Venice, Italy – the setting of the Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare, The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke, and countless romances and daydreams. I traveled to Venice when I was a child – the July heat and the endless crowds made it exhausting. I traveled as an adult in January and witnessed Venice under a light snow shower – what a magical moment! Venice on a student budget – that is a challenge in itself, but a very doable challenge. No need to stay in the fanciest hotel, eat at the most expensive restaurants for every meal and take a water taxi everywhere – budget hotels, pizza by the slice and a good pair of walking shoes will seal the deal! Here are my top things to see and tips for your trip to Venice!
Where to stay:
Stay in Venice proper, preferably in the neighborhood of San Marco. Though Venice is small, it is not linear and all the winding amongst bridges takes up some time. So why spend time staying elsewhere, like Venice Lido or Venice Mestre, and taking a boat or a train when you can stay in the heart of Venice. That way you can wander Venice at night and catch a glimpse of the moon’s reflection in the canals.
Where to eat:
For a quick snack try the many 1 euro per slice pizza stands – or a Dutch “Queens chips” stand with some spicy sauce. For restaurants go off the touristy path and catch a mom and pop restaurant. Preferably skip the ones with an excessive menu with pictures outside on an advertisement board.
What to see:
Piazza San Marco
Ponte di Rialto (The most ornate bridge of the Grand Canal, lined by jewelry shops)
Grand Canal (I mean how can you miss it)
Basilica de San Marco
Gondolas (Rides go for about 100 euro)
Bridge of Sighs
Ponte dell’Accademia (great for pictures if the other bridges are crowded)
Island of Murano, known for their glass blowing, catch a demonstration as well.
Island of Burano, known for their lace