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With its historic charm and romantic waterways, Venice is an inviting destination. Of course, its reputation is no secret, and some 20 million people visit the floating city each year.

But for such a well known destination, we still have a couple of tips we think would be handy to hear!

Avoid Tourist Hotspots

The secret to a great vacation in Venice is to avoid the tourist hot spots, and get lost among the cobbled alleyways, backstreets and charming canals.

The magic of Venice is a feeling and a way of life, and not defined by a list of attractions you should see. So don’t bother buying a tourist guide – plan on getting lost and discovering the real neighborhoods of Venice away from the crowds.

Of the many wonderful parts of Venice we discovered which are lesser known, be sure to include Isola delle Rose (a private island run by JW Marriott Venice with views of the skyline of St. Marks Square), and Cannaregio Sestiere (the northernmost district oozes with character and authentic Venetian charm).

Venice

Fly into Marco Polo Airport

Venice has two airports, but flying into Venice’s Marco Polo Airport is how most people arrive. Well over 9 million passengers came through this airport in 2016, and it’s much closer to Venice than Venice Treviso.

Over 30 retail shops await you at the airport, with the likes of The Fashion Place, Hugo Boss, and Gallo to fulfill your last-minute shopping needs. And there are a variety of restaurants and bars are sure to satisfy every craving.

The airport connects Venice directly to many locations throughout Europe as well as  international hubs like Canada, the UK and the United States.

Water Taxi Service

Once you arrive at the airport, getting to Venice itself is only a short boat ride away, and water taxi’s are an easy and scenic way to travel from Marco Polo airport to Venice

You can land and have a greeter waiting for you with a name-board. They will take you to a van, which will comfortably shuttle you to the water taxi pier. Then, you will board a luxurious water taxi for your trip up the canal to your hotel.

Venice

Finding the Cheapest Hotel

To find hotels at the lowest prices, enter your dates below and click search. HotelsCombined will scan all the top booking sites (Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, etc) for the cheapest prices possible:

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Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; a website dedicated to opening your eyes to the wild & natural world.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

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    26 Comments

  1. From every other source I’ve heard the last thing a tourist should do is walk around Venice aimlessly and unescorted. To do so is just asking to be robbed or worse. At the top of the list of my sources is a former Italian citizen who was born and raised just outside of the city limits of Venice.

    • Hi Mark, we’ve been to Venice many times, and the best way to explore is to wander aimlessly and unescorted. There is no danger in visiting Venice – it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and it’s very safe.

      Perhaps the scene has changed since your Italian friend moved away.

  2. I’ve never flown into Venice, what a perfect way to get into this amazing region without having to take a train or bus to get there. Great tips on visiting this region.

    • We flew into VCE earlier in the year and it’s a great airport. Really easy to get from the airport to the docks to catch a water transfer too :)

  3. I have to say that these are some good tips but I actually LOVE tourist hot spots. They are hot spots for a reason and sometimes they are overcrowded but still worth a visit! Of course, got to visit hidden locales too but don’t pass up the favorites!

    • True – it’s definitely worth visiting St Marks Square to say you’ve seen and experienced it, but do need to be aware that the crowds here can be incredibly overwhelming – Venice has one of the biggest concentrations of tourism I’ve ever seen, so we were glad to spend the majority of our time in lesser visited spots :)

  4. Good thoughtful tips. I had been there but somehow didn’t feel tempted to go for the gondola rides. The water taxi idea seems doable.

    • The Gondolas are fun, but they’re quite expensive and definitely touristy. Water taxis are a great (and cheaper) way to get around the city as the locals do every day :)

  5. Great tips! We have been to Italy but not to Venice. Would love to visit next time! The water taxis sound like the perfect way to get to town from the airport–how fun!

    • Sounds like you have the perfect excuse to plan a second trip! Water taxi’s are a great way to get from the airport into town :)

  6. I’ve never been to Italy or Venice but it’s definitely on my list at some point when we head back Europe way! I too love the wander aimlessly approach to exploring…the best way!

    • Venice is literally the perfect destination to wander aimlessly and get lost in – the city is a maze of streets so even with a map, have to embrace the fact that you’ll get lost anyway :D! I hope you have the chance to visit Italy soon!

  7. Venice is high on my bucket list so reading this was great! I totally can relate to avoiding the tourist hotspots, it lets you see the true destination you are in and lets you get a more feel about the culture! Water taxi’s would be a completely new experience for me but one i’m really wanting to do! Thanks for sharing.

    • I hope you have the chance to visit Venice soon – it is very touristy which is hard to avoid, but if you’re willing to embrace the less trodden parts of the city there are definitely hidden gems to find! You’ll have a great time!

  8. Seriously, 20 million visitors go to Venice each year? That’s a whole lot of tourists! I have been to Venice only once. We definitely took your advice and got lost among the alleys and smaller canals. It was beautiful, charming, old-world, and amazing! And a photographer’s paradise. I also bought my tickets for St. Mark’s Cathedral online so we wouldn’t have to wait in line. Only 2 euros and so worth it!

    • Yep, one of the most well trodden tourist destinations in the world! They’re actually thinking about limiting tourism, so I’m glad that we traveled when we did.

      Very clever idea to buy tickets to St Marks Cathedral online – it took us a while to walk past the length of the queue!!

  9. I would also add to the list to have a very good GPS, because I get lost every time I go to Venice, even though I have been there like 5 times at least. The worst is when I get lost at night.

    • Ah, yes, a GPS is key! We threw out our map and stopped planning things on time after day 1 in Venice – we realized we were going to get lost and may as well embrace it! But a GPS is great if you’re stuck and need to get back to the hotel before dark :)

  10. Venice is awesome. I didn’t know about the JW Marriott Island. Thanks for the tip!

    • We LOVE the JW Marriott Island – can highly recommend :)

  11. I’ve been to Italy several times, but still haven’t made it to Venice! It’s pretty high up on my list. I’ll have to make sure to check out Isola delle Rose when I finally make it there. A Venetian island sounds too good to miss!

    • Ah, you have to head back for a return trip! Venice is an incredible city, one which may sadly disappear within our lifetime. Isola delle Rose is definitely a not miss :)

  12. Venice has never really been on my list of places to see, since it always just seemed like one big tourist trap to me! It sounds like I should do some more research on it though, because getting “lost” in a new place is one of my favorite ways to explore! Thanks for sharing these tips!

    • Parts of Venice are absolutely a tourist trap, though there are still a lot places within the city which offer an authentic Venetian experience, and lower concentration of crowds.

      If getting lost if your favorite way to explore, Venice is definitely the place for you! Hope you have the chance to travel soon :)

  13. Not been, but have heard (many times) that the best tip is…don’t go in the height of summer – it stinks! No idea if that’s true, but it’s a consistent refrain.

    • Yes, summer definitely gets hot!! Even more so when you find yourself stuck in the middle of crazy summer crowds!

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