A short drive after a nights stopover in Slovenia saw us back in Italy for a couple of weeks before we take a ferry back to Spain. For our 1st night we opted for a functional free Sosta near Treviso and only around 20km from Venice, the direction we were heading in first.
Venice has been on my “bucket list” for a while, conjuring up thoughts of romantic gondola rides, narrow streets lined with colourful venetian buildings overlooking a maze of waterways and gondoliers belting out renditions of O Sole Mio “just one cornetto” to you and I. The perfect place for a bit of romance (AHHHHH).
Top Tips for visiting Venice
- As one of Italy’s most visited cities, Venice is always busy, however if possible try and avoid weekends when visitors almost double.
- Venice is a rabbit warren of narrow lanes and so its easy to get lost, but try not to rely solely on your phone for navigation as the GPS signal can be unreliable surrounded by all those buildings. Grab a map beforehand just to be of the safe side.
- We didn’t get to experience a gondola as thought the 80€ price tag excessive, however if you could find others to team up with and share the cost it would make it a lot less painful on the pocket.
- Don’t miss Venice by night. Seeing the grand canal lit up in all its glory is a sight not to be missed.
- Public transport is very cheap,easy and frequent. We got a bus from the mainland for 3€ return which took us to the main bus station. The buses run late into the night too. Note though that you MUST validate your ticket on board the bus. You will see a little machine that you just wave the ticket in front of. The cost of not doing it is 60€ if you’re caught and being a tourist will not exonerate you.
- Although the most famous sights of Rialto bridge, the grand canal and St Marks Square are must do’s, we got just as much pleasure from wandering randomly around the narrow passageways.
- If eating or drinking there, stay away from the main tourist areas where prices are a little steep. Get lost in the back streets and you’ll discover restaurants and cafe’s with reasonably priced menus.
With the weather still in the late teens during the day we made our way to the largest and most popular of Italy’s lakes Garda a staggering 370 square kilometres. We figured that by now most of the tourist would have left and the place would be a little more tranquil. We headed to the southern edge and after trying a couple of Sosta’s and campsites that were full (our assessment of tourists having already left was whey off), we finally found a spot to lay our heads on the huge camping Bella Italia. With direct access to the lake it was a perfect spot for some outdoor recreational activities, so our days were filled with cycling, running and walking, oh and of course sampling different ice creams! We met up with fellow travellers Liz and Keith there (who we’ve crossed paths with twice before), and spent a couple of boozy nights in the campsite bar enjoying live music.
With a pre-arranged ferry from Genoa to Barcelona booked our stay in Italy was short and sweet, but we like what we’ve seen enough to bring us back here again in the future.
Treviso – Free Sosta with Grey & Black emptying points and fresh water. 20kms from Venice so a good stopover the night before. GPS 45.667743 12.265258. This Sosta is next to a railway line but with ear plugs it wasn’t a problem.
Venice – Camping Venizia ACSI site (GPS 45.480461 12.275208 Cost 19€ a night with ACSI card). Great site with good facilities. Washrooms are top notch, piping hot water and showers that you don’t have to keep pushing a button to keep going. 10 mins on the bus to Venice. Tickets can be bought a reception and cost 3€ return. There’s a restaurant on site which we ate in but the meal was only average, we both had pasta which was barely warm. That said it was cheap enough 23€ inc 1/2 litre wine. There’s also an indoor pool and sauna which costs an additional 2.50€, (note you have to request for the sauna to be turned on and then its restricted to certain times). It was a great facility for a chill out day and we had the place to ourselves.
Garda – Camping Bella Italia ACSI Site (GPS 45.445009 10.678886 cost €19 a night). Huge campsite which wouldn’t normally be our choice, but as others were either closed or full we stayed here. The facilities were good. On site bar and restaurant, the bar had live music whilst we were there. Access to the lake directly from the site.
We booked our ferry via direct ferries website. The operator is GNV, but there was no price benefit in booking direct. You have to collect your tickets at the port, leave plenty of time though as the office is located inside a shopping centre around 500 metres from where you’re told to pull over. Our ferry dropped off in Barcelona then continued on to Tangiers. Although it was 1 1/2 hours late leaving they made the time up en-route. The boats are a little grubby and tired, but the crossing was trouble free so its a great way of shortcutting 1000kms. We paid 237€ for 2 people, an 8 metre motorhome and a 4 berth inside cabin (in the 4 berth cabins one of you doesn’t have to sleep in a bunk bed). There is limited choice of food, just one self service café so we just took supplies with us instead.
The GNV Lines ferry “The Fantastic” from Genoa to Barcelona
Next stop Spain…….
Andi & Paul x