Famous for its romantic atmosphere, charming canals, and world-class architecture, Venice is an alluring destination that is on many bucket lists. While the city suffers from over-tourism and is typically packed with visitors, it is also packed with incredible history, art, food, and fun things to see and do.
But before setting off to Venice, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about traveling to Venice, including:
- What are the costs for travelers?
- Things to know about culture and etiquette
- What are the top attractions?
- How safe is it?
- Local food and drinks
- How good is the WiFi?
- How long can you stay?
Ready? Here are the top 7 things you need to know before visiting Venice:
Did you know… Venice’s most famous event is Carnival, which takes place for 10 days each February. Each year since at least 1269, the city welcomes masses of visitors who come for the eventful boat parade and light show on the Rio di Cannaregio canal, and the masquerade balls where attendees wear period costumes and fancy masks.
1) Venice Affordability
The currency in Venice is the Euro, or EUR. The current exchange rate is €1 EUR = $1.08 USD and $1 USD = €0.93.
Here are the average costs for travelers in USD:
Accommodation in Venice fluctuates quite a bit with the seasons, so if you can’t afford these peak summer rates, consider traveling during the off-season.
- Average hotel price: One night at a 3-star hotel typically costs around $350, or $525 for a 4-star hotel.
- Luxury 5-star hotels: Venice has some great 5-star hotels that cost about $925 per night. If you really want to indulge, ultra-luxury hotels like the gorgeous St. Regis Venice where standard rooms start at $1700 and suites are around $4,000 per night.
- If you’re on a budget: Venice’s hostels range from $35-50 for a bed in a dorm during peak travel times or around $85 – $175 per night for a private room.
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- A 3-course meal at a mid-range restaurant for two costs around $77.
- For a cheap meal at an inexpensive restaurant, expect to pay less than $20.
- A beer costs about $5.50, while a cappuccino is a steal at $1.75.
- The most convenient and affordable way to navigate Venice is on foot. The city is compact enough that the top sites are easily reachable by walking.
- Public transportation in Venice consists of a network of services, the most useful for tourists being the floating buses. Operated by the Actv, these Vaporettos take tourists just about everywhere they need to go. 75-minute tickets cost $10.45, a 24-hour pass is $27.50, and a 3-day ticket is $49.50.
- There is also a ferry, or traghetto, that transports people across the Grand Canal. Tickets cost $2.20.
- Water taxis are the fastest way to get around, but they are also the most expensive. Depending on where you are going and what time of day you are traveling, expect to pay between $45 – $75.
- Taking one of Venice’s iconic gondolas is less of a transportation mode and more of a tourist activity. Expect to pay at least $85 for a 30-minute tour.
- For visitors staying or exploring Mestre, there are public buses and trams that run from Venice. Single tickets cost $1.65.
2) Culture And Etiquette In Venice
Check this list before your trip! Here are some of the major Dos and Don’ts in Venice.
- DO be mindful of your space: If traveling in a group be sure not to block the streets. Be mindful of your personal space and walk on the right leaving space on the left for others to pass.
- DON’T eat in the Piazza: Eating inside the Piazza San Marco is a fineable offense, and is considered disrespectful by the locals.
- DO take off your backpack: When traveling on a bus or Vaporetto take off your backpack to make more space and protect fellow passengers from being whacked with your bag.
- DON’T go shirtless: Always wear a top even if the temperature is sweltering and you’ve just come from the pool or beach.
- DO be respectful: When visiting churches silence your phone, speak in a quiet voice, and do not disturb people who are praying. It is also a good idea to dress modestly when visiting a church, and never bring food inside.
- DO leave a tip: leave a few extra euros or include a tip of around 10% at restaurants and cafes.
3) Top Attractions in Venice
Venice is full of incredible things to see and do. Here are a few of the top things you can’t miss while visiting the city:
- Doge’s Palace – A impressive 14th-century Gothic palace containing council chambers, residences, and prison cells, and famous artwork. Tourists can purchase a ticket that includes admission to the Correr Civic Museum, the National Archaeological Museum, and the Marciana National Library.
- Basilica di San Marco – Located in the Piazza San Marco, visiting St. Mark’s Basilica is a must when in Venice. The current building dates back to 1063 and it is full of beautiful mosaics and statues and is said to contain some of the remains of St. Mark.
- Rialto Bridge – This iconic bridge is one of four that cross the Grand Canal and was completed in 1591. Connecting the San Polo and San Marco districts, the bridge is built on 12,000 wooden pilings and has a distinct 24-foot arch.
4) How Safe Is It For Tourists?
Venice is a safe place to visit. However, there are still some things that travelers should keep in mind to stay safe during their visit:
- Be aware of thieves: pickpocketing and petty theft is the most common crime that tourists encounter in Venice. Be on high alert in crowded areas and tourist attractions.
- Watch out for floods: During fall and winter, the city is susceptible to flooding, so choose accommodation wisely and keep an eye on the news.
- Know how to call for help: Emergency services can be reached by calling 113.
- DO get travel insurance: Travel insurance can help in health emergencies as well as with covering the costs of any travel mishaps during your Venice trip. For 5 great options, read more here.
5) Local Eats And Drinks
One of the best parts of travel is checking out the local cuisine, and Venice is a fantastic place to try new foods. Don’t let yourself leave without trying at least one of the following:
Italians take their food very seriously, and Venice has many classic dishes to try, so be sure to try some of these traditional favorites.
- Sarde in Saour – a popular starter of sardines dressed with onions, vinegar, pine nuts, and raisins
- Risi e Bisi – a vegetarian dish consisting of rice and peas, especially popular in the spring
- Squid ink pasta – pasta served with squid ink
- Fritto Misto – a mix of small fish, seafood, and sometimes vegetables that have been fried until crispy and served hot, often in a paper cone
Spritz– originally crafted in Venice, the Spritza popular aperitif consisting of Prosecco or another white wine, Italian bitters, and soda water
- Bellini- another Venetian creation, the Bellini is made from Prosecco, peach puree and liqueur, and fresh lemon juice
- Wine – Italy is famous all over the world for its exquisite wines, and Venice is a great city to sample some local creations.
6) How’s the WiFi?
Using Ookla, an internet speed testing service, the average internet speeds in Venice for March 2023 were 62.22mbps download and 12.45mbps upload.
7) How Long Can I Stay?
Americans traveling to Italy can stay for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without needing a visa. Passports need to have at least three months of validity past the date of your departure. Visitors who arrive from a Schengen country must obtain a declaration of presence form from their hotel or local police station, and submit it to police within eight days of arriving.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Michael Z (Midtown NYC)
Wednesday 10th of May 2023
Thanks for the good tips, Megan. Venice is one of my favorite Italian cities behind #1 Firenze. While Venice can be very touristy especially when thousands of cruise passengers are there during the day - - the evenings are wonderful if you're staying in a hotel or B&B. I recently read the entry to Venice for tourists who do not stay there, initially scheduled for January 16, 2023, will not become effective until 2024. The exact date has yet to be specified.