When I was 16 I spent a long afternoon in Venice and loved it. I adored the masks, the canals intrigued me and the pace was lovely.
Anyone who knows me knows I live for travelling, out of curiosity I checked out Skyscanner to see if they had any cheap flights for NYE, other than a trip to Glasgow once I’ve never really spent New Years away. Low and behold they had flights to Venice for £63 return on NYE to the 3rd from Gatwick on Easyjet. We had an early flight out at 9am so we stayed at a hotel near Gatwick the night before, not something I’d usually do because I like thrifty, but train strikes!
In Venice airport you can get the number 5 bus for €8 that takes you to the centre of Venice. Tickets are bought from a desk inside the airport.
We decided to spend the first afternoon just having a walk around and exploring the town around us. We stayed in Hotel San Geremia which is a so-so hotel, but it was in the centre of town and was £118 each for 3 nights at in a notoriously expensive city. Venice is a maze, and the lack of roads contributes to that but it’s a maze you want to get lost in. Every road leads to something new, whether its stumbling across big bridges like the one pictured above, or side alleys just wide enough to walk through, it’s city that wants to be discovered. Being the old people that we are we had a nap before venturing out for the New Year countdown in the famous St Mark’s square. On the 20 minute walk to the square everyone was drinking, mostly out of bottles of prosecco which is RIIIGHT up my street! We stopped off for pizza, which was ridiculously huge, like bigger than your head for one slice and only €3/3.50 a piece! Walking down with hundreds of people eating pizza and drinking prosecco was lovely, but nothing could have prepared us for the display that were the fireworks. We managed to wangle a place by the river just one person away from the front row, the countdown happened in Italian, an hour before all my friends and family back home which felt weird, paper lanterns were let off and then a good 15 minute firework display began with some of the prettiest fireworks I’ve ever seen.
On our 2nd day we properly set about to exploring, we walked for hours stopping off for even more pizza! We debated a gondola ride but at €80 and a trip to NYC upcoming we just felt it was too much so instead opted for a €15 return trip to Venice Lido, which gave us a lovely boat trip across the water to another part of Venice! And SO glad that we did, we walked from one side of the island to the other in 15 minutes and stumbled across one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen, pastel skies and clear water. It felt like an emotional, beautiful start to the year.
Both myself my partner and my best friend get itchy feet a little when we’re holidaying (thank god!) so it means we end up exploring more places. Sam (my bf) and I decided to take a day trip into Verona and see the city that inspired Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (despite never going there….) It only cost €8.85 each way and was just under an hour and a half. Their trains are really nice and clean and I had a nap both ways. (OLD LADY) Verona was so different from Venice in every way, for starters there are roads again, the city is surrounded by walls and a citadel. The centre of town has an entire colosseum in the middle of it right next to modern shops! Verona felt like a different city every 10 minutes. We ate a restaurant called La Tradision which was just amazing! We had a medium platter for €16 and stuffed ourselves full of meat and cheese accompanied by €2 glasses of crisp prosseco! (yes more prosseco)
We also checked out Juliet’s balcony, its pretty much a tourist trap but you also can’t not visit it. There’s no payment into the courtyard though it was absolutely packed even on a cold December day. We did the cliche tourist, sickening couple thing and got a heartshaped padlock to attach to the gates along with thousands of others but it was nice so we did it anyway. All in all it was a beautiful visit and the absolute perfect start to the year. I’ve been with friends and my partner and think its a proper couply place rather than somewhere I’d choose to go with friends. Despite the cheap flights no where in Italy is ever going to be super cheap compared to other parts in Europe. But if you’ve got a bit of spending money and don’t mind a hotel that’s not super nice it’s doable not on an extreme budget! Additionally we went when it was cold but it also meant it had less tourists so you have to do it the way you want to do it! 100% a recommendation for NYE celebrations