Venice, the city of masks, canals and lovers.
E&J’s travel tips:
- Fly to Treviso airport (cheaper).
- Regular and cheap buses to Venice centre (as far as the bus can take you)
- Water buses (Vaporetti) are the main transport method in Venice. Find out which stop is closest to your hotel and what lines run to it.
- Canal Grande (the grand canal) is the main route though Venice. Majority of lines run up and down it regularly.
- Water taxis are extremely expensive! Avoid!
- Book accommodation near Piazza San Marco. Ideal location.
- Avoid peak season and weekends if possible. Tourist overload!
- A private gondola is a must do for romanticising!
Oh Venice you romantic you.
If you’re wishing to whisk a loved one away for a romantic trip, we can’t recommend Venice enough. The winding narrow streets make a great setting for sharing a gelato or a couple of slices of pizza while exploring the endless narrow canals hand in hand. Our thoughts? It blows Paris out the water in terms of being the most romantic city. The group of over 100 islands are found in a small lagoon in the Adriatic Sea where the views across the open water are fit for any postcard. You’ll find plenty gothic and renaissance architecture dotted around the city. You’ll be sure to need a bigger memory card for your camera.
Right, were in Venice. Where on Earth is the hotel?
Upon arrival at Venice’s Treviso airport which is found on the mainland, we bought bus tickets to take us as far as physically possible into piazzale Roma, Venice itself. The journey took around an hour and cost €12 one way. The company we used was ATVO (buy your tickets here) as did everybody else. We had no problems with it whatsoever. More comfy than the plane journey. When we arrived in Piazzale Roma, we knew we had to get a water bus or locally known as a vaporetto, from here to a stop which is closest to our hotel. The piazzale Roma is flooded with water bus stops and it can be quite confusing. Find out which stop is closest to your hotel and which lines run there!
Laconda De La Spada, modern comforts with the atmosphere of past centuries.
Prior to booking this hotel, we struggled finding one with modern decor. Rennaisance style hotel were in high abundance. But when we found Laconda De La Spada, we were over the moon. We stayed at Laconda De La Spada (check them out here) for 2 nights and it gave us so many happy memories. It was located right on the grand canal in a 14th century mansion and only a handful of footsteps from the vaporetti stop. “This new and charming Locanda is located on the top floor of Palazzo Marin-Contarini and conjugates all modern comforts with the atmosphere of the past centuries”.
The staff were extremely friendly, allowing us to keep luggage in a private store room once we’d checked out and use the shower facilities. St Marks square is a small 5 minute walk away and small canals border the hotels other faces. Just around the corner you’ll find street signs directing you to Piazza San Marco and plenty of restaurants on the canals and gondola stops.
The room was spacious enough for the two nights and was extremely modern. Waking up to hear the gondolier serenading romantics with classical Venetian songs down below outside our room whilst cruising the narrow, picturesque canal was something we will absolutely never forget.
Must do’s in Venice
St Marks Square (Piazza San Marco) – You’ll most definitely find yourself here at least a few times as it’s a main focal point. Points of interest include the beautifully gothic Basilica di San Marco at the front of the square (you can’t miss it) and the adjacent San Marco Campanile bell tower. Bordering the square are plenty of cafes and restaurants, ideal places to take a well earned break in the shade (if you can afford the slightly overpriced coffee).
E&J’s travel tip: if you haven’t pre booked tickets to enter the basilica and the queue is horrendous which it most likely will be in peak season, quickly go online and buy tickets for something like €2. Then walk to the front and show the guard. We got straight in! Best thing we learnt!
Palazzo Ducale or Doges Palace as it’s known – the stunning state rooms can actually give you some great views of the grand canal. Take a small tour through the old prison cells and through the famous bridge of sighs. Some great photo opportunities!
Take a walk along the Grand Canal at night – For that little extra romantic moment (if that’s even possible in such a romantic city) take a wander along the Grand Canal at night. It’s a bit quieter than the day time and all the monuments and building are lit up in such a beautiful way. Grab a bellini (an sweet prosecco cocktail mix) from a street vendor and sit and gaze at the view.
Wander across Rialto Bridge – it’s the oldest of the four bridges spanning the grand canal. The walk across is full of street vendors selling all sorts. Extremely busy so beware! Plenty of nice restaurants on the canal by the bridge.
Grab a private gondola if travelling with a loved one – this may be a novelty but you can’t go to Venice and not do this. The slow, steady movement down narrow canals neighboured with the tall buildings really sets the scene. If you can, grab one at sunset when the sun kisses the canal. If you’re travelling solo, you can grab a group one for a slightly cheaper fare. They take you to areas of Venice you probably wouldn’t venture down. Now, these are pricey but we’d recommend allowing for it. Anything around sunset and they push the price up to around €100 for a private one.
Pizza for lunch on the move – If you’re travelling on a budget through Italy, I’m sure this is something you may have done anyway. You can grab a slice of pizza for around €5, perhaps less. Authentic and tasty! Why not grab a gelato for dessert!
Eat by the Grand Canal – This can be difficult, especially if travelling on a budget, as restaurants with outdoor eating areas by the canals aren’t cheap. However, keep your eyes peeled as many have lunch menus where a pizza can be less €10. The ambience you get whilst eating alongside fellow romantics being serenaded by a gondalier is out of this world.
People watch – on our last day before grabbing the coach back to Treviso airport, we spent at least an hour and a half at an Italian Bistro just outside Piazza San Marco called Chat Qui Rit. We drank white wine, ate a selection of meats and breads and watched the world go by. The weekend had arrived just as we were leaving and the influx of tourists was definitely notable.
All in all, if we could go back to Venice, we would go in a heartbeat. Expensive? Yes. Worth it? Totally.
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