Natasha, founder of AllCall Travel has written this guest post to share some hidden gems in Venice. Read on for an unbeatable mix of “off the beaten track” and classic Italian opulence, to help you plan your post-Covid honeymoon trip of a lifetime.
Honeymoon planning can be tough. You want to decompress from the day—too much family time, endless planning, and inevitable stress—but you also want a trip of the lifetime that fulfills every vacation hope and dream. Right? I get it.
A few years ago my husband and I road tripped through northern Italy. Milan to Lake Como to the Dolomites to Venice. It wasn’t our honeymoon, but it was beautifully planned if I do say so myself! I love planning great vacations and know how broken the whole process is. That’s why I started Allcall. It can be hard to plan a trip, to find the hidden gems that make it feel like you’re truly experiencing a destination. Especially in famously romantic places like Venice.
I’d love to share a few tips and finds from my trip. Hopefully, they will help with your own Venice planning.
First stop – the Dolomites
First suggestion, spend a few nights in the Dolomite mountain range before heading to Venice. Just a three hour drive from Venice, this region of Northern Italy left me totally awestruck. A mix of Italian, Austrian, and Swiss culture, it’s like no other area in Italy. Stay at Terra The Magic Place. A sister and brother duo run this Relais & Chateaux property with a 2-star Michelin restaurant in the lobby. Whether you go in the winter to ski or in the summer to hike, you’ll find yourself totally in love, with both your partner and the region.
If you are looking for a real adventure, hike to Lago di Sorapis. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s 7 miles I’ll never forget and the drive in is world class.
Next stop – Mini road trip to Venice
Then make your way to Venice. If you are driving, there is a rental car drop off right over the Ponte della Libertà bridge, connecting Venice to the mainland. It’s easy to miss so keep your eyes peeled! Drop your car; you’ll be on foot or boat for the remainder of your trip. (P.S. take the speed limit seriously on the bridge to avoid collecting tickets along the way, it’s all radar monitored. And trust, you’ll be getting Italian bills in the mail for years to come.)
Neighborhoods to live like a local in Venice
Let’s talk neighborhoods. My personal favorites are Cannaregio and Castello. Both feel like areas where people actually live. You’ll rub elbows with locals while enjoying a glass of vino at little cafes and wine bars or shopping at the butcher and market. Unlike San Marco, it is not tourist central. I do suggest an afternoon in San Marco to check out of the famed Piazza and Saint Mark’s Basilica. Grab a coffee at 300+ year old Caffè Florian, just don’t expect an off-the-beaten path feel in this area.
Eating and drinking in Venice
My favorite restaurant in Cannaregio is Il Paradiso Perduto, if you are looking for a genuinely good time, great cheap drinks, and excellent seafood, look no further. This spot is filled with loud, young, rowdy Italians and you’ll have a blast. There are only 2 time slots for dinner, make sure to call ahead to get reservations. You won’t be sat on time, so don’t come starving. Do come ready to drink.
My favorite restaurant in Castello is Al Covo. This family-owned restaurant is perfect for a white tablecloth dinner, when you feel like getting all dressed up. The fresh pasta is what you dream about when you plan a vacation to Italy, and the seafood is what you expect when you plan a trip to Venice. There’s a reason it’s included in the Michelin Guide. The Castello neighborhood is also home to Giardini della Biennale, which hosts the Biennale Art Festival every year. But it’s worth checking out year round, even just for amazing views and peaceful surroundings.
One of the things I love about Venice is the mom-and-pop bars that offer 3€ beer, wine, and aperol spritz paired with cichettis. Cichettis are basically mini open faced sandwiches topped with all types of incredible local ingredients, like fresh mozzarella and tomatoes drenched in olive oil or fresh sliced white fish with green olives. You’ll find spots like this all over the island, but two worth checking out are Bar All’Arco (a must) and Osteria Al Squero. Osteria Al Squero is conveniently located next to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, which is also a must.
I love these little bars, but sometimes you want to feel the full opulence of the city and for that I recommend grabbing a cocktail at the Aman Venice. It’s what you would expect, extremely over the top and high-end in all the right ways. Grab a drink by the water or at the bar, either way you’ll be pleased.
It can be tough to find those gems in Venice that aren’t pummelled with tourists and selfie sticks. But I promise, they exist. A few closing pieces of advice. Be sure to have a shortlist of places you know you want to go beforehand, otherwise it can be easy to fall into a tourist trap. Be prepared to walk, you’ll find spots you never could have had on a list and moments where the beauty of the city comes to life in unexpected ways.
Feeling inspired? Make it happen!
Set up a Patchwork page inviting your guests to contribute to specific activity on your trip. From a night in a luxury hotel to a gondola ride, a gourmet dinner for two, to the biggest gelato in Venice, your friends and family will love to know they’ve treated you to an unforgettable experience. Use one of our easy to customise templates to set up your Venice honeymoon page or create your own bespoke adventure by setting up a page from scratch! When you’re ready to book your honeymoon, contact Natasha at AllCall for expert advice. You can see a full list of her recommendations, including favorite lodging options at any price-point on Allcall, or if you are looking for something more custom, join the Allcall Travel Club.