Venice is a beautiful city that is on many peoples’ ‘must visit’ or bucket lists. There are plenty of beautiful pastel buildings, gondolas, water canals, cultural treats, and history in that tiny location. Daniel and I visited recently for the first time, and we compiled a list of things you should know and expect before booking and visiting Venice based on our own personal experiences.
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Hotels are Not Always up to American Standards
Booking hotels in Venice was a problem we faced for weeks. We were on a budget, so finding hotels that were in range of average to cheap and modern themed similarly to ones we were used to staying at was not an option for us.
If you didn’t know, Venice is a city with a long history, so many of these buildings have been around for many, many years. As a result, the infrastructure and build of a lot of them are outdated, old, and un-renovated to preserve some history. So if you’re on a budget, expect possible minor problems here and there and thinner than usual walls. If you want more examples, just read up some reviews on cheap to average priced hotels. They tend to have common complaints. With how long these buildings have been up, it’s not surprised that they’d produce some unusual quirks.
There Are No Driving Streets Once You Hit Rome Piazza Venezian
This isn’t usually something people take into consideration, so I find a lot of people overlook this, but there are no driving streets in Venice. That means your primary method of transportation will be walking. Alternatively, there are gondolas and boats to take you to places, but getting around isn’t the issue because you can get everywhere on foot. The real issue is getting your luggage to your hotel.
Look into getting a hotel in Venice that’s closer to the Rome Piazza Venezian so you don’t have to haul your luggage over bridges and cobblestones right after a long flight or train. We got a hotel at Aloggi Marinella which was amazing quality for the price at the best location: very close to the Piazza but away from the bustling crowds.
Locals Say Spanish is Easier to Understand Than English
If you know Spanish, I’d recommend asking questions or speaking to locals in that language rather than English. We asked a few locals in Venice about which was better and they all said Spanish was easier to understand because it was more similar to Italian. We spoke English a few times, but got the best responses when speaking Spanish.
Fashion is Cute, But Wear Comfy Shoes
Either wear sneakers or bring your cute shoes in your bag for photos because you don’t think the streets of Venice will stress your feet out, but they will. There are plenty of bridges in varying sizes you have to walk over to get to places. Some even have stairs rather than just a smooth curved surface. The floors and streets are also not completely paved with cement. You’ll find yourself walking a lot on cobblestones or slightly uneven surfaces, so wearing heels or un-cushioned flats will be a challenge.
Beware of Pick Pocketers
St Marc’s Basilica is known for having a lot of pick-pocketers. Be aware of your belongings and avoid keeping things in your back pocket. As long as you’re aware and make it apparent, you’re less likely to be a target.
Water Taxis Sound Cool, But Are Very Expensive
You’ll see a lot of people buying tickets to take a water taxi in Venice either for the experience or to get to places. There will be crowds of people surrounding the docking areas. It’s a good activity if you just want to cross it off your bucket list, but if it’s something you’re not too interested in, it’s okay to pass. Not only is it expensive, but you’d probably get around faster on foot and the waters are full of sewage, so the ride won’t be as romantic as you’d imagine.
Water is Not Cheap
Water isn’t cheap in Venice, especially at restaurants. Restaurants will not give you tap water, you have to buy the bottles at about $5+ per bottle. The bottle will yield you about 3-4 small cups of water. If you’re looking to save money, bring your own water from a local convenience store or refill a reusable bottle with water from the fountains around the streets.
Looking to visit Venice, Italy soon? These might help with planning your trip: