The Venice Tourist Board recorded over 30 million tourists annually. If that doesn’t make it obvious, it’s a pretty popular place to visit! This ancient city is an ornate maze of picturesque canals, breathtaking, historic architecture dating back to the Renaissance, and a whole lot of fresh, classic Italian cuisine.
Venice is the perfect two-person city to visit; walkable, safe, well-connected and full of character. With a ton of attractions, it appeals to anyone from the budding historian to the foodie, to the photographer. A weekend vacation in Venice offers the perfect opportunity to unwind and explore one of Italy’s most unique cities.
Choosing the Right Airline
When planning a trip to Venice, picking the right airline is worth the effort, whether you’re after a bargain or something a little more luxurious to ease a long-haul journey. Venice being as popular as it is, you’re not starved of choice in terms of when and where you visit from – most European cities fly into the region often to Treviso, and Marco Polo airport is an international airport, both of which are within an hour of the city.
If you’re coming from further afield – anywhere more than an hour or two’s flight away – your primary concern might not simply be cost, but your comfort and convenience, too. If that’s the case, pick an airline offering benefits like online check-in facilities for convenience, round-the-clock customer service, airport lounge access, and comfortable flight experiences. If you’re flying short-haul, the volume of flights is higher, so if you look for partner booking sites and comparison sites, you can pinpoint the best deals reasonably quickly.
As we’ve mentioned, your two main airports for arrival are:
- Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE): Located on the mainland, it’s the primary international airport serving Venice.
- Treviso Airport (TSF): Also known as Venice Treviso Airport, it’s located about 25 kilometres from Venice and mainly serves lower-cost airlines, due to the need to then navigate to Venice after landing.
Both airports have convenient access to the city and operate trains, minibuses, taxis and car hires. Obviously, flight prices are defined by where you’re flying from, but as a general rule, the average flight price to Venice from major international destinations ranges from £300 to £1,000 for a round-trip ticket, with some bargains on offer if you’re flying out of season.
You could consider an online travel booking website, where you can organise your trip in just a few clicks. These websites not only allow you to book flights but also offer a range of additional services, including hotel reservations, car rentals, package deals, and even exclusive flight discounts. You can ‘bundle’ multiple tickets on a booking site, from flights to hotels to car hires, making your planning a little easier, too.
You and your friend might want to visit the surrounding areas of Venice like Murano, Burano, Torcello or the Lido di Venezia (all short car drives or boat trips away), so securing a car, or booking a boat ticket, is worth the extra cost to see more of the region beyond Venice (more on that later).
A final benefit is the exclusive discounts often available through partner sites. Perks like complimentary lounge access, free breakfasts, or extra baggage are potentially on offer when using booking sites.
Travel Tips and Weather Considerations
Venice has a typical Mediterranean climate, which basically means hot, sometimes humid, summers and cool winter months. From your perspective, just keep in mind that those colder seasons typically mean fewer visitors, and lower costs – so don’t discount a winter visit! In terms of when you should be booking, each season has its own pros and cons:
- Spring in Venice is a pleasant time to visit and usually attracts a moderate number of tourists, with temperatures ranging from 10°C to 20°C. It’s a super popular time to visit as the weather is comfortable, and the city is less crowded.
- Summer in Venice can be pretty hot, even bordering on humid, with temperatures averaging between 25° and 30°C. It’s also the peak of tourist season, which means big crowds and higher hotel prices. Some insiders reckon avoiding a humid summer in Venice altogether is a good move, given its watery setting, which exacerbates the discomfort of hot weather. Be prepared for occasional rain showers and the possibility of aqua alta (high tides), too!
- Autumn brings cooler temperatures to Venice, ranging from 10°C to 20°C. The city is less crowded, and it’s a great season to explore Venice’s cultural events in a comfortable climate and a distinctive, autumnal colouring.
- Winter in Venice brings temperatures ranging from 0°C to 10°C. It’s not ideal for lots of outdoor activities, but Venice during winter has its own unique charm. Fewer tourist crowds, low prices and festive events like Carnevale make it a special season to visit.
Top Tip: Note that Venice is prone to flooding, especially during high tides and heavy rainfall. Acqua alta can occur throughout the year but is more likely between autumn and spring. Checking the weather forecast and tides before your visit can help you plan accordingly and avoid any inconveniences caused by flooding.
Once you know when to visit, consider the following simple travel tips. Venice isn’t particularly hostile or difficult for getting around and ranks amongst the average European cities for accessibility. Basically, your biggest concern should be what shoes to bring:
- Pack comfortable walking shoes: Venice is best explored on foot, so be sure to pack sturdy yet comfortable shoes to navigate the charming cobblestone streets.
- Dress appropriately: Venice experiences a Mediterranean climate, with hot summers and cool winters. Check the weather forecast and pack accordingly, including lightweight clothing for summer visits and layered attire for cooler months.
- Stay hydrated: Carry a water bottle and keep yourself hydrated as you explore the city’s many attractions.
The Canal Cruises: Travelling through the Heart of Venice
Let’s be clear, no trip to Venice is complete without a cruise along its iconic canals. Venice is actually 118 separate islands, connected by 150 waterways and approximately 400 bridges, most of which are publically available to use.
A gondola ride or a vaporetto ride – that’s the city’s water bus – lets you witness the beauty of Venice from the water itself (single tickets start at €7.50, valid for 75 minutes from the time of activation). The canals offer an unmatched experience for visitors, offering a relaxed, unrestricted view of the city, away from crowds or traffic.
Whatever you do, however, don’t be tempted to take a dip in the waters. You might witness a few people doing it, but it’s not clean, and there are plenty of boats to make a swim more of a risk than a relaxation option.
Must-Sees and Hidden Gems
Venice boasts a deep, rich history and an array of attractions that cater to all interests. While St. Mark’s Square, the Doge’s Palace, and the Rialto Bridge are undoubtedly popular, don’t ignore the lesser-known gems. The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is a renowned contemporary art collection, the picturesque neighbourhood of Dorsoduro is one of the best walking neighbourhoods in Venice, and the stunning Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute is a great example of the Renaissance architecture that defines Venice as a cultural hub of Italian tradition. We recommend Gelatoteca SuSo on Calle della Bissa for your gelato fix, GLAM at Palazzo Venart for classic Venetian dining and VizioVirtu Cioccolatieri for those who love Venetian masks and chocolate in equal measure.
The Venetian Islands are often overlooked, due to being out of walking distance, but don’t let it put you off. A short boat trip to the nearby islands of Murano, known for its glass-making tradition, and Burano, famous for its colourful houses and lacework are great ways to see another side of Venice’s local population and see the ‘real’ side of the region.
Finally, don’t forget to explore the vibrant local markets, your best bet being the Rialto Market, to experience the city’s authentic flavours and culture in a setting that has been operational for centuries selling fresh groceries (and fresh fish in the nearby Pecheria) to citizens and visitors, alike. Just remember, it’s open every day, except Sundays!
Theatres and Cultural Delights
Venice is a city that celebrates its art, culture, and the performance of both. Take the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local arts scene by attending a classical music concert (they are at their best during the Summer and Spring months), the opera, or theatrical performances.
Venice is home to more than 100 theatres, and Venice’s relationship to theatre runs deep. Othello, for example, is famously set there – and the works of Shakespearean have a storied and special link to Italy, and Venice. The iconic Teatro La Fenice and the Musica a Palazzo offer theatrical experiences that showcase Venice’s rich cultural heritage, and attract some of the world’s best theatre companies.
Embarking on a weekend getaway to Venice with a friend promises a truly magical experience, full of some of the most unique Italian attractions you can see, taste and enjoy. You won’t be struggling to create some cherished memories that will last a lifetime in Italy’s famous floating city.