The best advice for Venice: Explore. Get lost.
There are so many alleys with shops and cafes, if you just go for it, you will find hidden treasures everywhere. Trust me, it’s worth it.
We started the day with out usual espresso and pastry breakfast at a nearby cafe. We were paying around €1,10 for espresso – it gets right up to €2 in the main squares.
First off was a visit to St Mark’s Basilica, which has free entry, but a massive queue. We had bought ‘skip the line’ tickets, which cost about €2 and gave us a specific timeslot in which to visit. Ours was 9.50-10.00. St Mark’s is another place where you have to be appropriately dressed, so shoulders and knees covered. Inside, there is a limited area to walk on, but you can still see the beautiful mosaics and art. If you want to pay €3, you can visit the treasury, or €2 to visit the part at the back, which I think leads to the outside balcony. We didn’t do either of those, so the 10 minute timeslot was enough for us, not that anyone is checking on the way out.
Nearby is Doges Palace, which costs €18,50. We didn’t end up visiting, but we did admire the outside. If you walk around that area, you get some fantastic views of the lagoon, all the different boats and parts of other islands. It really is beautiful.
You can do a free walking tour which takes about 3 hours, 4-7pm, and you can learnmany interesting things about Venice’s past.
In the evening, we did a night tour ‘Ghosts and Legends’ which took about 2 hours. We got to see different parts of Venice, less touristy areas, more ‘off the beaten track’. Our guide told us many stories, some about people’s deaths or murders in particular places, some about how many of the 5 star hotels were built on much older, supposedly haunted buildings, and others just general interesting facts about Venice’s history.
Venice is filled with incredible architecture, like all the other cities we visited. I think I love it so much because in New Zealand the oldest buildings are only 150 years old. There is something about visiting places over 500 years old that has always fascinated me.