Hey guys! Before I start about Venice, I want to tell you that I want to try writing in English, because in that way more people will be able to read it (as well as my boyfriend). Of course English is not my mother tongue so hereby I already excuse myself for any mistakes I make in grammar, vocabulary or spelling…
Anyway, I’ve been wanting to tell you all about our trip to Venice in Italy! I hope you enjoyed my last blog about Milan and if you’ve read that, you must know that the next city we visited was Venice. I had never been to Venice before, but it had been a dream of mine for so long. Just to see it once in my life…!
We travelled by train from Milan, via Verona, to Venice. You can find the price of the train ticket in my other post about Milan. When we came closer and closer to Venice, I got more and more excited, because the landscape slowly turned into this beautiful blue water and you just know you’re arriving in Venice. After we got out of the train, we tried to find a ticketoffice to buy tickets for the boats, but we couldn’t find any. We decided to first get out of the train station. And WOW, how amazing! You get out of the trainstation and there is a complete different world. It’s really magical! Every time I think back on it, it gives me a feeling of a movie about life in old days where you see people transporting things on boats on canals. Maybe you can’t follow me in this, but that’s for me the feeling it raises.
Outside the trainstation we found the ticketoffice, so that’s where we went. We got some information and found out that for one way you pay €7,50, for one day-ticket €20,-, for two day-ticket €30,-, for three day-ticket €40,- en for seven day-ticket €60,=. When we heard these prices, we were kind of shocked. That is superexpensive! Because we just started our trip, were a little bit on a tight budget and were just stubborn because we didn’t want to pay this much money, we decided to walk to our hostel. On Google Maps (btw bless Google Maps for always bringing us home safe!) it said our hostel was a 45 minute walk, which sounded okay to us, not good, not bad, but okay. And off we went…
Yup, Venice is all about canals and guess what you need to cross those canals? Bridges, that’s right! And no they are not straight bridges, they are hilly bridges. All the credits for getting us, including our 25 kg suitcase, to the hostel go out to my boyfriend! For me the walk to the hostel was relaxing thanks to him!
Btw, if it’s really hot, please don’t find coolness by diving into a canal. The story goes that the sewerage (riolering) is dumped into the canals, so it might not be a very cooling dive after all. A fun fact is also that when the fire brigade had to extinguish a fire, they had to use that water from the canals. So imagine you’re having a fire in your house, next thing you know you have the sewerage floating in your house as well.
Oh and be careful, because there are multiple ways to be transported over the water. If you want the cheapest, always look for the sign ‘vaporetto’. This is the water bus, as you can call it and is way more cheaper than for example the water taxi’s you also find all through Venice, named as ‘gondola’s’.
After a long walk we arrived at out hostel for the coming night and we were already happy that it wasn’t that far from the ‘center’, it is quite close to San Marco Square. We had to wait for a bit to check in but then finally we checked in and were directed to our room. And seriously I don’t think we could have gotten anything better for the price we paid in Venice. When I was looking for hostels in Venice, I found out very fast that Venice would cost us more than the estimated prices we were used to pay per night in hostels. But that’s okay, Venice is all about tourists and to be honest everyone who visits Venice is obviously willing to pay a bit more for an overnight here.
For one night in this hostel, situated in the area ‘Castello’, we paid €79,- for a private room for two people. The hostel and its common areas is quite hard to judge for me, because we only stayed for one night and that means we just slept here. To be honest, there are a few fridges in the common room but they were all empty so I don’t know what that means. If you are looking for people to meet, I don’t think this hostel is good, but again it’s very hard to judge for me also because we had a private room. The room was big! We had two separated beds, a desk and a separate private bathroom. The only minor thing was the shower, it was just way too small and because of that it was impossible to not flood the bathroom while having a shower.
A nice thing in this hostel is the rooftop, where you can have a nice view of Venice. We went here after we arrived in Venice and took some nice pictures here! Within a short walk from the hostel you can find the waterfront. The first night we just sat along the waterfront with a few beers and some chips and enjoyed the beauty of Venice. Of course when we started to get hungry it was kind of too late to find something to eat. We asked around and we found one place where we were just in time to have a pizza. Don’t ask me where this place was and don’t worry about it either because the pizza was not that good… But we were happy to have our stomachs filled so we could go back to the hostel and sleep after a long day of walking.
I just found out that on the website of booking.com it says that they are not taking any reservations for this hostel, so if you want to find more information about this hostel, please visit their website.
Free Tour Venice
As you might know, what we always do first when we arrive in a city, we book a free tour for the next day. In Venice we were even more thrilled on that because we were just staying for one night and had limited time. We decided to book the early tour at 10 am the next morning with Free Tour Venice. This morning tour is an introduction to the city. If you take the afternoon tour at 4.30 pm it will cover the main landmarks. For more information just visit their website.
There were three girls, who were doing these tours besides their studies. The group of people were divided into two groups and the girl who became our guide was very nice. She came from a city not far from Venice so she could tell us a lot about Venice. With this tour they don’t show you the touristy things in Venice but you wander around the city and visit the more unknown parts of Venice. This is very nice, because throughout the whole city you can find your way to San Marco Square so you don’t need someone to guide you there.
During the tour we stopped somewhere along the Grande Canal for an ice cream. And seriously until today I still regret I didn’t get an ice cream from that particular ice cream store. I tasted a bit and it tasted so nice, but at that moment I didn’t feel like an ice cream and I thought I will get one later. But of course when that time came I actually was craving for ice cream, we couldn’t find this store anymore so I bought an ice cream somewhere else but it just didn’t even come close… So my advice to you: When they stop during the tour at an ice cream store in Venice, and to be honest in whole Italy, don’t hesitate, but get yourself an ice cream. It will be the best, I promise you.
My highlight of the tour was, as weird as it sound, the end of the tour. We ended the tour in a church, Chiesa di S. Pantaleone, and the interior of this church is phenomenal. The ceiling is covered with a painting that is beautiful, you can look at it for hours and you will discover something new every time. It’s located at the like named square, Campo San Pantalon. I highly suggest you to check this out. And even though it would even have been worth spending money on it, it’s for free. You are just not allowed to take pictures and of course take your cap or hat off out of respect.
The total tour lasted for more than 2 hours I think and after that we decided to try the Aperol Spritz which is very popular in Venice. All the students and travellers gather on the terraces and have lots of Spritz. We were advised to go direction Campo Santa Margherita for some cheaper places to eat. We ended up at Café Rosso where they had a nice choice of sandwiches.
What to do
There are lots of things to do in Venice and at the same time by strolling around in Venice you see what’s Venice is about as well. But here you find a few of my recommendations you need to do when in Venice.
Don’t get me wrong, a gondola ride is very expensive and we ended up not doing it, but I would say if you are with six people (which is the maximum you can get on a gondola with) the price of €80,- is divided into six and then it only comes down to €14,- each for 20 minutes. If you decide to do a gondola ride, make sure you don’t get a gondola near the Grande Canal because it won’t give you that nice of an experience as you would get when you would go through all the little canals Venice is rich of. If you don’t want to pay that much for a ride, find the ‘traghetto’ near San Toma and for €2,- you will cross the Grande Canal on a gondola (note that this ride only takes 2 minutes) and you can check that of your checklist as well.
San Marco Square
Of course, a visit to the San Marco square cannot be left out during your visit to Venice. Be prepared for lots of tourists on that square and be very patient with trying to take a good picture. But it must be said, it is a very nice square and the palace is stunning as well. What is also very nice, is to just stroll a bit along the waterside over there. There is some live music on the terraces and it gives a very nice vibe, so relax and enjoy Venice as you should.
Chiesa di S. Pantaleone
You just have to visit this church as I said earlier. And when you are in the church, look up and be stunned.
Burano is an island of Venice and I saw pictures and I really regret we didn’t go there. We didn’t have time for it but we found out about it too late as well. Burano is famous for its coloured houses and it must be very pretty I heard. At the water buses you can buy tickets to Burano, so make sure you are not missing out on this like we sadly did…
As I said before, strolling around in Venice is all you need to do. Get lost. On TripAdvisor you can find all the things you need to see in Venice and of course they are worth it, for example the Rialto Bridge, but the trip to these sight seeings is just as exciting. What we also did was a picknick in the park near the waterbus stop ‘Giardini’. We just bought a few things in the supermarket and sat there in the park. I like these kind of things…
I’m really excited to hear from you guys if you’ve ever been to Venice. Do you think Venice is overrated or would you say it’s definitely something you should have seen in your life?