story by Susan Melnyk
photos by Isabell Smith & Susan Melnyk
Venice is one of those cities that enchant you long before, during, and after your visit. The fact that it is the backdrop for so many movies, books, love stories and dramas means it has a unique place in history and sits on most people’s dream travel list. So, if you are living in Germany and have the opportunity, be sure to go!
Ryan Air is a discount airline in Europe and with a little planning, you can get tickets to almost anywhere in the region for an amazing price.
On our particular trip to Venice (in early December), we managed to get four round trip tickets to Venice from Frankfurt Hahn airport (which actually is closer to Ramstein and Baumholder than Frankfurt) for less than 150 Euros!!
Ryan Air isn’t for everyone and the reviews are mixed. While stationed in Germany, my husband and I traveled several times on the airline and had great experiences, but others have been not so fortunate.
Be sure to read all the luggage restrictions and rules and you’ll be just fine. It is only a short flight after all. Their website is in English and provides all the information you’ll need. Just try to pack light, as baggage fees can sometimes cost more than your flight (but you’re likely to be amazed at how cheap the flights are!).
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A few tips:
Eat your meals and grab your coffee off the main streets. The Piazza San Marco is a beautiful area to walk through and take photos, but the cafes and restaurants here are incredibly expensive and more geared to tourists than locals.
Barter with the gondoliers (gondola owners/drivers) if you want to take a ride. The prices are almost always negotiable and be willing to walk away as you’ll find them all over and can always return if you change your mind or decide their price is fair after all.
Take a map along every time you leave your hotel. Your hotel will have plenty of copies for you and they will usually help you orient yourself. The streets are wonderful to explore but often winding. Don’t panic because you will likely lose your sense of direction at some point because you’ll always find your way back with the help of a map.
Be sure to check the weather and local conditions before you go. Venice can sometimes flood in the winter, which doesn’t have to ruin your trip completely, but would be worth knowing in advance.
Don’t bother with the stroller. The streets vary in heights, with stairs throughout, and the cobblestone leaves most strollers useless. Carry your little ones or let them walk these famous streets on their own.
Dress warm if you go in the winter. Exploring the city without the summer crowds is quite heavenly but Venice is surrounded by water and there is a definite chill in the air in the winter.
Wear comfortable shoes. Venice is very fashion forward, as much of Italy is, but you will regret trying to walk the uneven cobblestone in anything but super comfortable shoes. Consider yourself warned!
Venice in pictures:
Click on one of the photos below to visit the full album.
Click on one of the photos above to visit the full album.