This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you are better prepared for what to expect, what not to expect and can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in Venice. To help you make friends with Venice before you visit, we've included a few helpful and fun things you should know about the area. Enjoy!
Venice is a truly magical city. It is always bustling with tourists, especially in summer, however the city is so beautiful that somehow this does not detract from the overall experience. It is renowned for its architecture and the beautiful canals, which make the city what it is. Known as the Floating City, it is easy to see why, as the buildings just seem to float and the only way to travel is by boat, water taxi or gondola.
There are quite a few Venice hostels to choose from. If you are looking to stay in dorm style hostels, there are a few hostels near the train station. Or there are hostels that provide mainly private room style accommodation. Most offer a deal on dinner, or a small free breakfast. The main train station is called Venezia-Santa Lucia, which is on the historic part of the island, whereas the other station, Mestre, is located a bit further out.
The Grand Canal and Piazza San Marco are major tourist attractions that you cannot miss. Piazza San Marco is the main square in Venice and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The square is comprised of St. Marco's Basilica, and the Campanile, a prominent clocktower overlooking the open square. If you want to enter St. Marco's Basilica make sure you cover your shoulders, as they will not let you in otherwise. You can shop for at some of the beautiful shops for Murano glass items or jewellery, eat a gelato, or enjoy the architecture. Watch out for lions statues and lions adorning the buildings, it is the symbol of Venice.
Venice has something for everyone. Seafood is the traditional food of Venice and can be quite expensive, however pizza and pasta is generally not too expensive and quite delicious. Ask your Venice hostel about suggestions for where to eat cheaply.
The shopping and souvenirs in Venice are quite excellent. Genuine Venetian mask stores occupy every corner, they will have a seal on them if they are made in genuine Venetian style and technique. You can take a water taxi or water subway to the nearby island of Murano, if you want to view some glass being made. The glassmaker heats silica to a high temperature and you can watch as he shapes it. If you have a bit of extra money on hand, you can barter with a gondolier for a 30 minute or hour long gondola ride. It is an amazing experience, and your gondolier will act as a tour guide pointing out famous houses and bridges. If you're a romantic, rumour has it that if you kiss a loved one on a gondola at sunset under the Ponte di Sospiri (The Bridge of Sighs) you will be together forever.
Venice hostels tend to fill up quickly, especially during the summer, so be sure to book your bed or room in advance.
Written by local enthusiast for Venice hostelsShannon Neuber