Venice was the first stop on our trip and it was a complete dream! Everything about it was picturesque to the point where you felt like you were in a fantasy. I found the Venetian way of life to be absolutely unbelievable. Being able to experience the beauty of a city that’s so old can truly take your breath away. Prior to visiting Venice, I had no idea that vehicles were not allowed beyond a single auto pick-up/drop-off point. I would highly recommend anyone planning an Italian getaway to work Venice into scope. Our trip to Venice consisted of 6 full days: 4 days on the front end and an additional 2 days on the back. Personal take was that 5-to-6 days is the perfect amount of time to spend in this city since you’ll be able to experience a majority of what the city has to offer.
Below are 5 tips that I would recommend to anyone going to Venice for the first time. These are suggestions we learned/found beneficial to know and helped us save a couple of bucks along the way. Also, below you will find a free link to a google map where I identified all of the places we went – including where we stayed, and ate/drank. Feel free to download and use for your next Venice planning session!
5 Pro Tips When Traveling In Venice
1. Take the Bus vs. a Water Taxi When Headed to/from the Airport
Water taxis are the most talked about means of transportation from the airport to Venice city center. Now don’t get me wrong, this is a beautiful way to travel from the airport to your hotel, but it will set you back about 140 euro one-way. A faster and more affordable option would be to get a bus ticket (bus 5) from the airport to the Venice city center drop spot. This only costs 8 euro/person for a one-way. Bus tickets can be purchased at both the airport and at the drop off location. A new bus runs about every 15 minutes starting at 5am (double check hours as this may change)…so take all that money saved on transportation and spend it on a phenomenal dinner!
2. Try an Authentic Venetian Meal vs. "Generic" Italian Dishes
While in Venice, we learned that authentic Venetian cuisine is (slightly?) different from Italian cuisine. Most of these dishes are seafood based and date back to the 16th century. You can find my thoughts on this cuisine here.
3. Minimize the Use of Roller Bags, Strollers, Etc.
Something Venice is well-known for are their beautiful bridges. The bridges are a network that’s used to connect the entire city. As beautiful as they are …traveling with a roller bag or stroller is not ideal. My husband and I anticipated we might be in better shape leveraging our large Patagonia duffles that converted to backpacks (like the one you find here) …but we didn’t entirely escape the full impact of all the staircases because my carryon was a roller bag (ehhh). If you have multiple roller bags, it’s fine – just prepare yourself mentally/physically for that walk from the drop off point to your hotel. Or maybe that’s when you say ‘screw it’ and just pay for the water taxi – lol. As for strollers, if you are planning a trip with a small child that needs a stroller, I wouldn’t recommend Venice being the number 1 stop on your list. Though the city is very kid friendly, the amount of out of breath, struggling parents we observed while we were there was too high to count.
4. Water Taxi Bound for Murano Island (But Not on Your Nickel!)
Murano Island is known for its world class blown glass. We were fortunate that our hotel maintained a relationship with one of the local water taxi companies where they would take you to/from Murano Island free of charge. Many hotels in the area not only have a good relationship with several of the water taxi companies, but they also coordinate with the local blown glass factories (that I’m fairly certain are the ones who bankrolled the cost of the water taxi). And of course, it’s paired with a free tour of their glass factory…duh. This made for such a great afternoon. The glass pieces on display were simply incredible, so we couldn’t help but place an order for a custom set of stemless wine glasses. The factory also covered the cost of shipping directly to our home. It was such an awesome experience!
5. Don't Overpay for Gondola Rides
Gondola rides vary in price depending on both the time of day and where you are within the city (ex. in a touristy area or not). We went in June 2022 and the day rate for a 1/2 hr ride was ~80 euro. In the evening, when the sun is setting (when we went and arguably the most popular & beautiful time to go) prices range from ~100-120 euro. Gondolas can fit a max of 5 people, however, I’m of the opinion that anything more than 3 would be considered a tight squeeze. Some people might say going for Gondola rides are too touristy…but honestly, sign this basic bitch up for one any day. I LOVED every second of it!
Downloadable Map Of All Things Venice, Italy
I built this map of where we stayed, what we did, and where we ate/drank. Please feel free to save/copy and add your own spots in while planning!