Going to Venice has been in the planning for years. But something always came up. Either it was not the right season, or it was too hot, too crowded or too wet. Every time, there was a reason not to go. Whether it was the right reasons or not; the fact is that until recently I had never been there.
This time, however, Hermin and I decided to just go spontaneously. We decided on Tuesday to drive to Venice on Thursday. From Lugano, where Hermin lives, that’s about a four hour drive. That’s okay.
Take the car to Venice
Of course, you can’t get to Venice itself by car. A town that has no roads.
We were in doubt whether to go by car or by train, but the car won out for practical reasons. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be complicated. There are a number of ways to reach Venice by car. You can park your car on the mainland. There are a number of garages there that are equipped for that.
We chose to park at Tronchetta a huge parking garage located on the island itself. You drive over the bridge and you’re already there. We had been told that there is always a parking spot to be found at Tronchetta. I can’t tell you if it is. On just looking at the website, I saw that there were zero spots available at the time I am writing this. So it might be useful to check what the alternatives are. We had no trouble finding a place.
The cost of parking is – at the moment in 2021 – € 22,- per day. For such a garage not expensive. We paid €44,- for two days in Venice.
From Tronchetta we took the water taxi to our hotel. That was not cheap, no less than € 80,- for a ride of about 15 minutes. It was recommended to us by our hotel. I suspect they have an agreement with the water taxi. And it was well organized in itself but on the way back we went by bus boat. This costs a total of € 15,- for two people. Much cheaper and although it takes a bit longer and the boats are always packed, it is a great means of transport.
Once in Venice, it is also a convenient means of transportation. Although the city is not very big and you can reach everything by foot, it is sometimes nice not to have to walk.
We slept in hotel Corte Barozzi. This is a short walk from San Marco Square, so it is central and relatively affordable. I say relatively because everything in Venice is more expensive than in the rest of Italy. This is certainly true of the hotels.
Corte Barozzi is a fine hotel, but in itself not very special. It says in the description overlooking the canal but you see from your room (we were on the 3rd floor) very little of it. But again, a great choice if you’re looking for a hotel in Venice.
Also check out Nathalie ‘s post with many more affordable (and not so affordable) hotel options.
In Venice you stumble over the gondolas. There’s no way around that. If you want to make a canal cruise in a gondola, you have to spend quite a bit of money. Prices start from € 80,- for half an hour. We paid € 120,- for 45 minutes. With the €80,- option you didn’t go into the small canals. And just those are so much fun.
Is it worth it? Mwah, it’s quite nice and we certainly didn’t regret it, but it’s a lot of money for something you can see just as well from all the little bridges. Maybe even better. It is something that comes with going to Venice so in that respect I say do it!
Eating in Venice
Eating out in Venice doesn’t necessarily have to be mega expensive. Yes the prices are still higher than in Italy in general but if you make sure you stay away from the San Marco square and the Rialto bridge then it is doable. Especially in the small side streets you can eat really well for a normal price.
It’s not cheap, but it’s also not as expensive as you might expect. Don’t be mistaken about the coffee prices either. We drank a cup of coffee somewhere and then had to pay € 20,-. The prices for that coffee also vary quite a bit. Just informing yourself in advance does wonders. Plus let’s face it, you are a tourist so it is easy to charge a bit more.
All in all, I thought Venice was magically beautiful and I’m glad I visited during a time when there were fewer tourists than usual. I found it really busy enough in some places, but then especially in the touristy places like near the Rialto Bridge and in the shopping main street. But if you go from there, you’ll soon find quieter places, so wandering through the city is a great way to avoid the crowds.