Venice is a City in Northeastern Italy famous for its canals. Ranked the most beautiful City in the world 2016, the touristic capital of the Veneto Region boasts gothic architecture and historic art. However, the city is facing some major challenges, including erosion, pollution and an excessive number of tourists. The City have even considered a ban on hard-wheeled suitcases to protect the cobbled streets!
Although at the time our situation was that we had an extra day in North Italy before Tom was flying home from Venice Airport so we decided to spend the extra night in Venice and cram in as much experience as possible. Besides it’s conveniently located next to the airport for his morning flight.
So although this post highlights some obvious things, at the time we hadn’t looked at or planned for Venice, it was just a last minute decision. We were going with the flow and couldn’t really change how things happened because we had less than one day here.
But there are things I would do differently if I was to return to Venice in the future so this could be used as a guide for those who are thinking about going to or passing through Venice but aren’t sure of the best way to go about it.
1. Don’t Bother With A Car
Roads? What Roads?
If we had known that Venice is not a place for a car, we would have gotten the bus but when you have a car you believe you can go everywhere and the possibilities are endless. To be fair to us, staying in the mountains for 4 days beforehand meant we needed a car but if you’re heading to Venice for a few days save the parking money and get public transport instead.
We drive into Venice via a 2 lane road over the sea to the main island. It takes us about an hour and a half to park upon entering because of the traffic of vehicles queuing up to get into Venice and parking in a small public car park. This means circling the carpark 3 times looking for a space, each time we had to exit onto the road back over the sea, do a U-turn and come back and try again.
When we find a space it’s only for a short time so we need to decide whether to leave our luggage and look for our hotel first or carry everything whilst looking for the hotel. But both options still mean we only have an hour parking.
We realise there is overnight parking next door so we get back in the car, exit for the 4th time and queue for that. They tell us that to park overnight we’re supposed to prebook because they are full of course. They manage to fit us in anyway and we pay 32 euros for one night.
Then we’re carrying our luggage into Venice, through the busy streets, over bridges towards our hotel room, following an arrow on Google Maps whilst Offline.
2. Know What’s Going On
Why is Everyone in Fancy Dress?
Guess what? We managed to choose the busiest City in Italy during the Mardi Gras Carnival and now I know why all the hotels are fully booked because Oh My God, I can’t even explain how crowded it is.
It didn’t take long to notice people wearing masks, ball gowns, wigs and holding props of all sorts. We find ourselves walking in crowds very often which is slow and annoying because after parking it’s now 3pm so I’m losing daylight hours rapidly but to push through means possibly losing Tom.
Every time I want to take a photo I have to wait for people to be out of frame. Every time I want Tom to take a photo of me we seem to have to queue for the opportunity and on the rare occasion we find a bridge with no people, as soon as the camera comes out there are people forming a queue behind us.
3. Book Your Hotel in Advance
£100 for one night in a one star!
We seem to have found the only hotel room left in Venice for one night but now we just have to FIND it. Maps takes us back and forth saying we are missing a turn when we realise it means a narrow alleyway behind a curtain.
The door number of our hotel seems to be missing as the buildings go like 13, 14, 15, 17. We ask 17 where 16 is and they’re not sure. They Kindly ring the number of the hotel and a man answers and says he’s in his office a ferry ride away so we have to wait 30 minutes.
We’re finally let into our room after climbing steps for 3 floors and for one night it will do but when you think about what you could spend £100 on, this room for one night would not be one of those things. There is a kettle but the cups and the teabags are all used by the previous occupants.
It would be advisable to book your hotel well in advance when visiting Venice especially during the busiest 2 weeks of the year. *Facepalm*
4. Know What to Pack For the Weather
Wrap Up Warm
Of course it’s cold in Italy during February and I can only wear what I had packed for my entire trip which is mostly Summer-wear pending my trip to the Philippines. So if I was to return to Venice I would make sure my luggage was full of Winter clothes. We spend the rest of the evening outdoors exploring so we start to get really cold. Tom goes on a hunt to buy a coat which seems amazing to me that he’d just been in the mountains for 4 days without a coat and now decides to buy one the night before his flight home.
The cold weather and lack of layers stops us from doing any gondola rides which is apparently a must-do when visiting Venice. A gondola ride consists of a nice romantic boat ride floating down the canals. We’re much too cold to even contemplate sitting in a boat for half an hour. I don’t even want to know how much it would cost, I can only imagine.
6. Plan Ahead to Use Your Time Wisely
Time Has Ran out
I knew one day in Venice wouldn’t be enough to truly enjoy what it has to offer. We wake up early the next morning to see if we have time to go to Burano, one of the small Venetian islands connected by bridge and famous for its colourful houses, but after finding out that we’d have to get a water bus there (again we assumed we would be able to drive) we gave it a miss in fear of Tom missing his flight.
If I return to Venice in the future I will definitely take time into account, it just goes so quick and there’s so much to see, not to mention how long it takes to get around because of the crowds.
The photos I took were rushed partly because there was so many people around but also because we were trying to see as much as we could in a short space of time so we never hung around and our feet hurt towards the end.
Have you been to Venice? How long did you stay for? Do you have any other tips or recommendations?
Share your thoughts below!