Veneto is home to exquisitely beautiful cities that float on water, Renaissance frescoes, and Ancient Roman ruins, not to mention outstanding natural beauty.  The region boasts one of Italy’s most stunning lakes, the Dolomites mountain range, and the Prosecco hills covered in vines. A diverse region, Veneto has something to entice most travelers.

Magical Venice is the capital of the cultured Veneto region of Italy and tops many Italy bucket lists. Once the center of the world and trade, the Republic of Venice held strong for 1,000 years and was a melting pot of cultures from around Europe, and the Middle and Far East, and its rich and powerful influence is still felt in the region today. 

Yet Veneto is also so much more than just Venice, although visitors rarely experience this besides a detour to the city of love – Verona. Let us help you get off the beaten track and experience all this refined and cultured part of Italy has to offer with our full Veneto travel guide.

Where is Veneto

Veneto is nestled in the upper north-east of Italy and sits on the Adriatic Sea. The region shares a border with the Italian regions of Friuli Venezia Giulia, Trentino Alto Adige (South Tyrol), Emilia-Romagna, and Lombardy. There’s also a land border in the north with a tiny part of Austria who ruled over Venice for a time before the unification of Italy.

Situated to the east of Milan, Venice is just 2.5 hours away on the high speed train from Italy’s fashion capital. Venice is north-east of Florence, you can be in the lagoon city in 2 hours on the fast train, whilst Rome is just over 3 hours away.

Map of Veneto

veneto map

Main cities and towns in Veneto

Veneto is a hugely diverse region with impossibly beautiful cities on water, towns with pink marbled Ancient Roman streets, Medieval hilltop towns, and villages cradled in mountain valleys. Some of the best places in Veneto to explore include: 

  • Venice: The undisputed jewel of the region that must be seen at least once in your life. Venice rests, as if by magic, floating on top of the waters of the lagoon, protected by islands facing the Adriatic Sea. Wander the canal-lined calle (small laneways), hop on a gondola, eat your weight in cicchetti with a spritz in hand, and marvel at the remains of the Venetian Republic. 

treviso veneto
verona veneto travel guide
  • Treviso: Admire the canals without the crowds in beautiful, lesser-visited Treviso.  Encircled by 16th-century walls, Treviso is a place to get lost among its long porticoes and to admire the frescoed facaded buildings. Don’t miss trying tiramisu here either. It is thought to be the birthplace of this iconic dessert.
  • Verona: Romantic Verona is a stunning Ancient Roman city with an impressively well-preserved historic arena at its heart and glistening streets made of pink marble. It’s one of the most visited Veneto cities and for good reason. Whilst Shakespeare made it forever famous thanks to Romeo and Juliet (you’ll see the crowds lining up to see “Juliet’s balcony”), there is so much more to discover here. Join a small group walking tour of Verona to soak up all the history and fascinating stories.
cortina dampezzo in veneto
padua veneto region
  • Cortina D’Ampezzo: For a stay in the true heart of the Venetian Dolomites, don’t miss Cortina d’Ampezzo. This pretty mountain town is ideal for skiing and snowboarding in winter, plus mountain biking and hiking in the summertime. The town is a center for outdoor pursuits and enjoying hearty Tyrolean mountain cuisine.
  • Padua: Gorgeous Padua (or Padova) is a beautiful university town that dates back to the 13th century. It’s an impressive art city known for the 14th-century frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel and the oldest academic botanical garden in the world. Padua’s largest piazza, Prato della Valle, is centered around a canal and has played host to performances, parades, horse races, markets and more throughout the ages.
belluno veneto travel guide
chioggio veneto
  • Belluno: For a taste of the Dolomites, how about a trip to Belluno? It’s the perfect base for exploring the mountains and the town itself is replete with Renaissance-era buildings. Here you can feast on delicious soft cow’s milk cheeses in between hikes.
  • Chioggia: Across the lagoon from Venice, Chioggia is a pretty little town known for its charming canals and easy access to the beach. It’s a lovely place to wander the fishing village and admire its famous fish market.
  • Vicenza – Half way between Venice and Lake Garda, Vicenza is a UNESCO heritage listed city celebrated for its Renaissance villas designed by acclaimed architect Andrea Palladio. Vicenza is one of Italy’s most wealthy cities and is the place to go for artisan made gold jewelry.

Veneto Travel Guide: Top Things to Do

With so many unique places to explore, there are lots of different experiences and activities to enjoy when visiting Veneto. Some of our favorites include:

  • Take a gondola ride in Venice

Who could miss enjoying a ride on a gondola in Venice at least once in their life? Sit back and relax as your gondolier glides their craft along the lagoon, down the Grand Canal, and in and out of smaller, romantic canals during this unforgettable experience. If you prefer to prebook, try this sunset tour down the Grand Canal.

venetian gondola
  • Go Prosecco tasting and say “salute!”

Prosecco is Italy’s most famous sparkling wine and it hails from the Veneto region. Enjoy a day winery hopping in Prosecco wine country by car or join a tour that departs from Venice and takes you around to several renowned wineries of the region.

  • Explore beautiful Lake Garda

Italy’s biggest and arguably most majestic lake is actually part of three different Italian regions (Lombardy, Veneto and Trentino-Alto Adige). Enjoy some time on Lake Garda visiting small picturesque towns and wineries, explore the ruins of Roman villas, beautiful castles or go for a boat cruise along the lake to relax in style.

dolomites veneto region
  • Discover the dramatic Dolomites

Whether you’re a skier, hiker, or nature lover, a trip to the Dolomites will leave you breathless. Base yourself in Veneto’s Belluno or Cortina d’Ampezzo for easy access to the mountains. If you’re short on time, consider joining this full day Dolomites tour departing from Venice that takes in the highlights.

  • Attend an opera at Verona Arena

One of the most magical activities in Veneto during the summertime is to attend a performance at the open-air Ancient Roman Arena in Verona. The atmosphere is bewitching as the sun sets and the arena fills with music from legendary Italian composers. 

burano veneto region
  • Admire the colorful houses of Burano

Spend a day on the pretty island Burano, reached easily as a day trip from Venice. Once a tiny fishing town, it’s now a popular place to visit thanks to its gorgeous array of colored houses that line the canals. Discover how you can enjoy a full day visiting Burano with our blog article.

  • Get lost in art at the Biennale in Venice

Art and culture lovers adore the iconic Venice Biennale festival that runs annually from April to November. Every second year the main exhibition alternates between art and architecture – hence the name “Biennale” – however there are new exhibits exploring cultural themes via performances, sculptures and installations each year. 


What to eat and drink in Veneto

One of the best ways to discover the culture when you travel to Veneto is to try the region’s unique food and wine which is very different to what you find in southern Italy.  Veneto cuisine is based heavily on rice, polenta, and vegetables, as well as fish from the Adriatic coast and meat depending on the town.

Cheese from Veneto is delicious. Don’t miss trying Asiago and Grana Padano. Likewise, the region produces exquisite wines including Prosecco, Soave,  Amarone, and Valpolicella. 

cicchetti venice snack

Some favorite dishes of Veneto to seek out include:

  • Risotto

Whilst you can certainly find pasta in Veneto, the region makes delicious risotto. Try this dish with white asparagus, a specialty in Bassano; squid ink risotto in Venice; or the tasty risi e bisi – creamy rice and peas. 

  • Cicchetti

Famous in Venice, these small finger food items are often compared to Spanish tapas. Think little meatballs, little squids hard-boiled eggs, crostini with different toppings, and more. One of the best things to do in Venice is go bar hopping, enjoying an ombra (little glass of wine) at each bar and a different piece of cicchetti

LISTEN: To our podcast on experiencing Venetian Cicchetti.

  • Select Spritz

Move over aperol! Sit back in a glorious piazza when you travel in Veneto with a glass of Select Spritz in hand at aperitivo hour. This spirit was born in Venice and is the perfect ‘in-between aperol and campari’ option – not too sweet, not too bitter.

tiramiso veneto recipe
  • Baccalà Mantecato

You can’t leave Venice without trying this dish. Made with salted cod that has been softened for days in water before being boiled, skinned and deboned, the cod is then beaten into an incredibly tasty, fluffy mousse with oil. 

  • Bigoli

The typical pasta of the Veneto region is like a thick spaghetti. It is served with a typical sauce made with sardine or anchovy that is utterly delicious. 

  • Moeche

A favorite delicacy are fried soft shell crabs from the lagoon. They’re only in season during April or October as their shell is falling off, so it’s worth the trip to Venice at that time just for the chance to try them. 

  • Tiramisu

Veneto is home to perhaps Italy’s most famous dessert, so you have to try Tiramisu when you visit. Tiramisu is a decadent and creamy dessert made with Savoiardi biscuits, coffee, liquor, and lots of cream and sugar.

Where to stay in Veneto

venetian hotel - hotel in venice italy

Matching the diversity of the region, there are lots of different accommodation options to consider whilst traveling in Veneto. Choose from luxury hotels, B&Bs, agriturismi (farm stays), converted monasteries, castles, refugi (mountain huts) and more.

Venice makes for an obvious base and it is worth staying for at least three days just to explore the capital alone. Luxury hotels like Hotel Danieli overlooking the Grand Canal are a popular choice however there are many other options for budget travelers like Hotel Aquarius. Read our article on the best hotels in Venice for more luxury and boutique stays in Venice.


Verona is another great base to explore nearby Lake Garda as well as the enchanting city itself. Try Hotel Accademia for a luxe option, or Hotel Milano & Spa for a well-located more affordable choice. You’ll find several more options in our article on where to stay in Verona.

If you’re planning a trip to the Dolomites, base yourself in Cortina D’Ampezzo to explore the mountains beyond. The Grand Hotel Savoia is a stunning luxury hotel with breathtaking mountain views, or for modern chalet style try Hotel de Len in the heart of Cortina.


When to go to Veneto

Veneto experiences a big variation in temperatures throughout the year with warm summers, and cold winters when it can snow. Spring and Fall/Autumn are always a great time to visit the region to make the most of milder temperatures that are perfect for sightseeing – 12°C/53°F- 21°C/70°F in the Spring and around 18°C/64°F in the Fall. 

Summer in Venice (as well as Padova and Treviso) can be unpleasant as crowds are thick and temperatures and humidity near the lagoon area can get very high.

Enjoy the Palio in Padova in June replete with court, jesters, banquets, shows, theaters and jugglers, and of course lots of feasting. There’s a big medieval festival (Giostra della Rocca) in late summer in Monselice with chess competitions, dress-ups, and a Medieval market. 

dolomites in winter

The wintertime can be great to visit the Dolomites for skiing or in February during Carnevale in Venice. Temperatures are cold – between 0°C/32°F and  7°C/44°F – however this is also a popular time to visit Venice and prices soar.

Enjoy the sagra of Radicchio in Treviso in December, and wonderful Christmas markets around the region, especially in Treviso and Bassano del Grappa. If you’re planning a trip to Venice, you’ll want to watch out for ‘acqua alta’ between October and March when flooding can occur. 

How to get to Veneto

The main airports in Veneto are Marco Polo International Airport in Venice and Verona Villafranca Airport. From the airport, you can reach Venice by city bus, express shuttle, water bus, or taxi.

Venice is well-connected to the rest of Italy by high-speed train and it is a rather magical ride as you approach over the lagoon. From Rome, Milan, and Florence, you can make your way to Venice in under 3 hours via train.

READ: Our guide on how to get to Venice from Rome

Alternatively, if you’re driving, take the A4 to reach the capital from Milan in around 3.5 hours (269.5 km). From Florence, take the A13 to arrive in just over 3 hours (268.7 km). From Rome, you’ll travel along the E35 to reach Venice after at least 6 hours (525.6 km). It’s important to remember that you cannot drive in Venice so you’ll need to park in Mestre on the mainland or at a parking garage at Piazzale Roma. 

How to get around Veneto

The fast train is a great option for visiting Venice, Verona and Padova. However, it can be a little slow getting between different towns in Veneto via train as you will need to rely on slower regional trains. For a trip that takes in the Dolomites, wine country or along Lake Garda, it makes most sense to rent a car or a driver, or alternatively join a group tour.  

Let’s go to Veneto!

lake garda italy

We hope our travel guide to Veneto has inspired you to visit this wonderful region of Italy. If you’re looking for more information, have a listen to our podcast episodes on the islands of Venice and dishes to try in the lagoon city, or read our article on where to stay in Venice, and hidden gems of the capital.

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