Venice is one of Italy’s most popular stops for tourists, not to mention European cities, with tourists arriving by the thousands everyday. Narrow streets open up in to beautiful Piazzas and gondolas are paddled sleepily through the picturesque canals that wind between beautiful historic buildings.
One Day in Venice
With so many people sometimes it can feel like you are trapped in an overcrowded outdoor museum. However, the city itself is relatively small and if you are pressed for time you could easily do just one day in Venice.
What to see in Venice
While Venice is popular with tourists it actually wasn’t all that interesting for us. However we have highlighted all the top things to see and do below for your one day Venice itinerary.
Early on your will realise there are a lot of bridges in Venice. In fact there are over 400 which Cole seemed intent on finding! We actually found that the best ones were the smaller bridges that crisscross their way over the many canals between narrow alleyways. While the most popular ones, such as Ponte di Rialto, cross over the Grand Canal and can be beautiful in the sunset if there aren’t any tourists (unlikely).
Nearby to Ponte di Rialto bridge you will also find the local Rialto markets with fruit, fish and hand-made goods available. Most close around 1 – 2pm though so get here early for the best food. Brilliant for a budget lunch option.
Many of the streets in Venice spill onto Piazza’s (squares) with churches, restaurants and bars along the edges. The most popular, and largest, is Piazza San Marco and it really is the heart of Venice.
Buildings tower above the crowds and outdoor restaurants line the sides of the square with musicians entertaining the patrons with their melodies. Piazza San Marco is always teaming with people during the day getting photos with the pigeons.
Not sure why considering they are basically flying rats and you would never do this in any other city in the world!
Basilica di San Marco is located in Piazza San Marco and the bonus is that it is free. The church is equally beautiful from the outside as the inside. Shimmering gold seems to reach even the darkest corners captivating every pair of eyes turned upwards at the ceiling. Unfortunately they don’t allow photos inside.
As your day comes to an end head to one of the cicchetti bars, pronounced chi-keh-tee. Here you can join the locals for a glass of wine and indulge in the Venetian version of tapas. Tourists frequent the ones near Rialto bridge although we found a brilliant local cicchetti bar, Osteria da Codroma, popular with students located at Centro Storico fondamenta Briati No. 2540.
Honestly the above will take up your one day in Venice but if you have time to kill you can catch a ferry to one of the nearby islands like Murano, Burano and Torcello.
Getting around Venice
The best part of Venice is the walking around. Even if you don’t do any of the above options it is easily the simplest option for seeing Venice as it gives you a chance to really explore the city. We highly recommend putting away your map and losing yourself in the maze of narrow streets. It’s not like you can get seriously lost either with water surrounding you on every side.
You will also find that once you get off the main tourist routes you have the streets to yourself as other tourists seem to flock towards the major attractions or ferries.
The ferries run along the Grand Canal stopping at various points. If you are going to take this option I would recommend buying an all day ticket as you can hop on and off as many times as you like and it can also get you out to the surrounding islands.
We didn’t even consider a gondola as they seemed like an waste of money for what you get. But if you do insist on taking one then make sure you agree on a price before setting off and go with one of the reputable companies found around the city.
All in all a great place to visit if you have one or two days to spare. Even though there seem to be more tourists than locals!
Where to stay in Venice – Hotel Villa Serena
We stayed at Hotel Villa Serena when we spent our weekend in Venice and found it ideal for exploring the city.
You can find other Holiday apartments in Venice or try and find a local provider when you arrive. Though it’s better to pre-book due to the popularity in summer.
Hotel Villa Serena is actually located on the mainland near Venice in Marghera . Buses run outside to Venice every 10 minutes and only takes 8 minutes. This works out cheaper than staying in Venice itself.
Our room was a small private room in a bright shade of pink that hurt the eyes after a while. However, it was clean and provided a haven away from the craziness of Venice.
There is a restaurant onsite although we ate in Venice for all our meals. The breakfast did look great and convenient if you want to get an early start to your day. Free WiFi is available throughout the hotel as well.
The staff were very helpful providing travel tips, a free Venice map and advice on where to go and what to see.
As Venice is on your doorstep why would you want a social atmosphere? And considering it is a hotel there was none available anyway.
Per Person: $35 Euro for a private room with a private bathroom. There are also 3 and 4 bed rooms starting at $25 Euro each. Definitely recommend it over the extortionate hotel prices in Venice.
Hotel Villa Serena is a great option if you are a couple travelling on a budget compared to staying in Venice itself. The bus is cheap and easy to catch every day while the rooms are clean and provide a place to chill out after the bustle of Venice. Recommend it for backpacking couples but not solo travellers who want to meet lots of other travellers.
Disclaimer: We were guests of HostelWorld but as always our thoughts are always our own.
5 Unmissable Northern Ireland Attractions
Northern Ireland is a beautiful part of the world, yet one which often lies off the usual tourist track. However, there are many great places to visit and things to see and do in this region – offering the perfect getaway from packed tourist destinations and a chance to see a largely unspoiled natural landscape.
Despite this, there are still many different attractions within the area that are well worth a visit. From city scenes to geological wonders, the sheer versatility means that there is guaranteed to be something for everyone in the region.
If you are thinking of paying Northern Ireland a visit, here are five of the best attractions that the area has to offer – just waiting for you to arrive!
Instantly recognisable and famed across the world, the Giant’s Causeway is a definite must-see. Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO world heritage site, the Causeway is a unique example of natural beauty and wonder. Take time out of your schedule to explore, clambering over the rocks and discovering the science, myths and legends behind this ancient monument. A Giant’s Causeway tour also makes the ideal way to learn about the Causeway and get to know the area, as you are shown around by a knowledgeable tour guide.
Northern Ireland’s capital, Belfast is a city steeped in years of history. Boasting plenty of varied attractions, there is guaranteed to be something to suit every taste in Belfast. Spend some time wandering the streets and exploring the city’s shops and eateries, or instead, head out and visit one of the dedicated tourist attractions. As the birthplace of the ill-fated Titanic, history buffs are sure to enjoy a visit to Titanic Belfast, the museum which commemorates the ship and the tragedy that followed her maiden launch. Alternatively, a visit to Crumlin Road Gaol is another favourite on Belfast’s tourist trail. Explore the gaol and learn all about its rich history, right through to its eventual closure as a working prison in 1996.
Murlough National Nature Reserve
For those who prefer a taste of the great outdoors, head out to the stunning landscape of Murlough National Nature Reserve and spend some time getting back to grips with nature. Ideal for a fun-filled family day out or a relaxing day spent exploring, the reserve offers the perfect example of an unspoiled wilderness situated in the picturesque Irish countryside. There are plenty of walking routes and trails dotted across the reserve, so pick your favourite and head off to explore more of the beautiful scenery!
Brooding and full of a unique atmosphere, Dunluce Castle is a perfect example of cultural history and architecture. Located on the coast, this impressive ruin offers stunning views across the water and is also an understandable favourite among budding photographers. A must-see landmark along the Antrim coast, the castle offers a real mix of Irish history and different time periods.
Perfectly combining tradition and history with a quirky, contemporary twist, Derry is Northern Ireland’s second-largest city – a city with something to suit everyone. From its vast array of quaint cafes and eateries to the traditional architecture, history buffs are sure to want to pay Derry a visit. If you do decide to head down to Derry, make sure not to miss the historic city walls. Striking and memorable yet also enlightening, a walk around the walls is sure to help you step back in time and discover Derry’s past and rich history.
Are you feeling inspired? These are just a few of the many exciting places to visit on offer within the region. Northern Ireland truly is a hidden gem – why not discover the beauty of this area for yourself on your next trip?
Worlds’ Best Surfing Breaks: Lanzarote’s El Quemao
Lanzarote plays host to some serious, world-class level surfing. The volcanic island rises straight up through the water, and because it lacks a continental shelf the waves it gets from the Atlantic are completely unobstructed. With low precipitation, balmy winds and endless sunshine, this laid-back island is every surfer dude’s dream.
In the northwest, El Quemao is a commanding left and right-hand reef break. You can experience colossal swells of up to five metres high, rivalling those in Hawaii. This area is meant for the expert. The waves continuously form quick tubes with vertical descents, perfect to enter, descend and ride the tube.
Seven of the Best Restaurants on Lanzarote
Table Arrcife Known for their burgers, tapas and their large selection of beer.
Casa de la Playa, Arrieta Go for authentic Canarian seafood cuisine overlooking the beach.
El Mirador, Playa Blanca Enjoy seafood by the ocean!
Cofradia de Pescadores, Playa Blanca Specialising in seafood; ask for the fresh fish of the day.
Restaurante del Diablo, Timanfaya This lunch-only restaurant utilises volcanic heat to cook their various meat dishes.
El Tenique, Tiagua They offer delicious meat fare. Their popular Cabra is served on Sundays.
El Chupadero, La Geria Situated in wine country, enjoy a glass of vino, tapas and live music.
Hippy Holidays – Low Impact Lanzarote
Pack a lunch and explore former Hippy Heaven, Papagayo, by bike. There is a family-friendly beach with calmer waters to paddle in and swim. There are also out-of-the-way places for older children to explore.
Visit Timanfaya National Park. It is 50 km² of expansive plains, volcanic ash, fossilised lava, geysers and boulders. Amp up the exotic by joining a Camel Train to explore this region.
Consider getting around by bicycle to get exploring areas off the beaten path, as well as beaches, finding smaller towns and farmers’ markets.
Fancy a Holiday in Malta? Now You Can Fly from Southend
As of October 29, 2017, EasyJet is scheduled to fly twice weekly from London Southend Airport to Malta year-round. London Southend has its own train station that runs up to six trains per hour to and from central London. This will carry passengers from Essex to the South End.
Malta, south of Sicily, has grown in popularity. The weather is great year-round (19 to 30 degrees). It is also the home of three World Heritage Sites.
Inland from Alicante: Seven Out-of-the-Way Places
Alcoy Here you will find Barchell Castle, the convent of St. Augusti and church of Santa Maria. The Moors and Christians festival is a must see.
Le Romana See cave houses; there are some cave properties currently in use.
Aspe Grapes grown in this region are tied to a custom of eating 12 grapes at New Years.
Cocentaina While at the village of La Villa, visit the Comtat Palace.
Ontinyent Archaeological finds around the area date back to the Bronze Age and Iberian period.
Bocairent Cobbled streets and architecture allow you to see what life was like many centuries ago.
Guadalest Go see the castle of San Jose. Access to this fortress is via a natural tunnel through the rocks.
Benidorm by Drone
Viewing Benidorm by a drone shows the magnificence of this area. The ocean is a stunning blue-green; the eye never tires of it. Numerous apartments and hotels hug the beaches of Playa Poniente and Playa Levante. In between these seafronts lies the Canfali vantage point with the majestic Mal Pas cove at its foot. You can also see the energetic lights of theme parks. Benidorm has five of them. The Las Vegas-style Benidorm Palace can also be seen. The beautiful Villaitana golf course looks smaller than its actual two 18-hole golf courses. These landmarks invite you to come and play.
Responsible Travel – Surfing in Lanzarote- https://www.responsiblevacation.com/vacations/lanzarote/travel-guide/surfing-in-lanzarote
Surfing in El Quemao http://www.hellocanaryislands.com/surfing/lanzarote/surfing-el-quemao/
Surfinglife.com (by Rich) http://www.surfinglife.com/surfing-in-lanzarote-canary-islands-3/
Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel
Trekking through the valleys of Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys with Middle Earth Travel feels more like the set of a Star Wars movie than a historical region once carved out and lived in by humans. Churches, homes and pigeon houses are scattered throughout the valleys, all waiting to be explored. The best part is, Middle Earth Travel know all the hidden secrets.
Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel
On the 26th of July (which just so happens to be my birthday!) Middle Earth Travel took us on their private and guided Top of Cappadocia day trek. From Pasabag, along the top of Cappadocia and down through the Gulludere Rose Valley to Goreme, we trekked 15kms in one day! (We recommend getting your bearings with this map)
Upon arrival to the Middle Earth Offices, we were warmly greeted by our new friend Atil whom we had met a few days earlier while mountain biking through the Kizilcukur Red Valley. We were then introduced to our guide and given a briefing regarding the day. Normally, the Top of Cappadocia tour would start from Çavuşin, however, since we had already explored Çavuşin Castle, they adapted our tour to compensate ensuring we would explore new terrain!
With charged cameras, plenty of water and our running shoes on, we were driven to our starting point of Pasabag. We wandered through the fairy chimneys, coming across camels and markets – then the true hike began.
It was a slow and gentle incline. With no trees to provide shade, I quickly realised why our tour guide had chosen to wear fully covered clothing! As the sweat quickly set in (a waterfall in Moss’s case) we snapped away with our cameras and enjoyed the entertaining shapes of Imagine Valley and the amazing view. We also passed a lot of rock piles, which according to our guide mean ‘father’ and are built to help lead the way.
The higher we trekked, the more breath taking the views became! As we walked along the summit of Bozdag mountain (the Top of Cappadocia) we could see EVERTHING – Pasabag, Çavuşin Castle, Kizilcukur Red Valley, Gulludere Rose Valley and Goreme. We were on the Father of Valleys! After a quick nod of agreement to the guide, we pushed ourselves the extra distance and made our way to the flag, as this HAD to be the highest point and was definitely worth a photo and a selfie or two!
From the flag we looked down upon Aktepe Hill which is known as a popular destination for watching the sun set and could spot Kizilvadi Restaurant, our destination for lunch! Kizilvadi Restaurant is an attraction of its own. With its own historic winery and Grape church, plus some Middle Earth Travel treks even stay there for the night! After having a massive feed of soup, salad and pasta plus a surprise birthday cake, we made our way down into Gulludere Rose Valley.
The scenery is amazing, with strong colours visible in perfect layers on the chimneys, you would wonder what an artist was thinking, had it been a painting. Also, hidden to the side of the track we walked across a little bridge and not expecting anything to be there we were wowed by the massive church carved. It was absolutely huge and hard to believe that its most recent use has been as a pigeon house!
Middle Earth Travel Review
- The team at Middle Earth Travel were extremely knowledgeable and certainly know Cappadocia’s hidden secrets. They have friendships with local tea garden owners which is also of benefit as it gained us entry to locked churches and hidden rooms that we would not have otherwise seen.
- We covered a lot of ground, however we did not feel rushed. The whole day focused on showing us the region, therefore we had as much time as we needed to explore each church and to take ‘just one more photo’.
- It wasn’t all about trekking. With a whole day and 15kms to cover, there were a few silly poses (especially in Imagine Valley), and we learnt a lot about the myths, legends and way of life in Cappadocia.
- In conclusion I highly recommend Middle Earth Travel if you wish to go trekking or mountain biking in Cappadocia.
- Cost: Day treks with Middle Earth Travel range from 50-90 euro, depending on the number of people taking part. This includes lunch, guide, vehicle transfers and entrance fees to historical sites, but excludes alcoholic and soft drinks.
- Middle Earth Travel are outdoor enthusiasts and offer multi-day over night treks, mountain biking, abseiling, or custom made itineraries, in multiple regions throughout Turkey.
Disclaimer: We were provided with a discount for the trek with Middle Earth Travel, however, as always our thoughts on our adventure travel blog our own.
Meet Cole and Adela
We have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...
- Travel Tips2 months ago
Couples Travel – Why every couple should travel before marriage
- Europe8 months ago
Travel Tip: Train to Pisa from Florence
- Adventure Travel6 months ago
Walking the Camino de Santiago Photos
- Travel Blogging Tips4 months ago
Our Experience of Starting a Travel Blog
- Adventure Travel4 weeks ago
Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel
- Personal Musings5 months ago
From Four Jandals to Two Jandals
- Europe5 years ago
Autumn in Oslo, Norway – Photo Essay
- Asia5 years ago
The Best of Istanbul – Photo Essay