My husband and I love to travel. And we have seen so many great places and things, and have also made some awesome friends along the way. It is impossible to travel and not learn new things. Sometimes you learn about the places you visit, sometimes it is new travel hacks to make your life more convenient, and sometimes you just learn new things about yourself. I will most likely be covering all these topics in future blogs.
Recently we had the pleasure of doing a month long trip to Europe with some of our best friends (who also just happen to be family :)). One of the places we spent some time was Venice Italy. While we were there, we learned a few things that would be helpful for anyone planning to go. So here is the short list of things you should know before you go to Venice:
- Wear comfortable shoes. You will walk a lot! The city of Venice sits on a group of small islands. There are no cars, with the single exception of the island of Lido.
- It is not handicap friendly. While you can take a scooter almost anywhere in the USA, the rest of the world is not always so accessible. The Venice streets are very narrow in some areas, and there are bridges everywhere. The bridges are for pedestrians and have stairs on both sides. This can make it difficult for anyone who isn’t able to walk for long distances and do stairs.
3. There are public water taxis available to take you between and around the islands. They will also take you to and from the mainland where the airport is located.
- While they call them taxis, they are more like a water bus. You can pay an all day fee or by the ride.
- I recommend paying the day fee, because with limited exceptions you will want to move around and this will be your best deal. It is totally worth it to sit out on the deck in the back and do the full circuit. It is an awesome way to see some incredible things and get the lay of the land.
- You cannot dawdle. They are on a strict schedule and will take off whether you are ready or not. There will be people trying to get on and off at the same time and it can get dicey.
- When getting off, if you are sitting down inside the boat try to move toward the exits a minute or two before your stop. They will overload the boats and people will be standing in the aisles, so it can be difficult to make it to the exit.
4. Venice is a warren of small narrow cobblestone or brick streets, which will unexpectedly open out into hidden plazas. Because of the afore mentioned narrow streets, there will be many places where you will lose connection with your GPS.
- Make sure when you are in an area where you have a connection that you zoom in on a map that shows you a few blocks of the general area you are in. Then when you lose your connection, you will at least have a few blocks to find another place open enough to connect again.
- If you have enough room on your phone it is also a good idea to enable offline maps for the region you are in. This is a really good idea no matter where you are traveling. There are many places in the world with spotty, or no cell coverage.
5. If you are staying for several days, you may want to look into renting an Air BnB, or a local flat. Hotels are limited and can be costly. So this could end up saving you quite a bit on housing.
- We did this and found to our chagrin that the first floor is not the ground floor. The first floor in Venice is what we call the second floor in the US. Not a big deal, but something to be aware of.
- This also enables you to do some of your own cooking, because restaurants in Venice are also not cheap. Don’t get me wrong, you should eat out some – the food for the most part is fabulous! But you can save a lot by having breakfast (and maybe lunch) at your home base if you have a kitchen.
6. Which brings me to food laws.
- You are not allowed to stop and eat anywhere in the public walkways. Which is pretty much everywhere. So put the idea of packing your lunch and eating beside a canal out of your head.
- There are laws against paper or plastic containers. You could be subject to a hefty fine if you are caught with them.
- Because of #2 you cannot ask the restaurant for a to-go order, or a doggie bag for any left overs. They will not do it. So we found ourselves splitting a lot of meals to save money and minimize waste.
- This all sounds really picky, but if you think about the massive numbers of tourists they have every year and the amount of trash which was being dropped or thrown into the canals, you can see where they are coming from.
Having said all of this, I highly recommend that you go at least once in your lifetime. Venice has surprises around every corner. It is beautiful and full of life and culture. I wish we could have stayed longer, and we will definitely go back some day!