Cost: ££ – you can find reasonable flights & accom but it’s expensive when you’re there
Rating: 8/10 – it’s beautiful for a couple of nights
Trip length: 2 nights is plenty
Flights from London for a long weekend in January were incredibly cheap – £67 per person return (no hold luggage) with EasyJet! Check SkyScanner for best rates.
We stayed in a quaint little hotel in the centre of the action called Hotel Ala which was EUR 260 / £232 for 2 nights (/2 = £116 per person). It wasn’t the swankiest hotel & the room wasn’t particularly big, but it was cute and Venetian – perfect for a couple of days away. Included in the price was a buffet breakfast which we took full advantage of. This may be more expensive during the summer so best check.
Currency they use in Italy is the Euro. Check the conversion rate before you go!
You’ll explore mostly on foot as Venice is in the middle of a lagoon and broken up by waterways. I don’t recall seeing a car which isn’t surprising as there’s no way one would fit down the narrow alleys / bridges!
Apparently there are 159 types of watercraft which you can use. The public waterbus’ will get you around at a reasonable cost. You can hop on a waterbus from the airport to Venice for less than EUR 10. Unfortunately our plane was delayed so we arrived later than the last waterbus (midnight). Although EUR 100 / £90 for a private water taxi seemed a lot, it was actually amazing to see Venice quiet in the middle of the night with the sights lit up. We also got dropped at the door of our hotel which was very convenient!
What we did…
1 – Saint Mark’s Basilica
This iconic cathedral is on Piazza San Marco (iconic square – the so-called ‘drawing room of Europe’) and is the heart of Venice. It’s covered in domes and mosaics which truly makes it a stunning sight!
You can go inside and up to the top for EUR 3 / £2.60! We went in January and the queue was very short but I am told it gets far busier during the warmer months. There are skip the queue and VIP packages during the busier months for a variety of prices.
2 – San Marco Campanile
It stands 98.6 metres tall and so is an imposing landmark in the Piazza San Marco!
It’s EUR 8 / £7.20 per person to ascent to the top of the Bell tower & is definitely worth it as you will be able to take in a breathtaking birds eye view. Again, we didn’t have to queue for very long as we were there in January. If you’re visiting during the summer months it may be worth booking a skip-the-queue pass so you’re not waiting in line all day for your turn to the top!
3 – Rialto Bridge
Is a large footbridge crossing the Grand Canal with restaurants & shops both on it and either side! We had a delicious lunch in one of the restaurants on the canal. But beware… prices are high as it’s very popular with tourists!
4 – Bridge of Sighs
This small bridge passes over a small waterway and connects the New Prison to interrogation rooms in Doge’s Palace. The name comes from the suggestion prisoners would sigh at their last view of Venice before being taken down to their cells (although this isn’t really accurate – especially as you can’t see much through the grills covering the windows on the bridge). Some also say it’s because lovers sigh when passing underneath it on a gondola!
5 – Santa Maria della Salute
This was the basilica we saw lit up in our water taxi from the airport and one of the first places we head to when we were exploring as we were certain it was the main basilica! It was only when we got to St Mark’s Square that we realised we were wrong.
Despite it not being the main basilica in Venice (in fact Wikipedia says it’s barely considered a basilica), it is pretty spectacular. Reminds me of St Paul’s cathedral in London!
6 – Stroll through the maze of narrow streets & bridges!
There are 450 bridges & 120 islands so you will spend lots of your time in Venice exploring / getting lost! 🙂
If you’re feeling romantic you can have a 40 min gondola ride during the day for around 80 euros / £72 (max. 6 people). After 7pm the prices shoot up so make sure you check with the gondolier as they will likely try to charge you a lot more if you haven’t agreed on a price at the start.
As expected we ate a lot of pizza, pasta & gelato!! The food in the main touristy areas and on the water is good but a little hit and miss and definitely overpriced. If you’re a foody make sure you do some research & I am sure you will find some exceptional places to eat.
It’s nice to have a glass of bubbly whilst watching the world go by (above we were opposite Doge’s Palace!) As expected the prices were high, so we enjoyed a glass and then wondered to the back streets for a bottle (or 2) for a quarter of the price.
Venice is really beautiful and I would definitely recommend going. Whilst there are some beautiful landmarks, there’s not a massive amount to do so a couple of nights is plenty.
Not surprisingly, Venice is popular with couples as it’s known for being one of the most romantic cities in the world.
Most opt for a summer trip but Venice looked stunning in January and I believe the flights and accommodation were cheaper because of the time of year. If you’re on a budget it might be worth looking to go off-season!
I’m not sure of exact costs whilst we were there but I would estimate we spent around £600 / 2 = £300 per person. We drank and ate what we want (a lot) so costs could certainly be kept lower if needed.
Cost per person (off season)
Flights – £67
Accommodation – £116
Spend – £300
Total – £483
There simply isn’t space for a huge amount of museums. However, if you’re into art you can visit the Peggy Guggenheim museum
Burano – colourful houses on a lively fishing island
Murano – island known for its unique glass art