There’s no shame in visiting the most popular sights in Venice but if you’re hoping to ditch the crowds of tourists in this beautiful Italian city, then these alternative travel tips will definitely come in handy. Let’s take a different kind of Venice tour, shall we?
1. Browse Rialto’s markets
When tourists refer to Rialto they mean the bridge but when Venetians refer to Rialto they mean the markets. These trading street markets have been around since 809AD. Join the local fishermen at a dive bar behind the Pescaria fish market in the early hours for a glass of Prosecco and some fishy tapas.
2. Scuola Grande di San Rocco
You’ll find the Sistine Chapel in Rome and the San Rocco in Venice. There’s a reason Tintoretto spend 23 years working on this place! Spend time admiring the ground floor paintings but don’t miss the chance to climb the staircase to the great hall which features the Crucifixion, arguably Tintoretto’s greatest work.
3. The Ghetto
Venice’s Jewish neighbourhood from the 16th to 18th centuries is an incredibly historic place to explore. Enter via the kosher shop on the Fondamente di Cannaregio. Wander the streets, it’ll be a welcome calm from the nearby busy Strada Nova.
4. Go to Mass at St. Mark’s
If you’re really set on seeing St. Mark’s then the best way to do it is to attend Mass on Sunday morning. That’s what the basilica was built for after all and you’ll be able to experience this place in all its glory… for free.
5. Fior di latte
Yes, this tip is just about ice cream. You’re bound to eat your weight in it when visiting Italy but skip the vanilla or chocolate flavours and order fior di latte for a change. You and your tastebuds can thank us later.
6. Take the traghetto
While tourists spend a fortune on a gondola ride, the locals cross the Grand Canal on a traghetto which costs 50 cents. It’s just like a gondola but you need to stand during the crossing.
7. Stay overnight
Less than one third of Venice tourists actually sleep in Venice but a lot of Venice’s charm happens when the golden light of the sun hits the water and canal houses during that “golden hour” at the end of the day. Soak up the romance of the streets and canals when night falls in the Ghetto, Venice’s Jewish community from the 16th to 18th centuries.
How and when to go to Venice
Direct flights to Venice are as cheap as can be with low cost carriers like easyJet and Monarch Airlines from London and Southend on Sea. There are also charter flights to Venice during the summer months with departures all over the UK. The best time to go to Venice is just before Easter, when the weather is just getting good. Flight and hotel prices sky rocket during carnival, Easter, summer and at Christmastime.
Want to experience more cities off the beaten path? Check out our secret and unusual guides to Rome, London, Berlin and other destinations around the world.