Here are all the top travel tips for a long weekend in Venice!
Venice is a very romantic city but it’s not just for couples. I went for a short break with my mum and had a fabulous time. I’ve honestly never been anywhere like it, it’s so refreshing not to worry about traffic and cars.
If you fancy a short break to Rome, check out my Rome blog.
Top Travel Tips for a long weekend in Venice
Where to stay
Venice is a very “walkable” city, so my top travel tip would be to avoid the expensive hotels and crowds around St Mark’s square. We stayed in Cannareggio at Hotel Boccassini. Check out the website here.
The hotel was reasonably priced and only 15 minutes from St Mark’s Square and a few minutes from the water bus stop “Fondamenta Nove”, which is very handy for Marco Polo airport.
Getting the water bus from the airport is easy. Go out of the airport and turn left, following the signs for the port. It is about a 7 minute walk. You can buy a ticket on the boat or online, which is cheaper. Check out the water bus website here.
Once you are in Venice, everywhere is pretty walkable, although you’ll need a waterbus to visit the islands of Murano, Burano, San Michel and Lido.
Where to eat
The majority of tourist outlets serve over priced food. We found one amazing place called Bar Puppa in Cannareggio. You can have pizza/pasta/burger plus an alcoholic drink plus coffee for 12 Euros. The food was amazing and portions huge – I had sea food pasta with a glass of prosecco. Highly recommended.
To keep costs down, we shopped for lunches at the local co-op, although it’s possible to buy slices of pizza etc for a few Euros. My other top travel tip would be to fill up your water bottles at water fountains that are dotted around the city. The water is safe to drink unless there is a sign telling you otherwise.
Things to do
Soak up the atmosphere
This is my number 1 thing to do in Venice. The buildings and water are so beautiful and it is lovely just to wander around taking it all in. You’ll enjoy yourself more if you venture away from Rialto Bridge and St Mark’s, which are incredibly crowded.
Ride in a Gondola
Yes it is cheesy. But it’s also a lot of fun! The gondoliers are full of facts about Venice and generally up for a joke. You also get a different perspective gliding gently on the water, looking up at all of the buildings. The government have also standardised the pricing, so 30 minutes will cost you about 80 Euro. I know people who were charged a lot more in years gone by.
See the Rialto Bridge and eat Gelato
The area around the Bridge is crazily busy. So get through, admire the view and take a picture. Then head down to the canal side for a mooch along past the shops and take in the gondola traffic.
A gelato is a must. I’d recommend the pistachio and chocolate.
Take a waterbus to Murano and St Michel
We took a 10 minute waterbus journey (14 Euro for 2) over to Murano to watch the glass blowing. From the jetty, we walked left and stopped at a workshop with a red facade. The glass blowing expo cost 3 Euros each but it was worth it. They spent a lot of time explaining the process to us and showing us some tricks. Importantly, they didn’t try to force us into the shop next door to buy anything. We attended a free workshop later on and it felt like a sales pitch.
There is also a wide range of glass goods on offer. Some of the goods are genuine Murano glass and some are produced elsewhere in Italy. To me, it didn’t matter – I just brought things that I liked.
On the way home, we stopped off at St Michel. This is only a couple of minutes from Murano and provided you only stay for an hour on the island, you can visit using the same water bus ticket. The island houses a cemetery, which allows some time for solitude and reflection, although I found it a little morbid.
St Mark’s Square
A trip to Venice would not be complete without seeing St Mark’s square and exploring the surrounding back streets. We visited the basilica and the Doge’s palace (circa 21 Euros for an adult). I have to confess that I was not wowed by either. The basilica is obviously a special place, revered by Catholics but I have been in more impressive churches in other cities. Similarly, the Doge’s palace was no different from other stately homes that I have been in, aside from the addition of the dungeons. However, I have heard that the Secret Itineries tour really brings the palace to life (circa 21 Euros) and I think if we had gone on this, we would have enjoyed the experience a lot more. A word of warning – the tour books up very quickly, usually weeks in advance. You can buy tickets here.
Take the elevator to the top of the Clock Tower
The views from here are epic – it’s about 7 Euro each. We queued for a long time – the earlier you get there, the better.
I hope you have enjoyed my Top Travel Tips for a long weekend in Venice. If you have any questions, please get in touch. Happy travels!