Alyssa Writes

How NOT to be One Those Couples in Venice

While Venice is considered by many to be one of the most romantic cities on the planet, travelling with the expectation of romance spells doom. In fact, a synonym for romantic is “idealistic”, and that’s exactly where planning a romantic getaway falls short. The reality of a holiday will rarely live up your expectations and ideas.

Romance, while nice, can be a little overrated — especially when you can have fun, experience new things, and laugh with your significant other. Here’s how to not be one of those couples in Venice and have fun instead!

Skip the gondola ride

The image of a couple cuddling in a gondola and sipping prosecco is more a stereotype than a cliché. A 20-minute gondola ride costs at least €80 (plus a tip), which means you’re more likely to be surrounded by tourists with selfie sticks than the sensitive painters and passionate lovers you would expect.

Try this instead

Learn to row your own gondola. I went punting (it’s similar!) in Cambridge with Tom and his brother, and being up there trying to figure out how not to turn in circles was hilarious. Add to that the endorphins from exercising and laughing together, and it’s way more romantic than you think! You can take private gondola lessons with Row Venice.

Avoid St. Mark’s Square – at least during the day

Ah, Venice’s iconic piazza, home to the famous St. Mark’s basilica, the Clock Tower dating back to 1499 — and let’s not forget the pigeons and people! While you may be tempted to sit in a café to sip coffee and people-watch in this public square, avoid it all costs. It’s busy and you’ll pay five times the price for anything you order.

Try this instead

Visit at night. If you really want the magical feeling of the square, head there after 11 p.m. when you’ll have the place mostly to yourselves. Alternatively, take a picnic to the Giardini Publicci, a beautiful green space where they hold the Venice art biennale. At least you’ll be able to mix your bellini in peace!

Don’t eat just “anywhere”

A gelateria with 31 flavours – it must be good! It says artigianale, after all. A restaurant with a view of the Rialto Bridge, fantastic! It’s tempting, but that restaurant is unlikely to serve tasty meals and that gelato is probably not even made at the shop. Think about where you live: how many restaurants near major tourist attractions would you consider for dinner? Don’t let a good location fool you into thinking it means good quality.

Try this instead

For handmade gelato, try Gelateria Alaska in Santa Croce. They offer delicious and unique flavours like ginger and basil. If you must have it NOW, you can recognize artisanal gelato by the colour: they should be natural and earthy, not bright.

Head to a cicchetti bar. This Italian version of tapas costs around €2 per piece and will tide you over until dinner time at 8 p.m. It’s also more authentically Venetian than anything you’ll eat on a bridge.

When planning your trip to La Serenissima, don’t forget to check out Hipmunk for a romantic hotel in Venice!

Photos courtesy of Paul CurtoDavid BlaikiexiquinhosilvaMichela Simoncini via Flickr