Venice: Luxury trip to Venice – Embrace your ‘inner James Bond’ and take a speedboat from the airport.
What do you think of Venice? Very few people dislike it – despite the enormous cruise boats (luckily now banned from going into Venice) and hoards of day trippers clogging up the streets and canals. It is still a wondrous place that fills you with excitement from the moment you step into a water Taxi at the airport until the minute you leave.
I’m sure you have all visited loads of times, but anyway, here is a list to tick off for first time visitors:
- Doge’s Palace – First timers to Venice must visit
- St Marks Square – Go very early or in the evening
- Saint Marks Basilica – Best in the evening when the Day trippers leave Venice
- Rialto Bridge – Try and go out of season
- Grand Canal – Magical, Take a Water Taxi to explore
- Bridge of Sighs
- Murano and Burano – Perfect out of season too!
Here is my take on how to live in luxury like a Venetian rather than a tourist:
How to travel in luxury from the airport to Venice
Venice airport is on the mainland and Venice is an island. You need to get a boat across! You can take a Taxi over the bridge from the mainland but Taxis must then stop. Depending on where you are staying this can be a LOOOONG walk! So, I alway take a Water Taxi.
- Water Taxi
Tip: Unless the hotel is offering a free speedboat, just hop aboard one dockside and it will only be 100 euros. Turn left out of the airport, make sure you have a porter it is quite a trek, and head to the most handsome Water Taxi owner that you can find.
Don’t even think about a Waterbus, unless you want to be squashed and uncomfortable with tourists (we are travellers NOT tourists!) and stop a hundred times en route. If there are four of you, the price of a Water taxi is very reasonable.
PHOTO: Water Taxi in Venice
The best time to visit Venice:
Venice is full and vibrant in the summer, with some exciting cultural events. However, it is also FULL of day-trippers from the Cruise ships in Summer. I think that Venice must limit the number of Cruise ships…. but until that point in time, think about visiting outside the Cruise ship season. Early Spring before the Cruises start or later in Autumn after they stop.
It is possible to visit in Summer, avoid the day trippers and attend some of the fantastic events. Avoid the tourist route and you will be fine!
Venice is all about the canals and the best way to see Venice and take the best photos is on the water. A water taxi makes the experience so special, SPLURGE if you can!
Safely delivered to the Hotel.
PHOTO: Venice, driving by Water Taxi
The other important consideration is where to stay in Venice. I would recommend staying in one of the top hotels slap bang in the middle on the Grand Canal OR my other favourite, Airbnb. Find a Palace to rent or spectacular apartment looking over the canals.
Where to stay in luxury Hotels in Venice:
There are some very beautiful hotels to choose in Venice.
Bauer Hotel http://www.bauervenezia.com
Chosen for its unbeatable location. I don’t know about you, but I want to be in the heart of Venice and not on some island over yonder! This is the perfect choice literally a stones throw from Piazza San Marco square but step through the hotel doors and you enter an oasis of calm and tranquility that seems far from the crowded square.
Step out of the door and you have Gondola’s waiting to transport you if you turn left and glorious shops followed by Piazza San Marco on the right. Louis Vuitton is literally just outside the hotel, which is not great for my bank balance but a lovely treat.
If you want to splurge The Gritti Palace http://www.thegrittipalace.com is just one block over towards San Marco and Harry’s Bar is just around the corner.
Who could ask for more from the Hotel Bauer? To be honest, I would like to be let loose with an interior designer – but the old world charm, excellent staff and wonderful restaurant are enough to bring me back for another visit.
I might choose to rent a gorgeous Venetian Palazzo next trip, or rather an apartment in a Palazzo! There are some great choices on Airbnb or check out Booking.com, link on the right hand side of this page.
Live Like a Venetian:
It is easy to escape into the ‘true’ Venice, just keep away from the typical tourist itinerary and one street over will be an oasis of calm, just as the photo above which was taken in crowded September. One of my favourite routes is to leave the Bauer, turn left and cross the canal take a right and then left – you are now away from the crowds! Keep going and meander along marvelling at the hidden delights in the tiny little shops.
You are now in culture lovers heaven, there will be a church, Museum or gallery at every turn. Once I arrive at Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti, there will probably be an exhibition that is too good to pass by, but then cross the bridge. Galleria del Academia is right there to explore, afterward turn left and keep going and you are now in a completely different Venice. Quiet little canals with sleepy houses and delicious little restaurants to try out. I love to stop off at Collezione Peggy Guggenheim, an amazing collector.
Photo: Collezione Peggy Guggenheim, Venice
Revived after a cup of tea at the Guggenheim Cafe continue on to Punta Della Dogana and view another wonderful contemporary art collection. Choose somewhere for lunch and congratulate yourself on a fabulous morning!
Retrace your steps or hop on a Gondola back across to the Bauer for a little nap. Dinner on the terrace of the Bauer is a highlight, the view unsurpassable and constantly entertaining with guests alighting onto water taxis resplendent in their evening wear and all the canal boats toodling along.
PHOTO: Evening in Venice
Many of the day trippers from the cruise ships go back aboard late afternoon. Venice is magical at night and usually less crowded as long as you stay away from St Marks Square.
What to do in the evening:
Another must-do another night is to book tickets for the Opera, put on your glad rags and take a water taxi to the Opera. You will have another James Bond moment, for sure! Check out Teatro la Fenice, Teatro Maliban, Palazzo Barbarigo Minotto.
PHOTO: View of Dorsoduro
When to Visit: Try and avoid the busy tourist months of July and August if you can possibly. Venice is much less crowded early Spring and late Autumn, before the cruise ships invade. Although, they are now banned thankfully!
Join in the Venice Carnival. Here are some details: