A visit to Venice…
Last year, on a particularly miserable November morning, Jordan and I both woke up dreaming of a sunny getaway! I scrolled through the deals until I found cheapy flights to Venice and then booked them in an instant, all before 9am. I basically only survive winter by having a holiday to look forward to…
Jordan had been to Venice with the band a couple of times but it would be my first time, he’d always said how much he wanted to go back, and so it was set! March rolled around quick and before we knew it, we were packed and ready to go.
I have to say, I’m not one for touristy cities – I can’t stand crowds and I love quiet hideaways, so I wasn’t quite sure I’d enjoy Venice. I was pleasantly surprised because it truly is a beautiful city, but I do think you have to know how to do it!
When we travel, I love anywhere with a bit of history and culture, good coffee and food, and lots of photo opportunities (and ideally good weather!), but most of all I like to feel like a local. I usually try and immerse myself in a place as much as possible, to avoid the overpopulated spots and enjoy the places frequented by the locals – it’s the best way to do it!
Where We Stayed…
I found a lot of places in Venice looked very traditional and more on the basic side, but in a very charming kind of way. We ended up staying at Grand Hotel Dei Dogi, I thought the location looked quiet and off the grid a little, and the rooms were nicer than a lot of others I’d seen.
I really think we lucked out with this hotel, it was right in the middle of the residential bit and so we barely left this area. It had some of the best restaurants nearby and we spent hours and hours wandering the beautiful streets nearby. The rooms are pretty cute too, lots of pastels and ornate details.
If you walk along the streets of Fondamenta Misericordia and Fondamenta de la Sensa as well as the Jewish Quarter, there are so many incredible buildings, little bars with outside seating (where a spritz costs €2.50!) and so many places to stop to eat. It was my favourite area to roam so we mainly stayed around here.
A Few Foodie Recommendations…
The land of pizza and pasta! We were warned about the food in Venice, someone even said “Venice is so busy, it’s like the restaurants don’t even need to try!” but we actually did have some good meals so I thought I’d share them with you – although please excuse my complete lack of foodie photos, I always forget to photograph meals!
Doing any European country as a non meat-eater is always tough, but I found Venice particularly hard. We managed on a diet of bread and cheese pasta/risotto/gnocchi, although I was laughing when I asked one chef if anything was vegetarian and he said “yes, this is vegetarian… apart from the chicken”.
Ostaria Da Rioba
This was a little restaurant we stumbled upon on our first day, we had lunch in the sun (and our first spritz of the day) and it was so lovely. There were a good mix of dishes on the menu and the servers were helpful. We had some delicious cheese ravioli and a big plate of seasonal veg and it was perfect.
We stopped here for a drink on our last night but made a point of coming back for lunch the following day because it looked so delicious! They do a mix of cheese, meats, pickles and small tapas, and you can sit outside with a spritz too. My favourite kinda lunch!
This was our favourite find of the trip, it’s a more vegetarian-friendly restaurant (although they do a mix of meat and fish too) so we were able to try a lot from the menu. I think the dishes change daily, we had an amazing sharing starter plate and a sort of pumpkin flan and both were so tasty!
Add To Your List…
The Ultimate Coffee Stop
As soon as we book a trip anywhere, Jordan gets to work planning some sort of coffee tour which he calls “Market research” heh. At the top of his list was Torrefazione Cannaregio, a coffee shop not far from our hotel.
The first couple of times we went, it was shut for repairs but we finally got to go on our final day. We went early (for breakfast) and we’re lucky we did because it gets busy in here, it seemed like the only ‘must visit’ coffee shop in Venice so everyone was grabbing their coffee fix.
We sat in and had coffee and some food and it was delicious – we even bought some beans back home with us. It’s a really awesome little place, even if you’re not a big coffee fan. I had a slice of apple pie and it was so good, I’ve been dreaming of it ever since.
For The Views
We all know I love a good viewpoint, so I made sure to stop off at T Fondaco dei Tedeschi, a shopping centre with lots of beautiful designer stores which also has a rooftop for photos.
It can get quite busy and you need to book beforehand – there are iPads outside to do this but I can imagine the queues get crazy! It’s free, and you just select a timeslot and turn up when it’s your time. You don’t get long out there though so get snap-happy while you can.
The Quirkiest Bookshop
Take a trip to Acqua Alta Book Shop while you’re in Venice, it’s a crazy space filled wall to ceiling with books. There’s bathtubs and gondolas filled with books, a gondola out the back that you can sit in, and even a stairway of books. There’s cats that roam too, so it really was my dream day out!
A Trip To Burano
I have a whole post coming on Burano, but I thought I’d mention it here too as it was one of my highlights of the trip. We got a boat across from F.te Nove (make sure you walk a bit further on and get a ticket before you get on board) and spent a couple of hours wandering the colourful streets. It’s tiny so half a day there will be more than enough time, but you won’t regret it.
We took a walk down to San Marco early one morning just to tick it off the list, although I did not love the experience! Even first thing on a weekday March day it was too much for me – so many birds and queues of people, and it didn’t really wow me. One thing I did want to see was Caffè Florian, one of the oldest coffee houses in the world. We did have a look in as Jordan wanted to try the coffee but at €16 he decided against it. Still, it was a beautiful building so it was worth seeing!
Getting around Venice seems like it would be tricky but we had no issues, although we did walk everywhere! I found using Google Maps was really helpful and it was accurate for public transport too, just make sure you tick “avoid ferries” if you prefer to walk. We used it to get the times for the boat to Burano and the airport and it was all easy breezy.
Our hotel also offered a shuttle to Piazza San Marco a few times a day, so that may be an option too.
To get to the airport on our final day, we took a water taxi from the stop near our hotel (Madonna dell’Orto) and it was so much fun – we paid onboard, the boat was quick and had Wifi and USB charging ports, and we were able to store our luggage too.
I did plan to do the touristy thing and take a ride on a gondola but we decided against it in the end. The rides have a set rate of about €100 per 30 minutes, but I know it can be a bit scammy with the gondoliers stopping early or whatever. I’ve heard it’s worth doing if you’re really up for it though!
We took a walk down past the Rialto bridge early one morning instead and stood out on the jetties and got photos from there, which was a good way to get photos of the Grand Canal.
A dreamy destination!
I went to Venice with little to no expectations but found myself loving this little city so much, every corner was waiting to be photographed – and I can always get on board with a place that loves a spritz as much as I!
If you’re looking for your next romantic, picture perfect getaway, consider Venice – we didn’t see a car for the entire trip, lived on a diet of pasta and Aperol, and fell in love with (what feels like) every one of the 400+ bridges in the city. The dream trip for an otherwise quiet March.
Have you visited Venice?