It’s taken awhile, but it’s time to talk Venice! If you missed my first trip review post on our time in Rome you can find it HERE!
Jason and I arrived in Venice early afternoon and easily found our hotel only about a 5-6 minute walk way from the train station. We dropped our bags off and went in search of a snack and to wander around and get our first taste (figurative & literal!) of Venice.
That night we joined the Urban Adventures Cicchetti & Wine Tour where we had the chance to sample some of the local Venetian wine & cuisines (cicchetti are small 2-3 bite tapas like snacks you can get at bars). While the tour and guide were fantastic and we loved the wine, Jason and I both quickly decided we weren’t going to love the food in Venice nearly as much as we did in Rome. Venice being surrounded by water uses a lot of seafood in their cooking and while I love seafood, a lot of the things we tried were a bit too fishy for my taste (they use a lot of anchovies, sardines & squid).
Venice has a long history of coffee culture, so the next morning we joined in and enjoyed a cappuccino (or two!) at a wonderful (and well known!) coffee bar that I had read about and just happened to be a few doors down from our hotel!
That afternoon we wandered to St. Mark’s Square, visited the Doge’s Palace (we took the Secret Itineraries Tour which I highly recommend!) and then after lunch we took a cruise down the Grand Canal on the vaporetto (the Venetian water bus) listening to a Rick Steves audio guide that pointed out sites a long the way, this was a great and inexpensive way to see the city by water, the way it’s meant to be seen!
On our last morning in Venice we did what ended up being our favorite experience in the city. Venice is meant to be seen by foot and by water, so that’s exactly what we did – we took a running and kayaking tour!
We started early in the morning with our guide Guilia from Venice by Run and ran 4 miles weaving our way through the narrow streets of Venice going up and over bridges – running in Venice is quite a workout!
After the run we stopped for a quick cappuccino before headed down to meet the guys of Venice by Water for a 90 minute kayak tour through the Venice canals!
What an amazing experience (and tough having to navigate around the rest of the water “traffic”)!
I have to admit that up until this point Jason and I weren’t exactly in love with Venice. It’s definitely beautiful, unique and has a fascinating history, but we also thought that it was incredibly crowded and just felt like one big tourist attraction. Our early morning run and kayak experience definitely gave us a different perspective and while I’m not sure we’d include Venice on our next trip to Italy, I’m glad we got to see it and experience it.
The afternoon after our run & kayak tour we visited St. Mark’s Basilica, wandered around the Jewish ghetto and had dinner at a lovely little kosher restaurant that had delicious soup, latkes and friend artichokes and with that we were back at the train station and off to Florence!
Next stop Florence!
I feel like Venice is one of the Italian cities I want to see because it is a city on water! I’ve heard some “eh” reviews about quite a few Italian cities and my assumption is that they all have a very different vibe and whether you like it depends a lot on your travel preference. That running and kayaking tour looks fantastic!! Thanks for sharing some of your trip 🙂
I definitely think it’s worth seeing once, there’s no place else like it in the world!
I loved the fish I had in Venice, but there were plenty of places that had pizza and pasta, and I had gnocchi for the first time there. I did feel like it was very crowded in some places, but also very glad to have visited.
I feel the same way, glad we went, I just think on my next trip to Italy I’d leave it out in favor or someplace else!
Did the entire city flood at high tide? And I thought you guys were going to try SUPing?
No, it didn’t flood while we were there, I guess it had a few days earlier though! And yes, we were planning on doing some SUP, but the weather was pretty darn cold so we opted for the kayaking instead!
Kayaking would be a great way to see Venice! It’s definitely not my favorite city in Italy, but it does have a charm all its own.
Running and kayaking sounds like my kind of way to see Venice! After three trips to Italy (including Rome, Pompeii, Capri, Amalfi Coast, Florence, Tuscany, Milan, Cinque Terre, Lake Como, and points beyond) I still haven’t been to Venice!! You photos only make me want to go more!