Venice Holidays Travel Guide


What’s your interpretation of holidays in Venice? Do you think it’s just a romantic trip to another popular Italian city? Far from it.

 

This seductive city with over 100 canals, hundreds of bridges, glorious palazzos, and picturesque piazzas has a charm that surpasses its touristy reputation. If you know how to move around the town and where to go, a whole new world will be revealed to you.

 

To find out all you need to know about holidays in Venice, along with some essential travel information, all you have to do is read on!

 

Explore more: Venice things to do | Venice best hotels

Venice sunset

About Venice


Built on the water and having canals instead of roads (hence its moniker “The Floating City”), this car-free Renaissance gem is nothing like what you’ve seen before. Thanks to its glorious history, Venice is also full of architectural masterpieces, like the St. Mark’s Basilica, the Piazza San Marco, the Doge’s Palace, and the Galleria dell’Accademia.

 

Stick with us to find out all you need to know about Venice, from the best things to do and must-visit attractions to how to get there and where to stay in Venice!

 

Why is Venice famous?

Venice is a group of 118 islands divided by 150 canals and connected by 400 bridges. Some islands of the Venetian Lagoon are large and host imposing churches, glorious palaces, squares, museums, restaurants, and shops.

 

This 1,700-year-old city is famous for its romantic atmosphere and Renaissance beauty. The picture-perfect canals, traditional gondoliers, and rustic brick buildings ooze a unique charm. Behind the canals of Venice, you’ll find cobblestone alleys, enormous cathedrals, lavish palaces, and a wide selection of hip shops and restaurants.

 

Some of the most famous attractions in Venice are the world-renowned Grand Canal thoroughfare, Piazza San Marco -the central square in Venice, the Campanile bell and the stunning St. Mark’s Basilica.

 

Where is Venice located?

Venice is located in the Veneto region in Italy, in the northern part of the country. It comprises 118 big and small islands separated by canals and linked by over 400 bridges on the Venetian Lagoon.

Read also: Rome holidays travel guide | Naples holidays travel guide | Milan holidays travel guide | Florence holidays travel guide

 

What is the best time to visit Venice?

Venice has a subtropical/ Mediterranean climate with hot summers and cold, rainy winters. The overall atmosphere in Venice city is humid, because of its location in the Venetian Lagoon.

Venice partially floods in winter and fall due to the acqua alta (high water), which causes exceptional tide peaks on the shallow waters of the Venetian Lagoon.

 

Weather in Venice

  • Autumn (September to November)

    Highest: 75 F/ 24 C Lowest: 39 F/ 4 C

  • Winter (December to February)

    Highest: 48 F/ 9 C Lowest: 32 F/ 0 C

  • Spring (March to May)

    Highest: 72 F/ 22 C Lowest: 39 F/ 4 C

  • Summer (June to August)

    Highest: 82 F/ 28 C Lowest: 61 F/ 16 C

 

What are the most popular events in Venice?

New Year's Day, La Befana (Epiphany)
Venetian Carnival (Carnivale) celebration
Festa della Donna (Women’s day), Saint Joseph's Day
Venetian Easter, Saint Mark feast & Liberation Day
Labor day, Festa della Sensa (celebration of Venice's marriage to the sea), Vogalonga (rowing race)
The Biennale Art Expo (a contemporary art exhibition), Republic Day (national holiday), Art Night Venezia
Festa del Redentore (big festival in honor of the end of the 1576 pandemic), Venice Film Festival
The end of the summer
Regata Storica /Historical Regatta (big gondola race along the canals of Venice)
Festa del Mosto (Festival of the must, freshly pressed grape juice), on the nearby island of Sant’Erasmo, The opening of the opera season at La Fenice
All Saints Day, Festa della Salute (festival in honor of the end of the 1630 plague)
The start of the Christmas season, New Year’s Eve at Piazza San Marco

Did you know?

In 1608, the Council of Ten proclaimed that wearing masks was approved only during the carnival. The penalties for breaking the law were strict like two years imprisonment and public beating.

 

What are the best things to do in Venice?

  1. Visit the St. Mark’s Basilica

    St. Mark’s Basilica is one of the most impressive attractions in Venice. This imposing 11th-century cathedral looks breathtaking from the outside but also hides many surprises on the inside. From the art pieces that decorate the church to the domes on the top of the cathedral, St. Mark’s Basilica oozes a unique architectural charm.

  2. Eat Cicchetti

    One of the best things to do in Venice is to eat Cicchetti, a delicious local specialty. Cicchetti is a selection of bite-sized snacks like olives, cheese, bread topped with fish, tomatoes, cheese, and other delicacies. It is similar to the Spanish tapas and is served along with wine at the local bars.

  3. Go for a romantic a gondola ride

    Venice is one of the most romantic cities in the world, so it offers plenty of activities for couples. The ultimate thing to do in Venice with your significant other is to take a gondola ride through the canals -gondoliers may as well serenade you! This not only an utterly romantic activity but also a good way to explore the canals of Venice, the picturesque bridges, and the stunning buildings on the way.

  4. Visit the Rialto Bridge

    The 400-year old Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto) is the main bridge that crosses the Grand Canal. Close to the bridge lies the Rialto Market, a lively food market with lots of little shops selling local products.

  5. Take a stroll at the Saint Marco Square

    Saint Marco Square is a must-visit place in Venice not only because of the cathedral but also because of its charming atmosphere and unique architecture. St. Mark’s Square also houses St. Mark’s Campanile, the Doge’s Palace, and Torre dell’Orologio. It is lined with many beautiful sidewalk cafés and bistros with live music, where you can sit and enjoy an authentic Italian espresso.

  6. Visit the Doge’s Palace

    The impressive Doge’s Palace lies at the St. Mark’s Square, alongside the Grand Canal. It is considered one of the most important buildings in Venice, as it is strongly connected to the city’s history. On your visit to the Doge’s Palace, you’ll get the chance to learn about the ancient republic and marvel at the incredible architecture of its interior.

Related: 19 Best things to do in Venice (Italy) from Canals gondola rides to Saint Marco walks and more

 

What are the shopping hours in Venice?

Most shops in Venice open at 9 am and close at 7.30 pm. They are usually closed from 1.00 pm to 4 pm for a lunch break.

Most stores are closed on Sundays, except for some big retail shops and souvenir shops. Keep in mind that most of the clothing and gift stores are closed on Monday mornings, while most food stores are closed on Wednesday afternoons.

Key facts about Venice

  • Population

    270,884 (2020)

  • Currecy

    Euro

  • Language

    Italian

  • Average Temperatures

    Warmest Month: July 82 F/28 C
    Coldest Month: January 32 F/0 C

  • Tipping

    If the bill includes a service charge, there’s no need to leave a tip. However, you can leave an additional 5%-10% of the total price of your meal. If the bill doesn’t include a service charge, you can leave a tip of 12% of the total price.

  • Loved by

    Couples, honeymooners, families, elderly.

The history of Venice

Venice, the capital of the province of Venezia and the region of Veneto, boasts an enduring history, as it is 1,700-year-old! The “floating city” is a major European art, music and political hub since the early days of its cultural history.

In the late Medieval years, it was the most important seaport in Europe and the continent’s commercial and cultural link to Asia. Up to this day, it remains one of the biggest Italian ports in the northern Adriatic Sea.

 

How can you get to Venice?

Venice city is located in the Veneto region, in the northeast part of Italy. You can reach it by train, plane, bus, or ferry from other European cities.

 

Getting to Venice by air

Marco Polo Airport is the main International airport in Venice and the third busiest airport in Italy. Marco Polo receives daily flights from major European cities, like Frankfurt, Paris, and Amsterdam, as well as from the United Kingdom, North America, and the Middle East.

There are frequent direct flights to Venice from several cities in the United Kingdom. The duration of the flight from the UK to Venice is about two hours from southern England.

The main low-cost airlines that fly from the UK to Venice are Ryanair (from Bristol, East Midlands, Leeds Bradford, and London Stansted), EasyJet (from Bristol, Edinburgh, London Gatwick, London Luton, and Manchester), and British Airways (from London Heathrow).

Several airlines fly directly to Marco Polo Airport in Venice from the United States, mainly during the high-season. Some of the main airline companies that serve this itinerary are Delta Airlines and US Airways. Delta Airlines offer direct flights from JFK Airport in New York to Marco Polo in Venice. The US Airways offer direct flights from Philadelphia to Venice. Alitalia offers connecting flights to Venice from New York, Boston, and Miami.

 

Getting to Venice by ferry

If you’re planning to travel to Venice from a European city, a ferry to Venice is a good option. The Port of Venice is one of the largest ports in the Mediterranean Sea. From Venice port depart ferries, cruise ships and high-speed vessels to cities like Croatia, Slovenia, Egypt, Syria, and Greece.

 

Getting to Venice by train

Santa Lucia Train Station (Ferrovia Venezia Santa Lucia) is the main train station in Venice. It is located in a World War Two building in the lagoon and receives about 30 million passengers every year!

Another major train station in Venice is the station located in Mestre (Ferrovia Venezia Mestre). After arriving at Mestre, tourists must take the bus to get to Venice. You can check the schedules and prices of trains and buy your tickets online in the official websites of the TGV or Ferrovie dello Stato.

 

Getting to Venice by car

Cars are prohibited in Venice. However, if you choose to travel to Venice by car, you can park at Piazzale Roma or Tronchetto, a little island in the Venetian Lagoon. From there, you can take the bus or a small ferry to reach Venice city center. Alternatively, you can park your car at Fusina or San Giuliano near mainland Mestre.

 

Getting to Venice by bus

Same as with cars, buses are not allowed in Venice. However, it is possible to reach Venice by bus. The main international bus terminal in Venice is located in Piazzale Roma, at the Venetian extremity of Ponte della Liberta. From there, you can get a water taxi to get to the city of Venice.

ATVO is the main bus company that serves itineraries between the Marco Polo Airport and Venice city center, as well as between many cities and resorts in the northwest part of Italy, like Venice, Jesolo, Bibione, Lignano, and Treviso.

Where to stay in Venice

The best area to stay in Venice for sightseeing

San Marco: San Marco is one of the most popular and beautiful districts in Venice. It is located in the heart of the city and hosts some of the most important attractions in Venice, like the St. Mark’s Square and the Rialto Bridge!

Some of the best hotels in San Marco are: Baglioni Hotel Luna, Hotel Ala, Bauer Palazzo, The St. Regis Venice, and The Gritti Palace

 

The best area to stay in Venice for families

San Polo: San Polo district is one of the oldest and busiest neighborhoods in Venice city, very popular with tourists. It is located in the central part of Venice and is well-connected to Saint Marco and the main points of interest in Venice. Don’t miss the Venice Rialto Market, an open-air fish and vegetable market that takes place in San Polo every morning.

Some of the best hotels in San Polo are: H10 Palazzo Canova, Hotel L’Orologio, Riva del Vin, Ca’ AngeliPalazzo Morosini Degli Spezieri, and Residenza Corte Molin

 

The best budget-friendly area to stay in Venice

Cannaregio: Cannaregio, the second largest district in Venice, is located in the northern part of the city. At Cannaregio, you’ll find several historical sights, beautiful squares (campos),as well as a variety of budget-friendly hotels.

Some of the best hotels in Cannaregio are: Al Mascaron Ridente, Hotel Principe, Ca’ Bonfadini Historic Experience, Carnival Palace, and Arcadia Boutique Hotel

 

The best area to stay in Venice for art lovers

Dorsoduro: Dorsoduro is a very artistic neighborhood with a unique character. Full of fascinating street art and amazing museums, like the Accademia Museum and the Guggenheim Art Collection, Dorsoduro will seduce art lovers!

Some of the best hotels in Dorsoduro are: NH Venezia Rio Novo, Palazzo Veneziano, Hotel Nani Mocenigo Palace, Hotel Moresco, and Hotel Palazzo Stern

 

The best area to stay in Venice for relaxation

Castello: Castello is a busy district that covers the area from the town center and the Rialto Bridge to the Arsenale naval base and the Giardini Gardens. It is a quiet neighborhood with green parks and squares -a beautiful district to explore. Castello is the perfect place to stay if you seek relaxation.

Some of the best hotels in Castello are: Hotel Danieli, Hotel Metropole Venezia, Hotel Ai Cavalieri di Venezia, Ruzzini Palace Hotel, and Hotel Ai Reali

 
Related: Venice best hotels and places to stay

 

How to get around Venice?


Cars and buses are not allowed in Venice, so you have to opt for other more traditional options like walking, gondolas, and water taxis. Besides, Venice has canals instead of roads!

 

Getting around Venice on foot

Venice is a walkable and flat city, so getting around on foot is the best option. What’s more, walking is an ideal way to explore the cityscape and marvel at the postcard-like views of the Venetian Lagoon.

 

Getting around Venice by vaporetto

Vaporetto (water bus) is a very popular means of transportation in Venice, ideal for taking in the picturesque scenery. ACTV runs all public transport in Venice, including vaporetti. The ferry routes that connect Venice with Murano, Lido, Torcello and other islands of the Venetian Lagoon are offered by another ferry provider. A one-way vaporetto ticket costs €7.50 ($8.13) and is valid for 75 minutes. You can purchase vaporetto tickets online or at ticket offices located at several spots around the city.

Tip: For better planning, ferry schedules, and online tickets check the vaporetto app daAaB. If you purchase tickets through the app, you can validate them by scanning your phone at the ticket validation barrier.

 

Getting around Venice by water taxi

Although pricey, water taxis are a convenient way to get around the city. Water taxi fares are not fixed, but negotiated in advance. Official rates start at €15 ($16.25) plus €2 ($2.17) per minute, but there are additional charges:

Extra €5 ($5.42) if you call the water taxi to pick you from your hotel.
There’s a €10 ($10.83) surcharge for night trips (10 pm to 6 am).
Extra €5 ($5.42) for additional luggage (above five pieces).
There’s a €10 ($10.83) surcharge for each extra passenger after the first four passengers.

 

Getting around Venice by gondola

A gondola is the most romantic way to get around the city! Keep in mind though that it is on the pricey side. A gondola ride costs €80 ($86.67) for 40 minutes during the day and €100 ($108.34) for 40 minutes during the night (7 pm to 8 am). These prices don’t include tips and singing.

For a longer gondola ride, there is an additional charge (€40 ($43.34) during the day and €50 ($54.17) during the night) for every extra 20 minutes.

You’ll find gondola stops (stazi) along the Grand Canal and close to major attractions in Venice. Alternatively, you can book a pickup calling Ente Gondola (+39 041 528 50750).

 

How much will you spend in Venice per day?

Venice is a quite expensive city, but it is possible to spend your holidays in Venice without breaking the bank. Hotels in Venice are rather expensive, especially on the main island. However, you can opt for a hotel out of the city center, on the mainland.

Alternatively, you can plan to visit Venice off-season, when hotels are way cheaper and the city is less crowded. As for entertainment, it doesn’t have to be necessarily expensive! Walking, sightseeing, and exploration are some of the best things to do in Venice for free.

The average price of a 7-day trip to Venice for a couple is $3,300 (€3,038) and $6,200 (€5,708) for a family of 4. The room prices in Venice hotels range from $100 (€92.30) to $500 (€460) per night, depending on the area and the hotel type. If you’re planning to travel with your family or with a group of friends and want to book an entire house rental, it will cost about $230 (€212) to $500 (€460) per night.

International flights to Venice are also quite expensive. An air ticket to Venice will cost about $700 (€644) and $1,200 (€1,105) per person on average for an economy seat. Flights to Venice from European countries are usually much cheaper. The cost of entertainment, transportation, and food will be about $50 (€46)-$150 (€138) per person per day.

 

What are the must-try foods in Venice?

  • Cicchetti

    Cicchetti, a traditional Venetian appetizer, is a selection of finger foods served along with a glass of wine or Spritz. It’s very similar to the Spanish tapas or Milan aperitivo. You can enjoy cicchetti with wine at one of the numerous bàcari (local bars) scattered all around Venice. Cicchetti is an ideal way to enjoy wine and food in Venice on a budget, as they cost about €1 to €3 per plate.

  • Baccalà Mantecato

    Baccalà Mantecato is a traditional Venetian dish made of stockfish, olive oil, garlic, black pepper, salt, and lemon juice. The history of this local specialty starts back in 1,431 when a Venetian ship packed with spices was caught in a storm. The sailors who survived were beached off Roest island, where they found dried stockfish. They brought the stockfish with them back in Venice and created this delicious dish.

  • Polenta e Schie

    Schie is a kind of shrimp found only in the Venetian Lagoon. Polenta is boiled cornmeal served as a hot porridge. The combination of the two used to be very popular with poor Venetians. Today, the ingredients of this dish are hard to find, so Polenta e Schie is a unique specialty. The modern recipe consists of Schie cooked and seasoned with lemon, garlic, salt, and pepper, along with a side of hot polenta.

  • Sarde in Saor

    Sarde in Saor is a popular antipasto dish usually served as an appetizer. It consists of sardines and onions with a sprinkle of balsamic vinegar. It has a strong flavor, perfect for accompanying wine.

Useful Information

For citizens of the EU: Passport/ valid ID document For US citizens: Passport valid for at least six months after your planned departure date. Visa is not required to visit Italy if you plan to stay for less than 90 days. Australia citizens: Passport valid for at least six months after your planned departure date. Visa is not required if you plan to stay for less than 90 days. New Zealand citizens: You do not have to have a visa to enter Italy and you can spend up to three months in the country.
Venice Hotels: +39 041 8620400 Tourist information Centre: +39 041 5226356 Agency for Tourism: +39 041 5298730 Rescue public emergency: 113 Police:112 Fire Brigade: 115 Ambulance:118
TGV: en.oui.sncf/en/tgv Ferrovie dello Stato: www.trenitalia.com/en.html

Health care & Safety

Health care in Venice

The health care system in Venice is generally good, but it’s better to plan ahead. And by that we mean it’s a good idea to bring your medications with you and make sure you have a Health Insurance that covers you.

In case of emergency, you should go to the pronto soccorso (casualty section) of a public hospital, where you can receive treatment. Make sure you have your ID/passport and Health Care card with you.

 

Vaccinations for mumps, pertussis, measles, rubella, polio, pneumococcal, and hepatitis B are recommended by the World Health Organization.

What clothes to pack for your trip to Venice?

 

Packing for summer in Venice

Summer in Venice is pretty hot and humid, so lightweight breathable fabrics are essential to survive the heat! Don’t forget to bring with you cotton t-shirts, summer dresses, linen pants, and a pair of comfortable sandals suitable for walking. A light raincoat might also come in handy, as sudden thunderstorms are frequent in Venice.

 

Packing for fall in Venice

Fall in Venice is generally rainy and unpredictable, so it’s better to cover all the bases when it comes to packing. Get with you a raincoat, rain boots, warm sweaters and pants, and scarves.

 

Packing for winter in Venice

Winter in Venice is pretty cold and windy. Rain and snow are also common, at such a rate that they may flood the streets in Venice! So, your suitcase must include a water-resistant warm coat, a pair of warm gloves, scarves, sweaters, and leather boots. Remember: layering is the key!

 

Packing for spring in Venice

Springtime in Venice is amazing in terms of weather! The weather is usually sunny attracting many visitors, especially at Easter. Comfort is really important when packing for your spring holidays in Venice. Bring with you cotton t-shirts, some pairs of jeans, a pair of comfortable sneakers, and a medium-weight jacket.

 

Send your friends a postcard from Venice with your personal message on it!

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The best gifts for your loved ones from Venice

  • Muranno glass

  • Traditional masks

  • Burano lace

  • Handmade pasta

  • Venetian Carnival costumes

  • Gondolier’s hats

  • Grappa

  • Baicoli biscuits

 

Conclusion


Do you have any tips or recommendations about travelling to Venice? Tell us in the comments! If you liked this article, don’t forget to share it on Social Media!
Other Travel Guides you may be interested in: Rome holidays travel guide | Milan holidays travel guide | Naples holidays travel guideFlorence holidays travel guide | London holidays travel guide | Paris holidays travel guide | Amsterdam holidays travel guide | Tokyo holidays travel guide

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