Top Travel Tips for Visiting Venice, Italy
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Visiting Venice is a bucket-list item for many travelers. If you've never been to Venice, you'll want to load up on the top tips for visiting the city and its waterways. If you have been before, you know there's no such thing as going too many times.
With all there is to see, do, and experience, our tips below will help you plan and find the best vacation package to Venice, and to ensure a magnificent time away.
Bring a friend or partner, take the whole family, or jump onboard the solo travel trend to see why this is a beloved favorite of so many world travelers.
Widely known as ‘The City of Canals’, expect to spend time on the water. In fact, cruising to Venice is one of the most relaxing ways to see this Italian gem.
With cruises that take you and your traveling companions throughout the Mediterranean Sea and to ports in Southern Europe or parts of Northern Africa, traveling to Venice can be part of a magical journey full of luxury, new encounters and memories that last a lifetime.
Check out these cruise itineraries that depart from Venice:
When to Go to Venice
Venice is beautiful any time of year, but there are certain months when you may enjoy the weather, the canals, the cityscape, and its attractions more than others.
If Venice is a stop on a cruise you're eyeing, don't let the difference of a few weeks make or break your choice to go. Cruise lines are experienced at timing ports of call to ensure travelers have a great time.
Overall, some of the best times to plan your Venice vacation packages are April, May, September, and October for nice weather and fewer crowds.
Summer is wonderful for those who love the European sun, while in the Winter at the end of each year, you can enjoy holiday decorations and shopping.
When Is the Best Weather?
While everyone has their preferences, it's hard to pass up Venice in April and May. April might still be a bit cooler than you're used to, depending on where you travel from, but it's nothing a light jacket won't fix.
By May, the sun is much more predictable, although it's not quite beach weather yet if you're heading towards Italian beaches in addition to Venice.
In the Summer, Italy can experience heat waves, but if you're accustomed to Summer temperatures or have been anticipating warm weather, then you'll love visiting Venice in June or July.
TIP: Many European families take lengthy vacations in July and August, so some smaller businesses may be closed.
As you phase into Fall or Winter, Venice experiences a unique season known as acqua alta or high water season, which is exactly what it sounds like. Waters rise and may leak onto streets. You may see water in public piazzas or squares.
What Are the Peak Seasons?
The peak seasons to travel to Venice are Summer and over the Easter and Winter holidays, because these are times when Europeans enjoy their lengthy regular vacations. Going in Spring or Fall is highly recommended to get the best combination of fine weather and less crowds.
Top 3 Things to Do in Venice
The attractions in Venice make it one of the world's long most beloved destinations. With centuries of art and political history, including royal landmarks, architectural beauties, world-class artworks and more, you'll love seeing ornate palaces, majestic bridges, Renaissance art and natural landscape and waterway features.
1. The Grand Canal
Venice's Grand Canal is what you might consider a Main Street of sorts. Coming in at about 2 miles long, the Grand Canal is a must-see and an incredible photo opportunity.
While you can go the quintessentially Venetian way and hire a gondolier to take you through the canals, others take the vaporetto, a water taxi that showcases the canal's neighborhoods and runs well into the evening.
If you cruise into Venice on a voyage that stays late in port, you may enjoy the Grand Canal when it's less crowded.
2. Basilica di San Marco
Italy is a highly Catholic country with lots of landmarks and artifacts that pay tribute to saints or other significant religious figures. In Venice, San Marco, or St. Mark, a saint whose remains are said to have been carried from Alexandria, Egypt, to Venice, Italy, is one of the most important saints.
The basilica dedicated to him features opulence from all angles, including four bronze statues of horses, interior mosaic everywhere and a signature artwork of San Marco accompanied by a lion with wings, the mascot of Venice.
3. The Doge's Palace
The doge was once the ruler of Venice and, while things may have changed politically since The Doge's Palace was built in 1340, the landmark itself is still a stunning testament to historic architecture.
If you're cruising to Venice, reserve your shore excursions to the palace early. These popular tours nearly always sell out.
With artwork inside to rival any top-notch museum, plus furnishings and interior decor to make your jaw drop, this is one can't-miss stop on your travels through the Mediterranean or Southern Europe. A trip to Venice insists on a visit to The Doge's Palace.
More Local Landmarks and Things to Do…
Once you've taken the time to experience the top three things to do in London, make sure to keep exploring this wondrous city.
Whether you've got a day in port or the luxury of an overnight, this is one city that's worth a full day or even day-to-evening exploration. Decide with your traveling companions which landmarks are most meaningful to you.
Cross the Ponte di Rialto
The Ponte di Rialto or Rialto Bridge was once the only way to get across the Grand Canal. Now, there are four major bridges you can cross, but the Rialto is by far the most famous and probably the one you envision when you imagine the Grand Canal.
Fun Fact: The architect of the Ponte di Rialto, Antonio da Ponte - or Anthony of the Bridge, in English - won the job over luminaries like Michelangelo.
The high-profile job earned him quite a few discreditors who spread rumors the project would fail, but centuries later, it is still considered one of the world's marvels of engineering.
Enjoy a Show at Teatro La Fenice
The Teatro La Fenice or Phoenix Theatre is a glorious 18th-century theater that, like its namesake, has risen from the ashes of three fires.
While it has been thoroughly renovated, its gold and red interior gives it a majestic old-world atmosphere that's perfect for soaking up a ballet or opera performance. Enjoy a day tour if you're on a limited schedule.
Visit the Mythical Bridge of Sighs
Another bridge worth your time is the Bridge of Sighs, so dramatically named for its placement between The Doge's Palace and the palace's dungeons.
Prisoners would allegedly sigh as they looked at the outside world for one last moment, but other folklore says if two lovers kiss in a gondola under the bridge, they'll be united in bliss forever.
This bridge is smaller than some of the others in Venice, so pair its viewing with your trip to the Palace to enhance the experience and get more from your time.
Enrich Yourself at Peggy Guggenheim Collection
It might seem a little counterintuitive to visit the Peggy Guggenheim Collection while in Venice, since the body of art was collected by an American who lived in a palace on the Grand Canal, but the collection is actually a great gift to the world.
See work by master artists like Picasso, Pollock, Chagall, Dalí and others. If you've seen Renaissance works all week, this may be a nice complement to round out a new interest in fine art.
Discover Cruises to Venice
Now that you've begun to get excited about going to Venice, start choosing your cruise...
Onboard Oceania, you'll get a smaller ship with a luxurious feel that can take you places like Venice, Croatia, and Turkey, all on one voyage. Choose one of the many cruises departing from Venice to spend more time here ahead of your departure.
Viking Ocean Cruises
If you choose Viking, you'll have your choice of Mediterranean cruises. Check out the coast of Italy for an immersion in the country or sail further with ports of call in Croatia and Yugoslavia. This could be the cruise all your friends marvel at.
Hop onboard Celebrity Cruises to enjoy sailings that include Venice and other ports in Italy or for a voyage that makes its way through the azure waters of Greece with plenty of stops there, too.
Royal Caribbean is a sister line to Celebrity and includes an upbeat feel to voyages. Discover Venice, Croatia, Yugoslavia, Greece, and more on itineraries that last 7-, 10-, and 12-nights, or longer.
More Things to Know About Venice
Pick up a few final tips for traveling to Venice to maximize the experience for you and your traveling companions.
Who should go to Venice?
Many types of people love Venice. Go if you're an art lover, a history lover, can't get enough of architecture or European charm. If you're an avid world traveler and feel continually compelled to explore new global destination cities, this is the place for you. Plus, this is a great destination for the whole family!
Is Venice safe?
Venice is very safe during the day, which is when most cruise travelers are there. As with traveling anywhere, keep important documents and cash safe from pickpockets and choose low-key jewelry and watches. You can always wear your baubles onboard your cruise ship safely.
Will my phone work in Venice?
This depends on your phone and provider plan. Make sure to call your carrier and discuss options in advance to keep your bill where you want it.
Do I need to learn Italian?
Most Venetians do not speak English, but if you reserve a shore excursion, your guide will speak fluent English throughout the tour. If you have a need for another language, like Spanish, French or Mandarin, be sure to mention this when reserving your cruise. Many cruise lines accommodate this with no trouble, as long as they know.