Venice has become part of the Italian vacation trifecta: more and more people are choosing to go to Rome, Florence & Venice. And with an airport nearby (20 minutes by taxi into Venice after which you can walk to your hotel or get a water bus or taxi) it can sound like a good plan to fly into Rome and out of Venice or vice versa. But this city might not be the best destination for all travelers. Every year there are complaints of the city being swarmed with tourists that damage the city and cruise ships that upset local ecosystems … it’s hot, crowded, and can be very hard to find the authentic Venice hidden beneath the souvenirs, overpriced gondolas, and tourist trap restaurants.
Venice is a dream destination for many and it might be yours too. If you have the opportunity and ability to visit this unique city and make an effort to get off the tourist tracks and spend longer than a few days there, it will certainly remain an unforgettable experience.
So is Venice the right destination for you? Here are some of the Pros and Cons of traveling to Venice that you might want to take into consideration before planning your trip:
Pro: A Remarkable History
Founded as a labyrinth where only locals could find their way and invaders were inevitably lost, Venice rose to become a mighty Republic where the eastern world met the west in commerce, art, architecture and ideas. There’s nowhere in the world like Venice.
Con: The crowds
There will be a lot of people. Really. A lot. And with limited space, narrow alleyways, and small bridges all those tourists haggling over post cards and glittery masks and trying to take the perfect selfie on the Rialto can be overwhelming. The authentic Venice can be found in local shops and artisan workshops but it can be hard to find, especially if you only visit for a day or two.
Pro: The Art
Saint Marks. Titian. Tintoretto. Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man (viewable from April 19th, 2019 in the Accademia). The Peggy Guggenheim collection of modern art… the list goes on.
Con: The stairs
If you have mobility issues, Venice will definitely be a challenge. You’ll be stepping in and out of boats bobbing up and down on the water and if you are walking around, you’ll repeatedly encounter bridges with a few steps going up and a few steps going down. As a general rule, wheels pose a serious challenge: walkers, wheelchairs and baby strollers can’t make it very far in Venice without being hoisted up and down stairs. The same goes for rolling suitcases, something to keep in mind when booking your hotel or b&b.
Pro & Con: Moving Around: Take Boats and Get Lost
In Venice, many roads are made of water, which gives you the unique experience of traveling from one destination to another by boat. Around every corner is another breathtaking vista… but it takes a really long time to get around. You can’t jump in a taxi and zip off to your next destination, which is another thing to consider if you’re planning a day trip to Venice. Say you walk instead of taking boats: Even if you have an incredible sense of direction AND a functional GPS on your phone, you’re most likely going to get lost in Venice which is part of its charm… but not when you’re trying to get to your train on time.
Con: The cost
Venice is expensive. In Rome if you want to take the metro the price is a euro fifty. In Venice if you want to take a water bus, the price is over €5. A water taxi from Marco Polo Airport to your hotel in the center is around €100 or from the station to your hotel can range from €40 to €70. A good idea is to get the water bus day pass for €20. Gondola ride: €80 for 40 minutes. Guide rates are higher too. If you’re traveling on a budget, don’t plan to squeeze Venice in at the last minute.
Pro: A unique & beautiful place
There’s simply no other place like Venice on the earth. Click here to see what tours we offer in Venice to help you find your way off the beaten track: from our food tours with a food historian to our Art & Artisan Tour.