I’ve just returned from a whirlwind long weekend in Venice and honestly I don’t think my feet touched the ground the whole time we were there. It was everything I had hoped and dreamed of, Venice has been top of my bucket list for YEARS, I read a book as a child that sparked a long standing love affair for The City of Masks, and it really lived up to my expectations. Whilst I was there, I asked you guys what kind of blog content you wanted to see, and a lot of you asked for a general what to expect/things you should know/information on the expenses involved, so I’ve got my top Venice Travel tips for you today!
Yes, some things are pricey, but not everything is.
This was one of the most popular questions I had, people asking if it was as expensive as everyone says. The honest answer? Not really.
Yes, some things are expensive. We spent a lot on flights, because we booked a week before we flew and weren’t flexible with dates. The Vaporetto ticket was pricey, 58€ for three days for unlimited access, but worth it. If you choose to eat or drink in Piazza San Marco, then yes, you’ll be paying through the nose. Hotels are expensive, and so are gondolas and water taxis.
But, if you’re flexible with dates and booking in advance, flights don’t have to be expensive. Yes, hotels are pricey, but there are tons of affordable homes on AirBNB that would be amazing, or you can choose to stay on the mainland like we did, which was much more affordable too. We skipped the cliched gondola ride (I honestly wasn’t fussed) and definitely got our money’s worth out of the Vaporetto tickets. None of the restaurants we ate in were expensive (main courses clocked in anywhere from 7-13€), and most places will do an Aperol Spritz or Bellini for under 5€, which is pretty cheap if you ask me.
Really, it’s as expensive or as inexpensive as you make it, but the price certainly wouldn’t put me off returning.
There are basically no public toilets on the island.
As someone with IBS and a tiny bladder, I struggled with this one. There are no public toilets on the island (except for one lot near the Rialto bridge that were always rammed), nor are there any bigger shops or department stores that are likely to have one. Basically, what this meant was that any time any one of us needed a bathroom, we’d have to stop in a cafe and buy a drink to use the facilities. It’s worth keeping this in mind, and making sure if you’re anywhere with a toilet you go!
The toilets in cafes and restaurants are often fairly poorly maintained too, or at least not up to UK standards. A lot of toilets don’t have seats, and at least half the bathrooms I visited had no toilet paper or soap. It’s pretty behind in those terms.
It’s very, very busy.
If I can offer you any advice, it’s don’t visit over the weekend. It’s busy all the time, but the city was noticeably quieter on Friday as opposed to Saturday and Sunday. For example, we visited popular gelato shop Suso on Friday, and waited in a queue of maybe three people, had our gelato in five minutes. We tried to go back on Saturday with our parents and there was a queue of at least 25 people round the block. We gave it a miss!
A lot of places don’t take card.
Perhaps this speaks to the corruption levels in Italy, or maybe just the fact they’re further behind the times, but 90% of the cafes and bars we stopped in didn’t take card. Be prepared, take cash.
Eat and drink like a local.
The best food we had in Venice came from Osteria’s, local cafes and bars that you’ll find full of Italians. They’re cheaper than the tourist hotspots, and the food is better. Also be aware that most places in Venice charge you a fee for sitting at a table of a few years, so if it’s a quick espresso or pastry you’re after, have it stood at the bar like a local!
Be prepared to get lost.
The best way to explore Venice is to just get lost! Walk down side streets, take dark little alleyways, walk until you can’t walk anymore. Every inch of this city is gorgeous, and one turn down a side street could bring you out in the most beautiful Piazza you’ve ever seen. Be prepared to cover a lot of ground, we averaged walking around 15km a day, so wear comfortable shoes!
I’m already dreaming of a return trip to Venice, I can’t imagine anyone not falling in love with this city!
Is Venice on your travel bucket list?