Venicing Away

img_9205What can you still say about Venice, that 68,478 other people haven’t said already? So many people (up to 70,000 a day) that Venice is considering putting a cap on the number of people visiting, to control overcrowding?

Serenissima, Queen of the Adriatic,  City of Masks, City of Bridges, The Floating City, City of Canals… We all know Venice as high on the list of romantic getaways. Only, the place is really just as awesome when visiting with friends or family!

I’ve been to Venice twice, first in my early 20’s and on a very tight budget, the second in 2016 on a chill weekend with my parents, and I’ve enjoyed it just as much!

Fun Fact

The City of Bridges is not actually the city with most bridges.

  • Venice has 409 bridges , including the famous Rialto bridge, Scalzi and Accademia.
  • Pittsburgh, however, is the record holder for bridges with piers within city limits, beating Venice by 3 bridges.
  • Osaka, Japan has 872 bridges in the city currently, but there were 1629 before the war!
  • Amsterdam also has an impressive number of (1281) bridges crisscrossing the various canals.

Hamburg wins the contest though, beating all with over 2300 bridges withing the city limits.

Venicing away: Go Local!

Visiting Venice does not have to be expensive. It’s going to be crowded, and there’s not much you can do about that.. but you can definitely do something about your budget.

The best tip anyone can give you on planning a Venice getaway is: Go local.

Mainly you should:

  1. stay at hotels outside of Venice island (try Mestre, Hotel Venezia is pretty good)
  2. grab your midday bites at the hundreds of Cicchetti Pubs
  3. Get Lost!

That last one in itself should do the trick.

My idea of a great weekend in Venice is to wander and not worry about getting lost. In fact, you should get as lost as you can, if you want to come across Venice’s hidden little gems.

What to do after you ‘tour’

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Venice’s Bridge of Sighs

I’ll skip the touristy map checkpoints because of 68,478 reasons, and also because I personally found Venice to be at its prettiest when you don’t go with the crowds.

(If you want the classic tour, just check  Viator’s Top Pick for Venice tours and activities)

I’d rather talk about what to do and where to go once you’ve checked all the boxes you wanted.

Snack your way around

If you’re short on time or low on budget, an option is to indulge in some Venetian cicchetti. They’re bite-size appetizers that you can find literally everywhere, at a fair pricetag of 1-2 € / piece.

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Cicchetti appetizers in Venice
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Venetian Cicchetti

Try the Venice of the people

Venice in summer is packed with tourists, but then again, is there anywhere not packed? The best places to drink or eat are unpretentious in appearance, not much to look at – because they’re too busy serving fresh delicious food to their customers.

There are still places so small you won’t even find them on TripAdvisor. Which is great, because what’s best then having the satisfaction of finding your own little gems?

For inspiration, here’s a pretty good post on what to eat and drink in Venice:  MrAndMrsSmith. Basically, so long as you keep it local, you’ll be well served.

See Venice at dusk

I found that the best time to experience Venice is after the sun sets and the crowds get thinner. The city becomes calm, quieter, and there’s a special kind of beauty in getting lost in Venice at dusk, straying off the otherwise very beaten paths.

Simply sitting on a terrace sipping on a glass of Aperol (or a bottle of prosecco) you’ll feel more at home than visiting all the fancy landmarks the city has to offer.

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Some Practicalities

Flights into Venice

European lucky bastards hit again! There are just enough airlines and options for flying into the 2 Venice airports, to make it hard not to find a decent flight. Ours was a combination between Ryanair and Wizzair and costed a little more than 50 € per person.

Airlines to Venice Treviso Airlines to Venice Marco Polo

Finding a hotel in Mestre 

Wanting to sleep away from the hustle and bustle (and expensive) center, but also keep my budget for all those delicious aperols, and so I found Hotel Venezia in Mestre which did the trick.

Mestre is a lot more budget-friendly, you have a very convenient public transport network to take you to Venice center in under 15 minutes, and it’s where you’ll get a bit more of the local feel, with some added peace and tranquility in the evening.

Hotel Venezia was fair to our budgets, with double and twin rooms at 75 €/ night.

For those of you who’ve been Venicing away: What’s your favorite thing about Venice? Give the rest of us wanderlusters some more tips.

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