1. Grand Canal
During the high season, the water buses that troll up and down the Grand Canal can be oppressively crowded, especially during morning and evening commutes. Avoid the chaos by travelling the Grand Canal at night, a beautiful experience as all the regal palaces are lit up, making the ceiling frescos and grand chandeliers visible.
Another way to bypass the throngs of tourists on the Grand Canal is to hire a water taxi. Some boats even serve onboard champagne. This indulgence is pricier than public transport, but it is an excellent idea if you're travelling with a group and want to indulge in water-borne transport (it is often cheaper than gondolas, too). Water taxis are also easier to navigate down smaller, scenic canals. Plus, as it is only your group onboard, you can slow for photos as often as you like.