A Guide to Venice, Italy
Venice is a beautifully unique city and one that should not be missed. Its maze of narrow streets are charming, the canals feel boundless, and there is a layer of romance within everything. However, people either tend to love or hate the floating city. With all of its wonderful qualities, it's an undeniable tourist hot spot. The crowds are intense, a good portion of the city is catered towards out-of-towners...so much so that it can start feeling a little inauthentic, and it is overly saturated with sub-par restaurants. I promise you though, it's worth it. With a little extra planning, you can experience Venice the right way. Consider my tips below for your next trip:
Before you go
- Visit in the offseason: (September-November). This can really set the tone for your trip. During the summer months, Venice can get very congested. If you do go during the summer, time your visits to the major sites so that you're avoiding the crowd, preferably while everyone else is still sleeping (San Marco Square at dawn is the most magical sight).
- Preload Google maps: while you're in a wifi zone. It just makes life so much easier especially when it's 1 AM and everything is closed and you have to pee and can't find your hotel....#memories
- Walking for the win: With no cars or roads in sight, the city is made for pedestrians. Walking is definitely the best way to get around the city, but not the only way. Water buses are a convenient option as they're affordable and run from the Grand Canal (train station) to San Marco with stops in between. The entire trip takes about 20-30 minutes and will come to about 7 euros one way. Finally, if you're feeling fancy, you can take a private water taxi, although they're pretty pricey.
Where to eat in venice
Acqua e Mais: is THE place for Venetian street food. They serve an assortment of food, but are probably most well known for their cones of polenta piled high with fresh seafood. Grab a cone (or two) and a mini bottle of Prosecco (or two) and enjoy by a nearby dock overlooking the canal.
- Venissa Ristorante Ostello: This place is a WINE RESORT. On the island of Venice. I probably don't need to explain to you why it's amazing, but I'm going to anyway because I'm nice like that. We kind of stumbled into it (as we do the best things in life) and by it, I mean gorgeous vineyards with sculptures and an old church tower set amidst the vines. We followed the paths down and came across a beautiful restaurant with THE best smelling food my nostrils have ever known. As I said, we stumbled upon this so we weren't exactly "fancy dinner ready", but luckily for us, they also had a little osteria adjacent to the restaurant, overlooking the water.
Al Merca: Eat and drink with the locals at this small (like, extremely small) Cicchetti bar with an extensive selection of wine and Prosecco and an assortment of Cicchetti filling the countertop. Grab your food and drink and enjoy in the square outside.
Al Muro: On Saturday afternoons, and Saturday afternoons only, you'll find Al Muro - a small stall in with a line of locals waiting for the chef's dish of the day. Enjoy classic Venetian cuisine, a glass of wine, and a view of the grand canal all for about $10.
What to do in venice
- Get Lost: In Venice, losing your way as you wander around the streets and follow the never-ending canals feels welcomed it's almost completely unavoidable and arguably necessary.
- Take a Gondola Ride: Yes, the price is steep, but it's worth it. You get a whole new perspective of the city, and if you're lucky, your gondolier will serenade you with old Italian classics. Just make sure the price is set before the ride so you're not left with any surprises.
- Visit Burano: Just off the coast of Venice sits the tiny island of Burano. As soon as you arrive you'll feel like you're in the middle of a postcard. The houses are bursting with color, and even in the busy season, Burano is typically significantly less crowded than Venice. It's well worth the visit, and a must-see for sure.
Where to stay in venice
- Locanda Gaffaro Hotel: Budget-friendly and centrally located, this hotel is a great option for travelers. The rooms are clean and simple, breakfast is included, and there is a beautiful patio just outside the front door.
Hotel Palazzo Stern: You know all those gorgeous photos all over Instagram of people eating lavish brunches on a balcony in Venice looking over the canal? Well, you can live that dream at this hotel. Not only is it absolutely stunning and in a peaceful location, but most hotels overlooking the canal come with a hefty price tag. This one is an exception.
Palazzina G: For when you want to splurge. An elegant 5-star hotel in the center of the city that boasts views of the Grand Canal, this is what Venetian dreams are made of.
Novecento Boutique Hotel: Located on a side street by San Marco, this boutique hotel is homey, trendy, quiet and well, homemade pastries, pretty much everything you would want in a hotel.