November 2019, I checked one more City off of my bucket list. For years I wanted to travel to Venice and I finally got the opportunity to do so. Venice is another one of my all time favorite European cities. It is just small enough to have the old world charm but just large enough to make solo travel super easy. (I definitely would not recommend Venice if you have stroller bound children because you will be carrying your stroller up and down across bridges throughout the city. It is definitely worth it if your child is old enough to walk or you can carry them on your back).
When arriving in Venice the first thing you’re going to want to do is take a bus from the airport to the water bus station. Being that Venice is completely surrounded by water, there are no cars and the only way to get anywhere is by water taxi, water bus or by walking across the numerous bridges in the city. When arriving at the airport it is best to head straight out to the bus terminals and find the kiosk next to the coffee shop advertising 10 euro trips to Venice. That is the cheapest and most direct way into the city. Once you get off the bus at the water bus terminal, you will pay 7 euro to take the water bus into the city. Don’t get tricked into taking a water taxi because it will easily cost you up to 30 Euro. From there the city is very easy to walk around and for the most part pretty straightforward. There is one main road that connects most of Venice (Strada) and as long as you stay on that road you are able to find a plethora of shops, restaurants, hotels and the casino. Most restaurants or cafes offer free Wi-Fi that you can use if needed, otherwise some will make you pay for at least a coffee in order to use the Wi-Fi.
My first day in Venice I dropped off my bag at the hostel (In Venice hostel) and walked around the city. Venice has lots of cheap restaurants where you can get a slice of pizza and a bellini or beer for 3 euro.
After walking around for a little bit I found St. Mark’s basilica and spent some time people watching. (I even got to meet a man who was an extra on Game of Thrones season 7).
From there, I boarded my gondola tour that I booked through viator.com. My one recommendation is to shop around when it comes to gondola tours because some are better than others. Some guides are more interactive and some are very fluent English speaking as well. Our tour guide unfortunately didn’t really speak to us so that was a bit of a let-down but still not enough to ruin the whole trip.
The next day in Venice I went on a half day tour to the islands of Burano and Murano and it is definitely something that you should not miss when visiting Venice. (Check out my blog post about Murano and Burano).
On my last day in Venice, I continued exploring the city and dropped my bag off at the bag check office at the train station. For 6 Euros, they will watch your bag for up to 5 hours, which is very helpful while backpacking. After dropping my bag off, I explored the city some more, eating my weight in cannolis and sandwiches before boarding my train to Rome.
As far as Venice goes, it is a beautiful and very traveller friendly city. Nearly everyone spoke English and were extremely helpful. The one caveat I would say, would be if you are traveling with smaller children, I would hesitate to go to Venice just because of the amount of walking you will have to do. Additionally, it is my recommendation that if you go to Venice, either travel with a backpack or a small carry-on that is light enough for you to carry. I can’t tell you how many times I watched people struggling with 60 lb suitcases up and over the bridges.
Venice is by far one of my favorite European cities because of how easy it is to travel as a solo traveler. There is so much to see and do and do many little side streets to explore. One of my favorite things that I did on my trip was just wandering around the endless alleyways admiring the architecture and observing the day-to-day life of Venice’s citizens. The aura felt within the city is that a familiarity and comfort. From the wonderful hospitality of all the people to the many sights and smells throughout the city, it definitely is something everyone must experience at some point in their life. Visiting Venice gave me even more motivation to travel around the rest of Italy and to explore as much as possible.
Bistro La Lista (The French toast and bacon was phenomenal!)
Honestly, any shop in Venice is awesome and very cheap. You will pay between 1-3 Euro for a cup or cone.
Best Coffee/ Hot Chocolate:
Chicalatto Caldo (It is Italian hot chocolate and it is a thick dark chocolate drink that tastes heavenly.) You can find it at pretty much any Cafe in Venice but if hot chocolate isn’t your thing, espresso is always a safe bet and very affordable.
Best Lunch/ Dinner:
By far the best deal was pizza and a bellini for 3 Euro. There are tons of restaurants within Venice that for about 15 Euro you can get a full meal plus a glass of wine or beer.
Best Time to Visit:
I went at the end of November / beginning of December and it was very cold. (So definitely dress warm.) It was a good time of year because it wasn’t very crowded and you were able to enjoy more of the sites without feeling bombarded with tourists.
If backpacking, utilize the bag check services at the train station. (Can’t stress that enough.)
Where to Stay:
In Venice Hostel (Isn’t super fancy but it is clean and very quiet)
Calle dei Fiori, 2248, 30121 Venezia VE, Italy