Everyone dreams of packing their bags, heading to Venice, Italy and hopping on a gondola. Am I right or am I right?
Update: I’m right.
Well. I did just that. And yes….Venice is everything you could hope and dream of.
Venice is known as “The Floating City”, or “The City on Water”, and it really is just that. This city is literally filled with old, beautiful historic buildings and what seems like millions of canals and small waterways.
It’s pretty much just how you envision it. Old homes, shops, and restaurants. Tiny bridges over tiny canals. And hundreds of men in black&white striped shirts giving gondola tours and singing old Italian music. Yep.
One thing to add: So. Many. Tourists.
As you walk around, it’s kind of difficult to remember your sense of direction. There are SO many alleys, streets, canals, bridges, and although each one is different…..they somehow all seem the same?
It’s just so awe-inspiring when you’re sauntering down the streets of Venice and interacting with locals. Don’t go to Venice, go on a gondola, and leave. The people here are truly incredible and worth meeting. They’re filled with culture, beautiful language, amazing cuisine, and stories that will make you smile.
GONDOLA TOURS: But you really do have to ride on a gondola. When you’re roaming the streets, there’s different points where you can enter and exit a gondola tour. Warning: they are expensive. Especially if you’re alone.
Gondolas hold 6 people total. You can go with as many people as you want as long as it’s 6 or under. For an average of 30 minutes (give or take with water traffic) (yes water traffic is a thing in Venice) – it is €80. And if you want to do a full hour it is €120. The prices do not change depending on how many people you have. I was traveling alone, and preferred to go on a gondola alone because I wanted it to be more relaxing. I didn’t want to go with a bunch of tourists taking photos every .682 seconds, ya know? So yes. I paid the full price by myself.
The routes are great. You will be taken through many different canals and your driver will tell you fantastic stories about different buildings you pass.
Fun fact: many buildings on the water have black lines drawn on them with dates next to it. These lines indicate how high the water was at that point in time. Venice has many high waters and gondolas are not to be ridden then.
And no matter what – you will pass under the famous bridge – Rialto Bridge.
FOOD: You’re thinking “Italy. Pizza. Yes.” Which is super true. But in Venice, Italy…..lean towards the seafood. When in Venice, I had some of the most incredible seafood dishes I’ve ever had in my 20 years. My favorite restaurant was one that had decor inside of the building that made you feel as if you were still outside in Venice. My hosts and I split an amazing meal.
WHERE TO STAY: This is the tricky part. Venice has hotels and hostels around the canals that lure in tourists. But they are very, very expensive. And you don’t typically get your money’s worth unless you are paying HUNDREDS of Euros. €€€ There is a small amount of hostels, and they average €50 a night…..but not good hostels. My trick? Can you guess? Staying with hosts. Couchsurfing. This way, it is free, but you also get to stay with locals. They can tell you where to go, what to do, where to eat, and fill your minds with incredible stories about their past memories and history of the floating city itself.
EXTRAS: I also took boats and went to MANY different islands off of Venice – but I will make those separate posts. If interested: Murano and Burano are the most popular and deserve that title! Check them out.
So yeah. Venice might be somewhere you want to go. I mean…..if you’re into like suuuuuper beautiful cities filled with rich culture and history. I guess. 😉
Thank you for reading my about a few of my experiences and tips of advice when taking on Venice, Italy. If you have any questions – please feel free to contact me.
Until next time!