It has been just over a month since David and I got back from our holiday in Venice, so it was about time I sat down and shared with you our experience and some tips if any of you are interested in visiting Venice. Venice is a city both of us have always wanted to visit so when we came across a good deal for 5 nights on LastMinute.com, we had to snap it up! September finally came around and we were so excited to pack our things and jet off to the Italy for the first time, and boy was it a beautiful country to visit.
We had a number of things that we knew we wanted to do while we there, and these included visiting Saint Mark’s Basilica, wandering around Saint Mark’s Square, exploring Doge’s Palace, walking over Rialto Bridge and seeing as much of the city as we could from the water. We managed to do this and so much more, and had a lovely time despite a fair amount of rain! Of course plenty of pizza and pasta was consumed during the holiday, and we did enough walking to last us a lifetime. If you’re thinking of visiting Venice in the future then I couldn’t recommend the city enough, and we also wanted to share a few tips that we found along the way..
Try to get a direct flight
When it came to flying, our only option was to fly from Glasgow and stop-over in Amsterdam before heading to Venice Marco Polo Airport. It might not seem like much hassle on the way there, but having that extra time to kill on your journey home can be quite a pain – especially when a journey that should take a couple of hours takes up half the day instead! If you can, definitely try to get a direct flight.
Stay outside the city
David and I decided to stay in Mestre, a mainland town that’s a 5 minute train journey from Venice and a 15 minute bus ride from Marco Polo Airport. This saved us a fair bit of money as the hotels there are much cheaper than the ones in Venice itself, and what’s better is that our hotel was directly across the road from the train station so getting to and from Venice couldn’t have been easier. A return train ticket costs just €2.50 and we could buy ours from the hotel reception which made life a lot easier. We stayed at the Best Western Bologna in Mestre and while it wasn’t anything special, it was great for what we needed.
One thing that we weren’t clued up on before we booked our holiday was that you are expected to pay additional city tax to the hotel when checking out, so make sure you budget for this with your spending money. We stayed there for 5 nights and had to pay about €30 before we left.
Remember your passport for travel passes
When it comes to travelling around the city of Venice, you might want to invest in a travel pass for the Vaporetto water buses as walking between each area can get a bit much if you want to see everything. There are a few options for the water buses – you can pay for a single journey, or unlimited use for a number of days. We opted for a 3 day travel card each and were kicking ourselves when we didn’t have our passports to hand as they get you a tourist discount when buying these passes. Make sure to have your passport on you when buying any travel cards to save a bit of money.
Validating travel tickets
You must validate any rail/bus/water tickets before getting on as you could face a hefty fine if caught travelling without this validation. This was totally new to us but we soon got the hang of it – you just put your ticket into the machine and it will either scan it, cut a corner off or make an indent on the ticket. A bit of a crazy system in my opinion, but hey-ho, it needs to be done.
Wear comfy shoes
There is a lot of walking involved in Venice, so make sure you wear comfy shoes! I opted for flat sandals and these were absolutely fine.
Pack an umbrella
We visited Venice nearer the end of September and had very mixed weather, with our first day in the city being a scorcher and the rest of the time being quite overcast. We had to battle rain a few times during the holiday so I was very glad to have packed my umbrella, and if you’re travelling later in the year like we did, make sure you do too!
Do your restaurant research
Food in Venice can be very expensive, but it can also be really affordable if you do your research and don’t just settle for the first restaurant you come across. A few searches on Trip Advisor can save you a fair bit of money and it’s always great to try out restaurants that you know other people have loved. There’s nothing worse than a bad meal on holiday, eh?