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Venice is a destination that’s on so many bucket lists and it’s not hard to see why. There’s a magic about this city that’s undeniable. It’s picture-perfect, unique and thoroughly enchanting!
I fell in love with Venice when I first visited. I was blown away by the architecture, the pretty streets, the canals, the atmosphere… it’s a one-of-a-kind destination.
There’s so much to love about Venice. But, there are a lot of people who think it’s overrated. Crowds, tourist tat and smelly canals – all these make the list of reasons why some people think it should be avoided.
So, is Venice worth visiting? I’ll be sharing some pros and cons, as well as my opinion, so you can decide whether Venice is worth visiting for you!
Is Venice worth it? + things to know about Venice
Where is Venice?
Venice is located in northeastern Italy. It’s part of the Veneto region and is made up of 100+ small islands in the Venetian Lagoon. The islands are separated by canals and linked by bridges – there are over 400 bridges in Venice!
Why is Venice famous?
There are so many reasons why Venice is famous and worth visiting – from its canals, bridges and gondolas to its carnivals and events.
Venice is one of the world’s most unique cities. It’s known for being a top European honeymoon destination and has a really romantic and magical atmosphere.
It feels like a fairytale city and has a timeless charm!
It’s also bursting with history – there are so many landmarks in Venice. It’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world with its ornate and ancient architecture as well as its pretty maze of streets.
However, with that comes the crowds. Venice is one of the most visited cities in Italy and is known for struggling with overtourism. It’s also meant that a lot of people think it’s overrated…
So is Venice worth visiting? Let’s get to it – here are my pros and cons!
👎 Cons of visiting Venice
There’s no overlooking the fact that Venice is a popular destination. Around 20 million people visit Venice each year so its crowds are a huge downside!
These swarms of tourists have taken away some of the authenticity and charm of the city. And as a destination that’s struggling with overtourism, these visitor numbers are a massive problem.
Cruises have played a big part in the problem – so much so that restrictions have been put in place for them.
The city has also announced that it’s trying to limit the number of tourists, so from 2024, visitors will need to register their stay in advance and day trippers will have to pay a tourist tax. So maybe things will get better in the coming years, but it’s something to bear in mind!
Venice is expensive
Venice is one of the most expensive cities in Italy so it’s not a great choice if you’re on a budget. Hotels can be expensive, especially in the high season. And if you don’t want to spend all day walking in Venice, you’ll be spending a lot of cash on water buses.
If you’re dreaming of that gondola ride… It’s pretty pricey, too. The costs are fixed for gondolas, but you’re still looking at €80 for a 30-minute tour in the daytime.
So, if you’re not sure if Venice is worth visiting because of the costs, it’s a good idea to budget in advance. Think about your priorities and look into the things you definitely want to do while you’re there to plan accordingly.
Flooding in Venice
Flooding has always been a risk in Venice, but it’s definitely been getting worse.
In recent years, Venice has seen some of its worst flooding. With a city built on water (and with climate change), it’s not really a surprise…
If you’re planning a trip, flooding happens most commonly between October and January, so there’s a chance you’ll be wading through water to get to the sights.
. . .
So is Venice worth visiting despite these things? Here are some reasons why Venice is worth it…
👍 Pros + 8 reasons to visit Venice
1 Venice is unique
There aren’t many places that encapsulate romance like Venice does – it has a magic that really has to be experienced!
With its history, culture and architecture, Venice is one-of-a-kind. And everywhere in the city is breathtaking. It’s like an outdoor museum with majestic buildings, canals, bridges and picturesque alleyways. There’s truly nowhere else like it!
2 It’s picture-perfect
Venice is one of Italy’s most romantic destinations and is easily one of the prettiest places in the world! Even with tourist numbers, you can’t overlook how photogenic this city is. In my opinion, that alone is one of the main reasons why Venice is worth visiting.
Its architecture is the big draw with gorgeous sights scattered across the city. Just walking around this city you’ll be mesmerised by how beautiful it is.
The main spots like St. Mark’s Square, the Grand Canal and Rialto Bridge are all beautiful, but you’ll see so many gems throughout the city.
The quaint old buildings, winding narrow alleyways, pretty canals and bridges will blow you away. There are also picturesque spots away from the centre too – Burano island is a lovely setting with colourful waterside houses.
3 There’s lots to explore
There’s so much to see and do in Venice. The entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which really says it all!
Even though the main centre is compact and walkable, there are tons of things to tick off the bucket list. Famous landmarks include St Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace and the Bridge of Sighs.
And, if you’re anything like me, you’ll love simply walking around the city, taking in hidden gems and getting lost in the labyrinth of streets.
You’ll also want to visit the outer islands like Murano, Burano and Torcello – the latter can be quiet making it a peaceful retreat from busy Venice.
4 You can ride an authentic gondola
I know I said it’s expensive, but a gondola ride is an iconic way to explore Venice.
As an experience that’s part of the history and tradition of Venice, it’s an amazing one to tick off your list. It’s also something you won’t be able to do anywhere else in the world!
You can take private or shared gondola rides. There are also gondola rides where you can include extras like a narrated tour. You could also opt for a singing gondola if you want to be serenaded while you take in the scenery!
5 There are great museums
Museums aren’t for everyone, but if you’re thinking about visiting Venice, you’re probably interested in history and culture. All of Venice feels like a gallery, but there are so many museums that are great to visit.
Whatever you’re interested in, there’ll be something you love – there are loads of museums so you’ll never be bored!
Doge’s Palace is the most famous, but there’s also the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Scuola Grande di San Rocco and the Glass Museum. The Teatro La Fenice opera house is also worth a visit.
6 Venice has a fascinating history
There’s so much history in Venice – you’ll see it everywhere. If you’re a history lover, Venice is sure to be one of your favourite vacations. There’s so much to learn about this city and all its ancient wonders!
St. Mark’s Basilica is one of the oldest buildings in Venice and was first built in 829 AD! The Bridge of Sighs also has a fascinating history – it’s where prisoners crossed to go to their cells.
This is a city that’s bursting with history. It seeps out of every corner and it’s majestic in every way. If you want to learn something new or find yourself lost in Venice’s past, this is an amazing city for you!
7 Venice is car-free
I absolutely love cities that are pedestrianised, so one of my favourite things about Venice is that it’s car-free! If you visit, make sure you have comfy shoes because the only way to get around Venice is by boat or by foot.
It’s a really lovely setting for a wander without the traffic that other bustling cities have.
It’s also a compact city so you can walk around Venice in a few hours, but you’ll definitely want longer to explore some of the less-known spots, too.
Venice is worth it in my opinion just for discovering new things. Getting lost is part of the joy – it’s so much fun to just wander, soak up the magic and find new places.
8 Venice has great events
Venice has loads of events happening each year – from world-famous cultural exhibitions to regattas and jazz festivals. There’s usually something going on in this lively city, but the main celebration is Venice Carnival.
Venice comes alive when it’s carnival. Held in February, the carnival is an incredible spectacle of Venetian costumes and jewels.
There are events happening across all of Venice at this time, as well as famous masquerade balls! It’s a really magical time to visit.
Tips for visiting Venice
Convinced to visit Venice yet? If you’re still considering it, here are some quick tips to help you make the most of your stay…
– Avoid dining in tourist areas –
Italy is renowned for its delicious food, but there are a lot of tourist traps in Venice. There are brilliant restaurants in Venice, you just need to hunt them out…
A lot of the restaurants on the main tourist trail are overpriced and not as authentic. So, instead, make sure you wander off the beaten path to find more local finds. You’ll also save yourself some $$$.
– Wear comfy shoes –
You will walk A LOT in Venice. The streets are old and uneven and there are lots of steps, too. Do yourself a favour if you visit and stick to sneakers or comfy shoes!
– Get Skip The Line tickets –
Wondering is Venice worth visiting if you’ll spend all your time in queues?! That’s where Skip The Line tickets come in!
Venice is undeniably popular so it’s understandable that the main attractions will be busy. If you don’t want to waste precious time waiting around in queues, Skip The Line tickets and tours are a must!
– Pack light –
If you’re staying in the centre of Venice, you’ll definitely want to pack light. Given that you can only travel by boat or by foot, there will be a lot of tugging, lifting and carrying.
I’m more of a suitcase girl than a backpacker, but I’d recommend travelling with a backpack or a super light case in Venice. The ground is uneven and there are lots of steps, so it’ll be a struggle if you’re lugging a huge suitcase.
– Consider staying in Mestre –
If you want to cut the hassle of getting to your hotel in Venice, consider staying in Mestre. This Venetian borough is over on the mainland and connected by train to Venice.
It might not have the same magic as Venice, but it does have a lot of benefits. This is an area that feels more local and authentic and it’s also much cheaper. Plus, it’s super easy to get into Venice – the train only takes 10 minutes and costs under €2.
However, staying in Mestre over Venice is worth weighing up and thinking about what’s most important for you. The big thing to consider is that you might miss the atmospheric evenings and magical late-night or early-morning wanders in Venice.
Avoiding overtourism in Venice
I’m all for visiting Venice, but we can’t pretend that overtourism isn’t a huge and very real problem in Venice. I completely get it if you’re feeling guilty about wanting to visit.
It’s not always easy to be an eco traveller but, if you do want to visit, there are things you can do – from travelling off-peak to avoiding Venice by cruise.
Venice is at its peak in summer but it makes a lovely winter city break, too, when it’s quieter and calmer. You could also travel in the shoulder seasons. Just check that weather forecast before you go to prepare for any rain!
Make sure you invest in the locals while you’re there too, whether that’s hiring local guides, buying local and original products, and avoiding Airbnbs. And just be mindful when you’re there to do your best to be an ethical tourist.
How many days in Venice is enough?
You’ll need at least 3 days to enjoy the best of Venice, but preferably longer in my opinion.
The charm and magic in Venice lie in ambling the alleyways and soaking up the atmosphere. And honestly, there’s nothing worse than feeling rushed to take it all in and not being able to fully enjoy yourself.
Give yourself the opportunity for downtime and a leisurely, relaxing city break. It’ll be so worth it!
How to get to Venice
Flying into Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE) is the easiest option for most travellers. This is the main airport and there are regular direct flights from many UK airports.
If you’re travelling from the US, you can also fly direct from New York, Philadelphia and Atlanta.
From the airport, you can hop on a bus to Piazzale Roma, which is at the entrance to the city.
Is Venice worth visiting?
If you hadn’t already guessed it, my answer is YES. I’d say Venice is absolutely worth visiting and makes a really special getaway.
Of course, there are things to keep in mind and it will also depend on your interests. I can happily spend my time wandering aimlessly and taking in the beauty of a destination.
I also love visiting cultural sites, gawking at the scenery and learning stories about different places.
Aside from that, Venice is utterly magical. If you’re planning a romantic getaway, Venice ticks all the boxes. It might be on the spendy side, but is totally worth it for a dream vacation!
There’s so much to love about Venice. There’s so much to see and do. It’s breathtaking in every way and it promises a unique break. As a city that boasts a ton, it makes a great city break or honeymoon.
I absolutely loved my visit and would go back again. So, in my opinion, Venice is definitely worth visiting. I think it’s one of those destinations you need to see for yourself.
It’s a really special place and if you’re anything like me, it’ll charm you!
That said, be mindful of overtourism… Please don’t go on a cruise to Venice, and consider travelling off-peak. I promise you’ll have a better time!
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There you have my thoughts on whether Venice is worth it! What are yours? Is Venice worth visiting? I’d love to know what you think!