European Travel Series
Hello everyone! I mentioned a while back that I would be focusing a lot more on the travel section of my blog this year and what better place to start then Europe? Over the next few months I am going to blog about some of my favourite European cities. I will be covering travel tips for each city, and suggesting things to do and see in each place. On my Instagram stories (@fashionboss_ie) and on my Snapchat (duffyloikes) I asked where you would like me to start. The majority of you wanted to me cover Venice and Paris first so here we go…! This blog post covers Venice and my next will cover Paris. I will work on my Munich post after that. Let me know if you have any preferences and feel free to comment below and ask questions! 🙂
How did I go about booking my tour? I booked a European tour through Contiki with my friend and fellow travel blogger Chandelle. We travelled to a number of European cities with a group of about 50 people and I have to say it was one of the best trips I have been on.
Considering a trip to Venice? Here are three simple steps to making the most of your trip:
Step One – Get Lost
The thought of getting lost in a city that isn’t Dublin terrifies me for the most part but Venice is 100% an exception. There are many streets, alleyways and bridges in Venice therefore it is almost impossible not to get lost. From what I’ve learnt – just go with it. I ended up finding loads of hidden away shops and coffee spots when I went off the beaten track. I came across some amazing places that I wouldn’t have come across if I had stuck to ‘my itinerary’.
Step Two – Eat A LOT
Whether you indulge in a delicious plate of Fettucine Alfredo or devour a cheesy Pizza ai quattro formaggi (a four cheese pizza) – Italian food is a must!. The pizza and pasta are definitely the cherry of any trip to Italy.
Step Three – Soak up the culture and the scenery
It’s easy to get carried away with never-ending ‘things to do and see’ lists when you travel but just going with the flow is a good idea too. Travelling is about exploring, adventure and experiencing new things so make sure you aren’t stressing out about finding a certain museum or eating in a specific restaurant, just soak the experiences, make the most of it and have fun.
This isn’t a typical ‘things to do and see’ blog post but more of a ‘what I got up to’ blog post. I have also included a few suggestions of places that really stood out to me along the way.
There are a few tourist shops across the bridge and it’s a fun place to take pictures and get a great view of the canal. You will also see this bridge if you take a Grand Canal Tour.
Saint Mark’s Basilica
It really is a breathtaking scene. Take time to stop and admire the architecture and enjoy some people watching. Beware! No matter what time of the year, this place will be bustling with tourists – so if you don’t like large crowds you may need to hurry through this one, but it’s definitely worth a stop.
You’ll find yourself using the water buses a lot more than expected and this is due to the way Venice was built. These trips can chew into your savings if you’re not careful. Bundle tickets are a great way to avoid this. The price of a 12-hour ticket is roughly equivalent to 3 singles and the relative cost keeps dropping for longer periods (tickets are available for up to a week).
Eating and drinking can be expensive in Venice. Bars and restaurants usually charge more for sitting at a table, so a great way of cutting costs is opting for the counter instead. Surcharges vary with some restaurants charging a crazy amount in the busiest tourist areas!
The view of the entire city from atop the bell tower on Piazza San Marco, which costs €8, is one of Venice’s most popular attractions. An insider tip is heading over to San Giorgio Maggiore – the view is arguably better and the privilege only costs €3.
You will get lost
It is inevitable that you will get turned around at least once. There is very little – if any – method to the madness of their streets and alleyways. The best tip I can give you is to try to keep a sense of what direction you need to move. Eventually you’ll get somewhere, because Venice is not that big. And in the tourist heavy areas they will often have signs with arrows pointing to “Rialto Bridge” or other big landmarks.
Save money with free attractions
Good news! Not everything in Venice costs money. You can view San Marco Square in all it’s glory and snap photos of the outside of the Doge’s Palace and Bridge of Sighs. You can also brave the line at St. Mark’s Basilica—just make sure your shoulders and knees are covered as modesty is key in Italian churches.
If you are planning on travelling around Europe in the coming months then I would definitely recommend checking out the tour company I booked through. I covered a number of European cities with this tour group and I can honestly say I had the time of my life. Travelling with tour groups is also a great way to meet new people. For more on European tours check out Contiki.
Have you been to Venice? I would love to hear your thoughts, and experiences!
There you have it – the first post of my European travel series. Next stop Paris! Keep an eye out if you’re considering a city break soon. If there is anything in particular you’d like me to blog about let me know. You can catch me on Snapchat: duffyloikes, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! 🙂
Thanks for reading!
Until next time…