Venice Travel Tips from a Local
Taking a gondola ride
To avoid getting ripped off by a gondolier, make sure you know the standard rates for a thirty-minute gondola ride: 80 euros during the day, and 100 euros at night (from sunset until eight AM.)
This is for the ENTIRE boat (not per person.) Up to six people can ride in a gondola and split the price.
If the gondolier tries to tell you the price is going to be more for any reason, they are not telling the truth and you can politely but firmly let them know that you know that the rates are set.
Discuss the route with the gondolier before you leave, and do not pay them advance! Pay them at the end after it’s been thirty minutes and they have taken you on the promised route.
Make sure to pay with exact change, or else they just might try to keep your extra money as a “tip” without giving you change back!
Fun fact: Venice gondoliers make upwards of $150,000 a year so don’t let them rip you off.
How to find the best gelato
Real fruit gelato always tastes better than gelato made with artificial flavoring. To spot the best gelato, just take a look at the coloring. If it’s brightly colored (think bright green for pistachio gelato, or hot pink for strawberry gelato) then it’s probably made with artificial flavoring.
If it’s more of a muted shade, then it’s more likely to be real, fresh, and delicious.
It should go without saying to look for gelato shops on side streets and not in the main tourist areas, because you’ll probably save yourself a euro or two and find much better gelato!
Don’t get ripped off buying Carnivale masks
One of the most popular souvenirs you can buy in Venice is your very own colorful Carnivale mask.
Almost every souvenir shop you pass will be selling masks. However, to avoid buying an overpriced fake, make sure to take note that someone is inside the shop making the masks.
Real Carnivale masks are made inside the shop. If you walk in and don’t see anybody making masks, they are probably selling cheap, mass-produced masks instead. The best place to find great authentic masks is the San Polo neighborhood of Venice.
Don’t get scammed buying Murano glass
The second most popular Venice souvenir is colorful Murano glass. Almost every souvenir shop you pass will be selling plates, ornaments, tumblers, etc. made of this pretty colorful glass.
To avoid getting ripped off by a cheap fake, your best bet is to buy your souvenir from the island of Murano itself. It’s a short water bus ride away from Venice.
However, if you’re buying from a shop in Venice, make sure to check that the glass says “Made in Murano” or “Made in Venice” on it. NOT “Made in Italy” or “Made in China” or anything else.
Real Murano glass will also not be too brightly colored and it won’t be extremely cheap. Those are the sure signs that you’re getting a fake.
The number one tip my local Venice tour guide gave our group was to get lost in Venice. You will feel like you’re in a completely different city once you move away from the chaos and crowds of the touristy areas like St. Mark’s Square and Rialto Bridge.
Spend a few hours walking around without looking at a map. One of my favorite neighborhoods for wandering around is Cannaregio. Located on the northern side of Venice, this quiet neighborhood has a more local and less touristy feel to it. It’s the perfect place to stroll around at sunset and stop for dinner somewhere along one of the canals.
I hope these Venice travel tips from a local will help you on your trip as much as they helped me!