There are plenty of museums, monuments, and points of interest worth seeing, but the real gem is exploring the narrow streets and tight passageways. Built on over 100 small islets, the center of Venice is crossed by 118 canals and linked by over 400 hundred bridges. Absolutely bursting with picturesque beauty around every corner, Venice truly deserves its status as one of the greatest cities of the world. Here are some simple, yet important Venice travel tips that will help you get the most from your trip!
1. Embrace the chaos of navigating Venice.
Navigating Venice can prove difficult even to the seasoned traveler. You must navigate in relation to certain landmarks and main squares. On many of the buildings and passageways you will find pointers toward them. The problem of course is not all the random streets and tiny passageways are properly marked. You will get lost at some point is going to happen so just accept that. Just enjoy the uniqueness and craziness of the Renaissance city.
Tip: Walking the streets of Venice is the best way to explore the beautiful city.
Other than walking you can take advantage of the Vaporetto, which is what Venetians call their water taxi. This takes pedestrians up and down the Grand Canal for just a couple euro. It’s a great way to skip the never ending twists and turns by walking if you’re in a hurry, and also proves a unique photo opportunity that gives you great views of the city from the water. A Gondola ride is also a good way to see the city, albeit a bit pricey. A 30 minute gondola ride can range from €80 to €120.
2. Start in the center.
Start your exploration of Venice from Piazza San Marco as your starting point for exploring the historic center. San Marco is the city’s main square and serves as a great point of reference for venturing out. From here there are many different side streets to take. The meandering streets will take you from small, dark passageways that open up into beautiful squares.
You will pass by small little shops and restaurants run by the same family for generations. Tiny bridges cross over small canals. The charm and character of the city is often hard to take in all at once. Every few minutes you will stop and say ‘right here is the most beautiful and quaint setting’. Then you will walk a bit further and find a little area that’s even more charming and quaint. That’s the beauty of Venice!
3. Stay in the center.
You will definitely want to stay somewhere in the central area around the Grand Canal. The area of San Marco or San Polo are the most traversed, and typically the liveliest. They are also both in closest proximity to many of the main attractions. You’ll find a plethora of hotels, B & B’s and hostels in these areas
Tip: make sure to book early (especially in the high season- early summer) as the cramped space only has so much room to store people!