Venice is a veritable maze of stunning old canals, crumbling Gothic bricks and some of the most incredible architecture you can find anywhere in Europe. Finding beautiful places to take photos isn't too much of a challenge in Venice but there are some unmissable locations that you'll want to be sure to visit.
Cannaregio is located far north of the centre of Venice and as such is more hidden away and free of the tourists which flock to San Marco. Here you'll find some incredible gardens which have been tended to by locals for centuries. They are overgrown and wild and seamlessly blend into the buildings. Almost like a secret garden.
The Ca' d'Oro or the golden house is so named because of the gilt decorations which once adorned its walls. Although these have long faded, the building is still one of the most incredible examples of Gothic architecture in Venice. The views inside the old manor house offer sumptuous textures and patterns formed in marble. From the outdoor porch facing the waterway you can nab some of the most stunning views of the Grand Canal.
Mercato di Rialto
The Mercato di Rialto, or Venice Marketplace, is where you'll find heaps of colourful Italian fruit and vegetables, laid out like piles brightly coloured gemstones. Stacked underneath vibrant red awnings, behind smiling Venetian farmers, the smells of the market are almost as strong as the picturesque produce.
The Rialto Bridge is the most famous of the four iconic bridges along the Venetian Grand Canal. There are always lots of tourists on the bridge, but if you visit early in the morning you have the best chance of seeing it without a huge mob. I like to photograph the bridge on the approach from the Grand Canal vaporetto, with dramatic views of gondolas cruising in front.
San Polo is the smallest neighbourhood in Venice and one of the oldest parts of the city. As such, you can wander these alleyways and tiny canals to find some of the most ancient and yet fantastically colourful compositions. The layers of brick and stucco, changing surfaces and colours from the various years of construction make for a charming patchwork quilt of textures.
Standing atop the Ponte Accademie, you have an iconic view of the Grand Canal and some of the most gorgeous architectural masterpieces of Venice. The contrasting colours along this portion of the canal are stunning, the blues of the water, against golden painted Gothic facades and red and white striped paline poles where gondolas dock look like something out of a painting.
The Grand Canal is obviously one of the most photographed parts of Venice. No trip here is completed without a view across these majestic waters. Early morning, as the sun has begun to rise, I think is the time best time since the golden light cast upon the buildings is nothing but fantastic. Hop on one of the Grand Canal's vaporettos and get a seat up front for the best vantage point as you float down the most scenic waterway in Europe.
The Grand Canal may be what you expect to see when you come to Venice but their baby sisters are those unexpected surprises which makes you fall in love. The air is full of intrigue as gondolas glide across the aquamarine waters between tightly packed quarters. Looking over the railing of whichever bridge you’re standing on it’s almost impossible not to feel like you’ve fallen into a dream. The Little Canals are like the those precious side streets in all European cities which are a haven away from the throngs of tourists and where you’ll find all the locals having a drink in the mid afternoon.
Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute
The Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute is one of the most incredible buildings in Venice, but turn your back to it for a second and you'll be surprised what you see. Bobbing up and down in the waters are beautiful black lacquered gondolas set against a backdrop of unbelievable Gothic architecture. It's a rather simple scene but one which I find immensely charming.
San Giorgio Maggiore
San Giorgio Maggiore is an island situated right across from St. Mark's Square. Although the island also has some incredible places to visit, there is nothing like sitting on the water edge and looking out at the entirety St. Mark's Square. From here you have a completely clear panoramic view of this side of the city. It not only makes for an incredible photo but also helps you orientate yourself when you visit the square itself.
St. Mark’s Square
St. Mark’s Square is the heart at which the entirety of Venice was built around. It is where you'll find many of the most popular tourist destinations, and for good reason. The stunning red brick bell tower in the middle of the square, photographed against a bright blue sky, is always a superbly constructed picture and one which screams, “Venice!”
Cafes in San Marco
There are two iconic cafes in St. Mark's Square which might cost a pretty penny but are absolutely free to look at. The yellow and red chairs of the respective cafes are like an artistic pattern across the cobblestone exteriors of St. Mark’s Square. The set up looks best in the morning when the chairs aren’t full of tourists on their phones so best to come early in the morning.
Basilica San Marco
St. Mark’s Basilica is the essence of Venice. Bright, colourful and artistic. Although the square in front of the Basilica gets immensely crowded during the day, it’s easy enough to get close up to photograph some of the vibrant mosaics on the exterior which the Basilica is so famous for. At sunrise or sunset, the colours reflecting off the glass mosaics are incredible so if you're an early bird or night owl you're in for a treat.
Both the interior and exterior of the Doge's Palace looks like something out of a Gothic fairy tale. While the outside is stunning, with its rose marble and intricate floral traceries, I love the interior for its peaceful atmosphere. Since getting inside requires admission you'll find yourself, most days, escaping the hoards of people outside. In here, you can hear your footsteps on the cobblestones and are surrounded by some of the most incredible architecture anywhere in Venice. A picture from in here looks like you’ve stepped inside a castle all to yourself.
Bridge of Sighs
Beside the Basilica, around the corner from the Doge's Palace, is the Bridge of Sighs. This bridge was once used by prisoners as the gateway between the city courts and their prison cells. For prisoners sentenced to death, this was their last chance to look out at blue waters of Venice. The haunting history of the bridge makes it a powerful picture in itself but the bright white marble set against the blue sky and neon teal waters of the canal is what makes it superb.
Riva Degli Schiavone
The Riva Degli Schiavone is located right in front of St. Mark's square and is where you can see some of the most gorgeous gondolas moored, awaiting riders to journey along the Grand Canal. The exquisite green street lamps of Venice with their pink Murano glass frame the skyline perfectly as you look out at San Giorgio Maggiore .
Stepping outside of the main island is so important when visiting Venice. Burano is one of the most popular side islands due to it's multi-coloured fisherman's village. These houses are home to both some of the cities best fishermen as well as the famous lace makers which produce some of Italy’s finest lace. The houses along the canals are each painted a different colour, and bright colours at that. They make for some of the most exciting and dynamic pictures and are well worth the 45-minute boat ride out to the island.
Murano, a sister island to Burano, is much less popular but no less incredible. The island is most notable for its glass blowing craftspeople but what I love it for are their dramatically colourful alleyways and residences. Hidden away from the main canal, you'll find these secret passageways leading you throughout the rural homes of real Venetians. Covered in rich textiles and vibrant shudders they make for incredible photographs.
In truth, there is no street or canal in Venice which doesn’t make for the most incredible photograph but if you want to set a challenge for yourself and find the most beautiful locations the city has to offer I hope you found this list helpful! Let me know what’s your favourite location in Venice to take photographs if you have any other hidden gems which you think people absolutely must see!