Are you planning a holiday to Venice? Smart decision. The city oozes romance, history and photogenic spots. You can stroll around the main attractions with nothing but your camera and guidebook. Or explore Venice with a local and come away with an enriched experience. Here are a few suggestions to help every visitor’s trip run as smoothly as possible.
Expect the Crowds
It’s no secret that Venice is one of the world’s most touristy places. Millions come to the city each year. And unlike in Paris, Venice is comparatively tiny. This means that you’re always going to be around other tourists. If you go to St Mark’s, you’ll share the piazza with thousands of others. You’re probably not going to have the chance to snap that perfect photo. And you’ll never get a shot of yourself on Rialto Bridge without jostling for space. That’s just the reality of Venice. If you plan your trip with this in mind, you’ll feel less stressed when you actually arrive.
Stay the Night
The only sure way to beat the crowds is to spend the night. Approximately 90% of visitors come on a day trip. After dark, the streets and canals become relatively deserted. This is the best time to explore the city without battling the sea of tourists. While you won’t have the place to yourself, you should be able to snap better photographs.
Take Advantage of Local Experiences
Because of the popularity of Venice, large areas of the city have sold out to tourism. This means you’ll find souvenir shops and businesses catering to every tourist’s need. While this does make your trip more convenient, it also means it’s difficult to see the real Venice. But you can have a taste of the Venetian culture by arranging a tour with a local. These tours give you the chance to see hidden parts of Venice that most visitors don’t. Guides take you through the maze of alleys to their favourite cafés and hangouts. You’ll also have the chance to meet Venetians and hear what it’s like living in the city. Some of the tours will even take you inside the old houses that are slowly sinking.
Always Ask the Price in Restaurants
While Venice has a global reputation for its stunning beauty and architecture, there’s also a darker underside. And this involves scams that rip tourists off. One of the most popular scams takes place in restaurants. Unscrupulous restaurant owners fail to advertise prices on the menu. Then they slap tourists with an exorbitant bill at the end. This often ads up to several hundreds. Some tourists get charged €50 for an espresso. If you go into any restaurant and the prices aren’t clearly on display, always ask before ordering anything. It’s also a good idea to double check any price before ordering. This applies for every tourist from budget-conscious backpackers to luxury holidaymakers. Because nobody likes being ripped off.
Plan a Gondola Tour with a Reputable Company
Riding a gondola along Venice’s canals is a dream come true for many tourists. But because of its popularity, a gondola ride can quickly turn into an expensive activity. You’re not going to be able to get a ride for a few euros. However, some of the people operating the boats often charge visitors up to 10X more. If you do want to explore the canals (and who doesn’t?), your best bet is to go to a reputable tour company. This not only protects your wallet, but it also guarantees that you’ll get what you’re promised. If you pay to have a one-hour tour, your tour lasts an hour. When you hire someone next to the canal, you might only get 30 minutes on the water after you paid for an hour.
Things You Should Know Before Going to Venice
If this is your first time to Venice, expect crowds. The only way to avoid sharing the attractions with millions of others is to spend the night. You’ll then need to go out early in the morning or late at night. Several tours give you the chance to see the real Venice which the masses of visitors miss. And always remember to protect yourself against the common scams.