travel

72 hours in Venice

Image of gondolas in Venice

Ciao guys and girls. We visited Venice one whole year ago (I know, very late on the travel guide front, sorrrrry!) Venice has to be one of the most unique places I’ve ever visited and it’s definitely up there on my list of favourite cities. It’s one of the few places I’ve been where it looks just as pretty in the rain as it does in the sunshine (and lucky for us, we had both!)

I’m a sucker for old, romantic architecture and Venice did not disappoint. The city also ticked off a few of my ‘travel musts’ including friendly people, good food and plenty of things to explore.


When to go

We visited Venice over Easter at the end of March. I expected it to be very expensive and very busy, but luckily it was neither! There were still crowds here and there, particularly around the tourist hotspots, but it was easy enough to walk around, explore and to get into decent restaurants and bars.

Weather-wise, we definitely had a mixed bag, including glorious t-shirt weather, sunshine, rain and er, flooding! Apparently Venice does flood due to high tides, but it was unusual for March. They have something called acqua alta, which is flooding that often takes place October – January. I would say don’t let this impact your trip too much as it appeared late in the evening and disappeared by morning. Just check the weather reports and make sure you’re prepared with some wellies!

If you do want guaranteed good weather, visit over the summer months (just be prepared for the crowds).


Things to know

Okay, let’s start off with a few facts. Firstly, Venice has no roads or cars. Zero. Which is bloody amazing. That does mean lots of walking or hopping on and off boats, but I much preferred that. There was no traffic, no sounds of beeping horns or cars keeping you awake at night 🙌🏻

It can be quite a journey. I think we took almost every transport possible: plane, taxi and boat! We flew from London Stansted to Treviso, which meant we were a little further away than if we had flown in to Marco Polo (but we saved ourselves quite a lot of money by doing this). We then hopped in a taxi from Treviso to Tronchetto (the ferry port/water bus station) which took about 30-45 minutes.

We then took the vaporetto (line 2) to San Zaccaria which took about 20 minutes and took us close to San Marco square, where we then had a 10 minute walk to our apartment. Here’s a timetable and more information about the vaporetto. I remember it being fairly okay in terms of price and it was easy enough to get around once you have the map and timetable.

A little Italian goes a long way (not a small Italian person, but a little bit of the language 😉). Learn the basics as it will pay off with the locals – ciao, grazi, por favori and, of course, birra.

In terms of accessibility, we only came across one or two bridges with disabled access; most bridges involved stairs. I’m sure there are wheelchair friendly routes, but just a word of warning, we didn’t come across many so you may need to research this and plan your stay accordingly.


Food and drink

Be prepared for carbs. Risotto, pizza, bread, pasta. I mean, it was all delicious so absolutely no complaints from me! My only warning would be that Venice is quite a pricey city in terms of food and drink, even at small local places. Lunches would cost around 10-15 euros and dinners around 30-40 euros per person. Avoid touristy areas like San Marco square as these restaurants will charge you a small fortune.

I’m gluten sensitive and whilst I did find some places for gluten free food (pasta AND pizza) it didn’t cater as well as some previous cities I’ve been to, but I’m not complaining as at least there were some options! Take a look at some of my top picks below.

Image of bellini drinks in Venice

Recommendations:

6342 A Le Tole (GF, V): incredible pizzas! I had a soy pizza which is suitable for people who are gluten intolerant but not for coeliacs. Vegetarian options. Decent price and friendly staff.               

Ai Do Archi (GF, V): our group had the mozzarella starter, the bruschetta starter, mushroom risotto (my favourite meal) and seafood pasta.

Rossopomodoro (GF, V): couple of gluten free options and vegetarian options. Quite busy but this was a great place to grab a quick lunch before the trip back to the ferry port.

Harry’s Bar: Bellini heaven! It’s very pricey at 21 euros per bellini (we ordered and then saw the price…) but a lovely old traditional bar with a great atmosphere if you have the money to spend.

Co-op (GF, V): supermarket with gluten free and lactose free products. Decent prices, everything you need for a few days! There are several dotted around Venice so take a look on Google Maps.


Where to stay

We stayed in a lovely Airbnb just a 10 minute walk from all the main areas. It was a small, very cosy house and quite basic but it had everything we needed for a base. Don’t expect huge spacious apartments and homes in Venice as everything is built very small and narrow to fit in with the existing streets and architecture.

I loved the quirky, vintage feel of our house and the cute little courtyard it was situated in. If you’re looking for a simple three bedroom place to stay, check out the Airbnb we stayed in above. (Not sponsored, just happy to share places I have enjoyed staying at).


What to do/see

Gondola ride

Gondola rides are expensive, but so worth doing. They’re a great way to see more of Venice and in nice weather, it’s a lovely way to get around. We paid around 30 euros each for a 30 minute trip. I would recommend skipping the Grand Canal as it’s very busy and you don’t get to see as much. Instead, pick up a gondola ride from the side canals, nestled in between the beautiful buildings. It’s much more peaceful and you get to really explore the heart of Venice!

Venetian masks 

Venice is known for its Venetian masks, and it’s certainly not short on shops selling a variety of designs. From lace and feathers to porcelain and ceramic, there are plenty to choose from. Some shops are pricier than others, some stock handmade masks and some are manufactured. Take a look around the different mask shops, if only to have a look at what all the hype is about (and maybe try one or two on, for a bit of fun!)

Basilica/San Marco square 

You can’t really go to Venice without doing some of the sights, including the Basilica di San Marco and San Marco square. It’s a fairly busy area but it’s a beautiful part of Venice’s history and architecture.

Depending on the time of year you visit, you can get into the Basilica for free (or a small charge during peak seasons/holidays). I would recommend going early in the day or in the evening to avoid the crowds and to so see the square lit up.

Grand Canal

Whilst I wouldn’t go on the gondolas here due to the price and the busyness, it’s definitely worth having a stroll along the Grand Canal. It’s impressive and beautiful, especially if you get some good weather, and is a hive of activity with boats and gondolas scurrying to and fro.

Rialto Bridge is quite busy with tourists, but it offers great views down the Grand Canal. We visited at night when it was a little bit quieter and the canal and buildings were lit up.


If I was to visit again, I would definitely explore more of the Venetian ‘islands’ such as Lido di Venezia, which has some beautiful beaches.

Hope this travel guide has been helpful! Let me know if you plan on visiting Venice, if you have any questions about the city or anywhere else you would recommend.

See more of my photos on Instagram by searching the hashtag #seekingsundaytravels or have a read of my previous travel guides for inspiration!

Katie x