If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you may have noticed I traveled to Venice, Italy, last month. It was my third time in Italy – the first couple of visits were Rome and Milan. Let me start by telling you Venice is very different from your typical European cities. Come think of it, it’s probably unique worldwide. Not many cities are built on water, with buildings literally looking like they have their foundation in the water. Of course, the downsides of visiting such a well-known city are that it is packed with tourists and that the prices are pretty high. We stayed for three full days and had another half a day at departure since our flight was at 5 p.m.
Start at San Marco Square
Probably the most known place in Venice is San Marco Square (Piazza San Marco). Here you’ll find the most famous attractions like the Doge’s Palace, Basilica San Marco, and the Tower. Try to book in advance both for the Tower and the Palace, otherwise, you will waste many hours waiting in line. Basilica San Marco also has a huge line, however, this one goes really fast, so don’t feel discouraged. We didn’t go up to the tower because I was with a friend who gets very bad sickness due to hights. Online photos will, however, tell you it’s all worth it. Plus, there’s an elevator that takes you to the top, so no need to climb an excessive amount of stairs.
Take a walk by the Grand Canal
Once you are done with the main area, I highly recommend you to take a walk by the Grand Canal and go towards the Public Gardens. There’s an area that looks extremely crowded at first, with bridges packed with people, but once you are done with that area your reward will be great. There’s a pretty long portion where you can walk by the canal (think similar to the Promenade des Anglais in Nice) and there’s almost no one around! On your way you will also stumble upon the underrated Naval Museum and, of course, you will arrive at the Public Gardens. Even if you don’t want to spend the extra money for the Museum, the walk itself is worth it, especially after hours spent in the crowded San Marco Square. Enjoy the peace, quiet, and the beauty of the sea.
Go to Murano & Burano
For day two of our trip, we decided to visit Murano and Burano. You are gonna need to take the boat (“Vaporetto”), which is pretty much a bus on water. Murano is known for its glass, with an entire museum dedicated to it and a lot of other shops. I have to admit, I haven’t been very impressed by Murano itself. Yes, the glass art is amazing, but the island itself is not spectacular in my opinion.
Burano, on the other hand, is different. At the moment, Burano is mostly famous for its colorful streets. Each house has a different color, both in the crowded and the non-crowded areas. The main street in Burano has lots of shops & restaurants and you will see here the first thing that made the island famous – lace-making. Unfortunately, all the shops have a no photos rule (even for the exhibits outside) and everything is pretty expensive. But, even if you are on a tight budget, it’s worth the visit.
Aqua Alta Library
It’s not every day that you’re told to visit a library, I know. Aqua Alta however, is a remarkable place, even if you’re not a book fan. The library is located in Venice, not too far from the crowded streets, but far enough to get a peaceful walk down there. It’s location though, has something more interesting. It’s a place where the waters rise often (hence the name “Aqua Alta” – High Water). It rises so much that it enters the library and floods it. Obviously, not something ideal for any bookshop.
As Venice is built on water, the locals can get pretty creative. So in this library, you’ll find books placed in a Gondola or even a bathtub. If you visit at a time when it’s not too full of people, you can even enjoy a book by the canal.
Gondola Ride & Traditional Food
Venice is famous for its gondolas. Since we were a little low on money, we decided to skip it. 30 minutes on a gondola cost 80 euros during the day and 100 euros during the night. We decided we’d save the money and be happy with the Vaporetto ride to the islands. I also hear these rides aren’t exactly smooth and I know I get seasickness, so that was another reason for skipping the ride.
As for the traditional foods, you might think pizza & lasagna are IT, but you’d be wrong. While you’ll find these two at reasonable prices in most restaurants, Venice’s traditional food is actually fish. Sounds logical when you think about it. It is a city on water, after all! Of course, no one should pass on some amazing gelato when traveling to Italy. They can get pretty creative. Below is one I ate – coconut ice cream in a real coconut shell! YUM!
Don’t forget to have fun!
These are the most important things I did in Venice. If you manage to see the same things, great! If you see more, congrats! If you see less, don’t stress about it! Have fun. That’s the most important feature any vacation should have.
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