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azalice

1st time Venice - walk tour or Doge’s

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We have a few hours in the afternoon from a cruise and I have narrowed our interests down to two choices: a tour of Doge’s or a walking tour for a couple of hours which passes churches, an old opera house, plus a few more places and stories ( does not cover the main square although it may start there). What might your choice be for a first and likely only time in Venice?

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I think it depends on what you like to do.. my preference  would be a walking tour as having done lots you will get  a much better feel for the city and its culture and architecture than staying in one ( albeit beautiful ) place. However  if you are a massive art history buff then maybe the Doges will tick a  big bucket list item for you. I gave my husband the choice ( we have a full day but timings didn't work to do both) and he chose the walking tour over the Secret Doges tour ( book in for that if timings work then you get access to other parts so would maximise what you see).

 

My opinion only but enjoy whatever!

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This would present a very difficult choice for me - fortunately not one I faced.  Perhaps it might be more beneficial to get a feel for the city in general with a walking tour - at least you will see the exterior of the Doge's Palace, St. Mark's Basilica & other major sites.

We have enjoyed the Secret Itinerary Tour of the palace & also enjoyed a general visit on another visit - great for history buffs as previously mentioned. 

You simply must return to Venice and experience a more in depth introduction to this amazing lagoon - we have also enjoyed visiting Burano, Murano, San Michele & Torcello - all located in the lagoon.

Edited by dogs4fun

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As you want to see as much as possible...the walking tour seems to be the obvious choice, at least to me. Maybe I am missing something.

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Don’t do a tour, just walk around on your own. Get a good map first and start by going on the Vaporretto (waterbus) up the grand canal and back.  This site has good information about transport in Venice https://europeforvisitors.com/venice/articles/vi-transport.htm

Then get off at St Marks Square and look around ( but don’t stop here for a drink etc - very expensive), then just go for a walk towards the Rialto bridge, then turn off anywhere into the quiet back canals & really get the feel of the place.

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As interesting as the Doge's Palace is, I think the real charm of Venice is probably better experienced by walking around -- the atmosphere is like nowhere else.

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If you have just a few hours, I wouldn't do any tour.  I would take the vaporetto down to the St. Marks area as a starting point and just walk.  Part of the fun of Venice to just walk and see the changes in neighborhoods, find little shops out of the way, the general atmosphere of the area.  A tour isn't going to stop and wait for you if you find a cute little shop or if you are suddenly hungry and you want a panino (panino is the singular of panini)...  You can work your way back, going to the Rialto area, hop back on a vaporetto back to the ship.  

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Thank you all for the responses. They are appreciated. I will likely follow the advice to just walk around on our own with a decent map.

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4 hours ago, azalice said:

Thank you all for the responses. They are appreciated. I will likely follow the advice to just walk around on our own with a decent map.

Expect to get a little lost.  It's just the way it is in Venice.  But, up on the corners of buildings, you'll find a little placard that has a directional sign to major places.  

I didn't have a smartphone when I was in Venice,  but I know that Google Maps or the Maps app on iPhone worked pretty well for me when I'd get turned around in Rome and Florence.  

Edited by slidergirl

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8 hours ago, azalice said:

Thank you all for the responses. They are appreciated. I will likely follow the advice to just walk around on our own with a decent map.

We always use Pop up maps of cities, including one of Venice. The Venice one also shows the Vaporretto routes. They are cheap & go in your pocket very easily. You can get them from Amazon.

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14 hours ago, Host Grandma Cruising said:

We always use Pop up maps of cities, including one of Venice. The Venice one also shows the Vaporretto routes. They are cheap & go in your pocket very easily. You can get them from Amazon.

Just  be very careful where and for how long you pull out that map!  Tourists looking at maps out in the open is putting a target on one's back for hawkers and pickpockets...  On the other hand, just about everyone is walking around with a smartphone - can't stay out of touch that long!  You can even pretend you are texting...

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This year will be our 3rd trip to Venice, it's a wonderful place and the best thing to do is just wander! It's not so big that you'll be lost for long and you'll get back to ship in plenty of time. Don't bother with an expensive gondola ride just use the vaparetto down the grand canal and you'll see all the major sights easily. get off at st Marks then wander your way back through the streets and bridges. Sit in a waterside cafe and marvel at how everything happens on the water! we saw all the energency services, rubbish collection and a funeral, fascinating, and unlike anywhere else on earth. Arriving in Venice is like stepping into a painting so stay outside and enjoy every bit of it!

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First time in Venice for me- are the gondola rides within walking distance from the ship & how much should I expect to pay?

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1 hour ago, victory2020 said:

First time in Venice for me- are the gondola rides within walking distance from the ship & how much should I expect to pay?

 

 

Find good info on gondola rides here, including rates (these are a starting point, rates are often negotiable) and where you can find gondolas.

 

https://europeforvisitors.com/venice/articles/gallivanting_by_gondola.htm

 

The closest place for most cruise ship passengers to find a gondola will probably be Piazzale Roma which is either a long-ish walk or a short ride by the People Mover. Piazzale Roma is the main transportation hub of Venice and because of this it is very busy. Not the best place for a gondola ride -- there are many vaporetti (water buses) zooming in and out, creating a wake. But if you do start there, try to ensure your gondolier takes you somewhere quieter for the bulk of your time.

 

 

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