The city of bridges, as it is fondly known, is everything you would imagine it to be. It has a surreal feeling when there, living up to all of its stereotypical features; pretty bridges over winding canals, narrow paths nestled between old tall brick buildings, gondolas and motor boats carrying fruit and vegetables, singing gondoliers and canal fronted hotels, it is magic.
We were lucky enough to find accommodation with windows opening out onto one of the quieter canals on the island, it was perfect to hear the singing gondoliers passing by just outside. Yes I did experience my perfect Venetian moment when a gonadlier, in striped T-shirt and straw hat passed by my window singing ‘just one cornetto’ – amazing. We stayed at Venice & Venice BnB which was in Cannaregio, which was the perfect location for a quick walk into the central (heavily crowded) area, close to the main boat stops, but also really quiet… apart from the odd singing!
A must see while in Venice, but one to avoid at peak tourist times, is the Rialto bridge. Best viewed early in the morning or wait until the evening to avoid the huge crowds and be able to take some decent photo’s. There are also some great restaurants near by on either side of the bridge, where you can sample some true Italian pizza and pasta, with a fantastic view. The food in Italy is delicious!
We paid for a 24 hour boat pass, which was amazing value for money at €30. This allowed us to use any vaporetti on the Grand Canal and the Venetian Lagoon, which included the three surrounding islands of Murano, Burano, Torcelli and the Lido. Three days, five islands and €30 for travel… molto bene!
Murano was a great place to explore, just ten minute boat ride away from Venice itself. Plenty to explore, enough to keep you busy for a day and famous for the production of beautiful glass. A bit tricky to bring home with you for obvious reasons, but pretty to look at.
Burano is now in the top ten places I’ve visited, literally the most aesthetically pleasing man made place I’ve explored in my life. Every building is painted a different vivid colour, with no two adjacent houses the same shade, every street is a rainbow. Perfect for Instagram fanatics! Little tip from me, bring an outfit change or two, there’s enough backdrops here to provide you with at least a month of content! Legend has it that the islands fishermen painted their houses bright colours, to be able to find the island again during thick fog.
There’s striped canopies, hand painted door signs, wooden boats and intricate iron bridges crossing the small canals. Famous for its hand made lace, you can pick up pretty hand made parasols and fans which are great for keeping you cool in the Mediterranean sun, but also double up as the perfect present to take home for friends and family.
Burano is now on my ever growing list of happy places, I think it’s the effect all the colours have on your brain!
Lastly for that day we visited Torcelli, which is a much quieter island, but still just as charming. There’s a vineyard and a handful of restaurants, the perfect place to re-charge and to end our mini island tour. After a busy day we headed back to Venice…
The next day we visited the Lido or Lido de Venezia, a very long but narrow sandbar just ten minutes away by boat. This place took me back in time, you could really imagine life in the good old days! Interestingly this island was one of the first places that sea bathing took place back in the 1800’s, ‘lido’ becoming a byword for a beach or seaside resort. The only downside of visiting the beach here is the many sales men trying to sell you goods, this is illegal and the police do patrol the beaches, I found that if you didn’t make eye contact or gave a firm no, you were left alone.
Back on wet land, we continued to explore everything Venice has on offer. Attempting to cross every bridge and photograph every gondola is something that would never get old. We only had three nights here, which was enough to experience Venice. We both agreed that you could easily stay for a week here. Another one off the travel bucket list, another one I intend to go back to someday soon.