Venice; Dos and Donts!

Venice; Dos and Donts!

So I recently came back from a short trip to Venice, and wanted to share my thoughts to help you decide what to do there and possibly what to avoid.

At first, after reading my fair share of Venice blogs, I was worried that it would be super expensive because most were warning you of the high prices but to be honest, I was pleasantly surprised at how little I spent. With the exception of buying food or drink right on St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco) where the violinists serenade you as you sip your 50 euro coffee, everywhere else is fairly reasonable working out about the same as English prices and sometimes less!  And because I had done my own research, I proved that you can do Venice on a budget; it ended up being one of the cheapest city breaks I’ve ever been on. So I decided to make my own little list of Do’s and Don’ts to make the most of the beautiful city without spending crazy amounts of money!

So lets get started:

DO – Take the water taxi down the Grande Canal. Water taxi (Vaporetto) line 1 or 2 when travelling from the airport, this takes you straight down the Grande Canal giving you some truly amazing photo opportunities and if you don’t want you spend 80 euro on a Gondola (like me) this is just as impressive, especially if you time your journey alongside sunrise or sunset! Here are some snaps from my Vaporetto rides;

water taxi1

water taxi3

water taxi2

DO – Make time in your Venice trip to visit the neighboring islands; Murano, Burano and Torcello. Each have such a unique character and are definitely worth seeing. There are two ways you can visit the islands surrounding Venice;

1. You can organise it yourself, by purchasing a 1 or 2 day ticket for the water taxi (Vaporetto) and spend as much time on the islands as you like (1 day ticket is 20 euro and doesn’t include anything else). If you are only in Venice for 2 or 3 days, this may not be the best option as it could be time consuming.

2. You can buy a 20 euro ticket to an organised excursion . This is a short trip that takes around 5 hours, visiting all three islands and a tour guide that educates you along the way (these tour guides deserve a shout out for speaking 5 languages)! You have around 50 minutes to an hour on each island; including glass making demonstrations in Murano and lace making in Burano. I’m not usually one for a touristy excursion but as many people are not in Venice for long, it was perfect! Here are some pics from my trip;

Murano

 

Murano

Murano is famous for its glass making factories, dating back to the 1200’s.

Glass Horse

We watched this glass horse be created in under 5 minutes! It takes the glass makers at least 10 years to get to this level!

 

 

Burano

Burano

The colourful houses of Burano, famous for the amazingly talented ladies who create beautiful, intricate lace.

 

Torcello

torcello

Torcello

Torcello is a quaint island, with only around 10 inhabitants, a few restaurants and a cathedral.

DO – ask locals for advice on where to go/eat/drink whenever you can. The lovely lady at our Hostel (Boutique San Marco) gave us so many money saving tips and recommended some delicious restaurants that served proper Italian food.

DO – avoid visiting St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco) in the middle of the day, it is crazy with tourists, at times you can hardly move!

It is much more peaceful in the evening!

It is much more peaceful in the evening!

DO – haggle at souvenir shops and at stalls. You can almost always knock a euro or two off, every penny helps!

DO – be prepared for being approached every 2 minutes by men trying to sell you random cheap tat like selfie sticks, fake designer handbags and weird squishy balls!

DO – go to the Opera. I had never been to an opera before and we walked past it on our first night and thought how amazing it would be to go to the Opera in Venice, but we assumed it would be too expensive. The next day we were approached in the street by a young man selling tickets to the same opera and we were surprised to see that student tickets were only 22 euro!  What a great show it was and the musicians were just incredible.

DO – visit a museum or exhibition. Venice is full of them! We visited the Peggy Guggenheim collection in her old home and it was great, very reasonably priced at 9 euro entry for students and some amazing pieces of art in her collection including work from Picasso.

DO – watch the sunrise! We were initially dreading our 5am wake up on the morning of our flight home. However, we soon appreciated it, walking through St. Mark’s square to our water taxi, it was so peaceful with only the street cleaners wandering around, such a difference to the square in the day! We watched the sun rise from the water taxi down the Grande Canal, beautiful! Take a look;

sunrise 5

sunrise2

sunrise3

DO – if you can, go for at least 3 days. I was there for 4 full days and never felt rushed once. Many people staying in our hostel were there for 1 or 2 days and although they had the time to visit all the main places, they felt slightly rushed. Whereas we were able to visit everywhere we wanted and still had time to wander the streets of Venice and get lost, with no plans, hopping in and out of shops and just stopping for a drink where we felt like it.

bridge of sighs

We stumbled across the ‘Bridge of Sighs’

get lost

And some amazing violinists on a random square!

DON’T – expect amazing nightlife. After meeting some locals who were up for partying as much as we were they proceeded to tell us there was only one nightclub in the whole of Venice! So of course we HAD to check it out, and it was probably the size of a garden shed but we did have a great night even if the dance floor was a little cramped! 12 euro entry (free drink included).

DON’T – bother paying 80 euro for a gondola ride. Unless you manage to haggle down the price (which is possible at the right time of day) or if you find people to share with. In my opinion, its really not worth it if you’re travelling to Venice on a budget, you get the same amazing views on the water taxi for 7 euro!

DON’T – buy souvenirs from anywhere within a 5 minute walk from St. Mark’s square or Rialto Bridge. If you wander slightly further out you will find all of the same stuff for much cheaper, with many of the shops having 50% off everything.

DON’T – buy ice cream/ gelato from St. Mark’s square or within 5 minute walk, again if you go that little bit further out, you’ll find it much cheaper!

DON’T – eat at restaurants that have more than two languages on their menu. We learnt that the fewer languages on the menu, the more authentic Italian style food you get!

 

I hope you found this list useful! Feel free to contact me with any questions, email is on my site 🙂

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