Venice 10 random thoughts, advice and quirky observations

Venice 10 random thoughts, advice and quirky observations

A study of gondolas in black and white

Venice 10 random thoughts, advice and quirky observations

Venice in terms of what people read about and hope to see sometimes doesn’t always live up to expectations to this well-travelled and extremely popular tourist attraction in Italy. Most come away with impressions of it being extremely touristy and crowded almost every day of the year.

Here are 10 random thoughts, advise and quirky observations about Venice and its outer islands:

1) Cruise ships make a large number of tourists crowding the city and canals, the government has recently banned larger ships with a certain tonnage from traveling through the main canals and clogging those precious views

2) Venice is a very small and crowded tourist destination, you really have to plan out the time frames and places to visit before the hoards of tourist come daily and fill up all the attractions and landmarks

3)  On that note, the main attractions are busy tourist traps, so make an effort in finding the hidden gems, quiet streets, the small quaint trattorias and locations with old world charm. Find some cool Venetian bars serving local “Ciccheto” (local tapas or small bites) or researched cool galleries, smaller churches or off beaten path destinations.

4) You are going to get lost, enjoy it and wander aimlessly. But, if you do have a destination in mind and you do get lost, go into any shop and ask the owner/attendant to show you get you back on track (don’t worry they all speak English).

5) Go inside the churches, big ones like St Marks Basilica and the Basilica of San Giorgio Maggiore, or any of the small off the beaten path churches – they are fun to explore, especially when it’s hot and crowded outside and you want to cool off and see some amazing art and architecture.

Venice 10 random thoughts, advice and quirky observations

Saint Marks Basilica



6) Being on the water exploring Venice and its outer islands is a must do experience. Catch a gondola, water taxi or even an inexpensive water bus and enjoy the various canals, landmarks and attractions from the water.  It’s fun seeing the landmarks from a water view and taking pictures can make it even more interesting.

7) Evening time from sunset to twilight at Saint Marks Square is pure magic. Strolling the shops, finding a cool outdoor cafe with live music or even just feeding the pigeons is so much of the experience in soaking La Dolce Vita in Venice – so do it and enjoy the night life at Saint Marks Square!


Venice 10 random thoughts, advice and quirky observations

Walking the colorful streets of Burano

8) Do spend some time exploring the other islands, Murano and Burano for the glass and colorful architecture, the Lido for the beaches. Even the cemetery is pretty cool with its elaborate tombs and spooky island location.

9) Spending some time hanging out and just watching the scene unfold from the many bridges in Venice is a favorite pass time. From the famous Rialto bridge to some of the small bridges leading you to unknown destinations, it’s fun to explore these areas and just admire the magnificent views and photo opportunities from a bridge.

10) There is nothing like capping off a visit to Venice with an excellent meal at a trattoria, a cafe with a canal view or an elegant restaurant. Do splurge for a good meal and a nice bottle of wine. (Make sure you research and reserve a space at the most well critiqued places and you can’t go wrong with your dining choice!)

So there you have it with Venice, these are 10 random thoughts, advice and observations about enjoying the many attractions, landmarks and quirky places that you can discover when visit. The main part is to really just go with the flow, don’t afraid to get lost but do save some of the favorite items above to make it a special and magical experience when you visit Venice. If you have any more tips to add to the conversation, please do share them in the comment section below.

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22 Responses to Venice 10 random thoughts, advice and quirky observations

  1. Jason T June 7, 2014 at 12:57 pm #

    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 , 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.

  2. elenastravelgram March 29, 2014 at 11:03 am #

    Simply fell in love with Burano Island and it’s pretty colorful buildings and small canals. It’s less crowded in the afternoon and you can enjoy a cheaper meal here than in Venice.

    Getting lost in Venice was pretty fun too – we’ve discovered a few spectacular inner gardnes and tiny beautiful churches.

  3. Lori March 10, 2014 at 11:05 pm #

    Venice is one of the cities I want to visit! Great photos and tips! Thank you for sharing them!

  4. Pamela March 8, 2014 at 2:33 am #

    So pleased to read that Venice has banned larger ships from cruising the canals. One day we were standing outside Il Redentore looking across to St Marks when four enormous cruise boats came along the Giudecca canal one after the other. We wondered how much damage they were doing to the foundations! And they did totally block the view of everything. So tall – so huge -quite obscenely out of proportion to the beautiful jewel they were sailing past. Don’t travel on one of these cruise boats! Most of the locals seem to hate them. See Venice for yourself. It’s no wonder the central city areas are so choked with people when four are in port all at once. Even one of these monsters must carry hundreds and hundreds. And Venice is really such a small city.
    We generally go to the areas away from Piazza San Marco, the Rialto and Academia bridge area where most of the trippers from the boats congregate. There are so many lovely fascinating parts of Venice that these people don’t have time or a spirit of adventure to go to. Also if you’re going to Burano, go really early and you can have the island almost entirely to yourself (apart from locals). later in the day the little walkways fill up with all the people. Torcello also is fascinating and as it’s a it off the beaten track, not so many people go there. We once had a lovely Sunday lunch at the outdoor restaurant by the Ponte Diavolo, sitting under the trees. But we had booked.
    There are some super trattorias and restaurants, if you get away from the Piazza San Marco. There was a great place a couple of bridges on from Arsenale that we loved and kept going back to for lunch. Also, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in the Palazzo Venier de Leon is so worth visiting and has a pleasant little café for lunch. Don’t worry about getting lost!
    Also be careful about buying Venetian glass. So much of the cheap stuff for sale around the Rialto and elsewhere is made in China not on Murano. Unless of course you want to buy glass made in China. The local glassmakers are very upset by their home market being flooded with Chinese glass. Cheers, Pamela

  5. Ruth March 7, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

    As I get older, I don’t like large crowds so is sounds like I need to visit there in off season and take a boat tour.

  6. Lee Briggs March 1, 2014 at 4:47 am #

    On our first trip to Italy in 2001, we spent a little time in Venice, but not enough. Your post will give me some good information for the next time we go. Thanks.

  7. Michele {Malaysian Meanders} February 28, 2014 at 11:25 pm #

    I will have to keep this advice in mind for the next time I get to Venice. I last went more than 20 years ago with my parents as part of a whirlwind European package tour. I think my favorite memory is “escaping” from the tour and just wandering around.

  8. Paul (@luxury__travel) February 28, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

    I’ve just been trying to work out when I last visited Venice and I think it must have been something like 1990. Oh my… that’s 24 years! I’m really long overdue a visit. I don’t know if it has changed a lot in that time – judging by the pictures, things look much the same, but I worry that it may be heaving more than other with tourists. Perhaps an out-of-season (whenever that may be?) visit is in order… thanks for reminding me of this great city, Noel…

    • Noel February 28, 2014 at 2:09 pm #

      Yes out of season, a special event or concentrating on the outer islands and attractions that you haven’t seen or even remember, it would be a good thing!

  9. Bob R February 28, 2014 at 12:05 pm #

    I visit about 4-5 times a year (I live a couple hrs away), and there aren’t too many times where there aren’t lots of people. That said, it’s not that difficult to find quieter areas.

  10. Kathryn February 28, 2014 at 11:00 am #

    I really love these three photographs! All very different but absolutely charming. I have yet to visit Venice but would love to spend a long weekend there sometime and the other islands, especially Burano (which looks like it would be a joy to photograph) as you say, should be made time for. I must admit the thought of the crowds you hear about is a little off putting so would you advise an off-season visit?

  11. Serena February 28, 2014 at 10:29 am #

    I do agree with all your points.
    Exp. for what concerns the hidden gems that are not overcrowded. You can get mental, sometimes, in Rialto or San Marco for how many people there are; but if you simply start wandering more or less with no real direction through some calle, you will surely find out some amazing corner which is (almost) desertic.
    Venice is just amazing in any part.
    For ex. I love the Old Jewish Ghetto area, which is never too crowded but incredibly enchanting

  12. anna parker February 28, 2014 at 8:34 am #

    we are off to venice in a months time so these tips are incredibly well timed – thank you! Particularly #8, really taken by these islands the colours of the houses on Burano are reportedly stunning. looking forward to getting lost (with 3G hopefully able to get us back to hotel if needbe!!)

    i’m hoping that visiting in April it won’t be too crowded – we’re taking a chance with the weather but I think that is worth taking to see the city as quiet as possible! There seems to be a lot of advice about making sure to be up early, or out and about at sunset to make the most of the place

  13. Jackie De Burca February 28, 2014 at 1:28 am #

    Great tips and wonderful photos as always Noel. Aren’t the colours magical? I remember seeing a TV programme on the amount of training the gondoliers go through.

  14. Corinne February 27, 2014 at 10:48 pm #

    Venice is not one of my favorite destinations for all the reasons you mention, but it is gorgeous and there are definitely better times to go than the height tourist season, the summer. Nice photo!

  15. muzachan February 27, 2014 at 9:21 pm #


  16. SimonPetersen February 27, 2014 at 4:47 pm #

    You’re right about it being crowded! Sometimes it was extremely difficult navigating those narrow cobblestone streets with so many other tourists around. I love Venice, though. It’s so pretty.

  17. Suzanne Fluhr February 27, 2014 at 10:14 am #

    I heartily endorse #4. First of all, unless you stick to a tour, it’s impossible to avoid getting lost, so you might as well relax and enjoy the experience.


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