My Venice Trip !

IMG_20180120_100638_390Venice was that dream you never want to wake from. Enchanting, fascinating and drop dead gorgeous! Every corner you turn, you walk deeper into some real-life professional watercolour painting. It is everything and more that you saw while watching The Tourist featuring Angelina Jolie? (Please tell me you saw it?) It’s like no place I’ve ever been especially as there are canals intertwining throughout the whole city. Venice and Italy in general is so cultured and unique but yet Venice is incomparable to any other city in Italy. Each City has it’s own unique characteristic, Amalfi known for it’s beautiful cliff drives and beaches which encapsulates holiday makers from every part of the world! It’s fair to say you can’t flick through instagram without coming across the beautiful Italian landscapes, in particular Venice where the bright red, blue and yellow skies reflect on the town’s green rivers full of luxury beautiful gondolas. It’s almost like a maze of canals and small streets, whimsical bridges, and colourful buildings. And as with all mazes, you should prepare to find yourself lost a time or two……….which is all part of the fun and usually when you find the best parts of the city!

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Stansted Airport before our Flight

TIP: 3 days is enough time to spend in Venice,  a week would be far too long for me! Venice isn’t the place you go if you are looking for nightlife and a party trip, its relaxed and the best part of it is the scenery !

Getting There

Spend some time researching the airport you will fly into beforehand. I suggest flying into Marco Polo airport (Yes, this means not flying with Ryanair). You will be able to get 1 boat journey directly to the front door of your hotel and imagine rocking up on a boat from the airport? Globetrotter goals right there! I paid £25 return from London- Treviso Airport (TSF) and while it was cheap it meant a lot of transport was required on the other side and it became quite expensive!

Treviso is a small airport located 30 km from the city centre and receives regular charter flights. It is sometimes referred to as the San Giuseppe airport and although small, the arrivals hall contains a tourist information booth, bureau de change and three car hire companies – Hertz, Avis and Eurocar. There is also an ATM there too and I would suggest taking money out there as unless you are in the main shopping area of Venice we had to search for working ATMs. Definitely bring Euro with you. The exchange rate wasn’t good in Venice and there was only one place you could change money (Mark’s square).

If you do decide to fly with Ryanair to Treviso airport, you will pay €27 euro for 2 people  for the Ryanair bus to get over the bridge and that doesn’t even take you to the main part of Venice you will then need to pay €30 return for 2 people to get the ferry over to the main part of Venice! Don’t book your ferry from the bus station in Venice to the main part as it is cheaper to get it once you go to the ticket office in Venice!

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Transport

We noticed on day one, that nobody was checking our tickets while we entered the boat. We had one of those ‘ did we waste money on free transport moments?’

Well………..You can legally board Venice’s public transport without a ticket……as long as you immediately notify the boat personnel and buy a ticket on the spot. Otherwise, if the boat is “spot-checked” for tickets, you can be told you’ll have to pay hundreds of euros in fines. Make sure, too, that you always validate your tickets by running them through the small, yellow or white machines near the entrance.

If you would like to go to Burano from Venice take the number 12 ferry which is about 30 minutes and costs 15 euro return for one person! It is a tiny island but well worth the visit as all the houses are colourful and it’s a Kodak moment!

One thing we did wonder about Venice, is will we have to take a boat everywhere or will we be able to walk. Venice is a pedestrian’s city. Unless you’re taking water taxis or floating buses, you’ll be walking. You can cross the canals by foot using bridges or you can take a “traghetto” (a gondola) for 2 EUR. If you need to get to places that are a bit further or your feet need a break, the floating buses, or “vaporetto,” cost 7.50 EUR for a one way, one hour trip. A 1-day ticket is 20 EUR and a 7-day pass is 60 EUR.

Get the Venezia Unica Pass – If you are going to do lots of sightseeing, this pass will give you discounts to the top museums, tours, and attractions. It is priced to save you money when compared to buying separate tickets. You go online and pick out what you want to see ahead of time. The price varies depending on what you want to see.

Hotels

We stayed in one of the smallest luxury hotels of the world called The Liasiddi Palace! It was beautiful but we were slightly disappointed with it as you could hear others in the rooms around you and as we were not members of the Luxury hotels of the World group, they gave us the room without the canal view. Other than that, the beds were extremely comfortable, it was a 5 minute walk from St Mark’s Square and the staff were very friendly. If you are planning on travelling alone I would advise not to stay there as there are some very dark alley ways you will need to walk through to get there. It was 95 pound each for 2 nights and a 4 star hotel so we thought it was well worth it. Whatever you do don’t stay in the 3 star hotels in Venice, most of them looked so run down and had graffiti all over the walls. I feel like the 3 stars in Ireland are set to such a higher standard than the ones in Italy, France etc…

If you are looking for a more luxurious find, The Gritti Palace is one of the World’s most famous hotels. The majestic Gritti Palace is where history and culture are met with renewed Venetian style. A place of exceptional art and elegance, the restored Gritti Palace retains it’s reassuringly intimate and familiar feel. The Gritti is known for impassioned service, a delectable culinary experience and an intimate wellness haven. The reference point for the world’s elite at international city events such as the Biennale, Carnival and the Venice Film Festival.

 While walking around The Gritti Palace, you will find signed Photographs from Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansson, Brad Pitt etc.

While budget hotels can be found for as little as €65 per night, you’ll likely have to pay double that — or more — if you plan on staying right in the centre. Breakfast is usually included though. On Airbnb, you can find shared rooms starting around €20 per night or you can rent entire homes starting at €45  and up.  As we stayed in January, I’m sure the prices are so much more expensive in peak season June – September!

The Famous Gritti Palace! Visit for Tea and Biscotti for €10!

Outfits I packed

Italy is a very fashionable place so there is always that pressure to bring some pretty floral dresses. While waiting for our flight back to Venice I observed every group of tourists disembark from the planes (love people watching). Not one plane didn’t contain a passenger with a fedora style hat! ME being one of them haha! I loved wearing red in Venice as it stands out in pictures with the green canals ! Not that I planned it or anything, not that organised and everyone who knows me knows that I am so laid back! Which can sometimes be a bad thing! Bring nice comfortable shoes as you will be walking over so many bridges!

 

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Jacket: Missguided

Dress: Missguided

Hat: H&M

 

 

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Restaurants

Sitting down at a cafe in Venice costs more than anywhere else in Italy

You may have heard this before: Anywhere in Italy, when you sit down with that coffee at a cafe or bar, the price goes up. If you drink the same coffee, and eat the same cornetto, standing at the counter, the price is lower. (That’s why you’ll see so many Italians eating at the counter).

On the first night we had a tasty meal at Ristorante Alla Conchiglia. This was the best food we had in Venice. I got the seafood tagliatelle because I absolutely love seafood!! They also give you the right amount of food too. The food was great but unfortunately the service was a little bit slow and they were serving all the local people before us but I think you will get that in many places! Don’t let that put you off, I would definitely still go there!

Restaurant Cafe Saraceno- They were soooo friendly in this restaurant. The manager stood talking to us for 15 minutes telling me about his wife who is from Scotland. They were all smiling and the atmosphere here was buzzing. The only thing about this restaurant was it is very expensive and I eat small portions but even for me I was hungry after it! 13% service charge was included in the bill and 4 euro comporto fee too which made it very expensive although it was right under Rialto Bridge so that is probably why!

I would say Don’t eat at Piazza San Marco – This is the area with the most tourist, hence making it much more expensive. Avoid eating here at all costs, not matter how tempting the cafe patios might be.

Near The Liasiddi Palace you will find the Crazy Bar cafe where we had breakfast one morning. Right across from that café you will find a restaurant that has pizza for €6 and very cheap main meals!! If you are hoping to save a bit of money you should definitely go there! I cant remember the name of the restaurant I think it was called Trattoria Dalla Marisa!

 

Tourist Attractions

1. Rialto BridgeIMG_20180120_134240_504

The oldest bridge on the Grand Canal and is one of the famous picture taking spots in Venice. There are little tourist shops all across the bridge. I don’t care much for the tourist shops, but it’s a fun place to take some pictures and get a great view of the canal. You will also see (and probably go under) this bridge if you take a Grand Canal Tour.

2. Gondola Ride or Water Taxi

 We absolutely loved the gondolas. It was an expensive 30 minute journey for 40 euro each but it was a good experience.
 
 
 

3. Saint Mark’s Basilica!

Probably one of the most popular tourist stops in Venice, and it is a must. The architecture alone is enough to go and just stare at, but even better–you can go inside! Oh, and did I mention–it’s FREE. We love when we get to do cool stuff for free. There was a small line, but it only took us about 5 minutes to get inside…so don’t let the line scare you away.
4. St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco)
It really is a breath-taking scene. Take time to stop and admire the architecture and enjoy some people watching. No matter what time of the year, this place will be bustling with tourists–so if you don’t like large crowds you may need to hurry through this one, but it’s definitely worth a stop.
5. Scala Contarini del Bovolo
This round tower with great views of Venice is tricky to find! Google Maps won’t bring you to it but it will bring you to a small square garden area and you will need to walk through the archway and take a right, then turn left and about 300m on the left there is a small sign pointing left to show you where it is. This information won’t make sense now but it will when you are there, trying to find it. We asked a local lady and she walked with us to show us where it was even though she wasn’t going there. It was so kind of her. I definitely found people in Venice a lot more friendly than locals in Amalfi but it might have been due to the time of year. There were less tourists in January!!
6. Burano (A Must!) Burano is known for its colourful, block-like buildings. The government actually regulates house-painting on this island so the place retains its charm and history. Wander the streets and admire the many art galleries and shops along the way.26814867_10215404687053222_2482254534239307_n
7. Visit Murano Island – Close to Venice, nearby Murano island is the tourist trap home of the famous glass blowers of the famous Murano glass. Although the island is filled with expensive souvenirs (avoid buying anything on the island!), it can still be an educational and fun afternoon learning and watching how the glass is blown.
8. See the Venice Carnival – This is ten days and nights of masquerade madness in February before Lent is quite the party. This tradition goes back centuries and is one of the biggest parties and festivals in Italy. If you have the funds, you can even pay to attend a traditional masquerade ball. Make plans early as the entire city becomes packed and very expensive but it’s a once in the lifetime experience. We just missed the Carnival it is happening next week and I came back from Venice yesterday! Gutted!!
Please let me know if this helps you during your trip to Venice and don’t forget to use my hashtag in your photos so I can see what you get up to!!! #irishtravelkid
Zweena xx
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