we arrived to Venezia S. Lucia station via FrecciaBianca express train from Milano Centrale. venice is a lot bigger than i imagined. the only transportation to get around is by boat; there are no cars, buses, horses, scooters, or even bikes. getting around in venice is expensive. one single ride of the ACTV public water-bus costs about 7 euros and a day pass cost about 20 euros. there are also taxi boats, but im sure they are expensive too.
we got to venice pretty late at night and the ticket machine was broken, so we just hopped on the public water bus. tickets are also available for purchase through the tickets conductor. we didnt buy the two-day pass because our hotel, Hilton Molino Stucky Venice, offers free shuttle (time table) to Zattere and St Mark’s Square which is walkable to the majority of sites. we got off at Zattere and took the free boat service to Hilton Molino Stucky Venice.
we got a free upgrade to the king executive suite (retail at 600 euros/night) thanks to our hhonors gold membership. we also had access to the Executive Lounge, offering complimentary breakfast, drinks and snacks throughout the day. although our bedroom, living room, and kitchen were pretty nice and spacious, i still found the suite to be a little creepy since the hotel was converted from a former flour mill.
the 2nd day, we took the free boat service to St Mark’s Square and just walked around. there were long lines to get into basilica di san marco and museums, but we didnt want to wait for any of it. the best way for me to spend a day in venice is to just hang out at a small cafe by the water in one of the small and non touristy canals and enjoy street musicians. wine and coffee are ridiculously cheap and delicious in europe; i would spend all day just sipping on wine and enjoy venice’s unique atmosphere. venice is pretty touristy, you dont see many locals live there anymore. the area near Grand Canal was the most chaotic and touristy. i would def avoid eating or drinking around there.
we ended our day with a Gondola ride. there were two options: 80 euros for 30 mins and 120 euros for an hour. pork belly insisted to do the 120 euro for an hour option cuz he thinks we probably wont ever come back again. the ride was enjoyable i guess; but i thought 30 mins wouldve been more than enough.
after the gondola ride; we headed back to our hotel to rest and grab a few free drinks from the executive lounge during happy hour. we were too exhausted to head out for dinner because venice is pretty hard to navigate by just walking and limited choices of transportation. very easy to get lost in the canals. it was still pretty cold in venice and felt like a ghost town at night.