** Disclaimer: Before I dive into the guide, I want to send out prayers to everyone who was affected by the horrible flooding late last month.**
Wow, I am so excited about today’s post – as it’s all about what to do in Venice, and kicks off my travel guide series for my trip to France and Italy last month! To say that the trip was absolutely amazing is an understatement. My mom and I travelled for 11 days straight, and not only was it extraordinary to see places that I’m constantly pinning on Pinterest and seeing in movies, but it was a special time to experience traveling with my mom as an adult, who is my best friend. I mean, it was just a blast!
However, as with every trip – it was not without its setbacks. When we first booked the trip, everyone kept telling us that Venice was underwhelming and that we only needed a short amount of time there. So, we planned on getting there at 11:30am on Tuesday, and leaving for Florence at 2:00pm on Wednesday. Of course we ended up missing our flight (which was not really our fault), and had to travel one hour to a different airport in Paris, only to wait an additional six hours for our layover! We finally settled in around 9:00pm and tried to make the most of our time for the remaining hours. Let’s dive in to what do in Venice:
What to Do
Take A Gondola Ride
- First things first, you have to take a gondola ride. I know it might sound cheesy, but who goes to Venice without doing that?! My mom and I had just three hours to explore and sight-see the next day, so we walked around trying to find the best deal. We completely misunderstood that rather than it being $60 per person (which was unbelievable), it was only $60 for the entire ride! It’s important to note that we didn’t get one with all of the bells and whistles (read: a singing instructor/one who spouts out history facts), but it was still breathtaking. We rode around for about 40 minutes, cruising through the main canal, and weaving in and out of the smaller, tighter canals.
Visit Piazza San Marco
- Another must-see is Piazza San Marco. There were a few times where I thought we were seeing it, and was confused why everyone said it was so vast. Well, once we actually arrived, I understood why. The square is absolutely huge and so stunning! St. Mark’s Basilica is even more beautiful. While my mom and I aren’t ones for standing in line, if you have time you should probably go inside, as I’ve heard it’s completely magnificent. The square is filled with people taking photos, so don’t be afraid to ask fellow travelers to snap a pic!
Grab a Drink (or several) at Bacaro Jazz
- Like I said, we arrived much later than expected, so made the most of our time! In fact, we ended up at Bacaro Jazz – which is hilarious place – thanks to the guidance of one of the waiters from the restaurant we dined at (see below). We tried to follow his directions and ended up lost, and luckily ran into him as he was traveling home! This place is super cool because it’s kind of like a tiny (but nice) dive bar, and has bras hanging from the ceiling! They also make a delicious Aperol Spritz. Depending on where you’re staying, you’ll encounter tons of cute shops and storefronts. When we walked in, almost everyone in there had tossed back a few, and it was tempting for us to play catch up!
- This one might seem like a no-brainer, but I’m serious. Our first night we met a couple who said that walking around at night was perfectly acceptable and not creepy at all – and they were right! We roamed around close to midnight and never felt in danger like you would in the United States. While it was slightly creepy because it’s dark and winding streets, it was awesome to take our time and soak in the sights! In fact, the next day my mom bought gifts for her friends at a shop we had stumbled upon the night before.
Where to Eat
Osteria Doge Morosini
- The night we arrived we asked our hotel concierge for recommendations and he recommended several in Piazza Santo Stefano. We checked out the menus, but ultimately decided on Osteria Doge Morosini for our first authentic Italian meal. Let me say – it did not disappoint! While you might be leery of eating somewhere tourists frequent, the food was absolutely delicious and reasonably priced. There’s tables cutely situated outside where you can sit and people-watch, but there’s a large restaurant inside should you prefer a quieter atmosphere. I highly recommend the Lobster & Seafood Pasta!
Where to Stay
- When you take the water taxi from the airport, there’s a variety of stops once you arrive into town, and Hotel Ala is at the very last one – Giglio. That’s because it’s located just steps away from the Church of Santa Maria del Giglio. Throughout our entire trip, this hotel was the most spacious and had two separate beds (one queen and one daybed), which is definitely a blessing while traveling with someone. While we weren’t there for very long, the one standout point for this recommendation is that the breakfast was the best, and I highly recommend trying their hash browns! The staff was also very accommodating by holding our bags as we explored after checkout.