Venice – Tips you want to know before your trip

I have been to Venice 3 times before. First time when I was in high school, second time was 10 years ago (don’t try to calculate my age :P), third time was the 2010 february carnival. But I have never stayed for more than 3 days in this unique city and I feel like I have never truly visited Venice. So I decided to go back beginning of september 2011.

Usually before every trip, I like to research on hotels, places to visit and restaurants etc. ( I did not do this for my previous visits to Venice because I was with my family and friends and they did the work :P). This time, after spending hours on the internet, looking for hotels, reading reviews on various websites and comparing hotel rates, ( I swear that I must have read like a hundred reviews if not more) I found out that hotels in Venice cost somewhere around €200 -€900 per night (obviously I never pay for accommodation in Venice before 😉 ) and Bed & Breakfast cost somewhere between €80 – €250 per night. ( I never imagine a B&B will cost like €200 a night! I was expecting something like €80 – €100) Moreover, sept is the high season and so hotel rates are high and most of the B&B are full. ( I try to book the hotel 2 1/2 weeks before the actual travel date)

Apparently most B&B have 3 to 9 rooms, so you really need to book way ahead during high season. Finally I found one nice B&B near Rialto bridge which had a more reasonable rate of €120 + €6 tax. The hotel was newly renovated and everything was sparkling clean. It was 5 mins walk from Rialto bridge and 10 mins from San Marco square and 2 mins walk from vaporetto stop. The room is on the small side but it did not bother me as I have had no intention of staying inside my room of more than 9 hours a day. However I did look for a hotel with air-conditioning as it was over 30°C of the days when I was there.

Rialto bridge

*( For those of you who are interested to visit Venice, the hotels’ low season is January – February few days before the carnival, few days after the carnival to early March, late November to mid December. Medium season is 21 July to end August, when the weather is really hot; and early to late November. High season goes from mid December to after New Year, Carnival time January/ February, early March to mid July, end of August to early November.)

 

To get around Venice and its lagoon, the most economical and easiest way is by vaporetto (ferry) . Each single trip cost €6.50 regardless of distance, so it will be best to buy a travel card. There are many different types of travel card, ranging from 12 hrs, 24 hrs, 36 hrs, 48hrs to 7 days, including or excluding airport transfer. This card gives you access to all vaporetto and buses. It is indeed a GOOD deal especially if you intend to visit other islands like Burano, Murano, Lido or Chioggia. You can buy this online from their official sites : http://www.veniceconnected.com/ . There is the Hello Venezia website :http://www.hellovenezia.it/ where you can find information and time tables but when you click buy tickets, it will redirect you back to veniceconnected.com , so I guess it is the same thing.

Venice card

You need to validate the ticket by the sensor every time you take a vaporetto or a bus. However, you don’t need to get it out of your wallet, simply bring it close to the sensor and you will hear a ‘beep’ sound together with a green light.

ticket validator

One thing you need to beware when taking the vaporetto is to make sure you take the ferry in the right direction as it will be at the same stop. Usually you can see the final destination written on the sign at the side of the ferry or simply ask the boatman.

If you plan to visit museums like Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace), Ca’ Pesaro (International Gallery of Modern Art)etc., it is best to buy a €18 museum pass which give you access to 11 civil museums with a 6 month validity.

museum pass

You may consider booking for the “secret passage” tour of the Doge’s Palace which takes you through some of the ‘behind the door’ places that are not opened for general public. That include prison cells of the famous Giacomo Casanova and various offices and chambers as well as the torture room. I found this tour extremely interesting and it gives me a good idea of how the judicial system works several hundred years ago. Also it is not necessary to tip the guide after the tour 😛 since it is organized by the museum itself. There are lots of stairs and narrow passages for this tour and if you are claustrophobic, then this one is not for you. The tour is about 90 mins and costs €12 per person and you can buy tickets online at :  http://www.vivaticket.it/ . This is the official site and the charges is the same as buying it onsite with the add on charges of €1 (advance sale per transaction) and the €0.50 (commission + VAT 20%).

 

There are signs in Venice indicating the vaporetto stops, famous landmarks like Rialto bridge or San Marco square and public toilets. Entrance to public toilets cost outrageously €1.50 and you need the exact coins. There is usually a coin machine right outside the toilets.

public toilet

 

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One Response to Venice – Tips you want to know before your trip

  1. Sanko says:

    Your blog is incredible.

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