Ahhhh, Venice. The last stop on our European adventure! I can’t believe I’m finally writing this post! (Actually, I can because I should have written this months ago… but the craziness of travel mixed with laziness got the best of me).
Here’s your abbreviated guide to Venice, Italy! I hope that you’ve enjoyed traveling through Europe with us and stay tuned because (eventually) I will be posting about Central America, Southeast Asia and our favorite American spots.
Where to Stay:
Venice is an interesting city to find accommodations. The actual city itself is extremely old and as you know, there is a water everywhere. Those two things combined meant one thing when we were searching for a place to stay = mold. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m not a huge fan of sleeping in rooms that smell like the inside of a YMCA locker room, so we decided to look outside of Venice proper for lodging.
(I’m sure that there are great hotels within the city limits of Venice that are very clean and up to my standards, however hotels in Venice are also very expensive).
We ended up finding a great Airbnb just outside of Venice; only about a 15 minute bus ride to town. People that we met from Venice even recommended that we stay away from the city to get more value for our $$ and to escape the crowds.
The apartment was great for four people. Two bedrooms (one king + two twins), a big bathroom and a kitchen with everything that you need to cook a few meals. I would definitely recommend staying here.
Where to Eat:
If you have read my previous Italy posts (Rome, Florence & Cinque Terre), then you are aware that my specific food recommendations are kind of lacking. That’s honestly just because the Italian food is SO good and you can’t go wrong with a plate of pasta anywhere. Even mediocre restaurants beat American Italian food out of the water.
So, SHOCKER. I feel the same about Italian food in Venice.
However, we did branch out a little and found a great Mexican restaurant called Iguana. As much as I love pizza and pasta, it was a nice change of pace and the food was really good.
And yes, continue to eat gelato here as well. If you’ve never had gelato from Grom before (there is one in NYC), then definitely get some! It’s somewhat life-changing.
Tip: Try to stay away from the main tourist areas when trying to find food or a place to grab a drink. As is typical with most tourist traps, the restaurants are very overpriced and have rude staff. At one (very empty) restaurant they wouldn’t let us order just (overpriced) cocktails; we were told that we had to also order food. Needless to say, we got our overpriced cocktails elsewhere.
What to do:
The beauty of Venice is that the #1 activity is pretty simple: See Venice.
Venice is the perfect place to spend an entire day walking around and getting lost. And trust me, you will get lost. My favorite moments were when we escaped the crowds and aimlessly wandered in and out of narrow streets and over little canals. It’s a city unlike any other and can really only be appreciated when you have no agenda. So grab a coffee, walk until you get lost, sit on a bench & people watch, then get up and repeat.
(We decided not to ride in a gondola in Venice. To be honest, they’re overpriced and in my opinion, kind of corny. If you’re dying to get out on a boat, my suggestion would be to ride in a water taxi. Similar experience, it’s a fraction of the cost, plus it gets you from point A to point B quicker than walking!)
If you have some extra time and want to escape the crowds, I would highly recommend taking the water taxi to Murano. Murano is a small island outside of the city of Venice and it is famous for their handmade glass. The water taxi from Venice takes about 20 minutes and a great way to spend an afternoon. We wandered in and out of the shops, bought some souvenirs, watched some really impressive glass blowing and got to see a side of Venice that most people don’t typically see.