I never put Venice as a priority to my must see. Sure… riding a gondola is a typical must do, and on my bucket list, but I wasn’t in a hurry. It was until last year I started seeing many pictures of Venice on Instagram and fell in love with it some more.
My 2nd anniversary with my boyfriend was arriving, so what a good excuse to go to Venice don’t you think? January is a low season for Venice and as I don’t really like crowded tourists cities, I figured it was the perfect time for me to go. It was a short trip, so we had to make it count. As we had 2 full days, we decided to have one day in Venice center and one day exploring the island of Burano and Murano.
Picking the hotel
Venice is famous for the Venetian masks and carnival style. I really wanted a hotel room in a typical traditional style for our anniversary. Even if January is low season, the prices can be pretty high for my budget. So I filtered out as many as I could:
– maximum budget for 4 nights
– including (good reviewed) breakfast,
– good general reviews
– close to the historic center (we chose San Marco as a point)
– appealing pictures, duh
At many hotels in Venice you can chose a room with or without canal view. We only live once so I picked one with a canal view. We stayed at a cute hotel called “Antica locanda al Gambero” and had a wonderful stay with a good buffet breakfast every day. It is also 3 minutes from San Marco and 5 minutes from the Rialto Bridge where we could take the water bus to the bus station to go to the airport of Treviso.
Getting from the airport to the center
Like I said we arrived at Treviso. To get from this Airport to the center I suggest you take the local ATVO bus transfer. It is 22 euro for the return ticket. ~A tip: buy it at the information point with a real person, as we had some problem with the machine just giving us one ticket!
Anyway… moving on, you will have to get a water bus into the old town. The water bus and the train station are pretty much the last places you can get by car. Oh god, this reminds me of how I loved that Venice is car-less! Never slept any better. You can also take personally water taxis, a speedboat really, if your hotel is not very close to a water bus stop.
Anything else in the center is…. By foot! So be prepared to walk a lot.
First day: Venice center
Prepare yourselves to get LOST in Venice! On the first night from Rialto Bridge to our hotel we got so lost, even if afterwards we realized it was just one turn left and then straight on. SO the next morning we grabbed the map of Venice and hoped for the best!
First stop: San Marco square. It’s the place of the pretty Basilique of San Marco and the spot where you can see tourist being a statue for pigeons. A little further you have the Doge palace and the famous Bridges of sighs.
From there we walked a bit north looking for the cutest library in Venice: Alta Aqua Libraria. And we found it! The perfect place to put a gondola in the middle filled with books! They also have 2 outdoor spots decorated by books. A sit read corner and the book steps. It really is a hidden gem and great for book lovers.
In the afternoon we went for the signature gondola ride. It costs you € 80 for a half hour, without extras. A night ride on the gondola is € 100. Oké it is pretty expensive in my taste, but hey we were here for the romance! What can I say? It was fun to do, but not mind blowing. So don’t expect too much from it. We took one at the Rialto Bridge, but they have them everywhere really.
Second day: Islands of Burano and Murano
Look.. if you consider visiting Venice, please also go to the colorful Burano. This really made me fall in love with Venice even more. It is a 30-40 minute ride with the Water taxi from Fondamente Nove A. We walked about 3 hours in the island and also had our late lunch there (you must try the seafood there! ). It Is basically a mini Venice with houses in all the colors of the rainbow and more! Cute facades and bridges, really worth visiting.
The sun was about to start setting as we reached the island of Murano. This less colorfull island is famous for the glass of Murano. So if you are looking for some original art/ vase/jewel you can get it here. As this doesn’t interest me much , we just watched the sun set and took the water bus back home.
You know what I love about Venice? It is in ITALY. The land of one of my favorite foods ever: PASTAS! So the first night we did some Venice by night walking and stopped at a Trattoria to has some starter pizza, spaghetti and gnocchi. The second night I had some grilled salmon with the polenta. As a Brazilian, I love Polenta! Please try the Polenta!
Do you like tiramisu and you are prepared to spend a bit more in having a really good one? Then go to “Gran Caffe Quadri Alajmo” at the San Marco square. First we wanted gelato as dessert, but it was freezing already so we chose the good old fashioned Italian Tiramisu and a surprise dessert ‘Venice cake’. As it was winter I chose the “winter only” Hot chocolate. There is where I died and went to heaven. The BEST chocolate milk and tiramisu ever! The Venice cake was also a piece of food art: a seven layered cake with a crispy chocolate on top! OMG, literally OMG.. it did not disappoint me or my € 44.
~Tips for eating out: Avoid ‘ristorantes’ with pictures of the menus hanging outside. This is a general rule of mine, unless I am in a hurry. I also get annoyed when they are practically pulling you inside. I chose more quiet places, where there was no one looking out for new customers.
On our last night we wanted to have a romantic dinner. This is where we got fancy. Unexpected we had a good famous Michelin restaurant right under our Hotel. “ Bistrot de Venice” I usually don’t go to fancy restaurants, but as it was a special occasion we decide to take a starter, main and dessert, accompanied with a glass of red wine. It was also the perfect time to try some traditional Venice styled prepared dishes.
Venice was a fun short break. We ate a lot of good things, saw traditional and cultural hot spots, visited colorful islands, sat on a gondola and had some good night rests.
It is a special city indeed where you can only walk to your destinations or take a boat to it. But all that makes the Italian city of love even more charming.