Venice City Guide - Venice Travel Tips
Reasons to visit
Made up of 118 islands and countless canals and bridges Venice is one of Italy’s most popular touristic destinations. Thanks to its wonderful location, its architectural and artistic beauty it is one of the most romantic and beautiful cities in the world. T
he beauty of the city has worn somewhat in recent decades, but has kept its appeal to this day. It has been known by many names such as “City of Water”, “City of Masks”, “City of Bridges”, “The Floating City”, and “City of Canals” and it lives up to all of them.
If you wants to visit an “enchanted” city that is floating on water, if you want to see something unique and had enough of the loud humming of cars Venice is the place for you.
Venice’s climate is moderately continental with, warm summers and cold winters. If you like walks in the rain you should visit in June or October, if you prefer your clothed dry visit Venice in January or February.
The best months for city sightseeing would be May, possibly early June, and early September. In these months, the weather is good, and there is no heat.
During summer it is very hot, there are lots of tourists and mosquitoes that may make your stay rather difficult. But of course, if you have the chance to visit Venice during summer time, don’t lose out on the opportunity.
Also another great time to travel to Venice is during the Venice Carnival in February for obvious reasons.
Venice Local Transport
In the City of Canals transportation is quite different than in any other city. There are buses and taxis but the ones without wheels. Don’t get alarmed these water buses and water taxis will get you to your destination in no time.
And of course let’s not forget about the gondolas they may be more expensive, however they can give a special experience of witch couples can take advantage of.
What could be more romantic then a ride with a gondola in the Floating City while you listen to singing and guitar play? Yes, bargaining is an option but keep in mind that you may be riding for a shorter period of time and you might not see the most special places.
Some may think that Italian is the primary language spoken in Venice. Well, not quite. Venetian the language of romance, a dialect of Italian is most common language in Venice.
Of course if you are a speaker of modern Italian you will have no issue understanding the locals as the majority also speaks it.
The city being a major tourist hub English is spoken by most vendors and people working in the tourism industry.
In Italy the power plugs and sockets are of type F and L. We suggest that you have a power adapter if you are not from around.
Having your smart phone or camera charged for taking pictures is mandatory in this beautiful city. We suggest having a travel adapter if you are not from around.
If you are flying to Venice you will probably want have ‘a few’ euros with you for incidental expenses before you can get to an ATM as the only currency is euro. We advise you to bring a hundred or so euros for meals, rides, and then hit the ATM for larger amounts of cash once you have settled in.
Must Try Food
While we do recommend trying a good pizza with your favorite toppings there is so much more that the culinary world of Venice can give. Try for instance a local favorite sarde in saor.
The name may sound fancy but it is actually fried sweet and sour sardines. It is marinated in softly cooked onions with olive oil and with its added raisins and pine nuts it is the ultimate sweet and sour dish.
If you want something simpler but with a dash of excitement try scampi con polenta. Cornmeal can be boring but the shrimp with the mixed herb can uplift it to the highest peaks flavor vise. It is a true dish of Venice for those who are fans of seafood.
Carpaccio is a delicious appetizer if the idea of raw meat is appealing to you. Is it safe? Well even if foodies swear by it. there is no way to guarantee the safety of raw meat but sometimes you need to take the risk to experience something new.
You can choose between a variety of meats: beef, fish, seafood, salmon, tuna, venison that is thinly sliced and served with olive oil, lemon and truffles to bring out the taste that will delight your taste buds.
Where can you taste all this delicious food you ask? Well there are many places to eat in Venice but if you really want a treat and fine dining visit Riviera or Ristorante Alle Corone where excellent sea food and great service go hand in hand. If you are looking for local cuisine then All’Arco is the place for you.
When in Venice you must try at least a glass of Prosecco made from Glera grapes. You can choose your favorite version of this Italian white wine may that be spumante (sparkling wine), frizzante (semi sparkling wine) or tranquillo (still wine).
It is served chilled and most often drunk as an appetizer. It is a drink that has a crisp and intensely aromatic flavor bringing to mind apricots and it is best served unmixed.
If you are looking for something with more mixture in it then try a classic Spritz. You can choose your own variety again as Spritz is mixed with white wine, sparkling mineral water Aperol to make it sweeter or Campari to make it bitter.
It all depends on what you favor. Last but not least don’t forget the ice to make it more refreshing.
How to get there
With Ryanair’s low-fare flights you can get the best price and arrive at Treviso Airport from all around the world. To get into Venice from the airport you can take a bus to Lido di Jesolo, Cavallino, Punta Sabbioni, Caorle, Eraclea Mare and Bibione.
From the Marco Polo airport to which Easyjet airplanes arrive, you can take a bus to Lido di Jesolo, Punta Sabbioni, Caorle, Bibione, Lignano and Eraclea Mare.
So, in our opinion it’s perfect for a city break here, perfect escape. You don’t need to carry too many things, just enjoy your time here. If you want to check the best fly tickets you can trust kiwi.com. Kiwi can help to find also best fly on your way home.
If you have more time to spend you can also take an international bus like Flixbus. Prices are pretty good and you don’t have limits on your baggage.
Of course, take more time to get here but is perfect if you want to visit different cities around like Venice, Rome, Florence and so on. You can also use ride-share apps like BlaBlaCar for a cheaper ride.
You can spend good time in cars with locals and they can suggest you different places to visit which could be more useful then guides.
Things to know
Don’t get in the water, avoid stairs that lead to the water as they are very slippery and you can end up underwater real fast.
Don’t feed the pigeons in Piazza Saint Marco as it is illegal and you can end up with a pretty big fin as well.
Find affordable meals by searching for restaurants that serve a “Tourist Meal” that can be a great deal cheaper than eating at a regular restaurant. However, make sure you ask first how much the drinks cost as they can be even 5 euros and suddenly your great deal meal is not so great after all.
Waterproof footwear is a must during the high water (aqua alta) period that mainly occurs during winter and autumn, most often in
November and December. If you choose to visit Venice during this time keep in mind that you may need to stay for a few hours at higher peaks of the city.
Watch out for pickpockets ending up without your wallet and documents might not be the adventure you are looking for.
The streets of Venice are like a labyrinth the signs are helpful but a map is a must have you need to have with you at all times. Preferably that antique kind made of paper so the battery life of your device is not something that decides if you remain a “prisoner” of the labyrinth or not.
Last but not least don’t forget to just enjoy this marvelous city that gives you a view through a looking glass to a different world than any other.
Where to stay
If you want to save some money keep in mind that accommodation is much cheaper in Mestre than in Venice, and you can get to Venice by bus or train in 10 or 15 minutes. If you do not want to stay outside the city, it is important to pay more attention to the location of the hotel than in other cities.
If you want to walk around the city and do not want to spend much on a water buses choose a hotel that is in the middle part of Venice even if it is more expensive you save time and money by not spending it on expensive public transport.
If you want to stay at a 3 star hotel we recommend Hotel Marconi or Antica Casa Carettoni for 100$ per night or if you are looking for a 4 star hotel we highly recommend Hotel Bella Venezia or Foscari Palace for about 140$ per night
Venice has multiple options for finding a cheap or expensive place to stay. As I said, could be expensive but you can fit also on a budget. If you don’t have to worry about your budget can book plenty of hotels rooms and pensions where you like on www.booking.com or www.agoda.com.
It’s a different city and must consider how much you will to walk, how close to the city center it is your place. If you like to hang out with a local you can book a room on www.airbnb.com and you can find a good price for your accommodation.
Also if you can stay with them for free using Couchsurfing app. You can use it also only if you want to meet with them. If you are traveling on a budget or not couch surfing seems to be a good idea.
It’s a great opportunity for making new friends maybe for a week or maybe for a lifetime, you never know. Hostels are less expensive than a hotel room. Why spend 300$/night for a hotel room when you can spend 30$/night for a hostel room?! The culture of making friends never fails to amaze people.
Venice is fully accessible on foot, no vaporetto that is a water bus is required. However, it is worth at least one time to go by a vaporetto, since you can admire the Grand Canal.
To the St. Mark’s Square, to the Rialto Bridge and to Piazzale Roma, the yellow panels on the house walls show the way so you cannot get lost in the “labyrinth” that is Venice. The panels often point in two directions, meaning that both paths lead to the same spot.
It is also worth wandering in Venice, even at night, when the city is particularly romantic, as every little alley, every corner has some beauty. You can walk through bridges and end up in the middle of marvelous squares. In such cases, it is very easy to get lost, so it is recommended to have a map in your pocket.
Now we are getting to our top. Here are some of the most beautiful sites Venice presents to its visitors. In other words, let’s start!
St. Mark’s Square / Piazza San Marco
Many consider it the world’s most beautiful square. Napoleon called it “Europe’s Lounge”.
In the square you can see St. Mark’s Cathedral, the bell tower, and the clock tower. The flagstones on the bronze foundations before the cathedral date back to the 16th century where there are two granite columns near the waterfront, since the middle of the 13th century.
For those interested in history and art the Doge Palace and the Correr Museum are a must see. However in addition to the many tourists, you have to share Saint Mark’s Square with a lot of pigeons.
Saint Peter’s Basilica dome was designed by Michelangelo, after climbing 320 steps you can admire the splendid view of Rome and the dome. During the tour, you can also view the Basilicas ceiling with its magnificent artwork.
If you are walking on the Aventinus hill, do not forget to view Saint Peter’s Basilica through the “Keyhole of Rome” as an interesting, memorable, special experience. The famous keyhole is on the gate of the Roman Order of Malta.
Saint Mark’s Basilica / Basilica Di San Marco
The cathedral in the eastern part of Saint Mark’s Square was consecrated in 1094. Since then many renovations, reconstruction and expansion works have been carried out during the centuries, every era left its mark on the church built in Byzantine style.
This is the most important and representative building of Venice, the place for prayers and important meetings. The city always entrusted the most important artists with the supervision of the decorative works that gives us todays Saint Mark’s Basilica.
Campanile Bell Tower
The Campanile is the bell tower of the cathedral and it was originally built in the 9th century. It was rebuilt in 1514, then collapsed again in 1902 and was completely destroyed. Finally in 1912, the Campanile was reconstructed to its original form. The bell tower has a wonderful 360° view of Venice and the sea.
St. Mark’s Clock Tower / Torre Dell’orologio
The cathedral clock tower was built in 1496 and was renovated in 2006. To visit the clock tower a pre-booking is necessary as it can be accessed a couple times a day.
Ducale Palace / Palazzo Ducale
The palace was not only the headquarters for the ducal of Venice, but it also has a tribunal, a courthouse, offices, a jail and even a torture chamber. Nowadays it has been operating as a museum. It is one of the most beautiful examples of Gothic architecture. Here you can experience the history of Venice, and through the tour you can also cross the Bridge of Sighs. Its impressive interior is enchanting, the palaces’ paintings, decorations, sculptures and walls are eye-catching. If you are not the scary type an interesting tour would be to visit the torture chamber and see the former prison cells.
Bridge of Sighs / Ponte dei Sospiri
Venice’s most famous bridge, which connects the Ducal Palace and the old prison, was built in 1600. If you like legends this is the place to be. The Bridge of Sighs was named by Lord Byron, he thought the prisoners who were sentenced sighed on the bridge as they caught a last glimpse of the city before being swallowed by the prison. Also according to another legend, if lovers kiss each other under the Bridge of Sighs under a gondola at sunset, eternal love and happiness will be their reward.
The Grand Canal
Canal Grande is the main waterway of the city, it has an impressive line of churches and a magnificent palace lined up along the canal, with four bridges over it. The Grand Canal demonstrates the well-being and art of the era of Venice. It’s a good idea to take a water bus or a gondola and pass through the canal as it can be a fascinating experience.
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection
One of the best museums in Venice the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni it is home to the Peggy Guggenheim collection presenting modern art. Cubist, surrealist, abstract expressionist works are presented here, including Dali, Miró, Picasso, Pollock, Metzinger, Duchamp, Gelizes’s works. If you are just a little interested in modern art you should definitely visit this grand museum.
Scoula Grande of San Rocco
On the building of Scoula Grande of San Rocco the most beautiful works of the Renaissance painter Tintoretto can be admired. The magnificent building, its walls, its breathtaking ceiling and a combination of paintings will give the art lovers an unforgettable experience.
San Giorgio Maggiore
San Giorgio Maggiore is one of the islands of Venice and can be reached by vaporetto. It is also known for its 16th century magnificent San Giorgio Maggiore church and the bell tower of the church. It has a stunning view of Venice and it’s as beautiful as the bell tower of St. Mark’s Cathedral, but without the huge crowds.
Santa Maria Gloriosa of the Frari Basilica
A huge, beautiful basilica is the Campo dei Frarin, the Franciscan church, the second most important church building in Venice with beautiful works of art from the era of the Venetian Renaissanc. It is worth mentioning, Tizianos The Ascension of Mary and the Madonna of Pesaro.
Church of Santa Maria dei Piracoli
The church of Santa Maria Dei Miracoli is like a small jewel box with a beautiful colorful marble cover. It is simple yet unique in its way and gives a sense of peace whoever is in its presence. It is considered by many to be the most beautiful church in all of Venice.
If you are looking outside the “museum town” for the real Venice then you need to go to the northwestern part of Canaregio. It is a quiet, authentic neighborhood, and it is away from the noise of tourists. It is worth visiting here to get to know another face of Venice. It’s nice to walk around here and retreat a bit from the crowd. You can also have a nice cheap meal at a restaurant or a drink at a café or bar then in the central part of Venice.
Outside the city
Lido di Venezia
Lido di Venezia is the nearest beach to Venice, it takes 15 minutes to get there by vaporetto from St. Mark’s Square. It is not particularly a cozy or a beautiful beach but it is 11 km long and ideal for long walks along the shore. More tourist friendly beaches would be Gran Viale, Santa Maria, and Santa Elisabetta.
Burano is located just 7 km from Venice, and prepare yourself for vibrant colors, as it is famous for the colorful houses the locals live in. It consists of 4 islands that are connected by bridges and it has the most amazing lagoons. It is worth visiting here if you are in Venice, as it is a nice place to go for a walk. If you do not want to be part of the tourist mass come here early in the morning.
Murano is even closer to Venice just 1.5 km and it consists of 7 islands and 8 canals that are connected by bridges. It is famous for its glass production the unique Murano Glass.
The art of glassblowing can be viewed on the island and of course you must stop by the Museo Vetrario the glass museum. The famous Basilica of Murano known for its 12th century Byzantine mosaics is also worth visiting. Murano is a peaceful, much quieter place than Venice but where else can you familiarize with glassblowing if not here?
Torcello is a small, quiet island the ancestor of Venice, for those who are interested in history, should definitely visit it. There are not many sights here that worth visiting, but the 7th century Basilica, the Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta, are very beautiful inside and outside. At the same time, there is a special “spirit-city” mood on this deserted island.