WHAT TO EXPECT
Climate: The best time to visit Venice is from June to September. But it can get very hot and crowded with tourists. January is the coldest month with temperatures dropping below 0C. October to January is also considered to be the high-water season in Venice even though flooding can occur at any given time.
Cash/Credit: Credit cards are widely accepted in Venice. However, it can be easier to pay for small purchases, water buses and taxis using cash. Therefore, do keep a few Euros with you wherever you go.
1. Getting around
- Walking: The easiest and common way to get around Venice is on foot. There are many stairways in and around Venice making it difficult to carry your luggage when getting to and from your hotel/ apartment.
- Water Taxi: If you arrive in Venice by train or at the Marco Polo Airport with heavy luggage, this is the best way to get to your desired location. Also, if you wish to visit any other islands such as Murano or Burano you can consider a water taxi. Not the cheapest option but it is pretty convenient, and it is one of the best ways to admire the beauty of Venice.
- Water Bus: Water buses are much cheaper compared to water taxis, but they are slow and can be crowded and doesn’t always guarantee a seat. They run on a schedule and you can get a pass depending on your location of travel. This is another way to get to the islands of Murano and Burano.
- Gondolas: A gondola ride can cost you around 80 -100 Euros for a 30-35-minute ride. Even though it is quite pricey, a gondola ride is something you should definitely experience in Venice. The prices are high during the evening hours and also it gets really busy, so we recommend you avoid those times. Also, we don’t recommend this as an option to get from one place to another.
2. Where to stay
Typically, Airbnb’s tend to be cheaper than most hotels in Venice. When booking your trip, make sure to thoroughly research your options. You can always find an Airbnb apartment with a beautiful view in a convenient location. We absolutely loved ours. It was right in front of the Giudecca Canal, one of the major canals in Venice and during the times we stayed Cruise Ships were allowed to pass through this passage providing us with magnificent views. Here’s the link to our Airbnb in Venice.
Here are a few other recommendations.
The Gritti Palace
In a 15th century palazzo on the Grand Canal, this lavish hotel is a 3-minute walk from the Giglio vaporetto stop, an 8-minute walk from Piazza San Marco and a 10-minute walk from the Bridge of Sighs.
USD 770 / LKR 142,000
Novecento Boutique Hotel
On a quaint narrow street, this charming, family-run hotel is a 4-minute walk from the S. Maria del Giglio vaporetto stop, 9 minutes’ walk from the famous St. Mark’s Square and 14 minutes’ walk from the Rialto Bridge.
USD 230 / LKR 42,000
Hotel al Ponte Antico
Set on the Grand Canal, in a restored 16th-century home with original architectural details and furnishings, this elegant hotel is a 1-minute walk from the Rialto Bridge and an 8-minute walk from Piazza San Marco.
USD 300 / LKR 55,000
Beside the Grand Canal in a 16th-century palace, this elegant hotel is a 2-minute walk from both a vaporetto stop and the Piazza San Marco.
USD 1200 / LKR 225,000
Belmond Hotel Cipriani
Overlooking the Venetian Lagoon, this high-end seasonal hotel is a 12-minute walk from the ornate Doge’s Palace and 1 km from Piazza San Marco.
USD 900 / LKR 170,000
This high-end, canal-side hotel is 0.3 km from Saint Mark’s Basilica. It’s a larger hotel with a boutique feel, and you will find sightseeing effortless at this ideal location.
USD 150 / LKR 28,000
*All above amounts are approximate figures with foreign exchange rates from Oct 2020.
3. Where to eat
Situated at the foot of Ponte dell’Acccademia, with incredible views of the grand canal, this restaurant serves the most delicious food at a reasonable price. We suggest you try their Creamy Cannelloni and the Venetian style Creamy Cod served on crispy bread, which were absolutely delicious!
Providing amazing views of the Giudecca Canal and its surroundings this beautiful outside restaurant serves delicious food and wine. It is perfect a romantic dinner or for drinks during midday or at dusk. We highly suggest you try their Saffron Risotto which was fresh and delicious.
Ristorante Gianni alle Zattere
Opened since the 1960s, situated in Dorsoduro facing the Giudecca canal, this restaurant serves some of the best food we’ve ever had! The creamy salmon pasta is a must have as that was one of the most delicious pasta dishes we’ve ever tasted. Don’t forget to try their seafood spaghetti as well.
Walk past the Zattere Water Bus Station and you will find this gem of a place serving delicious ice creams with fabulous views across the Giudecca Canal.
I Tre Mercanti
If you visit Venice, make sure to try their signature Tiramisu which is made fresh every day! It is heavenly and you will not regret!!!
Serves some of the most delicious Venetian food and recommended by many. Make sure to try their Paccheri with Pistachio, Basil Pesto and Shrimps.
4. What to do
Catch the sunset at Ponte di Rialto
The Rialto Bridge is a stone-arch bridge crossing over the narrowest point of the Grand Canal in Venice. It is also a well-known spot to watch the setting sun as gondolas go by. This iconic bridge is one of the famous landmarks of Venice. This is a lively area in Venice packed with local cafés and restaurants either side of the canal bustling with tourists. We highly recommend Osteria Bancogiro which sits at the foot of the Rialto bridge and serves authentic Venetian food.
Tip: If you’re planning to have a meal in one of these restaurants be careful when you choose as most of them are too expensive and really not worth it.
Visit the oldest café in the world
Located in Piazza San Marco, Caffè Florian owns the tittle of the oldest café in the world. Established in 1720, inside this lavish café, besuited waiters serve cappuccino on silver trays. It costs over 30 Euros for 2 cups of cappuccino. But the experience is fully worth it and something you will never forget.
This island of colorful buildings and Venetian lace a definite must visit during your trip to Venice. You can reach the island by taking either a water taxi or water bus. You can spend a couple of hours exploring the island which is filled with brightly colored fishermen’s homes and little shops that sell lace products and local butter cookies called ‘bussolai buranei’.
Visit Piazza San Marco
Often known as St. Mark’s Square, Piazza San Marco is a place you should definitely visit during your trip to Venice. It is home to the beautiful Saint Mark’s Basilica which dates back to the 11th century with its opulent marble floors and luminous gold mosaics. Next door to the Basilica you will find the awe-inspiring Doge’s Palace, the former Venetian government which exhibits beautiful gothic architecture. Also don’t miss the bridge of Sighs which is made of white limestone and links Doge’s palace to the infamous prison.
Tip: Make sure to visit at sunrise before the square fills up with tourists.
Try Cicchetti & Baccalà mantecato
Cicchetti is a Venetian finger food served as the main element of every authentic happy hour or social gathering. They are served in local bars called ‘Bacari’ alongside a glass of spritz or red/white wine. Most Bacari serve an assortment of fried fish, mixed vegetables and traditional Venetian dishes made with local fish, meats and cheese. Here are a few of our suggestions for you to try the best Cicchetti in Venice.
- Al timon
- Cantina do Spade
- Cantinone Del Vino Gia Schiavi
When in Venice do not miss out on the typical Baccalà mantecato or creamed cod fish. It is a delicious dish which you can find served as an appetizer with a slice of bread or polenta in any ‘osteria’ or ‘trattoria’. Here are our suggestions for you to try the yummiest Baccalà mantecato in Venice.
- Bar Foscarini
- Osteria Bancogiro
- Cantinone Del Vino Gia Schiavi
- Osteria alla Ciurma
Tips: Have cash to pay at Cicchetti bars, always pair with a spritz or wine for the best experience, Best time to have is at dusk.
Enjoy the best views of Venice from San Giorgio Maggiore
If you visit the Bell Tower of San Giorgio Maggiore you will be greeted with some of the finest views of Venice which includes San Marco, Doge’s Palace and the Grand Canal. The Church of San Giorgio Maggiore is on a small island across the waters from the Piazza San Marco in Venice. From the square in front of the church you can enjoy these marvelous views for free but a short elevator ride to the top of the bell tower will provide you with the best views of Venice for 6 Euros.
Take a Gondola Ride down Grand Canal
This is all the proof you need to confirm your trip to Venice, A Gondola Ride! This is definitely a bucket list experience which will be etched in your memories forever. A standard gondola ride costs 80 Euros for 30-35-minute tour. However, the prices increase up to 100-120 Euros during the evenings. But we recommend you go during dusk as it is beautiful and so romantic.
Enjoy a Spritz with a view
The best way to enjoy a glass of Spritz in Venice is with a beautiful view of the Canals. We highly recommend Bar Foscarini which offers stunning views of the Grand Canal, La Calcina which offers mesmerizing views of Giudecca Canal and Solana Rooftop Bar at the Splendid Venice Hotel which offers 360-degree views of Venice. And we recommend you try Aperol which consists of prosecco, Aperol and Soda water which is delicious and refreshing.
Catch the stunning views of the Grand Canal from the Ponte dell’Accademia
For us this is the best view of Venice which happen to appear in many postcards of Venice. From the bridge, you get an enchanting view of the Grand Canal, with gondolas, vaporettos and water taxis all competing for space, with the stunning backdrop of the Basilica di Santa Maria Della Salute. The view is priceless, and best of all, it’s free!