Venice is one of those places that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime.
It’s a unique set of archipelago islands, with only boats and gondolas for transport and many beautiful bridges connecting what used to be over a hundred individual villages.
Once we had set foot into the city, we immediately fell in love with its charm and felt like we had escaped into some sort of romantic film set.
What’s more, when travelling to Venice, gay travellers like ourselves should feel very welcome.
We spent two nights on our ‘gay Venice’ trip and managed to cover plenty of the city whilst still having a relaxing and enjoyable time.
In this guide we have shared our itinerary of how to spend two days in gay Venice as well as a look into gay friendly hotels in Venice, the gay scene (is there a gay bar in Venice?), gay rights in Italy and local attitudes.
Is Venice Gay Friendly?
From our experience, yes, Venice is gay friendly. Whilst it may not have a big gay scene, Venice felt safe, LGBTQ friendly and put us at ease.
We had no issues, or even looks, walking around hand in hand and being openly affectionate. This may be in part, due to the fact it is a very tourist packed destination.
Things to do in Gay Venice, Italy
Two days in Venice is probably the most common amount of time to go for, some people even take a day trip from other parts of Europe!
Here is how we spent our two days in Venice hour by hour – you can use this to put your own Gay Venice itinerary or holiday together:
Venice – Day 1
Arrive 16:00: Check in to our hotel (see gay friendly hotels in Venice below). We left our booking until the last minute and stayed in a very cute B&B called Residenza degli Angeli which was in an excellent location and had some very lovely and helpful owners.
16:30-19:30: Go and explore! Because the city is so beautiful, we really enjoyed just wandering around aimlessly and getting a bit lost. You can walk across the entire city in an hour so you will never be too far from your accommodation. We also used this time to book a table at a restaurant called Muro.
19:30 – 20:30: Venice is where the famed Aperol spritz cocktail was invented which we love. It is the perfect pre dinner aperitif so we made sure to stop at a bar and sit outside with one before our dinner. We stopped at a bar called Bussola and paid €4.50 each which came with tapas style nibbles (crisps, mini sandwiches and spiced corn). We later found out that you should not pay for than €3 for an Aperol spritz so keep that in mind!
20:30 – bedtime: We had dinner at Muro. Our B&B host recommended this restaurant as it’s a little away from the tourist traps and has the ‘right’ non-touristy prices. We enjoyed wine, lasagne and spaghetti bolognese for €33.
Venice – Day 2
08:30-09:30: Breakfast (included at our B&B).
09:45-10:00: We headed to Terrace Fondaco del Tedeschi for perfect 360* views of the city. It is free to go up to the terrace, you just need to book a spot online here. You then get 15 minutes to enjoy the terrace and the views without large crowds.
10:00-10:30: The terrace is right next to the famous Rialto Bridge. We had a wander around and took some pictures before planning our next activity.
10:30-11:00: We took a gondola ride. The prices are set across the city, there is no haggling. It is €80 for 30 minutes for the gondola and you can have a maximum of up to 6 people. It’s a city to be seen from the water after all!
11:00-12:00: We took a leisurely walk to a recommended viewing point just past the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute. From here you have another good view of the city!
12:00-13:30: Nearby, there was a pub that was highly recommended on TripAdvisor called the Corner Pub. It felt away from the touristy places and this was reflected in the prices. €3 for an Aperol spritz and €4.50 for an incredible sandwich (brie, prosciutto, rocket and caramelised onions on seeded bread). Make sure you go here for lunch!
13:30-15:30: The heat was getting to us so it was time for a siesta! Day drinking made us sleepy!
15:30-17:00: We went for another walk around to find some good gelato. We decided to try Venchi because it looked a bit fancy – we were very happy with our choice!
17:00-19:30: We had booked to go on a free walking tour with Bussola. This took us to all the major landmarks including San Marco square, Rialto bridge and other points of interest. It was a very efficient way to see the city.
19:30-21:30: We ended up back at the Corner Pub to have many many more Aperol spritzers before going for food at Al Vaporetto. This was another very reasonably priced restaurant, it had mixed reviews on TripAdvisor but our food (lasagne and spaghetti with oil, garlic and chilli) was good quality.
21:30 till who knows..: More drinks at Bussola or head to the mainland to explore some of the gay bars in Venice (or nearby at least).
Venice – Day 3
Check out and leave Venice.
Gay Hotels in Venice
Venice is an inherently gay friendly city meaning that all hotels should welcome gay travellers with open arms. We would say if you are looking specifically for gay hotels in Venice, Axel Hotel Venezia was previously your best choice but this has since closed.
Instead we have also done some research to seek out gay owned or proactively gay friendly hotels to give you some options.
We would have normally stayed and supported one of these gay owned or friendly hotels but left our booking until two days before meaning they were all full!
Residenza degli Angeli – This is where we stayed. This is a small B&B with friendly owners, traditional style rooms and a good simple breakfast. The best thing about this hotel was its location.
Alle Guglie – This is a gay owned 3 star boutique hotel conveniently located near the train station.
Hilton Molino Stucky Venice – It is hard to wrong with the Hilton chain who are known to be proactive when it comes to working with the LGBT community worldwide. If you deserve a treat take a look.
Gay Bars in Venice/Gay Clubs in Venice
We were excited to find a gay bar in Venice, but it was not meant to be. There is not really any late night nightlife on the islands at all (let alone gay nightlife in Venice).
However, don’t be discouraged. The impression that we got was that all the bars were open, friendly and had a mixed crowd.
If you want to find gay bars in Venice (or at least within an hours distance) check out our blog on gay bars near Venice.
We also found that Bussola had quite a young, lively vibe and if our gaydar was working, seemed to be a good place to start!
The nearest actual gay bar in Venice is on the mainland. It is a night called Trash and Chic which started in 2006 and became the LGBTQ place to club. They have themed evenings with a lot of animation on stage, music from pop to reggaeton and house. Check their Facebook page for upcoming events.
Gay Sauna in Venice
If you are looking for a gay sauna, you need to go to the mainland. The name of the sauna is Metro Venezia Club and it is walking distance from the Mestre train station. This is probably the only gay place in Venice!
Gay Rights in Italy
Same ടex intercourse: legal since 1890.
Gender identity: legal to change since 1982.
Discrimination protections: specifically for sexual orientation in the workplace only.
Marriage: No. They have civil unions since 2016 with some, but not all, rights associated with marriage.
Adoption: No, step-child adoption is reviewed on a case by case basis.
Italy as a whole is considered to be gay friendly with an increasingly liberal attitude from the public. Of course, there are differences throughout the country and typically you will find that the more touristy an area, the more accepting they are.
For more about LGBTQ travel as a whole in Italy, check out this guide by the IGLTA.
How to get around Venice
There are no cars in Venice which is another reason we loved it. You have to get around by foot or by water.
You can walk from one side to the other in just over an hour and the walks are an activity in themselves, however you will get lost so have google maps at the ready!
The water bus system is called Vaporetto. They run 24 hours and you can buy a ticket to last just an hour for €7.50 or a day ticket costing €20.
We suggest you use this when getting to your accommodation because lugging a suitcase around Venice is not ideal! For the rest of the time, we would just suggest that you walk.
We both can not wait to go back; Venice truly is a beautiful city and well worth a visit! Make sure you add it to your gay travel bucket list!
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