The beautiful city of Venice has a lot to offer. If you go during the summer, expect plenty of other people to be there with you. It’s definitely worth seeing, however, even if you have to fight the crowds. Here’s a rundown of some attractions you may want to check out in the Queen of the Adriatic.
The spritz is the drink of choice in Venice. It consists of prosecco wine, some bitter liqueur, and plenty of ice. You can find it in any restaurant, bar, or even corner pizza place in Venice. Usually, it’s pretty cheap too, so get two!
You may be tempted to take a gondola ride. You will not be the only one. Venice gondoliers are available in various locations around the city, but most set up shop on the Grand Canal. If you catch your gondola from a less-traveled side canal, you may have a more private experience, as you won’t be sharing your space with a multitude of other boats.
Be aware that gondolas are available for a fixed price. Gondoliers are part of a strict union that does not allow price adjusting; you will not be able to talk them down. Their price? 80 euros – for about a 40 minute trip. And if you want one of those awesome singing dudes with his accordian-playing buddy? Prepare to shell out a total of over 200 euros for your trip and entertainment.
Jolyn really wanted to take the gondola, but we didn’t want to spend 80 euros. So we got a bit creative to try and figure out how to make this happen. I had a plan to find people who would be interested in splitting a gondola ride. We stood by the dock and waited for potential customers to approach. We found ourselves making spot judgments on people, predicting whether or not they would be interested in sharing a gondola ride with complete strangers to save 40 euros. One couple walked up, but the woman was too high maintenance. There was no way she was sharing her boat with anyone but her husband, and he was barely tolerated. Another couple walked up, and they looked like they could be potential boat-mates. We asked them, and they had decided to not take the ride. However, a woman overheard us and asked if we would be interested in sharing the ride with her family. She explained that they had two young children, so if that was a problem, we could opt out. We decided to give it a shot.
We were delightfully pleased with the company and the good behavior of the two youngsters. The couple, originally from Northern Africa, had settled in Paris. They were on holiday in Venice with their children. We exchanged pleasantries and enjoyed the ride together. We pulled back in with barely over 35 minutes in the boat – but at least we had only spent 40 euros.
Our gondolier in front of Marco Polo’s house
All in all, was it worth it to say we took a gondola ride in Venice? Sure, I have no complaints. We did it, and can check it off the list. If it’s something you really want to do, by all means, do it. Is it overpriced? Yes, definitely. However, if it is meaningful to you, why not?
We really enjoyed the area near the Gallerie dell’Accademia. This is one of the most well-known museums in Venice. The surrounding area is a bit quieter and less packed than the rest of Venice. It’s a bit off the main tourist paths, as you really have to walk a bit to get there from St. Marks Square.
St. Mark’s Square is a hub of tourist activity, but it’s worth checking out at least once.
Whatever you do, don’t take a selfie at St. Mark’s Cathedral.
Most importantly, just enjoy the charming canals and architecture.
Finally, enjoy it while you can – you never know when one of the many Italian tourism entities will go on strike.