14 tips to make the best of your first trip to Venice Italy

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    Venice, Italy is your next destination, but you have no clue on what to expect. Are we right?

    If you are looking for tips for your first trip to Venice, you’re in the right place!

    Our tips which will help you to get the most out of your first trip to Venice and to fully enjoy the city.

    These Venice tips, of course, are valuable and can be helpful even if you have visited before!

    Our 14 insider tips for your first trip to Venice Italy

    The tips of our Venice travel guide are not written down in a particular order. However, the first three ones will make an immediate difference in your visit.

    Are you curious to know more?

    Let’s start!

    In a hurry or looking for something specific? Use the interactive index below to jump to the Venice tip which interests you most

    Inderactive Index:

    Venice Tip #1 - When to go to Venice Italy

    When choosing the best time to visit Venice Italy, there are 3 factors to consider:

    the crowds, the weather, and the eventual events to attend.

    Avoiding the crowds:

    When choosing the best time to visit Venice Italy, there are 3 factors to consider:

    the weather, the crowds, and the eventual events to attend.

    Generally speaking, to avoid the crowds in Venice it is better to avoid the weekends, the summer, and Carnival. These, in fact are the busiest times in Venice.

    However, Venice does not have a real offseason, as people visit the city all through the year.

    The best way to have an idea of how crowded the city is expected to be at the date at which you are thinking of visiting is to use the Forecast of visitors to Venice tool created by the local government.

    What kind of weather to expect:

    The weather in Venice is something else to consider before planning your trip.

    Venice has 4 seasons and is usually humid. Perceived temperatures ., when in Venice, are therefore more intense than you would expect.

    For a full review of the weather in Venice, check our dedicated guide.

    Events are also to consider when planning your trip to the city.

    The most famous events are Venice Carnival and the Art and Architecture Biennale. You can find a full list of events, here.

    Venice Tip #2 - Best places where to stay in Venice

    For the best experience of Venice, we strongly recommend you to stay in Venice historical center.

    This will allow you to enjoy the city, at the best time of the day, before and after the day trippers have come and gone.

    Venice historical center is made of 6 districts: Castello, Cannaregio, Santa Croce, Dorsoduro, San Marco, San Polo.

    The last 2 are the most touristy and crowded ones.

    Therefore, we would recommend you to stay anywhere else for a more authentic experience.

    You can learn more about the districts of Venice and everything you need to navigate the city, here.

    Venice Tip #3 - Don't fear to get lost, explore.

    Our first tip for your first trip to Venice, Italy is to lose yourself. Forget the map.

    Leave your hotel room or apartment and go wherever your feet bring you.

    SEE ALSO  Everything about the amazing Grand Canal in Venice, Italy [ARTICLE + 360° VIDEO]

    During the busiest months of the year (summer time and Carnival) we discourage you from following the crowd.

    You can follow the mass, of course, but only if you don’t mind being stuck in huge queues of people.

    This is particularly true on the main “streets” that connect the Train Station, the Rialto Bridge, and Saint Marks.

    Losing yourself is the best way to discover and appreciate the stunning beauty of the tiny alleys and narrow canals which make the fabric of Venice. Also, it gives you the opportunity to take better pictures, discover more of Venice and feel the Venetian atmosphere.

    Also, you don’t need to worry about your whereabouts, as Venice is safe. When we say that Venice is safe, we mean it is really safe.

    You can walk alone or take part in a tour around Venice at any time, without the need to worry. Isn’t that great?

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    Venice Tip #4 - Get on a boat to see Venice Italy from the water!

    Venice was built to be seen from the water. The Canal Grande, the most beautiful “street” of Venice, can only be seen from the water. And the façades of the most beautiful Palaces are also all on the water.

    Last, but definitely not least, the Doge’s Palace itself was built to be seen from the water.

    In fact, its façade overlooking the lagoon was built 100 years before the one facing the “Piazzetta” and the Marciana Library.

    This is why our second tip is to absolutely see Venice by boat. Take a Gondola, a private boat, a taxi or a water bus, whichever you prefer. But do it!

    Gondola rides are one of the most beautiful ways to discover the city, but 30 minutes might feel a bit too short for you.

    Taxis are more of a transportation service, but can also be booked for a sightseeing experience.

    Private tours on rowing boats and kayaks are definitely the best way to spend a few hours discovering Venice by water.

    In any case, during your stay in Venice, we suggest you board at least a water bus and navigate the full length of the Grand Canal.

    This will give you the opportunity to admire the stunning palaces that surround the canal and just enjoy the amazing beauty of Venice.

    Venice Tip #5 - Eat authentic local food in Venice Italy. Even on a budget!

    If you’d like to eat authentic Italian food, you can do so even without spending too much.

    A great Italian restaurant is an amazing experience, but you might be on a tight budget or not feel like investing much money into it. No issue.

    You can eat well in Venice spending much less than you’d think.

    Every real bacaro serves tasty affordable cichetti that will leave you full and satisfied.

    Make sure to check out the list of restaurants and places we recommend for a great experience!

    An amazing way to discover Venice and taste the best of local food and wines is to take part in a private experience led by a local guide & sommelier.

    If you want to maximize your chances to find the right place, we wrote an article which helps you to understand where to eat in Venice.

    Unlock a discount at the best authentic local businesses in Venice

    Learn more about Venezia Autentica Friends' Pass

    Venice Tip #6 - Spot and enjoy the best local bars, restaurants and shops by looking for the Venezia Autentica Logo

    When in Venice, Italy the best way to make sure to have an authentic experience is to look the right local businesses.

    SEE ALSO  3 easy essential Tips for a good relationship with Venice's locals

    The good news is that it is easier than you’d think:

    Our mission is to make it easy for you to spot the best local businesses!

    You can find them easily by using our directories of local shops and bars & restaurants. When walking around Venice, you can also look for the Venezia Autentica’s logo on shop windows.

    Our logo means that the local businesse operates in a way which is positive both for you and the local community.

    Those shops are locally owned and operated. They give decent jobs to local residents. They provide quality services or authentic products to their customers, and operate in a sustainable and responsible way.

    It also signals that the business has signed, Venezia Autentica charter to commit to respect and keep on respecting the criteria mentioned above as well as to give a discount to the Venezia Autentica Friends’ pass holders.

    Venice Tip #7 - Discover Venice with a local, it's the best way to see Venice Italy

    One of the biggest joys of traveling is to meet new people and discover new cultures and ways of life. Luckily, it has never been easier to do so than today.

    Group tours are a classic way to discover a new place but they are often falling short on delivering a truly rewarding experience.

    For a more authentic and personalized experience, we would recommend booking a private tour or activity matched with your personal interests.

    Whether you like sightseeing or prefer to take a more active part in fully immersive activities, there are multiple ways how to visit Venice

    You can take walks off-the-beaten path, try hands-on or food-oriented activities, or book a private experience with a local. These are all excellent ways to discover Venice from a unique point of view and engage in meaninging conversations with a Venetian.

    Find the best private tours and experiences in Venice on experience.veneziaautentica.com.

    Venice Tip #8- Free yourself from the fear of not finding a bathroom when you need one

    A piece of very useful information we can give you is about… toilets!

    Public toilets, in fact, are super clean but have a cost of 1,50€ and are not always easy to find.

    When in need of a restroom, our tip is to enter a bar and have a coffee or a pastry. This way you will enjoy a good Italian coffee or a nice fresh pastry, and you will be welcomed to access the bar’s restroom.

    Please, do not just enter, use the toilet, and leave. This behavior is considered to be very rude in Italy.

    Instead, check if the bar has a bathroom and then ask for a “caffè” (espresso coffee, 1 euro) or a “pastina” (pastry, 1-1,50 euro).

    At that point, as a customer, you’ll be welcomed to use the bathroom.

    Quick note: While the Italian law makes it mandatory for bars to have restrooms, shops often do not have toilets. If you wonder why that is so, keep in mind that spaces are small but rents are high in Venice. Therefore, shop owners chose to maximize the available selling space.

    Venice Tip #9 - If you book a guided tour make sure your guide is a local

    In 2014. EU, in a questionable move,  equalized “guides” throughout Europe.

    That means that, since 2014, all European guides have the right to work everywhere in Europe.

    Before that date, only people who had passed a rigorous examination on a city’s history, museums, and traditions were allowed to work as guides in a given city. 

    This is why, if you are considering a guided tour, we suggest you not to rely on (literally) “outsiders”.

    Being led by a local guide will give you the chance to discover the city in a professional way that goes beyond the information on landmarks that can easily be found on Wikipedia.

    A local guide that knows Venice inside-out will be able to answer your questions and give you real insights.

    On the contrary, some improvised, or not specialized, guides do makeup stories and tell plain wrong facts about Venice (walking around Venice it’s not too uncommon, unfortunately, to hear non-local guides tell absurdities about the city!).

    Our recommendation, to make the most of the time you want to dedicate to a tour, is to find a private off-the-beaten-path guided walk with an authorized local.

    Such intimate high-quality activities are the perfect opportunity to have a truly authentic, educational and personalized experience which is both fun for you and positive for the local community.

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    Venice Tip #10 - Take the time to enter artisans shops to discover centuries old crafts and get the real thing

    Venice is a city with an incredible culture. Over the centuries, many unique crafts were born or adopted locally.

    Nowadays, there is still a number of artistic artisans who are keeping centuries-old traditions alive in the city. Their workshops are a must-visit for arts & crafts lovers and for anyone interested in an authentic experience of Venice.

    However, the invasion of mass-produced souvenirs is amongst the most visible things which are destroying the city and playing an important role in forcing the inhabitants to move out of Venice.

    Recognizing authentic artisans shops is not easy. It requires a good eye and knowledge of the crafts.

    However, there are few things which can help you understand whether or not you are likely to be in front of the window of an actual artisan or not.

    You can find everything you need to know to shop local in Venice, here

    If you are looking to understand the incredible culture of crafts in Venice from even closer and to enjoy a privileged moment with the master artisans, we invite you to attend experiences in the artisans’ workshops.

    Booking carefully designed and curated private tours or activities with local crafts-masters is the perfect opportunity for either a fascinating guided visit of the best local craftspeople or hands-on private activities.

    Craft classes are unique ways to discover Venice from another viewpoint and to be initiated to mosaic making, glass making, handmade bookbindingsand more centuries-old techniques, directly by master artisans

    Beware of mass produced souvenirs!

    Besides copying and unfair competition that puts local shops out of business, the other problem caused by some mass produced items is a threat to your health.

    Cheap masks, for example, do not comply with EU legislation regulating colors and substances for wearable products: the contact with your skin is potentially dangerous.

    We created a shortlist that summarizes the risks and annoying things you should be aware of when in Venice.

    Venice Tip #11 - To save time and money at the best local shops, bars, and restaurants in Venice get yourself the Venezia Autentica Friends’ Pass

    By visiting this link, you can buy a digital pass giving you access to a 10% discount in Venice on a minimum expense of 30 euros at the best Venetian local businesses identifiable by the Venezia Autentica logo on their door or window.

    All are locally owned, employ locals and offer authentic quality sustainable products and services.

    Read more about how you can save money and time in Venice with the Venezia Autentica Friends’ Pass

    Venice Tip #12 - For the best experience, leave those fancy and uncomfortable shoes behind

    Don’t wear high heels. Trust us, do not wear high heels!

    Venice Italy is an old pedestrian city, with uneven streets, that will require you to walk, and walk, and walk.

    Even if you are planning to board a water bus, you’ll have a lot of walking to do to walk to the water bus stops, trying to navigate the uneven stone pavement, the bridges, and the crowds.

    If you’re staying in your hotel or get picked up by a water taxi to go to a private party, high heels might be a fair choice. In any other case, trust us, you really don’t want to do it.

    Your feet will thank us.

    As Wikipedia points out, Venice is a pedestrian traffic-free city with almost 3.000 alleys… now you see the importance of wearing good shoes, don’t you?

    Venice Tip #13 - Our ecological tip for your first trip to Venice: Carry a refilable bottle of water

    The water of the fountains in Venice is drinkable and of very good quality.

    Almost every main square has a working fountain where you will be able to refill your bottle.

    If you want to drink a prosecco, however, there is no such fountain yet. In this case, a stop at a bacaro will fulfill your needs.

    If you care about your impact, read this New York Times article for more ideas on how to use less plastic in your everyday life.

    Venice Tip #14 - Take some time to read our free insider guides to make the most of your time in la Bella Venezia!

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    Now you know plenty of things to do in Venice!

    But, maybe, you now want to know even more about our beautiful city. Is that so?

    In that case, make sure to check out our What is Venice, Italy article!

    Do you have any tips or suggestions that you want to share with us and other visitors? Feel free to contact us and let us know!

    If you found this article useful, make sure to check out also these resources to plan your first trip to Venice:

    I'm visiting Venice. Why should I follow your recommendations?

    The way you visit Venice has an impact both on the quality of your experience and on Venice itself.  Chilling, exploring, shopping, eating and drinking where the locals do, can make a huge impact both on the memories you bring home and on the local economy and community.

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