Venice blew me away, which was surprising. I feared that a place with so much hype could never live up to its reputation. In fact, I almost didn’t go at all. But I am so glad I did!
Venice is just as beautiful and romantic as everyone says it is. It is not, however, hot and smelly and full of rats (as some people say as well). Perhaps that was just my luck as I went in April before it got too hot and crowded. Bottom line: seeing Venice is a must!
- Take a water taxi on the Grand Canal. If you can, get a seat at the front—you’ll get some amazing photos.
- Get lost. Walking around Venice is the best way to see it. There’s beauty around every corner from an unexpected statue to a windowsill garden.
- Buy a glass bead necklace. They are lovely and it’s a souvenir you can wear instead of just sticking on a shelf.
- Expect great food without a hunt. Venice is notorious for peddling sub-par cuisine to tourists. The pizza I ordered from a street cafe was barely edible and the pasta I ordered in a sit-down was just average. Even the famed Aperol Spritz was a no for me; it looks and tastes like DayQuil. (Sorry spritz lovers!)
- Ride a gondola. They’re expensive and the waterways are crowded. I didn’t ride one and I don’t feel like I missed out on my Venetian experience. (If you’re not on a budget, go ahead and splurge. It must be popular for a reason, right?)
- Accept a free rose. If you do, you’ll be hassled for money afterward. Though I said no thank you, one man was so persistent that he tried to shove the flower in my hands even after I backed all the way up against a wall to get away from him.
There are public restrooms in Venice but I never came across one. The easiest thing to do is to stop by a café and buy a drink. You’ll want a water or soda throughout the day anyway.