Hello! I'm BettyNative Venetian and Registered Guide
Insider Tips for a Perfect Venetian Visit
There are many reasons why Venice captures the hearts of people around the world: amazing food and wine, natural beauty, fascinating history, important works of art, and, of course, its remarkable architecture.
But if you want to go deep inside the soul of this incredible city, you’ll find that meeting its people and going beneath the surface of its culture will open up your understanding of Venice and Italy like nothing else.
Here, I share everything from sightseeing secrets to authentic Insider Experiences.
1. When is the best time to visit?
Although Venice does not really have an off-season, you must veer away from the summers, weekends, and the days of the carnival. The best time to visit Venice, keeping in mind both the weather and the tourist hordes, are the months of March, April, October, and November.
2. Stay in the city not on the mainland!
Stay on the Island of Venice If you’re in Venice for a short period, I strongly recommend staying in one of the six central districts of Venice: Castello, Cannaregio, Santa Croce, Dorsoduro, San Marco, and San Polo for a time-efficient trip. Plenty of accommodation available at all prices.
3. Travel light!
It goes without saying it’d be best to travel light! The water taxis and ferries do not always drop you right in front of your hotel. It is highly likely that you will need to walk for a while to get to your hotel. You may have to cross a few step bridges as well. So travel light and expect some walking to be involved during the commute. If you’re arriving by bus or train, you have to cross a rather steep bridge to get to the city center, hence traveling light is highly recommended.
4. Go out very early and very late!
In order to avoid the worst of the crowds, check to see which days ships will be in port, and then avoid the touristy spots (like Piazza San Marco and the Rialto Bridge) between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on these days. Those will be the busiest hours in the city.
5. Where to hang around?
Don’t stay in San Mark area. It is challenging to navigate the crowds in the San Marco sestiere (the district with the famous piazza of the same name) due to the small calle (streets) where you are literally elbow-to-elbow with tourists.
6. Toilets are rare and expensive !
Public toilets in Venice are clean and can be used without any qualms. Except, the toilets are not present everywhere and have a fee of €1.50! What do the locals do? A quick tip would be to find a cafe and order an espresso or pastry. That’s likely to cost you lesser than the public restroom fee!
7. Where to eat
Try to avoid most places near Piazza San Marco or along the Grand Canal.
Similar to avoiding these hot spots during the middle of the day, I don’t particularly recommend any of the restaurants or cafes in St. Mark’s Square or along the Grand Canal near the Rialto Bridge. The restaurants with photo-filled menus and waiters standing outside trying to usher you in generally don’t offer the best food or the best prices. (In fact, many of these places will charge you extra just for sitting down.)
8. Eat like a local
It is difficult to give an advise on where to eat. We all have such a different taste for food, and not everyone might be fond of anchovies as I am. I like any cicchetti bars (places serving up small bites and spritzes) in Venice. In between my favorites: Al volto ( close to Rialto), Gislon very close to Rialto, San Bortolomio, on the other side of the Rialto bridge to go to San Polo you have: Ruga Rialto, bar all’Arco.
9. Fancy going to the beach?
If you want to stop by a beach when the temperatures soar and the crowds are too much, head to the Lido.
There are public-access beach clubs available to all, at every price point. You do not have to be staying at the Excelsior to rent a cabana at the beach. You pay more the closer you are to the sea, and the first row of cabanas is expensive.
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