Destinations in Italy - Venice Travel Guide
Published by: Heather Loriece
In June of 2020, the EU opened its borders to Americans with proof of vaccination and/or a series of negative covid tests, so as a travel photographer, I was ready to fly! This was the first European trip we had taken in a year and half and my stomach was full of butterflies. We chose Venice because we've heard that it gets seriously overcrowded with tourists in the summer, but because of the travel restrictions, we figured there would be less tourists than usual. We were right. It was lively but not overcrowded. Post pandemic, I'd recommend traveling to Venice during the off season in late September through early May.
I won't go into covid guidelines and restrictions because they are changing daily! For this type of detailed information, check out The Points Guy. They have all of the latest information for travel.
You'll want to either fly into VCE Venice Marco Polo Airport or take a train* to the Venice Santa Lucia station. Venice does not allow any cars on the island so from either of these, you'll likely need to take a boat to your hotel.
Train station transfer, click here
Airport shared transfer, click here
Airport private transfer, click here
You can also take the local water taxi, called a Vaporetto. It's the most affordable option at just a few Euros each way. Check with your hotel for which line(s) you'll need to take.
*For train tickets, I always book in advance with Rail Europe.
WHERE TO STAY
There are tons of excellent hotels in Venice. We stayed at H10 Palazzo Canova and LOVED it! Now, this hotel is in city center, the heart of the tourist area. As I mentioned earlier, Venice wasn't overcrowded when we visited, so it was very convenient to stay so centrally located in San Polo near the Rialto Bridge. If you visit in peak season, stay further out in Cannaregio, Castello or Dorsoduro.
The rooftop bar & restaurant was everything! It was so relaxing to sit up there after a long day, enjoy an Aperol Spritz and watch the boats cruise by.
SIGHTS NOT TO MISS
- San Marco Square: Basilica di San Marco and Doge's Palace
- Bridge of Sighs
- The Grand Canal and Rialto Bridge on a Gondola
You might have heard that Gondola rides are touristy and overpriced, and that's actually accurate, however, I highly recommend it. I absolutely loved it and would do it again! It was a beautiful way to see the city.
Gondoliers are regulated and all charge the same price, so you won't find a cheaper price away from the Grand Canal. The rate also increases at peak time. For example, we took a ride at 7:00pm (30 minutes) for 100 USD and only realized after, that before 7:00pm, the price was 80 USD. The sunset was truly beautiful but after tipping the Gondolier, it's something to consider.
No need to book this in advance. There are plenty of Gondoliers across the city.
If you love wine, we did a wine day in the Prosecco region. When I say this this was one of my most favorite regions to visit, I mean it! The scenery was stunning and so green. The Prosecco didn't disappoint either ;)
We visited two wineries and they were all fantastic. Lunch was at the tour guide's family owned osteria and I can't even explain how much great food there was! It was such a memorable experience.
This is the tour we booked, click here.
Tell Carlo, 527 Photo says hi!
Another day trip idea is to take the water taxi to Murano and Burano islands. Murano is famous for blown glass and Burano is a colorful fisherman's village. We ran out of time and didn't get to do this and I'm really sad we missed it!
EATS & DRINKS
To no one's surprise, the food in Venice is delicious! Here are the standouts:
- CoVino - A very small osteria with only about 7 tables. Make a reservation.
- Rosa Rossa - The gluten free pizza was tutto bene!
- Bar Venetico - Nothing fancy here but you'll find 4 Euro glasses of wine and in Venice, that's hard to come by!
Venice is expensive, just be prepared. But, if you venture deep into the narrow alleyways, you'll find better prices and a more authentic experience.
If you're gluten free like me, Venice has a plethora of restaurant options! We had pizza, pasta, and dessert. I was never happier. Most restaurants make a note of GF on the menu or signs hanging in front of the restaurant.
I'm not much of a shopper while traveling, but I did spend some time browsing the Italian leather handbags. I got two small bags for under 20 USD each and they are very high quality. Again, venture deep into San Marco to find the best deals.
Venice is such a special destination and I'm so thankful we finally got to visit. Have fun planning your adventure to Venice and eats lots of pasta!
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