Travel – A short break in Venice

We were planning on going skiing in March but after a bad snow season, and buying a house, we needed something considerably cheaper with (fingers crossed) some nice weather. After looking for the cheapest & shortest flights for the week we had booked off, we opted for 4 nights in Venice.

We booked the trip around a week before we were due to fly, and luckily found a lovely little Airbnb on the edge of town. Our host Chiara, directed us to the bus into town from the airport, which took around 20 minutes, and she met us at the bus station on the edge of the city. The apartment was exactly what we needed for a short trip, with a good size kitchen and dining space, just a five minute walk from some great bars and restaurants.

Venice is a really laid back city, with the main part of the day being the Aperitivo in late afternoon/early evening, good job I love food. We spent a large part of the holiday exploring the little Bacareto across the city, and hunting down the best Spritz – Aperol or Campari, topped with Prosecco & soda. Each of the bars serve a variety of cichetti, mostly sliced bread with a variety of meat fish, and cheese, meaning that there’s never the opportunity to be hungry.

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There are so many options for food in Venice that there’s no excuse for you to eat a bad meal, if you do your research properly. One of our favourite meals of the holiday was in a tiny café bar called Bar Puppa, which we’d have walked past if we weren’t looking for it. We shared a huge fresh prawn & asparagus risotto, with a Spritz and a coffee each, for 25 Euros. While many people say Venice is expensive, if you stay away from the real mainstream tourist areas then you can get a decent glass of wine from 2 Euros up.

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A standout highlight of the trip was the Gondola lesson on our second morning, where we walked to the edge of the city to Row Venezia, and spent 90 minutes learning to row a gondola through the narrow canals of the city, and out to the lagoon. Whether you’re active or just up for a laugh, this was a brilliant activity and cost just 85 Euros for 90 minutes, compared to 80 Euros for a 40 minute gondola ride.

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Towards the end of the holiday, we also made the most of the cities public transport by hopping on a boat to nearby Burano, where every house on the tiny 1km island is painted a different colour. The island was so much fun to look at, but once you get there it’s only a 15 minute stroll around before you’re back to the harbour. If you’re planning to eat here then try to book in advance, as hoards of tourists means the islands few good restaurants get packed around lunchtime.

There are loads of historical sites and viewpoints in Venice that it can be difficult to see everything in a short amount of time there. One of our favourite was a recommendation from a friend, who had found a brilliant FREE viewpoint on the top of Fondaco Dei Tedeschi shopping centre, looking straight over the grand canal. Take the lift or the elevator up to the top floor, past all the designer clothes and shoes to this little known gem. As Venice is a pedestrianized city (other than the boats!), make the most of having free reign of the streets, and allow yourself to get lost in the city, which feels eerily safe, even at night.

While Venice is a beautiful city, it’s also quite quiet compared to your average city break, with most restaurants & bars making the most of the sun with Spritz served outside, and then the city gets much quieter as it gets later. Make the most of aperitivo time if it’s sunny, and kick back in one of the many squares around the city. We found some great little bars around Campo Santa Margherita, a student area of town.

Flights from Manchester cost around £70pp return without baggage. Airbnb around £100 per night. Here are a few of our top picks if you choose to visit:

Osteria Alla Bifora – A lovely little restaurant in Campo Santa Margherita, the meat & cheese with the house red are a must.

Bacareto de Lele – A tiny little bar close to the bus depot which really shows off Venezian aperitifs, people stand outside the tiny bar drinking 80c wine in the street.

Al Timon – A great cafe & bar in the Ghetto area of town, frequented by locals this is a great find at any point in the day

Impronta Café – More a restaurant than a cafe, close to Campo Santa Margherita and a great option for food if you’re looking for something other than pizza or pasta. We opted for the duck leg & pork belly, both equally good.

Caffe Del Doge – A coffee shop & bakery close to Rialto bridge. Venice is packed full of amazing bakeries so make sure you stop in at least one to sample the local pastry.

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