The Definitive Guide To A Venice City Break
As well as featuring on a number of our ocean cruise itineraries, which you can find at fredcruises.co.uk, Venice is a great place in which to enjoy a long weekend or extended city break. As one of the most iconic cities in the world and one that many people have on their list of must-see destinations, there is so much to see and do that it's difficult to know where to start.
However, with our definitive guide to the Bride of the Sea, which Venice is often called, you'll be able to save time and plan your stay perfectly.
If you are not choosing to cruise, there are two main airports that serve Venice; Marco Polo Airport, which is technically within the city limits but on the mainland, and Treviso airport, which is situated about 16 miles from La Serenissima (an Italian nickname for the city which means 'the most serene'). There are direct flights from London airports such as Gatwick, Stanstead and Southend, which are offered by many different airlines. These include EasyJet, Monarch and British Airways flying to Marco Polo Airport and Ryanair to Treviso. Additionally, flights that involve a stopover are available from Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Birmingham.
Once you have arrived at the airport, you have two choices when travelling into the city of Venice. The more authentic, but more expensive, option is to take a water taxi straight to your hotel. The boat departure point is easily found by following the signs in the terminal, but this can be a bit of a free-for-all. Alternatively, you can hop on a number five bus, which depart every 15 minutes, and be in the city centre within half an hour.
From there, you can take a water taxi to your hotel or simply walk the remaining distance.
Where To Stay
Hotel Ca' Dogaressa
This budget-friendly option offers warm and welcoming service from the family who run it, spacious rooms, and a beautiful roof terrace from which to look out over the city. Located in the Cannaregio district, you will be central but also far enough away from the major tourist hotspots to get a good night's sleep. It's just a 20-minute walk to the Rialto Bridge and only 15 minutes from where the airport bus will drop you off. Rooms can be found for around £70 a night.
Al Ponte Mocenigo
This hotel will suit a mid-range budget perfectly and will provide a very immersive experience during your Venice city break. There are ten rooms in total, which all manage to fuse traditional touches, such as exposed beams, Venetian chandeliers, and 18th-century furniture, with modern comfort. All the accommodation options have elaborate and intricate touches, but perhaps the junior suite is the most lavish of all. Not only does it have a four-poster canopied bed, but there's also a Jacuzzi style bath and your own private terrace. The public areas include a delightful courtyard and the hotel is centrally located, close to the Palazzo Mocenigo and San Stae Church. Rooms are around £230 for two nights.
Luna Hotel Baglioni
If you really want to splash the cash and opt for a luxurious Venice city break, there's no better choice than the Luna Baglioni Hotel. Not only will you be yards away from the Piazza San Marco, Venice's most popular square, you will also have access to a range of excellent facilities. There's high-speed Wi-Fi, delicious Venetian cuisine available in the restaurant, and you can start the day with breakfast in the spectacular Salone Marco Polo, which is decorated with elaborate frescos.
All rooms have traditional marbles bathrooms and large beds topped with fine linens, whilst the highest grades come complete with iPod docking stations, complimentary in-room breakfast, and an unpacking service. What's more, you can bring your pets for a small surcharge and kids under 16 stay for free.
As the only city in the world that is totally car-free, the best way to get around during your trip to Venice is on foot. You can walk from one end to the other in around an hour and travelling on your own two feet is the best way to uncover all the hidden gems that lie down every narrow street and alongside every picturesque canal. It is easy to get lost, though, so a good map is a sound investment.
If your legs start to tire, or you want to get from one place to another quicker than your feet can carry you, vaporetti are the nest best thing. These water buses, as opposed to the expensive private water taxis, operate along the canals just like metro trains on the London Underground. Prices for single journeys can soon rack up though, so it is wise to buy a travel card if you are going to be using them frequently.
In addition, there is also the Vaporetto dell'Arte; a water bus that takes you on a tour of the major sights along the Grand Canal.
Where To Eat
Al Nono Risorto
This is the perfect place to eat pizza with the locals and offers a convivial and friendly atmosphere. You'll find it along Rio de San Cassiano, in the heart of the city, and the relaxed courtyard atmosphere is as easy to love as the prices.
I Figli Delle Stelle
This traditional Venetian restaurant will give you the opportunity to taste a number of the city's great dishes. It is found on the southern island of Giudecca and diners are treated to glorious views out across the water. The menu features seafood dishes, as well as orecchiette pasta, and oven-roasted lamb accompanied by sun-dried tomatoes.
For that special occasion, and to create a memorable night during your holiday, an evening at Quadri is a must. The location is straight out of a marriage proposal guide, on the Piazza San Marco, and is sure to make anyone's heart flutter. However, that's just the start. The cuisine is typically Italian but also shows off the country's influences from other nations. The ingredients are sourced from local markets and are used to create five and seven-course tasting menus that feature dishes such as 'Venetian-style chicken livers' and 'Caramelized puff pastry with curry cream, saffron and liquorice'. Chef Max Alajmo ensures everything is prepared with the greatest attention to detail and sometimes everything isn't exactly as it seems.
Top 3 Things To Do
Glide Along In A Gondola
It may be a bit of a cliché, but you cannot go to Venice and not take a romantic ride in one these iconic boats. There are many different itineraries that you can choose from, which take you along different sightseeing routes of the city. You can choose from varying lengths of trip and prices do change depending on what time of day you are hiring your gondola. If you don't fancy being serenaded by one of the professionals, you can always learn to row one yourself.
Peruse The Piazzas
One of the most fulfilling things to do during your time is to walk around and see what you discover within Venice's maze of piazzas. However, the most famous of all, Piazza San Marco, is without doubt the most impressive. Here, you'll uncover lots of the city's major attractions, including the , which is free to enter. Also in this area, you'll find the Palazzo Ducale, or Doge's Palace, and the impending clock tower of Torre dell'Orologio.
Make Room For Murano
Although your Venice city break is sure to be jam-packed with things to see and do, you won't regret making room for a trip to the islands of Murano. Away from the throngs of tourists that are part and parcel of the main islands, Murano offers a different view of this part of Italy. Known as the glass island, it doesn't take long to realise that the main industry here is glass-making. You can visit museums and gift shops dedicated to the art, or watch the talented glass blowers in action. Other attractions on Murano include the Basilica of Saint Mary and Saint Donatus, the Church of Saint Peter the Martyr, and Campo Santo Stefano, which features an abstract glass sculpture and the Church of Saint Stephen.
If you would like to visit this emblematic city, we can tailor-make your package to create your perfect holiday. Speak to our dedicated team today for more information and start planning your dream trip to Venice.