Family travel in Venice
We watched Italy travel videos with the kids months ago while planning this trip. Both agreed that Venice was the place they most wanted to visit. They weren't disappointed. The water, the bridges, the maze of streets and canals, the vaporetto, the shops and the pigeons. We all loved Venice. In retrospect, we should have skipped Florence and added an extra day here. Yes, Venice is expensive but it is an amazing place.
We stayed for 2 nights in the lovely Ca San Polo hotel (see the tip below). We did a lot of walking, saw St. Marks and the Doge's Palace, visited the Frari and other sites, but for the most part, we just orientered around the back canals.
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Venice, A romantic city????
"Yes it is"
It was summer, August, I was going to have 5 days free on the busiest days of the year and I have to search for something quick. I get inside internet and search for the cheapest flight, the flight was for Venice. I have never been to Venice so I thought it could be a good place to go for 5 days.
But … Venice I heard it was a place for couples, perhaps I was going to feel strange surrounded by only couples kissing and smiling, but that was not going to make me stop going there, so I make my backpack and took the plain. I did search for a hotel through VT and founded a nice hotel, Hotel Ca’San Polo for 70 euros per night, and that was a good price for Venice at August.
I founded Venice a great place, beautiful romantic and not expensive at all. How can a city be known as expensive when you can hear opera or classic music for free while you walk at night? . It’s a very easy city to move around. I did liked Venice very much :)
Venice: Beauty at a price
On arrival at Marco Polo airport, myself and my wife boarded the No. 5 ACTV Shuttle bus (Blue coach) to the Island; Piazzale Roma (Only €3 pp) good value and only takes 20 mins. You don't have to queue up at the ticket office, you can purchase your ticket on the bus.
From the station we got the steamboat - route 1(€5 pp) up the canal to our stop - San Toma and made our way to the hotel.
Try if possible to arrive in Venice off peak hours, otherwise you will spend most of your time fighting your way through hoards of tourists and very impatient Venetians with your luggage.
You can get a free tourist map at the station and people, generally other tourists are good sources for directions.
We stayed at a small family run hotel in the campo San Polo area (Ca' San Polo).We found it central, quiet, away from the tourist hustle and bustle but only 10 mins walk to everywhere. It was clean, well equipped and the staff were more than friendly, especially Marco the son of the owner.
Things to see:
We were there for four days in total and everything can be seen in 2 days. From the Rialto Bridge to St. Marks Sq.
The Gondolas are a rip off so be careful. Prices vary, we saw some people successfully haggle and others given a set price with no chance of a reduction.
Venice in general is a rip off, we found that, especially in eateries that there was a tourist price and a locals price. We walked along the Canal Di S. Marco right down past the Arsenele to try to find somewhere reasonable to have lunch. Prices did not get any cheaper really the further we went.
We got tired and decided to stop at a place which looked quite cheap in that it had plastic garden furniture outside and Coca Cola parasols. We soon realised that that is where the cheapness ended; €8 for a pizza for two which was ok, however a coke and a beer also came to €8. €4 each.
Eating out at night was quite reasonable, however wine was extortionate.
We ate out most nights in or around our hotel area, which was quiet and quaint and very relaxing (Campo San Polo). Make sure you head out to eat before 9pm as the stop serving around 9:30 and they are very strict about that.
Our experience of Venice on the whole was a quite positive one. It is quite a beautiful city, with a labyrinth of streets and canals to explore. However 4 days was too long to stay, partly because of the expense of it and also because we felt we had seen everything within 2 days.
Don't expect Venetians to be too grateful for your custom, we found them rude, abrupt and unfriendly.
Having said all this, I feel that I am glad that I have experienced Venice, but I shall not be returning in a hurry.