La Serenissima, The City of Bridges, Queen of the Adriatic… The floating city of Venice goes by many romantic sounding names but sadly, due to its popularity, it can be more tourist hell than dreamy getaway for two. Queuing for hours for a public toilet does not exactly say ‘romantic trip to Venice’.
However, if you know this then you can take a detour off the well-beaten tourist track and lose yourself in a quieter, more enticing part of the city. If you have your heart set on a romantic honeymoon gondola cruise through the City of Canals, then read on to find out how to make Venice an affordable honeymoon destination, or anniversary getaway, without getting lost in the crowds.
When to Travel
If you tied the knot in autumn then you’re in luck (if not, consider postponing that anniversary trip) as September is one of the best times to visit Venice. Gone are the crushing crowds of July, the sweltering heat of August and the peak prices of the whole summer period. Summertime makes a ghost town of urban parts of the Med (if you don’t count the constant tide of tourists, that is) as locals shut up shop and flee the city for the coast. The September shift to cooler temperatures means the city reawakens as the Venetians start to return and open up again for businesses. A September visit means you’ll also be in time for the Venice International Film Festival (La Biennale di Venezia) which, this year, starts today. Add some Hollywood sparkle to your holiday with the chance of brushing up against the stars.
City of Culture
Crowds or not, it would be a shame to visit Venice and miss out on the beautiful theatres, churches and museums. But buy your tickets in advance to avoid queuing to pay at the door. You’ll find you can pre-book some tours and most entry tickets online, or purchase the Venice Unica City Pass which you can customise to include exactly the sights and services that you want.
Venice has its well-known tourist spots, all of which are worth a visit, but which can get very busy even in the off-peak period (in fact, Venice doesn’t really do ‘off-peak’). If you’re looking for a little more privacy, away from the hordes, then there are a few changes or additions you can make to your itinerary for a more romantic trip to Venice:
Get up early to visit Saint Mark’s Basilica (or the Basilica Cattedrale Patriarcale di San Marco). Perfect when lit by the early light of the day, the sheer size and grandeur of the cathedral is all the more impressive in the quiet of the morning. Later in the day, see what surprises you can discover by taking a look inside other churches that you pass. They may not be impressive from the outside, but lesser known places such as San Sebastiano or the Basilica dei Frari often contain beautiful works of art or hold free classical concerts (especially in autumn).
The Teatro La Fenice (Theatre of the Phoenix) is a must for theatre lovers, and you can visit for 10 euros. However if you want to experience some opera, swap it for the Musica a Palazzo which offers opera in an intimate and more romantic setting, and often at a lower price.
Climbing the belltower of Campanile di San Marco, a regular on any visitor’s ‘to do’ list, is sure to keep you waiting around in queues. Head instead for the belltower on San Giorgio Maggiore Island belltower where you can enjoy a view of the city beyond the blue waters.
Skip the tour guides and get lost in Venice. A walk around the smaller streets will be enjoyable at any time of day, and a stroll along Zattere promenade guarantees plenty of photo opportunities.
Venice at Night
Choosing to stay in Venice itself, rather than on the mainland, gives you more options for exploring the city without the crowds. Hotels will be more expensive, but nothing beats an evening walk around the canals of Venice. If you are looking for cheaper accommodation options, some hostels offer more basic private rooms, and you can always try your luck finding someone to stay with. Many tourists flock to the island during the day and have gone by evening, leaving you alone to enjoy the city.
Take a gondola ride at dusk and watch the sunset over Accademia Bridge. Do as the locals do and eat late. Typically, Venetians eat from 8pm onwards, and if you do likewise you can avoid tourists heading out to restaurants earlier in the evening. If you get hungry in the meantime, look for somewhere serving cicchetti (Venice small plates). The weather from September onwards is variable and temperatures can be much cooler at night. But if you take an extra layer, and cosy up in the gondola, then it won’t stop you having a romantic trip to Venice.
How to Get There
If you’re flying in to Venice then you will be arriving at either Venice Treviso Airport or Venice Marco Polo Airport.
Venice Treviso Airport is 2 miles from Treviso, a pretty little city north of Venice, and 12 miles from Venice itself. Travelling to Venice from here is about 35 minutes by taxi.
Venice Marco Polo Airport is about 15 minutes by taxi from the city, and only about 7 and a half miles away.
Holiday Taxis provide a range of transfer options to and from both airports to Venice, from lost cost airport shuttles to private taxi transfers. However, to truly set the tone for your holiday in Venice, there can be no better way to arrive at your destination than in one of our fantastic water taxis. Start enjoying your romantic trip to Venice from the moment your plane sets down with a private boat ride for two.