Anyone that follows me on social media will probably know I was in Venice a couple of weeks ago and to say I was blown away is an understatement. It was one of the most breath-taking cities I’ve ever visited. In today’s post I have put together a list of things to do and see, and some tips and tricks we learnt along the way. Happy reading!
We started by catching an early flight from Dublin airport which meant we had most of the day to explore on the Sunday. The flight is approx. 2 hours and we didn’t book any transport in advance. To get to Venice we followed signs in the airport to where the buses were parked, booked a ticket for the bus which brought us across the bridge to Venice and then hopped in a water taxi to get to our hotel. We stayed in the Corte Barozzi Venice Suites for 2 nights as we weren’t sure whether we would stay in Venice for the duration of the holiday. Corte Barozzi Venice Suites were perfect for exploring as the location was ideal. Based not even a 5 minute walk from St. Mark’s Square we were right in the centre of the action. On our first day we strolled around and got our bearings, soon realising that Venice is quite small and the best way to explore is just by walking around and getting lost (it does help my boyfriend has a much better sense of direction that me!).
Our hotel for the first 2 nights didn’t serve breakfast which suited us fine as we were more that happy to explore the cafes. We had breakfast on one of these days at Caffé Florian which is a must see, it’s expensive but definitely worth it! The interiors are like something out of an old movie and everything was delicious! Most activities in Venice, from out experience, are really easy to see and book and you can find out most things online. After breakfast we walked along the waters edge where all the top hotels are including the Danieli and found a place that did boat trips just around the corner from the Doge’s Palace. Here we booked a tour of Merano, Burano and Torcello islands which is a must do. They are so different to Venice itself, much less crowded and so beautiful!
First up was Murano which is famous for its glass-making. When we got off the boat we witnessed a demonstration on how this is done and I can safely say I enjoyed watching but wouldn’t fancy giving it a go! There’s serious skill involved! Murano itself was lovely with loads of little restaurants for lunch, and of course lots of shops to buy glass items.
Next up was Torcello Island, my favourite of the three islands. If we had time I would have stayed here for a night. Untouched, quiet and simply stunning it was the perfect sanctuary after lots of sight seeing.
Last up was Burano, famous for it’s lace and colourful houses. Burano is so unique and I was really looking forward to seeing it after looking it up online. It definitely didn’t disappoint.
(Outfit details: Penneys Dress, Chloe bag, Kate Spade sunglasses, Converse runners, Massimo Dutti hat)
Next on our list was the San Marco Campanile (Bell Tower) which gives you the most amazing views of the city! Day 1 we saw the massive queues so instead of waiting in the heat we did what we always do in this situation and googled the fast track options. In nearly every city you visit now there is this option. We booked these through venetoinside.com at €11 each. For St Mark’s Basilica we did the exact same thing here which cost us €2 each!
Art galleries wouldn’t really be my thing but Venice is quite famous for its art so I thought it best to visit the two main galleries which are the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and Gallerie dell’Accademia. Both are located at the other side of the Rialto Bridge to St Mark’s Square which means you’re doing more exploring at the same time. If I was to have my time back again I would have just visited the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, it was less expensive to enter and set in a beautiful garden.
Taking a gondola ride is very expensive but it’s kind of a bucket list thing to do. We paid €100 for a half an hour trip around the city, it was a complete rip off but hey you only live once. A tip here would be when you’re queuing ask the people in front/behind you would they like to share and split the cost. We went on ours on our last evening just after a shower of rain so there was nobody around to share, just our luck!
I had read a lot online about how you can see Venice in 2 days and that it can be quite smelly. Firstly there is a lot to do and see in Venice so if you want to factor in some relaxation and downtime I would recommend 5 days which is what we did. We went at the beginning of September which meant temperature wise it was perfect and also not smelly. However, I can imagine in the height of summer it could get a little stinky.
Finally I’m going to let you in on a little secret but shhhh don’t tell anyone! On our way out to visit the different islands we noticed this lovely park area at the top of Venice so on our last full day we took some towels and headed there for a spot of sunbathing. From what we could gather this was where a lot of the locals lived, it was a lot quieter and so beautiful. On our way back we explored some of the streets and had an early dinner on our way back to the second hotel we had booked into – Hotel All’Angelo.
Things to Note
- Venice is expensive – we saved and ticked everything off our list. In my opinion when travelling I would prefer to put it off for a year and save than go and not be able to afford to do the things you want to do.
- The Vaporetto is the public transport system in Venice which is essentially a water bus. There are loads of stops around the city and it is relatively easy to use with maps at each station.
- Most of the restaurants located near to St Mark’s Square are pricey.
- If you can afford it, get a water taxi to or from the airport. It’s great fun – if I had to choose between this and the gondola ride I would choose the water taxi.
- Get a good map and make use of Google Maps.
- Bring comfortable shoes because other that boats your legs are your only form of transport.
- We only took carry-on luggage as we thought it would be easier to maneuver around which was the case.
- September was still pretty busy but apparently quieter that midsummer. However it was easy to move around.
- Hotels near St Mark’s Square are again more expensive but we found location was key. If I was to visit again I would look into Air B&B options.
- Booking.com quickly became our best friend. Their reviews were spot on.
- The majority of the restaurants serve great food and when in Italy you can’t really go wrong if you embrace the Italian cuisine. If you fancy a treat check out the Gritti Palace! Make sure to book in advance and ask for a seat next to the water, the views are out of this world. The Gritti Palace features in the movie ‘The Tourist’.
Hopefully I’ve covered all the major points for anyone thinking of visiting Venice. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough and if you have any questions just let me know, have a lovely weekend!