My first visit to Venice was way back in 1996 on a orchestra tour of Lake Garda and surroundings. Since that first visit I had longed to return, finally twenty years later I booked a cheeky weekend before heading off to Slovenia for a weeks adventure. As I had been before and already ticked off the main sights and a gondola ride, this trip allowed me to be more focused on the not so usual sights and I just had two main aims…. To visit the islands of Murano & Burano and the Peggy Guggenheim Museum.
Arriving in Venice is easy, there are two airports, I came into Treviso which is approx. 40 mins bus ride [ATVO] from the airport to Piazzale Roma where you can board a vaporetto to Venice. At this point it’s best to mention that travel on the vaporetto can be expensive if you choose to use it several times a day. It’s 7.40 EUR per single journey. I was staying on Giudecca Island which is two stops from the main island and because my plans included visiting neighbouring islands I bought in advance a two day Venice travel card for 30 EUR which was a massive saving. Just buy online, print off the confirmation and exchange for the ticket when you arrive at Piazzale Roma station or you can simply buy on arrival.
Venice is not the cheapest place to stay, some people choose accommodation further out and travel in. The dream would be to stay in one of the opulent hotels you see in the films, you know, where you get a boat up to the door. Alas, my budget couldn’t stretch to the 500 EUR per night hotel I dreamt of but luckily Generator Venice Hostel has also been on my accommodation bucket list. Before you think, Venice – Hostel? Hostels are having an overhaul and new beautiful boutique hostels are popping up all of the time, I wrote about it here: bit.ly/WonderfulWorldOfHostels. Little did I realise when I wrote that in January this year that a few months later I would finally stay at the Generator Venice. Based in an old granary building on Giudecca Island alongside the water, my room had views over to the main island and San Marco. It’s superbly decorated in the communal areas, there isn’t a kitchen but had a cheap restaurant and bar attached. It was the first time in about 7 years since I stayed in a dorm room – a 14 bed female dorm at that! The price per night is more expensive than your average hostel but this is Venice….
With only 36 hours, I had quite specific plans… I checked in, checked out the view from the room and then caught the vaporetto over to St Mark’s Square, walked round the square, saw the Bridge of Sighs, walked over the Rialto Bridge, ate pizza, drank some Italian red wine & had my first gelato treat – that was the first evening sorted.
My only full day and it was a case of up and out early to be able to explore the islands before the day trippers and cruise liner passengers arrive. From my local vaporetto stop it was about an hours boat ride to Murano. The island is famous for glass making, but as I still had a week of travelling around Slovenia ahead of me and being quite clumsy it was best that I arrived before all the glass shops opened, plus I almost had the island to myself. It was so tranquil. The island is very small and only took an hour to stroll round, I certainly recommend the early start if you don’t want to visit any of the glass making factories.
Back on the vaporetto and on to Burano – the most colourful island I’ve ever seen! Again, it doesn’t take long to walk a loop of the island, just all depends how many photos you stop to take…..
Back again on the vaporetto and to St Mark’s Square for a walk down the Grand Canal, a visit to the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, more pizza & [another] gelato.
I’m quite partial to a Guggenheim and have visited Bilbao, Deutsche [Berlin – now closed] and the NYC museum twice so this was a nice addition to my memory bank.
The two day travel card worked well as it literally spans 48 hours rather than two working days. I must admit though, I spent so long riding the waterways in that time that when I slept at night it still felt like I was bobbing up and down on the water, took a few days for me to recover!
It was a short and sweet visit but I got to see all the things I had longed to see for a number of years. A final early morning ride on the waterways back to Piazzale Roma and to the pick up point for my pre-booked GoOpti car transfer to Piran, Slovenia.