Mistake #6: Taking unnecessary tours
Too many tourists arrive in Venice, climb into a sightseeing boat, and cruise along the city's waterfront while a guide with a microphone tells them what they're seeing:
"On your left is the Ca' Bigoli, built in Venetian Gothic style by a 12th Century pasta trader who later became a doge. The interior, which you can't see because you're 50 meters away in a boat, was later redecorated with paintings by a student of Tintoretto..."
(Are you bored by our fictitious example? Think of how bored you'd be if you were in the boat, and how annoyed you'd feel after paying 40 or 50 euros for the equivalent of a narrated vaporetto ride.)
Venice is a compact city that any reasonably healthy person can easily explore alone on foot. There's little reason to spend money on tours unless:
If you're willing to explore Venice on your own, start by purchasing a good street map of Venice (such as the Touring Club of Italy's 1:5000 series) and a sightseeing-oriented guidebook. Then start walking.
Here are some ideas for do-it-yourself tours using public transportation:
Suggestions for escorted tours
If you do feel the need or desire for an escorted tour, see our Venice Tours page and the "Tours and Excursions" section of our Venice Sightseeing/Culture page. (The latter page also has links for guided tours of attractions such as Ca' Foscari, the former doge's palazzo that is now a university headquarters, and La Fenice, Venice's historic opera house.)
Next page: Mistake #7: Overpacking
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