Things to do in Venice – The city of bridges and canals

The cruise we went on during June 2018 started out in Venice, Italy. We’ve already been to Italy in 2018, and we were excited to return – especially since we didn’t get to visit Venice on our previous trip, which I really wanted to do. The cruise allowed us a chance to explore the city.

General information regarding Venice

The romantic city of Venice is located in the Veneto region of Italy.

One of the city’s most famous areas is the “Grand Canal” street, which was an important center of the renaissance. Another area is the central plaza, named “Piazza San Marco”. Here you may find a variety of byzantine mosaics and of course the beautiful San Marco Basilica.

How to reach Venice?

There are direct flights to Venice. Another way is to arrive by train through major Italian cities like Rome or Pisa. Alternatively, you may rent a car at another city and park it at the city’s entrance – Since one of the fun things about Venice is that there are no cars! Not even bike riders. Search for cheap flights to Venice.

Where did we stay in Venice?

Since the cruise is a lucrative business, we decided to try and cut down on costs while staying in Venice and sleep in the outskirts of town. We stayed at Hotel Mondial, in Marghera. The hotel is quite a basic one, with a simple breakfast, but it’s clean and quiet and is adjacent to a bus stop. Line 6 or L6 will take you directly into Venice. The ride is about 20-30 minutes. For those looking to save money, staying in the Marghera area is great in my opinion. Hotel price comparison and reviews for Mondial Hotel.

Arrival from the airport to the hotel

Right at the exit from Venice’s airport there are many bus stations. I recommend visiting the tourist information center before exiting the airport, telling them where you want to go and they will direct you to the correct bus, as well as sell you the ticket. Tickets cost us 8 euros each, and our bus was from station 4D. By the way, if you want to reach the center of Venice you can take a taxi boat (ferry) from the airport. If you’re arriving for a cruise you can order a ride through your cruise company.

Transportation in Venice

Venice has no cars or motorcycles, and not even bicycles. So, how do you get around? You either walk or take a taxi boat (Type of ferry), which allows you to experience Venice from the water as well as providing an alternative to walking once you grow tired. To find out where you can board such a ferry, simply check google maps to find the nearest station. There are also luxurious boat taxis (Limousines) if you’re looking for something a bit fancier.

Things to do in Venice – Daytrip in Venice

Walking aimlessly around town

Venice is so pretty, we ended up stopping every second to take pictures. The canals with the gondolas and the colorful, ancient houses are absolutely stunning. I never got to be in such a city and there’s clearly a reason it’s so famous and touristic. We loved walking aimlessly and just absorbing the city’s atmosphere and taking pictures at every opportunity.

The Grand Canal

Venice’s central area holds the famous canal. In this area you’ll find many restaurants, bars and cafés along the canal. One of the nice things to do is stand on the Rialto Bridge and observe the canal from it. (Venice is named the city of canals, but also the city of bridges and you can find many bridges in it, large and small. Rialto is one of the more famous bridges).

The Mercato Di Rialto market

By the Rialto bridge there is a nice souvenir market as well as many stalls selling fresh, sliced fruit and natural juices. If you’re traveling to Venice in the summer, a refreshing fruit juice with ice can definitely be a good choice. The market is named Mercato di Rialto (Map).

Having Coffee

Venice is amazing, but one of the things I didn’t enjoy about it is that I couldn’t find a good place to have coffee. All the cafés are touristic and very expensive. There’s no doubt Venice’s charm is hindered by the amount of tourists and the touristic establishments, but we did find one nice place serving decent coffee and tasty sandwiches (If you’re looking to lower costs a bit here’s a small tip, if you’re sitting in the café-restaurant, prices are half what they are for those sitting outside). The place is called Ristorante Al Theatro (Map), the strudel was nice as well.

San Marco plaza

This plaza is simply enormous, and since we enjoy looking at really expensive objects and jewellery and imagining one day we’ll be rich and able to buy them, we spent an hour just walking from shop to shop around the plaza. Additionally, there are many restaurants around the plaza where you can sit down for a meal, but in my opinion it’s nice to just sit and have a glass of wine there.

San Marco Basilica and Doge’s Palace

When you arrive at the plaza, you won’t be able to miss San Marco’s Basilica. It is a cathedral from the 9th century and one of the most important examples of byzantine architecture. There’s an option to enter the basilica for about 10 minutes (It’s recommended to get there early, since there is a long line). You aren’t allowed to take photos inside and have to be dressed appropriately. There’s also the option of booking a tour of the basilica.

Adjacent to it is the Doge’s palace, considered one of the prettiest in Venice – where you can also take a tour of the inside (Due to a lack of time we had to skip both tours, but it seemed worthwhile to view both buildings from inside). You can order a guided tour, which includes skipping the line, in both places.
Link to two hour tour + skipping the line.

Italian meal

Being in Italy, you obviously should try some good Italian food at a local restaurant. We decided to try a restaurant in Venice’s less touristed area, Rio Novo restaurant. Roman ordered a pasta carbonara and I ordered a cheese and spinach ravioli with tomato sauce and white wine. The dishes were really good. Roman claimed the carbonara was one of the best he’d ever had (On par with the restaurant we ate at in Rome). My dish was also excellent, as well as light. It was filling and in just the right amount. Additionally, you’re seated by a water canal which adds to the magical Venetian atmosphere.

Having ice-cream

Of course, apart from Italian food, you should try the Gellato (Gellato is ice-cream made in an Italian style, with a base of milk and sugar). You can find a gelato stand almost everywhere, so it’s worth a try.

Sailing on a ferry

One of Venice’s most popular attractions is sailing on a Gondola. Since the price is quite high, we decided to skip the experience – but if you want to have the full Venetian experience, I found a nice tour including both a two hour tour of the city and a 30 minute Gondola ride for a fair price. Link for booking the walking + Gondola tour. If you decide to skip riding in a Gondola, the experience sailing on a ferry is wonderful as well, and allows you a great view of Venice and a photo opportunity.

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