa Salva
    Quarter: Castello 6780, Campo Santissimi Giovanni e Paolo, 30122 Venezia


  • Tonolo
    An absolute must is the Passticceria Tonolo. At carnival time, be sure to try the frittelle!
    Quarter: Dorsoduro 3764, Calle San Pantalon, 30123 Venezia
  • Pasticceria Bar La Targa
    The best cornetti for breakfast!
    Quarter: San Polo 1050, Rugheta del Ravano, 30125 Venezia
  • Pasticceria Rizzardini
    Cakes and other delicacies!
    Quarter: San Polo 1415, Campiello dei Meloni, 30125 Venezia

Cicchetti e Spritz

…can be found in the city’s numerous bars and bacari. Here is a selection below. Tip: Order Spritz Select – the Venetian alternative to Aperol!

  • Bacarando in Corte dell’Orso
    Quarter: San Marco, 5495 Corte Dell’ Orso, 30124 Venezia
  • Vini Al Bottegon
    Quarter: Dorsoduro 961, Fondamenta Nani, 30123 Venezia
  • Ae Bricoe
    Quarter: Cannaregio Fondamenta dei Ormesini, 2684, 30121 Venezia
  • Osteria do Spade
    Quarter: San Polo 859, Calle de le Do Spade, 30125 Venezia
  • Chioschetto Zattere
    Quarter: Dorsoduro, Zattere al Ponte Longo, 30123 Venezia

Now that you know everything about how to visit Venice away from mass tourism, don’t forget to have a look at public transportation and how to move between Venice airport and the city without spending too much!

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Elisabeth Probst

Classical concert manager, musicologist and musician; loving to dance cuban dances, yoga, travel and coming to Venice repeatedly for researching the city’s Opera history.

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