Venice, Italy – a romantic city filled with beautiful architecture and a history dating back from centuries ago; A charming place to visit as a tourist and backpackers alike and as well dive in to explore its majestic narrow alleys and its world famous canals. Here is my Venice Travel Experience.
Overviewing the beautiful Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute
Venice is an absolutely touristy place for many years now and is on nearly everyone’s bucket list of must-visit destinations. I was there in July this year with my sister who asked me to take her somewhere for a long weekend on a much needed holiday from reality. I needed it too and I must say I was not disappointed. I knew the weather would be extreme during that time of the year since it was basically in the middle of summer and boy the heat sure was overwhelming especially during noon time!
We scored a rather decent priced plane tickets (I’m a cheapo and by descent I meant cheap but I know I could get it even cheaper) and we booked an AirBnB apartment that is a bit further away from the buzzing touristy places for a much quieter and relaxed stay. We weren’t exactly on a tight budget since we only stayed in Venice for three days and four nights but at my expense, since I do not have so much moolah, we still decided to watch our cash flow. I planned pretty much everything for our trip and searched for things we can do for free (cheapskate attack!) and as well what activities we should do during our stay that will somehow give us a very Venetian, experience.
One of the many canals in Venice
For me, I like cooking during my trips because for some reason shopping for the ingredients gives me a wonderful perspective of the local market and I usually do a lot of research beforehand on what is that specific region’s finest produce. Since we were in Italy it was such a duh moment to even think what awesome produce they have since they pretty much have everything in so good quality for a fraction of the price compared to Finland. Since we arrived during summer the whole place was basically booming with fresh and on season goods, which drove me absolutely gaga. To say the least, we certainly indulge on wines, cheeses and all the goodies we can get our hands on from the market. I mean, seriously, we are in Italy! We just need to have them.
Our AirBnB apartment was an absolute beauty. It was bigger than my apartment and is on the fifth floor overlooking the neighboring buildings and it also gave us the impression that the owner has a very good sense of aesthetic when it comes to interior design because seriously that place was beautiful! Best part? The apartment has two air coolers! It was the best thing ever after walking for hours under the summer sun. The place was magnificent and I must say that it was probably the best place I’ve stayed so far during my travels.
The port in Burano
After we arrived we immediately witnessed the iconic view which Venice is very well known of – its canals. We rode a waterbus, the main transport system of Venice (there are no cars, buses or whatever with wheels to transport you within this city) and meanwhile on our way to the apartment’s destination we saw the outlining view of the whole city, which was so beautiful and romantic! We fell in love at first sight and though the smell of the canal could be overwhelming to some, it didn’t really bothered us even my sister who have a sensitive nose when it comes to strong fumes. The city itself is majestic and the overall place is clean which truly impressed me. Sure, they leave their garbage just outside their door but I find their trash system quite effective and as I spoke to our host’s assistant, she said that if you do not abide by the trash system law you could get fine as much as 80€! So I guess people are really strict about that in there.
St. Marks Basilica
The whole place was pretty crowded when we were there and nearly all the museums especially the famous ones have lines like I’ve never seen. I’ve never even seen a line that long, not even from the Louvre in Paris! Therefore, we decided to skip the museums and as well the Basilica not just because it is overcrowded but also because of its hefty entrance fee and besides we are in the city for such a small amount of time we decided to direct our way towards what we love best – eating and drinking.
We ate our way every day and as well drank loads of the awesome heat busting Capri Spritz which you can find on nearly every restaurant and bars in town. We also walked a lot and got lost pretty much all the time and just simply had a good sister bonding! We had so much fun that I even wrote an article about it, which also got published at the Thought Catalog (yay!). Our stay was short but eventful and we did cover most major tourist destinations such as the St. Marks Basilica, Campanile Di San Marco, Rialto Bridge, Grand Canal and even explored several bars for their famous Cicchetti (Venetian tapas). Most of our exploration were done by foot and we were tired almost every day but it still didn’t stop us yet again to get lost and what fascinated me was that pretty much on every narrow alley you’ll find gems worth taking photo of or yet another beautiful church which will start to make you think how many churches does this small city need? Seriously, I’m not kidding when I say we stumbled upon a church nearly every turn (okay that is an exaggeration but you get what I mean).
In Torcello, an island near Venice
From all of our beautiful touristy exploration, the best part has to go to our little trip to the small islands near Venice. We bought a tour online since if we do a DIY the price is pretty much the same and since time was not on our side either, we needed to scurry up out trip to see these outlining islands just to meet our daily plans. We bought our tour through Viator for 20€ per person and it was a guided trip that lasted 4 ½ hours so it was not so bad since the transport fees in Venice is on a vexing price of 5€ for a one-way ticket which is only valid for an hour or 20€ per person for a whole day unlimited tourist pass. Uhm, we’ll pass. It was crazy expensive! It was good though because then the tourist will have to walk and by walking they’ll see more of Venice. Our guide greeted us by the St. Mark’s (San Marco) waterbus stop and guided us along the way. We visited Murano – an island where you’ll get to witness some of the world’s greatest glassmakers in action, Burano – a beautiful fisherman’s island where they paint their houses in bright colors, and Torcello – an island where Venetians first settlers and caters beautifully kept buildings from centuries ago. My sister was very fond of these islands and she absolutely loved our tour so I guess sometimes taking a tour is not so bad. I’m glad she enjoyed very much since it was our first holiday together and although it was short it was surely memorable.
The colorful houses at Murano
Our trip came to an end and all I can say is that I’ll most probably be back in Venice since my sister and I promised that we definitely should ride a Gondola with our loved ones. We didn’t ride one because it was so expensive but, of course, we could give them our best haggling skills, however, it was still expensive because you have to rent the whole Gondola and the fee is not per person
Note: When you rent a Gondola, it can cost you between 50-100€ for half an hour but depending from where you buy your ride, the price could vary between drivers or whatever you agree on and also a Gondola can fit about eight people and the fee could be split between passengers.
The neighborhood where our apartment was located
Otherwise, the trip was for surely an experience and I would definitely go back to Venice but not during peak seasons (maybe during spring or autumn). The heat creeps into you after few days under the sun! I hope to return one day and experience Venice on a little bit lengthier stay.
Venice is one of my favorite destination. It was romantic and as well filled with history, two things I like to read about when I travel. Not only I find this city interesting, I also went here with my big sister which made the whole trip more fun!
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