Venice is by far one of my favourite places in Italy so far. We spent two days there and by the end I was sure I would have to return!
The interesting thing about Venice is that contrary to popular belief there’s not a lot to do there. Yes, there are museums and galleries but for real how much renaissance art can one person see? Venice for me was about the picturesque moments, the beauty, the narrow streets and being constantly surrounded by water.
We arrived in on Friday afternoon at around 16:00, the train from Milan takes 2h 40m so it can even make a day trip if you fancy saving those coins and skipping out on accommodation.
I had heard of a gorgeous sandwich place where we could get a bite to eat and a spritz to quench our Italian thirst, this was where we first learnt that navigating around Venice is a nightmare! For some reason, google maps places you in random locations and also tells you about streets which don’t exist. So, if you’re navigating around Venice with GPS, prepare to get lost!
After a great deal of walking, we found the place and it was closed. Most Italian restaurants close around 3pm and open again at 7pm which meant we were compelled to eat at one of touristy establishments with sub-par pasta 😦 (this was not the boujee life I chose to lead).
Once we were done, we just took the evening to walk around the city, get a feel of what it was like and have a pretty relaxed night. I would definitely recommend an evening stroll through Piazza San Marco if you can, the square looks completely different at night when it’s all lit up and there’s this romantic feel in the air which makes everything look special.
Our hostel was on the island of Giudecca so we had to catch a boat from San Marco over to the island. I’m so glad we stayed here because it meant we could see a part of Venice which we ordinarily would not have and were able to make use of the transport system! Although you can walk around the whole of main island of Venice, if you want to see other islands you’ll need to get a ticket. They cost €7 one way and €18 for 24 hours (as far as I can remember).
We had an early start the next morning because now we only had a day to see the rest of Venice. Our first port of call was to head to Burano, the home of the colourful houses. There are three islands surrounding mainland Venice and they all offer different experiences. If you want to feel happiness in one place then head to Burano because it emits it from every painted wall around you, it’s a real life Balamory. We used our 24 hour boat ticket to get back to San Marco and then hop on a boat from there which would take around 40 mins to get to Burano. When you’re travelling on the water, the boat goes pretty fast so it tends to get quite cold; we started by sitting along the top to experience the views but once the breeze got to us, we moved to the lower cabin which is closed so it’s slightly warmer!
In Burano we took as many pictures as we could in front of every different colour combination of houses and then grabbed a pizza for brunch which yes, we used as a prop to take more pictures.
When we got back to San Marco, our next priority was to do a gondola ride! We walked around for quite a while trying to find a gondolier with a good price, eventually we realised that the gondolas are a nationalised service and so are the same price everywhere! I’d say to try and get a gondola from Rialto Bridge, this way you get to see the main sights of Venice and also explore some narrow streets. If you get your canal from a random location, it’s likely you’ll just go down streets with houses and won’t get the full experience!
Fun fact: all the gondoliers in Venice must have their gondolas painted black outside to avoid unfair competition, however inside they can decorate it in whatever way they please!
The gondola will definitely be the most expensive thing you do on this trip, it costs €80 for 20 mins and €120 at night! If you have a group of friends it’s worth splitting the cost because it really is a unique experience!
We then headed back over to Rialto Bridge to grab a few more pictures before heading over to the highlight of the trip: the Suso gelato.
I am not kidding when I say this is best gelato I’ve ever had in my life, they have the most unique flavours and there’s always a line out the door! We were just about to turn away when two local ladies told us that it would be worth our wait! They always have different flavours so I can’t recommend one but I had the caramel and caffé and it was absolutely divine!
Finally we stopped by Scala Contarini del Bovolo, this lies in the smallest palazzo of Venice and the tower gives a very different perspective of the city than you would get from Piazza San Marco. It’s really peaceful and because not many people know about it, there’s no big lines or crowding so you can climb the stairs as slowly as you need to!
In my opinion, I think Venice is like marmite; you either love it or hate it. It’s a tourist hub and if you hate that then don’t go to Venice. For the same reason, if you’re looking for typical Italian food I would avoid Venice, wood-fire ovens are outlawed so you won’t find good pizza and pasta is not really a Venetian dish, there’s more focus on risotto and seafood!
That being said, it definitely has that Italian feel that you may be seeking and is overall a gorgeous place! It’s not the last that it’s seen of me!
Thank you for reading!