With its Venetian Gothic architecture, winding canals, and timeless beauty, Venice, Italy is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. It’s no secret that Venice’s infrastructure is suffering because of mass tourism, but with 26 million annual visitors, the city will continue to be a top destination for years to come.
Due to its design and the volume of visitors, there are a few ways to make your first visit to Venice an experience you’ll treasure, so here are a few “dos and don’ts” to keep in mind for your Venetian vacation.
DO take an authorized water taxi from the airport if you have a lot of luggage. Water taxis can be a bit pricey, but if you have a lot of luggage in your party, it’s the hassle-free way to get to your hotel or Airbnb. The other option is taking a bus to Venice then taking a water bus to your accommodation, but this is only recommended if you’re traveling lighting. Navigating Venice’s narrow, crowded streets with luggage in tow is an experience you don’t want.
DON’T order pizza. Yes, Italy is the land of pizza, but wood-burning ovens are banned in Venice, which means that you won’t get the best pizza. Wait until you’re in another part of Italy to indulge in pizza, or if Venice is your only stop, go heavy on the pasta and the local seafood.
DO ask if a restaurant has a “coperto” before you sit down. In Venice, and many cities in Italy, many restaurants will charge you a “coperto” (or a cover charge), to sit outside, and while the fee is often stated on the menu, it’s usually in small print. The fee is usually 2-5 € per person, but be sure to ask to avoid a surprise on your bill at the end of your trip.
DON’T spend money in San Marco. San Marco, specifically Piazza San Marco, is the main tourist attraction in Venice, and while it could be tempting to have dinner al fresco or pick up souvenirs, the added cost of shopping and dining in the hectic area is simply not worth the Euro. Save your cash and spend it just a few streets away.
DO have an Aperol Spritz, in fact, have as many as you can handle. The light, refreshing cocktail is a Venetian staple, and you’ll see them everywhere in the city. The price ranges from 3-5€, and you can get them to go as you tour the city.
DON’T try to see Venice in less than two days. Many people believe that because Venice is tiny, it doesn’t require much time, but the small destination boasts fascinating museums, stunning churches, and an otherworldly setting that only becomes more beautiful the longer you’re in town.
DO be cautious about common scams and pickpockets. Venice welcomes 26 million visitors a year, so it’s no surprise that scams are common. The most popular scams include the friendship bracelet scam, where someone may say they want to give you a bracelet and expect you to pay, and the rose scam, where someone will offer a rose to a woman and then demand money. A good rule is to simply not accept anything offered to you and be sure to keep a good grasp on your personal belongings because thieves often work in groups. Overall, the city is exceptionally safe, but unfortunate events are a reality.
DON’T forget comfortable shoes. Venice is a city that is meant to be explored by foot, so be sure to invest in shoes that you can walk in for hours. Wander across the canals, make your way for the narrow alleys, and get swept up in the breathtaking city without worry about your feet.