The Best Places to Enjoy a Panoramic View of Venice

Venice is one of the most enchanting and beautiful cities in the world. Finding the best vantage points to look down on the city from a height gives you a great perspective and some truly magical views.

Campanile di San Giorgio Maggiore Venice - The Best Places to Enjoy a Panoramic View of Venice

Here are my top three places from which to enjoy that bird’s eye outlook.

Fondaco dei Tedeschi

Fondaco dei Tedeschi Venice - The Best Places to Enjoy a Panoramic View of Venice Fondaco dei Tedeschi Venice - The Best Places to Enjoy a Panoramic View of Venice

Right next to the Rialto Bridge, on its East side, this is a new kid on the block in terms of an accessible view, though the building itself dates from 1508. During its varied history it’s been used as a trading post for German merchants, a Napoleonic era customs house and a post office during the time of Mussolini. In 2016 it opened it’s doors as a luxury shopping centre, with many of the world’s most iconic luxury brands represented. The panoramic rooftop terrace is accessed via a modern hall on the 5th floor (which currently showcases some amazing artwork made from postage stamps). There’s currently no charge, but you do need to reserve a place for a given time slot. If it’s not a busy day, you can do that on arrival, and go and grab a coffee or gelato nearby if you can’t get in straight away. In high season, I strongly recommend reserving your slot in advance. You’ll have 15 minutes to enjoy the incredible views out over the Grand Canal and the Rialto Bridge, and indeed 360° degree views across Venice’s red-tiled roofs.

Fondaco dei Tedeschi Venice - The Best Places to Enjoy a Panoramic View of Venice Fondaco dei Tedeschi Venice - The Best Places to Enjoy a Panoramic View of Venice

Campanile di San Marco

Campanile di San Marco - The Best Places to Enjoy a Panoramic View of Venice (Hayley Plotkin) Campanile di San Marco - The Best Places to Enjoy a Panoramic View of Venice (Hayley Plotkin)
Images courtesy of Haley Plotkin at Ready Set Jet Set

If you notice that the Bell Tower of St Mark’s looks pretty new compared to the Basilica di San Marco and the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace), you’d be right. It was completely rebuilt following its collapse in 1902. Only one of the five original bells survived to be re-hung; the other four are now reproductions. The first tower on this site was constructed as a lighthouse in the 12th century, though there is evidence it was built on the foundations of a Roman era watchtower; it was rebuilt several times in the following centuries with the belfry added in the early 16th century. Today’s tower was rebuilt to the same external design as the one that collapsed, but with a stronger structure internally, and re-opened in 1912 on St Mark’s day. The queue to go up the tower (by lift) is almost permanent (access is 8 Euros per person) during opening hours, but you can book your slot in advance for a 5 Euro per person surcharge.

Campanile di San Marco - The Best Places to Enjoy a Panoramic View of Venice (Bianca M) Campanile di San Marco - The Best Places to Enjoy a Panoramic View of Venice (Bianca M)
Images courtesy of Bianca at Its All Bee

Campanile di San Giorgio Maggiore

A viewpoint I love even more than the Campanile di San Marco is the Campanile of 16th century Benedictine church, the Chiesa di San Giorgio Maggiore, a short hop by vaporetto (water bus) from San Marco to the tiny island at the tip of Giudecca. The strikingly beautiful basilica is built of white marble in a classical renaissance style. The original bell tower fell in 1774 and was rebuilt in 1791 in a neo-classic style. Situated across the water from Piazza San Marco, the 360° degree views from the top of the campanile encompass the Doge’s Palace, Basilica and Campanile of San Marco, as well as the length of the Riva degli Schiavoni waterfront down towards Arsenale, the glorious Basilica di Santa Maria della salute and the Punta della Dogana in Dorsoduro, the red-tiled rooftops of Giudecca, and the Fondazione Giriorio Cini gardens and marina of San Giorgio Maggiore island itself. I love how these views emphasise the island topography of the Venetian lagoon. Access via lift is through the church, and costs 6 Euros per person.

More Places From Which To Enjoy The View

Venice Hotels, Restaurants & Bars

Many of the best spots for an elevated view over Venice are within some of Venice’s preeminent hotels, and entrance is (understandably) restricted to guests of the hotel or bar customers. As many of the views are from the hotel’s restaurant or bar, you can visit as a drinking or eating customer, though check menu prices first if you’re on a budget – these are some of Venice’s most expensive venues! Some of the best views can be found in The Hotel Danieli, the Hilton Molino Venice and The Westin Europa & Regina.

The Bridges of Venice

While the highest point of bridges like the famous Ponte di Rialto, and the Ponte dell’ Accademia (currently closed for refurbishment) aren’t all that high, their position across the Grand Canal means they are still an excellent choice for panoramic views. They offer a great opportunity to capture the water traffic along the canal, as well as some of the beautiful architecture of the palaces lining it.

Scala Contarini del Bovolo

The views from this famous open-air spiral staircase aren’t as highly elevated as the campaniles or shopping centre rooftop, nor do they overlook the waters of the lagoon or canals. However, the red-tiled roof tops are always a delight, and the beautiful arched windows frame the view gloriously.

Fondaco dei Tedeschi Venice - The Best Places to Enjoy a Panoramic View of Venice
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The Best Places to Enjoy a Panoramic View of Venice

Thanks to Hayley and Bianca for their images of the views from Campanile di San Marco. Somewhere, probably in a musty box in my attic, are a pile of film negatives and prints from my own visit to the top of the bell tower!

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54 Comments to "The Best Places to Enjoy a Panoramic View of Venice"

  1. Megan

    The views of Grand Canal and the Rialto Bridge are absolutely stunning! I love the contrast between the terracotta roofs against the turquoise waters. I’ve never been to Venice (or Italy for that matter!), but when I do, I will be sure to check out some of these amazing view spots!

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  2. Diana

    Beautiful photos! I’m kind of bummed that I didn’t get to see Venice from above at all – I didn’t even realize all their roofs were red! I will definitely have to go back for more than just a few hours next time – great job finding all these spots!

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  3. Alice Ford

    I loved exploring Venice but I never had explored all these great viewpoints. The Campanile of 16th century Benedictine church does look just picture perfect.

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  4. Stephanie

    I also have been to Venice but never saw these stunning views! I feel ripped off haha. Your pictures are beautiful what a lovely read

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  5. Clarice Lao

    Venice is just beautiful. It’s not modern but it still has a certain appeal even to the younger generations. Can’t wait to go back there and have another relaxing vacation.

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  6. Susanna

    I really love this because most of the time when I see photos of Venice it is the closeup of the waterways from ground level, so you rarely see aerial views! However, Venice is just as lovely – if not more from above and you captured it perfectly!

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  7. Danila Caputo

    I absolutely love Venice and I’m Italian. Yet… being Italian also means that I know there are other places I like more in my Country. Unfortunately Venice has been overwhelmed by tourists and while the locals are now starting to fight back because they realize that too much tourism is destroying their city, the prices keep on rising, a pity! Anyway, you took AMAZING pictures, you should print and frame some!

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  8. Sanne

    Those views are great! When I was in Venice, I haven’t not been to these viewpoints and now I’m a little jealous haha.

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  9. Nicky

    You’ve captured some really beautiful photos! Love Venice: I’ve been there twice, and the urge to go back again is still as strong as ever!

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  10. Nancie

    I love your views of Venice and I have fond memories of my visits there many many years ago. Your post makes me want to go back.

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  11. Mo

    OMG the views look stunning! I have never been, but will keep these spots in mind for my next visit ;–)

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  12. susanna

    It’s been ages since I have visited Venice too – but I do remember the views from the Rialto bridge! So beautiful x

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  13. alison netzer

    What a fun article to write about your views of venice. I love Venice, but it’s been a while. Need to get back and follow your views.

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  14. Anisa

    I love going to viewpoints in the cities that I visit, but I didn’t have much time when I was in Venice. Venice is so pretty so definitely worth doing it there. Hope to make it back soon, so pinned for later.

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  15. Steph and zach dorworth

    We went to Venice for our honeymoon and loved it. You’re so right that the skyline views are the best. it seems like Campanile di San Marco has incredible views. Had no idea the bell tower was rebuilt in 1912- very cool fact! We stayed on Rose Island which had great views as well. Lovely post!

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  16. Rhiannon

    The few times I visited Venice when I was living in Italy the weather was really quite bad so seeing it from above wasn’t an option unfortunately! And the 1 time I was there and the sun was shining was for a University trip and I had absolutely 0 spare time! These pictures and the various views are absolutely stunning, they definitely have me wanting to book a flight out ASAP.

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  17. Stacey

    My aunt whom I was close to really, really loved Venice. She raved how beautiful it is, and that I really must go there. I’d love to see views like this. Hoping to take my mother there someday, in honor of my aunt (my mom’s sister). Thank you for sharing the viewpoints, I’ll keep this as a list!

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  18. Amy

    Great post and really, are there ever any bad views of Venice! All your photos are gorgeous and just makes me want to go back again. I did go in the winter time so perhaps I can do summer this time. And I’m going to visit all these panoramic sites!

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  19. Wendy

    Wow! I have not been to Venice, and when I go, I am taking your recommendations for views – Fondaco dei Tedeschi, Campanile di San Marco , Campanile di San Maggiore, The Hotel Danieli, the Hilton Molino Venice and The Westin Europa & Regina, Ponte di Rialto, and the Ponte dell’ Accademia, Scala Contarini del Bovolo. Love it! I am always chasing the views, especially those with water.

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  20. Heather

    I LOVE to get great panoramic shots of a city and these views are stunningly gorgeous. Have to say that my favorite is the “new kid” Fondaco dei Tedeschi. I like that you can reserve a ticket and it’s no charge! I haven’t been to Venice yet (only Rome) so I will definitely be climbing to the top for these views!

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  21. Claire

    Gorgeous views! I have heard of all the view points except Fondaco dei Tedeschi – would not have even noticed it if you had not pointed it out. It is a pity that I did not get to see Venice from the top but the sights were still quite breathtaking when viewed from the grand canal 🙂

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  22. Linda

    Thank for this post. We have been to Venice several times but have never gone up for a panoramic view – other than what we got coming in by cruise ship. You got some great views! It was good to find out that some of these views require reservations. I have saved this post to remind me the next time we are in Venice.

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  23. Cindy Baker

    Thanks for the detail on where to find the best views and how to get to them. I think that one of the best pieces of advice for photographing a city is to get up high. I love the photos looking down on the red-tiled rooftops!

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  24. Debbzie Leksono

    Wow! These vantage point you shared here are absolutely stunning! Unfortunately I had only a brief day trip to Venice years ago. It was also the peak season so I had to pass a visit to Basilica di San Marco as the queue was waaay too long. If I had the chance to explore Venice again, I’d definitely go to Campanile di San Giorgio Maggiore and Campanile di San Marco. Thanks for sharing this awesome spots! 😀

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  25. Pooja

    Loved reading the post. Your pictures make Venice look so beautiful. The post is very informative. Will keep it handy to plan my trip here.

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  26. Joe

    Your pictures look amazing! I love all the red-tiled roofs. We have a thing for rooftop bars, so will definitely be checking some of them out to see the views for ourselves!

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  27. Carrie

    Those photos from the Campanile di San Marco are amazing! I sadly didn’t get any great aerial views of Venice when I was there — it was November and so foggy you couldn’t see five feet in front of you. On the plus side, there were no tourists, but I definitely feel like I missed out on some of the architectural beauty.

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  28. Adelina

    All these images are stunning! Especially the views from Campanile di San Marco. I’ve yet to visit Venice but hope to one day and will definitely have to check out the views from all these viewpoints.

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  29. Bhusha

    I went to Italy on a solo trip so I deliberately left off Venice, coz I just didn’t want to go there without my guy!
    So yeah, I have one more to trip to go to Italy to visit the the places I missed earlier.
    Of all the views, Campanile di San Marco looks the most beautiful.

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  30. Paige W

    What a gorgeous post. I’ve not ever seen some of these views. Fondaco dei Tedeschi is my favorite , I’m glad that it has opened up recently. I just love it.

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  31. Rosemary

    Have not made it to Venice yet and I can’t wait. What incredible views especially from the Bell Tower. I really hope to visit the area soon!

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  32. Jennifer

    We spent two days in Venice and I never even thought about trying to get a view from above. What a difference! Wandering the narrow streets is a ton of fun, but I wish we had known about these vantage points to really see how things are laid out.

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  33. Swati & Sam

    Venice has been on our list for so many years now. It’s a gorgeous city. We missed visiting Venice the last time we were in Milan. The roofs have almost the same color.

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  34. Jennifer

    I lived in Venice for seven years and you definitely discovered some the best roof top view points. Fondaco dei Tedeschi is one of my new favorites. They’re not open late enough in summertime, but if you visit from September – April you can go right around sunset. It’s even more spectacular then.

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  35. Pujarini Mitra

    Beautifully photographed. Your pictures take me back to the city of Venice. I haven’t seen all these spots and I am saving your post to help me plan the next time.

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  36. Maggie

    I love this unique take on sightseeing Venice! Wish I had known about these places when I was there a few months ago. And I love that you included some of the history too!

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  37. Lydia

    Stunning! Venice seems so romantic and worth exploring. Your pictures portray very charming places and things to see. How many days would be enough to see all of the highlights in Venice?

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    kaveyeats

    It depends a little on your sightseeing style. We move slowly, love to linger to take photos, and stop often for coffee, or to sit and enjoy a view… I’d say minimum 5-6 nights to see Venice beyond the top few sights, which are wonderful but very very crowded. To get the full charm of Venice you need time to explore the quieter streets and corners too.

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  38. Jenia

    Man, I wish we knew this before we went! Don’t know when we’ll be back, but I’ll keep this list in mind. I think the last view is my favorite 🙂 What a photogenic city!

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  39. tif

    This is so beautiful!! I can’t believe there are so many places to get these great views!!

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  40. Mel

    What a detailed article, I’m not a fan of heights, so I might stick to the bridges of Venice rather than the Campanile di San Marco, which seems pretty high from the picture

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  41. Mike

    Wow! Photos from Venice are usually breathtaking – but you take it to the next level, absolutely amazing shots! My favorite views are from the Campanile di San Marco

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  42. sabrina

    This is great and super informative! Can you believe I live only 30 mins from Venice and never been to any of these places? LOL! Anyway, I’ve bookmarked your article and be sure I’ll go to each and every of these panoramic spots very soon! thanks for sharing !

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  43. Sandy N Vyjay

    Venice is beautiful. But we felt that it would be lovely to view the panorama of the city from a height. Walking in the streets one does not get an idea of the overall beauty. The Fondaco dei Tedeschi is I guess opened after we had been there, but seems like one of the good options to get some fantastic panoramic views of Venice.

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  44. Vedante

    Absolutely gorgeous pictures! I hardly ever get to view this perspective of Venice. I definitely want to see Venice from a high platform.

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  45. eli

    Love the red rooves of Venice. I’ve actually never seen panoramic views of Venice before, only gondolas and canals and nice churches. Really paints a different picture of the beauty of the city.

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  46. Shannon

    Beautiful photos! I missed Venice when I was in Italy last year, but it’s definitely on my list to visit! Great ideas to note for when I do visit! 🙂

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  47. Ami Bhat

    Now I really like this plethora of vantage points that you have shared. I wish I had discovered them when I was in Venice. Campanile di San Marco would be my first pick for it seems to give a good view of all the landmark spots of Venice

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  48. David

    I’ve been all over Italy but I’ve never managed to visit Venice yet. I always like to get a view from above whilst on holiday. Chiesa di San Giorgio Maggiore Would be the place for me I think!

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  49. Saakshi

    Venice looks so charming! It’s been on my wish list for years now. Have heard of the city so much! Your post makes me want to go and experience the stunningness of the place. Gorgeous clicks!

    Reply
  50. Shaily

    Wow! Stunning Pictures! Venice is such a beautiful city and getting the bird’s eye views of the city from different points is a lovely experience. It offers great views, amazing photo opportunities and of course an exhilarating feeling. Thanks for sharing the list of all vantage points to enjoy the city’s magical charm and romantic glory. 🙂

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  51. Archana Singh

    I used to love Venice until it became overrun by the tourists. But now I avoid going there. However, the places that you mentioned are my favourite places too, especially the Grand Canal and the Rialto Bridge.

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    kaveyeats

    We have been three times in last 20+ years, our first visit was in 1997. Yes there are more tourists but it’s easy to find quieter corners and do enjoy the charms of Venice! 👍

    Reply

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