Venice is an amazing and incredibly unique destination. It is a maze of hundreds of picturesque bridges and canals with no roads at all, and therefore no cars allowed either. Due to Venice’s’ popularity it can be quite an expensive place to go to.
Where to Stay
When I was first trying to book accommodation I was quite confused. Venice is made up of various islands within the lagoon and I didn’t know which one to choose or where was best to stay in and easiest to get to. After some research we established that we wanted to stay in the main area of Venice, San Marco, because it is central to most of the sights we wanted to see. However, if you after a more relaxing trip and less busy then I would suggest Venice Lido, where there is a beach. If you are on a budget then San Marco can be an expensive place to stay. Hotels will always be more expensive but there is plenty competition and we managed to get a good deal at Palazzo Minelli, a family run B&B in an excellent location, just around the corner from Teatro La Fenice. So to keep costs down we recommend looking at B&Bs as opposed to hotels.
This is very touristy, but something we thought we could not leave Venice without doing. However, this is really expensive, costing €80 for a 30 minute gondola ride through the canals. If you want to do this cheaper then there are alternative methods. You can pre-book your gondola ride online and opt for a shared ride which will be much cheaper. Or you can pay a few euros to get a ‘Traghetto’ which is very similar to a gondola. This will take your across the main canal so you can still experience it, to an extent, at a much lower price than the private gondola ride.
In Venice you must be careful where you choose to eat or drink as this can be pretty costly. Many restaurants will charge you for sitting down at a table as well as a service charge applied on top of your meal. If you decide to sit in one the cafes on St Marks Square, expect to pay for both of these charges and then an additional charge for music being played in the square. To avoid this I suggest going several streets back from the square where you will find some more authentic and, in my opinion, better restaurants and cafes. They will cost less and don’t have the same surcharges as the main square. Make sure to check the menu before you order to know whether or not these will be applied. You will also see many Venetians standing at counters in bars and cafes rather than paying for these fees.
Getting lost in Venice will be fun at first but not when you are tired and trying to find your way back to your hotel. Make sure that you have activated the internet to work abroad to help you find your way around. Venice is literally a maze and you will 100% lose all your bearings. Trying to figure out your way around with a traditional map can be very difficult. Using Google Maps will also save you a lot of time if this is limited.
Venice is not a good place to go to if you have difficulty walking. There are so many steps, bridges and narrow lanes you have to navigate which will definitely ruin your enjoyment of it. As mentioned earlier, there are also no cars in San Marco. Although you can take water taxis to get around, these could be expensive if you’re doing it all the time especially when Venice is a very walkable city. Therefore we recommend the best way to see Venice is primarily on foot, but make sure that you have good footwear, because if you are like us you will literally walk for miles.
In one day we managed to do 50,000 steps!!
As noted above there is not much transport available in Venice, other than going by boat. If you are arriving from San Marco airport we recommend taking the water boat that takes you to many Vaperetto stops in the Lagoon. This was around €20 each return but took around 80 minutes. Alternatively you can take a water taxi which will be quicker but this costs around €90 one way. The best way to navigate around the lagoon is by purchasing a day ticket for the Vaperatto, then you can get on and off as many times as you like and also see some of the other islands Venice has to offer…
Get out of San Marco
San Marco, as stated above, is the main area of Venice with the most famous tourist attractions. It is also swarming with tourists in high season and it is one of the busiest places I have visited. We highly recommend checking out the other islands in the Venetian Lagoon that will give you a more authentic and much more idyllic Venetian experience.
Check out the Jewish Ghetto in Cannaregio region of Venice; Murano, famous for it’s glass works, the colourful island of Burano, The sparsely populated island of Torcello (with just 10 full time residents now!) and the cemetery island of San Michele.
We purchased a day trip on the Vaporetto to travel to the island of Murano, Burano and Torcello and comfortably managed to do these all in one day including stopping at a restaurant in Burano for lunch. There is a lot to see and do in these areas and gets you away from the hustle and bustle of San Marco. The Vaporetto has a pretty simple system to navigate and they run frequently during the daytime hours.
Another thing we would highly recommend is going on a day trip to the city of Verona, which is just over an hour away on the train and again gives you an altogether different experience in Northern Italy.
Please click on the link to see what we got up to and why we recommend you go there.
I had no idea about this until we were in Venice. We were sitting enjoying a few evening drinks when suddenly sirens went off. This was to alert everyone that there would be a hide tide. St Marks square was completely flooded, along with many other streets in the vicinity. It was something that we have never experienced before. This is more likely to happen in the winter months, but we were there in June. So it can happen at any time. We really recommend purchasing some sexy waterproof shoe covers to keep you dry.