Venice Italy – Before traveling to Venice I had heard mixed reviews from others who have traveled there in the past. Anyone that gave a negative review of Venice, boy were they wrong! This city is nothing short of spectacular, beautiful and simply romantic. Like any other popular touristy city you have the crowded main squares with vendors trying to sell you anything they can, but steps beyond that you find yourself getting lost in the maze of little streets, going up and over waterways, and finding a perfect photo op at every turn. My husband Steve loves to take pictures, so you can only imagine how many steps we would get before I had to stop again for him to take a photo. I always get annoyed in the moment, but when I look back at some of the photos he took I’m usually like “ok that was worth it”!
Where to Stay
I will have to admit that Venice is not an inexpensive adventure, however if you book a hotel far enough in advance you will probably be able to find a great hotel at a great price. There are so many little quaint places to stay that I had such a hard time finding the perfect spot. The city is completely walkable, so any location I feel is a great location.
I always like to read reviews on TripAdvisor before booking a hotel anywhere I go. The one thing I wanted in a Venice hotel was the ability to take a boat right up to the front entrance, so I searched for places with a private dock. We ended up staying at this amazing hotel named Splendid Venice . A lot of the hotels in Venice have that old Venetian look and feel, which many people love. If that is what you are looking for, then this hotel will not give you that, but it will give you modern luxury. Like all hotels in Europe the rooms are small compared to hotels in the US, however our bathroom was floor to ceiling marble, wifi and breakfast were complimentary, there was a rooftop with seating, and the decor throughout was beautiful. This hotel is nestled in between a small canal and a busy street only steps away from San Marco Square and the Rialto Bridge. Our canal view room made me feel like I was in Venice, especially when we would hear the singing from a passing Gondola echo off the buildings. One thing I do have to say is if you are going to treat yourself, get a room with a canal view! It is completely worth the upgrade.
* Tip on hotel bookings – sometimes if you book directly through the hotel instead of a third party site you will get a better deal. If they have a membership/rewards program, you can get a discount on your stay by signing up. Also if there are any upgrades or extras they are usually given to guests who book directly with the hotel vs. a third party site.
View from our room
What to Do
No matter what your interests are there are endless possibilities in Venice. From museums, art galleries, architecture, shopping, site seeing, and tours, there will always be something to do in this beautiful city. Here are some of my favorite moments from our trip to Venice.
- Enjoy the Rialto Bridge at Sunset – get your selfie stick ready for a great photo op! Don’t have a selfie stick, there are plenty of people selling them on the bridge (ha!)
- Find a happy hour spot, usually a small walk up counter selling drinks and small bites, and enjoy a Spritz
- Explore the fresh food market – Rialto Market
- View Venice from atop – amazing views of Venice from the top of St Marks Basillica, San Marco Campanile, and San Giorgio Maggiore
- Take a water taxi ride through the Grand Canal. In my opinion I would do this over a Gondola ride. The Gondola is just as expensive and it just seemed like a gondola traffic jam in every canal.
- Enjoy the music in St Marks Square at night. A few of the restaurants will have live Quartets playing beautiful music, grab a seat ( you’ll have to pay a sitting fee) and order a bottle of wine and enjoy the sounds.
- Visit the Florian Cafe in St. Marks Square – the oldest cafe in the world
We didn’t have enough time to explore the neighboring islands and I wish we did. Next trip to Venice we will be sure to add that to the itinerary.
When you think of Italian cuisine you think of pizza and heavy pasta dishes. Venice, being surrounded by water, has more of a seafood cuisine. You can still find pizza and pasta however, it wasn’t the same as it was when we visited Rome. The seafood dishes we had the entire time we were there were amazing! Spaghetti and clam sauce, lobster, whole fish deboned table side to just name a few.
When looking for something quick and cheap, don’t pass up the corner “deli”. Such a great selection of Italian staples. Be aware that if you sit down at a deli or cafe they will charge you a sitting fee vs. just grabbing your food to go.
I wish we had more than 4 days in the beautiful city, as it wasn’t enough to take in all it has to offer. I’ve heard that 3-4 days is enough, however we love the Italian culture and people and could just wander around forever.