There are lots of things to know when visiting Venice, Italy for the first time. If you’ve never been to Venezia, here are some facts about Venice and a few things to should know before you go.
Italy is a beautiful country, and the city of Venice is a gorgeous and super popular travel destination. I recently visited and loved everything about this floating city – the canals offer majestic views, the traditional Italian architecture has been preserved throughout the city, there are lots of wonderful sights, and the availability of pizza and gelato daily is amazing!
While everyone tells you what you should do when you’re in Venice, I thought it would be helpful to tell you some tips for visiting Venice BEFORE you go. If you’re not from Europe, you’ll find that there are lots of things that differ from the USA and other countries. Here are some facts about Venice and a few things to know when visiting Venice, Italy.
10 Things To Know When Visiting Venice, Italy For The First Time
1. You do not need to know how to speak Italian
There are lots of things to know when visiting Venice, Italy, and Italian is not one of them! I arrived in Venice knowing the words “ciao” and “grazie,” and that’s it. No problem here, because Venice is a very tourist friendly place and most of the Italians that work in airports, restaurants, and shops know some English.
2. Getting to and from the airport is easier by boat
One of the most fun facts about Venice is that it is surrounded by water. Cars can only go so far, and they definitely cannot drive through the city. We took the Alilaguna, a water taxi transportation company that takes you from the airport to some of the stops along the main city area. So much fun!
3. Lots of walking is required, with little to no accessibility
Venice is covered in cobblestone streets and walkways, and cars are not allowed. Pack your favorite walking shoes, you literally will walk everywhere. There are also lots of canals and waterways, which require lots of bridges with stairs to get over them. If you’re using a stroller or traveling in a wheel chair, you will have a very hard time getting around.
4. There are lots of people, most are tourists
During peak times at the top attractions, you’ll have to make your way through the crowds. I recommend going early in the morning and staying later at night, most people are gone during those times. Also, wandering off the beaten path means less crowds and less costly food and drinks. The summer months are hot and extremely busy, so go in the off season if possible. This is the best place to stay in Venice Italy, no matter when you go.
5. It is extremely easy to get lost
This has to be one of the top things to know when visiting Venice, Italy. The city is made up of lots of walkways and they are not very well marked, the can turn or stop abruptly, which can be confusing, and the streets and buildings look the same at times. It is very helpful to pre-plan your routes!
6. Not all shops and restaurants are always open
There are lots of boutique restaurants and shops that make their own hours. Some bakeries and cafes don’t open until 10am, and others may not open at all for the day. Other restaurants, pizza and gelato shops all open and close at different times of the day. The same goes for the shops and some attractions. If you want to do/try something specific, check ahead of time to see when they’ll be open.
7. You may have to pay a cover charge to dine in, use the public restrooms
It seems as though they like to nickel and dime people here. I noticed that many restaurants will charge cover per person in addition to your food order to simply sit at a table in their dining room. Also, the public toilets are regulated by a company called WC and they charge to use them. It was €1.50 Euro when we were in the Rialto area, so keep some change handy just in case! Plan your potty breaks ahead of time, especially if you’re traveling to Venice Italy with kids!
8. Wifi is available, but you’ll need a European adapter to charge your electronic devices
You should have no problem finding a wifi connection at your hotel or at any place you patronize – just ask the staff for the password! This is one of the important things to know when visiting Venice, Italy, you will need a European adapter to charge your phones, tablets, and cameras, their wall outlets do not fit a standard US plugs. This is a great all purpose USB adaptor.
9. Do not feel obligated to buy and souvenirs from pushy street vendors
Venice is a touristy city, and where there are tourists, there are street vendors! Some of them call out to you and seem a little bit pushy, do not feel alarmed or obligated to buy. Simply say “no thank you” and keep moving. This includes some restaurants, gondoliers, and souvenir shops.
10. Gondola rides can be very expensive
Gondola rides are so awesome, but they can be pricey! To avoid this, you can take the gondola taxi across the Grand Canal for just €2 Euro, in comparison to €100 for a private ride. If you do choose to take a private gondola ride, agree on the price ahead of time and be firm with your expectations.