Venice – La Serenissima

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This achingly beautiful city was the first stop on our tour through Italy working our way from North to South. While we made sure to tick off the key touristy sites (St. Marks Square, Rialto Bridge etc.) they weren’t necessarily the highlight for us. Don’t get us wrong, they’re impressive, but it was the neighbourhoods slightly away from the throng of tourists that won our hearts. With gondola’s lurking around every corner and the echoes of seagulls in the air, the areas of Cannaregio and the Jewish Quarter felt like we’d been dropped into a Gothic novel.   

Attempting to navigate our way back to our accommodation only to take a wrong turn and end up completely lost, drinking coffee at the bar, sampling local Cicchetti (the Venetian take on Spanish Tapas) were what made our trip to Venice an unforgettable one (a bit more on our food recommendations later!).

With Venice being a tourist hot spot, it obviously lends itself to the classic tourist trap, which is why we wanted to share with you our top tips to experience the beauty that Venice has to offer without the exorbitant price tag.

Drink your coffees at the bar: Most coffee shops will advertise their prices for takeaway or standing at the bar, while sitting at a table (either inside or on the street) comes at an extra, often silent cost. Be sure to order with the aim of standing at the bar to save a few euros, plus this way you can completely immerse yourself in the experience.

Buy fresh produce at the market: We were lucky enough to have an Airbnb with a full kitchen which allowed us to cook a few meals at home and then head out later in the evening for a drink or gelato. The Mercato di Rialto was a great way to practice our very limited Italian and cook up a few healthy meals at home for a fraction of the price of eating out.  

Cross the Grand Canal by Gondola for only 2 euros: This was by far the best hack we received from our Airbnb host! While a full Gondola tour can set your back up to 80 euros (or sometimes more in peak season), a quick trip across the Grand Canal by water taxi (in the form of a gondola) only costs 2 euros. Short and sweet, but no less authentic – file this one away for your next visit! The picture below gives you the name/location to find this great ‘Venice Hack’.

Relax at Parco delle Rimembranze: This tranquil open space is a nice place to get away from the crowds and soak in some views of the surrounding islands. With simple outdoor workout equipment and paths, it’s a great spot to run, do a quick workout or just relax.

Check out Libreria Acqua Alta: Books + gondolas + cats = craziest book shop we’ve even stumbled across! There’s not much more to say as the place really speaks for itself.   


Farini: There are two Farini’s in Venice, one in San Marco and one in San Polo. Both serve pizzas, sweet treats, coffees, and aperitivos. While not the best food we came across, it’s cheap, consistent and fits the bill for a quick meal on the go.

SEPA: This cute little eatery tucked away in an alley not far from the Rialto bridge serves authentic Cicchetti and regional wines. The polpette (meatballs) with polenta are to die for!

Bacarando Corete dell’Orso: Just a stone’s throw away from SEPI making it perfect for a night of bar hopping and Cicchetti tasting. You can choose to have some smaller dishes and drinks at the bar or a larger meal upstairs in the restaurant. We opted to stay downstairs where there were great vibes and a seemingly endless collection of liqueurs lining the walls.

Suso: This artisanal gelateria serves up the classics as well as some more unique flavours. Our favourite was the noci et fiche (nuts and figs).

Acqua e Mais: This little take-away shop is a great stop for lunch on the go! Specializing in seafood, their fresh and fried options are awesome. We picked up a few dishes and sat in a piazza.. do recommend!


Doge café: Hidden down an alley just a few minutes from the madness, this café delivers great coffee. Not the cheapest coffee in Europe, but this is fitting with most of Italy. If you want a good coffee this isn’t a bad option.

Torrefazione Cannaregio: Best coffee we had in Venice (if not in Europe so far –  big call we know!). This coffee shop reminded us of home (Melbourne). They offer multiple different roasts and specialty coffees for those that are interested. Situated in the beautiful Cannaregio, it’s worth the walk if you’re a coffee lover like us!

Note: We had planned to visit the Islands of Burano and Murano during our visit (famous for Venetian lace and glass respectively) however this plan was abandoned due to poor weather. From what we’ve heard the colourful houses in Burano make for some lovely pictures, although best to arrive early before 10am when the hoards of tourists arrive for the day. A 24-hour ferry pass should cost 20 euros and give you access to both Islands as well as some of the smaller less ones nearby.


Take a look at some more highlights, tips and advice from our travels in Italy! Check it out here!

Have a read about our time in Florence, Italy. Have a read here!

Have a read about our time in the stunning region of Tuscany! Have a read!

Check out further highlights from our time in the Europe! Take a look!

Keen to hear our thoughts on how to choose a good restaurant in Europe? Have a look here!

Keen to take a look at further travel memories and advice? Take a look here!

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