Close your eyes and imagine the romantic getaway of your dreams. Are you seeing gondolas and canal-side kisses? Romantic candlelit dinners with a bottle of Italian red? If so – Venice is calling you. This famously beautiful city is a magnet for couples – take it from someone who knows! With its winding canals, romantic waterside palaces, and of course its crooning gondoliers, there’s no city I have visited that radiates romance the way Venice does.
If you’re looking for a picture-perfect backdrop for a weekend with the one you love, take a page out of my book – here are a few of my favourite Venetian spots to light that romantic spark!
Take a Gondola Ride
You can’t come to Venice with your other half and skip this romantic rite of passage. It’s not hard to spot the gondoliers in their sun hats and striped shirts hawking rides in their flat-bottomed boats along the city’s canals. My significant other and I paid €80 for a 40-minute ride – not cheap to be sure, but come on, it’s Venice. The gondolier steered the two of us gently under bridges and past gorgeous palaces and churches – all we had to do is cuddle up and take it all in. If there’s only one thing you do in Venice, this should be it.
Once you’re back on land, continue to see Venice on foot. My partner and I loved the atmosphere of the Zattere, a long waterfront promenade that’s lined with Venetian landmarks. A stroll down this historic walkway will take you past fairytale-like sixteenth-century former palaces and baroque churches. Wander at will and you’re sure to find something breath-taking. And definitely don’t forget the camera – your next Christmas card photo might be just around the corner!
As you walk along the Zattere, you’ll see a long narrow island off to the south. This is Giudecca Island, definitely worth a visit. We hopped on a vaporetto (a water taxi) to get a closer look. The first thing we noticed was that Giudecca is far less touristy than the main district – a blessing if you want a more peaceful and intimate setting. The second thing we noticed was the spectacular Chiesa del Santissimo Redentore, a 16th century Roman Catholic church with an unmistakable dome. Entrance is only €3 – I highly recommend taking a look at the lavish interior. Even if you don’t have time to go inside, the front steps are a great place for a couple’s selfie.
There’s something about bridges that makes my heart just melt – and Venice has plenty of them. The slender and elegant Accademia Bridge arches over the Grand Canal near its southern end, and offers amazing views from either side. I recommend ambling across this wooden bridge around dusk, when the glow of the streetlights bounces off the waters and the crowds begin to dissipate…
Rio della Misericordia
For a taste of the ‘real’ Venice, turn your two pair of feet toward the quieter district of Cannaregion. My sweetheart and I loved the Rio della Misericordia – a long canal lined with outdoor cafes with tables for two. We had a lovely lunch of fresh-caught local seafood out in the sunshine, and later walked along the Rio taking photos of the colourful houses and boats docked along the quay.
How to Get to Venice
For a spontaneous weekend getaway, you’ll want a direct flight from London to Venice Marco Polo airport. Monarch, easyJet, and British airways all offer nonstop flights from London Gatwick to Venice, with total flight time just over two hours. My partner and I had a small romp over the window seat, as the view from the plane is just spectacular!
After you’ve landed, don’t waste any time fussing over public transport – get a transfer directly to your accommodation. I suggest booking a Venice airport transfer with Shuttle Direct, and let an experienced driver navigate the complex Venetian streets. Shuttle Direct can even arrange a for a water taxi to take you the rest of the way right to the door of your hotel.
Where to Stay:
Starhotels Splendid Venice – Can you imagine rolling out of bed, drawing the curtains, and seeing a gondola floating past your bedroom window? At the Starhotels Splendid Venice, you can begin every day this way. Perched directly on the Rio del Bareteri, this four-star hotel exudes elegance and romance, from the fresh-cut flowers to the luxurious mauve upholstery. The hotel boasts a private pier and terrace – the ideal place to relax with your sweetheart and a glass of wine.
Hotel l’Orologio – You may not realise it when you first walk into this stylish hotel on the Grand Canal, but the Hotel l’Orologio is dedicated to haute horlogerie – or, the art of fine watchmaking. While it may sound odd, you may not notice the clock-related details unless you look closely. From the framed sets of abstract gears, to the decorative timepieces on the wall of every room, this hotel is an ode to time itself. Just five minutes’ walk from the iconic Rialto Bridge, this four-star hotel helps you make the most of every minute in Venice.
Hotel Bonvecchiati – For classic Venetian luxury, look no further than the Hotel Bonvecchiati. With its soaring ceilings, chandeliers, intimate private balconies, fresh floral arrangements, and strategically placed candles, you’ll definitely be in a romantic mood from the moment you step inside. Easy walking distance from both St. Mark’s Square and the Rialto Bridge, you have the whole city of Venice on your doorstep.
About Shuttle Direct
Shuttle Direct is a trusted and respected provider of airport transfers throughout Europe and North Africa. We provide a fast, friendly and convenient service from the airport or cruise port of your choice, and our easy to use booking system allows you to make all your arrangements before leaving home. Choose between a private or shared transfer, make an online booking, and let us do the rest.