If you have limited time to spend in Venice then this guide is perfect for you. This is a list of things I got to do in less than a day. I also didn’t spend much money in Venice and this was one of my cheapest trips in Europe. Venice is my favourite city in Europe and I hope you fall in love with the city too. Here’s my guide to Venice if you only have a few hours to spend in this exquisite place.
St. Marks Square
St. Marks Square is overcrowded with tourists and is home to many pigeons. It is still worth seeing the place where many film scenes were shot. I suggest you go just to take a few photos and then get away from the crowds. Skip entering the church if you have limited time rather go exploring roam around the back streets and canals.
The Bridge of Sighs
Another tourist hotspot this intricate architectural design should still not be missed. It is said that the bridge was used by convicts going to prison. The criminals could apparently see the last view of Venice in all its glory from the slats which form part of the bridge. The prisoners apparently sighed as they crossed the bridge. This story is most likely a myth as the slats are too narrow and high to see much of the city anyways. Still, take a photo or two and then quickly move along.
You have to try the gelato. It is out of this world yummy and there are so many different flavours to try. Spoil yourself and have more than one scoop I promise that you won’t regret it. You can also eat it whilst walking around allowing you to spend your time soaking up the scenery.
San Giorgio Maggiore
This island is opposite St. Marks square and the views from it are simply spectacular. This is a perfect spot to take photos of the Belltower vista. The water surrounding this island gleams as the sunlight hits it. There’s no pollution like in Venice Central. You also get to see the church which is often far less crowded and it is free to enter. The church itself is eye-catching and the island is much calmer than the active Central Venice.
Before I visited Venice I read about this colourful island. The homes are brightly coloured reminding me of the Bo-kaap in Cape Town. Burano was also featured on Top Billing a popular show in South Africa which focuses on luxury, travel, food and lifestyle. This was my number one place I wanted to see in Venice and it is an enthralling island. Burano is such a happy place the colours are uplifting and you just won’t be able to stop taking photos.
Whilst at Burano I recommend having a seafood meal. There are many options and the fish is pretty good. It’s not better than the seafood in Cape Town. I’m biased as I am a Cape Town girl but, it isn’t bad at all. The meals are also fairly cheap and there’s a variety of seafood which ranges in price that you can buy.
Ride a Gondola
Haggle and go ride a gondola. Act uninterested a bit. If the price is too much act like you are going to walk away. Take your ride like I did after the day is almost done and there are few people or no people wanting to go the gondola. Go to gondola points at San Toma the St. Marks spots are filled and you will likely be charged more. Try to split the costs like I did. Lastly, don’t forget to take photos a video clip but, most importantly have fun. Sometimes you have to let go of documenting everything and just relax. Live in the actual moment instead of capturing it and running the experience.
Buy things at Burano and shop around. Don’t buy momentoes at Venice Central they cost much more. Burano and the other Venetian Islands charge less for gifts. And you can buy a glass blown rings and lace on at Burano Island. Just walk around and compare prices the shops which are hidden away tend to charge less for items. I bought my ring at Lumeart: DI Live Minio via Giudecca 40, Tel: 041 52722 78 and paid only €2. Remember postcards, magnets, lace and rings are cheaper than paintings or Venetian masks. They are also smaller and easier to pack or post back home.
How to get to Venice
I travelled by tour bus and in the Tranchetto parking lot. If you want to know more about how to get to Venice click the link: http://www.reidsitaly.com/destinations/veneto/venice/planning/venice_getting_there.html
If you also end up at the Tranchetto parking lot then buy the People Mover Ticket. It costs €1.50. The ride is only one way into Venice. There are ticket machines but, you can buy a ticket inside the station as well. For more detailed information follow the link: https://europeforvisitors.com/venice/articles/venice-people-mover-tickets-and-fares.htm
Where to stay in Venice
I didn’t stay over in Venice so if you want more information on where to stay click here: http://www.italyheaven.co.uk/veneto/venice/wheretostay.html
Try to catch a gondola ride a bit later in the day. And get it at San Tomá instead of at the St.Marks spot. Haggle a bit and if you don’t mind it split the fare.
Go to the other islands besides Venice Central. Venice Central is wildly popular and it can be overwhelming at times.
Buy a day pass for the ferry that way you won’t be paying every time you get onto an ACTV ferry.
Take photos at less crowded islands and spots.
Wear good shoes. If you are going to wear sneakers/takkies wear ones that don’t look like gym shoes. Italian people are stylish and if you want to look like a local then mix up your casual look. Don’t wear beach sandals main of the lanes are cobblestoned and you will regret it after your feet are full of blisters.
Buy food where you see locals are buying food.
If you want to travel around buy the ACTV Venezia ticket. This is the public transportation provider in Venice: https://europeforvisitors.com/venice/articles/actv-maps-and-timetables.htm
Don’t lose your ticket you will be heavily fined. If you have to go to the boat hand and show your receipt to immediately replace your ticket.
Thank you so much for reading. I hoped you enjoyed this short and sweet guide to Venice. Do you have a favourite place that you love in Venice please tell me more if you do? If you want to comment on this post or on my blog, in general, please feel free to. I’m open to tips, and collaboration. Pop me an e-mail if you want to chat or collaborate.
Until next time
Wishing you many happy travels through the journey of life!
xxx Nikki xxx