You may have seen my post about our city break to Milan and Lake Como. If not, you can read it here. In the same trip, we also went over to Venice, and spent 4 days there, too.
Travel & Accommodation
A two-hour train journey from Milan Centrale to Venice Santa Lucia which cost €38. Much more relaxing than flying, and we got to spend the time watching the Italian countryside go by.
We actually stayed at the Plaza hotel, on the mainland, in a place called Mestre.
I really recommend this, it’s a lovely hotel, right opposite the train station and really competitive pricing. It was less than €2 a day to get to Venice Santa Lucia on the train.
I’ve added the map link here, so you can see how far away it is.
As beautiful as it is frustrating to navigate, everywhere you look in Venice is like a postcard, and everywhere you turn you run into water.
You would instantly recognise the Carlton on the Grand Canal, and the Chiesa di San Simeone Piccolo, both of which confront you when you step out of the train station. Unfortunately, the Rialto Bridge was under maintenance when we were there; I would really like to have seen it.
It took us two days of searching to find Piazza San Marco, but it was such an impressive view when we did! Such an unexpectedly open space among Venice’s narrow walkways.
And the Bridge of Sighs is a pretty sight, but so difficult to get a picture of without a load of people in the background!
If you don’t mind getting lost, I would stray away from the main tourist areas and wander down some back streets to get a more authentic feel of the place. If you do get completely lost, though, follow signs for Ferrovia to get back to the train station.
I wouldn’t bother with a Gondola ride, because the going rate was around €100. It just looked super awkward to me. I actually saw a few Gondoliers on their phones which kind of took the magic away.
One thing that surprised me was the number of recognisable high street stores in Venice. Everything from Kiko, to the Disney store, McDonalds and Lush. I don’t know why, I just kind of think of Venice as being quite cut-off. The juxtaposition of big high street brands and pretty, traditional, old buildings was odd! We didn’t shop really because the crowds were doing my head in! There was at least one cruise ship every day we were there. According to locals, that was “not bad” in terms of crowding.
Previously an unwavering tea-drinker, I had my first cappuccino here in Venice. Coffee will never replace tea, but I have been known to order a post-dinner coffee since this trip. Like a grown up
We were around for Easter, so we got to try lots of traditional pastries in all the little bakeries. We did miss the Carnival, though! I would’ve loved to have seen it (and, tbh, worn a plague doctor mask). Something tells me my patience couldn’t stand the 3 million people also attending, though!
Weirdly, one of the best things I ate (and I bought every day) was a blueberry muffin from Vyta Santa Margherita in the train station! It was full of yummy blueberry compote and I craved it all day!
If you’re going to Venice, you must must MUST visit Dal Moro’s pasta. It took us two days to find it but it was worth the wait! And we went back the next day. I could’ve eaten every meal there. It’s a pasta takeout place, where they make the pasta fresh in front of you, and you can choose from different sauces.
The guys there are brilliantly enthusiastic. One of them actually gave us some raw pasta to eat while we waited. This is another one of my hidden gems which turns out to be quite well-known! I would, therefore, recommend getting there as early as you can because the queue is pretty huge. Once you get near the front, though, you can scribble a little message on the window to entertain yourself.
Overall, yes, I would absolutely go back to Venice. It is so striking, and I feel like I barely scratched the surface of things to see, do, and eat there!
My boyfriend also did the whole padlock on the railing thing. So I need to go back and see if it’s still there.
I would still choose to stay on the mainland, because I don’t fancy carting my cases through narrow streets and up the steps of a bridge every 2 minutes. But, next time, I would love to have a nosey into some of the big hotels on the Grand Canal, to check out some of those gorgeous Venetian interiors.