Venice’s beauty has long been subject of many artists and writers throughout the century. Now, don’t get me wrong, Venice is beautiful and had me feel as though I was trapped in a painting, but that’s not to say it doesn’t have its ugly moments.
Touristy streets, crowds and the smell of sewage aside, it seems a lot of you think it rivals Paris for the most romantic city in the world!
I mean, who doesn’t dream of being serenaded down a canal by a gondolier with their loved one?
…Unless you’re apart of this gondola traffic jam. How unromantic.
I get it. Venice conjures up images of mystery and romance, but that doesn’t mean it’s only for couples!
So forget mushy gondola rides, and grab your girls to get ready for a fun girls trip to the City of Bridges. Presenting: the girls’ guide to Venice!
Take in sights from the vaporetto
Forget taking in the sights with an exorbitant gondola ride, instead feel like celebrities as the vaporetto chauffeurs you and your girls around the city. Buy a vaporetto pass for the week and ride the different lines to get great views of the city.
Bonus– if you get on towards the very start or end of the line you can grab the best seats, which are located outside.
Learn to row a gondola
Okay, I get it. It’s Venice and you’re stubborn to make gondolas a part of your Venetian experience.
Well, instead of paying to ride in one, how about learning to row one yourself? Enjoy a fun 90-minute lesson of laughing with your girls as Row Venice teaches you how to row voga style, standing up, just like a traditional Venetian would. Just don’t fall in!
Enjoy some wine sitting alongside the canal
After Tuscany and Piedmont, the Northeast part of the Veneto region is one of Italy’s top wine-growing areas. It’s home to the great white wines like soave and tocai, as well as a couple solid red choices also.
Wine in Venice, like the rest of Italy, is cheap. So grab a bottle at a local shop and enjoy it whilst sitting out on the canal.
Head to the beach
Despite being surrounded by water, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere to swim in Venice. If you’re dying for some fun in the sun, take the vaporetto out to the island of Lido to see how local Italians relax.
Lido is a great place to visit when you have grown tired of the crowds in downtown touristy Venice. Take some time to decompress by swimming in the ocean or walking on its lengthy sand bar.
It is all about Murano glass and masks in Venice. You’ll see these Venetian souvenirs being sold everywhere, but make sure you buy from a reputable place and ask for certificates of authenticity or else you’ll end up overpaying for something that was made in China!
And those luxury bags being sold on the streets? Avoid them or you may have an unwanted run in with the Italian police! There is plenty of luxury shopping to be had in Italy– just not usually on the street.
Take an Italian cooking class
Italy is known for its great food, unfortunately you probably won’t experience any in Venice. While Venice is infamously known for crappy tourist food, get a more authentic experience by learning to cook it yourself!
With multiple cooking schools offering classes, you can take your skills home with you as you and your friends learn how to make traditional pastas and other Italian dishes.
Yes, most of the food in Venice is of poor quality, but at least the cafe views make up for it! Avoid any restaurants near the Piazzo San Marco and instead choose one of the little hole-in-the-wall places along one of the side canals.
Take in the views while enjoying some fresh pizza or pasta with an Aperol spritz!
Indulge in dessert
Looking for something sweet? Italy is all about the gelato, and most locals will agree that the city’s best is from Boutique del Gelato. In the summer you’ll find crowds lining up to get a taste of this gelato, so be prepared to wait.
Enjoy some traditional flavors like hazelnut or pistachio while chatting with your girls.
Tips for Experiencing Venice:
- Wear comfy yet fashionable shoes. You’ll be doing a ton of walking as you get lost in the canals of Venice so make sure you have proper shoes. This is not the time to be breaking in those new boots or heels. However, remember that this is Italy so you’ll still want something stylish. That being said, leave your heels at home. Instead, I recommend a cute comfy pair of flats.
- Pack light. Not only will you be walking a lot, but you’ll also have to carry your bags. The vaporettos will only get you so far as they don’t provide door-to-door service to hotels. Be prepared to drag all your luggage through the crowded streets for part of the way.
- Choose your timing carefully. Late summer sees the most tourists in Venice and it’s often hot and smelly; however, visit in spring and you may have to deal with acqua alta. Meaning ‘high water’, acqua alta is the time when the tides rise and the streets of Venice are covered in inches of water.