Five Important Tips When Visiting Venice
The city of Venice in Italy is one of the most popular and most-visited destinations on the planet, mainly thanks to its colorful history and culture, as well as its absolutely romantic atmosphere. In fact, it’s one of the top honeymoon spots in the world, and it isn’t uncommon for people to propose to their loved ones AND get married in this beautiful city, either. However, as with almost all hot tourist spots, there are certain things to watch out for that every visitor needs to be aware about. So, to help you make your Venetian vacation as smooth as possible, here are five important tips when visiting Venice.
Take into account the needs of your party
An important point to consider when heading to Venice would be that the city is mostly composed of sidewalks and the many bridges that span its crisscrossing canals. There are no roads, so cars and buses are banned within the city center. This all means that the main ways of moving about would be to either hoof it or to travel by water.
This can become an issue, especially for those who may be traveling with the elderly, small children, or for those who have injuries, mainly because a.) it is easy to get lost within Venice’s many winding alleys, especially when traveling without a guide, and this can result in long, tiring walks, and b.) even when choosing water transport, it may be difficult to board or disembark from a gondola or waterbus (known as the “vaporetto”).
So when planning your trip to Venice, make sure to mention to your travel agent or tour operator if you have anyone in your party with special needs, so that your agent can possibly book you a hotel that’s closer to the outer edge of the city where there is public land transport, or maybe even assign to your party a guide or helper who is experienced with assisting those with special needs.
If you want to save money, be willing to use the waterbus or walk
The gondoliers of Venice are iconic, and a lot of people have this impression that the gondola is THE only way to get around in this city. While the gondolas themselves truly are beautiful and it really IS a very romantic experience, be warned that you will have to be prepared to shell out cash for it. If you’re traveling on a budget, it may be wiser to just simply walk and explore the city’s lovely alleys and side streets (which can be equally romantic and exciting as long as you have your most comfortable shoes on), or take the vaporetto which only costs about a quarter or half of what a gondola ride probably would. You can even purchase all-day or all-week passes for the vaporetto, for even more savings.
If you really can’t resist the gondola, however, consider sharing your ride with other people and split the costs amongst yourselves. A gondola can seat up to six passengers, so this should lessen your cost significantly. It might also be fun to meet other tourists!
Do your shopping in the day, and haggle!
Whether you would like to shop for souvenirs or hire a gondola, try to do so in the day, as prices tend to get steeper at night, especially after 8pm. It would also do you well to know that there will be no lack of shopping options, so don’t be afraid to haggle! If you’re not comfortable with the prices, just simply move on to the next merchant or gondolier.
Avoid the “free” Murano tour
Murano is one of the many islands within Venice, and is famous all over the world for the hand-crafted glass items that are produced here. While in the city, you may get offered a “free” boat ride tour to Murano and it may be very tempting to just simply hop on and take advantage of this offer.
More often than not, upon arriving at Murano, you will be taken on a tour at a showroom, and if you don’t purchase anything, you may find yourself stranded there, or paying exorbitant amounts for the ride back. If you really wish to visit Murano, ask your tour operator instead.
Be ready to deal with mosquitoes
Venice, the city of romance… and mosquitoes.
What a lot of guides and articles don’t tell you is that Venice is infested with mosquitoes no thanks to its own waterways and canals, and those who walk into the city unaware of this fact often end up with sleepless nights, cranky mornings, and afternoons spent scratching their arms and legs.
Don’t let these pesky insects ruin the experience for you, though. There are some very simple ways on how you could keep your vacation in Venice mosquito-free:
- Keep those hotel windows closed and use the air conditioner instead. This is especially important if your hotel is located right beside a canal, and while most hotels have window screens, some don’t.
- Hotels do their best to keep the rooms mosquito-free, but sometimes, a few can still manage to get in. To deal with this, try bringing or buying your own mosquito repellent, particularly the type that you can plug into a wall socket while you sleep. You can also try spraying your room with repellent right before you head out for the day.
- Put on some repellent before heading out, and keep a small bottle in your bag as well if you will be out all day and until evening. There are mosquito repellent products out there that come in either lotion or spray form, so put some on especially if you’re planning to hang around cafes and restaurants beside the waterway.
Just keep these tips in mind for a wonderful and hassle-free experience on your next vacation in the beautiful city of Venice in Italy!