If you are planning a trip to Venice, it will almost definitely be one of your most unforgettable travelling experiences. Venice, however, is a very unique city, and there are a few things that you should know before you plan your trip:
Venice is more than 100 islands!
Venice is well known for its stunning and atmospheric canals, and this layout is created by over a hundred small islands all clustered together and connected by bridges. The city of "Venice" is the historic centre, and this centre is made up of 118 small islands. This complex of tight-knit islands is connected to the mainland with a causeway, which link the set of islands with the suburb of Mestre.
Some of the other significant islands besides the main historic centre La Giudecca, San Michele and Murano. There is also Lido di Venezia, which is a long sand bar-like island that separates the Venetian lagoon from the Adriatic Sea. All of these tiny islands are connected by the canals, and this is the main way of getting around Venice.
How to get to Venice
The three most common ways to get to Venice is by plane, train and cruise ship. It is technically possible to drive or catch a bus to Venice, but this is usually inadvisable as you would have to park outside the city and walk or catch a waterbus into the centre anyway.
The main airport for arriving in Venice is the Marco Polo Airport. Once you arrive on the mainland, it is possible to get to the city centre using the waterways. You might also fly into Treviso airport which services some of the cheaper flights that come in. If you fly in to this airport, you will be driving the 25km to the city or the suburb of Mestre using bus services (Barzi Bus Service).
If you arriving by train, you will pass through Mestre and arrive at the main train station in Venice called Santa Lucia train station. Like the airport, it is possible to catch water buses (or more expensive water taxis) to your accommodation.
How to get around Venice
Venice is an incredibly pedestrian friendly city, and you can walk from one end of the historic centre in a couple of hours, but if you want to move around with more ease or at a faster pace, you will be taking the water buses (vaporetti). You can also catch more expensive water taxis, or even cheaper traghetti to cross over the canals.
The vaporetti are the most common mode of transport besides walking, although they can become pricey if you do not have a transport card and you are taking many trips during your stay.
If you decide to walk, you should probably be prepared to get lost (which is half the fun in Venice!), but there are usually arrows that point towards all of the major landmarks. If you get really stuck, just ask people how to get back to Saint Mark's square, which is the focal point of the historic centre.
What is the best time of year to visit Venice?
The beautiful city of Venice is graced with tourists all year round so no matter when you decide to go you should be prepared for at least some crowds. The least number of tourists will be from September to November as the temperatures drop. Although you will need to pack your jackets, hotel prices are generally a lot lower during this time so braving the cold can sometimes make it worth it. Another part of the Venetian winter is that the city can flood, so remember to bring your waterproof shoes to tackle this part of everyday life in Venice.
The winter in Venice is icy cold and the summer is scorching hot, so most people say that spring in Venice is the most beautiful time of year to visit in terms of moderate temperatures. Summer is obviously the high season (like any beautiful city in Europe), so you will have to come prepared if you are wanting to visit during this time.