Thursday, May 5, 2016

36 Hours in Venice : What to see, eat & drink

For those of you who are new here, I just spent 2 weeks in Europe. Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro & Venice. While I was only able to spend about 36 hours in Venice, I did everything I could to make the most of it. I could have spent another few days exploring everything I wanted to, but, for those of you who are like me, and have only a short time to spare, here's how to make it count.

{know before you go}
Cover Charges + Service Charges
Restaurants often have them. But their menu should clearly state. 2 euro was fairly common. There are also service charges. Which are different than cover charges. 12+% was not unheard of. NOW...not everywhere has these. Again, it must be stated on the menu. And, none of these charges count as a tip. That's still expected also.

Tourist Menus
I cannot even count how many restaurants had a big sign out front that said "Tourist Menu" & then a menu in English. Imma just say, probably not the most authentic place you could be eating.

Public restrooms will set you back 1-1.50 euro. You're better off heading into a local bar, ordering a Spritz or a coffee & using their bathroom before you leave. Seriously.

I saw a few. None of them got me, but you best believe I had a grasp on my purse at all times. Lock your things in your room safe, carry copies of things like passports with you instead. Don't leave things in your pockets.

Get an app
I used Triposo, I liked it. It allowed me to download city guides before I left. Gave me basic phrases, a detailed map that showed my current location & restaurants & bars near me. It's not the only travel app out there, so find one you like & use it!

{what to see}
Get Lost
No, seriously. Go find the 4 bridges that cross the Grand Canal & get lost on back canals & use signs for Rialto Bridge or San Marco to get you pointed back in the right direction. They're seriously everywhere. Wander down tiny alleyways and cross random bridges until you have no clue where you are, or how to find your way back. It's an island. You can only go so far.

The Doge's Palace (19€ to get in, 24€ gets you a multi museum pass)
While our guided tour meant that we got to skip the line & head straight also meant I had to listen to a guy drone on in each room about all the history of the Palace. Not that I'm not curious, I'm just not always as curious as they wish I was. The architecture is gorgeous. It's worth seeing. But I would skip the guided tour.

St. Marks Basilica
I include this one with a grain of salt. I'm not sure you can say you've been to Venice & not at least hop over to see this place. It's spitting distance from Doge's Palace, but, it's ridiculously crowded inside, you can only stay in for about 10 minutes & there's a long line to get in. You can't take any pictures while inside. So, it's beautiful, but, meh.

| side note | Unless you're rolling around in $$$ don't even consider eating // drinking at any restaurant on the square. A coffee will set you back 9+€ & picnicking in the square is illegal. So, save yourself the headache & walk a few blocks.

Rialto Bridge
If you managed to go to Venice & miss this I would be surprised. It was undergoing renovations, as I'm told it has been for over a year, so it was covered in drop cloth & you couldn't see out. Total bummer if you ask me, but bip on over yourself, maybe they'll finally finish.

I only had an hour or two to spend on the island, but could have spent a whole half day here. Take the vaparetto (water bus) out to the island. Admire the beautiful blown glass. See a demonstration if you can.

I visited the island early. Not even all the shops were open yet for the day & I was really able to escape some of the madness of Venice proper & snap some great shots.

Gondola Ride (80€ per gondola)
It's super touristy. But boy was it fun. I went with a group so we were able to split the cost. 80 euro was the standard rate I saw posted. Which will typically get you a half hour gondola ride. Expensive, sure, worth it? I thought so. I mean, peep the excitement on my face. And the amusement of my "driver". Haha.

{eat & drink}

Venice is by the sea. DUH. What this means though is their cuisine is not the stereotypical heavy spaghetti & meatballs we think of when we think Italian. Their cuisine feature lots of seafood. Eat seafood.

Stop in for a pizza

Eat pistachio gelato, more than once.

Order an Aperol Spritz. 
It's the local drink, Aperol mixed with sparkling water, Prosecco & an orange slice or olive. While you'll see prices all over the board, you can find these for 2.50 euro or less. And they're so refreshing.

Try the cicchetti. 
Essentially cheap bar snacks. A few bites each, but fairly cheap. 1 - 3 euros. You can order a few and make a meal, or just eat and drink your way through the back alleys of Venice. I would highly recommend. Look for bars near the Dorsoduro section of Italy. You'll know the local ones as they'll generally have bar tops to stand at, but no real seating, and an exterior sign made of wood.

Have you ever been to Venice?
Tell me somewhere on your bucket list?
Ice cream or gelato -- do you get it in a cone or a cup?

I'm linking up with Kristen x Gretchen x Amanda x A Little R&R 


  1. I did all these things in Venice! I loved the experience so much. We did a cicchetti crawl and went to a bunch of different bars for dinner. A lot of fun.

  2. Ahhh, Venice is on my bucket list for sure! This made the want o go even stronger! Also, I'm dying at the authenticity of "tourist menus", bahhahahaah!

  3. What an adventure.
    That food - OH MY.
    You have to pay to pee? Oh Lordy, I'd be broke.

  4. pinned this! I wanted to go to Venice soooooo bad but it just didn't work out logistically or financially, so we decided on just Rome, and hopefully we will go back to Italy one day. Thanks for linking up with us!

  5. this is so exciting! I've always wanted to go there.

    The Midwest Darling

  6. I loved this post. I just want to jump right through the computer screen and be there! The food looks fantastic and your photos are great. Thank you so much for sharing! I can't wait to read more. xo - Taralynn

  7. I love Venice, This is making me want to go back so bad :(

  8. Oh yaay! Perfect timing! I am going to Venice in a month, after visiting my home country Hungary. The last time I was in Venice, I was 12, so I don't remember too much. It will be a whole new experience :) Your pictures made me even more excited! You should visit Hungary one day as well, it is gorgeous I promise!:) I can be your free tour-guide! :)

  9. Venice is definitely on my bucket list and it looks like it will live up to the hype. I would definitely take a gondola ride because - Venice. And the food. That pizza makes me want to lick the screen. :)

  10. I am loving all your tips! Venice is definitely on my bucket list!

    As for gelato - always in a cup! Even before I found out I was coeliac, that's how I'd have it (unless it was a freshly made waffle cone and then there's no question)... now I don't have a choice, haha!

  11. Wow! Venice is somewhere I've always wanted to go

  12. I want to go to Venice SO bad! Oh my gosh. This post is awesome and your pictures are gorgeous! My sister is doing a class abroad next January and will be in Italy for 3 weeks and I am seriously tempting to just like.. go with. Pretend I'm in the class or something haha.

    Australia has always been #1 on my bucket list. In Europe though I'd love to go to Greece, Amsterdam and hit up Spain again since I loved it so much.

  13. I love this post! So much handy info and gorgeous pictures to go with it. I have never been to Venice but I've been to Italy, to Umbria right in the middle. I loved it, such beautiful scenery and great for coeliacs too. I also love getting lost in a new city, nothing like it to really get the feel of a place.

    Murano looks amazing, if I ever make it to Venice I'd definitely head over there. I love all the glass they make, so pretty and amazing skill. Sounds like you had a fantastic trip, looking forward to reading about the rest of it!

  14. Ahhhh, I want to go there - now...! :)

  15. This post just made my day! I did a 14 day tour of europe and loved spending the day in venice/burano/murano!

  16. I've not been for years, it looks as beautiful and happenning as I remember #TwinkleyTuesday


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