Venice Travel Tips: What You Need to Know Before Visiting
Thinking of visiting Venice? After visiting Venice on several occasions, we’ve gathered all of our best Venice travel tips — including how to save money, where to stay, what to pack and more!
With its historic buildings and gorgeous canals, Venice is one of Italy’s most famous attractions. This floating city consists of a group of 117 small islands separated by canals and linked by bridges.
Venice Travel Tips: What You Need to Know Before Visiting Venice, Italy
Ferry Ticket Tips & Tricks
A one-way ferry ticket costs 6.50 Euros and it is good for 60 minutes — including switches. If you can’t find a ticket machine, you can purchase a ticket onboard for 1 Euro more, but you must tell the staff immediately upon boarding. Failing to mention it upon boarding will result in a hefty fine of 60+ Euros. If you do purchase your ticket at a machine, you MUST validate it by running it through a machine at the water taxi stop.
If you plan to use the ferries often, look into purchasing Venice’s all-inclusive transport pass before your trip.
Book a Hotel Near a Water Taxi Stop
I highly recommend staying at least two nights in Venice Proper and booking a hotel near a water taxi stop. Trust me, you do not want to drag your luggage very far in Venice.
I stayed at Hotel Palazzo Vitturi, which is within a 5-minute walk from both the Rialto and San Marco water taxi stops. This hotel is in the perfect location for exploring the top spots in Venice — including the Piazza San Marco, Riva Degli Schiavoni, and Bridge of Sighs.
The rooms are HUGE, the WiFi worked great, the staff was extremely helpful, and I was amazed with the spread they served for breakfast — which is included in your room price. I stayed in March and it was just over 100 USD per night. Keep in mind, prices everywhere in Venice increase during the summer season.
Head to the Outer Islands
Some of the most photogenic places in Venice are on the outer islands. The small islands of Burano and Murano are not to be missed. I recommend spending the day island hopping and plan on having lunch on one of these islands. Fish lovers must try Gatto Nero on Burano. For those searching for more of a sandy beach experience, head to Lido!
Where the Locals Eat
Do your research beforehand on the best restaurants frequented by locals in Venice. If the locals eat there, that usually means it’s authentic. Yelp is a great app and usually the first thing I check when I arrive in a new city. For a few specific restaurant recommendations, here are four local eateries near the Rialto Bridge.
Be Prepared to Get Lost
Even the most directionally gifted travelers get lost in Venice. Google maps will even lead you astray, giving directions to a dead end down a small alley. If you just plan on getting lost, you’ll be much less frustrated. You never know what you might accidentally find.
Don’t Ignore the Top Tourist Sites
Places like Piazza San Marco, Riva Degli Schiavoni, and Bridge of Sighs are popular for a reason. Don’t ignore these tourist hot spots in Venice. I also highly recommend a trip to the top of Campanile di San Marco for a bird’s eye view of the city. Plan on getting there when the building opens for the shortest wait time.
Spend Some Time Outside of the Main Tourist Areas
This is where getting lost will come in handy. Wear comfortable shoes and spend the day walking to the lesser-known areas of Venice. A few of my favorite neighborhoods include Cannaregio, Santa Croce, and Dorsoduro.
Get Up Early
I’m usually up before sunrise when I travel and Venice was no exception (this is also where jet lag comes in handy). I practically had the place to myself — even the famous Piazza San Marco (St. Marks Square) was empty! When I visited the square in the afternoon, I could not believe the crowds and I didn’t even travel to Venice during the busy summer season.
How to Find the Best Gelato
I mean, can you really come to Italy and not eat gelato?? Even if you are vegan or lactose intolerant, most good gelaterias make fruit-based sorbetti, which is also delicious!
In Venice, I met up with a local who gave me the inside scoop on how to spot good gelato in Italy. Since making gelato out of pure fruit is more time consuming and expensive than using flavor extracts, you’ll want to take a look at the colors of the fruit-flavored gelato. If the banana is a bright yellow or the berry flavors are a light shade of purple, then the gelato is made with artificial flavors rather than pure fruit. Similarly, the pistachio should not look bright green.
Oh, and Alaska Gelateria is said to have THE best gelato in Venice.
Packing Essentials for Venice
If you are looking to avoid the summer crowds and visit Venice in the spring or fall, then you’ll want to prepare for cooler temperatures. In addition to the usual Europe packing list, make sure to bring these essential items:
- Travel Umbrella: Regardless of the time of year, don’t forget your travel umbrella!
- Mosquito Repellent: I did not experience mosquitos in March, but mosquitos are not uncommon during the spring/summer months. This travel size spray pump won’t take up much room in your suitcase.
- Earplugs: It’s a city, so bring your earplugs just in case you end up in a noisy location.
- Nice Clothes: Venice is a stylish city, so don’t be afraid to bring some nice clothes. For the women, jeans and a cute pair of boots will be fine. For more travel packing tips, visit our guide on how to stay stylish while traveling.
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Accommodation: Booking.com offers savings on hotels, apartments, and villas in 80,000 destinations worldwide. You can browse hotel reviews and find the guaranteed best price on hotels for all budgets.
Travel Insurance: We never travel without a travel insurance policy because it’s not worth the risk! We use and trust Visitors Coverage, which we’ve used for the past 8 years.
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Venice is one of my favourite places to visit so great to get some good tips from this guide including the gelato recommendation.
I used to visit Venice every week with groups on tours and I absolutely love it. It’s one of the places I am planning on staying for a couple of months. Totally agree about going out of season as that’s when I normally visit too.
Such a beautiful city – can’t wait to get back again, this time with more tips!
Useful but get a really good guide book. Have the travel pass covering your stay. Look at the gallery to routes. Plan. Do not sit down for anything in San Marco as it cost a the earth. Read the menu and look at the prices. Dress decently for church going. Do not wear beach gear in town. Only on the Lido. Avoid Harry’s Bar. The famous who went there are now all dead. And do not visit my favourite bar which is why not telling you where it is.
Does it make sense renting a car in Venice?
VENICE is one of my dream place where i am planning to visit. After reading the useful information on this page i think it would be better to explore this place with infants in summers.
I read all 9 Things about Venice, Italy. These information is so useful for me and every person before visiting there………..
I’ve been to Venice a few times, and your tips are spot on. I would definitely recommend staying near a water taxi stop, because it makes everything more convient as opposed to having a long haul each morning to get anywhere.
GOD. This post made we want to go to Europe so bad. The transportation is unbelievable there. Good insight about the Gelato, too. I’d hate to travel all the way to Italy, and not get the good stuff. Keep of the good work, Christy. Thanks for the post.
I have been to Venice many times and I don’t really find it more expensive than the rest of Italy. It is touristy, yes – but it is so gorgeous that really, who cares? Thanks for this post 🙂
Nice tips…. venice in my wishlist, hope one day can visit there, any tips for budget family hotel or appartment?
It’s also worth considering Venice in the off-season. We visited for five nights in February and while it was wet some of the days, the rain didn’t stop us from exploring and having a fabulous time.
I completely agree. I was there in March and while it was pretty cold, I prefer it over huge crowds. Not to mention, the hotel prices are MUCH cheaper!
I too recommend a visit during the off-season. I made the dreadful mistake of visiting during the Venice Film Festival, so the small town of Venice was over-run. As such, the locals (and understandably so), get very irritated when their little town is full of tourists constantly getting lost and asking for help with directions.
I have travelled to many places in my life, speak multiple languages, always learn a bit of the local language and otherwise am very polite. But I have to say that hands-down, the Venetians were THE rudest people I’ve ever encountered in my travels, and I am sure that a large part of it was because of WHEN I went there. No matter how polite I was in asking for help or directions, 90% of the time I got a very rude response, or no response at all. They probably get so sick of all the tourists (just as I do in NYC 😉
That’s an interesting observation and probably correct. I experienced the same thing in Vienna at the start of the Christmas market season and others who love the city found it shocking since they think the Viennese are the most helpful, lovely people whereas I couldn’t wait to get out of there and on to our next stop.
I didn’t find the Venetians we interacted with overly polite or overly rude. They just seemed indifferent to everything going on around them that was part of the tourist trade. Likely because it hadn’t become overwhelming yet. When we got *off* the tourist route however, we encountered a number of really warm, lovely people who were more than happy to welcome us to their city and share their food, wine, and stories with us.