Updated: Apr 9
Welcome back to the destination of the week, each week we will highlight a popular destination and give you all the information and first-hand recommendations you need to have an amazing holiday there.
This week you told us that the next destination should be Venice, Italy. Don't forget to join in on our Instagram polls @tysontrails to let us know which places you would like to see next!
Venice is beautiful and romantic... not the first place you would imagine visiting when you are travelling with children? You would be wrong! We have visited twice now, once back in 2016 as a couple and then in August 2020 as a family. Both times offered completely different experiences, the second trip there with Roman offered us so much more exploring, taking our time and enjoying the little things like sitting on the canals eating gelato.
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Time difference: GMT +1 hour and during BST there is no difference
Flight time: London to Venice is around 2 and 10 minutes
British Embassy: (+39) 06 4220 0001 (embassy in Rome), Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, 7/1
30173 Mestre (VE), https://www.embassypages.com/unitedkingdom-consulate-venice-italy
Emergency services: Ambulance - 118 Fire - 115 Police - 112
Important local laws in Venice
Venice is considered a safe place for tourists to visit, like most cities petty theft such as pickpocketing and bag snatching is around. You can lessen any chances of this by staying aware of your surroundings especially when travelling on public transport or in crowded areas. Unfortunately, Venice is a very popular tourist destination and therefore they are subject to over-tourism, to help preserve the beautiful islands the following tourism rules are in effect, visitors risk a fine of $27 to $550 for being caught doing any of the following in public:
Leaning against storefronts
Lying down on public benches
Buying from street traders
Standing still on bridges
Drinking on the street after 8 p.m.
Swimming in the canals
Affixing padlocks to bridges
Wearing a bikini
Riding a bicycle in the city center
Walking a bicycle through the city center
Best time to visit Venice
We have only visited Venice in the summer months which can get very hot and dry, average temperatures can reach 31 degrees in the day and when we were just there in 2020 it was around 35 degrees every day which can make walking around a little uncomfortable so be prepared for lots of ice cream and drink stops. Winters are much colder and can drop to around 10-13 degrees. Spring and Autumn are the ideal times to visit when it isn't too hot or too cold and makes getting out a lot easier.
What to pack
There is no fixed dress code when visiting Venice but the most useful packing tip is to pack comfortable clothes and shoes, dress as you would in any city. We did a lot of walking in Venice and there are lots of steps over the canals so a good pair of comfortable shoes or trainers are advisable. Venice is also a great place for dressing up, there are some amazing restaurants here so pack a few nice outfits if you plan on getting out at night.
Things to see and do
Walk the canals - A free and fun thing to do, just get lost in the winding canals. Roman absolutely loved just wandering around, climbing all the bridges and watching the boats and gondolas drive past. Hidden in the little lanes you can find some beautiful shops and delicious gelato.
St Marks Square - A must-visit, It is said that Napoleon called San Marco "the drawing room of Europe." And it is a breathtakingly beautiful place. the architecture is just amazing and it is a great space for children to wander (or run) around. You can go inside the buildings to explore more however they do have long queues so we decided against it and to just enjoy the square itself but if you are visiting with older children or with more patience then I would highly recommend it. As you head towards the sea it is lined with beautiful gondolas and makes a great place for stunning pictures.
Murano and Burano - This was my number 1 thing to do on this visit to Italy
as we missed out last time. The island of Murano is renowned for its long tradition of glass-making and picturesque Burano is known for its brightly coloured fishermen's houses, casual eateries and lace shops. We originally looked at booking a tour but read a lot of reviews from people saying that they felt rushed and like they didn't have enough time on the islands so we opted for a DIY tour. We brought a 24-hour pass on the Vaporetto (public boats) and the lines are really easy to navigate, you can buy a map or we just used google maps and the routes brought up the timetables and which line to hop on. We absolutely loved exploring the islands and this was a great day out for all of us!
Take a boat ride on the grand canal - Canal Grande (Grand Canal) is the image you see the most when you google Venice, it is an iconic scene. You can take a Gondola they can be quite pricey but worth the experience, if your budget doesn't stretch to a gondola then you can also take a Traghetto or Vaporetto which are Venices alternative to public transport.
Bridge of Sighs - A historical limestone bridge that connects the lethal prison of Venice and the court-judgment room of the Doge's Palace. The lords of Venice thought that the prisoners would “sigh” at their final view of Venice out of the window before their lifelong imprisonment or death, hence, they named Ponte dei Sospir - Bridge of Sighs.
Where to eat
Food is one of the reasons you are probably in Italy; pizza and pasta to die for there are so many options.
Gluten-Free - Roy being gluten intolerant was a little worried about the gluten-free options but after a little googling we found some great places to visit. Ristorante Pizzeria Dolfin was a great find for a GF pizza and we also had some lovely pasta for me and Roman.
Our favourite place to eat in Venice is at a small place called Frary's which is a Mediterranean restaurant, they offer traditional dishes from different Arabic countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Libya to name a few. The food is delicious and the service is amazing, they have a small outdoor seating area if you prefer alfresco or comfortable lounge-style dining inside which is great if travelling with younger children.
Visiting Venice wouldn't be complete without having an Aperol Spritz and when we then went to other cities after Venice we realised how cheap the spritz is there; 3 euro compared to 9 euro in Rome!
How to get around
Venice Marco Polo airport serves Venice and most low-cost airlines from the UK fly here in around 2 hours making it a great weekend trip. From the airport you have a few options, the quickest transport to Venice is by taxi boat which you can get from the airport; this is also the more expensive option but takes only 25 minutes to arrive. You can also get a bus/coach again you can grab your tickets from the arrivals section this was around 8 Euro each and takes an hour (we chose this option) just follow the bus signs it's really simple. You could also choose to order a taxi which would take just under an hour but is more private. Once in Venice you will notice there are no roads, the only way to get around is by walking or on the water, Vaporettos are the cheapest option as they work like local buses, you can get day tickets or 1 off trips and you can grab a map or even use google maps on a phone which actually has the arrival times and lines on there so it's easy to navigate.
Where to stay
Budget - Canal Hotel
We tried to keep our hotel costs to a minimum as we were visiting a few cities and the costs can really rack up especially in Venice. We decided on the Canal hotel which was really reasonable and located right opposite Santa Lucia train station so really convenient for arriving and leaving. We also upgraded to a family balcony room which was beautiful and it had a great view over the canal. Rooms are comfortable and have everything you need, we also opted to have breakfast which was a great start to the day!
Mid-Range - Residenza d'Epoca San Cassiano
Overlooking Venice's Grand Canal, and just a 5-minute walk from Rialto Bridge. This 14th-century villa is furnished with antiques and Murano glass chandeliers.
All rooms at the San Cassiano are air-conditioned and feature a satellite TV, a minibar, and a work desk with a lamp. The hot and cold buffet breakfast includes fresh fruit, as well as eggs and bacon. It is served in the Piano Nobile dining hall with a terrace overlooking the canal.
Luxury - Bauer Palazzo
Just a 2 minutes' walk from Venice's St. Mark’s Square, the 5 star Bauer Hotel offers spacious, elegant rooms with a satellite flat-screen TV. It features a gourmet restaurant and a terrace overlooking the Grand Canal.
Air-conditioned rooms at the Bauer include a minibar and a classic Venetian-style décor. Some have a balcony and city or canal views.
Guests can enjoy classic Italian and international cuisine at the De Pisis restaurant.