10 unmissable things to do in Venice in summer

These top 10 summer activities in Venice will keep you cool when the mercury's rising. Make the most of La Serenissima in the sunshine with this guide.

Venice in summer means sizzling heat and non-stop gelato. Sit out on a terrace at night, sipping on a glass of prosecco long after the sun has gone down. Spend your days flitting between the canals, keeping cool in the city's amazing art museums, or seeking out hidden gems in the narrow, shaded alleys.

Despite the heat, Venice is wonderful in the summer months. From making a splash at a water park to exploring the canals by kayak, night tours to prosecco tasting, there are summertime activities for everyone in Venice.

Best outdoor activities in Venice

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1. See the city from above on a rooftop walking tour

If you're not scared of heights, a rooftop walking tour offers a new, fun way to see Venice. High above the canals, you'll enjoy a privileged position as you look down on the hustle and bustle of city life.

Highlights:

A rooftops walking tour with prosecco tasting will take you through some of the most interesting parts of the city and you’ll sample some of the region’s famous sparkling wine along the way.

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2. Avoid the heat by exploring the city at night

Real talk: Venice in summer is very hot. If the humidity is getting you down, wait until the sun sets before any strenuous exploring. As a bonus, you'll see the city at its most magical, with twinkling lights reflecting on the on the canals.

Highlights:

A nighttime walking tour is a great way to get to know the city ans see its highlights. Your expert local guide can point out some unusual sights that most visitors miss too.

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3. Spend an evening eating out with a local

When it gets too hot to do anything strenuous, it's time to dine. Venetians love cicchetti, the local version of tapas. Take a gourmet tour and discover the best bites all over the city.

Highlights:

On your private food tour, you'll taste your way through local favorites and different Italian flavors. There's also plenty of gelato to keep you cool.

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4. Discover the spooky side of the city with an evening ghost tour

Cannaregio is one of Venice's last residential districts, and it has a wealth of legends and ghost stories. When you take a ghost tour, you'll be able to stay cool and see a unique, spooky part of the city.

Highlights:

Learn the spine-chilling legends of Cannaregio on a two-hour ghost tour and discover Venice’s scary side, if you dare. 

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5. Get out of the city for a day in the mountains

When the Venetian heat is too much for you, it's time to lose yourself in nature. Head out for a day of hiking in the Dolomites. You'll love the fresh mountain air after the city's humidity.

Highlights:

Pack a real camera for your Cortina and Dolomites day tour, because you'll see some truly stunning places along the way. Lake Misurina and the dramatic peaks of Faloria are particularly impressive.

Best water activities

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6. Float under the Rialto Bridge on a gondola

Yes, it's a cliche, but no trip to Venice would be complete without a gondola ride. Sit back and relax in your traditional boat as you take in the sights of one of the world's most beautiful cities.

Highlights:

There are many options for gondola rides in Venice, but a private Rialto Bridge gondola ride is a particularly good choice. You can upgrade your ticket to include a traditional accordionist and singer.

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7. Navigate the canals in your very own kayak

Is a gondola ride too relaxed for you? Then try paddling your own canoe, quite literally. A kayak trip through the canals is a great way to cool off at the end of the day while working off that gelato at the same time.

Highlights:

Choose a guided kayak tour for the perfect summer day out in Venice. You'll have a guide on hand to show you the city's best monuments and landmarks.

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8. Escape the heat at Caribe Bay Water Park

If you can't take the city heat, don't worry. Italy's best water park is just a short journey away, and it's packed with fun attractions for the whole family. Chill out on the sandy beach or tackle Europe's tallest bungee jumping tower.

Highlights:

Pick up a Caribe Bay Water Theme Park day ticket and cool off in style. The whole family is welcome here, with some gentle pools for the little ones.

Address and opening hours:

Via Michelangelo Buonarroti 15A, 30016 Lido di Jesolo. Open Monday-Sunday, 10:00 AM-6:00 PM.

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9. Go back in time with a traditional sunset cruise

There are many options for yacht or catamaran tours of Venice's lagoon, but here's something a little more special. Cruise along the Lido in a traditional Venetian vessel, admiring the best possible views of the city and its surrounding area.

Highlights:

Your sunset cruise includes a glass of prosecco to sip on as you glide between the islands on a traditional Venetian boat. What more could you want?

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10. See the city from a stand-up paddleboard

Want an original way to see Venice? Try stand-up paddleboarding. This eco-friendly tour lets you propel yourself through the calm waters of the canals, with a gentle sea breeze to keep you cool.

Highlights:

All the equipment you need is provided for you on a stand-up paddleboarding tour on the Venice canals. The only thing you need to bring is balance.

FAQs

Where can I go swimming or relax by the water in Venice?

No matter how tempted you are, don't go swimming in the canals. Other watersports are available, though, like kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding. If you want a full day of water fun, head to Caribe Bay. This nearby water park has a huge number of rides, pools, and attractions for all ages.

Are there any great summer festivals in Venice?

Yes, there are a number of summer events, including jazz festivals, film festivals, and more. However, the most traditional event is the Festa del Redentore on the third weekend of July. On Saturday night, the city sky is lit up by a spectacular display of fireworks. The following morning, boat races take place on the lagoon, and the atmosphere is incredible.

What are the must-visit outdoor attractions in Venice?

The canals themselves are the ultimate outdoor attraction in Venice. Most visitors enjoy a gondola trip, but there are a number of different ways to see them. You can take a modern speedboat, a catamaran, or a traditional Venetian vessel. You can also propel yourself in a kayak or on a stand-up paddleboard.

What are some great day trips to take from Venice in the summer?

The Dolomites are a great choice if you want to hike and enjoy some fresh air, while Caribe Bay water park is perfect for cooling off. Foodies will also enjoy a day trip to the vineyards of the prosecco-producing region, complete with tastings and wine pairings.

What are some fun activities with kids in Venice in summer?

Kids will love exploring the city by boat or on foot. Visit Murano Island, with its fairytale rows of brightly-colored houses, and have fun on the different vessels in the canals. Plus, if it gets too hot for the little ones, there's nothing like authentic Italian gelato to cool them down.