Venice is genuinely in a league of its own. I had seen it on pictures before and thought no way can it be that beautiful, but when I visited earlier this year it was even more beautiful than how the pictures portrayed it.
As soon as I boarded the vaporetto (water taxi) towards the Rialto Bridge where our hotel was, it was as though I had become part of a real life water colour painting. Trust me when I say that the pictures in this post do not do it justice.
The sinking city, which is reason enough to visit Venice anyway, is also one of the most romantic cities in the world. I personally think it would be an incredibly romantic experience no matter who you’re with. You’re guaranteed to fall in love with the romance of the place; the labyrinth of alleyways and gelato shops, the singing gondolier’s and the charming, worn buildings.
Basically, add Venice to your wanderlust list! Once you’ve booked your flights, check out my top tips on what to do in Venice.
1) One of the city’s most charming qualities is its maze of quaint streets and canals, each lined with chichetti bars and gelateria. However, this is one maze you really won’t mind getting lost in that’s for sure. Ditch the guidebook one day (maybe not on day one!) and just get lost wandering through Venice, exploring its beauty – with a gelato in your hand of course!
2) Soak up the atmosphere in Piazza San Marco. Home to the Basilica di San Marco, this is Venice’s most famous square. There’s always a queue at the Basilica but it usually moves in about 15-20 minutes. If you want to beat the queues, book online. It’s also worth going back to Piazza San Marco at night when the square comes alive with entertainers and bands performing outside of restaurants. The Basilica is also lit up at night and looks spectacular. If you’re travelling with a partner, this is definitely worth adding to your date night agenda.
3) For a bird’s eye view over Venice, take the vaporetto from San Marco to the Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore. Visit the Chiesa di San Giorgio Maggiore, essentially the only reason for visiting the island, and let the lift whisk you up to the top of the 60m bell tower. Once at the top you’ll get to see an amazing view out over Venice. It’s a great, much cheaper alternative to San Marco’s bell tower and the queues are practically non- existent.
4) Visit the glass making island of Murano. The vaporetto ride over to Murano is cheap and gives you yet another chance to take in the amazing views of Venice. There’s not much else to do on Murano other than visit the Museo del Vetro, but it’s well worth the trip. If you’re visiting in summer, take water! The glass making factory is fantastic. Within 15 minutes we saw one of the sculptors craft a unicorn from a hot furnace.
5) Experience the luxury of Gritti Palace. Located right on the edge of the grand canal, Gritti Palace was restored in 2013 and is definitely worth a visit. This luxurious hotel would no doubt be amazing to stay in but if you’re not in the money, I’d recommend doing what we did and basically going for a nosey about and enjoying a cocktail on the waters edge. It’s worth noting that you should dress up for the occasion and in my opinion it’s the perfect way to end a night in Venice. You can even get your own private water taxi or gondola from the bar to take you straight back to your hotel. The cocktails are expensive but worth every cent for their fruity deliciousness – and we got free snacks with them too! Check out the view you can enjoy while sipping on a drink below.
6) Live and shop like a Venetian at the Rialto market and Pescaria, Venice’s 600-year-old fish market. I’m a firm believer that when you go on holiday you should do as the locals do, and this market is a great way to start. You don’t have to buy anything, but just walking around the colourful stalls and soaking up the vibrant atmosphere will give you a taste of life in Venice. If you want an actual taste, the Pescaria is great for picking up some snacks as you walk around.
Just a few tips for you there and I’d love to hear yours too if you’ve been to Venice. You can Tweet me @HannahBryan91 or using #hannahshappypace