Venice’s reputation precedes it: stunning, picturesque and full of Italian charm. However, don’t be put off by its notorious romantic qualities; Venice is most accommodating to families, friends and those alone looking for a break from the cosmopolitan.
Venice is a small island situated off the north-east cost off Italy, easily accessible from Croatia, Slovenia as well as the Alps. Constructed purely by canals and bridges, the Island is free from the hustle bustle of public transport: walking, boats and gondola’s being the only form of transportation around the city. From the airport there are several options onto the island. For students i would recommend the bus. From Marco Polo Airport hop on the bus which departs from directly outside the airport for €6. The bus takes an hour and drops off at Piazza Roma. From there the regular ferry boats will take you to your final destination. Alternate transport from the airport, which is perhaps more scenic is the ferry. This is NOT for those with a weak stomach (like me), but the views are lovely and it is exciting to see Venice coming closer. Inform the driver of the stop you need to go to and be prepared for the journey to take a long time.
The ferry service is efficient and also a far more enjoyable (and less sweaty) experience than the underground which most cities offer. I opted to purchase the 72 hour ticket for €30, as a single journey was €7. I was staying on the adjacent island Guidecca, rather than mainland which is more expensive. The system is easy to establish and once understood, incredibly convenient. I enjoyed combining the odd ferry ride with walking as some of the best sites are by foot. Like most of Italy, every corner turned there is another stunning cathedral or cultural spot.
Unlike the other destinations i have visited, Venice is more for the culture vulture than the student traveller. Nightlife is limited, with drink prices exceeding trendy London bars. I stuck to beer and wine, which, in the heat, was a pleasant respite from the much need water! There are galleries, which I was not that fussed by, and Burano and Murano are definitely worth a visit. Having said that, the attraction to Venice is definitely the architecture. St. Marco’s square is busy and pretty, but that was partially due to the fact that there were 3 cruise ships in the port (which slightly ruined my view from the hotel).
As a student, i found Venice at the top end of the market in terms of accommodation, eating out and activities. While it is definitely a destination to visit at some point in your life, there are more affordable and better suited destinations for those wanting to soak up some culture, while drinking and eating out on a reasonable budget.