Are you thinking about going to Venice, Italy? Here are ten things you need to know before you go that will make your trip even more memorable!
Number one thing to know before going to Venice: How to reach Venice
The city of Venice is built on a group of islands in the Venice Lagoon. The main island is connected with the mainland by a bridge. The best way to reach Venice is either by train from any other Italian city or by plane if you are coming from a different country.
If you take the train, remember the train station for the historic city of Venice is Venezia Santa Lucia. So be careful when you buy the ticket to pick Santa Lucia station, not Venezia Mestre or Venezia Marghera.
If you are flying into Venice, the airport is Venezia Marco Polo (VCE). The airport is very well connected with the historic city by Vaporetto (more about those later). We strongly recommend not to drive to Venice.
If you drive you will have to leave the car at the Piazza Roma parking lot that is really expensive, needs to be reserved in advance and often there are major traffic jams to reach the parkade. So trains or planes are the best!
Number two on the list of things to know before going to Venice: Getting around the city!
As you might have guessed, there are no cars in Venice. You’lll have to move around either by public transit, by taxi or simply walking.
It is really easy and very enjoyable to walk around Venice. It’s actually our favorite way to explore the city. However, there are areas that can not be reached by walking, like the islands of Murano or Burano.
Option number two is to use public transit, and these are called vaporetto. These boats are the Venetian equivalent of a bus. They are very convenient, easy to use and they run very frequently. You can buy the ticket for a single ride or a pass. You can purchase a one, two, three, or even a seven days pass. In our opinion, the passes are the best option because they allow you to take the Vaporetto as many times as you like.
Another option are the water taxis. These are very convenient but also really expensive. For example, a taxi ride on the Grand Canal from the train station to Piazza San Marco can cost you up to €100.
Lastly, even in Venice, you can take a Hop Hop Off bus, well in Venice its a boat. This could be another option to move around the city and explore.
Number Three thing to know before going to Venice: Best time to visit
So what is the best time of the year to visit Venice? In our opinion, the best time to go is not in the middle of the summer. In fact, April, May, September, and October are fantastic months to visit. The city is less crowded, it is not too hot, and it is a bit less expensive.
In July and August, there are way too many tourists. It is incredibly hot and you won’t have the same experience.
Another fantastic time to go is during the Carnevale (Carnival) usually around the end of February or the beginning of March when the whole city becomes a huge masquerade party! Unfortunately, during Carnevale, it is really difficult to find accommodation and the prices for hotels are really high due to the high demand.
Number Four thing to know before going to Venice: Be prepared to walk
Even if you plan to take the Vaporetto, be prepared to walk a lot in Venice. So wear comfortable shoes. Also, be prepared to walk up and down many stairs, in fact, almost every pedestrian bridge has stairs. Keep this in mind when you pack your suitcase.
You might need to carry your bag up and down a lot of stairs. Some high-end hotels offer porter service but this comes with a price. Also at the train station, there are places you can secure your bags, this way you can leave your suitcases there and only bring a small carry-on with the clothes you are planning to wear during your stay.
Number Five thing to know before going to Venice: Walk off the beaten path
On your first visit to Venice you want to see San Marco square, the Grand Canal, the Rialto Bridge, and all the famous attractions, but keep in mind that there are many other areas of the city that are equally stunning and with way fewer people. For this reason, we suggest you visit other areas of the city as well that are not as crowded. Even better is to hire a tour guide for a few hours and ask him or her to show you around.
Number Six thing to know before going to Venice: Eat like locals
Like in any other Italian destination, you should try the local food. Since Venice is on the water, it’s only natural that their cuisine is focused mostly on seafood. In particular, for lunch, you should try the Cicchetti. These are the Venetian equivalent of tapas and they can be with or without seafood. For dinner, I highly recommend the squid ink pasta, the soft shell crabs, or the Baccala which is Salted cod prepared Venetian style.
Number Seven thing to know before going to Venice: Spend the night in Venice
You should consider spending at least one night in Venice, two would be better. In fact many tourists only spend an afternoon in the city and leave in the evening. We think that is a huge mistake. In fact, the city at night is even more stunning. We love walking around the city at night or taking the Vaporetto down the grand canal when all the lights are on. Also at night, there are less tourists around giving you the opportunity to enjoy areas of the city with less crowd.
Number eight thing to know before going to Venice: Consider visiting the islands of Murano and Burano
If you spend a few days in Venice you should definitely consider visiting the colourful island of Burano and visiting one of the glass blowing artisans in Murano. We think that a visit to Venice would not be complete without those two experiences. We made an entire video about those two islands. You can check it out here.
Number nine thing to know before going to Venice: prebook all your tickets
We strongly recommend buying all your tickets for museums and attractions in advance. This way you’ll avoid the long lines at the ticket office and, most importantly, you avoid the risk of being sold out. We will leave a link in the description below for the Venezia Unica Card. This is a pass that combines several attractions for a discounted fee.
Number ten thing to know before going to Venice: The cheap gondola ride!
Now, look – You made it to Venice. Naturally, you want to take a gondola ride for your instagram story. But you might not know that an actual gondola ride is very expensive. It can cost up to €75 to €80 for a half-hour ride. Sure, it’s a lot of fun, but, if you’re on a budget, here’s a secret for you. Go to the Campo di Santa Sofia, just a few steps away from the Rialto bridge. There you can take the gondola traghetto (that means Ferry boat in Italian) that crosses the Grand Canal for only €2.50! So if you want that insta-moment, you can get it for only €2.50! Not bad eh!
Well folks we hope you enjoy this post on things to know before visiting Venice Italy, if you did please give us a thumbs up, or let us know in the comments below as it will help us immensely. Meanwhile, see you soon. Ciao
Andrea was born and raised in Northern Italy. At the age of 30, he moved to Vancouver Canada. Over the years he traveled extensively in North America, Europe, Central America, and Asia. He is passionate about traveling, cruising, and travel photography. He likes to write about his traveling and shows his travel photos.