Venice, Venezia, City of water, Serenissima…Whatever you want to call it Venice remains a sanctuary on a lagoon and has been left unchanged for over 600 years. Slowly falling apart and slowly sinking, the romantic charm remains, bringing in thousands of tourists each year.
how to get to Venice?
Venice has a train station and is very popular amongst interrailers, once alighting the train you will probably need to locate a boat to get you to your desired island.
Venice also is the home to quite a big port and every few days or so you will see massive cruise liners along the Grand Canal.
Airport. The Venetian airport is located on the mainland. It’s around a €15 water bus to San Marco and takes around an hour to get there.
Weather in Venice
Venice in the summer has a reputation of smelling like feet. Though this is true to some extent, once you get past the smell you’ll really appreciate the aquamarine waterways. The smell is caused by yes, hot weather in the summer. In peak season it can reach up to 40c although the average is around 28C. As the days get shorter and the nights draw in you will find autumn temperatures at around 16C. Winter can occasionally bring in snow and cause the Piazza to flood but is normally around 9C. Finally, as the buds burst and spring arrives, Venice prepares for summer and spring temperatures are often between 12 and 22C. Rainfall is spread across the year and Venice can be extremely humid.
where to stay in Venice?
Common knowledge to some and perhaps not so for others, Venice is composed of 118 Islands and the main districts are known as: San Polo, San Marco, Dorsoduro, Castello and Cannaregio. These are where the main monuments are located and where you will find the most tourist, restaurants and bars. Although it may seem expensive to stay on the main island, it’s well worth it, the only mode of transport in the city is boat and these can often rack up a few euros. The best way to get around the main island is to walk, it’s the best way to take in all the sites…but take a map, there are signs pointing to the main attractions but, It literally is a maze.
Piazza de San Marco. You can’t visit Venice without stumbling upon this. So if it’s not on your list it should be. Filled with infamous pigeons, Gelato and bars, restaurants galore, you can find the piazza constantly buzzing with tourists. At the eastern end you will find St Marks Basillica, which is free to enter. It is also home to the famous Caffe Quadri, during the day an excellent spot for lunch and at night a dinning experience, not to dissimilar to James Bond, dinning by candlelight and being serenaded by live band, Venetian style.
The bell tower, promising fantastic views over the Piazza de San Marco is also a must visit. It’s €8 entry and don’t worry if you don’t like climbing stairs, necessary for most old buildings in Italy. This tower has a lift.
The Rialto Bridge. Much more than a bridge, but also home to one of the most popular markets in Venice. To the east lies many shops, bars and restaurants and to the west, a farmers market. The shops here are slightly cheaper, so a perfect place to purchase that Venetian mask you’ve always wanted.
Obviously there’s a fair few museums and churches which can be found dotted around the city, my advice would be to find one you really want to go to, and do just the one. One place I will recommend however, is not a church or a museum, but a bar and a bar not to miss. The Hilton Molino Stucky is a great place to spend a final night in the city, or just even to celebrate. Situated on Giuddecca Island, just 5 mins across the water from San Marco, the panoramic bar not only offers splendid views but tasty snacks, sushi and drinks. Maybe a little pricey, but well worth it.
There are some wonderful restaurants to try out in Venice. Ranging from your basic pizza and pasta to cuttlefish ink sauces and fabulous risottos. Choosing where too eat, can be tricky. Around San Marco, prices for just basic meals are extremely inflated. If you want a traditional Venetian dinning experience, there are some beautiful places down by the side of the Rialto bridge, where there’s enough candles and fairy lights for everyone. If it’s something cheaper you want then there are plenty of trattorias to make sure you are fed. note: Venetian pizza is known to be the worst in Italy… So don’t get your hopes up.
Anything I’ve missed out on?
Yes. You have to go on a gondola. Although it’s €80, it’s per gondola. So if there’s a group of you it doesn’t work out expensive at all. Money aside, you have to do it. It’s Venice after all, it’s a tradition.
You also need to try the fabulous Gelato. Available in almost every flavour one could desire, you’ll find something you want.