Slowly sinking under rising tides and increasingly swamped by a sea of humanity, Venice can at times feel more teeming tidal pool than dazzling lagoon jewel. As summer draws near, and local police make newly-installed crowd control gates more of a reality, we give you our top five tips on sidestepping the masses and getting your La Serenissima on in relative P&Q.
1. Avoid July-August like you would a gondola ride with Robert Wagner and Christopher Walken. April, May and October are the best months weather-wise, and winter is glorious, albeit chilly. But if you simply must go in summer, sneak in in June, and skip out well before super high season explodes.
2. Make like a local and hop on a vaporetto. The water buses are plentiful and cost effective (grab a 24/48/72-hour or 1-week pass), while water taxis charge like a wounded bull, and gondolas are only really useful for a languid sightseeing sail – with half the town participating, that is.
3. Purchase a Venezia Unica pass. Venice’s integrated ticketing card is handy in more ways than one. You can personalise it by indicating which services you want to use (public transport, major attraction entry, tours, parking) when you book, and it’s also the only thing short of feigned labour pains that will get you past the locked bridge gates in peak hours. But don’t be fooled: as a Venezia Unica holder you’ll still have to queue, just for a shorter time.
4. Opt for a private rental in a residential district. Piazza San Marco and its immediate surrounds get more packed than Kim K’s Spanx in summertime. While there are many stunning hotels dotting this area, if you’re truly keen for a more low-key experience, try an apartment in one of the more tranquil residential areas like Cannaregio or Castello via Views on Venice or Venice Prestige.
5. Choose a private tour guide with all-access. We love Context Travel, the perennially plugged-in, clued-up, scholar-led tour group who can get you after hours, behind-the-scenes access to many of the city’s best and most popular attractions. Informative, effortless, and you won’t have to slum it with the riff-raff, Cath.
For more top tips and recommendations for the canal queen, grab the LUXE Venice guide…
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