Top Tips for Finding Your Way Around Venice

Top Tips for Finding Your Way Around Venice

Photo: Christian Holzinger / Ponte dell'Accademia, Venezia, Italy

Photo: Christian Holzinger / Ponte dell'Accademia, Venezia, Italy

Venice, the sunken city of Italy, is filled with tourists darting left and right, towing their suitcases in pursuit of various sights. All too many travellers end up lost across the city, stuck with the Italian-English language barrier and little hope of finding their destination. But fear not — you won’t be one of them with this handy guide to finding your way around Venice.

With boats and walking serving as the only real methods of transportation, the city doesn’t make it easy for its visitors to get around. But, with a few useful tips, you’ll be able to walk through Venice’s maze-like alleys with the confidence of a local.

1. The first thing you need to know is that unless your wallet is full enough to afford expensive water taxis, you’ll be doing most of your wandering on foot. That's why our first tip is to make trailing around the town one of your key fun adventures in Venice. Almost every visitor has gotten lost once in Venice, but its narrow alleys will always lead you somewhere, and that somewhere might end up being better and more magical than your desired destination. Although it's not as large as many European hotspots, Venice holds a lot of beautiful and little-known spots between its flowy canals, so don’t get frustrated if you get lost. Try to make everything part of the journey and take in all the Venetian sights you come across to get the full experience.

Photo: Jonathan Ford / Grand Canal

Photo: Jonathan Ford / Grand Canal


2. Another tip that's definitely something to keep in mind while walking is that there are only four bridges across the S-shaped Grand Canal. These are the only crossways that are accessible on foot. If you want to cross at a different location to save time, you'll have to take a vaporetto, which is a ferry (or a water bus) that moves along the main canals.


3. A comprehensive and detailed map is one must-have for your travel bag. Since addresses in Venice aren't always very helpful, try to find a map that contains as many street names as possible. This way, you'll be able to follow the local's patchy directions.


4. Make sure to note lesser known landmarks such as monuments, churches, architectural details and even big stores for future reference on your map. This will be very helpful when you need to ask locals for directions, as they'll often refer to such locations. It’ll be easier to follow their lead if you have notable landmarks marked on your map.

Photo: Robert V. Ruggiero

Photo: Robert V. Ruggiero

5. While asking for help, it’s very important to be as polite as possible. To avoid being unintentionally offensive, take a look at The Secret Traveller's guidance on how you may accidentally insult someone abroad.


As threatening as Venice may be to your sense of direction, it is definitely worth the effort. The town’s beauty can never be fully portrayed in words or a traveller's tales. The only way to take in every detail that makes Venice beautiful is to walk its pavements yourself and create your own Venetian story.