Venice Travel Guide & Best Places To Visit

Nothing can literally deliver the timeless beauty of Venice. The city of Venice never fails to showcase its enduring charm which attracts a huge number of tourists every year. That’s the reason why I made it all the way to visit Venice, even in the peak season. This blog will be a Venice travel guide after spending a couple of days in the most romantic city in the world.

Besides the Venice travel guide, I will clarify what is the best time to visit, best places to stay and how to travel around. 


venice travel guide


1. Venice at a glance 

Before sharing my Venice travel guide, I will show you some exciting facts about the city of Venice 


1.1. What makes Venice special? 

Venice is the only city in the world that was built on water (actually it was built on 118 islands in the middle of the Venetian Lagoon). Building a city on a marshland surrounded by the salty Mediterranean, however, wasn’t going to be easy. But the early settlers have made the impossible possible. 

Soon after that, Venice became a major maritime power and an important center of commerce, which made it a very wealthy city at that time. As a result, Venice shines brightly with the most iconic architectural styles. 

Most of Venice’s existing buildings, from homes alongside canals to the grand domed churches, have been well-preserved which remained stagnant in their overall design and layout since the 16th century. And a visit to Venice will offer you chances to go back to the most glorious time of human history.

Despite its glamorous look, Venice has many daily challenges to face, including over tourism, erosion and climate changes.




1.2. You need-to-know things before visiting Venice

Venice has been gradually sinking and will continue descending into the lagoon over the next centuries, though significant measures are taken. No one knows the future, so visit Venice when you have chances. 

Venice is spoiled by over tourism, of course. The city welcomes more than 5 million tourists per year which is more than 20 times bigger than its population (Statistica). And crowds are such common things to see in every corner of the city. 

And it doesn’t mean that Venice is always crowded no matter what time of the day. There are times in which the city is empty. I will disclose this secret in the following part of this blog post. 

Venice is not a resort town, but a living masterpiece. Please respect Venice by behaving in an appropriate manner (e.g. you can’t either wear bikinis roaming around the city or damage the buildings).  



2. Best time to visit Venice

Venice is a year-round destination which sees a huge number of tourists no matter what time of the year. However, there are periods that you should and shouldn’t visit Venice. 


2.1. Best time to visit Venice 

Spring (March – May) and fall (Sep – Oct) will be the best time to visit Venice since decent weather and “less” crowded. 

Those periods are ideal for plenty of exploration without too much tourists and scorching heat or bone-chilling cold.


2.2. Time to avoid

Like any other tourist hotspots within the Mediterranean coast, summertime is always characterized by soaring prices, scorching temperatures and big crowds. If you don’t want to see large crowds longing in every street, even in narrow alleys of the main islands, avoid summertime at any cost. 

Because I am someone who is in the crowd during summertime. And I have experienced all the aforementioned “goodies” of the summer. 

Winter time sees cheaper prices and lower visitors, however acqua alta (high water) is most likely to happen in November and December. During this time the whole San Marco Pizza is submerged in up to three feet of water (since it is the lowest point of the city) so make sure to pack a pair of rain boots if you plan on traveling then. 


3. How to travel to Venice

There are many travel solutions available at various prices to travel to Venice including train, bus and plane. 


3.1. Train

Train is probably the best way to travel around Italy, and I boarded the train from Milan to Venice. 

Venice has 2 train stations namely St. Lucia – on the main island and Mestre – on the mainland. St. Lucia Railway Station is the terminus for all trains and next to it Piazzale Roma is the bus station for local and airport buses, while Mestre is a junction station. 

Electric ticket is widely used on trains that originate within Italy. Upon completing an e-tickets booking, you will receive an email confirmation of your train journey. And you only need to bring the confirmation to board the train.


venice boat


3.2. Bus

Land buses do not run on the island of Venice. However, Venice has a bus network which only serves the route for customers to get into the main island and other destinations further out. 

ACTV and ATVO buses leave from Piazzale Roma for the Mainland, Mestre and its city center, the Venice Marco Polo airport, and the Treviso Canova airport.


3.3. Plane

Venice has 2 airports which means that you can fly to Venice from many cities within Europe. 

However I would not recommend taking a flight to Venice since you will need to take another ferry ride or bus ride to get into the main islands (sometimes it may double the ticket price).  



4. Where to stay in Venice

4.1. Where to stay in Venice 

Venice is made up of six districts, with several more outlying neighborhoods. However, in my opinion there is no single “best” neighborhood to stay in Venice. And it will be difficult to choose an area as there are limited spaces available and high prices. 

So don’t look at any neighborhood when making a reservation, look at the transport system instead. As Venice is built on water in which every single mode of transportation is water-based, it is more convenient to stay near the main transport.  

My recommendation is to stay along the Grand Canal where vaporetto line 1 stops at every station and you can easily travel around the city. 

If you are on a budget, better book your stay in Mestre – the mainland opposite the historical island city. On the other hand, you will need to take a bus or train to get into the main islands. 


venice travel guide
Views from my apartment in Venice


4.2. Venice accommodation tips

Tourist taxes are applied on tourists who stay overnight in a hotel, hotel or non-hotel facility in the City of Venice for the first 5 consecutive days of overnight stays. 

Remember not to open your room’s windows. Since Venice is located in a lagoon and inefficient pest control of local authorities, mosquitoes may become a real nightmare for tourists. 

It is compulsory to follow recycling guides in Venice. There will be a 500€ for those who violated the rules.

Last but not least, if you wish to see the not-so-familiar image of Venice (the city with no tourists), better stay overnight and get up early for the amazing sunrise. It is definitely the best sunrise ever. 


5. How to travel around Venice

Being built completely on water, main transportation for Venice is water-based, including vaporetto, gondola and water taxi. 


5.1. Vaporetto

The Vaporetto boat is Venice’s main public transportation on the water, and is the number one transportation in Venice. 

Being operated by Venice’s municipal public transport system, ACTV, vaporetto service connects all main points of interest in the main island and the other islands of the Lagoon.

Despite its convenience, vaporettos are quite expensive in which a single ticket comes up at €7.50 and is valid for 75 minutes.

If you wish to use vaporetto as your main mode of transport, better buy the Venezia Pass (1, 2, 3, and 7 days). The all-inclusive ticket will enable card holders unlimited use of vaporetto, bus and discount on selected tourist attractions.   


vapporetoo map


5.2. Gondola 

Centuries ago, gondolas used to be the main means of transport and now they have become a most recognisable symbol of Venice.

The official tariff of a 30-minute ride on a gondola is € 80 (US$ 82.40). If you wish to experience more than just a normal ride (singing or playing an instrument during the ride), you will have to pay extra.


5.3. Walk

Since vaporettos are unable to reach small and narrow alleys, walking is probably an optional way. Sometimes it is better to go on foot than to take a vaporetto to get around the six districts of Venice. Make sure to always keep an eye on the map as it is easy to get lost in the narrow and winding alleys. 

When the sun goes down, the city is covered in darkness dotted with some dimmed lights. And I feel insecure to walk in that dimly lit street.


5.4. Water Taxi

Different from any other cities in the world, Venice has its own taxi service operating in water. Keep in mind that the water taxi services may cost you more than the normal taxi. And it is not for those who travel on a budget. 

Water taxis can be found at the airport, train and bus station, sometimes along the Grand Canal. Otherwise they must be booked in advance.


6. Best places to visit in Venice

In a city as filled with tourist attractions as Venice, it’s hard to know where to visit. Here are some recommendations for the best places to visit in Venice. 


6.1. San Marco Square

San Marco is the city’s main public square and also one of the most happening places to visit in Venice. Once called the finest drawing room in Europe by Napoleon, San Marco Square contains most famous buildings such as St Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace, Museo Correr, the Campanile and the Torre dell’ Orologio.  


san marco square


6.2. Grand Canal

Following a natural channel that traces a reverse-S course from San Marco Basilica to Santa Chiara Church, the Grand Canal is the largest canal in Venice. The nearly four kilometers long canal acts as the main transport and separates the city into two parts. 

Along the banks of the Grand Canal lined more than 170 buildings, most of which date back from the 13th to the 18th century, and demonstrate the welfare and art created by the Republic of Venice. 


6.3. Ponte di Rialto

Ponte di Rialto is the stone arch bridge crossing over the narrowest point of the Grand Canal and the first bridge built of stone. 

Situated in the heart of the city, the bridge is considered an architectural gem. Many architects competed with each other to leave their masterpiece in Venice, including Michelangelo. 


6.4. Ponte dei Sospiri

Ponte dei Sospiri (or Bridge of Sighs) is an enclosed limestone bridge spanning the narrow canal between the Doge’s Palace and the prisons. 

And the name of the bridge comes up with some legends. When the prisoners gazing out at the beauty of Venice through the shuttered stonework, they can do nothing but heave a despairing sigh. 

Nowadays, the sighs shift from prisoners to tourists since they can do nothing but sigh upon seeing large crowds competing for a place to take photos.


6.5. Burano Island

Burano is an island in the Lagoon of Venice which is famous for its colorful appearance. All visitors to Burano are enchanted by the many colors and the colorful houses that are reflected into the green waters of channels.

Legend has it that all houses on the island were painted with bright and cheerful colors so that the sailors could see them on the gloomy and foggy days.


burano island


6.6. Ponte dell’Accademia

Not as famous as the Rialto Bridge or the Bridge of Sighs, but Ponte dell’Accademia is probably the most romantic one. 

This pedestrian bridge links the district of Dorsoduro and San Marco and offers amazing views overlooking Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute. And this is definitely the best place for sunset lovers. 

Get there during sunset and immerse in the spectacular romantic vibes from musicians, key locks and lovers. 



7. Best things to do in Venice

Canals and gondolas are the most popular things when it comes to Venice, but that’s not all. Previously the greatest trading powers in European history, the city of Venice also boasts marvelous architecture, beautiful churches and palazzos and labyrinthine alleyways. 

And it will not be easy to decide what to do in Venice. You can find my recommendation for top 10 best things to do in Venice

  • Discover the canals
  • Take the gondola ride
  • See Venice in panoramic mode at San Giorgio Maggiore Basilica
  • Pay a colorful trip to Burano Island 
  • See Venice when no one is around
  • Sunset at Ponte dell’ academia
  • Walk “leisurely” at Rialto Bridge
  • Dine in a canal-side restaurant
  • Lost in nowhere
  • Visit San Marco Square early in the morning


8. Venice travel itinerary

8.1. How to plan your trip to Venice

It is recommended to stay at least 3 days in Venice to feel its enduring charm. Many people only wish to travel on a day trip to Venice. However one day in my opinion is not enough for Venice (as you just have less than 8 hours and the travel time may take half of that).

If my budget was not tight, I wish to stay one more night in Venice (I spent 3 days and 2 nights in Venice, but I left early on the third day. So I felt that it was not enough for me). 

Keep your plan flexible as it will take time to travel around Venice (vaporetto is carried out at slow speed and walkin in winding alleys can slow you down)


8.2. Venice travel itinerary 

You can find my Venice travel itinerary below (I traveled to Venice during summer and the day is longer means that I have more time): 

DAY 1: San Marco Piazza – Ponte dei Sospiri – Ponte dell’Accademia

We boarded the train from Milano to Venice at 2 pm, and checked into the apartment. After that, we visited San Marco Piazza – Ponte dei Sospiri – Ponte dell’Accademia. 

DAY 2: Ponte di Rialto – Burano Island – Scala Contarini Del Bovolo – San Giorgio Maggiore – Gondola 

We started the day Rialto to admire the beautiful sunrise at 5:00 am. Then spending the morning on Burano Island. 

We visited Scala Contarini Del Bovolo and San Giorgio Maggiore in the afternoon and ended the day with the gondola ride. 

DAY 3: Travel to Rome at 8:30 am 


9. Venice travel budget

Venice may cost you more than other cities in Italy since it was a top tourist attraction. And it is recommended to book your flight ticket, travel ticket and accommodation in advance. If you don’t, you may exceed your budget (and even can’t make it to Venice). 

Of all the travel expenditures, accommodation accounts for the majority of the total cost as I traveled during the peak season (August). And you will have to pay tourist taxes for overnight stay. 

You can find my Venice travel budget below (keep in mind that this table is for reference only):

1. Train Milano Centrale–Venice St. Lucia 19,9 € * Depend on the journey being made
2. Train Venice St. Lucia–Roma Termini 39,9 € * Depend on the journey being made
3. Venice Pass 28 € * Buy at ticket booth or online here
4. 2 night stay in apartment 88,75 €
5. Scala Contarini Del Bovolo 6 €
6. San Giorgio Maggiore 4 €
7. Gondola Ride 20 €
8. Souvenir 10 €
9. Eating in 3 days 69,75 €
TOTAL 286,3 €



10. Summary: Venice Travel Guide and Best Places to visit

10.1. Venice Travel Tips

– Buy yourself a Venezia Pass for unlimited public transport travel in Venice. Believe me it will save you a lot.

– Avoid peak season (which normally falls in summertime) if you don’t wish to compete for accommodations to stay, tables to eat, and places to take photos. 

– Respect Venice and behave in the right manner (you can see the sign in every corner within the main islands). . 


10.2. Summary

Visiting Venice would be the best decision I have made despite higher expenditure, bigger crowds and hotter heat of the summertime. But who cares when you have a chance to visit one of the most magnificent cities before it disappears.

If you need further information, kindly see other posts in my Traveling to Italy series:



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