As you may have seen, I was lucky enough to attend The Venice Film Festival last September. Although I was there for two weeks, I didn’t see as much of Venice as I’d have liked to, however this was because of the festival and I wouldn’t have changed that!
Alas, here are some of my top picks for Venice (although be warned Venice is not budget friendly!)
Lets start with where I was staying. The small and historical island of Giudecca has more to it than meets the eye. It is a really lovely little island with a friendly atmosphere. I stayed at the University accommodation and got a boat to mainland Venice or the Lido (Come to this further down) every day at 6am! What you will find here is cheap fresh food, supermarkets (pretty much non existent on mainland?) and an amazing water front setting.
To get there: N or 2 ACTV Line bus (From S.Marco its around 10 minutes)
- Murano and Burano
Famous for glass and being the balamory of Venice, these are a must. Firstly Murano is on the surface a complicated little place, but walking into the depths of it, it has something really special going on. We decided to go to the glass museum, it was really interesting and they had a beautiful garden all around the old house,and in classic me style I fell of a wall here. As well as eating gelato (all day, every day). I didn’t get a chance to go to Burano because I had a film premiere to get to, but my family went and said it was really beautiful.
To get there: Murano – take the ACTV Line 4.2 (40 minutes from S.Marco) or for Burano take the train from central station – Line 12
- St Marks Square
This place requires planning, because oh boy does it get crowded, so crowded to the point we saw someone fall in the canal. BUT! that’s not to say that this place isn’t amazing, it is. My advice? Get there for 8am or before if you truly want to see it empty and get in all the architecture. I did this by myself when my family flew back at around 7:20am, and it was super special to watch it start to come alive. There is lots to do around the square, I sadly didn’t do any of them due to the festival but my family did lots and said it was bad for queuing, but worth it.
- Ca’ Rezzonico
This place in its heyday must have been completely overwhelming, even now it is just such a sight to see. Imagine if Chatsworth was built on a canal of water? The price to get in was £15, but the whole house had a really lovely friendly feel to it, and you could totally imagine people living here and loving life. A sight to see in here was the ‘medicine room’ if you go, you’ll know what I mean but it really is an amazing collection.
To get there: ACTV Line 1 for 12 minutes from S.Marco
- Gondola Ride
Can you really go to Venice without doing a gondola ride? hmmm not really! My Grandma had always wanted to go on one, so we did and it was actually really fun and pretty. My advice for these would be to walk way out and find one cheaper, the ones advertised at S.Marco are the most expensive, at around £40 per person for thirty minutes, we paid £25 per person for thirty minutes and it will still take you around the main areas.
- Grand Canal
This again is something you will for sure see, but go in the day and go at night, if you don’t want to rent a private water taxi, just hop on an ACTV boat for around £3 and see it for that. I did that at 6am and at 2am, in a ball gown, in a thunder storm (that’s a story for another day) and although not very pleasant at the time, it was an adventure!
- Rialto Bride
Perhaps the most famous bridge in Italy, it really is unique and historical but MY GOD does it get busy. I went under it on a boat, I stood next to it and that was enough because they were actually queuing to go over it, and I wasn’t going to wait to do that (sorry culture)
To get there: So you will get lost trying to find this the first time! From S.Marco, there are these tin signs to the bridge, follow them and you should get to it. But Venice is one of the most confusing places ever, you can be walking somewhere and wham you’ve hit the canal and have to turn around! Best to just ask people.
- Mestre shopping district
This area is full of amazing shops (Disney store!) I would describe it as the Times Square of Venice. Go and have some fun!
To get there: It’s the district under the Rialto bridge!
This is where the film festival is held, but regardless, its a very posh little island that I recommend a trip to! For starters it has one of the most amazing beaches ever, the sand was so bouncy and soft, and it has some great restaurants. But above all that, it has the Hotel Excelsior with it’s Hollywood vibes and cocktail bars, this is a bit of luxury away from the busy streets of Venice.
To get there: ACTV Line 1 to Lido (From S.Marco its about 15 minutes)
If this does inspire you to go, have a fun and thanks for reading!