Things to Know Before You Go to Venice, Italy

Winding canals and striking architecture aside, there’s so much more to see in one of Italy’s most beautiful cities. This guide on the top things to know before you go to Venice ensures you’ll make the most out of your trip!

People riding a gondola in Venice
People riding a gondola in Venice

With 16 centuries of rich history, a winding labyrinth of picturesque canals, vibrant colorful architecture, an endless maze of tiny streets, and historic palazzos, Venice has always been a city brimming with stories and secrets. A city resting on 118 islands separated by 150+ canals, there’s no wonder each corner of Venice captivates millions of visitors year after year. 

But before you get lost in this city’s postcard-perfect beauty, make sure to read this guide on the essential things to know before you go to Venice. That way, you can arm yourself with all the top insider tips to make the most out of your enchanting Venetian journey.

When To Go & How To Get Around Venice

Deciding when to visit Venice hinges on your preferences for weather and crowd sizes. Take July, for example— perfect for sun-seekers, with warm days averaging 28°C and minimal rain, allowing you to explore in comfort. And if you aim for early July, you can dodge the bulk of summer tourists altogether. Don’t forget your sunscreen, as the occasional summer thunderstorm might make an appearance.

On the other hand, for those who want to shy away from crowds, definitely steer clear of summer. The city swells with tourists, which can detract from the charm of quieter exploration. If peace is what you seek, the best times are from November to May, avoiding Carnevale and Easter. These months offer a quieter, more local feel with cooler weather and fewer tourists, though you might need an umbrella for some occasional rain.

Navigating Venice is a unique experience in itself. You might want to forget about wheels, as here, everything is all about the boats. The city’s charm unfolds on foot and via its iconic canals. Vaporetti (water buses) are your go-to for longer distances along the Grand Canal or to the neighboring islands. 

And for a quintessential Venice experience, hop on a gondola, though it’s more for romance than rapid transit. Remember, in Venice, the only traffic jams are on the water!

You might also like: Where To Travel in Europe Across The Seasons

A small canal in between houses in Venice
A small canal in between houses in Venice

Know Before You Go: Top Things To Do in Venice 

Venice is a city of romance and mystery, where the streets are paved with water and the history is as thick as the espresso. 

Before you set foot in this enchanting city, here’s a quick guide on things to know before you go to Venice to ensure you catch all the must-see sights and experiences:

  • Start your adventure with a Vaporetto ride along the Grand Canal. It’s the best introduction to Venice’s architectural marvels, viewed from its watery main street.
  • Marvel at the golden mosaics and opulent design of St. Mark’s Basilica— a masterpiece of Italo-Byzantine architecture.
  • Get lost in the streets, literally. No map needed, just curiosity and a bit of adventurous spirit.
  • Take a short boat ride to Murano Glass Factory and watch world-renowned artisans blow glass into exquisite art.
  • Marvel in the splendor of Venetian art at the Gallerie dell’Accademia, home to the works of masters like Titian and Tintoretto.
  • For the best aerial views of the city, ascend the Campanile and gaze out over the islands scattered through the lagoon.
  • Treat your taste buds to the flavors of Venice. Savor cicchetti in a local bacaro, explore the Rialto Market, and snack your way through local specialties.
  • As the day ends, watch the sky paint colors over Piazza San Marco— the most beautiful drawing room in Europe, according to Napoleon.
  • Lastly, step inside one of Italy’s most illustrious opera houses to end your night with a dose of culture. Whether you catch a show or take a tour, La Fenice offers a glimpse into the grand world of Italian opera.

Where To Stay in Venice: The Best Areas and Neighborhoods

Whether you’re looking for the bustling heart of Venetian life or a quieter, more residential experience, each neighborhood in Venice has its own unique charm and attractions. 

Here’s a guide to some of the best areas to consider: 

SAN MARCO

The heart and soul of Venice, San Marco is home to many of the city’s most famous sights, including St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace. Choose from opulent hotels like the Bauer Palazzo or more budget-friendly options like Hotel San Luca.

CANNAREGIO

Known for its vibrant local life and fewer tourists, Cannaregio offers a glimpse into the everyday lives of Venetians. It’s home to the Jewish Ghetto, the oldest in the world, with charming streets and relaxing canals. Hotels like Ca’ Sagredo and Ca’ D’oro make excellent bases for exploring this authentic area.

CASTELLO

East of San Marco, Castello is a bit more laid back yet still within walking distance of the city’s main attractions. It’s a great area for those who want a quieter stay but still wish to be close to the action. 

LA GIUDECCA

For a truly local feel away from the majority of tourist foot traffic, consider La Giudecca. This island offers spectacular views of Venice across the lagoon and is a peaceful retreat at the end of a busy day. The St. Regis Venice is a popular choice here, providing luxury with stunning city views.

The sun setting at Piazza San Marco in Venice
The sun setting at Piazza San Marco in Venice

Paddle Your Way to Venice with ThisCityKnows

As you prepare to explore the ageless beauty of Venice, remember that ThisCityKnows is always here to ensure you have all the essential information at your fingertips. That’s because our goal is to make your trip to one of the world’s most picturesque cities as fulfilling and enjoyable as possible.

Embrace the adventure that awaits you in Venice, where each canal and cobblestone path holds a piece of history just waiting to be discovered. We encourage you to dive deep into the Venetian lifestyle, savoring every moment from sunrise over the lagoon to evening gondola rides under starlit skies. 

And once you’ve experienced the wonders of Venice, don’t keep those memories to yourself. Share them! Whether through comments below or by reaching out to us, your stories and tips are invaluable to us and fellow travelers alike.

So, set your sights on Venice and let ThisCityKnows help guide your journey

Let’s get this adventure started— Venice is waiting for you to discover its wonders!

Katie
Author: Katie

Katie is all about hitting the road solo, always on the lookout for spots the internet hasn't fully discovered yet. She’s the one turning left when the map says right, hunting for those genuine, "you had to be there" moments. With a style that's as engaging as a late-night chat by the hostel fire, her stories aren't just about places, but the raw, unfiltered joy of exploring them on your own terms.

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