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Venice at Night: How to spend your evenings in Venice, Italy

by Lisa Stentvedt
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Venice by day is a tourist machine, but at Venice at night sees a dramatic transition. Venice at night is absolutely beautiful, and this guide will take you through the best ways to spend your time.

The gaudy facade vanishes, the streets empty. Venice has taken off her stage makeup for the day, and beneath she is yet more beguiling, dark and mysterious. So how can you enjoy this special time of day to the full? Your evenings in Venice will be just as spectacular as your days, and this guide will help you nail down your plans.

Venice at night is a dream, and there are plenty of great ways to spend your evenings in this beautiful city. You may have spent the whole day exploring or just got back from a Venice day trip, but either way you’ll want to make the most of your time in Venice at night, as there are just as many great things to do in the evening as in the daytime.

Quick Venice Travel Guide

Where to stay: If you are looking to splurge, the St. Regis Venice is a famous, 5* hotel. The Hotel Bartolomeo is a decent mid-range hotel, and those travelling on a budget will love Hotel Ariel Silva.

Where to eat: Locanda Cipriani and Il Ridotto are well-known places for authentic Italian food, but there are lots of hidden gems in Venice too. Don’t miss Ai Barbacani and Cantina Do Spade.

Top activities and tours in Venice:

Getting from the airport to the city: After arriving at Marco Polo Airport, the best way to reach the city is by water taxi! In true Venice style. I recommend booking it in advance, whether you get a ticket for the “waterbus” or the shared Airport Link boat. For truly hassle-free travel, book a private transfer.

Photo of Venice at night, showing stone buildings along a wide canal in the evening. The lights are on in some of the windows.

The best things to do in Venice at night

Visiting Venice in the evening is an unforgettable experience. As the sun sets and the stars come out, this city by the sea transforms into a magical place. Every night brings something new to explore and enjoy.

Whether you’re looking for a romantic dinner, a unique activity, or just to soak up the atmosphere of this beautiful city, I have collected a mix of some of the most popular activities as well as hidden gems that will help make your Italian holiday one to remember. Here are my best tips and tricks for an unforgettable evening in Venice.

The below Venice nighttime activities are structured out in the way I recommend you experience them. From sunset to happy hour to simply meandering around the city. I highly recommend following this order for a truly magical night in Venice.

Side note (that I hope isn’t necessary): Venice is not to be confused with Venice beach, one of the best beaches in Los Angeles.

#1 Where to watch the sunset in Venice

Sunset is a truly magical moment in Venice, with handsome monuments silhouetted against fuchsia skies, or deep orange reflections gilding the lagoon surface.

Even if you are staying elsewhere in Italy, travelling here for a day to catch the sunset is worth it. For example, Venice is one of the best day trips from Milan to take, and it is even reachable from Tuscany!

Below are three of the best places to appreciate Venice’s fiery skies.

Fondaco Dei Tedeschi

Once a warehouse and living quarters for the German population of Venice, this vast building on the Grand Canal has been transformed into luxurious fashion store.

While well-known international brands are on offer, it also offers classic Venetian products such as handmade masks during Carnival period. Its crowning feature is a spectacularly positioned roof terrace right on the bend of the Grand Canal providing a view down both ways.

And if that wasn’t enough, the Rialto Bridge is right beneath. It’s free, so naturally, it’s very popular. This means you are only allowed 15 minutes up there.

Get your free tickets earlier in the day and then turn up for your assigned slot. In accordance with the period of the year, time your visit according to sunset for some magnificent photographs. During Carnival, some masked models also pose there.

Adress: Calle del Fontego, 30100, Venice

Riva Degli Schiavone

The sun sets artistically behind the Santa Maria Della Salute church, and the Riva provides ample classic Venetian foregrounds: gondolas, the charming oriental arches of the gondola stations, and ornate lampposts.

Take a stroll along this wide promenade and admire the Redentore church by Palladio on the Giudecca opposite, the white façade rosy with the setting sun. This is a must for your Venice itinerary!

From the Water

Take a Vaporetto (water bus) from the Lido to St Mark’s Square and, if timed correctly, you can appreciate the myriad of colours reflecting off the lagoon surface.

Alternatively, there are several boat tours to take that will bring you on an incredible tour through Venice at night. Make sure to book your night gondola tour in advance, as they tend to sell out.

#2 Where to go for your Aperitivo in Venice – Happy Hour

In summer the sunset coincides graciously with the aperitivo hour (from 6.30 pm onwards). On the main street connecting the railway station with St Mark’s Square there are countless bars. However, all are packed with tourists, overpriced and lacking atmosphere.

Below, I share my best hidden gems for aperitivo in Venice at night. Of course, there are other options as well.

Just like in Rome, there are several tours to join that focus on food and drinks for your evenings in Venice (I joined a Rome Food Tour during my trip there, for example!).

🍸 This Venice food tour is great because it includes a visit to the Rialto market!

Fondamenta Della Misericordia

To have an aperitivo at a reasonable price with great snacks amongst students and locals make your way to the Fondamenta Della Misericordia.

This long canal-side street is lined with ‘bacari’, the traditional bars of Venice. Their interiors are dark, wooden and generally pretty tiny, so the crowd spills out onto the wide pavement outside, resting their drinks on windowsills.

One of the highlights of the street is Paradiso Perduto. A classic dark wooden interior and a bar piled high with a mouth-watering range of Cicchetti (little pieces of bread with toppings or other little snacks, also known as the Italian tapas) particularly featuring fried seafood.

Order a plate of freshly fried prawns, baccalà (a Venetian specialty) and calamari with your prosecco or spritz and then settle down beside the canal on the sun-warmed stones.

Paradiso Perduto (Fondamenta Della Misericordia), Cannaregio 2540, tel. 041720581

Al Timon

Near the end of the Fondamenta is the unmissable Al Timon. The Cicchetti here are laden with intriguing flavours and the wine is good, but the highlight is the boat ‘terrace’ on the canal outside.

Balancing glasses of prosecco and plates of snacks, step (carefully) from the pavement and finish the evening sitting carefree cross-legged on a wooden boat.

Osteria Al Timon (Fondamenta degli Ormesini), Cannaregio 2754 tel. 39 041 524 6066

The Ghetto

The Ghetto of Venice, just a bridge away from the Fondamenta Della Misericordia, is another less-touristy area.

Here you can find fascinating antique shops, bakeries selling special Jewish bread and sweets, and a burgeoning contemporary art scene.

In Calle Ghetto Vecchio you can find the bar Majer which offers a delicious range of pizzas and panini to accompany your aperitivo. You can sit outside in the square and enjoy watching the ordinary activities of daily life, so much more fascinating for their performance on the stage of Venice.

Calle Ghetto Vecchio, 1227, 30121 Venezia tel. 0415246737

Skyline Rooftop Bar

For a very special aperitivo you can head over to the rooftop bar of the Hilton Molino Stucky hotel on the western end of the Giudecca. Stretching before you is the skyline of Venice, accented with spires and domes. At night-time, this view is absolutely spectacular. Directly beneath you is the canal of the Giudecca shimmering with the colours of the setting sun.

Top tip: Booking in advance is highly recommended not only because it is a very popular location, but also because with a reservation you can take the hotel shuttle boat service to reach the Giudecca island from the Zattere opposite.

Many people plan their evenings in Venice ahead, particularly when heading to popular aperitivo spots like this one. Drinks may not be cheap (glasses of wine from 8 euros) but it’s worth paying a little extra for a view like that!

Giudecca 810, Fondamenta San Biagio, 30133 tel.00390412723311
Getting there: Vaporetto stop Palanca or Sacca Fisola

A rooftop in venice at night, with a orange-pink sky in the background of a large dome.

#3 Wandering around Venice at night

What better way to spend your evenings in Venice thank to take in the sights of the city by foot?

Venice is set apart from other European cities for some obvious reasons, but one to remember is how safe it is. Wandering around after dark is not dangerous here, in fact, it is recommended!

A silent canal is suddenly disturbed by the soft splash of a gondola oar, a dark street echoes with disembodied footsteps. It is magical to meander, without direction, around these winding alleys, feeling like the only visitor in Venice.

Even better, however, is visiting the sites that, during the day, are packed with tourists taking selfies and tour groups barging their way through the crowds. St Mark’s Square at night is unrecognisably tranquil.

Stroll around listening to the restaurant orchestras and gazing at the Basilica without being jostled by other tourists. Having a coffee in one of the bars lining the Piazza is certainly costly, but at night you’re paying as much for the atmosphere as for the drink.

Caffè Florian is the most famous, where secret conspiracies were devised over coffee and romantics like Lord Byron dreamed. The notorious Casanova even found it convenient for his particular exploits as Caffè Florian was the only meeting place at that time that admitted women.

If you are a fan of walking tours, joining a guided tour is just as beautiful and interesting as night as it is in the day. There are several to choose from, but I’ve linked a favourite below.

🤩This is my favourite evening walking tour of Venice, covering legends and mysteries of the city in an intimate setting!

Want a feel of what it’s like in Venice during the evening? Watch the video above!

Evening luxury in Venice

With the opulent palaces of the Grand Canal, the golden mosaics of St Mark’s, and the elegance of the Piazza’s cafes, Venice has always had a strong streak of luxury running through it.

If you want to follow in the footsteps of centuries of prestigious residents and visitors you can do no less than taking a gondola ride at night. Glide softly down the dark canals at night listening to the rhythmic splash of the gondolier’s oar without the bustle of daytime traffic and roar of motorboats.

La Fenice

Mingle with high society and have an evening in the dazzling La Fenice theater. Although having burnt down in 1996 it was restored to its former glory of gilded sculptures, lions and a magnificent chandelier (just imagine the challenges of bringing materials and construction machinery to the theater by canal and boat!).

Don a chic dress or smart suit and enjoy the performance as much as your surroundings.

Venice at night: FAQ

Below are the most frequently asked questions I’ve heard about spending an evening in Venice, and what to do at night in Venice. I have answered them as best I can. If you find that a question is missing, leave it below!

Is it worth seeing Venice at night?

Yes! Venice is beautiful at night, and definitely worth seeing.

What do people do at night in Venice?

Walk around the city, watch the gondolas, go for aperitivo and watch the sunset.

Can you walk around Venice at night?

Yes, you can. Venice is pretty safe, but always be aware of your surroundings.

How late do people stay out in Venice?

Bars and restaurants are usually all closed by midnight.

Is Venice safe at night?

Venice is a safe city at night. However, pickpockets tend to work near the touristy areas. As always, be aware of your surroundings.

Is Venice pretty at night?

Yes, Venise is absolutely beautiful in the evening.

The best tours of Venice (both day and night)

Venice, also known as the ‘City of Water’ and the ‘Queen of the Adriatic’, is one of Italy’s most beloved cities. With its winding canals, historic architecture, and bustling streets, it’s no wonder Venice draws in millions of visitors each year.

But when in Venice, you don’t want to miss out on the best tours! From canal boat rides through the Grand Canal to guided walking tours around Piazza San Marco, there are plenty of ways to explore this captivating city.

For those who love a good bargain (and why wouldn’t you?!), most tours offer discounts for booking online or in advance – definitely recommended if you’d rather not miss out on some great attractions! Plus, many tour operators have special packages to help you make the most of your time in Venice.

So what are you waiting for? Get ready to experience one of the world’s most iconic cities and book your tour today! Below are some of the highest-rated things to do in Venice.

Final Thoughts about Venice, Italy in the evening

I hope this guide to nights in Venice has been helpful. Whether it is your first time in Italy, or the hundredth, I know you will love the city. Both day and night, it has a charm to it that you won’t forget.

To summarise, you want to spend your time after-hours in Venice wisely. Make sure you don’t miss sunset, before heading for aperitivo at some of the bars I recommended. Finally, spend some time strolling the streets of this beautiful city.

Read next: northern vs southern Italy – which should you choose?

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10 comments

Christina - Cavaforlunch.com 07/04/2017 - 08:20

I love your Venice photos, Lisa, it looks so moody and melancholic in the dark! Italy, for me, is an endless love affair – I think I love every little corner of that country. I lived in Rome for 2 years, and I still miss all the buzzing, all the smells, all the sounds that surrounds you in Rome. I can’t wait to go back tomorrow, but I don’t think I’ll be able to return to Venice until August… We’ll see!

Lisa // Fjords & Beaches 07/04/2017 - 13:12

You lived in Rome? That’s so cool! 🙂 have a nice trip!

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