Venice is a city like no other. It is an absolutely unique place that you find nowhere else in the world, with a rich heritage, a one-of-a-kind geography, wonderful Italian charm and stunning beauty at every corner.
But why only 24 hours, you ask?
Well, recently I was doing my weekly check of possible destinations and came across an irresistible offer: a two day return trip from Berlin to Venice for a mere 35€. I couldn’t possibly say no to this opportunity and so quickly booked two flights. Now I only needed to call Ben to tell him that he should better pack his bags because we were going to Venice!
While 24 hours are certainly not a lot, it is definitely enough to give you a glimpse of this wondrous city and make you want to come back. To make the most out of your short trip, here are a view tips.
Things to do
- Wander! For real, especially if you only have a short amount of time, the best thing you can do is walk around and explore the tiny alleys and canals, watch the locals going after their daily businesses and get an authentic feeling for this breathtaking city. Although I would recommend not following a strict route I put together two walks that bring you to the most interesting and scenic areas of the main island:
- Eat lots and lots of Venetian food — not just pizza and gelato (which are amazing) but also try some local food like Cicchetti (they are similar to tapas). The small snacks served in Venice’s bars are perfect to get a taste of the various local specialties.
- Don’t forget to visit the main tourist attractions as well: the Rialto bridge and the San Marco square with its palace, basilica and campanile.
- If you have some more time or the weather isn’t playing along, definitely visit some of the spectacular museums, galleries or churches. There are countless options, so check out TripAdvisor to find the ones you are most interested in.
- No visit to Venice is complete without a gondola ride! You can either choose to do a traditional tour along the Grand Canal for 80€ per gondola (100€ after 7pm, the prices are the same everywhere) or, if that exceeds your budget, you can reduce the price drastically by finding some other travelers (up to 6) to share the gondola with. While this is admittedly not quite as romantic as a solo tour it’s still a nice, affordable option. If you don’t care about the gondolas but still want to see Venice from the waterside you can easily do so by taking a Vaporetto, a water bus. You can get tickets from 7.50€ per trip or a day ticket for 20€.
How to get there
There are two airports in the greater area around Venice: Marco Polo Airport (VCE) and Venice Treviso (TSF). Both are located on the mainland, with Marco Polo Airport being the larger airport of the two and closest to Venice. You can fly to Marco Polo Airport from most European metropolitan areas, however the low-cost carriers RyanAir and WIZZ Air charter exclusively at Venice Treviso.
RyanAir offers the lowest fares by far. Flights from Berlin, Frankfurt, London and Paris all cost below 30€ for a return flight including hand luggage (as of August 2017). However, this means that you will land in Venice Treviso and need to get to Venice from there. No worries, it’s a piece of cake:
- Leave the arrivals hall at Venice Treviso and cross the bus and taxi lanes until you reach the actual road.
- Turn right. You should already see the bus stop about 200m down the road. If you have trouble finding it, just ask, there are plenty of people around.
- Take bus number 6 to Stazione Fs and pay 1,30€ per person.
Tip: You can find the current time table of the bus on the official website. It’s only available in Italian but you simply have to navigate down to bus line 6. There you can see three pdfs: the first one is for regular service on weekdays, the second one for sundays and holidays, and the third one specifically for January 1st and the easter holidays.
- Get out at Stazione Fs.
- Head to the tunnel that brings you to the train station on the other side of the road.
- You can buy your ticket at the ticket machines but I would recommend to get them at the counter. This way you can already get your return ticket as well. Return tickets are 6,80€ per person.
- Validate your ticket at one of the machines.
- Board the train to Venezia Santa Lucia. They leave every 30 minutes.
- After half an hour you will reach Venice!
There are other options as well, including a direct bus from the airport or taxis. They are, however, much more expensive (starting at 20€ per trip) and take longer as well, so I would definitely recommend taking the train.
Where we stayed
When I first checked the hotel prices I was speechless.
Although it was still off-season, the prices raked up high, especially as we had to stay on the main island because time was our most valuable resource and we couldn’t afford having to take the train into the city in the morning.
I would have eventually settled on no sleep at all hadn’t I found a nice accommodation called “Sleep Cheap at Francesca’s B&b” that I found on hostelsclub.com.
We got two beds in a 6-bed dorm including breakfast for 25€ which is still a lot for a dorm but the absolute cheapest there was.
The B&b is located in the Cannaregio district, north of the train station Santa Luzia which is convenient for those arriving by train. We walked around 15 minutes from the station on a busy street with many sights along the way: pompous bridges, stores that sell the famous Venetian masks and a small market.
On the final stretch we got a bit lost as the house was nestled in a tiny alley and had no signs up. We eventually found the correct house number with a bell and the name Francesca on it. When the door opened we found ourselves in a tiny, rustic staircase. On the first floor we were greeted by Francesca, a sweet Asian lady that had converted her apartment into a small B&b. Thus the whole thing felt more like a mix of a hostel and a homestay but we enjoyed it nonetheless. It was interesting to see a typical Venetian apartment from the inside. Although the accommodation wasn’t very fancy it was all we needed for a good night.
Even though it’s not very central, the hostel is located in a nice area from where you can reach everything on the main island by foot. There is also a vaporetto station close by if you’d rather take the boat.
I would recommend this hostel if you are looking for a cheap place to crash for a night or two.
Francesca’s B&b — Venice
Find it on Hostelsclub.com
Prices start at 25€ per person and per night for a bed in a 6-bed dorm with a shared bathroom.
+ breakfast included (toast, jam, cereals, coffee, tea) — sparse but filling
+ hidden in a back alley so it was very quiet
+ friendly owner
+ you get your own key so you can come and go as you like
- clean but a bit rundown, six beds crammed into the small room and clothes hangers dangling from the ceiling to serve as a wardrobe
Although I have been to Venice thrice in my life already, it seems that I have simply been too young to fully appreciate it back then. This time however I fell deeply in love with this marvelous city — love at fourth sight so to speak..
Venice is a photographer’s dream come true with opportunities at literally every corner (and everyone else’s, who loves history and architecture).
A city you NEED to see at least once in your life and definitely one of my top city picks worldwide!
Have you been to Venice? Share your must-dos and must-sees with me below in the comments or on Social Media. I’d love to hear from you!