Venice, nicknamed Bride of the Sea, is entirely different from any other city I have seen before – and I visited quite some parts of Italy already. Situated across a group of 118 small islands, Venice represents an unique labyrinth of canals and bridges.
I happen know Venice much more than my own city (Things to see in Brno, Czech Republic) – I simply had much more time to explore it. I actually spent in Venice 3 consecutive months while working for travel agency, and I did guided tours several times a week.
Each guided tour would consists of 2 hours of guiding and 2 hours of free time, so I had time to explore even the smallest streets. Whoever gets this time to walk about any city, huh?
Planning a visit of floating can we overwhelming. You got to decide where to stay an what to visit. I prepared five travel tips for visit of Venice:
01 | Get ready to be lost
I am sorry, but no matter how great your orientation talent is, it simply stops working in Venice. The winding streets are bewitched, making the visitors going the wrong way. But honesty, it is not the worst thing in world to be lost in Venice. In fact, it is really romantic to be lost in such a beautiful city.
Maps don’t work either but don’t worry; you can always find the way in the end. The secure way is to follow the signs to the two most famous attractions – Ponte Rialto or St Marco square.
You have to really get ready for much walking – since there are so many canals in the way, one has to get over bridges and that is not without going up and down couple of steps.
02| Enjoy a gondola trial
If it’s you first time visit to Venice, you will probably be charmed by gondolas.Those black long boats are part of the local culture, only limited numbers of families can create them and use them for public. This makes the experience exclusive and rather expensive. But must not be always like that!
There is cheaper way to experience the gondola ride: at several points of the city, there is a gondola ferry that can take you across the canal. It is just a short ride, but you can take it twice if you like. Like this, you get the experience and take the pictures, without paying a fortune.
Good place for experiencing the gondola ferry is near church Santa Maria del Giglio where is no bridge and the ferry is just the best way. It costs €2 one-way.
03 | Go Island Hopping
In can be surprising, but some of the most photogenic places in Venice are located on the outer islands. Especially Murano and Burano are paradise for anyone who likes photography: the combination colorful houses and canals has it all.
It is good idea to escape the hustle and bustle of Venice and go island hopping for one day. Make sure to get the ticket including the unlimited rides, so that you can choose any boat at any time. The ticket for 12 hours should be enough for the whole day. You can get it for $24, but you can get ticket for 24 hours or 36 hours as well.
Just a small warning: if anybody offers you a “free” ride to Murano to visit the glass factories, keep in mind that they expect you to make a purchase. It might turned to be much more expensive than the original ticket.
04 | Get Up Early
Visiting Venice is great, but crowded experience. Especially between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m everywhere it just gets crowded by the people. Much of the visitors are coming from the cruise ships and aim to visit the main monuments before taking off to the next destination.
If you are not big fan of cuing (nobody is, right?), then try to wake up earlier and visit the San Marco Square around 9 am. You will have it all for yourself! I also recommend visiting Campanile, the bell tower of St Mark’s. There is an amazing view from the top.
Later, when the crowds are too much, consider visiting the lesser known spots in Venice. Great place to rest just few steps from tourist–filled Piazza San Marco is Giardinetti Reali, or Royal Gardens.
05| Pack like a minimalist
Transportation around Venice is quite tricky and you don’t want to be dragging around an over packed suitcase. Try to leave home as many things as you can. Trust me – the only thing you really need in Venice is comfortable shoes and couple of T-shirts.
I highly recommend staying at a hotel near a water taxi stop. Trust me, you do not want to drag your luggage very far in Venice: everyhwre are bringes and steps without the ramp or anything similar.
Just in case, it is a good idea to booking a place to stay near the stop of a water taxi. That way, your arrival will be smooth. See if you like any of the places at website of Venice apartments. I recommend staying at least two nights in Venice, you still have a lot to do if you stay four. Venice is paradise for explorers!
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