Jono had planned a surprise week long road trip around Italy for our one year anniversary which was incredible – major husband points! We had a day scheduled in Venice which was right at the start of our trip. It was the best introduction to Italy as it is just such a beautifully unique and interesting place to visit. However, Venice is deceptively massive and so to see all that it has to offer, you do need to stay the night or make another trip. That said, we did it in just a day and had a fantastic time. I definitely left wanting more but I guess that is not a terrible way to end a trip, plus it gives me a legitimate excuse to go back someday!
Here are some top tips that I passed on to a friend for Venice in a day…
1. GET LOST
There is only really one way to get in and out of Venice so with that in mind, just chill out and get lost! Its charm is its narrow streets, winding canals and beautiful walking bridges but all of this does make it a nightmare to navigate around. Unless you want to spend the day with your face in a map then just relax and follow your instincts. We just took the prettiest or most interesting looking streets and eventually found our way to the coast. The best way to take it all in is just to explore. If you are desperate to see the Rialto Bridge then the chances are that you will cross it anyway and the Piazza San Marco and other attractions are really well signposted. Just enjoy and put the map away.
2. GET WALKING
Gondola, gondola, gondola. They are beautiful but they are very expensive and if you are on a budget then you will not be missing out if you don’t go on one. To my surprise we found that you can get everywhere on foot and you actually see a lot more this way. We just walked happily for hours and had an incredible time. If you want to get on the water then look at what the locals are doing, they areusing the water taxis which are much cheaper. Good compromise?
3. GET OFF THE BEATEN TRACK
My best memory of Venice was when we stopped for lunch in a tiny side street far far away from the crazy busy parts. We took off our shoes, dipped out toes in the cool water and ate beautiful breads, cheeses and ham. Bliss. Only a couple of people passed us the whole time we were sitting there. Lovely. Get away from the crowds and find your own quiet spot.
4. GET THAT CAMERA OUT
Do not even think about visiting Venice without a fully charged camera and don’t bother putting it away. Everywhere you turn will be an incredible photo opportunity. You will look like a massive tourist, but you are so that is fine. Snap away!
5. GET HOME
Whilst it is fun to explore with no plan for most of the day getting back towards the station/bus park is a bit more tricky. If you are in the South then there are only a couple of bridges to get you back to where you need to be. At this point I would highly recommend having a map handy as you will have been walking a lot all day and you do not want to get lost on your way home if you have a train/bus to catch. I love map reading (geek confession) so I actually enjoyed this part but if you have a time that you have to leave by then you will need to plan for this. The station is fairly well signposted and Venice is really set up for tourists so you can just ask people for directions if you need to.
I hope that you get to enjoy this stunning place as much as we did. What are your top tips for visiting Venice?