I think that Venice unnecessarily has a bad reputation. I have heard my friends complaining and I see lots of negative reviews about Venice on the internet, but to me it was one of my favorite destinations in Italy (maybe in the whole world). I have seldom been to such a romantic destination, the views of Venice from the water are unbeatable and the canals add such a special vibe to this already beautiful city. To me, people who have negative things to say about Venice just have not done Venice the proper way. Below you will find my tips on how to enjoy Venice:
Don’t just visit the Rialto Bridge and St. Mark’s square
A lot of people who daytrip Venice just go to the Rialto Bridge and St. Mark’s square. These are indeed lovely sites, but everyone agrees on that, so these places are extremely busy! The further away from theses sites you get, the more interesting and relaxing Venice becomes. I loved wandering in the less popular back alleys and still got the full Venice feeling. What was particularly funny is that places that seemed nearby on google maps, actually turned out to be a far walk, as you would bump into a canal without a bridge and had to walk all the way back. The false navigating turned out to be a fun way to discover the lesser known parts of the city.
Stay the night in a good hotel
Venice becomes even more beautiful at night, when the cruise passengers have made their way back to their cruise ships. I actually found Venice super silent at night. Venice has many really good restaurants, again don’t go to St. Mark’s square for dinner! Staying the night in Venice gives you the possibility to go to an amazing osteria or trattoria and enjoy a dinner with simple, but delicious ingredients. I loved Osteria Ai do Archi, in the proximity of this restaurant you will find many other good restaurants.
We stayed in the Ruzzini Palace Hotel, this was kind of a splurge. Rooms start at about € 250 per room, but then you receive a lovely room with a big bathtub and we had a small window with canal views 😉 The whole hotel is decorated in a style that represents the grandeur of old times, which added something special to our Venice stay. The hotel is situated at a quintessential Venetian square in a really atmospheric neighborhood which is not overrun by tourists, I loved coming “home” to our beautiful room. The personnel of this hotel treated everyone like equals and we felt like royalty.
Of course it would also be great to have views of the Canal Grande from your room, but that would set you back significantly more money (this will cost about € 400 per night), and you would have to walk through the tourist herds every day.
Visit Burano and Murano
Burano and Murano are nearby islands that you can visit with the Vaparetto (ferry).
The Vaparetto costs € 6,5 one way, which is a fair deal for a ferry ride of 45 minutes. Taking the Vaparetto to Burano gives you great views of Venice. Burano is famous for its colorful houses, I think it is the most colorful place I have ever seen, as they mainly use full color tones, instead of muted tones. Afterwards we visited Murano, which is famous for its colorful glasswork. I was as naïve to think that we could bring some glass souvenirs home, but it was much more expensive than I expected (they are real pieces of art after all). We visited these islands during the day, it was not crowded at all, and by doing this you miss out on the busiest time in Venice itself. Doing this as a (half) day trip makes your day super diverse.
Take the public transport instead of a gondola
We did not take a gondola in Venice, as we had already blown our budget at our hotel. A short ride can set you back over € 150. Instead we took the public transport Vaparetto on the Canal Grande. I was eyeing for a good spot outside for a while to have the best views. Luckily for me it started raining a little bit, so everybody went inside and I enjoyed the views in the rain from the outside. The sun started shining again when we passed St. Mark’s square, which was an amazing moment!
Visit a museum
In my time in Venice I was constantly walking around in awe of my beautiful surroundings, but actually you can also undertake cultural activities. The Peggy Guggenheim collection is located on the Canale Grande and hosts a modern art collection. If you prefer classic art, you could visit the Doge’s museum or the Galleria dell’Accademia. These museums are the perfect bad weather distractions.