Venice is one of the most unique and romantic cities in the world. Known for its intricate network of canals and charming architecture, Venice attracts millions of visitors each year. Whether you're planning a romantic getaway or a family vacation, here is your ultimate Venice travel guide. There’s something extremely romantic and charming about Venice. Imagine strolling down alleyways, eating authentic gelato while window shopping for Italian leather handbags. Whether it’s the Basilica di San Marco located in the heart of the Piazza San Marco, the Rialto Bridge, or the Ponte Dei Sospiri, there is so much history to be seen on this magical little island.
When to Go:
The best time to visit Venice is during the spring (April to June) or fall (September to November) when the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller. Summer is peak tourist season, so expect long lines and high prices. Winter can be cold and damp, but it is a great time to visit if you're looking to avoid crowds.
Venice is a pedestrian city, so be prepared to walk or take a water taxi. The best way to see the city is on foot, but if you need to get somewhere quickly, a water taxi is the way to go. There are also Vaporettos, which are water buses that run along the main canals. The waterbus is a convenient and affordable way to travel around the city, with routes that connect various neighborhoods and tourist attractions.
The waterbuses are operated by ACTV, the public transportation company of Venice, and run on a regular schedule throughout the day and evening. The routes and schedules can be found on the ACTV website or at the many ticket kiosks throughout the city.
If you're looking to buy a day pass for the waterbus (Vaporetto) in Venice, you can purchase it at any ACTV ticket office or authorized reseller, or directly at the ticket machines located at most of the Vaporetto stops.
The day pass allows unlimited travel on the ACTV waterbus network, including the Canal Grande, the islands of Murano, Burano, and Torcello, and the Lido di Venezia. The cost of the day pass varies depending on the duration of validity and the age of the passenger. As of my knowledge cutoff of 2021, the cost for a one-day adult pass was around 20 euros.
St. Mark's Basilica: This stunning cathedral is one of the most popular attractions in Venice. It features beautiful mosaics, intricate architecture, and a spectacular view of the city from the rooftop. The basilica is one of the most famous landmarks in Venice and is renowned for its intricate Byzantine architecture and beautiful golden mosaics. The basilica was originally built in the 9th century to house the remains of St. Mark, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. Over the centuries, the church has undergone numerous renovations and additions, with the most recent restoration taking place in the 1990s.
Doge's Palace: This palace was once the residence of the Doge of Venice, the city's former ruler. It is now a museum and a must-see attraction for history buffs.
Rialto Bridge: The Rialto Bridge is one of the most iconic landmarks in Venice. It offers a beautiful view of the Grand Canal and is a great spot for photos. It's one of the four bridges that span the Grand Canal, and it's located in the heart of the city. The bridge is made of stone and has three walkways: two along the outer balustrades and a wider central walkway that was historically used for the passage of horses and carriages. The Rialto Bridge was built in the late 16th century and was considered a great engineering feat at the time. It was designed by Antonio da Ponte and replaced an earlier wooden bridge that had collapsed. Today, it's a popular tourist attraction and a symbol of the city of Venice. The bridge is surrounded by a bustling market area, with many shops selling souvenirs, clothing, and food items. From the top of the bridge, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Grand Canal and the surrounding buildings. It's a great spot to take photos and admires the beauty of Venice.
Murano and Burano: These two islands are famous for their glass-making and lace-making, respectively. They are both easily accessible by waterbus and make for a great day trip. Murano and Burano are two islands located in the Venetian Lagoon, near Venice, Italy. They are popular tourist destinations known for their rich history, unique culture, and beautiful scenery. Murano is famous for its glassmaking industry, which dates back to the 13th century. The island is home to many glass factories and workshops, where visitors can watch skilled glassblowers create intricate pieces of art. Murano is also known for its beautiful canals, colorful houses, and historic churches, including the 12th-century Basilica di Santa Maria e San Donato. Burano is known for its brightly colored houses and lace-making tradition. The island's main square, Piazza Galuppi, is surrounded by pastel-colored houses, shops, and restaurants. Visitors can watch lace-makers at work and visit the Lace Museum to learn more about the island's history and culture. Both Murano and Burano can be easily reached by waterbus (Vaporetto) from Venice. They offer a peaceful escape from the crowds of Venice and are a great place to experience the unique culture and traditions of the Venetian Lagoon.
Bridge of Sighs Also known as Ponte Dei Sospiri in Italian, this is one of the most famous bridges in Italy. It was originally connected to the prison so prisoners had to cross the bridge, causing them to *sigh* as they entered jail. Cassanova was from Venice and actually escaped that prison. It has now become a symbol of love and it is said that if you kiss your lover under the bridge, your love will last forever.
Food and Drink:
Venice is known for its seafood and traditional Italian dishes. Some must-try foods include cicchetti (small appetizers), risotto al nero di seppia (squid ink risotto), and tiramisu. For drinks, try the local spritz cocktail, made with Aperol, Prosecco, and soda water.
Where to Stay:
There are many great hotels in Venice, but be prepared to pay a premium for a room with a view. Some popular areas to stay in include San Marco, Cannaregio, and Dorsoduro. If you're on a budget, consider staying on the mainland and taking the train into the city.
Venice offers a wide range of accommodations, from luxurious hotels to budget-friendly guesthouses and hostels. The best area to stay in Venice depends on your budget, interests, and travel plans. Here are some of the most popular areas to stay in Venice:
San Marco - This is the heart of Venice, home to many of the city's top attractions, including St. Mark's Basilica and the Doge's Palace. Hotels in this area tend to be more expensive, but they offer easy access to the main sights and attractions.
Cannaregio - This is a more residential area of Venice, known for its authentic local feel and charming canals. It's a great place to stay if you're looking for a quieter atmosphere and want to experience local life in Venice.
Dorsoduro - This area is located south of San Marco, and is home to many art galleries and museums, including the Gallerie dell'Accademia and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. It's a great place to stay if you're interested in art and culture.
Santa Croce - This area is located near the train station and is a good option if you're looking for more affordable accommodations. It's also a convenient location if you're planning to take day trips from Venice.
Lido - This island is located just off the coast of Venice and is a popular destination for beach lovers. It's a quieter area, with a variety of accommodations ranging from budget-friendly hotels to luxury resorts.
Here are some of the best-rated budget-friendly hotels in Venice
Residenza San Silvestro Best budget option if you want to stay in the city
Casa Dogal best budget option if you are with more than 2 people as the apartment has 2 bedrooms
Hotel Al Duca di Venezia - Located in the Santa Croce district, this hotel offers comfortable rooms and a convenient location close to the train station and Piazzale Roma. It's highly rated for its friendly staff and clean, well-appointed rooms.
Hotel Ca' dei Conti - This hotel is located in the San Marco district, close to St. Mark's Square and other top attractions. It features stylish rooms and a lovely terrace with views of the city. Guests praise its central location and great value for the price.
Hotel Serenissima - This hotel is located in the Cannaregio district, away from the crowds but still within easy reach of top attractions. It offers clean, comfortable rooms and a lovely courtyard for relaxing. Guests praise its excellent location and great value.
Hotel Al Codega - This hotel is located in the San Marco district, close to St. Mark's Square and other top attractions. It features stylish, comfortable rooms and a lovely terrace for enjoying breakfast or drinks. Guests praise its excellent location and great value for the price.
Hotel Arcadia - This hotel is located in the Cannaregio district, away from the crowds but still within easy reach of top attractions. It offers clean, comfortable rooms and a lovely garden for relaxing. Guests praise its friendly staff and excellent value for the price.
Hotel Antico Doge - This hotel is located in the Cannaregio district, close to the Jewish Ghetto and other top attractions. It features stylish, comfortable rooms and a lovely garden for relaxing. Guests praise its excellent location and great value for the price.
Keep in mind that prices can vary depending on the time of year and availability, so be sure to check the hotel's website or booking site for current rates and availability.
Venice is generally a safe city, but be aware of pickpockets in crowded areas. It's also a good idea to avoid walking alone at night in quiet areas.
Buy a Vaporetto pass if you plan to use the water buses frequently.
Be respectful of local customs and traditions.
Dress appropriately for visiting churches and other religious sites.
Don't feed the pigeons in St. Mark's Square.
Try to get lost in the city's narrow streets and discover hidden gems.
Good to Know
Language: Italian! Though some locals don’t speak English, most Venetians have become accustomed to English-speaking tourists so you shouldn’t have a problem communicating.
Currency: Much like a lot of other countries in Europe, they use the Euro. With so much tourism, Venice widely accepts credit cards. However, it can be easier to pay for small purchases and souvenirs with cash, so keep some Euros on you at all times.
Climate: The weather in Venice is very extreme. In the summer, it is very hot out. With a massive increase in tourists, the crowds only add to the heat. In the winter, it is quite rainy and cold.
Peak Season: The peak tourist season for Venice is June-August. Since so many people visit during these months, prices get expensive, even for hostels, so expect to pay more than anywhere else in Italy.
Here are some resources to help you get your trip going:
Travel Essentials what's in my bag: To help you get started on packing, here are my essential travel and photography gear
Flights: WayAway to start looking for cheap flights and great deals from your home country.
Accommodation: Hostelworld, Booking.com, and Agoda.com are the ultimate go-to platforms to search for amazing hostels and hotels at affordable prices.
Car Rental: DiscoverCars.com is a great and reliable platform to find rental cars all over the world.
Internet: Airalo is the best way to get a sim card and has reliable internet access for your trip. All you need is an Esim-compatible smartphone, install it on your phone prior to your trip, and you are all set.
Day Trips & Tours: Viator, and GetYourGuide, are great platforms to search for activities to do
Tickets & Deals: Tiqets is always my go-to website when I want to find cheaper deals for entrance tickets to tourist attractions
Klook to find the best deals for trips in Asia, somehow they are 30% cheaper than when you buy them at a local agency
Train, buses, and ferries 12Go to find your travel route for local buses, and ferries, we use them all the time as you can easily see the reviews, and the vouchers are everywhere accepted. tickets are sold for more than 5,000 destinations in 100+ countries worldwide.