italy makes you fall in love all over again :’) and venice, the city of romance is one of the places that simply makes me swoon ^^ i totally fell in love with this place the moment i stepped off our ferry onto the island. and i kinda really didn’t expect this! although i’ve always thought venice sounded like a beautiful place to be in, i didn’t think there was much to see here, but i was wrong. one day simply wasn’t enough, and i would love to come back again if i have the chance to.
i’ll start off with something unconventional. venice does have quite a number of popular attractions that people usually visit, but for me, the best part of venice was just walking in the streets, getting lost in the little winding alleys (although you can usually get the hang of it after awhile!), watching the world go by around the canals where the life of venice resides and just soaking in the atmosphere.
my advice: spend your time wisely in venice. i don’t think it takes thaaaaat long, because it’s a pretty small place, although it takes time to travel around the different islands (see below for the transportation). i spent less than a day there so it wasnt enough, but i would say one full day, or a maximum of two (accommodation here is expensive though!) is enough for venice. give around half a day or so, to explore the attractions. and for the rest of the time, just stroll around, and soak in the beauty of this renaissance city.
the sunset in venice is beautiful :’) don’t miss it for the world. i was lucky to be here on a clear sunny day ^^
What to see in Venice
Basilica di San Marco is no doubt one of the main attractions of Venice. it is on the main island of Venice, just at Piazza San Marco and completely unmissable with it’s sheer size. the interior is pretty small though, and photography is not allowed inside. entry is free for the main church area is free, but if you would like to go up to the balcony/museum, there would be a fee charged.
Piazza San Marco is a wide open space in front of the Basilica and it’s perfect for sitting down for a cuppa and watching the world go by. do note that for some of these places, it’s more expensive to sit alfresco than indoors! and just a note, for food options, the more “affordable” (but still relatively expensive since Venice is very tourist-y) eateries are further into the alleys, away from the main tourist attractions. so take the time to explore and there are lots of options to choose from!
*a word of caution: do not go to Marco Polo Snack Bar or any Italian restaurant owned by non-italians though, i tried one and it was awful! :(
the Clock Tower is another unmissable attraction – the tallest building in this city. you can climb to the top of this tower (for a fee), and you will be rewarded with a panoramic view of Venice :)
Ponte di Rialto is the busiest bridge in Venice and you’ll definitely pass this bustling area while exploring the streets of Venice. the view from this bridge over this huge canal is absolutely gorgeous :)
on another of the islands in Venice, there are the Murano Glass Factories where you can pop in to watch the artisans work on their glass pieces, either through sculpting or blowing. each piece is created within minutes, very quickly, from a flaming red ball of glass to a beautiful sculpture. it’s amazing how they do it so deftly and intricately! you can also purchase the masterpieces in the store adjacent to the factory.
i was lucky to be in Venice close to their Carnevale period, which is a festival where masks are being sold EVERYWHERE. literally! and they can range from as low as €2 to over €100.
My foodie recommendations in Venice
okay, so like i mentioned above, the most affordable food is as far away from the Piazza as possible. and there are really a multitude of cafes selling pastas, pizzas, paninis and pastries – a whole assortment to choose from! so take your time to browse :)
gelato shops are aplenty in Venice! and i recommend Gelato Fantasy for it’s wide assortment of gelato flavorus. i think it’s one of the stalls with the most flavours to choose from :D the smallest cup costs €2.50 and you can have two flavours in it. i tried the tiramisu and berry yogurt flavour! (: i love how (so far) regardless of what two random flavours i choose to combine, they always taste so good together ^^
and when you’re in italy, you HAVE HAVE HAVE to try their italian hot chocolate. it is sooooooo good, i cannot emphasize this further, and no words can describe my feeling of satisfaction when this thick creamy, rich, awesomely-chocolate-y (it’s almost like melted chocolate!) drink flowed into my mouth and enveloped my senses. i was literally in chocolate heaven. i could only see, taste and smell chocolate haha. so lovely ^^ i bought this cup of chocolate (my first ever!) from Goppion Caffetteria for €2.50.
Getting around Venice
If you’re on the main island of Venice itself, going around on foot is perfectly possible, and it gives you the best opportunity to explore the place at the most comfortable pace for yourself.
Water Buses are the most affordable and common form of transport through the main canals of Venice. it’s so interesting to see water bus stops in place of normal bus stops here! haha. more information about tickets can be found here: http://www.actv.it/en.
Water Taxis are another option, but can be expensive. remember to agree on the price (and tip) in advance before stepping onboard. ticket information here: http://www.motoscafivenezia.it/eng/.
and of course, what Venice is well-known for – Gondolas :))) i would have LOVED to have the chance to go on one, but sadly due to time contraints we werent able to :( the gondolas look so beautifully grand though! the seats are like thrones :) haha but the gondola boys didn’t sing! (i thought they would). and some were even texting on their phones while steering the gondola (like seriouslyyyy -.-) haha so choose wisely.
anyway, this is the end of my mini-guide to Venice! hope it’s useful ^^
thank you Venice, you’ve been good to me <3