Venice was probably one of my favourite places that I have travelled to whilst studying abroad. I would definitely encourage anyone (abroad or not) to come and see this beautiful city. From the wide canals, to the amazing Venetian masks, it has so much to offer. Here are some of the main things that I enjoyed/tips for travelling there.
Travelling to Venice
Like most of my blogs, this first piece of information is directed at those already studying/ planning to study in the Netherlands. Flying from Eindhoven rather than Amsterdam can save you a lot of money. During my first term, I avoided it because it added an extra hour to my journey and I assumed it would cost me more on the trains. However, as I have previously discussed on my others blogs, getting group tickets or deals on the NS app actually make it cheaper, so it’s worth looking into. Also, for anyone not in the Netherlands and perhaps studying a little closer to Italy – Croatia, Switzerland, France – I would look into a flixbus for at least part of the journey. For anyone who is visiting, whether it’s from Edinburgh University or further away, booking the correct airport is worth double checking. We flew to Airport Venice Treviso rather than Airport Marco Polo di Venezia and it ended up adding another 45 minutes to our journey to the water port. Also, remember if you are going to the main area of Venice, it is on an island so you need to get a boat there. I would avoid water taxis from the airport because they work out over 100 euro to San Marco. Your best (and cheapest) bet is taking a Water Bus Boat.
Venice Main Island
Upon arriving in the main island of Venice I was amazed at how beautiful the city really is. I have visited Italy every year for the past nine years in the summer time so have seen the architecture of most Italian cities but I was especially amazed with Venice. Also remember this is a floating city so walking through the streets you always have water and boats next to you. In terms of things to do, my favourite activities were visiting San Marco Square because there are a number of amazing museums there. A first tip I would give is rather than stand in the queue and pay entry to them all, go online to ‘Headout Reservations’ because there are some great deals, especially for students. We ended up buying a pass for 16 euro which gave us queue skip and entry to ten of the attractions. My favourite attractions to visit were Basilica Di San Marco, Palazzo Ducale and Galleria Dell’Accadeia. Whilst San Marco Square is gorgeous, a top tip for my fellow students would be avoid eating at the restaurants which are in the square, unless you want to pay twenty-five euro for a coffee (I wish I was kidding). Venice is filled with nice bridges but a must see is the Ponte di Rialto and, of course, the famous Bride of Sighs. You can also have a Bellini in the place they were invented (Harry’s Bar). I would say that whilst I enjoyed Harrys and it was pretty cool to have a Bellini in the place it was invented, it is extremely overpriced. You can easily get lovely drinks or snacks at any of the bars that run along the waterfront and I personally preferred those ones. Saving the best for last is going on a gondola ride. I won’t lie these are very expensive (80 euro for forty minutes) but you do get the entire boat to yourself and split the cost, so it was less than 30 euros each. Also, if there are two of you, you can find another two or three people who are waiting to go on and go together, making it even cheaper.
Off the Main Island
You will have plenty to do on the main island but Venice does have other places which I think are worth visiting. The first is the island of Burano (you can get a water boat there from the main water boat points around the city). This was extremely unique because all the houses in it were different colours. The array of pink, yellow, blue coloured houses made the island really different. There is also the island of Murano which is famous for its glass works. Another stunning place to see.