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Venice is (spoiler alert) one of the most unique, popular, and romantic cities in all of Italy, if not the entire world. For a lot of people, Venice is a bucket list destination or once in a lifetime experience specifically saved for a honeymoon, milestone birthday, or other special anniversary.
But what about solo travelers? Is Venice a good city for anyone planning to travel alone to Italy?
Personally, I think Venice is a terrific destination for solo travelers (or anyone…). While some tourist destinations are considered “overrated,” depending on your expectations, I personally feel Venice lives up to the hype. Truly no other city captures the “Venetian aesthetic” like Venice.
Think about all the times you’ve heard a city described as “The Venice of the East” or “The Venice of North America.” Nothing compares to the original.
I mean, have you seen some of these picturesque and elegant canals? Breathtaking. Photos don’t do a justice.
Solo Travel in Venice: My Experience
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Venice twice. However, my first visit was on a fast-paced guided tour where I was only in Venice for one (brutal) day, and we were taken to the nearby islands of Murano and Burano for the second day.
So, honestly, I didn’t remember much about Venice other than cruise ship crowds and rushing from packed site to site. I even almost fell asleep in Doges Palace, haha.
My independent trip to Venice, though, was the complete opposite.
On my second vacation Venice, I spent three and a half days leisurely exploring the city, and it was just … so much better. I’m a slow traveler at heart, so I especially enjoy a quiet pace that includes visiting museums, snapping pictures, people-watching in public squares, eating relaxed meals. Time exists on my own terms, which is one of the greatest perks for solo travelers.
Venice is a city mean to be slowly savored.
Furthermore, as an independent traveler, it was much easier for me to wander away St. Mark’s Square to the edges of Venice and discover more peaceful corners of this lovely city. In some canals, I saw no other tourists and I visited at the end of June, which is considered “high” season.
Not to mention, Venice felt like the perfect laid back place to relax after a long international flight. I could simply shut off my brain and wander the streets until jet lag got the better of me.
All in all, Venice was one of my greatest solo travel memories. Loved every second.
Should You Travel Alone in Venice?
Like I said, even in spite of its crowds and popularity, I honestly think Venice is a wonderful city for solo travelers.
I do have one caveat, though, regardless of whether or not this is your first solo trip. Venice is a very romantic city and popular with couples celebrating milestones, such as honeymoons or important anniversaries.
So, if you’re traveling to recover from a breakup or worry about feeling lonely as a solo traveler, then I don’t know if I would necessarily recommend Venice over other destinations in Italy. The romantic atmosphere that permeates Venice makes it rather easy to slide into self-pity depending on your situation.
However, if you’re the sort of solo traveler where lovey-dovey pairs don’t stir up sad feelings, then I absolutely think you should go to Venice and soon!
In a lot of ways, I think Venice is the perfect city for new travelers wishing to go overseas for the first time. Solo travel in Italy is very rewarding, but some regions are more challenging than others. Venice is Italy on “easy mode,” in my opinion.
Why? Venice is very, very, very used to tourists. You won’t stand out in a crowd as a solo traveler. I felt very comfortable as a woman alone.
Not to mention, new solo travelers appreciate seeing the “famous sites” in Europe. My very first views of St. Mark’s Square took my breath away as a wide-eyed twenty something.
Last but not least, solo travel in Venice is made very easy due to the city’s extensive public transportation on the water. More on that later!
On the other hand, experienced travelers will also love Venice. However, I think seasoned solo travelers will opt for a much different experience than newbies.
Ultimately, Venice is very much a “tourist” city. The historic core of Venice, as well as the islands of Murano and Burano, only has 55,000 full time residents. At the same time, millions of tourists flood (no pun intended) Venice every single year. The tourist situation has gotten so intense that Venice is even administering a tourist fee for day trippers into the city.
As a result, savvy solo travelers might feel frustrated at the crowds in Saint Mark’s Square and sales pitches at the glass-blowing factories of Murano.
Instead I recommend exploring the outskirts of Venice. For instance, I absolutely loved exploring the outskirts of lively Cannaregio, as well as studying art inside Ca’ Pesaro Venice – International Gallery of Modern Art.
4 Top Reasons to Solo Travel in Venice
Oh man. Where to even begin? I could write endless pages about why Venice is wonderful for a solo traveler. Alas, we’re all busy with our lives, and the internet requires short attention spans, haha.
For this post, I came up with four main reasons why you ought to select Venice as a stop for your solo trip to Italy.
Cicchetti is Perfect for Solo Dining
Honestly, I still feel shy eating alone in public and ordering a table for one is overwhelming for me, especially surrounded by friends and couples. Granted, I know no one cares, but it’s still hard.
If you’re like me, Venice is a great choice for enjoying alllll the delicious food. Why? Well, Venice is known for cicchetti, which means you don’t have to worry about any of the “table for one” awkwardness. Cicchetti are basically small snacks, similar to tapas, served at adorable wine bars all throughout Venice.
Since driving doesn’t exist in Venice, venturing from bar to bar eating cicchetti and drinking local wines is a delightful way to enjoy the local cuisine as a solo traveler.
Solo travel in Venice means eating well. Don’t come on a diet.
English is Widely Spoken
I promise I’m not the sort of traveler who insists that you should only speak English and ignore local culture. I always roll my eyes whenever someone speaks English louder and louder in the hopes of breaking a language barrier. Doesn’t work.
Yet it’s comforting to know that most people who you’ll encounter in the tourism sector do speak enough English to effectively give directions and address other simple concerns.
On my trip, even older people who didn’t speak English were still very kind about helping me. A little politeness goes a long way in Venice. Mind your manners and you’ll have nothing to worry about as an English speaker.
Getting Lost is Part of the Experience
Unlike a lot of other cities, Venice is designed for getting lost, and as a solo traveler, you don’t need to worry about wandering far from the beaten path. Shut off your maps and go.
Getting lost is the best way to discover a small wine bar or artisan shop in Venice. You’ll discover better prices and higher quality the further you wander away from the main tourist drags.
And if you ever feel anxious, just remind yourself that Venice is located on an island, and it’s impossible for you to get off it. Eventually you’ll recognize a familiar landmark and regain your sense of direction.
Venice is Best at Your Own Pace
Last but not least, I feel that Venice is best enjoyed at your own pace and not another person’s schedule.
Whenever I hear someone had a bad time in Venice, I always assume it’s because they didn’t have enough time to venture outside the most popular streets and squares, resulting in a sweaty and crowded and unpleasant experience.
As a solo traveler, you will discover canals and squares that “speak to you.” It’s nice to spend as long as you like enjoying a special view without another person hurrying you along. Venice’s many museums are also delightful to see on your own schedule.
Practical Advice for a Solo Trip to Venice
Finally I wanted to wrap up this guide about solo travel in Venice with some practical tips.
A lot of these suggestions could easily be applied to other cities in Italy, but Venice is such a unique destination that I felt compelled to write in more detail about you can do as a solo traveler to make your vacation truly memorable.
Safety Tips for Venice
As a solo traveler, I felt super safe exploring Venice throughout the day and even at night. Like I said, Venice is one of the few cities where it’s fine to wander down a random alley and willingly let yourself get lost.
However, you don’t want to completely let your guard down in Venice either. Common sense still applies in this beautiful city.
For example, be mindful of how much you’re drinking in Venice. I encourage you to enjoy the local wines, of course, but at the same time, you don’t want to get so intoxicated that you lose all sense of direction and potentially end up in a dangerous situation.
Additionally, you want to be careful about getting too close to the canals. Now you will love the canals. They are gorgeous and make Venice a special city. However, it is shockingly slippery on the cobblestones near the water, and very easy to fall in. It’s rumored that Katherine Hepburn sustained a lifelong eye infection after being repeatedly thrown in San Barnaba Canal for a movie scene in “Summertime.” Better safe than sorry.
At the end of the day, solo travel in Venice is very safe, and as long as you’re smart, you won’t have any serious problems.
How to Get Around Venice
Venice is entirely car-free. You won’t need to worry about renting a car here and finding a place to safely park. Venice also has zero buses or trams. Public transportation is strictly limited to a single train station – Stazione di Venezia Santa Lucia – and Vaporetto boats.
If you’re in Venice a few days, I personally suggest buying a Venice City Pass to cover all of your public transportation needs. Keep in mind that some boat stops have ticket booths available, but others do not.
So the Venice City Pass is well worth it. After all, you’re better off not having to guess where you can and cannot buy tickets, especially if you’re in a hurry to go to the airport (not speaking from experience here … of course …).
Pack your patience for Vaporetto boats. Locals have their own priority lane. As they should. Could you imagine fighting tourist crowds going to work every day? You might board a crowded boat or need to wait for the next boat. Take a deep breath, and go with the flow in Venice.
What to Pack as a Solo Traveler in Venice
In Venice, you will be responsible for carrying all your own luggage on water taxis and buses, or you will need to walk from the train station over bridges and cobblestones until you finally reach your accommodation.
You don’t want to bring too much stuff with you to Venice. Seriously, especially in the summer when it is hot and humid, huge bags will burden and exhaust you. Not to mention, the water buses might charge you additional money if your bags are too heavy. I promise you don’t need fifty pairs of shoes, or color coordinated hand bags for Venice.
And yes, you can pay someone to deliver your luggage to your hotel, but is that really how you want to spend your money in Venice?
Solo Travel Essentials for Venice
- Comfortable Shoes: Don’t rely on “cute” shoes for walking around Venice. The cobblestones are rough on the feet. Furthermore, areas near the canals are super slippery, and you don’t want to end up in the water. Instead wear good walking shoes with solid support to keep your feet happy.
- Italian Phrasebook: Plenty of English is spoken in Venice, but it’s still beneficial for solo travelers to learn some Italian in preparation for their trip. Solo travel in Venice is even better talking to locals.
- Lightweight Dresses: Venice is humid, especially in summer. Lightweight dresses are ideal for dealing with hot temperatures. Comfort is key.
- Mirrorless Camera: If you want to practice your photography, Venice is the perfect city for it. My favorite camera is Sony’s Alpha Mirrorless Camera for its compact size, simple tools, and high quality photos. The price point is reasonable too for beginning photographers.
- Pacsafe Crossbody Bag: If you’re concerned about pickpockets, I suggest buying a bag with additional protection, such as a Pacsafe Crossbody Bag. Honestly, I felt Venice was very safe, but I would never judge anyone spending a little extra for peace of mind.
- Shawl for Churches: Some churches are very strict about visitors showing bare shoulders and legs. In particular, St. Mark’s Basilica. Whether or not you agree the dress code doesn’t matter. You won’t be allowed inside if you’re not covered up. My suggestion is to bring a shawl to make sure you’re able to go into the basilica.
- Travel Insurance: Don’t ever, ever leave home without travel insurance, especially as a solo traveler. I’ve used World Nomads for past trips, and haven’t had any issues with them.
- Venice City Guide: Venice’s historical center is only a tiny slice of the Veneto. Venice has tons of islands, and the nearby mainland is home to many amazing cities. Bring a Lonely Planet Guidebook about this region to see everything on your agenda.
Where to Stay in Venice
First and foremost, definitely stay in the city of Venice if your budget allows it. You won’t have the same experience day tripping in from Mestre or other nearby cities. Solo travel in Venice means being in Venice.
Venice is popular with day trippers. The middle of the afternoon draws the densest and busiest crowds, especially if cruise ships are making a scheduled stop in Venice. Some streets are uncomfortably packed in the summer months.
By staying in Venice, you’re able to explore this magical city in the early morning hours and at night. With most tourists gone, you’ll truly see and feel Venice’s magical atmosphere, whether on a boat or a secret canal, without the additional pressure of big crowds swelling around you.
Trust me. Staying in Venice is so, so, so worth the extra money.
Venice is rather expensive in comparison to other cities in the Veneto. And solo travel in Venice means you will pay more for a room. These three establishments had pretty reasonable prices, though, and very high rated reviews!
- B&B Patatina: This lovely and new bed and breakfast fully captures Venice’s romantic atmosphere, and is in a great location — only a few steps from Rialto Bridge. See prices on Booking.com and TripAdvisor.com.
- Ca’ Riza: This small bed and breakfast is an absolute gem in Venice. It’s located in a quiet and laid back neighborhood, and offered some of the best breakfast options on my visit to Venice. See prices on Booking.com and TripAdvisor.com.
- Hostel Combo Venezia: If you’re looking for a hostel, Combo is a fantastic option since it’s located right in the city of Venice rather than the outskirts or mainland. You can even pay for a beautiful canal view! See prices on Booking.com and TripAdvisor.com.
I hope this guide to solo travel in Venice helped you! If you want to visit Venice (or any other destination in Europe), then make sure to check out my shop for travel planning services. Happy adventures!