Have you ever noticed that the vast majority of the photos you see of Venice are of the water, gondolas on the water, beautiful building next to the water, etc. Nobody shows you what the maze of teeny, tiny alleyways between all those buildings looks like.
So, based on my own experience of finding out the hard way, my number 1 travel tip for Venice is: pay the water taxi price to get to your hotel!
We were in Europe for 17 days, mostly in Italy but in and out of Paris as well. We each had 2 suitcases (like this, not exact, close). When we got to the Venice airport we realized we hadn’t really thought about how we were going to get to our hotel but didn’t stress about it. We went to the port area and looked at our options. We could take a water taxi or the water bus. The water taxi cost about 50-80 Euros (at the time about $75-100) and the bus cost something like $10. So we went with the water bus option.
Getting on the bus with the two heavy suitcases was a bit of hassle, but I managed to get onboard without injuring myself or anyone else. We had asked which stop was the one we needed for the Westin Europa. We got off at the stop at San Marco, the main tourist attraction in Venice and proceeded to try to find our way to the hotel. Up bridges of steps, down bridges of steps. Up bridges of steps, down bridges of steps. Me. With two heavy suitcases. Not happy.
It was quite a walk and we had to keep stopping for directions. Not easy to do. Venice is a beautiful, gorgeous, wonderful place to get lost in all the twists and turns and alleys. But not when you are carrying 2 heavy suitcases plus your carry-ons. We finally got close enough to where people were able to direct us to the alley that led to the hotel.
Here is the last part of our path:
Down this alley – no markings…
Turn into this alley – no markings…
Down this alley, no markings, but almost there! And into this courtyard, hurray!
So an HOUR after being dropped at San Marco we arrived. I was tired, dripping in sweat and a bit peeved. The main entrance to the hotel is, of course, the water entrance, which looks like this:
And that is the way we left to go home!
The Venice water bus system is phenomenal and for the entire time we were in Venice we used it religiously, but I HIGHLY recommend when you are arriving with luggage and you don’t know where you going, take a water taxi, pay the extra and have peace of mind…and body!
How about you have you struggled to get to your hotel in Venice?