Visiting Venice: a dream, but for some, it can turn into an unpleasant experience. Here are 5 errors to avoid when visiting Venice
Venice is the destination that everyone dreams of: how many times have I seen tears in the eyes of those who arrived in Venice for the first time. However, if you want to fully enjoy not only the beauty of the city but also its history, culture, and food, you should be cautious. Here are 5 mistakes to avoid when you visit Venice.
Traveling, oh how wonderful it is. Many times, I’ve wondered what it would be like for me to visit Venice. Would I have liked it right away? Or would I have fallen in love with it over time? Today, as this is my city, I help the very people who visit Venice, whether for the first time or not.
Thinking about the city and how to visit it isn’t always easy. So I thought I would help you with this post.
Here are 5 mistakes to avoid when you visit Venice.
1. Asking for Advice Randomly
I know, the temptation is strong: to rely on someone who has already been there and therefore thinks they are an expert. On social media, you can find many groups dedicated to Venice where people ask for information about hotels, restaurants, and attractions (attractions? We are at Disneyland? that word makes me mad).
Nothing could be more wrong. Only you know your budget and what you like to do, and only you know your level of knowledge. So if your question is, “Can I visit the Doge’s Palace without a guide?” I can’t give you a single answer. Of course, you can, but how much do you know about Venetian history? If you don’t know enough or are starting from scratch, having someone guide you is certainly very helpful. Read, inform yourself, evaluate with your own judgment: if you think you can’t do it, consider turning to people more experienced than you who, as their job, help visitors like you.
2. Believing There Are Things You MUST Do
Visiting a city following an itinerary is always a matter of choice. That’s why there isn’t a checklist of monuments to tick off, like the to-do lists hanging on your fridge. Every visit should be the result of a conscious choice. For example, if you’re traveling with teenagers, instead of a gondola tour, wouldn’t a rowing lesson be more interesting? You’ll still see Venice from its canals, but in a much more dynamic and engaging way.
If history isn’t your thing but photography fascinates you, why not be guided by a photographer who can suggest the best angles to capture the city?
If you love to eat and drink, wouldn’t it be better to do a street food tour instead of a simple walking tour?
Don’t feel obligated; it’s your trip! However, try to be aware of the place you’re in: no one will judge you for not visiting the Doge’s Palace, but make an effort to ensure that your visit isn’t just about selfies and lines for the best ice cream.
3. Thinking that Venice is small
Venice is not London or New York, that’s obvious. It’s a relatively small city, but thinking you can tour it in a few hours or just one day is a mistake I’ve seen many times.
From the train station to St. Mark’s Square, it’s true, it takes about half an hour to walk. But this works only for the Venetians! They know the narrow streets, don’t stop at every corner for a selfie or a panoramic photo, know how to avoid the most congested areas, and are familiar with shortcuts. You’ll get to the Square, that’s for sure, but if you want to visit the Doge’s Palace afterward, it will be a very challenging feat for your poor feet!
Even having to walk through the crowds can be tiring. So, if you’re in Venice for the first time, don’t always be in a hurry. Take at least 3 days (2 nights) so that you have the minimum time to stop and enjoy the scenery.
Consider getting a pass for public transportation (your feet will thank you), especially if you’re traveling with children. Download the app “Che Bateo” perfect from planning public transport (vaporetti).
4. Visiting Venice in the Wrong Season
The time of year to visit the city is an important factor to consider, especially if you are sensitive to certain weather conditions. In many ways, the worst time to visit the city is during the summer. Yes, there are beautiful days, and you can be outdoors until late, but believe me, Venetian humidity is hard to endure! Especially if you can’t handle the heat well and are traveling with children, your stay can turn into a real nightmare!
It’s better to plan your visit for a different time, during the shoulder seasons or even in winter if you prefer museum visits over outdoor activities.
In any case, having the appropriate clothing in your suitcase is crucial!
If there’s high water (acqua alta) and you decide to buy disposable colored boots, take them off as soon as you no longer need them and don’t wear them all day over your shoes. This way, you can reuse them on other occasions, even when you return home.
5. Not Taking at Least One Guided Tour
If you’re visiting Venice for the first time, I strongly recommend booking at least one guided tour of the city, preferably a private tour or in a small group (with a maximum of 20 people).
Of course, you have various options: you can focus on visiting St. Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace (typically, scheduled tours last a couple of hours), which will help you better understand the city’s history. Alternatively, you can choose a guided walk through the central areas or a longer itinerary that covers multiple “sestieri” (neighborhoods). In private tours, you can discuss and request a customized itinerary when booking.
In my opinion, even a “food and wine tour” is an excellent way to approach the city because it allows you to explore an important cultural aspect, such as food. If you want to take a “bacari” tour with me, feel free to reach out!
If you have visited the city multiple times but want to get to know it better, I recommend reading this post dedicated to slightly more unique Venice tours.
The guidelines I’ve provided in this post are general and can be applicable for visiting other cities as well.
Do you know Venice? Do you have any suggestions for those who haven’t seen it yet? I’d be happy to read your comments.
Are you interested on this topic? You can find more info on these posts
Keep in touch!