People stay in hotels all over the world for a myriad of reasons. For work, for weddings and other family occasions, for a treat. Sometimes the hotel is just a place to sleep and sometimes it is the entire point of the trip. But in Venice, staying in a hotel is part of the cultural and historic experience of this unique city.
The amazing thing about Venice is there really are hotels for all budgets. For my 50th birthday we were on a really tight budget but still managed a long weekend away in a characterful hotel within an easy walk of all the main attractions.
It really doesn't matter what part of Venice you stay in - each of the 6 districts or "Sestieri" has a slightly different vibe. Unlike most cities where most of the neighbourhoods are dull with just a few interesting or historic areas, Venice is one big fascinating, historic, artistic and cultural hub. We found some of the best bars, cafes and restaurants out of the more touristy areas around the famous Rialto Bridge and St Mark's Square. You'll probably save some Euros too!
Check out the Ebooking website to find accommodation from budget friendly B&Bs to 5 star hotels in Venice and then get ready for an extra special experience in this amazing destination.
Italy is famous for its amazing food and Venice is a fabulous city for foodies. I know it's tempting to opt for pizza as you are in Italy but it's not always the best bet in Venice where for safety wood fired ovens are largely banned. Surrounded by water it's no surprise that seafood is a great choice and of course pasta - you'll see shops and stall on the markets displaying a huge range of shapes and colours of pasta.
Tourists head to Harry's Bar for the famous cocktail, the Bellini but travellers will enjoy equally excellent , if not superior cocktails in quirky bars in Venice's back streets - you usually save money and blend in better with the locals if you stand up inside the bar.
For a truly Venetian eating experience hunt down a local speciality, cones of fried fish and seafood you can eat while people watching and soaking up the atmosphere. We discovered the tiny takeaway Frito Inn in the Cannaregio district near to our hotel and enjoyed piping hot freshly cooked battered calamari, whitebait, fish goujons and prawns.
Travelling to and from and around this historic city can be confusing. We found the water bus easy and convenient to get to Venice from the airport - it's quite well signposted and you can buy tickets in the airport. For glamour, speed and the most exciting trip choose a water taxi. Book in advance from Marco Polo Airport's website which lists a number of operators. Agree a price in advance and ask about shared taxis to keep the price down. Alternatively you could ask if your hotel offers a water taxi service which might even go straight to the entrance.
Most people plan to enjoy a gondola wide during a visit to Venice - my top tip would be to head out early and definitely before about 7pm or during or after sunset when prices usually rise. However, if you don't mind paying an extra 20 euros or so, sunset is a very romantic time for a tranquil gondola ride. Prices range from about 80-100 Euros per boat not per person.
Exploring the islands around Venice is easiest using the fantastic Alilaguna water bus service. Instagrammers -head to Murano and Burano but be warned, you might need to jostle for the best capture in busy periods. We loved the vibe of the Lido where after a couple of days on Venice we marvelled at cars! We found the cafe that time forgot with the best Italian expressos and gorgeous cakes at vintage prices.
For a memorable trip book during one of Venice's many festivals. We were there during the Biennale and explored lots of free art installations and exhibitions in some beautiful buildings.We didn't spot any of the celebrities who flock to Venice for this event- we just saw them posing in the newspapers afterwards!
We have a trip booked during one of the many annual regattas this year and of course, you could also plan to be there during Carnival season although expect prices to rise during that particular festival which is one of Venice's most famous events.
Whatever time of year you go, Venice is an amazing bucket list destination. Check weather forecasts however as the city can get very hot or wet at certain times of year. It even floods occasionally but the authorities install wooden walkways and the local vendors sell waterproof shoe covers to help keep your feet dry. Whenever you go, wear comfortable shoes and pick up a paper map as mobile phone maps don't always work terribly well.