Venice is definitely a bucket-list place for most people. It is quite dreamy and can be sooooo romantic. Here are a few tips and tricks I think would help visitors, especially first-timers to the colorful land of canals…
• Venice is the only city in Italy that’s car-free! If you are road-tripping and have a vehicle, don’t fret, you can ride into the island and park in a paid lot right over the bridge to your right in the Santa Croce section. This was the cheapest we found and the employees couldn’t have been nicer. It’s only €4 an hour! From there, it’s foot and boat only, so wear comfortable shoes!
Tip: Take the vaporetto, their version of public transportation. It’s minimal cost and will get you where you need to be when the walk is too far and a gondola just isn’t the right fit. Here’s the current schedule, but keep in mind some routes are seasonal. They do run fairly often, so just showing up at a stand shouldn’t be an issue!
*There are also sleek water taxis, which price-wise, falls just above the vaporetto.
• Gondola rides are quite expensive. Think €80 per person, plus a tip to your singing gondolier, but it’s also a once in a lifetime experience, so…
Tip: Make sure you have enough cash on hand, ATM machines are sparse on the island, and rides are cash only.
Also, be sure to get to the dock with an adequate amount of time before dark. In the summer they stopped around 8 pm.
• The streets are absolutely confusing and can be a bit overwhelming, especially for the claustrophobic. They are pretty narrow and often times unmarked. We definitely got turned around quite a bit….and we weren’t the only ones! It was quite humorous heading into a dead-end alley with others who looked just as perplexed.
Tip: Dropping a pin on Google Maps definitely helped us get back to our original location!
•The food in Venice was perhaps my least favorite in all of Italy and honestly felt the most touristy.
Tip: Try to either choose a place with a menu written primarily in Italian for a more authentic experience or just choose one just for the views.
Tip: Just like many places in Italy, water is not always free and ice cubes are non-existent.
Also, double-check if that bread basket is complimentary. More often than not it’s €2 per person. That’s not an issue if you’ll indulge, but it’s annoying if you don’t even eat it and then see it on your bill!
Tipping is not customary, but more often than not, it’s semi-expected from Americans and since Venice is such a tourist attraction, you may want to go ahead to avoid an awkward ending to your meal and just tip.
• Public restrooms aren’t the easiest to find in Venice, so duck in for a gelato or espresso when you can and take advantage of theirs!
Tip: Otherwise, it’s pay, so definitely have some euro coins on hand!
• Make sure you’re on/near the water for a sunset! It’s pure magic!! Revel in it! THIS is the Venice you’ve dreamt of!
• I believe 2-3 packed days is enough time to explore Venice, even with visits to Murano. Don’t miss the famous glass factory! It’s a 17-minute boat ride, but they do close early at 5 pm, so plan accordingly.
• If you’re driving and have some time to spare, both Verona (to visit Juliet’s balcony) and the breathtaking Dolomite Mountains are about 3 hours away! Lago di Braies in the mountains are the stuff dreams are made of!
Grazie mille (thanks a million) for stopping by! XOX, Sar
Have you been? Am I missing any helpful information? Let me know!