Things to do on your own

We're going on the Bellissima Northern Italy tour in September and it appears that there are several days where we have the afternoon free and dinner on our own. Can we expect the guides to offer advise on what activities or sites are a must do? Does anyone have recommendations of activities to do on your own in Verona and Venice?


  • edited June 2022

    Your TD will often have a handout with ideas, but frankly if you can't enjoy Venice without help, you may not be a traveler at heart. Just wandering around or hopping on a vaporetto will lead you to lovely surprises. If you enjoy art, you're lucky, you'll be in Venice for the Biennale; I was there in 2019 and loved Berengo Centre's contemporary glass exhibit on the island of Murano, featuring the likes of rock star artist Weiwei. I see there is another Glasstress show this year. Enjoy!

  • edited June 2022

    As already said TDs will typically have suggestions or a handout and hotel concierges will have a wealth of info. I find the disadvantages of relying on those, is you may not be making the best choices or using your time effectively. I start months before a tour with simple Google searches, "10 Best things to See and Do in XXX." I work up a plan and refine it as the tour departure approaches.

    I offer one caution. Be careful about booking a hard scheduled activity, especially if you must pay up front. Daily schedules can change, e.g. on Classic Italy, the visits to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel are subject to change by the Vatican management due to events and other reasons. Our daily schedule for the 2.5 days we spent in Rome was totally re-written just a day or so before our arrival- we went to the same places but on different days and at different times.

  • Hi Peter - You can certainly get suggestions from your TD or online, but I would recommend planning nothing and just taking in the cities. I've spent a good amount of time in both places and they are truly wonderful with beauty around every corner. Just go for a walk, stop and eat when you're hungry, enjoy the sights, sounds, and people. They're some of my favorite places on earth. Enjoy! Ciao!

  • DrVon,

    I wholeheartedly agree with your approach. Some planning is fine, but we find the best experiences are those places that we stumble upon when just strolling along the side matter where we are. And the locals always are gracious with dining suggestions, especially when approached with a smile and a few words in their language.

  • Thank you all for your comments

  • milmil
    edited June 2022

    Hello, I would recommend to do some homework..( Do not rely just on the TD) plan ahead-it will give you an idea if you would like the sight, also the opening times , cost of entry etc..
    You can google by country, also check TripAdvisor, Fodor's, Lonely Planet, Viator etc...

  • Concur with do your own initial research since your must see's won't necessarily be everyone else's. I use the internet but also check out travel guides from my local library, purchase them used at thrift stores (the major sites don't change, just the hours, prices, etc) and purchase some guides. I also watch youtube videos for the cities and sights I might be interested in and travel shows like Rick Steves. Once you've narrowed your list down you can come back to the forum and ask specific questions.

    Do be cautious booking activities on your own that can't be canceled. The actual tour itinerary - hour by hour - may change once you're there.

  • Most of the Viator tours that I have booked for my free time allow you to book in advance and pay 24 hours before the tour.

  • There's also + their PBS show that seems to be on in the middle of the night. You can join (it was a thank you gift w/donation), but you can find some info on website without secret password.

  • Yes, Viator tours do allow you to book in advance and pay 24 hours before the tour or you can pay at booking and if you cancel before 24h. prior the tour , they will refund 100%. Also, they are reliable. Viator is now Viator/Tripadvisor.
    I have use them for many years when I travel on my own/non Tauck trips and I have no complains.

  • You do need to check the cancellation policy for each tour since they are different companies actually conducting Viator tours.

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