No doubt about it, Venice is a photographer’s dream. Striking architecture, gorgeous canal vistas and street scenes featuring sealegged locals – the city has postcard-worthy views at almost every turn. But where are the real gems? The places you can capture the most incredible images without fighting thirty other tourists for the same spot? You’ve done the Bridge of Sighs and the multicoloured buildings of Burano – now it’s time for some insider knowledge, and we’re here to help. Whether you’re a pro or snapping your masterpieces from your phone, here’s where to find the very best photography spots in Venice.
Maria Callas Bridge
One of the lesser-snapped bridges in the city, Ponte Maria Callas in San Marco is a great spot to get a photo memento of your time in Venice – provided you have someone else to play photographer. Head to Fondamenta Maria Callas, stand on the pretty old white stone bridge and get a shot with the colourful buildings (and the tower) in the background.
If it’s lesser-known spots you’re after, add Cannaregio to your itinerary. This quarter of the city is where everyday life happens, so it’s a great place for some street photography. You’ll find one of the best photography spots in Venice here, too. Wander along the Fondamenta de la Sensa until you come across a bridge – from here there’s a really special view of the Madonna dell’ Orto church directly opposite.
The dock by Hotel San Moise
If you’ve been prepping for your trip with some hardcore Instagram action, you will probably have come across at least one photo of someone staring wistfully into the distance while sat on this dock by the canal. While the travel bloggers who visit this spot may not be so willing to give up its location, we’ve got your back. Wander over to the Hotel San Moise in San Marco, then just keep walking towards the canal – you’ll see the Insta-famous small dock on the left. The address on Google Maps is Piscina S. Moise, 1459. Easy peasy!
Scala Contarini del Bovolo
Hidden down a little alleyway in San Marco is this spiralling staircase, attached to the Contarini del Bovolo Palace. Translating to ‘staircase of the snail’, it’s not hard to see why this winding 15th-century structure became known as such. It was reopened to the public after 30 years in 2016, so it’s high time to pay a visit. Snap some photos of the beautiful gothic architecture from the outside, then burn off those carbs and enjoy the stunning views from the top. You’ll find it here: San Marco, 4303, 30124.
The crypt at San Zaccaria
The church of San Zaccaria is certainly a beauty, but if you’re looking for something a bit different to photograph, it’s the crypt below that is the real treat. Having been built during the 9th century, the crypt has sunken over time and is now filled with water, making it a great spot for some eerie photos, though presumably the eight doges who are buried here aren’t quite as thrilled. Pay the church caretaker a couple of euros to gain entry.
It may not be a secret, but snapping the Rialto Bridge is an essential part of any Venice photography itinerary. Head here in the evening if you can – the daytrippers will have left and it’s a lovely spot for sunset shots with backlit boats and twinkling lights reflected in the water. If you’re taking a photo of the bridge itself, walk down the stairs via the San Polo side; there’s a stone dock on the right that makes an ideal viewing platform.
T Fondaco dei Tedeschi
You can’t leave Venice without an obligatory panoramic picture, and this spot happens to be free. Take the elevator to the roof terrace at the T Fondaco dei Tedeschi department store and fantastic 360° views will await you. You’ll need to book your 15-minute slot in advance – do it here. While we’re on the topic of panoramic shots, don’t forget to whip your camera out at the bell towers of St. Mark’s Basilica and San Giorgio Maggiore; two spots undeniably offering the best views in Venice.
Piazza San Marco
Ok, so this one definitely isn’t secret, but the real hint here is when to come. Cruise ships carrying huge swarms of daytrippers begin arriving from 9am onwards, but if you head over to St. Mark’s Square before this you’ll find it surprisingly empty – perfect for taking some serene shots of the Basilica and bell tower. Pop by early enough and you’ll find it’s just you and the local street sweepers; not a bad setup for some classic Venice photography.
If street photography is more your bag, you’ll find plenty of opportunities at the local markets near the Rialto. The fish market here is particularly interesting from a photography point of view. If you come in the morning while the vendors are still setting up you can capture a real taste of everyday life in the city – just don’t be that person getting in everyone’s way. Other great locations for shooting local life in the city are Dorsoduro, Castello and the Jewish Ghetto in Cannaregio.
Riva degli Schiavoni
How will people know you went to visit if you don’t have a sunset photo in front of the bobbing gondolas? Hey, no judgement here – the view from the waterfront of Riva degli Schiavoni is pretty damn spectacular; the island of San Giorgio Maggiore makes the perfect backdrop. Photos here will be even more special if you can stop by at sunrise or sunset. On the other side of the water, the view from outside the gorgeous Santa Maria della Salute church looking towards St. Marks is also a stunner.
Only got one day in Venice? Take a look at our ultimate 24 hour itinerary and make the absolute most of your time here.
Camera at the ready – it’s time for your Venetian escape. There’s just one more thing you need; the Orbzii app. Plan and book your perfect trip, packed with the very best of the city’s hidden gems.