Venice is one of the most well known and preferred European capitals. It has a special charm.
Between canals and colourful houses, spectacular architecture and typical italian food, the city of Venice is one of the most important destinations in the world.
Its canals make it unique and part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Do you want to visit Venice and avoid the masses of tourists? Here’s how to do it.
Table of Contents
Where to stay in Venice
Venice consists of 118 islands connected by canals and more than 400 bridges, known as the old town.
They also spread to the surrounding land, touching the islands. If you have a limited budget and want to save money on accommodation in Venice, look for a hotel outside the old town/islands.
We stayed next to the Mestre train station, so we could catch the first trains to the city in the morning.
The Redeemer festival
During our visit they celebrated the festival of the Redeemer (Festa del redentore) and the Venetians consider it as important as the carnival.
The festival is held every year on the third weekend in July and commemorates the end of a plague in 1976. We decided to go to the old town to see the fireworks, which lasted 45 minutes. Locals and tourists strolled and stared at the sky from bridges and squares with good visibility.
How to avoid the masses of tourists in Venice, complete guide
Start the day early in the morning. Our mission was to avoid the masses of tourists in Venice and see the whole city. We basically wanted to see what everyone wants to see and do it without a lot of people.
The reason for wanting to start the day early, around 6am, is easy. When you arrive in Venice, you arrive at St. Lucia train station. From there, all tourists take a leisurely stroll taking photos of the canals and bridges and heading south.
That’s where Piazza San Marco is. That is why tourists arrive at the square at daybreak.
Walking fast, on arrival we headed non-stop to Piazza San Marco. The square was almost deserted and we could enjoy the views without much people or heat.
If you’ve been reading me for a while, you’ll know that I love seeing cities from high points (Rome is one of my favourites). Mountains, castles or bell towers serve perfectly. The Campanile (bell tower) of Venice is in Piazza San Marco.
A slightly expensive ticket costs € 8 per person and you can take a lift to the top. The views are still worth it.
When you finish visiting the Campanile, walk in the opposite direction of the people, back to the train station. You will see that everyone is on their way to the square.
Doing the route in reverse, we saw the gondolas and took pictures of canals where no one was there. We arrived at Ponte Rialto and watched the gondolas begin their journey from there.
The bridge allows you to cross one of the widest canals in the city. Not only gondolas are seen but Vaporettos and other boats.
Once you arrive at the train station again, look for an alternative route, get lost in the streets and canals other than the main ones, walking back to Piazza San Marco.
When you arrive, you will see that it is full of people. Piazza San Marco is the most famous spot in Venice, where most tourists want to get to. Going there early, very fast, will allow you to avoid crowds.
There’s a beautiful book store near the street, about 8 minutes walking, called Libreria Acqua Alta. It is self proclaimed as the “most beautiful bookstore in the world” and many would agree.
With their enchanting books in waterproof basins, let the charm and decor get to you – and get a book for your afternoon sit down!
If you visit during the warmer months, noon is the critical time. Walk to the gardens of the Biennale and stroll through the shade to regain your energy.
When you feel like looking for a local restaurant, walking down the main streets you will have more options to find one at a good price.
At the end, I recommend that you get lost in Venice. Yes yes, you read that right. At noon you will have seen the great attractions and canals of the city, having made the most famous route.
But Venice has something special that is not seen by this route. It feels like you’re lost in areas with playing cards, between its islands.
Tour the streets and alleys and corners. There you will discover the local Venice, without tourists. Walk through the islands of Murano and Burano, known for their vivid colors on the facades.
See clothes lying on the streets and old people talking on the benches in the squares. The life of big cities full of people, like Barcelona or Venice, always has a part for locals and one with more tourists.
Visiting both gives you a more general view of the city’s atmosphere.
How to avoid the masses of tourists in Venice: start early and go in the opposite direction to most! Bring a reusable water bottle / water bottle and enjoy the city.