Flights: £16.99 outward flight, €23.65 return flight (approx £21.17*) (Ryanair)
Accommodation: €55 (approx £49.23*) Venice Park House (Ryanair Rooms)
*Exchange rate at time of writing
Summary and Highlights:
- DO NOT take a suitcase that you can’t comfortably carry if going to the island.
- Try and go out of the busiest tourist months, get an early start to avoid them
- Get lost and don’t spend too much time at the main sights
- Grand Canal and Rialto Bridge
- Piazza San Marco
- Bridge of Sigh’s
- San Giorgio Island (up the church tower for a great view and pictures)
I feel like The Floating City is a bucket list destination for many tourists, but then they all flock at once and you’re then surrounded by the canals and a sea of tourists. Don’t get me wrong, it is one of the most unique places you can every experience. However, when everyone wants to experience it all at once, it gets very hectic for a city that is sinking.
This was an occasion where I booked a one-way flight out of Manchester but returned to the centre of the universe; Leeds Bradford as the return flight to Manchester wasn’t on the day I needed. With Ryanair, for one-way flights, the default is to pay in the currency of the country you are flying from. For example, flying out I paid in sterling one way. However, for the return flight, the price was quoted in euros since I was travelling from Italy. In this instance, you are given the option to pay in sterling, however, it is always advisable to pay in the local currency. Ryanair does give you their exchange rate for that day, but bank rates are usually better.
I would advise staying on the mainland, rather than the island itself as it’s a lot cheaper and also if you’re silly, I mean brave enough to take a suitcase with wheels to the island, you’ll probably end up wanting to toss it in the Grand Canal. It is easily accessible by train, tram and bus to the island with tickets that can also be used on the various water transport too.
I did have some issues with my accommodation as it was not prepaid, which I always prefer to do. Long story short; they didn’t have my booking down, had no room in that particular accommodation, tried to give me my deposit back and show me where else I could stay. Little did the owner know (after I’d waited an hour for him), I’d already looked into the 5% of available rooms elsewhere which would not be the same or equivalent as I’d booked so I’d have to pay more for something that wasn’t my fault. I don’t think it was unreasonable to point this out and in the end, we agreed to made arrangements for me to stay in another one of the owners’ accommodations for one night and my original booked accommodation for the second. I did have to hop the fence of the first-night lodgings when leaving as the key for the gate was in the room I’d just left. Bless my skinny jeans for not ripping.
Best thing to do in Venice? Get lost. Literally. Every street corner leads to somewhere completely different and new, eventually, you might find somewhere you recognise. I would recommend walking nearly everywhere unless you are going to one of the other islands or are heading down the Grand Canal. I enjoyed that my walking tour wasn’t centred around the tourist sights but more about how Venice came to be and what life is like living in the city of canals. Plus tour guides are always good at recommending good places to eat, see and what to do or not do. I always find Italian supermarkets have a good deli section with fresh sandwiches that is good to keep going on. Plus many pizza takeaways make fresh pizza in front of you, which I washed down with a tinny in a square watching tourist struggle with suitcases. I rarely travel with more than a backpack.
Of course, you have to see the sights that make Venice, Venice. I would recommend going as early as you can before all the tourist flock in or for several months of the year, it gets too hot. Thankfully there are signs to the Rialto Bridge and Piazza San Macro which somewhat lead to them the right way. Even so at 7 in the morning, there was still couples having wedding shots outside St Mark’s Basilica and Instagrammer’s having professional shots (Yass queen). Meanwhile, I rested my iPhone against a pillar with the timer on to get a candid pic of me looking longingly into the distance.