On my 21st Birthday, we hopped onto a boat at 7am which took us all the way from Rovinj (in Croatia) to Venice, and took around three hours to do so. Luckily, we’d thought ahead and paid a little extra for VIP tickets which meant we were on the top deck and had great views of the sea along with comfy seats. If you are ever thinking about doing the trip, I highly suggest you do the same, the standard seats are in tight rows and the whole deck is dark and dingy compared to upstairs. We went with Venezialines and the ticket prices are £70 VIP return, or £50 for the standard fare, which I found to be perfectly reasonable, especially considering we even spotted dolphins at sunset on the way back.
I became more and more obsessed throughout the day with looking at the glass beaded bracelets and necklaces that were for sale on almost every corner. I ended up buying three bracelets and a necklace (photo here), but could have happily bought out their entire stock.
Tucked away from all of the tourists, we found a magical restaurant called .., which served mainly locals and had a completely traditional feel. We opted to share halves on a pizza vegetariana and this incredible dish of spinach, smoked ricotta and truffle tortellini, bloody hell it was good.
Of course you can’t visit Venice without clambering onto a Gondola. I will start by saying that the 30 minute boat trip is ridiculously expensive, especially if there’s just two of you, but still, I’m so glad that I had a go on one. My advice is, try to find a quiet spot on the backstreets and offer to pay around €65-70. The “fixed” rate is €80, and is on every single board for every single gondolier (actual term), but my motto is never pay full and I’m always more than happy to haggle for the best price.
The Gondola tour will take you down both the most famous canals in Venice, and the quieter ones, and if you get a friendly enough man in a striped t-shirt, he will give you a bit of a history lesson as he’s negotiating the boat under bridges and around tight corners.
My first ever visit to an Italian city was most definitely short and sweet, but I enjoyed every minute and will be sure to soak up more of Italy in a year or two.