I had to admit that I didn’t have high hopes when visiting Venice. When I asked others about their experiences, the top three answers I got were: too touristy, too hot and too expensive. In other words; Venice didn’t sound to charming. Still, I went on a solo trip to the small island and I have to admit, I’m pleasantly surprised.
What I do recommend, if you’re on a budget, is to stay in Mestre. Mestre is not located in Venice itself, but on the mainland of Italy, at the other side of the bridge that connects Venice to the mainland. From Mestre, you can easily take the train for €1,30 single ride and you’ll be in Venice in 10 minutes.
Venice is a surreal city. Imagine hopping on and off bridges all the time, wandering your way through the very small streets in the charming city. Once in a while you interrupt your wanderings with a stop in a local bar for a glass of homemade prosecco, or you treat yourself a delicious Italian spaghetti carbonara in a restaurant at the waterside.
I got seduced by the smell of fresh pizza and made a stop at a local yet popular pizza place where they let their pizza dough rise for at least 24 hours. The current count when I was there was 32 hours. You can only imagine what the pizza tasted like.
Okay, now I’m wandering off too much to the food-side. Views-side, there is a lot to see in Venice. I was afraid I couldn’t see everything in two days, so I booked a Tripadvisor-tour. Unfortunately, I am a free spirit. A free bird. And you can’t lock a free bird in a cage. So, when people started to approach me asking if I was the tour guide, a little alarm bell rang in my head. I’m so different from these people, why am I here?
When the tour began, we all had our headset on and the tour guide had a stick with a flag (yes, really) and, at that moment, another alarm bell rang in my head. Should I turn around and leave right away? I actually want to explore this city on my own and freedom calls me!
I stuck around a little but more and then I escaped the tour. I told the tour guide I was sick, gave the headset back and took off.
Freedom never tasted so good.
I ran into the little streets and where tourists went right, I went left.
I decided for myself that was the way I was going to explore Venice. Just as I did in Malta.
When sunset fell, I fell too. For Venice. Piazza San Marco lights up with magical colourful gradients of light as the night fell.
The vivid nightlife of Venice charms the floating city. At night, when most of the tourists went back to their accommodation, all the locals come outside, and go to bars and restaurants. Many little shops are still open and the atmosphere is so much different than during the day – Venice during the night has a calm vibe, yet it’s vivid, and so authentic.