The city of canals is a perfect way to describe Venice. Over 100 small islands make up what appears to be a floating city - and it’s guaranteed that in order to get from point A to B you will cross over at least 2-3 canals. Venice is a must-see city, and in this post I’ll be breaking down: where to eat, what to do, where to stay, when to go, and how to get there. Enjoy!
Side note: I did quite a bit of research on Venice before we decided to add it as a stop to our trip. I read countless articles about whether or not Venice was “worth seeing.” Each article had a different opinion, but we decided to go for it. Plus, for over 10 years, I’ve had “Ride a Gondola in Venice with my husband” on my bucket list :)
What to Do:
San Marco - a very popular spot in Venice, with a lot of shopping and restaurants.
Saint Mark’s Basilica - a phenomenal cathedral and a must-see.
Gondola Ride - Amazingggg! But you will pay a pretty penny for it. It costs 80 euros for a 30 minute ride (up to 6 people) during the day, and 100 euros at sunset. Being able to go with 6 people cuts down on the cost, but if you came with just one other person then it doesn’t really help. I managed to do a little bartering with a gondola man that wasn’t getting any business (which I think was a win win for both of us). I offered him 50 euros for 25 min, and he said yes! I would 100% recommend doing this. I’m glad we got a bit of a discount, but I would still say do it, even for 80 euros. Drifting through the small canals surrounded by colorful buildings makes for a perfect moment.
*Insider Tip: You’ll see many gondola stations, but try to find a gondola in a quaint spot and take that one. You’ll get to go through less crowed and noisy areas and it makes the ride extra enjoyable.
Get Lost - Everyone says it, but get lost while you’re in Venice. Walk all over, explore small canals off the beaten path. Eventually you will find your way back. :)
*Travel Tip: we were able to walk the entire island in about 2 hours.
One word - PIZZA. I honestly wasn’t expecting Venice to have such great, authentic tasting pizza because of how touristy it is, but wow. Amazing. We liked the pizza so much that we had it for every single meal (except breakfast), and took a box to go before we caught our train to Naples.
Pizzerie Antico Gafaro Ristorante - Our favorite pizza place that was 10 steps away from our hotel.
Cicchetteria Al Pesce Rosso - We stopped here for an Aperol Spritz. It’s located right next the Marco Polo’s childhood home.
Trattoria all Rivetta - great restaurant, located next to the canal where we took our Gondola ride.
Where to Stay:
The hotel we stayed at in Venice was Hotel Dalla Mora. We paid $95 a night and breakfast was included. We shared a bathroom with one other room, but had a sink and mirror in our room, so it wasn’t bad at all. Our hotel was great, and had a nice view of the canals. Hotels in Venice are very expensive. It was extremely difficult to find an affordable hotel that was also clean and in a good location. This hotel checked all of those boxes, Plus it was super close to the train station. Being close to the train station was a huge perk due to all the stairs in Venice. You will have to take stairs over the canals in order to get to your hotel, so the closer to the train station, the less stairs you have to take with luggage.
My recommendation, for convenience, is to stay near the train station, however some of the more popular places to stay are near San Marco.
When to Go:
I went October 11-12 and the weather was perfect. The temperature was around 75 degrees and sunny. Be sure to avoid Acua Alta, also known as “Venice Underwater.” This most often occurs form late October to January. The city will be completely flooded and you will have to tread through high water in order to get anywhere. You will find that going to Venice in the off season will not only help you avoid crowds, but also save you money on hotels.
*Insider tip - I don’t recommend staying in Venice for very long. The city is small, and can be seen in a couple of days. Plus, Venice is expensive, and there are many other beautiful places in Italy that are much more affordable.
How to get there:
You can fly into VCE (Venice Marco Polo) or you can train into either Venezia Mestre (station on the mainland) or Saint Lucia Venezia (station on the island). If you train into Venezia Mestre or fly into VCE you will either need to take a water taxi or train over to Venice the island. If you train straight into Saint Lucia then you are on the island.