Venice is a very unique place. The inner city of Venice is separated by canals and linked by bridges. No car. No bus. And no train. This whole town is devoted to tourists, yet I fall in love with it. Venice is a very romantic and characteristic place. I especially love Burano, which is situated 7 km from Venice – it is one of the most beautiful places that I have ever been.
The city centre of Venice is crowded at anywhere and anytime.
My first day in Venice was not easy. When I was walking from the water bus station to my hostel, I was nearly hit by a few guys who were running too fast. I guess they were unauthorised street sellers and chased by policies. Anyway, this city is a total mess.
Then, I visited one of the most popular places in Venice – St Mark Square. To be honest, I did not enjoy at all. It was overcrowded. I spent less than an hour here, as I just wanted to get out of this place as quickly as I could! I can’t imagine it will be even more crowded during peak season…
Transportation in Venice
Venice’s transport system is different from other places. The roads are narrow with many dead end roads. The cars won’t be able to fit in. No matter where you want to go, you have to take a boat or… walk.
The water bus is the cheapest way (other than walking) to get you to everywhere but is usually packed with people. Alternatively, you can take water taxi which is more expensive.
If you are here for 3 days or more, I recommend buying the tourist travel cards (time based passes for unlimited water bus ride). Do the math: the single trip ticket costs €7.50, while the tourist travel card with 3-day validity period costs €40. It is worthwhile if you plan to visit Burano and Murano. The people under 30 years old will receive a discount so the 3-day pass only costs €22! (I was happy to get this discount… 😝)
Google Map is very useful here. Although sometimes I still need ‘trial and error’, but that is understandable because Venice’s road structure is confusing. The Google Map suggests both the walking and public transportation (water bus) routes.
I do not like the transportation in Venice. The water bus can only take you to the stations, and you still need to walk to your end destination. It is annoying especially if you are carrying a big pack of luggage. If you take water bus then expect to squeeze yourself in the crowded boat.
Also, it takes long time to get to everywhere. For example, I took the water bus from Venice city centre to Burano; the distance is only 7km but takes about 1.5 hours because Venice is very strict on the speed limit for boats. They can’t go too fast or they will get a fine.
Venice is still a cute city
Nevertheless, I still love Venice. This city is too beautiful. It is so different from the other places that I have seen in Europe. The boats, the bridges, the characteristic buildings…they all made a perfect picture. Not to forget to mention that each bridge is unique and they are not all of made of the same material.
It is Italy, so it means very delicious pizza! Very tempting isn’t it? 😋
Free Walking Tour in Venice
I joined the Venice free walking tour. It was a nice one. The tour did not visit St Mark Square and Rialto Bridge (another popular and overcrowded attraction that I do not like) because they wanted to show you the locals’ stuff. So, my tour guide showed us some residential areas and talked about some interesting stuff of Venice.
One memorable thing that my tour guide said: Venice need our help. Venice has become very touristy, and the locals couldn’t find a job if they are not working in the tourism industry. In fact, many businesses in Venice are not locals; they are operated by the foreigners who want to make money from Venice. She urged us to support locals by going to the local restaurant and buying souvenirs made by locals. She even taught us a few techniques to distinguish the businesses between the locals and foreigners.
Gondola – the symbol of Venice
The classic gondola is black colour because the law of Venice in the 17th century required gondolas painted in black to avoid competition. Today people paint the gondolas as black customarily and decorate to what they like.
The price of one-hour gondola ride is about €80. I did not try it because I felt weird to do it alone. So this may be something that I want to do on my future visit to Venice. 🙂
The residential areas of Venice
Thanks to the suggestion of my tour guide, I visited some residential areas (the top area of Venice’s map) which are far less crowded. If you are coming to Venice, I strongly recommend not to spend all your time in the busy city centre. Instead, spend some time exploring this lovely city and get lost here.
I found the place above that I loved so much. It was very quiet and peaceful here. The GPS coordinates of this place are 45°26’49.4″N 12°19’43.7″E, just in case I want to come back again!
Burano is located in the Venetian Lagoon, an enclosed bay of the Adriatic Sea in Northern Italy. The Venetian Lagoon also includes Venice and other smaller islands (e.g. Murano).
I was surprised when I arrived in Burano. It is indeed too beautiful! These houses are very colourful and brightly painted.
It is, however, a bit disappointing to see so many tourists around, but that is understandable. I noticed that Burano is especially popular with Chinese tourists.
Why visit Burano?
Burano earns its reputation due to its colour. The house owners have to accept the colour chosen by the town council, so you won’t see a duplicated colour on the houses next to each other. Interesting right?
In addition, the weather was very good when I was there!
The red colour house in the photo below is very elegant!
Burano is all about tourism so the souvenir shops are everywhere, but they are very expensive! You will see the masks are being sold everywhere as they are the symbol of Venice.
By the way, the public toilet in Burano is the most expensive toilet that I have ever used – cost €1.50 for one use! So you get an idea of how touristy this place is.
When I was walking in Burano town, someone sitting at the restaurant shouted on me. I ignored him (as I always try to ignore strangers) until he called my name ‘CY’. Ah, that was my roommate, a Korean guy that I met at my hostel!
It was the second time that he saw me here. He tried to call me the first time to share food with me as he ordered too much, but I didn’t notice. When I finally sat down with him, the food was already gone. 😫 Then, we walked around the city and talked a lot. Good to have a companion! I was glad that I met some cool people at my hostel.
The view of Murano is a little bit similar to Burano, but I prefer Burano. In short, if you want to go sightseeing – go Burano. If you want to buy souvenir (glassware) – go Murano.
Murano is popular for the production of glass. I bought a glass watch here as mine was just broken.
A beautiful destination
There are over 20 million tourists coming to Venice every year which make it extremely touristy. For me, it is disappointing to see the huge crowd and frustrating transportation, yet it is still worth a visit. It is a wonderful city although it is not an easy place to live.
Venice is the only place that I regret staying in the city centre. In hindsight, I should have stayed nearby the train station. Because I find it impossible to enjoy the overcrowded city and hate to carry my large backpack from the station to my hostel.
My advice in summary: Spend minimal time in the busy city centre, instead, spend more time wandering and getting lost in Venice. Burano is a must-visit for its beauty. Visit Murano if you want to buy glasses for souvenirs.