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Getting bearings in Venice

My husband and I arrive in Venice around 2 pm. after travelling for over twenty hours plus. We like to keep on our feet to around 7 ish when we start to fade. I thought we might take the slow cruise that has been mentioned on this site down the Grand Canal after arrival to get a feel of the place. Can anyone tell me details of it and where you take it from? Thank you.

Posted by
1056 posts

My husband and I also arrived mid-afternoon in Venice and took an orientation cruise which began at 4 p.m. if memory serves correctly. Our tour began at the public gardens adjacent to Piazza San Marco and took us around the Giudecca canal through another waterway to the beginning of the Grand Canal and down the Grand Canal back to San Marco. You're in a small boat with about 6 or 7 other people and the guide. We found it very informative and enjoyed it a lot. I don't have the name of the tour company with me, but we found it in the Rick Steves book. The boat trip down the grand canal was half of a tour, the other half being a walking tour which we took the next day. I don't think you can do the boat tour without the walking tour as well.

Posted by
479 posts

Carol, the boat tour will only get you so far, and not be all that helpful unless you're planning on navigating Venice by boat the entire time. Are you coming in to the train station? If so, take the vaporetto to the Rialto. Then follow the signs and walk towards St. Mark's square until you get there. That should be enough of an orientation for you. It will also take you past most of the great shopping there is to do in Venice.

FYI, the various maps that are available all over can be surprisingly accurate and helpful as long as you don't lose your place on the maps.

Posted by
705 posts

Jarod's idea is a good one. I found Venice surprisingly easy to navigate and it is well sign posted around the tourist sights. It's a very small place really so you'll get your bearings pretty quickly. Do at some stage take the vaporetto from the station to St Marcos Square, it's just lovely.

Posted by
68 posts

Thanks fellow travellers, we are staying right near St. Mark's Square so that's a nice easy solution.
I would have liked some commentary so perhaps we will do both. Carol

Posted by
1201 posts

I think what you may be referring to is just the normal vaporetto that runs the Grand Canal. The #1 boat is the slow one. It stops at every stop on the Grand Canal. You'll get to see the lovely buildings and some atmosphere.

My advice? Check into your hotel or apartment. Ask for a suggestion for lunch. Have a late lunch and stroll around a bit. Take the vaporetto if you haven't already. Do a stroll through Piazza San Marco.

If you crash early and find that you wake up too early the next day, I strongly suggest going to watch them set up the Rialto fish and vegetable market. Plan on getting there around 6:30 to 7:00.

Where are you staying?

Posted by
12172 posts

Venice is a great place to take a walk. Walking is the perfect way to stay awake after a long flight. A slow cruise might have the opposite effect (my twelve year old was out like a light cruising canals in Amsterdam after a long flight).

Check into your hotel, get a business card for when you get lost, and wander as aimlessly as possible. Enjoy the squares, churches, big and little canals, etc. until 7 pm. Ask anyone how to get back to your hotel. Say Dove ___? (pronounced Doe-vay, either name of hotel or just show them the card). After a few points in the right direction, you'll be back to your hotel.

Very few restaurants open that early so you may have trouble getting dinner before you settle in. Ask your hotel.

Posted by
6898 posts

Not sure is "7ish" is AM or PM. Also, how will you make your appearance in Venice? Are you coming in by train? Are you coming in on a bus from the airport to the Piazza Roma? Are you transitioning from a cruise? Or, are you coming in by boat from the airport? Just trying to determine your starting point.

We arrived at the train station at 1:30pm. When we came out of the train station, our world just stopped at the sight. The Grand Canal is about 150' directly in front of you. Everything is in motion - tons of people, lots of boats going up and down the canal and the whole magic of the moment. It's nothing you understand but it's everything you expected.

If you want to relax for awhile, take a boat tour. You'll do just fine. The walk to San Marco Piazza from the Rialto bridge is a great walk if you want to do that. All of the famous name stores are along the walk. It does get crowded.

Eat gelato daily.

Posted by
798 posts

I would also suggest that walking around on your first day is a better way to combat jetlag. Generally speaking, the further you get from St. Mark's Square, the fewer and smaller the crowds will be. The best part of Venice is just wandering around and appreciating the beauty.

Posted by
805 posts

Do be aware that as Rick says, getting lost is part of the fun. Last summer by wandering around random parts of Venice that I bet I could never intentionally find again we stumbled onto some incredible places.