I will say it. Gondola rides are so expensive but hey, you cannot go to Venice and not enjoy a romantic Gondola ride through the beautiful Venetian cannels alongside a singing Ferro (boat driver). It’s just one of those pricey tourist experiences that you need once in your lifetime and you will be glad you did it!
Forget about maps
You will get lost in Venice at some point and that is perfectly normal. The streets are tight, winding and many look the same and will confuse the hell out of you. Even with the best map in the world you will get lost. But it’s all part of the adventure and the sooner you realise that the less frustrated you will feel when you do get lost!
Walk as much as you can
Public transport is very expensive in Venice with water taxis, ferries and gondolas charging a fortune. The cheapest way to get around the city is by walking! Venice is a beautiful city to walk around though, just remember to wear some comfortable shoes!
Find a great place to eat
You must try Venetian food while you are in Venice and with so many restaurants and eateries throughout the city to choose from, it is hard to know which ones are great and which ones aren’t.
A rule of thumb to remember and help you pick a fantastic local restaurant, is to definitely avoid touristy places (e.g St Mark’s Square) as they are overpriced, crowded and have half a dozen different languages translated on the menu.
Instead find spots away from busy areas, that are quieter. I’m sure there are dozens of hidden gems around the place and don’t be afraid to ask a local or hotel concierge/reception where they like to eat also! Eating fresh, authentic and amazingly delicious Venetian food is a must!
Also watch out for the word operato before you sit down as this will mean a cover charge for food and drinks.
Stay in Venice
Rather than venture to Venice for a short day trip, staying overnight or for a few days would ensure you see all parts of the beautiful Venice from morning to night-time. There are many places to stay and although some accommodation can be pricey, targeting B&B’s and small family owned boutique hotels are the way to go for more affordable stays.
Avoid busy peak times
The streets can get super crowded, busy and stinking hot in peak tourist season (summer months between June to August). The best times to visit are in spring and Autumn when the temperature is pleasant and the streets are not crowded. Winter is even more quieter again, but is a lot more chilly!
Buy good quality souvenirs
Venice have some gorgeous market places selling lots of handmade stuff such as jewellery, vases, glass perfume bottles, soaps, Venetian Masks, and lace etc. (there is seriously so much!)…It’s a great city to pick up some souvenirs that you will wear/use for a lifetime. Shop around for the best buys and try to avoid the shops that sit close to the main tourist areas as they are most expensive. I bought a few glass perfumes bottles to fill with my favourite scents and wish I had bought more once I’d left!
Visit the touristy spots but venture away too
While you’re in Venice, you should still see the popular attractions and visit tourist central (St Mark’s Square, Grand Canal), but after you’ve taken your photos and are ready to move on, definitely venture on to quieter surroundings. Just wander, get lost and keep wandering through Venice until your feet hurt.