Venice is, without a doubt, one of a few unique cities you just have to visit. Whether it’s for your honeymoon, Euro-trip stopover, or a weekend break, it’s a fantastic holiday spot that’ll leave you breathless and charmed with its history, cultural heritage, elegance, and, of course, gorgeous canals. The thing is, “La Serenissima” can also be overwhelming and tricky. Here are some travel tips to help you get the most from your Venice trip.
Pro Tip: Planning your trip to Venice? Bookmark this post in your browser so you can easily find it when you’re on your way to the city. See our guide to Venice for more planning resources, our top Venice tours for a memorable trip, and how to see Venice in a day.
Important Venice Travel Tips for a Great Trip
Headed to Venice but have no clue how to get to the city from the airport, how to save money, or what to pack? You’re in the right place! After visiting the Floating City a couple of times, I’ve gathered some crucial Venice travel tips that’ll help you get the most from your trip.
If you’re short on time and want an easy, memorable way to see the best of Venice with local experts, check out our most popular Venice tours. In this guide, we’ll cover:
- What to pack
- Getting to the city from the airport
- Traveling around Venice
- Language tips
- Things to do in Venice
What To Pack
There’s a common misconception that Venice is always overcrowded. While the city does tend to attract bigger crowds in the summer, you can avoid them by visiting Venice in the spring or fall. In which case, prepare for cooler temperatures. Here are some essential items to pack:
1. Pack nice clothes
Needless to say, Venice is one of the most stylish cities in the world and you’ll want to look the part. Pack a few nice outfits to wear. That said, don’t forget to keep comfort in mind. Bring a pair of sneakers so you can walk around comfortably.
2. Bring a travel umbrella
No matter when you visit, don’t forget to pack your travel umbrella! You don’t want to be caught in the rain unprepared.
Getting from the Airport to the City
You can choose to travel by bus, taxi, or water transport from Venice Marco Polo Airport to downtown Venice or Mestre (a town on the mainland facing Venice where you’ll probably have your hotel accommodation).
3. You can take water transport to get to Venice
Given that Venice is a city with canals as the main streets, you can use public boats to get from the airport to Venice. It will cost you around €15 per person one way and €17 for a round trip. This is moderately reasonable but can be time-consuming given that the boat will make several stops along the way.
4. Going by bus is cheaper
You can choose to take the bus from the airport, which is cheaper. It will cost you around €8 and €15 for a round trip. Generally, it will take you 20 minutes to travel by bus from the airport to Venice.
5. Taxis are your best option if you have heavy luggage
There are also regular taxis from the airport to Venice with the last stop being Piazzale Roma (this is the last terminal for all things motorized coming in or out of Venice). A taxi will cost you around €35-40. This is the best option if you’re traveling with heavy luggage.
Pro tip: Once you arrive at the Piazzale Rome terminal, keep in mind that you have to take a vaporetto (water bus), water taxi, or walk to your hotel.
Traveling Around Venice
Venice is the biggest pedestrian city in the world, but what are the best ways to move around in a city that’s famously known for having more boats than cars? Here’s how to go about it.
6. The best way to explore Venice is on foot
The best way to explore the historical city of Venice is on foot. This may sound like a health campaign but it’s true that many Venetians are fit and healthy because they walk around a lot.
Walking will also give you the chance to explore the city extensively. Along the way, you’ll see beautiful little bridges and canals that you’d otherwise miss on a gondola or a water bus. In short, moving around on foot will give you the possibility of happening upon some of the hidden gems spread across this stunning city.
7. Travel around by vaporetto (water bus)
This is the second-best option and, in most cases, the only option for getting around. Whether you want to go to Murano, Burano, or Lido, a vaporetto will serve you best 24/7 and 365 days a year with a single ticket (valid for 75 minutes) costing around €7.50.
You can buy these tickets at the ticket stations just outside the train station in Rialto or at the vendors’ machine in front of the main stops. You can also buy them in tobacco shops and newspaper kiosks.
8. Go on a gondola or sandolo ride for the experience not public transport
You can ride in gondolas (traditional Venetian boats) and sandolos to tour the city from its famous canals. Rides are readily available and generally last 30 minutes and will cost about €80 per boat. However, unlike water buses or taxis, gondolas are just for luxurious rides and are not necessarily used to get anywhere.
Instead of taking you to a destination, they’ll return to their boarding station after giving you the chance to explore the narrow canals and the beautiful areas of the city. Gondolas can fit six people plus the gondolier. Remember to bargain for the gondola or share it with fellow tourists to save some money.
If you’re looking for a great guided tour of the city that includes a gondola ride, check out our Ultimate Venice in a Day tour that includes a trip out to Murano and Burano. Since Venice’s canals are the city’s streets, we offer lots of different tours with gondola rides to suit your interests and the time you have to spend.
Not ready to book a tour? See our Venice Guide for more resources.
It’s important to note that fewer people speak English well in Venice compared to a place like Rome. That may be because they’re too busy juggling Italian and Venetian dialects.
Fortunately, those who work in the tourism industry speak enough English to communicate with tourists. But mastering a few Venetian phrases can go a long way to making your trip that much more enjoyable.
9. Try a few words and phrases in Italian
- Do you speak English? – Te parli inglexe?
- Do you speak Venetian? – Párlitu venesian?
- How much is this? – Cuanto cóstelo?
- Please – Per piasser
- Excuse me – El me scuxa
- Thank you – Grazie
- Have a good journey – Bon viaxo!
- I don’t know – No só
- Have a nice meal – Bon apetito!
- Goodbye – Adio
Tipping in Venice
Tipping may be one of your primary concerns when traveling to Venice. Italians, in general, are not big tippers and giving too little could be considered rude while tipping too much can come across as arrogant.
10. Tip from the heart
For this reason, we recommend tipping from the heart as a sincere gesture of appreciation. So, giving something between €5 and €10 when the service is extra special would be great.
Unforgettable Venice Tours
Not ready to book a tour? See our best Venice tours to take and why.
Things To Do in Venice
You’ll never get bored in Venice—there’s plenty to see and do! Here are our top tips for what to do in the city, but definitely check out our dedicated article on the top things to do in Venice for lots more inspiration and a few hidden gems.
11. Eat like a Venetian
It’s no longer a secret that tourists always outnumber Venetians throughout the year. On average, there are 20 million tourists to 60,000 Venetians! But if you still want to eat like a Venetian, it’s worth eating out and sampling authentic Venetian cuisines. Check out our guide to the best restaurants in Venice.
The easiest way to eat like a Venetian, of course, is to go on a food tour. It’s a fun way to enjoy authentic cuisine, get to know the city, and meet some like-minded travelers. Check out our top-rated Venice food tours.
Pro tip: For an authentic experience, try eating at a bacaro or osteria. They’re small bars where you can have a snack and a glass of wine at cheaper rates. Also, keep in mind that sit-down restaurants are expensive and you’ll be charged less if you order and just stand at the counter as most Italians and Venetians do.
12. Visit Piazza San Marco (St. Marks Square), Bridge of Sighs, and Riva Degli Schiavoni
You’ve probably heard countless times that you should avoid the top tourist sites in Venice because they’re always overcrowded. I highly recommend that you shouldn’t ignore these places because they’re historical and memorable places that millions of people never get to see.
Pro tip: Start early before sunrise and you’ll have these places all to yourself. Alternatively, get ahead of the crowds with skip-the-line tickets and a guided tour. Check out our highly-rated St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace half-day tour with a gondola ride.
13. Get lost and explore
Believe us, even the most experienced travelers get lost in Venice at some point. But don’t worry about getting lost. Explore the city—you never know what you might accidentally find!
All in all, the key to enjoying Venice is to keep an open mind, prepare to get lost in the narrow alleys, and accept the fact that canals are the main streets. After all, you’re in Venice!