If you follow me on Instagram you will know that in February I spent a long weekend in Venice. It was my third time in the city and, truth be told I can’t get enough of the place. The food, the buildings and the atmosphere – beautiful! There is so much to do but there are a few things you MUST experience when you’re in this stunning Italian haven. If you missed my City Guide where I shared some tips for visiting Venice, check it out!
Eat Gelato – the REAL stuff
You often see gelato advertised next to bright mountains of ice cream. That isn’t real gelato. Real gelato is made from natural ingredients and isn’t as fluorescent. It’s also not pumped full of air. Ensure the gelato you buy is not a pile of bright pinkness! You can see some tips for finding real gelato here.
Two of my favourites are in St Mark’s Square – American Bar (although I wouldn’t suggest eating much else there as there are too many bad reviews!) and Gran Caffe Chioggia (don’t sit on the seats outside when ordering from the takeaway bar, it’s for waiter service only).
See Venice From Above
On Friday afternoon, Natalie and I visited the Campanile di San Marco and paid €9 for a visit to the top of this beautiful tower. The queues weren’t too long and we visited just before the bells started chiming to deafen us! You get a small lift ride to the top where you can find out more about the city from above.
The views are amazing but prepare for the queue down!
Have a Coffee (or Hot Chocolate)
The rule is that you have a cappuccino in the morning in Italy and an expresso throughout the rest of the day. But if you’re not a coffee drinker, why not try one of Venice’s finest hot chocolates?
Natalie and I found a cute cafe/restaurant called Taverna La Fenice which served not only food but coffee and meals designed around chocolate. To accompany our drinks, we were served some cute little sweet treats that were typically Italian. A nice touch!
The hot chocolate was thick, creamy and delicious. And my coffee – strong and full of flavour!
Eat Fresh and Authentic Italian
Santo Stefano has the most delicious pasta dishes and the staff are very accommodating, friendly and helpful. They even made me a vegetarian pasta dish which wasn’t on the menu (the night before I had already had their tomato and basil spaghetti).
Le Cafe, next door has pizza which Natalie said was 9/10 on her chart whilst I nibbled on my scrummy bruschetta.
However, if you’re not after a whole pizza you can always visit Antico Forno (10/10 on the pizza scale) where you can buy slices of pizza to take away.
Ride on a Gondola
If you’re going to ride on a gondola, pre-book! For about £25pp you can have a 30-minute gondola ride around some of the most beautiful areas in Venice. If you book online you can save yourself a LOT of money. Be sure to read the meeting locations and get there in plenty of time. Oh, and be aware that you will be sharing a gondola with others. If you want a private one you will have to pay out a bit more.
See the Colourful Houses of Burano
Getting to Burano
Firstly, I want to warn you that the water buses to Burano are a little bit of work…
Go to St Mark’s Square and head towards the water (near where the two monuments are). Turn left and make your way over the bridge and to S. Zaccaria boat stop. Here you will see a ticket office where you can buy your ticket. Ask for an island hopper ticket (it’s cheaper than paying for each individual boat ride). They will tell you the boat terminal you need to get to Murano. At Murano you need to change and get the number 12 boat to Burano.
There are boats that come in between, so expect people to push past you whilst you’re queuing – for both your boat and maybe another one. It’ll be a squeeze but once you see Burano it’ll be worth it!
Burano has a lot of seafood restaurants but you will find a few pizzerias here and there. Grab something to eat before heading towards the beautifully coloured houses.
Oh and remember to pick up some Burano lace items as that’s what they’re famous for!
Have a Bellini in Harry’s Bar
Bellini’s are the staple drink in Venice as it was created in none other than Cipriani’s Harry’s Bar. Although a little on the pricey side (about €17) a taste of this refreshing drink s definitely worthwhile. They do serve this drink in other bars but Harry’s Bar make it with fresh peach puree and Prosecco, whereas others don’t use the fresh peach which isn’t as delicious.
You won’t find anything interesting without getting lost every once in a while. If you simply walk with no particular direction you will find cafes, bars, churches, canals and bridges that you may never have found if you were following a map.
So there are some items for you to cross off your bucket list should you visit Venice :). And be sure to have a look at my Venice City Guide!