Venice City Breaks
A Venice City Break Guide
Venice is without a doubt one of the most stunning and romantic city break destinations in the world. With its beautiful architecture, wonderful food, impressive canals and of course, the world famous gondolas, a city break in Venice is perfect for couples, but also great for families and friends looking to explore a new city.
Enjoy the likes of Piazza San Marco, the Rialto Bridge or even head out to the Lido, a popular spot for locals to enjoy a relaxed seaside atmosphere. The best thing to do? Get yourself lost amongst all the back alleyways and canals and stumble upon a local restaurant serving authentic and delicious Italian cuisine. You'll end up finding some wonderful squares and views of this incredibly beautiful city too, perfect for the amateur photographer.
Be sure to book your flight and hotel in Venice together as this can attract some great discounts, especially if you are staying more than one or two nights. And, of course, keep an eye out for the latest deals. You never know when you might find a great offer which could also include breakfast or transfers.
Getting to, from and around Venice
Venice is just a 2hr flight time from the UK with both scheduled and low-cost airlines offering flights so there are usually plenty of options.
The main airport of Venice Marco Polo is actually located away from the city. The train is one of the more convenient ways of getting into the city, however, we would thoroughly recommend a trip on the water bus into Venice which you can pick up from outside of the airport. It's a great way to start your city break by coming into the city by boat.
Ryanair also offers flights into Venice Treviso airport which is a bit further away but still easy to get to. The Terravision buses run from Treviso airport to Venice Tronchetto (near the city port) regularly and takes approximately 40 minutes. From Tronchetto, you can head into Venice by foot (although it's a bit of a walk), take a taxi, or jump into a water bus. Journeys from Venice Treviso airport to Tronchetto start from €11 per person each way.
The city is relatively small so walking is a great option, although it's easy to get lost. Perhaps not a bad thing in such a beautiful city, however, water taxi and bus is also a great way of getting from A to B with plenty of water taxi stops along the Grand Canal.
Things to do in Venice
Venice is the perfect city break for exploring, and with so many canals, you may not think it, but Venice is a great city to explore on foot. The narrow alleyways, cute little bridges that suddenly cross an inlet with views of boats wizzing about the Grand Canal, will show you the Venice you see in photos. This is how you find those quirky little shops and quiet authentic italian restaurants that are off the beaten track.
St Mark's Square, or Piazza San Marco in Italian, is one area you should definitely explore, although the square is subject to flooding a various times of the day, as it subsides, the square comes to life again. Coffee shops and restaurants can be a little pricey here, although it's a great spot for people watching. It is also a popular tourist area.
The Rialto Bridge is another one of Venice's iconic landmarks, stretching across the Grand Canal, and perfect for that "Instagramable" photo. It's a real tourist trap so it can get pretty busy at certain times of the day, especially with tour groups.
Then, of course, there's the infamous and romantic gondola rides. You can pick up a gondola throughout the city, or prebook one in advance, especially useful if it's a special occasion. Agree a price in advance with the gondolier, however, there are official rates for gondola rides to help protect tourists. Prices start with a 40 minute ride and increase by 20 minute time frames. In the evening, you should expect to pay around €100 per 40 minute ride, although this is cheaper during the day.
Where to stay in Venice
Ideally, when staying in Venice, you want to be staying in the main area of the city, instead of away on the mainland where those on a budget may find it more convenient and can travel in each day by bus or train. Within the city, you can expect some very impressive Italian architecture with high ceilings, ornate designs and perhaps slightly garish decoration, moreso than you might find in other areas of Italy.
Anywhere with views of the Grand Canal is going to push the price up so try staying somewhere a little more hidden away in the back streets. With over 1,000 hotels and properties available in Venice, it can be difficult to know where to stay, but it's best to trust your instincts and check out hotel reviews online.
The Hotel Danieli, located within walking distance to the Piazza San Marco, is one of Venice's most quintessential five-star, luxury hotels. Built in the 14th century, the Danieli has attracted the rich and famous for centuries and has even been featured in a film or two. Of course, you can expect to pay around £280-300 a night for a room, but it truly is an amazing experience and one you will never forget.
If you're on a budget, you may find that staying in the area of Mestre, which sits on the mainland, could be a more affordable option. While not in the heart of Venice, trains run several times an hour from Mestre to Venice's Santa Lucia train station which takes about 10 minutes and costs roughly €10 per person. If you can push your budget, though, there really is nothing like staying in the heart of Venice.