Better late than never right? A month ago my mother and I (K) went on a spontaneous Mother-Daughter trip to what’s said to be one of Europe’s most romantic cities; Venice. But if someone’s telling you beautiful Venice ain’t meant for others than couples they’re so wrong! Venice is just as much the perfect spot if you’re planning a vacation with you mother, father or bffs – and that for so many reasons! As well as being romantic, the Italian city on water has so much more to offer; a tranquil feel for an explorer’s heart. La Dolce Vita! Get lost (literally) in the tiny streets and find your way back. And get lost again. That’s the way to get to known all the greatness Venice has to offer; the people, the local shops, the food, the architecture and so much more.
Gathered is some of our best Venice spots to guide you over the 400+ bridges that keeps the city together:
WHERE TO STAY
First of all, Venice ain’t a last minute city. It can get quite expensive that way. So, book your hotel in time to get the most out of the price. Even though being super last minute, we found a cute mini boutique hotel in the heart of the city, super close to anything you want to see while there. Ca Gottardi had everything we needed for a weekend getaway; the ‘home away from home feeling’, the location and not to mention the people.
Left: Farini, right: Al Volto
Since Italians ain’t the biggest breakfasters, relaying on your hotel might be an good and a bad idea. Often there is only an espresso on the menu, so having some spots in mind before leaving in the morning is a good idea (you don’t want to walk around hungry in Venice). There are a lot of Bacaros – small wine bars – all over town were they serve wine of course, but also different types of cicchetti – typical Venetian mini sandwiches – to grab by the bar or take with you. Al Portego is a local favorite, so is Al Volto.
A more modern taste? Farinihas amazing pastries and portion pizzas! Not to mention their fresh juices.
If you’re not up for some salt snacks, but rather a coffee (or maybe even a Bellini?) and some sweets don’t miss out on our favorite Rosa Salva! We prefer the location on Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo (Castello 6779), but they also have bar near Piazza San Marco. Buy yourself some delicious dolce’s and enjoy the gorgeous view. Also try: Pasticceria Ballarin (Cannaregio 5794).
Left: Gelato from La Boutique del Gelato, Right: Rosa Salva
… and no we didn’t forget about the Gelato! The best one in town? Definitely La Boutique del Gelato (Salizzada San Lio, 5727)!
Pssst! If you’re on a super high budget Caffè Florian and Caffè Lavena (both on the Piazza San Marco) are dream spots for your eyes. But be prepared to pay for the old school Venetian style and the spectacular view.
To be clear: Venice is known for many great things, but food ain’t one of them. Sadly. There are a lot of tourist traps speaking about food (yes, more than other places) so knowing where to head when you’re hungry is KEY. We spent a lot of time finding some favorites and with some help from both locals and the WWW we didn’t get disappointed once! If pizza is on your wishlist head over to Al Nono Risorto‘s cozy garden for a good one in the all Italian environment. For amazing Venetian sea food – even for those of you who aren’t sea food lovers! – La Terrazza is a MUST.
Left: La Terrazza, Right: Al Nono Risorto
For a bit more modern Venetian food head over to the restaurants beside the Rialto Marked by the Grand Canal at Campo Erberia. As well as serving good food, the view at night is a definite favorite. Try both Osteria Bancogiro and Naranzaria.
Left: Al Volto
WHERE TO DRINK
Where not to? Wine and drinks are everywhere! But we found our spot which we returned to every night before heading off to dinner. Al Volto is as hidden as it can be, the only bar/restaurant in the street. The tiny bar has amazing wine (even the house wine) and serves tasty cicchetti as well if you can’t wait until dinner. If you are many, reserve a table. Even though it’s hidden, the locals knows this place (as well as some lucky tourists randomly passing by and spotting a full bar) and we see why.
Also try: Harry’s Bar is the home of the Bellini and for many a must-visit. But again high prices. Especially if you want a table. So if you’re there only for the Bellinis, head over to the bar and drink it there! Or visit the little brother; Harry’s Dolci.
Left: T Dondaco dei Tedeschi, right: Céline
WHERE TO SHOP
You don’t go to Venice to shop, but if you do there are some spots to visit depending on what you’re looking for. For Luxury and designer stores like Prada, Gucci and Céline west of Piazza San Marco there is a network of streets: Salizada San Moisè, Calle Vallaresso, Calle Goldoni and the Frezzeria. Or stop by the newly opened Luxury shopping Center T Fondaco dei Tedeschi.
For Vintage shopping head over to both L’Armadio di Coco stores. L’Armadio di Coco Vintage Lab in Campo Santa Maria Nova has a little bit of everything, from old Levis pants dresses from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. While L’Armadio di Coco Luxury Vintage in Campo Santa Maria del Giglio offers hand picked exclusive vintage pieces from Chanel, Gucci, Céline and other high fashion designers. Another must-visit is Bisnonni Chiesa Santa Maria Mater Domini where you can find both high-end pieces and Italian vintage Treasures.
Left: Bag from Bisnonni, right: L’Armadio di Coco Luxury Vintage
Also see: Calzolaio, handmade ‘gondolier shoes’ (Calle Fiubera, 943), amazing jewelry store in Calle Zaguri 2624, Ortigia Sicilia (Sestiere San Marco, Venezia) and Francesco Malon(furniture and scents).
WHAT TO DO
Other than getting lost in the gorgeous streets, drinking a lot of wine and admiring the churches, bridges and the amazing gothic architecture there are some things you should put on your must-see list. Like the Rialto bridge and the Rialto marked. The Piazza San Marco and the Ponte Dei Sospiri. La Salute is of course also a must! And while there visit the contemporary art museum at Punta della Dogana.
If you’re staying in Venice for a couple of days visiting the Islands Burano, Murano and Lido (for a beachday!) is an must!
Pssst! If you’re not afraid of the water a trip with a Gondola is of course as Venetian as you get it. But it costs 80 Euros so being a group is a good idea. If you just want to get over the Grand Canal do as the locals and go with a Traghetti instead!