FMTC Affiliate Disclosure: Blond Wayfarer contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I earn a commission at no extra cost to you. This disclosure pertains to all affiliate links.
Venice is one of the most visited and beloved cities in all of Italy. And this totally makes sense! What’s not to love? Venice is beautiful. The canals, gondolas, and elegantly decaying buildings. The atmosphere is magical.
Not to mention, Venice is one of the most unique cities in the world, and is home to a vibrant and fascinating history. Casanova, anyone?
Yet, in Venice, tourists actually outnumber permanent residents, which is made even more apparent by the number of hotels, restaurants, and shops on almost every canal street.
So it’s completely understand why visitors might feel a little nervous about coming to Venice.
I mean, think about it.
How many tourists are too many? Just how bad are the crowds? Is it possible to go anywhere without reservations booked? And is it even possible to “go off the beaten path” in Venice? And what about the cost? How much do tourists drive up prices?
Honestly. Despite loving Venice, I completely understand your concerns.
Is Venice Worth Visiting? Mostly Yes.
I adore Venice. Venice is perfect for couples and friends. Venice is even great for solo travel.
While in Venice, I felt very safe, and the tourist infrastructure meant that seeing all the major sites was easy and accessible. Venice is low stress compared to other destinations in Italy, because you have a ton of resources at your fingertips.
However, at the same time, considering whether or not Venice is worth visiting may require a bit more thought for you.
In order to help, I’ve split this guide into two sections about the pros and cons of Venice. I want to emphasize that there are no right or wrong answers for your trip to Italy.
If you need additional help, I also wrote all about the most important things to know before visiting Venice.
The Pros of Visiting Venice
Obviously, there are a lot of pros to adding Venice to your itinerary. I’m sure I don’t even need to write them all here, haha, but here we are.
Cicchetti Makes Dining Fun
Cicchetti is awesome. If you like the tapas culture in Spain, then “Cicchetti Culture” in Venice will make you and your stomach equally happy.
So what exactly is this magical cicchetti? In short, Cicchetti are small snacks typical in Venice. They are offered in wine bars and if you eat multiple plates, you can easily create an entire meal combining both cicchetti and local wine. The best part is that cicchetti is quite affordable in this otherwise expensive city.
And if you don’t want the hassle of planning your own food adventures through Venice? Never fear! In Venice, you can easily join a small-group food tasting tour that will take you to some of the best local spots in the city.
What I love about food tours is that you learn about the history behind Venetian cuisine, while making friends at the same time. Win/win if you ask me!
Easy Day Trips
Venice is a fantastic base for day trips in Northern Italy. I definitely suggest venturing out of Venice into some of the nearby cities if you’re staying in Venice for three or more days.
For example, I absolutely loved visiting Padua in a day. This small city is home to one of the oldest universities in all of Europe, as well as some historically significant and beautiful churches, such as The Basilica of Saint Anthony and Scrovegni Chapel.
In Venice, you can also spend a day exploring the nearby islands of Murano and Burano. Water taxis run on a regular schedule. Keep in mind that you will likely need a full day if you want to see both islands.
The day trip possibilities are endless! You won’t feel bored at all.
Lots of Museums and Attractions
Museums are everywhere in Venice. Seriously, if you love history, art, and culture, then you’ve come to the right place! Again, I need to reiterate that you’ll never feel bored in this part of Italy.
I’m a perfect example. I’ve visited Venice on two separate occasions, and I still have a lot of museums that I want to see in the future (fingers crossed!).
Doge’s Palace is one of the most popular museums in all of Venice and perfect for history lovers. This incredible and ornate Gothic palace overlooks St. Mark’s Square and was the city of Venice’s government. The prison is especially fascinating. For Doge’s Palace, I personally suggest buying your tickets ahead of time, because lines are overwhelming and time slots do sell out.
If you like art, I had a wonderful time at both Ca’ Pesaro International Gallery of Modern Art and The Peggy Guggenheim Collection. I’m a huge fan of wandering art museums at my own leisure. I especially found Peggy Guggenheim’s collection fascinating. You felt as if you were actually visiting her in her personal home.
Last but not least, opera lovers need to go to Venice’s iconic Teatro La Fenice. This is one of the most famous opera houses in the entire world. Even if you can’t attend a show, the Teatro La Fenice is wonderful to explore during the day, especially equipped with an audioguide to learn all about the history.
Keep in mind that this is not even close to an exclusive list. Like I said, Venice has so many museums, and if you want to see all of them, you will be occupied for days on end.
Do you like history? Then Venice is for you. No doubt, Venice’s history is filled with stories that will capture your attention.
In addition to Doge’s Palace, which I referenced above, you will discover history on practically every corner of the island. For example, the jaw-dropping and gorgeous Basilica di San Marco was originally built in 828 AD in order to house the bones of St. Mark. Yes, you read that correctly. 828 AD.
You can also see Marco Polo’s home and learn all about those intricate Venetican masks, which were worn for Carnevale. And don’t forget to take an educational walk through Cannaregio to Venice’s Jewish Quarter.
History buffs will seriously never want to leave!
Venice is Truly Unique and Iconic
Okay, let’s be honest with ourselves, there’s a reason why Venice is so beloved and popular with people from all over the globe. I mean, we’ve all seen pictures of those colorful canals, haven’t we?
People want to come to Venice because it’s a special place. Nothing feels quite as romantic as riding on a gondola.
Venice’s magic will seep under your skin. It’s not a visit that you’ll soon forget. I especially recommend a visit here if it’s your very first trip to Italy. The memories will last forever.
You Can Walk Absolutely Everywhere
Last but not least Venice is entirely car-free – which is amazing! I loved not having to check both ways before crossing the street, haha! Venice’s walkability means it’s the perfect city to simply get lost. It’s one of the few places in the world where I don’t think twice about wandering down a narrow alleyway.
Explore. Wander. Discover a new shop or bar. I even suggest turning off Google Maps and just roaming until you find a square or street that “speaks” to you.
Lastly keep in mind that if you do feel hopelessly lost that Venice is an island, so you can’t wander too far off the grid. Local businesses have maps as well.
The Cons of Visiting Venice
Okay, are you ready for the downsides? Yes, they do exist.
I promise the cons aren’t meant to discourage you from visiting Venice. However, I thought it would be fair to offer a balanced opinion on the city.
Endless Walking and Moving Around
Yes, yes, I know I already said that walking carless Venice was a pro, but at the same time, not being able to hail a taxi is challenging on occasion, especially late at night. So, as much as I walking around Venice, I also felt very exhausted at times.
Most importantly, you’ll want to be super careful about how much you pack for your trip to Venice. You might have to pay a surcharge on the water taxis for your luggage if you have too many bags. Not to mention, carrying all that luggage up and down bridges and through narrow alleys isn’t fun, especially in the summer sun.
Flooding in Autumn and Winter
Weather is tricky in Venice. I’m sure you’ve heard about rising sea levels and flooding, and that climate change has only made the problem worse.
However, Venice isn’t filled with water 24/7. In particular, these floods happen way more frequently between October and January, so if you want to “take advantage of shoulder season,” you’ll have to stay mindful of possible floods in the main squares.
Sure, you can walk on raised platforms to avoid the worst of the flooding, but it’s still inconvenient. Personally, I would avoid traveling in late fall and early winter to Venice.
Humidity in the Summer Months
On the flip side, summer ushers in heavy humidity. Folks, I’m used to humidity. I live in the New Jersey, which has very humid and hot summers. The dew point is my worst enemy, haha.
I visited Venice in late June. Oh man. I lost track of how many showers I needed because I was sweating so much. Not to mention, if you’re visiting from the United States or Canada, remember that air conditioning isn’t nearly as widespread as North America. Most shops, restaurants, and museums either didn’t have air conditioning or set the temperature to higher than what I was used to.
Now I promise I’m not complaining, and know that energy conservation is important, but still feel like this is necessary information.
My advice for visitors who can only go to Venice in summer is to book accommodation with air conditioning in the rooms. I think my visit was only bearable, because I knew that I would sleep well and had air conditioning waiting for me. I don’t know if I would’ve felt the same way otherwise.
Tourist Crowds and Cruise Ships
Crowds are a huge concern for visitors in Venice. Early morning and late nights are quieter, but the middle of the afternoon, especially in hot weather, feels overwhelming with the day trippers and ships in town. I would actually recommend staying away from the most popular attractions in the middle of the day if you can pull it off.
In order to escape the crowds, I personally suggest wandering into the small canals and heading toward the outskirts of the city. Despite traveling in high season, I could always find a quiet part of the city that was devoid of tourists.
Not to mention, you can even book a tour specifically geared toward a quieter Venice experience, such as The Real Hidden Venice Walking Tour.
Venice is not Cheap
Last but not least, Venice isn’t a cheap destination especially compared to other smaller Italian cities. You need to go to Venice under the assumption that you will spend more money and need to feel okay about it.
There’s a reason that a lot of organized tours stay outside of Venice in Mestre. And that reason is … the price. If you’re on a super tight budget, then perhaps pass on Venice until a future trip.
However, if you can afford it, try not to let Venice’s higher prices dissuade you from staying in Venice itself. Like I said above, the city is quieter and far more magical in the mornings and evenings after most tourists have either left for Mestre or re-boarded their cruise ships.
Venice Travel Tips
Whew! I sincerely hope listing out the pros and cons will help you decide whether to add Venice to your itinerary.
To wrap everything up, I wanted to include a couple of last minute tips for traveling to Venice. Best of luck with whatever you decide to choose! And, if you do choose to go to Venice, I promise that you will have an amazing time.
What Should I Bring to Venice?
You’ll want to limit how much you pack on a trip to Venice. You’re literally carrying all your stuff from the train station to your accommodation, so remember to be mindful.
Of course, the time of year is important too. I wrote a lot more about packing for Venice in June if you’re planning a summer visit here.
- Excellent Walking Shoes: In Venice, you will walk everywhere and climb plenty of stairs. I would invest in a high-quality pair of walking shoes for your stay.
- Italian Phrasebook: Most people in Venice speak English. However, I always think learning a few phrases of the local language is polite. I would bring or download an Italian phrasebook to learn the basics.
- Lonely Planet Venice Guide: As you can tell, Venice has so much to see, do, and eat that it’s somewhat overwhelming for a visitor. Plan ahead with a good guidebook. Lonely Planet has a Venice-specific guidebook that will help you plan an unforgettable trip.
- Sunscreen, Sunscreen, Sunscreen: Truthfully, the Italian sun is no joke. I would pack sunscreen for summer, but also for early autumn and late spring. You don’t want to risk a nasty burn.
- Travel Insurance: Always purchase travel insurance ahead of any international trip. You don’t want to get stuck with a large emergency bill, because you did not have insurance. Seriously, don’t skimp on this.
- Travel Shawl or Scarf: Venice’s beautiful cathedrals, especially St. Mark’s, have rules in place about how much skin you’re allowed to show. Bring a travel shawl with you to cover your shoulders. This is very important in the summer months.
- Wide-Brimmed Hat: Do whatever possible to protect yourself from the sun. A wide-brimmed hat is not only an adorable fashion choice, but it will cool you off in the hotter months.
Where Should I Stay in Venice?
Venice is pricier than nearby Mestre, but you don’t need to break the bank on accommodation! I found that all three of these locations were both ideal for travelers and reasonably priced. Win/win!!
- 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 TripAdvisor.com and Booking.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 TripAdvisor.com and Booking.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 TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
What are your thoughts? Do you think Venice is worth visiting? Is Venice on your wishlist for Italy? As always, feel free to share your thoughts with me. Best of luck on your Italy adventures!