A city of 118 islands audaciously built on a lagoon, Venice is a charming muse; a dream you never want to wake up from. A city of meandering canals laced by a labyrinth of whimsical bridges overlooking untainted pastel architecture, the La Serenissima in its glory of traditional arts, elegant gondolas and postcard perfect scenery is a travel idyll. Churches that are gallery grand, countless palace turned museums and sparkling emerald water piercing its way right through the grandeur, the city is elusive and enchanting all at once. A whiff of the Venetian air is enough to turn anyone into a romantic and in this very imperiled atmosphere, every wrong turn is a palatable delight.
The Venetian Way of Life
Venice is a multifaceted, elusive city. While it has a shimmering facade made of grandeur palazzos, palatial museums, chic cafes and uptown bars, it also has a soulful rustic facade with bustling local markets, dingy watering holes, suggestive alleyways, and colourfully crammed buildings. Venice is a unique blend of traditional and cosmopolitan lifestyle and the real city exists in the middle of these two spectrums. Go beyond the crowds and discover this rooted slice of Venice.
Awe Inspiring Architecture
Venice and its lagoon is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site and very rightly so. Venice is an assemblage of Italian Masterpieces with its architectural wonders like the t. Mark's Basilica, Doge's Palace, Santa Maria della Salute, Ca' d'Oro and Punta Della Dogana to name a few. These structures date centuries and centuries back but still hold a breathtaking rustic shine which pulls crowds from all over the world to marvel at the city’s wonders. Barring the palaces, even pastel stony buildings in quaint alleyways brushing against the canals of the city are a sight behold.
City of WaterCrafts
Can you imagine a city where cars are banned? Well, it’s not utopian because Venice is a vehicle free zone. Venice is Europe’s largest car-free space, a medieval city that made it to the 21st century untouched by vehicular inventions and consequent pollution. Your only way to get around this beautiful city is by foot or by the plethora of watercrafts the city boasts. Pick your choose from the Gondolas, Traghettos, Vaporettos, Motoscafi and Alilagunas of the city and hop on to any to be whisked away in style to your destination. While you’re on your choice of watercraft, don’t forget to cruise the Grand Canal, the city’s main thoroughfare. The ambassador to French King Charles VIII called the Grand Canal “the most beautiful street in the world ” and quite rightly so.
Venice Travel Guide
Venice is a city nestled in an old world charm with rippling canals and sun dappled piazzas, not to forget the awe inspiring historical marvels standing proud and tall all across the city. An ideal escape from quotidian life, a visit to Venice will transports you to the glorious yesteryears of Venetian past. With stunning works of art echoing all across the city, lacey bridges and quaint alleyways, Venice is sure to leave you love sick if you intend to go solo. If you're going with your partner, you're in for a real treat because Venice is touted to be one of the world's romantic cities and we, completely agree. This all inclusive Venice Guide will tell you you’d like to know before booking your ticket to this postcard perfect city!
Venice Travel Restrictions
Can I travel to Venice right now? Short answer - Yes. Long answer - there are a few things you should keep in mind before traveling to Venice. Here's all about the travel restrictions in Venice.
Top 10 Things To Do in Venice
When we say there's something new that crops up in the city every week or so, we are not exaggerating! Venice never ceases to surprise and has something to keep everyone of all ages occupied. While there are over 100+ things to do in Venice, here are our top 10 favourites in Venice!
Venice Trip Planner
All you need before you book your tickets and zip your bag!
Weather in Venice
Visiting Venice in itself is one of the best experiences you will have in life. For most, it hardly matters what time of the year you visit Venice. However, if you want to know before you go, this is how the seasons in Venice look. You can check the weather here.
Venice in Spring
Venice welcomes Spring season at the beginning of March and it extends upto the end of May. The pleasant weather and the energetic ambiance is a welcome change after the gloominess of winter that often overstays up till February. It is also the time before summer kicks in, leaving enough time before the crowd finds its way to the city. Venice shows wonderful shades of the season with flowers blooming everywhere you go.
Venice in Summer
Cheerful sunshine and blue skies looking over the Venetian beaches — summer is quite a popular time to visit Venice and several tourists from around the world believe so. You may encounter large crowds and longer queues, so make sure you book on time. With long days and starry nights, Venetian summers also give way to interesting events taking place every now and then.
Venice in Autumn
If you’re looking for a nip in the air without having to face the music, Autumn is the best time for you to visit Venice. With winter settling in slowly and summer making its way out, there are a lot of open air activities that you could enjoy during this season. Venice also hosts a number of art festivals during this time that could be enjoyed by art-enthusiasts.
Venice in Winter
While the weather may seem challenging during winter, Venice is a sight for sore eyes with quaint pop-up markets and cutesy outdoor cafes prepping for Christmas. The temperature dips down to 0°C but the city retains its charm and lively ambiance during the season. The season also witnesses a relief from the crowd that is around for the summer or spring season in Venice.
Best Time for Staying Outdoors in Venice
If plenty of sun and a day by the beach is what you’re looking for, Venice offers you its best from March onwards till August. In these months, you will find several resorts and pools opening up for the holidaying crowd. You may also indulge in sailing or rowing, which is a popular activity in Venice during summers.
Best Time for Sightseeing & Museum Hopping
Art enthusiasts can head to Venice between August to November. The temperature during these months is pleasant, and one can also make the most of the iconic Venice Film Festival that is held during this time. Being the shoulder season, these months also witness relatively less crowd around the city.
Best Time for Honeymooners
Venice boasts of pleasant climate during the months of September and February. With the winter either settling in or making its way through the city, Venice witnesses partly cloudy and foggy climate that makes up for the ideal romantic destination. Honeymooners can also avoid the crowd during these months as they fall just before the high season in Venice.
Best Time for Budget Travellers
If you’re looking for an economic getaway, planning your trip around the months of November to January is an ideal option. Off-season in Venice sees lesser crowd and budgeted accommodation. Apart from this, there are also several holiday events lined up around the city that you simply shouldn’t miss!
Best Time for Shopaholics
Venice houses an annual sale during the months of November and December. It is also during these months that there are pop up markets around the city during Christmas. Shopaholics can make the most of their trip by having a go at some of the most ornamental Christmas markets in the city.
Read our detailed blog on the best time to visit Venice.
Venice Daily Budget
Budget - €40
Midrange - €99
Luxury - €242
This tool will further help you budget your Venice trip.
Venice Visa Requirements
Citizens of countries that do not require a visa but need a valid passport:
Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Bermuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, East Timor, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldava, Monaco, Montenegro, Nauru, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Salvador, Samoa, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Vatican and Venezuela.
Citizens of countries not previously mentioned need to get a Schengen Visa to enter Venice. Some of these countries include - India, Armenia,Bhutan, Combodia,China, Nepal, Turkey, Russia, South Africa and many more than you can check here.
The 4th busiest airport in Italy, Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE) is the international airport of Venice and is located on the mainland 13 kilometres from Venice. With separate departure gates for Schengen and non-Schengen flights, this airport hosts flights to many European countries and a few partly long-haul routes to the United States, Canada and Middle East. It features an impressive set of shops and cafes, and various VIP lounges and other luxurious facilities. The Marco Polo airport is also very well connected to the city centre of Venice via sea.
Another airport located in the Venice is the, Treviso Airport situated around 31kms away from Venice also known as Venice - Treviso. It usually hosts low-cost airlines , mainly Ryanair and Wizz Air.
Serviced by both full-service and budget airlines, you can find great deals on flights to Venice via sites like SkyScanner and Expedia. With great international connections, it’s also a convenient to plan a layover visit to Venice while you’re traveling elsewhere in Italy.
Venice is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Each year, millions flock into the city to witness the Canal City's grandeur. Seeing canals instead of lanes is probably the most bizarre, yet beautiful thing you are likely to witness. The gondola rides are most likely the first image that comes to one’s mind when thinking of Venice, but the city has a lot more to offer. This is possibly the reason why Venice is never devoid of tourists. In order to see the city in its full glory despite the crowd, you need to equip yourself with some insider tips. Read on and follow the tips below for a wonderful trip to Venice.
If you're visiting Venice for the first time, our handy list of 20 travel tips and hacks will come handy.
Detailed Venice Itineraries
Looking for readymade itineraries you can just plug and play? Take a look at our meticulously crafted itineraries that have been designed to help you make the most of your stay in Venice - taking in all of the City of Canals in whatever little time you plan to stay. We've done all the hardwork for you! All you have to do is pick the number of days you'd like to visit Venice for, and find a readymade Venice itinerary, tailored to suit all age-groups!
How to Save Money in Venice
Venice maybe one of the most romantic cities in the world, but can be a damper on your pocket if you’re not cautious. No matter how you slice it, the city is expensive and unless you get your research done right and well in advance, you may end up shelling out a whole lot of euros that could be have been avoided. Here are a few tips and hacks that could help you allow you to tour Venice on a budget
The trick is to think like a local, feel like a local and live like a local.
1. Choose the Right Time for Your Trip
The first and foremost tip to save money in Venice is choosing the right time for your visit. During peak season ( May - August), the prices are sky high for almost everything. From accommodation to flight tickets to price of gondola rides, food and more. If you skip visiting Venice during this period, you won’t just save money, but also time. Due to the countless scores of tourists, the queues take upto 45 minutes to 1 hour and can be quite a buzzkill for travelers who are looking to truly enjoy the beauty of the city. Fall and Winter months are great to visit because the hotels are not likely to be crowded, lesser people hence lower prices too.
2. Make Accomodation Reservations in Advance
Backpacking in Venice with hopes of finding a hotel to stay in as and when you land there might not be such a good idea , especially during peak season , simply because most budget hotels tend to be booked out and you’ll have to pay an exorbitant amount to get decent accomodation. Online bookings actually help you save a few euros, so it is highly recommended to have your accommodation sorted pre hand.
3. Stay Outside of the Main City
Accomodation in Venice is quite expensive, especially if you decide to stay near St. Mark’s Square and its whereabouts. Instead, you can save quite an amount by standing on Lido, Mestre and other nearby islands and commute to the city centre using the well- connected waterways.
4. Buy a Transportation Pass
Though Venice is one of the most pedestrian friendly cities on earth, you are bound to get tired and will need a boat to swoosh you to your next destination. For the same, the vaporetto or water bus happens to be the cheapest mode of transport. Buying a pass for the number of days you are around gives you unlimited access through all the Vaporetto lines which pretty much covers all of Venice. You can read more about Vaporettos rides and other forms of transportation in Venice here.
5. Pre Book Gondola Rides
Gondola rides are the most quintessential Venetian affair and one should not deprive themselves of this experience because of the exorbitant prices quoted by the gondoliers. The Venetian government has established a standard rate of €80 for a 40 minute ride on gondola of 6. The evening rates can be higher and with a serenade tour, the prices are likely to get steeper. Bargaining with gondoliers can be a lost cause, hence we would recommend purchasing Gondola tickets online for a cheaper rate in order to have a haggle and hassle free experience.
6. Dine outside of the Touristy Areas
Venice is infamous for its overpriced mediocre food with quantity that can barely satisfy half a stomach. To avoid this trap, skip cafes in the city centre and walk into secluded alleys and seat yourself in quaint cafes and restaurants far far away from the touristy parts of the city. In the neighbourhoods of Dorsoduro, near the Accademia, in the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello, you are likely to find pocket friendly bites close to authentic Venetian cuisine. Find out the closest bàcari, and head here for tapas-styled cicchetti, small plates of food that start at the appetising price of €1. Try out these places for a great meal - Pizzeria ae Oche , Pizza al volo, Vecia Gina in Sant' Elena, Trattoria Alla Madonna and Brek.
7. Lunch like a King and Dine like a Pauper
Restaurants and cafes in Venice have cheaper lunch menus, care off care of the locals working around the city. Lunch timings are between 12 noon to 2 PM in most places and we’d suggest you splurge on a good lunch than on an extravagant dinner as the prices tend to be higher after sun set.
8. Book Online Tours for Cheaper Deals
Venice is best explored on foot , coupled with a few boat tours to rest your legs. There are many many churches and museums that demand to be explored and if you’re on a time constraint, you should consider buying the various passes the city offers in order to skip the lines and gain priority access. Else, majority of your time will be spent in standing in queues outside each attraction. Some of the passes you can consider buying are the Venice Museum Pass, Chorus Circuit Pass and St. Mark’s City Pass. Booking tickets for guided tours of the Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica are a good idea to skip the line and get an exclusive guided tour of the famed structures. Venice also has many walking tours like the Rialto Market Tour, Venice Craftsmenship Tour , Venice Walking Tour etc. Booking them on HeadOut will help you save a few bucks and earn cashback as well!
Venice Airport Transfers
Venice’s main airport, the Marco Polo Airport is located at a distance from the main archipelago of Venetian islands and you have the option of covering this distance via water-borne modes of transport or by land. Before landing in Venice, it is wise to give a little thought on how to go from the Marco Polo airport to your hotel. Here’s a handy guide on the different ways to go from Marco Polo Airport to Venice and a few things you must know before finalizing your preferred mode of transport.
Gondola Ride and Venice Boat Tour
Boat Tours Vs Gondola Rides in Venice
If you had to pick the rides in Venices, one would be taking a Gondola Ride and other world the Boat Tours.
Gondola Rides In Venice
The Gondola is probably an identification mark of the city. These appear on all commercial promotion of the city’s tourism and hence can seem a bit overrated. But believe us, a canal ride of the city is every bit as beautiful as it is hyped. It is the best way to know the leisurely lifestyle of Venice.
Venice is renowned for its rich art and architecture. It is one of Italy’s most popular tourist destinations since the 18th century, owing to its unique landscape that comprises 118 small islands. One of the best ways to explore the city is to hop onto a gondola and take a ride through Venice’s serene canals. Please click here for Gondola Ride Tickets in Venice
Read more about Gondola Rides In Venice.
Venice Boat Tours
The gondola is a symbol of Venice, and no tour of the city is complete without a gondola ride. While a gondola ride is an experience in itself, Venice has other exciting options where you can get around its picturesque canals and the expansive lagoon in cheaper and more efficient ways. You can choose to go on boat tours with local expert guides, and access organized routes so you don’t have to do the planning, and enjoy cheaper rates thanks to shared groups. Whatever is your budget, time, and interest, there is a Venice Boat Tour that will suit your requirement. Here is a guide on how to explore Venice and its waterways on a boat tour.
Read more about Venice Boat Tours.
Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Tour
Built on an archipelago of 118 Islands on the Adriatic Sea, Venice or Venezia is a remarkable 1,700 year old city, a charming potpourri of artistic and cultural influences from all around the world. Often called the Floating City and quite rightly so, Venice is a set of garden islands on the Venetian Lagoon with over 150 meandering canals connected by 400 bridges. This exquisite city being a vehicle free zone is explored best by foot or by boats. Your chances of hailing a cab to get from one place to the other is practically nada. That said, the waterways in Venice are very well connected and are literally considered the arteries of the city. If you’re looking to explore and exploit your vacation to Venice to its maximum, the Venice Hop on Hop off Bus Tour is your most economical and convenient bet.
Day Trips From Venice
After savouring all of St. Mark’s Square and Dosrudo neighbourhood, hopping on a vaporetto and swooshing off to other enchanting islands on the Venetian Lagoon is a great idea. Out of the umpteen islands, Murano, Burano and Torcello are the most popular ones for a quick half day getaway. Each one better than the other, a trip to the Islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello is bound to be a refreshing treat and a glimpse of how Venice was before all of the world’s tourist hordes descended there.
Getting Around in Venice
Getting around Venice can be quite tricky , but once you get a hang of the waterways and the different modes of transport that exist in this city, you are good to go. Check this detailed blog post on the different modes of transport available in Venice , the routes, lines , fares and tickets.
In short, there are 6 modes of water borne transport in Venice:
- Water Taxis
- Hop On Hop Off Boat
Venice’s monorail known as the People Mover is an elevated shuttle train that offers connectivity between 3 crucial points in the city :
- Piazzale Roma - This is where people arrive by public bus, airport bus, taxi, or car.
- Marittima Cruise Terminal - This is where people on cruises and ships arrive and depart.
- Tronchetto Parking Island - This parking island has indoor and outdoor parking for 1000s of cars and is also the arrival point for most tour buses.
If you intend to take the People Mover, you can check out its schedule here.
The Santa Lucia Railway Station has local, regional and long distance train services along with high speed trains to Milan, Florence and Rome. Within Venice it has a stop at Mestre which is about 5-10 minute journey from the station. From Santa Lucia Railway Station you can catch trains to the following cities for a quick one day getaway :
- Florence - 2 hours
- Verona - 1 hour 15 mins
- Padova - 15 mins
The Marco Polo International Airport is located an hour away by sea from the main city of Venice. In order to go to and fro the airport, you can use the following forms of public transport:
- The ATVO buses ( 52 and 53) from Piazzale Roma
- Water taxis to the airport
- Alilaguna shuttle service to and fro the airport
Hotels in Venice
Hotels are spread out just about everywhere. With that being said, each area caters to specific travelers.
Dining in Venice
When you think Italian food, Pizza and Pasta are the staples that prop into your mind. Most people who come to Venice flock in to touristy eateries serving pizza and pasta in the hope for authentic venetian food. You’ll be surprised to know that Venetian Cuisine is not remotely close to pizzas and pastas. Due to its close proximity to the sea, venetians indulge in a lot of seafood and local produce like asparagus and artichokes. Though the list below barely scratches the surface of the umpteen dishes this city has to offer, they are the absolute must trys one cannot afford to miss. Do try the Fegato alla veneziana, moleche crabs and fritole ( only during Carnevale) after you’re done trying the below.
- Risotto al Nero di Seppia
- Bigoli in salsa
Cicchetti is more of a style of eating, not a dish per se. However, it is Venetian thoroughfare you cannot miss. Cicchetti can be loosely translated to local specialities appetizers and when you’re in Venice you are likely to see many bacaros ( cicchetti bars) serving small plates of delectable finger food. We’d suggest you sample different cicchettis’ at different bars in order to taste all the different bite sized morsels the city has to offer. Pair this up with a beverage of your choice, preferably wine and you are eating an authentic Venetian meal. Some of the cichhettis you should go for are :
2. Sarde in Saor
3. Baccalà mantecato
Rice is a staple in the Venetian meal, hence risottos are routine on all menus. However, risotto al nero di seppia is a stunner because of its black colour attributing to squid ink and an exception taste like no other risotto. This risotto is cooked with pieces of squid or cuttlefish and lots if wine. Though it may turn your teeth purple, a bite of this tastes like sea say the locals.
Made with long thick whole wheat pasta and salt cured fish ( either sardines or anchovies), this dish is one of the famous Venetian pasta preparations that all pasta lovers are bound to fall head over heels in love with. It is traditionally served as a starter on days such as Good Friday and Christmas Eve, but you will find it all around Venice , especially in Cicchetti bars.
A typical Venetian snack of two triangular pieces of white bread with all kinds of inventive fillings inside messily spilling out. From tomatoes to mozzarella, to prosciutto cotto to shredded radicchio with olives and artichokes you will find all sorts of filling inside the Tramezzino and is the perfect food to grab on the go and munch on while walking the length and breadth of the city.
This is the classic Venetian aperitif, a mix of white wine, Aperol (sweeter) or Bitter Campari and Select (bitterer) and a splash of seltz or Sparkling mineral water or Soda.
Venice Public Transportation
Getting around the Venetian lagoon can be challenging, yet very exciting. Challenging because unlike other landbound cities, you cannot hail a cab to go from one place to the other simply because a major chunk of Venice is non- vehicular. Exciting because now you have to carry a map, walk on cobbled streets, hop on a boat and glide across Venice’s emerald waterways! I say more exciting than challenging!
This Venice Public Transportation blog aims to simplify the complex waterways, water routes and the water crafts available to you in Venice. It might seem a little complicated in the beginning, but rest assured you’ll get a hang of it. Bookmark this and you’ll have no issues getting around the Floating City.
Venice For Couples
Venice is known to be one of the most romantic cities in the world and a very popular honeymoon destination, rightly so. If you're planning a romantic getaway in Venice, here are the top 12 romantic things to do in Venice with your better half. The fervour of love is wafting all around and all you need to do is take a step back from the hustle of the floating city and allow it to consume you. While you're at it, here are a few more romantic things to do in Venice city that will definitely kindle the right sparks with your loved one!
Festivals in Venice
Festivals are an integral part of Venetian Culture and they have elaborate festivals throughout the year, each bigger and better than the other. See which festival you can catch depending on your month of visit.
- January- Epiphany , La Befana
- February- Carnevale ( biggest festival in Venice)
- March - Festa della Donna (Women's Day) and Saint Joseph's Day, also celebrated as Father's Day in Venice.
- April - Gondoliers' regatta , St. Mark's Day
- May - The Festa della Sensa , Vogalonga
- June - Biennale Art Expo ( every odd numbered year) , Art Night Venezia.
- July - Festa del Redentore (commemorating the end of the plague in 1576)
- August - Ferragosto, Venice Film Festival ( last week)
- September - Historical Regatta, Venice Film Festival ( first week)
- October - Opera season at La Fenice
- November - Festa della Salute (commemorating the end of the plague in 1631)
- December - Christmas, Hannukah
Venetian Lifestyle and Culture
Venice's population in 2018 is estimated at 633,000 and a majority of them are local Venetians followed by Europeans who have migrated to the city. Most of the citizens are Roman Catholics but there are many from other sects of Christianity and a generous number of Jews who reside in the Venetian Ghetto area.
The Venetian way of life is unique and charming in its own way. Enveloped in a laid back atmosphere, the locals here love their afternoon siesta and hence you will find most shops and stores shut for a few hours in the afternoon. The Venetian cuisine is considered balanced and ideal with generous portions of lean proteins (lots and lots of fish) good fats and fresh produce abundant in minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. Obesity is a rarity here and that has a lot to do with their eating habits and the fact that most of Venice is vehicular free hence leaving no choice but to walk, rain or shine.
The culture of this city is an riveting and vibrant as its lifestyle. Eminent playwrights and authors like Shakespeare, Anne Rice and many more have often mentioned the alluring Venice in their works. The culture hub of Italy, this city has had a distinctive and thriving artistic environment. It was called the Republic of Music for its contribution towards Italian Opera and is the founding city of the game changing form of art called the Venetian School. Not to forget the birth of Venetian- Gothic architecture that mushroomed in the 14th century and is not seen all across the city.
Venetians are big on cultural festivals, one grander than the other and the grandest of them all being the Carnevale of Venice. Venice is known for its scrumptious platter of sweets and wine found nowhere else but within the premises of this floating city.
ATMs in Venice
In Venice, the ATMs are called ‘Bancomats’ and you will find them outside walls of banks all over the city. They have multilingual screen and are very user friendly. Most establishments (hotel, shops and restaurants) accept credit cards too.
A few things to know before using bancomats:
- Make sure to authorize foreign ATM transactions with your bank before you leave your home country.
- Locals banks tend to have lower withdrawal limits so if you are denied a transaction, dial in a smaller denomination.
- Bancomats of Banco San Marco almost always dispenses a combination of €50, €20, and €10 banknotes. So if you find any of these bancomats hop in and dispense cash as you’d rather carry smaller denominations than the standard 50-euro and higher denominations notes that most bancomats dispense.
You can check the daily Euro exchange rate here
Tipping in Venice
In Venice, tipping is not expected in hotels, restaurants, bars, taxis, or for any other service. However, a tip is not considered offensive, hence a tip from the heart is considered a gesture of appreciation. Tipping around 5-10% of the bill is the norm here, so you can follow the same for most purposes, except hairdressers who are given a slightly higher tip of 10-15% of the bill.