Venice is one of the most amazing, unique places on earth. We spent 4 days + 4 nights there and even in that amount of time, we probably barely scratched the surface of what there is to see and do there!
But I thought I would pull together 10 tips for when YOU visit Venice! 🎉 Also, I’ll include our 4 day itinerary at the end of this list! 👇🏻
Tip #1: Get lost!
When it comes to Venice, there is so much to see! Even with a map, you’re going to get lost. While most of the time, that seems like a bad idea, in Venice, it’s the exact opposite. If you wander through the streets and bridges going over canals, you will find some great things. You can never go wrong with the pastry and coffee places you find, the small hole-in-the-wall churches usually have decadent mosaics and paintings on their ceilings, and you can stumble upon hidden landmarks!
Take for instance, Liberia Acqua Alta. This place is apparently very hard to find, and due to our short time in Venice, we had sort of ruled out seeing it…until we just found it on accident one day! We had set out and decided to tackle a different area of our Venice map we hadn’t seen when we found it! So, get lost. Wander and see what you can find!
Tip #2: Get a Venezia Unica Card.
These are cards that not only provide unlimited use of the city’s vaporetto system, but also have other benefits, like seeing popular tourist destinations AND even free WiFi for a day if you are under 29!
My husband Tim and I got the “Rolling Venice Card” for 72 hours which included as many rides on the vaporetto as we wanted and WiFi for a day! It was well worth it because even though Venice is a very walkable city, you will want to see it from the canals also! This card also covered our water transport to the outerlying islands of Burano and Murano, which are a must see!
The important thing to note here though is this: TheVenezia Unica Card DOES NOT cover transportation from the Marco Polo Airport to Venice.
For that, you will have to book a desperate transfer via an Aliguna Waterbus on the Blue Line, which was right around €40-54, if I remember correctly.
Tip #3: See Burano and Murano! But if you have to pick one, pick Burano!
Now, this one is subject to opinion, but out of the two islands, I liked Burano the most! It is great for pictures and has the colorful buildings and even a lesser known Leaning Tower that Instagram dreams are made of! 😍 However, if you are going based purely on seeing the lace making or glass making, go to Murano for the glass making.
It is amazing to see the glass creations there and for some reason, it just seemed more visual and was cooler to see than the lace making on Burano!
The vaporetto ride from Venice to Murano is shorter than the one to Burano. I think our ride to Murano was about 10-15 minutes while the ride to Burano was closer to 30-45 minutes from Cannaregio where we stayed.
Tip #4: Check out a mask store or atelier!
A trip to Venice isn’t complete without seeing a mask maker and exploring one of their stores! Even if you don’t come during Carnivale, Venice’s February celebration where people dress up in costumes and masks, it is one of the biggest trades known strictly to Venice!
We visited a store called Sogno Venezia Atelier and the owner Julia had a wealth of information on the art of mask making and she makes all her own costumes!
Masks are only part of Venice’s allure and mystery, but be sure not to miss out on learning more about them!
Tip #5: Stay in Cannaregio!
This is also just opinion, but I felt like Cannaregio was the best and most central location for us when it came to staying in Venice! We were not far from the airport, we were away from the touristy areas and in more of an actual Venice neighborhood, but still within walking distance of the sights, and we were close to the Ospedale stop, or Hospital! You never want to think you’ll need it, but it was nice to know it was close!
We also were near plenty of markets, which we went to to buy fresh produce and things to make meals at home sometimes!
Tip #6: Go during the shoulder or “off” season.
March is considered a slow time in Venice. It is typically a little chillier and right after Carnivale, so flight prices drop. We scored our tickets for around $700, which was a great deal when compared to anywhere from $1,000-$2,200!
If I can suggest though, go in late March or be prepared for cold temperatures. We layered a lot. March is also the time for “high water”, so you will see higher water and even flooded streets in Venice due to the rain. We had to use catwalks to walk over the water sometimes, but if worse comes to worse, they do have these strange looking rain boots you can purchase everywhere. They look a lot like Saran Wrap that just goes over your feet! 😂
Tip # 7: Ride down The Grand Canal.
This is just a MUST. And kind of a given, but you have to see Rialto Bridge from the canals. It is a beautiful sight, not to mention, a relaxing ride. You will get some of your best pictures riding the vaporetto! They have these awesome little back sections of the vaporetto boats where you can go out a door and literally be in the open air. Just hold onto your phones! You don’t want to drop that into the canal!
Tip # 8: Take a gondola ride…but during the day.
Day fares for gondola are cheaper than at night and you’ll get less grainy, higher quality pictures. Now, while the vaporetto is great, gondolas are amazing because they take you down the tight, little back waterways of Venice that are quiet, secluded and interesting. We saw hidden passageways, passed a private courtyard where a couple was drinking red wine and they toasted us… 🍷😂
It was all very Venetian and we wouldn’t have seen any of it if we hadn’t gone for a ride! The fare is generally €89, but you can ride up to 6 people in a gondola and that total is split amongst riders, it is not per person!
Tip #9: Go to Cemeterio Island.
I did not take many pictures at Cemeterio and some people think cemeteries are morbid, but I thought it was a cool experience! If you like seeing how Venetians live…and how they died, Cemeterio is an interesting place to go. It is a 5 minute ride from Cannaregio across the channel.
There are beautiful monuments there and even windows that just face off into the sea. While wandering around, we came across a landing of black and white tiles that just gently sloped into the canal and we discovered that it is there that boats dock to offload coffins.
It’s impossible to realize all the things that are different about Venice until you really stop and take a look.
Tip #10: Talk to some Venetians.
Whether it was talking to our waiters at the trattoria down our street, Julia at the mask shop, or anyone we encountered, the Venetians are an interesting people. They are very passionate about things and are set in their ways. They certainly won’t go out of their way to help you, but they are nice if you catch them in a good mood.
If I had to rank all the towns on their “friendliness” that we went to, Venice wouldn’t have the top spot, but more on that later! 😉
Bonus Tip #11: Get used to “Italian Time”.
Italians have their own clock that they go by, whether it’s getting somewhere and meeting up with someone or just eating dinner. Dinners are usually 4 hour affairs with multiple courses and you have to ask for your check, which was strange to us Americans.
One reason for this is that Italian waiters are paid a living wage. In America, waiters barely make $3 an hour and live on tips, so it’s all about turning tables. Get used to taking your time in Italy and you will enjoy your trip so much more!
Those are all my tips for Venice! 🇮🇹🍷🍕
Here is a brief itinerary of our time in Venice! 👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻
March 14th: Landed in Venice
*On this day, we basically ate dinner near Rialto Bridge(very touristy, but the pizza was good) and went to our VRBO home to catch up on the time change! Not much accomplished this day.
March 15th: Murano & St. Mark’s Basillica
*We rode over to Murano to see some glass making and also checked out St. Mark’s Basillica and square! We did a lot of wandering this day and got a lot of ground covered!
March 16th: Burano, Riding a Gondola, and Riding Down Grand Canal
We rode over to Burano early and also had lunch there! Poppy had fish with the heads on. 😳😂 We also rode the vaporetto all over, including down The Grand Canal, and got gelato. 🍧
March 17th: Cemeterio, Libreria Acqua Alta and Sogno Venezia Atelier
We saw a bunch this day! We explored Cemeterio, Libreria Acqua Alta and I bought a Venetian mask!
Stay tuned for my next blog on Florence, Pisa & Lucca!
And there is a quick video I made of Venice, which is on my IGTV, or Instagram tv! I hope you’ll check it out!