So, I might ruin your dreams in this post of Venice, so I apologize in advance. Venice – such a sought-after destination. So many people dream of visiting here and taking a romantic gondola ride down one of the canals while being serenaded by a local playing a guitar. Sounds magical right? Well, I’m going to tell you right now and I’m going to be honest. Venice yes, it is beautiful. But prepare to spend a lot of moolah. That gondola ride costs 120$ Canadian for 30 minutes. If you want to add someone to serenade and play music your looking at upwards of 300-500$ for 30 minutes. Anything after night fall is going to run you at least 150$ for half an hour, as of course Venice is quite magical at night. Now most of these boats seat 6 so you have the option of splitting it amongst a group, but it’ll take away the romance substantially. That water your floating in is a green hue and in a lot of places has a pretty nasty smell and no sign of life in it at all. I thought with all the water running through the city there would be a lot of birds and ducks, I was very excited. But nope. Expect to see only pigeons and lots of them. Costs of food and drinks are insanely high. You’re looking at no less than 4-5 euro (7-8$) for a can of beer. Pizza of course is reasonably priced because it is everywhere. You can find Margareta pizzas (mozza and tomato) for about 6 euro (9$). Entrees start around 15 euro (23$ and that’s at a cheap place) and appetizers around 10 euro (15$) and we’ve seen them starting at 20 euro (30$). Also, to keep in mind that a majority of restaurants have a cover charge. So right off the bat, just to sit down you’re paying anywhere from 3-8 euro per person (5-10$). The nice thing about walking around Venice is there are drinking fountains everywhere, so bring an empty bottle and fill it up for free! Of course there is a downside to this and that it costs 1.50 euro per person (2.25$) to use a public washroom. It adds up quick, mark and I spent several hours walking around and paid about 10$ to pee in one day.
Okay, now that ive ruined all your thoughts on Venice I’m going to tell you the wonderful things about it. There is a lot so don’t give up on that vacation just yet.
We of course, couldn’t afford to stay in the heart of Venice as even Airbnb’s and hostels were over 100$ a night. We found a campsite about 30 minutes away with direct buses to the city (1.50 euro each, one way). Camping Serenissima, and I highly recommend it for anyone on ANY type of budget! What a beautiful little camp ground. I fell in love immediately. Everything from little trailers that sleep 2 people, fully equipped ones that sleep an entire family and have their own patios and bathrooms to tents, trailers and motor homes. We had a pretty awesome pool that we spent our second day lazing around at as the weather was scorching and upwards of 30 degrees. It is only open from 1pm to 6pm which isn’t a whole lot of time, but it was still nice to have. Right by the main office is a restaurant, bar and a little convenient store. They also have a local pizza place close by that delivers right to the campsite and are very good prices.
Walking around Venice is somewhat magical. There is no vehicle access inside so its all walking or taking a gondola or water taxi to get around. There is no straight shot to get to a specific place and you are constantly weaving through the narrow streets like being in the middle of a maze. Always crossing a little bridge over a canal and making a quick turn on the other side. Its very easy to get lost in here and we did, quite a few times. From where the bus drops you off to the main area called St. Marks square is roughly an hour walk and that’s if you don’t end up turned around walking the complete opposite direction, which is so very easy to do. I recommend to not give yourselves any time limit and just enjoy wandering through, looking in all the shops and sampling chocolate and gelato. Venice is famous for La Carnival, a yearly masquerade festival with about 3 million in attendance on average. So there are about a million little shops to buy gorgeous and extravagant masks. They are also well known for glass blowing, especially on Murano Island, so expect a ton of these places as well. It was very hard for me to walk by and remind myself that I cannot buy anything and the worst thing I could have in my bag is a piece of delicate glass art. I couldn’t help but think how great these would be to take home for souvenirs. That’s a slight downfall about a long trip and also a plus. Not being able to buy stuff like that and also not feeling obligated to bring everyone a gift home. So don’t expect gifts friends and family! Sorry, no room. 😉
St Marks square is quite breath taking. Crammed with people taking photos of the gorgeous basilica and the square is lined with restaurants and out door seating. These are obviously very pricey and I had read to just sit down and enjoy the orchestra playing costs about 15-25 euro. It is a must to go at night as the entire square is lit up and glowing and each restaurant has a large band playing around the outdoor seating and they actually battle each other. Playing a different song one after another. Its very entertaining. There are also small fountains in the ground that push out water and flood certain spots of the ground with large puddles. Mark and I laughed when we saw people what looked like taking pictures of puddles. It took us a minute to realize they do this for the reflection of the basilica and that it makes for some pretty amazing photos. What a great idea and I of course got in there and took pictures of the puddle.
Just around the corner is the main strip along the water and where you can catch the majority of water taxis to other smaller islands of Venice. They cost 7.50 euro (over 10$) per person, one way so we didn’t feel the need to check out other islands as It would cost 30 euro (45$) for both of us to just go there and back, didn’t make sense to us and we weren’t all that bothered anyways. The weather was insanely hot the two days we were there. I kept calling it Asia heat. The sun was relentless, and the humidity made it very difficult to walk around for too long. I’m not sure if this type of weather is normal for May but it was still nice regardless.
Both of us are pretty sick of pizza (shocking right) so we made reservations at the Hard Rock Café for some over due Americanized food. The prices were a tad high but we expected it before we decided to go. It was worth having something other than pasta or pizza. 5.75 euro (8$) for a glass of house wine and about 8.65 euro (13$) for a pint of beer. They had some pretty fancy cocktails and slushy drinks that I so very much love to order but at 16.75 euro (25$) each there was no way I was ordering one. We had the usual burger and fries (mine was a cauliflower patty and so good) and a few drinks costs us around 55 euro (75$) yikes. But hey, that’s what you pay when visiting one of the most popular destination in the world.
Im not writing this to tell you not to visit Venice, but just my experience all together. I really feel you have to see it at least once in your life as it is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Only word I could use to describe the place itself is magical. So yes, go visit Venice. But be mindful of your budget and just prepare to pay a pretty penny for one of the most romantic places on earth.
Next stop for us is Rimini, about 4 hours south by train to a beach town! We are over due for a beach town and very excited for this place. Chat soon folks ❤ Thanks for reading