Dario and Davide are two friends who love travelling and experiencing new cultures.
Who better to ask about what to do when exploring Venice than these two locals? Here are Dario and Davide’s tips on what to do in their hometown.
“If we were to describe Venice in five words they would be: Love, magic, charm, adventure and discovery.
When a friend comes to explore Venice, the first place we would take them is ‘Punta della Dogana’. Far from the main touristic routes and the crowds of San Marco, it is a place to relax and think.
There is always a light breeze, flowing through Canal Grande and Canale della Giudecca. It is possible to see San Giorgio’s Church, in front of you, and, on your left, Palazzo Ducale and St. Mark’s Campanile.
Sitting there it’s an experience.
The music of the water against the bricks, the boats coming and going, occasionally a gondola passing by and the wonderful view before you, these are all elements that makes it a special place in Venice.
The perfect time to enjoy Punta della Dogana is at the evening, during sunset, or early in the morning during the sunrise, when the water rapidly changes its colours creating wonderful combinations with the reflection of the palaces on the water.
It seems like an impressionist painting.
Once, we spent the whole night there, watching the sunset and the sunrise before going home.
It was a wonderful experience.
Fondaco Dei Tedeschi, near Rialto, is a great place to get coffee in Venice.
This old palace, once related to German merchants (‘tedeschi’), is now full of stores and nice cafès.
This palace deserves a visit for its wonderful terrace, directly on Canal Grande, where it is possible to enjoy a beautiful view for free. If it is cold, try the hot chocolate in the cafè at ground level, so good!
For breakfast, we would recommend going to Tonolo. It is a wonderful pasticceria (pastry shop) for sweets, cakes and good coffee.
Walking distance from the university, it is easy to meet students enjoying a fast break. We suggest trying the bignè pastries or tiramisu, they are amazing!
Our favourite restaurant in the city is Al Remer. It is difficult to find, but it offers a rather unique experience.
Directly on Canal Grande, the location is amazing. It is a well known restaurant (average price), but around 6 pm it offers the so-called happy hour, with a rich buffet and drinks for a reduced price, absolutely one to try in good company.
Libreria Acqua Alta is the ‘most beautiful bookstore in the world.’ In this small bookstore, books are stored on boats prepared for an eventual high water (i.e. ‘Acqua Alta’).
Totally awesome, books are in different language and you can find stairs totally made out of books, which leads to a cool terrace on a canal.
If you would like to explore Venice without crowds, then the best period is from November to March (except for Carnival). In this case, be prepared to face cold, rain and high water!
If you don’t mind crowds of tourists, then I would say that spring is the best time of the year for exploring Venice, summer is too hot here. However, there are some events that are really special: for instance, Carnival and Redentore.
Before you arrive in Venice you should know that it is not possible to take a car or ride a bike in Venice. There are a lot of bridges, be prepared to walk a lot.
Also, the area around San Marco is very expensive, be careful to avoid surprises.
Try the ‘Spritz’, a local cocktail loved by Venetians.
Also, you should take a ferry boat through Canal Grande and to the Islands.
And finally visit San Marco, Ponte dei Sospiri and Palazzo Ducale.
Venice has everything you need so it just depends what you are looking for.
The most exclusive and expensive boutiques are near San Marco, but around the city you can find global or local shopping chains, like Coin, or small artisanal boutiques.
The best money-saving tip we can offer is to try find accommodation outside Venice, in Mestre or near a train station, if you don’t mind taking a train or the tram to Venice.”
Thanks to Dario and Davide from Venice by Venetians for sending on their insider tips for exploring Venice. You’re now more than prepared for your next city break!
Flights to Venice
- Seán Walsh