• tips for venice

10 Travel Tips for Venice.. & Going to Rehab

I have to admit my time in Venice was not well spent. You know when you’ve been traveling too long and you just feel tired? You don’t want to take any photos, talk to anyone, or sightsee? That was my Venice. Although, that didn’t stop me from shopping, nothing does. I bought beautiful Murano hand-blown glass, a Venetian porcelain mask after trying on over 30, and as usual, spent my entire food budget on gelato. Check out my 10 travel tips for Venice at the bottom of this post!

venice, italy, gondola, grand canal, travel tips, tips. europe,

Regardless of my tired eyes, I couldn’t miss the beauty right in front of me, like Doge’s Palace and the Bridge of Sighs. Venice is quite easy to walk around and before you know it you’ve seen quite a lot, by accident! Couples holding each other as the gondola floated through the canals, decadent old buildings in San Marco square, and even a few marriage proposals! This is the place to go to with someone you love. There are so many hidden corners of Venice to explore.

venice, italy, gondola, grand canal, travel tips, tips. europe,

Venice was full of tourists just like us, and sadly we never met any Italians there. Because sightseeing wasn’t on our list, we did what any normal, bored, sad to not have boyfriends, girls would do: sat by the canals, got drunk, and waited on a boat to drive us around.

venice, italy, gondola, grand canal, travel tips, tips. europe,

venice, italy, gondola, grand canal, travel tips, tips. europe,

venice, italy, gondola, grand canal, travel tips, tips. europe,

Hitchhiking Venice

The boat that came was a paramedic boat. The 3 men spoke no English. We brought our 2 bottles of wine on board and took off into the open water, past Murano Island. We drank and laughed because no one knew what was going on due to the language barrier. That was until they got a call… an emergency call. We were quickly dropped off, definitely not where we started… and were a bit too drunk to find our way. When traveling I cannot let being lost damper my mood or I’d be annoyed every day.

venice, italy, gondola, grand canal, travel tips, tips. europe,

venice, italy, gondola, grand canal, travel tips, tips. europe,

Headed to Rehab

We decided to take a nudie swim and trespassed across someone’s lawn to what looked like fresh clean water. It was out by the sea, not the canals. We went for a swim and then realized we had some peeping eyes. We couldn’t stay in the water forever so we got out, the men offered us an outdoor shower and towels. We were invited to dinner. Being on a budget, we stayed, even though the guys were oddballs, and had some veggies by the campfire.

venice, italy, gondola, grand canal, travel tips, tips. europe,

venice, italy, gondola, grand canal, travel tips, tips. europe,

Eventually I started to sober up, and I questioned why are these 20 men having dinner at a campfire together… all living in this house? When we couldn’t come up with a plausible answer we decided it was best to leave. On our way out we saw the sign: “Men’s Rehabilitation Center”. Just one look at the cotton-candy sunset made me forget what nonsense the day was, and we were off for more gelato.

venice, italy, gondola, grand canal, travel tips, tips. europe,

venice, italy, gondola, grand canal, travel tips, tips. europe,

10 Tips for Venice:

1. Only get a tourist water transit pass to save money on rides if you want to ride on the Grand Canal very often. It probably won’t be necessary as most attractions are in the main square.

2. Be prepared that everything costs money & it’s VERY crowded, check out the sights in the morning! Sit by the edge and stare out at the teal water

3. A cafe near a tourist location will charge you maybe up to 5 times the cost of the drink you order, if you sit down. They can call it either a service fee or a “listening to the band” fee.

4. St. Marks Basilica, like all the great ones in Italy, has a very long line

5. Be prepared to have a difficult time finding budget accommodation like hostels. We ended up in a hotel for about 40 a night which was well over our budget

venice, italy, gondola, grand canal, travel tips, tips. europe,

6. Taking a map probably won’t help. It seemed like everyone was a little lost, all the time. Just ask for directions, but remember most people are tourists just like you. Target shopkeepers! If you are on a tight time frame, take a tour! Sometimes hearing a local tell you the history of a building can make sightseeing 10x more fun. For all the things to do here, check out a walking tour of Venice to make it a little easier.

7. Like most major cities, you can get a museum pass. As always, only get a pass like this is you want to visit all the museums. You can even do a hop on hop on tour of Venice.

8. Because there are far more tourists in Venice than locals, you will have to look really hard to find quality local food. Most restaurants we went to were pretty crap and really over priced. If you have a kitchen at hotel, try to make a few meals at home, not only will it save money but it might taste better!

9. Take a trip to Murano to see the hand blown glass. Some boats will take you for free hoping you buy something, but be sure they don’t say you “have” to buy something

10. Don’t stay in Venice too long… Check out my tips for visiting the Vatican City in Rome.


Did you get more out of Venice than I did? let me know, so I can plan better when I go back!


About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Hippie in Heels, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Hippie in Heels has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Lily December 23, 2013 at 3:05 am - Reply

    Great post! I’m going to Croatia and Slovenia this summer and I’m considering a side trip to Venice, but am a bit worried about it just being so damn touristy…

    • Rachel December 23, 2013 at 5:15 am - Reply

      it’s one of those places thats really great to see, but then to leave once you’re satisfied

  2. Wannee December 23, 2013 at 5:28 am - Reply

    From my experience, the accommodations on the island are quite expensive. So, my friend and I decided to stay at the hostel on the main land (it is much cheaper) and took the train to the island. If I’m not wrong, the train ticket was less than 2 Euro. You might consider this option, when you go back.

    • Rachel December 23, 2013 at 6:38 am - Reply

      that’s a good idea! we had considered that, but we thought the train was much more so that’s good information, thanks

  3. Katie December 25, 2013 at 11:36 pm - Reply

    I love your stories!

    • Rachel December 26, 2013 at 6:30 am - Reply

      thanks, I hope you keep reading :)

  4. Sharon June 7, 2014 at 7:02 pm - Reply

    When I was in Venice two weeks ago I tried a nice tour through the typical bars, with a selection of italian wines and appetizers.
    I found the tour on this page http://www.venicewinetour.com , I tried the normal tour with 5 bars and the gondola ride. The price was absolutely fair and the guides were wonderful, I could suggest it to anyone that visit Venice for the first time and want to discover the real venetian lifestyle.

  5. Jessica November 16, 2015 at 10:12 pm - Reply

    That’s true, Venice is a very expensive destination in Italy. Locals don’t actually live on the island, that’s probably why you didn’t meet many, Mestre is a good starting point :) Next time you go to Venice, make sure you visit Burano as well :)

  6. Sasha March 2, 2016 at 9:21 pm - Reply

    But the gelato was good right? Can’t wait! I’m going on Sunday, driving in from Germany. We did manage to find reasonable accomodation. There’s a few campgrounds just 10 minute drive out of Venice and theres a bus stop right in front of the campground that takes you to Venice. It’s $20 a night for your private double room. Pool, kitchen, etc. $25 for the deluxe double room. It looks great and it makes the trip affordable! Here’s the link if anyone is interested! http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g194812-d237412-Reviews-Camping_Village_Jolly-Marghera_Mestre_Veneto.html

  7. Surinder (Dayton, Ohio) April 9, 2017 at 11:02 pm - Reply

    Very true. Having been to Rome in mid ’70s; decided to take the Tauck Travels 8-day Venice-Florence-Rome trip. It was the best decision as ratified by your experiences of Venice & Rome!!!!!

  8. […] 7. Venice, Italy.  I know I should go back to Venice because I was a little worn out and didn’t really enjoy my time there. I feel like all I saw were tourists and it was packed to the brim. People go for a reason tough: the little lanes of water and boats instead of cars. Expect high tourist priced food here that won’t be as good as other places. Stay 1 or 2 days. Here are some Venice travel tips. […]

  9. Traveling with Andra July 7, 2019 at 9:58 am - Reply

    Hi Rachel,

    Thanks for all the great tips on Venice! I will be heading to Venice in Sept and found these helpful. I will be in Venice for 3 days and will try to check out the islands.

    Thanks, Andra

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