We booked our trip to Venice last year, when I spotted a fantastic deal on British Airways website during their sale. I couldn’t book it quick enough… £101 each for return flights and a hotel including breakfast, what a bargain not to be missed! I hadn’t flown with BA for quite a few years and was interested to see what the airline would be like now, after much bad press.
Fast forward to Monday February 4 th and a late drive through the night to Gatwick for our early morning flight to Venice the next day. Unfortunately under bad circumstances as Adams grandad was dying and didn’t have long to live. We had discussed this with the family as we were visiting daily till we left, they agreed we should go and feeling in two minds we did. Gatwick was an absolute dream to navigate and we quickly passed security and went to grab a strong coffee and a bacon roll. After a short time our flight was called and we boarded the BA2582 to Marco Polo Airport, our flight experience was superb from start to finish. The staff were so lovely and helpful to all, the captain talked everyone, especially the nervous fliers onboard, through the turbulence, which I thought was brilliant and Adam much appreciated it. The food available to buy was Marks and Spencer, my favourite! After settling down to a Buck’s Fizz and a travel magazine, I zoned out. Perfection. Next thing we knew we were descending and taking in the first views of Venice. What a great start to the day, a quick 1 hour 45 flight and such a good service. Thanks BA!
Once we landed it was easy enough to find our way to the water taxis, otherwise known as a vaporettos. You have two choices, a private boat transfer at approximately 120 euros each way or to use the public transport called Alilaguna lines which is what we opted for. Costing 27 euros for a return ticket on the linea blu line. It took around one hour to arrive at the Lido where we were staying, in the Le Boulevard Hotel. It was ideally located next to the ferry terminal, with just a few minutes walk. We used it as a base to explore Venice and the Islands of Burano and Murano. The hotel was traditional in style and the staff were pleasant, our room was just what we needed. With a comfy bed, electronic safe, tv and a nice hot shower to rejuvenate us after many miles walked. After talking to other guests, you can book this hotel online for 28 pounds a night which is fabulous. Saving your money to spend whilst exploring Venezia.
After a quick early check in, we dropped our bags and headed over to San Marco. We bought a three day pass to use on all routes around the islands for 40 euros each, as a single journey can cost 7/8 euros. Our first stop after passing the Bridge of Sighs and St Marks Square was the famous Rialto Bridge. Of course we took a selfie… When in Venice as they say!! We decided as the weather was so beautiful and sunny, we would have a drink by the bridge, a large beer and aperol spritz later we paid 32 euros and wandered to find out what we would come across next. My first impression of Venice was a feeling of wondering whether this was in fact dream or real?! Adam’s was how long was going to take to run out of money.
We used our pass to sail down the Grand Canal, probably one of the BEST public transport routes I have been on. I do have say and I know we are in agreement with this, you do have to see Venice at least once in your life. My wish to was to go to Harry’s bar at The Cipriani Hotel, for a peach Bellini. Which can be accessed from the San Marco Vallaresso terminal. We went inside to find a very authentic styled lounge, unfortunately there was strict rules regarding no photos. We sat down and a waiter dressed in a white tuxedo took our order, I ordered the infamous Harry’s peach Bellini and Adam was a little disappointed when told they didn’t serve beer, so opted for a gin and tonic. Drinks were served with a bowl of olives. Being perfectly honest it wasn’t what I had imagined, I felt it was a little like a conveyer belt and everyone was sitting looking at each other. There wasn’t much of an atmosphere, which was a shame. However I’m glad I came and had a Bellini. It cost 42 euros total which was to be expected but I’m not sure it was one of my favourite cocktail experiences. We strolled to the water front, to see the sunset which was a fiery orange offering. We took the ferry 5.2 back to the Lido so we could change for dinner and then headed back to San Marco.
We choose the Osteria Ai Specchieri restaurant by chance just a street away from St Marks Square. Our food was delicious, mozzarella and tomatoes to start, pizza of course for our main and tiramisu to end. Accompanied by red wine and aperol spritz. Our bill came to 88 euros. I would recommend this restaurant for a great friendly service and welcoming atmosphere. Our first day had been a whirlwind of new experiences in a brand new city and we welcomed what the next day would bring.
After an early breakfast, from a generous buffet we set off back over to San Marco. We headed straight for the St Marks Campanile, as we wanted to take in the panoramic views over this floating city. Where we in for a treat and a real highlight for us. We were blessed with a small queue which took us to a stewarded lift, after a quick journey to the top we arrived to views that wowed!! I can’t recommend this enough as a must whilst in Venice, it cost 8 euros each and it was worth it and more. We spent quite a bit of time taking everything in and enjoying our surroundings. This was Venice for me, magical. After receiving news Adam’s grandad had passed early this morning, we went across the way to St Marks Basilica and entered, which was free, to light a candle and pay our respects to Albert. The intricate detail inside and out of the church is simply breathtaking, especially the gold which is a show stopper. Obviously it was upsetting, we however made the most out of our day and went and had a gelato for him (as we had promised). It only reiterates the fact that life is a one time offer, you need to live it fully!
We decided to head for the Islands of Murano, known for its glass and Burano known for its colours, linen and lacework. Using our passes we boarded a ferry and after a short time we arrived on Murano. Sun shining, we wandered around the island, taking in a free glass blowing experience. It was very informative and enjoyable, the craftsmanship that goes into each piece of Murano glass is exceptional. We had a look around the shop attached and marvelled at the beautiful pieces on offer to buy. An Italian coffee was in order and a cannoli or two by the waters edge, how lovely! I didn’t expect to be sitting outside basking in sunshine in early February in Italy. A lot can be said for the impact and effects of climate change.
Next we were headed for Burano, this took a good 30 minutes or more but it was absolutely wonderful. Tranquil waters all around and such a peaceful feeling, I just stood on the ferry and stared out at this stunning sight in front of me. I had a great feeling about Burano and I was right, it was fabulous. A pleasure to walk around, so so colourful, with fantastic detail to the homes and so pretty. I bought some linen and we were lucky as it wasn’t super busy and a delight to visit. I must have took a hundred photos and videos, the inspiration was unreal here.
To top the day off we stayed for sunset and my goodness were we in for a show. The most stupendous sunset graced us and we sat in silence taking it all in, by the water front. As it began to get dark we went to have a drink and a snack before boarding the ferry home, it’s funny how you say this when you get used to a place isn’t it. I felt sad to saying bye to Burano, you made my trip alone and if I never get to return, which I truly hope I will, thank you for being you. If you haven’t been here please return to Venice and visit, you won’t be disappointed at all.
We went back to our hotel to shower and change before another Italian feast at Al Teatro Goldoni. A mere 5 minute walk from San Marco, of antipasti, pasta and you guessed it tiramisu. Our meal along with wine and aperol spritz came to 80 euros. After a long but delightful day, we slept well that night on the Lido.
Our final day, after croissants and coffee at the hotel we boarded the ferry, by now we knew our way and the 5.2 route off by heart. Arriving at San Marco to another day of sunshine, we went in search of a gondola as I was so excited to take a gondola ride around Venice. After a little research and asking around we knew it was 80 euros during the daytime for 30 minutes and a 100 euros in the evening. We found a gondola station near the Rialto Bridge and jumped right on. The gondola ride was fabulous, it is a MUST and will only fill your trip to Venice with more amazing memories to remember. Especially so when you cruise into the Grand Canal and by the Rialto Bridge, on the gondola it adds another experience away from the vaporettos. Our gondolier was fantastic, giving us a real guided tour and pointing out the places of interest, such as the local police station and Rialto fish market. As well as giving us a song or two along the route. We had hummed and haaed about taking the ride but afterwards we both realised it was a perfect moment to add to our travels thus far. We sailed back to Ponte Dei Baretteri, where we had begun our journey and ambled off the the gondola with happiness in our hearts.
We decided to try and find the Rialto market that had been pointed out to us, once we found it we walked around and found a great wine bar. Al Merca was popular with locals, it was only 11 am and it was busy. You could get a glass of wine or prosecco for as little as 2 euros, plus small sandwiches for 1.50 each. A top tip if you are visiting Venice. Sometimes the best thing to do is get lost in any city, I love to do this! We had been given some tips before we travelled from some lovely twitter friends and wanted to explore Dorsoduro. So we wandered in the direction along the grand canal on foot, crossing the bridges as we went. Finding the pizza place recommended called Pizza Al Volo we ordered two slices, they were huge and delicious, for two euros each. This was the nicest pizza we had had whilst here. Make sure to go and enjoy!
After we ate, we wandered into the Accademia area and the Leonardo Di Vinci museum is located here along with the best gelato shop called Grom. It would have been rude not to oblige, so we had one each. It was divine and felt like a meal in itself. There are over 400 bridges in Venice our gondolier told us and we had certainly walked over a few of them… So we took a walk over the Ponte dell’Accademia and took in the view of dreams, the Grand Canal. Still wanting to pinch myself to see if this was all real! The rest of the afternoon was spent at leisure taking in the little shops and people watching. I bought some handmade marbled paper and a quill with ink, plus the obligatory fridge magnet or two. All reminders of our Italian adventure. We walked back to San Marco and took our last sight of the Bridge of Sighs, before taking the ferry back to the Lido and enjoying drinks at a cafe bar there, it is much quieter on the Lido but a lot more like normal life at a relaxed pace. As our flight was a late night flight, we picked our bags up and took the linea blu back to Marco Polo airport allowing plenty time ahead of flying. We arrived and again the airport was a real pleasure. I did pick up a bottle of Harry’s Peach Bellini, to reminisce about Venice at home. Our inward British Airways flight BA2587 was as good as the outward one, no complaints and plenty praise. I look forward to September and my flight to the Seychelles with you.
Venice you certainly gave us a whole new experience and we are thankful for that, even if our bank balance isn’t… I will say we are glad we went and if you haven’t been please don’t hesitate and go and see! Off season is also a brilliant time to travel as you can grab a good deal and there are far lesser crowds.
Buona Notte Venezia x