Venice is a tourist hot spot with almost 30 million tourists visiting every year, including millions of Muslim travellers. Venice is also much more Muslim friendly option offering plenty of halal places to east, mosques to pray and of course things to see.
This small city has some fantastic architecture and unique style that makes it unique.
Venice is located in the northeastern part of Italy in the Veneto region. It is a city like no other since it is located and spread across 117 small islands that are separated by canals and linked by bridges. A unique sight for any visitor.
The settlement in this cluster of islands began in the 7th century, and gradually it formed the city we know today.
Venice was a significant maritime power during the Middle Ages and Renaissance era, and an essential commercial power-producing and selling silk, grain and spice.
With easy access to sea and land, it was an important city throughout history. Venice is renowned for its beautiful architecture as well as artwork, and it played an essential role throughout history being one of the wealthiest cities in the region.
Venice rose after the fall of the Roman Empire in the west. This land of itinerant fishers and salt workers was ruled by Byzantine Empire, Lombards, Italian Kings, Doge and The Vatican. This makes it rich in culture, architecture and cuisines.
It is also known for the symphonic and operatic music, and it is the birthplace of Antonio Vivaldi, a world-renowned composer.
The lagoon and part of the city of Venice is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
I am so happy I had the chance to explore this great city and also take my mum with me after a conference I attended.
I have to say it is by far my mum’s most favourite city in Italy. She loves it irrespective of the crowd and navigation difficulties.
I find this fascinating as Venice is on the water with small cobbled streets and not much space to move, so be prepared to squeeze between other tourists.
However, this doesn’t take away from the beautiful architecture of the city and the fact that Venice is very Muslim-friendly when it comes to exploring it.
It is very easy to find halal restaurants in Venice, mosques to pray, and of course, you can enjoy the beautiful architecture and history associated with it.
Apart from this, Venice is a beautiful city, the canals are lovely to walk around, and it is very nice just to lose yourself in the never-ending small streets. Which is what we just did and we got lost and ended up outside a halal takeaway.
I mean what else would you expect to find in Venice, right?
Venice is a place where anyone can enjoy. It is a complete package. You can experience the crowd while walking, but a gondola ride in the canal can take you to another world. There are no cars in Venice so you can either travel on a boat or foot.
Best Time to Visit Venice
If Venice is in your bucket list, you should plan your visit anywhere from February (Venetian carnival) to Spring and Summer.
However, keep in mind that June to August is peak tourist season so accommodation prices will be higher.
The Best Things to do in Venice
#1 Join a free walking tour of Venice
One of the first things I like to do in a new city is to join a free walking tour.
There are so many places to see in Venice, and there is no better way to get an insider’s knowledge than joining a free walking tour. As the name suggests, the tour is free to join, and the tour guide works for the tips, which are welcome but not a must.
Walking tours are a great way to familiarise yourself into the new city and to learn about places to visit of the beaten path. A simple search on Airbnb experiences will bring up many companies who organise such tours.
You need to register online and just show up on the dedicated location 10 minutes before the tour.
VeniceFreeWalkingTour.com is an excellent example of a free walking tour that takes you on a different journey, and it doesn’t include the main attractions which you can visit on your own. If you are looking for something different and you are on a budget then definitely recommended.
You can also book an exclusive tour of hidden Venice (places with more beauty and less crowd).
#2 St Mark’s Square and Basilica
The Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark or more commonly known as the St Mark’s Basilica is the most famous of the city’s churches and the best example of beautiful Italo-Byzantine architecture.
The Basilica is located on St Mark’s square, the most famous square in Venice and literally, all roads of the city lead to the St Mark’s square and the Basilica. The Basilica was originally the chapel of the Doge’s palace to which it is adjacent, and it only became the main cathedral in 1807.
You can visit a small proportion of the Basilica today for free. If you want to pay extra, you can enter the Basilica and the St Mark’s Campanile. To enjoy a bird’s eye view of Venice from 98meters.
It takes approximately 40 min to reach with a slow walk from the train station. Plenty of signs on your way there, although it is hard to miss since everyone is moving in the same direction, just follow the flow.
#3 Tour Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale)
Located adjacent to St Mark’s Basilica the Doge Palace is one of the prominent landmarks in Venice along with site St Mark’s Piazza. It was built in Venetian Gothic style, and it served as the primary residence for the supreme leader of Venice.
The palace’s rich history began in 1340. It was once the heart of political life and public administration for the Venetian Republic. It opened as a museum in 1923, and you can visit it even today.
One of the most remarkable places in the palace is the Bridge of Sighs, once connecting the court and the prison. You can see the bridge without going into the museum, but if you want to pass through it, you will have to pay for the entrance to the museum.
The entrance ticket costs 19 EUR (21.20 USD). But if you plan to visit other museums on the island during the weekend, you can also purchase a Museum Pass for 24 EUR (26.80 USD). Tickets and passes can be purchased directly from the official website or a travel agency.
#4 Piazza San Marco
The breathtaking Piazza is by far the most iconic place in Venice. It connects all other landmarks such as St Mark’s Basilica, the Campanile and the Doges’ Palace. It is buzzing with tourists day and night, you can enjoy the beautiful view in some of the numerous cafes, and people watch for hours.
Many of the cafes offer live music by a piano or a band, and it makes it the perfect backdrop for a beautiful couple of hours.
Though be prepared that prices are steep considering the location and you do pay an extra surcharge for the band. However, if it was on your bucket list, as it was in mine, it is money well spent.
It was on my bucket list (thank you Hollywood movies), and I did pay 50euroes for two coffees to enjoy this for a few hours.
#5 Canale Grande
The largest of all the Canals in Venice, Grand Canale, is just at the end of St Mark’s square and it offers beautiful views of Venice. You can take the Water bus from there to other parts of Venice as well.
There are around 170 historic buildings on the bank of Grande Canale dating back to the 13th century.
#6 Gondola ride
No trip to Venice is ever complete without taking on a gondola in the city’s famous canals. The Grand Canal in Venice is one of the main attractions for every tourist in the city.
The City of Venice has set standard prices to avoid tourists being tricked into paying more than it should. It costs approximately 100euro for up to 4 people for 50min ride. Signs are explaining the prices next to the gondolas.
If you want to save on cost, you can join with another couple and split the bill in half. It is something that many tourists do to avoid the high price.
You can take a gondola from any of the canals however I would recommend to go big and start your journey in the Grand Canal of Venice just off St Mark’s square.
#7 Ponte de Rialto (Rialto Bridge)
Rialto Bridge, a stone-arch bridge and one of the most extraordinary and marvellous bridges in Venice, was constructed in just three years, between the 1588 and 1591.
It is the oldest bridge across the canal, and it was the dividing line between the two districts of San Marco and San Polo.
Today the bridge is the main attraction in Venice, with many shops, restaurants and tourists visiting day and night. The best view of the bridge can be seen from the canal, so taking a gondola or a Vaporetto is a must.
Unfortunately, when we went one side of the bridge was closed for restoration, so it was bustling, and we couldn’t see through it. Surrounding the bridge you can find many shops and restaurants to enjoy a short break.
#8 Gallerie dell’Accademia
Formerly a convent, this building is a museum gallery of pre-19th-century art. It features the work of artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Bellini, Canaletto and Titian. If you love art, this is the place for you.
#9 Venice Lido (Lido di Venezia)
Venice Lido is the place where I was able to relax and get away from the massive crowd. It is an escape and provides a break from the busy streets. Home to Venice film festival, this island is the inspiration behind the name “Lido deck” on a cruise ship.
Murano is known for artisan glassmaking; the island offers several places to explore. Here, you can visit Mazzega Glass Factory, enjoy the gothic architecture of Palazzo da Mula and see colourful houses which Murano is famous for.
You can get a Vaporetto from the ACTV docks at the Fondamente Nove. It will take you approx 10 minutes to reach Murano from Venice.
Muslim-Friendly Venice Options
There are Muslims everywhere in the world, and Venice is no exception. Contrary to popular belief, there are a lot of halal food options and mosques in Venice.
Halal Food in Venice
There are so many halal food restaurants in Venice that I don’t even think many of them are available to check online.
Usually, you can see they have a sign that says Halal as well as a certificate. Always double check to confirm but walking around Venice you won’t go hungry of halal food for sure.
We ate in the SKK shop, which we found by mistake while lost on our way back to the hotel. I hadn’t seen the Halal sign on the window when I walked in and when I asked the guy didn’t understand me. I ordered a vegetarian pizza—still great and very affordable prices.
Below are some more halal places to eat in Venice, all of them are in the main tourist area so you will not have a problem finding them.
- SKK Shock Kebab Italy 4253 Via Daniele Manin, Venezia, Veneto
- Orient Experience Cannaregio | Rio Tera’ Farsetti 1847/b, 30121 Venice, Italy
- Quanto Basta Address: Cannaregio, 148, Venice, Italy
- Namaste Venezia : Corso del Popolo 78, 30172, Mestre Italy
- Fairouz: Antonio Olivi 53, 30171, Mestre Italy
- Gerusalemme Pizza Kebab: Via Carducci 51, 30172 Venice Italy
There are plenty of choices when it comes to halal restaurants in Venice from Indian cuisine to Mediterranean and Turkish.
Mosques to Pray in Venice
With many Muslim visitors, you can find small mosques to pray all around the city. Interestingly, the parish Church turns into a mosque every Friday. 😊
We went to the Islamic Cultural Center, which is located a short distance from the train station and on the way to St. Mark’s square. Most Mosques in Venice are small, and I loved the warm vibes there.
I have listed some of these mosques below:
- Mestre Old Jame Masjid : Piazzale Madonna Pellegrina, 1, 30172 Venezia VE, Italy
- Islamic Cultural Center: Viale Antonio Paolucci, 42, 30175 Venezia VE, Italy
- Centro Islamico. Comunità Islamica di Venezia e Provincia: Via C. Monzani, 11, 30175 Venezia VE, Italy
- Bangla Mosque: Via Filippo Corridoni, 9, 30172 Venezia VE, Italy
Venice hotels are expensive and depending on the season, summer, spring and carnival time being the peak travel times for Venice it can get out of hand.
If you want to save money and hassle of dragging your bags across the city, I would suggest staying close to the train station or in the Venice Mestre area. From Venice Mestre, you can take a 20 min bus ride, and you can be in Venice. Hotels cost considerably less, and it is less busy than staying on the main island of Venice.
We stayed in the Bellini Hotel next to the train station, which was very convenient. It was re-branded to NH Venezia Santa Lucia, but if I went again, I would stay there.
The location of the hotel was excellent just at the entrance of Venice, so it was convenient for luggage and also for exploring the city. You were never far away from the action.
I am glad I booked this hotel because I cannot imagine carrying my luggage through the cobbled streets, although you can pay for people to do this with a buggy.
Since Venice is on the water and mostly connected via small bridges, there is no straight road to take you to one place. It is like a labyrinth, and you have to make your way around. The problem is that this makes it harder to carry your bags around.
My best advice will be to travel light if you are coming to Venice.
Airbnb is also a much better option when it comes to Venice, especially for families or friends who want to share the space. It is cheaper and more practical as you can also cook if needs be.
Venice Mestre is much cheaper but again depends on your budget and how many days you are visiting.
- NH Hotel Venezia
- Hotel Ai Cavalieri di Venezia
- The Gritti Palace, A Luxury Collection Hotel
- Hilton Molino Stucky Venice Hotel
- JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa
- Airbnb apartments, (perfect for families and those on a budget )
Depending on where you are arriving and leaving from, there are plenty of transportation choices. We opted for the bus, which is just a few minutes from the train station. It costs 9 euro per person, and it takes you in front of the airport in 20 minutes.
You can also take a water taxi or even a private service. Initially, I was thinking of doing this; however, I was told that the water bus stop at the airport is quite a walk and it takes almost 1 hour and a half to reach. You can find all the information with regards to airport transport here.
Being the only pedestrian city in the world, Venice is straightforward to walk around. All you need is comfortable shoes, and you are good to go.
Vaporetto transport – Water bus
Since Venice is a collection of so many small islands, there is a need for more than just one method of transportation, which is walking. The Vaporetto is a water bus and the main public transport in Venice and used by locals and tourists alike.
It has stops within the Grand Canal and other parts of the city, even connecting you to the airport.
The prices are high for one-way tickets costing up to 7 euro depending on where you are going, but it is a great way to see the city from the canal. It offers a different view, plus it’s cheaper than a gondola right if you are on a budget.
It can be an excellent option to take the Vaporetto from St Mark’s square to the train or bus station and not having to carry your luggage through the cobbled streets and bridges.
It is a highly recommended experience, and you can retake the Vaporetto on the way back. It is much cheaper than having a private tour as it only costs €7.50 (valid for 75 minutes), you can either go for a single stop or take a Grand Canal tour.
I loved the beauty, architecture and the overall experience of visiting Venice. Although too much crowd restricted me from truly exploring the city, I found it overwhelming at times. My mom, on the other hand, absolutely loved it. I’d say it is a must-visit for everyone at least once in a lifetime.
The city is Muslim-friendly like most of Italy and stunning, so exploring it will provide you with plenty of opportunity for photos.