Garda Town

Garda Town, Italy

Not only is Garda Town picturesque and charming, but it also give us a double whammy of beauty! Because it is located in a perfect position on Lake Garda, we have beautiful mountains and stunning views across the water. Certainly, there is a photo opportunity everywhere.

Garda Town

Snuggled into a small bay on the lake, Garda is just a short ferry ride from Lazise, Bardolino and Sirmione. We visited for a day, but realized that it would make an excellent home base. From Garda Town you can easily explore the southern or northern lakeside villages. Moreover, please make sure you explore amazing Verona in you are in the lake area! It is only a short 40 minute drive away and absolutely worth the visit.

Garda Town

It is a delight to walk around the narrow cobbled alleys with all the cafe’s, shops and restaurants. You can buy numerous local products and unique clothing at the many shops in Garda Town.

Lake Garda
What a view!

In Garda, you can wander along the long curved promenade and find a beautiful relaxing spot to enjoy some gelato! Honestly, it really is beautiful and you’ll want to have photo shots everywhere!

Garda Town

Although, during the summer season, restaurants and bars along the promenade are a hive of activity, whether it is day or night. Not to mention, this is the place to people watch while enjoying a gorgeous setting.

Equally important, just about every sport can be had in Garda town, both on and near the Lake. Such as sailing, rafting, swimming and other water sports. On the land there is biking, hiking, climbing and horseback riding. In parts of Lake Garda, you can even find hang-gliding. 

Garda Town Pictures

Here are some pictures of our day in Garda Town! All in all, I would say that it is definitely worth a visit. And remember, it is very close to Gardaland, which has rides, shows an aquarium and much more. It is great place for family fun!

Lake Garda
Enjoy the beauty and have fun!

Bardolino

Bardolino, Italy

One of Lake Garda’s most popular towns is Bardolino. Located on the Verona side of Lake Garda’s southern point, it has easy access to other surrounding towns. Also, it can make a nice home-base for your lake vacation. Not only is it a delightful, lively village, but it is also the center of wine country since it is surrounded by hills covered with vineyards and olive groves.

Bardolino Lake Garda

We had a beautiful day visiting Bardolino. We started by taking the ferry from beautiful, bustling Sirmione, with a stop in enchanting Lazise and then arriving at the picturesque town of Bardolino.

Lake Garda

One of the first things we noticed, was the tranquil marina filled with colorful motor boats. It definitely made me want to take a picture of the vivid part of daily life here. In addition, long lakeshore promenades add to the charm of village. There are many photo opportunities on the promenade, so definitely take a walk with your camera.

Bardolino’s historic center has a beautiful blend of narrow stone alleys and pretty pastel buildings. The town is fairly compact, therefore it is an easy walk from one end to the other. It is certainly lively with numerous shops, cafes and restaurants. The evening comes alive with several bars and clubs.

Restaurants in Bardolino use the local fish and fresh produce from their crops. In addition Bardolino is famous for it’s namesake red wine, Bardolino and for their Rosé, Chiaretto,

Lake Garda

San Severo is a Romanesque church that has beautiful frescos and is worth a visit. Also visit the church “Santa Maria” in Cisano and the Olive Oil Museum which is on Gardesana state road. 

Things to Do in Bardolino

You can find many things to do and keep busy in this town. First of all land sports include golf and tennis and of course hiking trails. You can even horseback ride, and mountain bike. Secondly there are many water sports available along the lake. Let’s not forget to visit some wineries. You will be able taste the area’s unique vintage, Bardolino DOC.

Bardolino Marina

Lipari Aeolian Islands Sicily

Lipari, Italy

The picturesque island of Lipari, Italy is the largest and most popular of the Aeolian Islands. The summer brings crowds of Italians to its charming old town (also called Lipari). Furthermore the crystalline turquoise water attracts visitors to its various beaches. Since it is located off the northern coast of Sicily, the climate is warm, and mild. Moreover, it is a great base for visiting the other Aeolian Islands. Most of all, Lipari boasts a picturesque lively Old Town and bustling Marina area also called Lipari.

Fun Fact:  The father of Buddy Valastro, The Cake Boss, was born in Lipari!

Lipari town is lively, charming and a perfect area for exploring.  The pretty streets have an array of flowers flowing from balconies. The main walkway is Corso Vittorio Emanuele. Outdoor restaurants, cafes, stores and markets line the corso and surrounding streets. It certainly comes alive at night!  After dinner the town becomes packed with people strolling the streets. The atmosphere is delightful with live musicians performing in the streets. Make sure to go to Marina Corta, a short walk from Corso Vittorio Emanuele.  It is a charming harbor filled with colorful fishing boats. You will see the boats with freshly caught fish being cleaned and readied for  markets and restaurants. In the evening, the marina is bustling with numerous restaurants and people everywhere. We fell in love with the locals, who are so friendly and welcoming.

The Best of Lipari

Here are some of my favorites…

HOTELS  

Grand Hotel Archiduca

Lipari Hotel Arciduca

I like this charming hotel because of it’s perfect location, within a 5 minute walk of the main pedestrian street and the Marina Corta. Grand Hotel Archiduca boasts a jacuzzi pool, nice rooms and a very good complimentary breakfast. Dining is on the terrace overlooking the pool. In addition, it offers a complimentary shuttle to Coral Beach.
Address: G., Via Giuseppe Franza

RESTAURANTS

Ristorante Filippino

Lipari Ristorante Filippino

Fresh seafood served from local fishermen’s catch of the day to your table.  Aeolian specialties of fresh regional seafood cuisine daily – many of which are served with delicious pasta. Very limited English is spoken, but the service was exceptional. Da Filippino also boasts an excellent wine menu.  We enjoyed a delicious Corvo, Glicine 2016. Enjoy your evening dining indoors or outside on a lovely terrace. Ristorante da Filippino is located in the panoramic Piazza del Municipio.
Address:  Piazza Guiseppi Mazzini

La Piazzetta 

Very nice location set in a quaint square right off the main pedestrian street. La Piazzetta has delicious Italian food and very nice ambiance with vine draped outdoor seating. Due to the popularity of this restaurant, you should book early. It becomes extremely crowded after 9:30.  Moderately priced. 
Address:
Piazza d’Austria Salvatore Luigi, Lipari, Italy

NIGHTLIFE

Café La Precchia/Cocktail Bar 

Lipari Cafe la Precchia

Located in the middle of Corso Vittorio Emanuel, this is the place to be for late night music, cocktails or vino. This is a prime place to people watch as the area is literally filled with hundreds of people! Most of all, make new friends here, as the Italians are so welcoming!
Address:  Vittorio Emanuele 180 Lipari, Italy

Il Giardino di Lipari

Lipari Il Giardino

Tucked away on a narrow side street is this hidden gem.  Il Giardino di Lipari has a pretty outdoor garden with great ambiance.  You will enjoy live music, great cocktails, and good local food & wine.
Address:   Via Nuova, Lipari

BEACHES in LIPARI

Beaches on the island of Lipari cater to every taste; crowded or deserted, white or dark sand. It is one of the most enchanting natural Unesco heritage areas in the world. Click here to read more.

Lipari Beaches

 

THINGS TO DO

Visit the other Aeolian Islands. Excursions leave daily from Marina Corta. There is easy and convenient ferry service on Liberty Lines from Lipari to all the other beautiful Aeolian Islands.

Museo Archeologico Regionale Eoliano

Lipari Museum

Lipari’s archaeological museum boasts one of Europe’s finest collections of ancient finds.
Address:
Via Castella 2, Lipari

Cattedrale di San Bartolomeo

Lipari Cathedral St. Bartolomew

This beautiful church is the oldest and largest in Lipari.  It honors Lipari’s patron Saint Bartholomew.  It’s treasured relic are the thumbs of St. Bartholomew.

 EVENTS

St. Bartholomew, Patron Saint. August 21-24th 

The most important event on the Aeolian Islands takes place in Lipari Town.   During this four-day holiday, the piazza of Marina Corta holds wonderful concerts.  In addition, there  are open markets selling local foods and unique gift items. The celebration of St. Bartholomew culminates on August 24th with a procession and exciting fireworks.

Bread and Wine Festival, November 10-12th 

Lipari Bread and Wine Festival

Three days of festivities include tastings of local and home made products.  Additionally, it highlights the harvesting and crushing of grapes.  Furthermore, they hold traditional races such as donkey races, or the land-digging speed race.  Wine, bread and roasted meat flavors invade the square with dances and other entertainment.

TRAVEL DIRECTIONS

Lipari is easily accessible by ferry or hydrofoil from the Sicilian towns of Milazzo and Messina.  The best departure point is Milazzo, as it has daily ferries leaving almost hourly all day  to Lipari.  On the other hand, Messina has a limited amount of daily ferries to Lipari.  The cost is approximately 19 EUR per person.  They do accept credit cards.

 

 

 


Lazise boats

Lazise, Italy

Lazise is a charming lakeside village on Lake Garda’s southeast shore with an old town dating back to the 12th century. Not only is it a picturesque, pristine village, but it also has an upscale, impressive vibe. In fact, the lakefront promenade was designed in an exceptionally elegant fashion. Furthermore, you will be happy to discover a wide range of shops and restaurants sprinkled in the charming alleys of town. To be sure, I found it to be one of my favorite southern villages on Lake Garda.

Lazise Harbor
The picturesque harbor promenade.

The first thing to stand out when visiting Lazise, is it’s alluring 9th century medieval castle, Castello Scaliger di Lazise. Moreover, at the center of the village lies Lazise’s attractive busy harbor. Here, the ferries and boats glide frequently alongside the shore. In addition, Vittorio Emanuele Square is a delightful grand piazza containing a beautiful Romanesque church.

Lazise Lake Garda
Lazise with a view of Castello Scaligero di Lazise on the left

The lakeside promenade is bustling with people enjoying the wonderful view or enjoying the many bars, restaurants, cafes and gelato shops.

All things considered, yes, it’s worth the visit! In fact, Lazise is only a 30 minute drive from Verona and a short ferry ride from Sirmione.

Lazise Photo Tour

Lovely little areas to discover

Photos always help me with getting to know a destination. Here is a photo tour of my time in Lazise…..

Vittorio Emanuele Square
Lazise Village
A delightful and attractive old town to browse, shop and find a quaint cafe
Such a enchanting harbor and promenade! Just beautiful!
Lazise
Cute little buildings everywhere!

By and large, Lazise is one of the most important villages on Lake Garda. Especially because of its natural beauty, a white sandy beach, and several water and land sport options. In addition, it is in close proximity to Gardaland and Canevaworld parks – both great for families with children.


Taormina Travel

Taormina Italy

Perched upon a cliff above the shimmering sea, adorned with a backdrop of majestic mountains, Taormina Sicily is the sparkling jewel of Sicily. In the first place you will admire fantastic panoramic views of the sea. Secondly, you will also have a stunning view of famous Mount Etna idly smoking in the distance.
Taormina TravelThe natural scenery is a definitely a feast for your eyes as well as the magnificent town center.  Taormina’s main gathering place is Piazza IX April, which has amazing views of the sea.  It is in the center of town and a great place to eat, drink, listen to music and people watch.

Piazza Aprile

The ancient city of Taormina is completely walkable and attractive.  with flowers tumbling down balconies of pretty buildings along with narrow cobblestone streets.  The main pedestrian street, Corso Umberto, is simply charming.  In addition, there are two main gathering places, Piazza Aprile and Piazza Duomo.

Taormina Travel

Piazza Duomo

You will enjoy excellent restaurants and cafes to visit. Soak up the lively atmosphere of magnificent Taormina Italy. It is filled with people strolling along cobblestone streets listening to musicians singing all the Italian classics. You will enjoy browsing and shopping in the numerous luxury and local stores.

Read the Best of Taormina

Taormina Sicily

Views perfect for a picture!

For a bit of history, don’t miss the impressive and famous Greek Amphitheater. Meanwhile, don’t forget to visit the beautiful beaches. Ride the Funicular (cable car) down to the picturesque bay and beaches of Taormina Mare. All the beach clubs have delicious restaurants and also rent beds, towels and umbrellas.
Taormina TravelAll things considered, Taormina Sicily should be on the top of your list when you visit Italy

The Best of Taormina Sicily……..

HOTELS IN TAORMINA
Taormina Hotels

Taormina has fantastic world class hotels, luxury boutique hotels and wonderful B&B’s. Some have pools and most have stunning views.  Go to my TAORMINA HOTEL GUIDE for great hotel suggestions.

RESTAURANTS IN TAORMINA
Taormina Restaurants

Italy is known for its delicious cuisine and the amazing food in Sicily is one of the reasons why!  There are so many regional specialties and delicious fresh ingredients, not to mention the wine. Go to my Taormina Restaurant Guide for some great suggestions.

NIGHTLIFE IN TAORMINA

Taormina Nightlife

The town is energized and alive at night.  You will find a vast choice of things to do and places to go.  Dancing, cocktails, music or just getting gelato.  Check out my guide to Taormina Nightlife.

BEACHES IN TAORMINA
Taormina Beaches

THINGS TO DO

Get ready for an Italian adventure as there are countless things to do and see in Sicily.  Taormina is perfect for history, culture, delicious food and awe inspiring sights.

Greek Theatre

Greek Theatre Taormina

The Ancient Greek Theatre is amazing.  During the day take in a show at the Greek Theatre with Mount Etna as a backdrop. There are concerts and operas as varied as Sting and The Barber of Seville.  For upcoming events and tickets click here.

MOUNT ETNA
Mount Etna Taormina

A visit to Mount Etna give you the incredible experience of seeing lava flows up close.

MT. ETNA WINERY TOUR
Mt. Etna Wine Tour

Visit the vineyards and taste the wines of Mount Etna.  There are wonderful local wineries where you can sample the delicious varieties of wine

CASTELMOLA
Castlemola

Castlemola is a charming little town up the mountain from Taormina.  If you have a few hours, it is worth a visit to this medieval town.

GODFATHER TOUR
Taormina Godfather Tour

Visit some of the iconic film locations of the blockbuster hit The Godfather.

AEOLIAN ISLANDS
Lipari Aolian Islands

If you have an extra time, you may want to take a full day trip to the beautiful Aeolian Islands.


Greek Theatre Taormina

Greek Theatre Taormina

The Ancient Greek Theatre Taormina is the most significant and popular monument to visit. It is an incredibly beautiful place and a treasure of antiquity. Italians call it Teatro Greco and it is also known as the Greek-Roman Theatre. Not only does it have artistic and historical value, but the scenery itself is stunning.Greek Theatre Taormina

The Greek Theatre is the second largest classical theatre in Sicily. Building began on the Greek Theatre during the 1st century BC, during the Greek era. Afterwards, the Romans reconstructed and enlarged it in the 2nd century AD. The orchestra is in the center and then, set around the orchestra is the auditorium or cunei.  It holds at least 10,000 spectators!  Hunting shows, or venation’s, were very popular in the 3rd century AD.  At that time, Gladiators and wild beasts took center stage. The theatre itself is a testimony to the wealth and prosperity enjoyed by Taormina between the 1st and 3rd century AD.Greek Theatre Taormina Sicily

Getting to the The Greek

Teatro Greco is within walking distance from everywhere in upper Taormina. It is located directly off the main pedestrian walkway, Corso Umberto.  It is by the Porta Messina Arch of Corso Umberto. Walk past beautiful Hotel Timeo and you will find the entrance.
Address:  Via del Teatro Greco, Taormina Sicily

Greek Theatre Taormina EventsGreek Theatre Taormina Events

Furthermore, Teatro Greco is the most spectacular ancient venue in the world! Not only is it food for the historian’s soul, but it is also a concert venue for culture and music lovers!  Since the 1950’s it has become a modern entertainment venue.  Shows range from Sting and Brian Wilson to classic operas and the delicious sounds of Il Volo.  Various performances include concerts, operas, theatre productions, and symphonies. Make it an unforgettable night in Taormina -see a show at the Ancient Greek Theatre Taormina.  Click here for upcoming events and to purchase tickets.
TaorminaTaormina


Sirmione, Italy

Sirmione Italy

Sirmione Italy is a beautiful, small resort town on Lake Garda’s southern tip. We loved this beautiful, colorful little village and it is definitely worth a visit when you’re in Italy. During the tourist season, it is bustling with people walking the mostly pedestrian cobblestone streets. In fact, I found it to be a perfect home base for visiting other nearby towns of Lake Garda via ferry.

Sirmione Castle Lake Garda Italy

Thing to do in Sirmione Italy

Sirmione is a picturesque, vibrant town filled with things to do. The historical center has no shortage of cafes, restaurants and bars. Of course there are many boutiques and stores for those who love to shop. In addition, you have a choice of two beaches to enjoy fun in the sun. Not to mention, you will find the ferry conveniently located right in the middle of town in Piazza Giosue Carducci.

Rocca Scaligera – Sirmione Castle

Sirmione Castle
Castello Scaligeri or Rocca Scaligera

Sirmione Lake Garda is well known for it’s medieval castle – the Rocca Scaligera. This beautiful Sirmione castle is an imposing structure at the entrance of the historical part of town. Built in the 1400’s, it is one of the most well-preserved and spectacular castles built by the Della Scala family who once ruled Verona during the late 13th and 14th centuries.

Lake Garda

Sirmione Lake Garda

Of course, Lake Garda is one of the beautiful attractions of Sirmione Italy. The water is crystal clear and alive with swans and ducks. The ferry was just a few steps from our hotel which made it so easy to visit other towns. Bardolino, Lazise and Garda were wonderful towns and a short ferry ride from Sirmione.

Sirmione Beaches

Lido delle Bionde

Lido delle Bionde, Sirmione

Only a short 20 minute walk from town on a scenic lakeside path, you will find Lido delle Bionde. This has a real sand beach with rentals available for lounges and umbrellas. In addition, there are also water toys to rent such as paddle boats and kayaks. We loved the outdoor restaurant here with a large terrace overlooking the beach. The menu included a large assortment of pasta, pizza, panini, snacks and drinks. All things considered, Lido delle Bionde was my favorite Sirmione beach!

Jamaica Beach

Sirmione Jamaica Beach
Enjoying the Sirmione Sun!

Jamaica Beach is a pretty 25-30 minute walk from the historical part of town. It has a casual small bar/restaurant area, therefore you can relax with a drink or something to eat. The no-sand beach is mainly limestone formations with a beautiful view of the lake and mountains. Since there are no lounge rentals, bring a towel and enjoy the Sirmione sunshine.

Grotte di Catullo Sirmione Italy

Grotte di Catullo
Grotte di Catullo

Visit the remains of a Roman villa with panoramic views of the lake. Make sure to take your camera for the beautiful views. This villa was built between the 1st century BC and 1st century AD. In addition, the museum has artifacts from this villa and others finds on Lake Garda.

Gallery of Pictures

Waiting for the Ferry
Waiting for the ferry
Sirmione Hotel
Hotel by the Ferry

Venice Italy

Things to do in Venice Italy

Venice is one of the most romantic and unique cities in the world.  It is filled with art, culture and history, not to mention that the city is built entirely on water. Furthermore, there are so many things to do in Venice Italy!  With this in mind, my suggestion is to spend at least 3 full days to see all the attractions and landmarks. Likewise, allow an extra day or two if you want to see the outer islands of Murano or Burano. In addition to all the sights, here are some other suggestions to add memorable moments to your visit. By all means, there are countless things to do in Venice Italy.

Top Attractions in Venice

Venice has incredible architecture, amazing history, priceless art and a wonderful culture. Top attractions to see are: St. Marks Basilica. the Rialto Bridge, St. Marks Square, Doges Palace as well as St. Marks Tower.  In fact, for comprehensive information including tickets and hours, visit my Venice Attraction Guide.

Gondola Ride – Top of the bucket list
Venice Gondola

Your trip won’t be complete without a Gondola ride! It is romantic, unique and a wonderful way to see side canals of Venice. The gondoliers wear striped shirts and sing. Indeed, they are the classic image of Venice. In general, make sure you know the official gondola fares so that you don’t get overcharged. Additionally, my suggestion is to take your ride on the side canals, not the Grand Canal. My favorite canal is the Rio de la Palazzo o Canonica, since it is a scenic canal that runs under the Bridge of Sighs behind the Doges Palace.

 Kayaking
Venice Kayaking

Experience the enchanting atmosphere of Venice while kayaking through the canals.  Indeed, it’s a great way to admire the architecture and beauty of the city, not to mention being a hands-on experience. Although gondolas are a beautiful sight in the lagoons of Venice, I can only imagine how nice kayaking in Venice would be. On my next visit, I will definitely enjoy the opportunity of paddling the Venetian lagoons! Check out the tours available at Real Venetian Kayak.

Row Venice
Venice Things to Do

Row Venice! Get off the beaten path and onto the Venetian waterways!  You have options of a daytime rowing lesson or an evening lesson on the Grand Canal.  If you’re a foodie or wine enthusiast you can do the Cichetto Row and sample the goodies when you glide into a traditional bàcari.

Walk and Row

A hands-on activity to discover the authentic Venetian lifestyle. First you will experience a walking tour around the favorite districts of the locals.   Secondly, you will see Venice from the canals themselves, rowing your own boat. You’ll be accompanied by a local guide and assisted during your rowing class by certified rowing teachers!

I Musici Veneziani Concert
Venice Opera

Go to a show of Baroque and Opera. This is an entertaining 1.5 hour show that will not take much time from your busy vacation schedule. Enjoy costumed performers and a festive atmosphere as these talented musicians play their instruments and sing beautifully. This is an excellent way to spend an evening. Tickets prices start at E 24.00.
Address: Scuola Grande di San Teodoro, San Marco, 4810

Food Tour – Cicchetti and Wine

This is a fun and tasty 2.5 hour walking tour through the backstreet bars of Venice. Taste delicious food and wine at five different ‘enotecas’ (wine bars). At each stop, sample regional wines and Prosecco served alongside plates of the popular Venetian appetizers called ‘cicchetti.’ Group size is limited to 14 to ensure a personalized experience.

Walking Tour
Venice Things to Do

Of course I suggest taking an informative walking tour of all the major sights. But, I also suggest a small group walking tour of the hidden corners of Venice in only 2.5 hours.  As a result, you will really get to see the local sights and way of  life.

Teatro la Fenice
Venice Teatro La Fenice

You may want to immerse yourself in an opera, ballet, concert or contemporary production at this famous Venetian Opera House. Teatro la Fenice has excellent acoustics and seats over 1000 people. It is the most recognized opera house in Italian Theatre. Go to Teatro La Fenice to peruse the many upcoming events and buy your tickets online.
Address: Campo San Fantin 1965, 30124 Venezia

 

EVENTS
Venice Carnival

Visit during one of Venice’s world-class events such as Venice Carnival.  Go to my Venice Events Guide to explore all there is to do and see.

 

PLACES TO VISIT WHILE IN VENICE

Burano
Venice Burano

Visit the colorful island Burano. Burano is listed as one of the 10 most colorful places in the world. All houses are painted pretty pastel colors that reflect in the water of the canals. In addition, Burano is very famous for its needle lace and you will see ladies embroidering while they chat in the squares. They will invite you into their shops to admire their lace working. Enjoy the cafes, boutiques, pizzerias and ice cream shops.

Murano

Venice Murano

Visit the island of Murano, known for its exquisite hand blown glass. Artisans offer demonstrations of their colorful work. Moreover, this master craft was handed down from ancestors in a constant line of artisans which reaches back to the inception of the craft itself. Murano itself is a picturesque area with sidewalk cafes and stores. In the same fashion as Venice, it has its own little Grand Canal.

Verona
Verona, Italy

Not far from Venice and perfect for a day trip, is the charming and beautiful town of Verona. It is definitely one of my favorite Italian cities. I highly suggest a visit to this city of love and romance! It was made famous by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Not to mention that Verona is a beautiful city with large charming piazzas and many sites to see.  Join the crowds at popular Juilette’s house and visit the Roman Arena, Piazza Bra, Piazza Delle Erbe, and the Ponte Pietra. Read more about this amazing city in my Verona guide.

Train from Venice to Verona is 90 minutes or less. If you go by car, take the A4 La Serenissima motorway.

 

 

 

 

 


Venice Excelsior Hotel

Best Venice Italy Hotels

In the first place, there are so many Venice hotels to choose from, but which will be the perfect one for you?  Let me help you find the best Venice Italy hotel that will be perfect for you!
Here are some things to consider.  Do you want to be San Marco, which is in the heart of the action, or in a quiet neighborhood on the outskirts.  Are you looking for hotels with pools, they are limited but available. Do you need your hotel’s entrance directly on the canal, or can you walk with your luggage over a bridge and up a few blocks. Would you like to be in the lap of luxury or a stay at a value hotel. Answering these questions will help you find your perfect choice!

Venice Travel Guide

LUXURY VENICE HOTELS – POOL

Note:  Even if the hotel is open for the season, the pools may not open until end of June even if the weather is hot.  Check with your hotel for pool opening date so you are not disappointed.

Hotel Excelsior

Venice Excelsior Hotels

Luxury with Pool – Located on Lido Island – The Excelsior is a truly exceptional experience. I like the fact that it is away from all the hustle and bustle in the heart of Venice. In fact, this luxury hotel is located on fashionable Lido beach, complete with a private beach club and beautiful pool. The hotel has elegant indoor as well as outdoor terrace dining with a view of the sparkling Adriatic Sea. Even more, they offer complimentary boat shuttles to transport you across the lagoon to St. Marks Square in 10 minutes.  The Excelsior Hotel is a celebrity hot spot, especially during the Venice Film Festival.

Belmond Hotel Cipriani
Venice Cipriani Hotel

Luxury with Pool – Located on Guidecca Island – The Belmond Hotel Cipriani is in the perfect location.  It is in a peaceful setting away from the crowds. A complimentary five-minute boat shuttle to St. Marks Square adds to the charm of being in Venice.  It boasts an olympic sized swimming pool, gorgeous grounds, impeccable service and old world charm. everything about the hotel is first class and outstanding, it is expensive but will be an incredible stay! It opens for the season on March 16, 2018

SUPERIOR VENICE HOTELS

Hotel Ai Cavalieri di Venezia
Venice Hotel Ai Cavalieri di Venezia

Superior 4* Luxury – Fabulous Hotel Ai Cavlieri di Venezia is ideally located between the Rialto Bridge and St. Marks Square and easily walkable to all main attractions. The decor with 18th century frescos, the ambiance, and the views are wonderful here. Facing the picturesque canals of Venice on two sides of the building, the hotel features a bar with a large terrace overlooking Venice. The staff is wonderful and you will have a fantastic experience here.

Hotel Colombina

Venice Hotel Colombina

Superior – This hotel, positioned in the heart of Venice, is only a two-minute walk from St. Marks Square. It is located on the narrow, beautiful Rio di Palazzo Canal. A parade of gondolas pass by with singing gondoliers therefore try to book a room with canal view.  You can also sit on the dock in front and watch all the gondolas float by.  The canal is so beautiful and adorned with many little bridges. As a matter of fact, the Bridge of  Sighs is a few bridges down this canal. Such a lovely location!  A terrific staff and rooms furnished in elegant Venetian style. I had a unique top floor room with an outside rooftop terrace – perfect for seeing the view and all the gondolas below.

RELAIS VENEZIA
Venice Relais Venezia

Boutique Hotel – Relais Venezia stands in an old 15th Century palazzo and is perfectly located behind St Mark’s Square on one of the oldest streets in the city. It is in the heart of an authentic and  lively Venetian area with many restaurants and pubs. In addition, it is a short walk to all of Venice’s attractions. The decor is beautiful, and the staff is extremely helpful giving you personal attention.  This hotel is not on the canal, you will have walk a bit with your luggage. My advice is to pack lightly, especially for Venice. Most likely your airport transfer, or vaporetto will drop you off on the dock in front of St. Mark’s Square.
To Find Hotel: Exit St Marks square in the Basilica corner. Turn left immediately before the bridge into a narrow street. Continue until a small bridge, cross it and turn right. Then first left, first right. Continue to the end of the alley. The door is opposite you slightly to the right.

VALUE HOTELS

Hotel Filu
Venice Hotel Filu

Budget Hotel – If you are doing Venice on a budget, Hotel Filu is a good pick as you can get a room for under $150 per night in season.  The hotel is in an old building but is newly renovated and the rooms are immaculately clean and comfy. Rooms with canal views are available. It is located in the Cannaregio area of Venice which is about at 30 minute walk from St. Mark’s Square and most main attractions.  It is on a canal steps away from Ponte (Bridge) delle Guglie, in a Venetian neighborhood. Hotel Filù is easily accessible from the main arrival terminals – airport, train and vaporetto station.  From Venice airport, take the vaporetto orange line to Ponte delle Guglie, the hotel is a few buildings down on the right after the pharmacy.

Getting to Your Venice Italy Hotel

In my opinion, the best way to get from the airport to your Venice hotel would be a private transfer.  It’s easy and a fast way to get to your hotel– probably right to the front door! Of course, there is the vaporetto (water bus) which is definitely great if you’re on a budget. The vaporetto will leave you at  a vaporetto stop.  You will have to walk a bit with your luggage. Read here for information on airport transfers.

Note:  If you are visiting during the Venice Carnival or Venice International Film Festival, try to book 6 months in advance to get your choice of hotel.


Restaurants

Venice Restaurants

Finding a delicious restaurant in Venice could be challenging. Let me give you some tips and recommendations on finding some of the best restaurants in Venice Italy.  Compared to the rest of Italy, most Venice restaurants are not known for their food.  Indeed, Venice is known for its high prices and poor cuisine. This is because thousands of tourists are passing through and they do not have to hold themselves to high standards or reasonable prices.  Although this may be true, I will give you tips to navigate around this.

In the first place, avoid eating by St. Marks Square or the Rialto Bridge which are the main attractions of Venice. Stay away from touristy restaurants that have picture menus or waiters trying to lure you inside. You can ask your hotel for a few restaurant recommendations, then I suggest to read their reviews before reserving. Go off the beaten path, and you will find something worthwhile.

If you are traveling during carnival time, read my Venice Carnival Guide for information on exclusive and delicious dinners and balls to attend.

Note:  Be aware to look for the following in small print on your menu: A cover charge (coperto) which is about 1-3 euros per person – or more!   A charge for sitting at an outdoor table.  Sitting at an indoor table and not at the bar.

Giardino D’Inverno

Fine Dining: This outstanding restaurant is located in the Hotel Papadopoli. You will indulge in delicious food paired with a great selection of local wines. Not only is the food amazing, but the presentation is excellent. Giardino D’Inverno has particularly beautiful ambiance which is enhanced with live music.
Address:  Santa Croce 245   Phone +39 041 710400

Osteria alle Testiere
Venice Osteria alle testiere

Fine Dining: The menu at Alle Testiere depends on the availability of fresh fish at the market.  Menu varies from shrimp, lobster, razor clams and whole fish to pastas with clams, prawns, etc.  The food is amazing and the Venetian wines are delicious. Reservations are a must. If you love seafood, Osteria alle Testiere is definitely worth a visit.
Address: Calle del Mondo Novo , Castello Venice

La Zucca 

Moderately Priced: Fresh seasonal food that is always delicious and creative. The house wines are also delicious. La Zucca is a small restaurant with outdoor dining and is right off a pretty foot bridge and canal in the Santa Croce area. Note that this is a popular restaurant, by all means, remember to make reservations.
Address: Sotoportego del Tintor 1,  Santa Croce 1762    Phone:  +39 041 524 1570

Trattoria Bar Pontini

Casual:  Away from the touristy area of San Marco, this little restaurant sits on a side canal in the Cannaregio area. Enjoy the delicious food and the waterfront table views. Definitely try the eggplant and zucchini parmesan. Since this is a small restaurant, don’t forget to make reservations or you will wait for a table.
Address: Fondamenta Cannaregio, 1268   Phone: +39 041 714123

WINE BARS

Cantina Arnaldi
Venice Cantina Arnaldi

Cantina Arnaldi has delicious wine and a warm, cozy atmosphere.  There is a good variety of fine wines, delicious food, abundant cheese & meat boards and a terrific, knowledgeable staff.  A good value for great wines.
Address: Santa Croce 35, Venice