1. It’s called the City of Love, so where better to honeymoon? Many dream of the ultimate honeymoon in Venice, but it’s easy to be left disappointed from the heaving crowds and overpriced tourist traps. Don’t be put off! We have all the tips you need for a truly wonderful time.
2. We recommend visiting in March, April or late September, which are on the edges of the peak season. Let’s face it – Venice is busy year-round, but you’ll have a little more breathing room outside of summer. I visited in early March, and even then it was crowded, but not suffocating like it is in July-August. We were also blessed with brilliant blue skies and sunshine, with a brisk wind. Very pleasant walking around weather!
3. Then again, you could also go in January – you’ll experience a completely different side of Venice and the crowds will be far smaller. Be prepared for cold temperatures, but what could be more romantic than snuggling up close beneath a blanket during a gondola tour through a misty city?
4. Yes, a Venice honeymoon is expensive. We have a few tips to help you avoid overpriced tourist traps – but also be aware that it’s not a city that easily lends itself to strict budgets. Venice is designed to be done in style!
5. The cost of a water taxi at €120 per ride seems ludicrous, but it’s also a surefire way to make you feel like a movie star. Remember Angelina Jolie in “The Tourist?” If you’re going to splurge, we recommend taking a water taxi from the airport into Venice. It’s a longer journey (but the same price), you’ll experience spectacular views of Venice as you approach from the sea, and if your hotel is in the heart of town, you’ll get a joyride down the Grand Canal thrown in, before being dropped right at your hotel door. It’s far more glamorous than lugging suitcases from the waterbus terminal through crowded streets! A great way to start your honeymoon in style.
6. If you want to cut the cost of a water taxi, hover at the bookings desk in the airport terminal, look for another couple, and offer to split the fare. As long as their destination is close to yours, you can pretend you’re a group – the same experience for half the price!
7. The other, cheaper option is the waterbus, which carries about 40 people at a time. The ticket is €20 per person — just know which stop is best for your hotel.
8. Waiters, hotel staff and taxi drivers have become used to American tourists tipping and are more than happy to accept it. However — tipping is not the local custom, and many Venetians do not tip at all. There are many conflicting views on the subject, but a safe rule of thumb is just to round up your bill and leave a small amount. Some restaurants add a service charge to the bill (servizio) of 10-12 percent, but this often goes to the management, not the waiter.
9. There are six sestieri (districts) of Venice, and all have their own unique atmosphere. Shockingly, the vast majority of tourists only explore San Marco, where most of the most famous sights are located, and don’t bother venturing further. Don’t make this mistake, as you will miss the true Venice.
10. San Marco is crammed with things to see. St Mark’s Square, Doge’s Palace, Bridge of Sighs and Harry’s Bar are all in San Marco. This means, of course, that most of the restaurants and bars in this neighborhood are overpriced and inauthentic. Our advice? See the sights, but sit down for a dinner in another sestiere.
11. San Polo is the smallest and oldest Venice neighborhood, but just as bustling as San Marco, to which it is connected by Rialto Bridge. In San Polo you’ll find the lively Rialto Market for fish, fruit and vegetables, Church of San Giacomo di Rialto (the oldest church in the city) and Campo San Polo, a large and historic square.
12. Cannareggio is considered the “real Venice”. The vast majority of Venetians live in this district and it’s a great place to explore and truly get a feel for how the locals live.
13. Dorsoduro is a treasure and far too often ignored by visitors. It is home to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and the Accademia Gallery, but also many serene streets and tranquil corners – it’s hard to believe such peace and quiet can exist so close to San Marco.
14. Santa Croce is one of the least touristy sestieri, and therefore great value for accommodation. The photogenic 13th-century palazzo Fondaco dei Turchi is here.
15. Castello is a tale of two sestieri. It borders San Marco and the streets surrounding this area are still very touristy. Further away from the center of town, though, Castello is a raw, authentic neighborhood where you’ll see locals hanging out, laundry being dried on public lines, and kids running around playing soccer in the streets. Castello is conveniently located for exploring Murano, Burano and Torcello islands, as the express ferry leaves from the port here.