Travel Blog

The City of Venice – Not Just a Trip For the Romantics

Venice is not just a trip for couples madly in love. It’s a trip for the history lovers, the foodies and the explorers too. We live in the UK, so a trip to this beautiful city is just a 2-hour plane ride. We didn’t have much annual leave but thankfully we had a public holiday in May, which we took advantage of (it would be rude not to).

On this trip, we took a Gondola ride (it’s expensive but you have to), went on numerous free walking tours, which were awesome by the way. We indulged in some mouth watering gelatos, as well as sampling the local cuisines, including Tagliolini, Cicchetti, and of course Pizza. We even managed to squeeze in a day trip to Treviso (the home of Tiramisu, so obviously we had some of that too!). All of our trip details are below as well as links to pre-book. Venice has lots to offer and is definitely not just a trip for the romantics. So let’s get into it!

If you fancy just a quick browse of this article, these are the topics covered in order.

  1. Accommodation & Transfers
  2. Gondola Trips
  3. Free Walking Tours
  4. A Free View of Venice
  5. Day trips from Venice – Our Trip to Treviso (The Home of Tiramisu)
  6. Where did we eat in Venice?…
  7. Frequently Asked Questions

 

1.Accommodation & Transfers

We decided not to stay on the main Island of Venice for a couple of reasons:

1) It’s super expensive in our opinion to stay on the main island, even if it’s an AirBnb. Travelling to the main island, staying just off it, is also super easy, significantly cheaper and was recommended to us by friends before we headed out there.

2) As beautiful as mainland Venice is, we heard it can feel slightly claustrophobic in a sense that you are surrounded by lots of small gullies and streets. 

 

 

So where did we stay…

The photo above is a picture of the apartment block we stayed in.

We opted for an AirBnb just off the main island. Generally, the reason we picked it, was because of it’s location. Situated right next to a tram stop and bus stop, it’s easy to get about in Venice, but it’s also a short walk from the main train station, so if you do want to take a trip to another town or city in Italy, it’s easy enough to do so. Exact details of our accommodation can be found here on AirBnb.

Transfers

So we flew into Marco Polo Airport. We couldn’t find and trains running from there, but managed to find a bus service, to Venice train station, which was near our AirBnb. It cost around 7.12 Euros each way return. We’ve included the link here to book if you’re interested. We took a bus to Mestre Centre, Venice where our AirBnb was. We could have walked from the station, but on the first day we just wanted to get our bearings straight. All in all it was pretty easy to organise and easy to get to our accommodation too.

2. Gondola Trips

So Gondolas are what a lot of people travel to Venice for. When we arrived we’d already heard about the 80 Euro price tag, which is steep, but we thought of it as a one off experience, so had the money ready to pay. It’s important to note you pay the price for the Gondola and not per person (maximum of 6 people) and it’s worth bearing in mind that if you do share and split the cost with other people, you may not necessarily be sitting next to your own party as people are organised by weight distribution. Therefore, if you are a couple we receommmend to just pay the 80 Euros for your own Gondola.

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Length of trip: 30 minute trip covering local canals and the Grand Canal.

Cost: 80 Euros in the day (Until 7pm), 100 Euros in the evening (After 7pm).

Where to get a Gondola: Gondoliers are usually around canal bridges, there’s a lot of them as well around the Grand Canal.

When to take a Gondola…

If you’re travelling to Venice on the weekday, do it as soon as possible in the day is our advice. If you leave it till the weekend you’re likely to experience Gondola congestion, which can hamper the overall trip across the Venetian canals. You may also be able to haggle a little during the weekdays. We were able to get a deal for 70 Euros for the both of us, but we think this is largely due to it being quieter on Thursday afternoon when we arrived.

Just want to take a picture on a Gondola without spending a fortune…

If you just want to take a photo on a Gondola for your Instagram or just for yourself, and you’re not that bothered about the 30-minute trip, you can cross the Grand Canal in a Gondola for 2 Euros. Bear in mind though that this trip will only be 5 minutes if that.

 

Where to go to get this short and cheap Gondola trip: As you’re walking around Venice, look for yellow or white “Traghetto” signs, or find traghetto routes on your map.

3. Free Walking Tours

These tours were definitely the highlight of our trip to Venice. As well as covering the textbook history of Venice, the tour guides also include many weird and wonderful practices of the past that you would never be aware of, unless you do these tours. For instance, did you know the Venetians invented the practice of dying their hair blonde with their pee! Yep, its true. Anyway we won’t go into it anymore as we’d hate to ruin it for you.

We were initially booked on one tour. We enjoyed it so much, we ended up going on another two, before leaving. Here’s a brief overview of the tours we went on. Links included as well, should you want to book too! 

Venice Through the Centuries North

During this tour you’ll get an introduction of how Venice came to exist as we know it, the role Venice played within the Global Market in the 13/14th century in addition to key landmarks that you would not notice as well. The Tour Guides themselves, are all licensed and we found them to be very approachable and keen to answer any questions we had.

Time of tour: 11 am

Length of Tour – 2.5 hours (No breaks)

Language: English

Roughly covers about a 1/3 of the city

If you’re looking to book – click here

Evening tour of St Marks Square

 

We really enjoyed this tour as the square is home to some really important buildings in Venice’s history. The Doges (Rulers of Venice) would live in this square, the iconic Saint Mark’s Basilica is here too. We don’t want to give too much away here, but it’s worth a visit.

Time of tour: 8pm

Length of tour: 1.5 hours (No breaks)

Language: English

Only covers St Marks Square.

We booked this tour with the guide after we went on the morning tour, and it’s not advertised on their website. It may be worth doing that too, to see if you enjoy them.

Venice Through the Centuries South

This tour was fantastic, possibly our favourite if we had to pick. Here you learn some history of the bridges of Venice, a bit of depth into the more important ones, a bit of background in to the life of a famous resident of Venice – Peggy Guggenheim, her art and previous occupants of the gallery. The tour includes some iconic views of Venice we really enjoyed too.

Time of tour: 9.30 am

Length of Tour – 2.5 hours (No breaks)

Language: English

Roughly covers about a 1/3 of the city.

If you’re looking to book – click here

4. A Free View of Venice

Rather than paying good money to go up to the Bell Tower in St Marks Square (If you are only going for the view of course), the T Fondaco Dei Tedeschi rooftop is great (you need to book, but it’s free), best of all it’s right next to Rialto Bridge so you can couple this outing with another trip pretty easily. We recommend booking early as they only have a limited number of spaces for each time slot and they get booked up really quickly.

If you’re looking to book this free view: click here

5. Day trips from Venice – Our Trip to Treviso (The Home of Tiramisu)

We were actually planning on going to Florence for the day from Venice, but felt the train journey was too long each way (2 hours), and costed too much (roughly around 200 Euros at the time of writing this post. We decided to visit Treviso instead, because it was the home of Tiramisu (which we love anyway) but also had a food market and some interesting history too.

The town itself is surrounded by a wall, where the food market is hosted. We found a stall selling home made pastas, and it’s here we had possibly the best Gnocchi we have ever had. Honestly nothing like we had ever tasted before. There’s a historical part of the town called Il Borgo, which we mooched around for a bit too.

It’s a nice wander out of Venice if you want to see something different. Half a day is plenty, but if you feel like a change, want to try the local trains, its definitely worth a visit.

6. Where did we eat in Venice?…

Everyone wants to know the best places to eat and drink when visiting a new country and we’re always keen to ask our friends and family before we travel out to any destination. On this trip its fair to say we made some good and bad decisions, so here’s some food we think you should try. Theres also links to places we visited. Also, we’ll go over some tips on what to avoid when choosing somewhere to eat and drink in Venice as well as the names of places that we would recommend.

 

Cicchetti – This is best described as an Italian Tapas equivalent, served on slices of a baguette usually, with different toppings such as Mozzarella and Tomato, Cured Ham as well as fish. Here’s an example below. We visited a placed called Veno Vera. Each Cicchetti piece costs around 2.50 Euros. which is expensive by normal standards, but reasonable by Venetian standards.

 

 

Crab and Tomato Tagliolini – Fresh Tagliolini, soft crab and super tasty tomatoes, this dish was our favourite main, over the course of our holiday. The restaurant, Osteria Ae Sconte is slightly expensive in our opinion, with mains going upwards of 22 Euro per dish, but in this instance, the food is well worth it in our opinion;

Tiramisu – We’ve mentioned how much we loved this desert. You should absolutely try it in Treviso, given it’s said to be from there. However, we enjoyed it the most at the same restaurant, Osteria Ae Sconte, as above. Honestly so lovely, we’d recommend you try it out for sure.

Pizza is obviously great but everywhere is pretty standard in our opinion (some like it more than others..ahem) is great too..but in our opinion, all the vendors charge similar prices and they are all good too.

 

General tips for choosing a restaurant

  • If there are photos of food outside the restaurant – avoid it.
  • If you’re on the Grand Canal and people are trying to usher you in, again avoid it. We’d advise against having dinner on the Grand Canal. The food isn’t very good, and neither are the prices.
  • Try to get lost, don’t be too picky on the decor of the eatery you’re looking at. If it’s busy it’s good.

7. Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best month to go to Venice?

The best time to go to Venice is April, May, September, and October. We went to Venice from 23rd May – 27th May, and the weather was perfect, 27 degrees Celsius/ 80.6 degrees Fahrenheit

Does Venice smell?

Yes a bit, although to be honest we’ve smelt worse. We didn’t really notice it too much to be honest.

Can you see Venice in a day or 2 days?

Yes, you can absolutely enjoy Venice for a day or two days. There are options to go to neighboring islands in Murano and Burano, but if you’re only going for a couple of days we’d recommend that you skip it.

How much money should I take?

So we used a prepaid travel card loaded with just over 300 Euros. but also took 100 Euro cash. This generally worked well as most places did accept cash, however there were a couple of occasions where some cafes didn’t accept card and Gondoliers only accept cash too, so we had to draw out some money, so we probably should have taken a little more cash.

But the prepaid card is generally good as you can track your spend pretty easily, and it gives you a running log using the app. Any left over money can be used on another holiday too, even if it’s international.

In Summary…

Venice has a lot to offer, and there’s plenty to do and see without spending too much. We hope we’ve highlighted this with our tips of staying off the main island, booking the free Venice walking tours as well as the free view of Venice. Of course there are some activities that you need to shell out for especially if you are going for a special occasion, for instance the gondola ride, but if you decide to go for a trip in the day as opposed to night you can save a little. There is also always the option of taking a short trip on a Gondola across the Grand Canal for 2 Euros, which is alright, if you’re looking for a quick selfie or photograph. 

If you enjoyed this article please let us know about it, we love your feedback. We’ve got other articles our Travel Blog for other places we’ve travelled to, Travel Tips and Tricks as well as our Travel Well for Less section on this website.

 

 

6 Comments

  • Fran Bennett

    What a wonderful sneak peek into the beautiful city of Venice.
    I loved the way you shared some interesting and cost neutral activities.
    Great minds think alike! When travelling we normally choose restaurants based on how busy they are and not by fancy advertising or over zealous spruikers. We’ve been caught out on more than one occasion by food that barely resembles anything photographed on the menu!
    Thank you so much for a truly informative article.

    • The Binge Traveller

      Hi Fran, I think the cost neutral activities are key to enjoying Venice without spending too much. We were very conscious of Venice being expensive before we went out there. We hope this article helps!

  • Mina

    I enjoyed reading about your trip.

    Venice is on my list, and reading your post somehow helped me to visualize what to expect.
    What I like the most is the food part.

    I definitely agree with you when you said to avoid those people who are already outside ready to usher you in
    plus if the place is busy, the chance of getting good food with good prices are high.

    • The Binge Traveller

      Absolutely, we apply the rule of going where it’s busiest generally to be honest. With Venice you have find some excellent places that aren’t super expensive, but you have to look beyond the restaurants on the canal and the obvious hot spots.

  • Derek Marshall

    Great photography!. I gotta say, you have me in the mood for a real Tiramisu, really hard to find, but we do have a coffee version here (minus the red wine)…

    Curious, I am not a fan of airB&B at all, what are the alternative accommodation like in Venice for a similar price range?

    • The Binge Traveller

      Thanks Derek, appreciate the comments. OK no problem at all, there are a range of hotels and hostels on the main island in Mestre centre. You can take a look at these on popular booking sites like Trivago or booking.com.

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